May 25, 2016

New York State Senator, Majority Leader, Sentenced To Five Years in Prison

New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean (left), and son Adam, Skelos

[From article]
Ex-state Senate majority leader Dean Skelos was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for using his political power to line the pockets of his do-nothing son Adam.
Adam Skelos — who once threatened to “smash” in the head of a supervisor at a job his dad got for him — landed six and a half years behind bars.
Along with the prison sentences, Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood imposed a $500,000 fine on Dean Skelos.
The father-son duo were convicted in December of bribery, corruption and conspiracy after prosecutors with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office played tapes showing that the Long Island Republican strong-armed companies into paying his 33-year-old son more than $330,000.
“You sent a message that you, one of the three most powerful politicians in New York State, were in some measure corrupt,” Judge Wood said of Dean Skelos.
“Your crimes were more egregious than most, with the exception of Sheldon Silver,” she said referring to the corrupt former state assembly speaker, who landed a 12-year prison term just last week in a separate case.
[. . .]

“These cases show — and history teaches — that the most effective corruption investigations are those that are truly independent and not in danger of either interference or premature shutdown.”
The comment was a not-so-thinly-veiled jab at Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commissioner.
The governor set up the commission in 2013, saying it was needed to “root out corruption in politics and government.” He then abruptly pulled the plug on it less than a year later after strong opposition from lawmakers.
A smiling Dean Skelos strolled into the courtroom before his sentencing and waved to his wife, Gail. His brother, retired Nassau County state appellate-court Judge Peter Skelos, also was in court for the proceeding.
“You can’t argue that you robbed a bank repeatedly over a course of years and you did it for your family,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Masimore said of Dean Skelos in court. “I think the evidence was very clear that Dean Skelos was strong-arming these victims and forcing them to pay.
[. . .]
Shortly after his conviction, the Long Island Republican began receiving taxpayer-funded pension payments of $95,000 per year.
At trial prosecutors argued that the elder Skelos used his influence to help Adam get jobs he either wasn’t qualified for or that he barely showed up for, including AbTech, an environmental tech company seeking state-funded contracts.
At one point AbTech agreed to increase Adam’s monthly paycheck from $4,000 to $10,000 after Adam threatened to use his father’s influence to block a $12 million contract that would help the company, it emerged at trial.
In another cushy gig his dad got him, the younger Skelos ​threatened his supervisor for criticizing him about his repeated absences.
“Guys like you couldn’t shine my shoes. You’ll never amount to anything. If you talk to me like that again, I’ll smash your f—–g head in,” Adam told his former supervisor, Chris Curcio, at medical ​malpractice ​insurance firm PRI, Curcio testified.

Ex-NY senator Dean Skelos gets five years in prison for corruption
By Kaja Whitehouse, Jennifer Bain and Danika Fears
New York Post
May 12, 2016 | 12:07pm

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