Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

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How a NYC legislator-defendant played the broke card

The latest proof that America is a great country comes from Brooklyn Assemb. William Boyland, the embattled state legislator facing corruption charges in Brooklyn federal court.

Boyland, you may recall, was acquitted of corruption charges in Manhattan federal court in 2011 with the help of a pair of taxpayer-funded lawyers -- and then shortly after indicted in Brooklyn on a raft of different extortion and bribery schemes. After a year, the judge concluded that with his Assembly salary and assorted other assets, Boyland should pay for his own lawyer.

Fortuitously, however, the state Comptroller in November concluded that Boyland should repay $67,000 in improper per diem reimbursements he had claimed for travel and expenses in Albany. Boyland didn't repay it. So in February, the comptroller suspended Boyland's right to get per diems. That meant Boyland had to pay his own Albany expenses -- which he claims are more than $1500 a month. That apparently persuaded the judge that he couldn't pay for his own lawyer, and taxpayers should provide one after all.

Boyland, we understand, told reporters afterward that he had been quoted figures up to $1.5 million for handling his trial and any possible appeal.

The lessons here? If you refuse to repay $67,000 you're accused of ripping off from taxpayers, they'll pay for legal services worth $1.5 million. And, that William Boyland knows a good deal when he sees one.

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