Sheldon Silver: the first sign of trouble came Dec. 29

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to be arrested Thursday on corruption charges: report.

ALBANY — In a move bound to rock the state Capitol, longtime Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reportedly will be arrested Thursday on corruption charges. While it’s unclear exactly what charges Silver could be facing, The Times reported they are linked to payments the powerful Manhattan Democrat received from New York City law Goldberg & Iryami that he did not disclose publicly as required by law.

Silver, a lawyer who has been speaker since 1994, has been under scrutiny from federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in relation to the source of his six-figure income. He was less specific when asked whether his lawyer had, saying “they have not been directed to do anything.” The arrest of Silver, who next year would become the longest-serving speaker in Assembly history, comes as Bharara’s office has taken up the unfinished investigations of the Moreland anti-corruption commission that Gov. The specific details of the charges were not clear, but The Times said that it was related to money Silver received from a small real-estate tax law firm. Silver earned between $650,000 and $750,000 from outside legal work in 2013, in addition to his $121,000 speaker salary, according state financial disclosure forms. The probe came after an investigation by Cuomo’s Moreland Commission panel, which was looking into corruption in Albany when the governor shut it down.

Silver, along with Cuomo and Senate Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos, are known as the “three men in the room” who negotiate most everything that gets done in Albany. In addition the financial controversies, Silver also became entangled in the Vito Lopez sex-harassment case when it became public that the speaker had hired two firms to defend the disgraced former assemblyman, spending nearly $700,000 in public funds. Silver — who could not be reached for comment early Thursday — was nearly ousted as Assembly speaker by his fellow Democrats in 2000, when they unexpectedly challenged his leadership position.

Attorney for the Southern District of New York, took up the commission’s work in April after it was disbanded and began examining communications Mr. Silver has come under fire numerous times during his 21 years as speaker, including in 2013, when he was identified in a state ethics report as a pivotal figure in a decision to conceal sexual-harassment allegations against a member of his conference.

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