News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics
BloggersDan Janison Rick Brand Tom Brune Robert Brodsky Paul LaRocco Yancey Roy Celeste Hadrick
Feds charge Bronx Assembly member with bribery, conspiracy
Another day, another New York lawmaker charged with bribery.
Federal prosecutors Thursday charged Assemb. Eric Stevenson (D-Bronx) with taking thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for proposing legislation to enact a moratorium on the building of any new adult day-care centers in New York City. Stevenson's bill never advanced in the Assembly, according to state records. A moratorium would have dramatically increased the value of two existing adult day-care centers owned by the people who allegedly bribed Stevenson, according to the charges.
The criminal complaint, released by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, also said Stevenson agreed to help get building certificates and power for one existing center and recruit members to another.
Further, the complaint said that another, yet-to-be-identified State Assembly member has been charged in a sealed indictment, has cooperated with prosecutors and has agreed to resign. Aides to Assemb. Nelson Castro (D-Bronx) told Newsday and other outlets the legislator would have a statement out by the end of the day.
Bharara is set to hold a noon news conference, along with Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, at the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan.
The announcement comes just two days after Bharara charged state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) and five others in a bribery scheme to buy Smith a spot on the New York City mayoral ballot.
The Stevenson complaint details numerous conversations the assemblyman had with a cooperating witness who was wearing a recording device. Apparently aware of potential wrongdoing, Stevenson at one point rattled off the names of several convicted state lawmakers and officials as says: "If half of the people up here in Albany was ever caught for what they do . . . they would probably be in the same place as" disgraced ex-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi who just finished a state-prison sentence.
Among other things, Stevenson wanted to get his grandfather's name on one of the buildings owned by the businessmen involved in the case.
Stevenson was first elected to the state Assembly in 2010.