Steve Levy: A year of turmoil

Steve Levy walks with his wife, Colleen West,

Steve Levy walks with his wife, Colleen West, before announcing his candidacy for governor as a Republican outside the Capitol in Albany. (March 19, 2010) (Credit: AP)

March 19, 2010 -- Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announces he is leaving the Democratic Party and will run as a Republican for governor.

 

April 8, 2010 -- Newsday reports that Levy, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, collected more than $200,000 in campaign contributions from law firms and title companies doing business with the county.

 

April 13, 2010 -- Newsday reports that a company associated with a longtime Levy friend, Ethan Ellner, got more than $85,000 in county title work, on Levy's recommendation, despite the fact that Ellner had a federal tax evasion conviction, lost his law license for more than a year and was cited by the county's consumer affairs officials for "unconscionable trade practices."

 

June 2, 2010 -- Levy loses the Republican gubernatorial nomination to former Rep. Rick Lazio.

 

June 7, 2010 -- The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office subpoenas Levy's financial disclosure records. Levy had filed a different form than the more detailed county form filled out each year by roughly 650 county employees.

 

June 22, 2010 -- Legislative Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) forms a special legislative committee to investigate the county Ethics Commission that reviews disclosure forms. Levy would later call the inquiry politically motivated.

 

July 8, 2010 -- Newsday reports that court reporting firms owned by Levy's wife, Colleen West, have regularly received work from businesses with millions of dollars in county contracts.

 

Aug. 2, 2010 -- After weeks of pressure, Levy files county disclosure forms and releases them. The forms do not include some information about his wife's business, including accounts receivable.

 

Aug. 17, 2010 -- Just before the Suffolk County Legislature votes to hire former federal prosecutor Joseph Conway as special counsel for its ethics investigation, Legis. Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor) says Levy threatened to reveal information from Cooper's disclosure form if he voted for the probe.

 

Oct. 13, 2010 -- Newsday reports that some ethics commissioners and staffers have made campaign contributions to the officials they regulate.

 

Dec. 3, 2010 -- The county Ethics Commission refuses to comply with Suffolk County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki's subpoenas for records, and Sawicki directs his lawyer to file contempt charges against the commission's executive director, Alfred Lama.

 

Jan. 4, 2011 -- Newsday reports that "a high elected official" received cash payments for public work awarded to a title company, according to a witness statement contained in court papers filed in the criminal insurance fraud trial of former Suffolk County Legis. George Guldi. The official is not named.

 

Jan. 7, 2011 -- Newsday reports that Legis. Jay Schneiderman said Levy offered him high-level county jobs in the week before a crucial vote on a new legislative presiding officer and insisted he resign immediately if he accepted a job.

 

Jan. 19, 2011 -- A key witness in the Guldi case told prosecutors that he was asked for a "bribe" by an official in order to receive county work, according to court documents. The official is not named.

 

Jan. 20, 2011 -- A State Supreme Court judge rejects the Ethics Commission's efforts to block the legislative probe and rules that the committee has the right to subpoena commission records.

 

Jan. 28, 2011 -- Newsday reports that the district attorney's office has been looking into county campaign contributions.

 

Jan. 28, 2011 -- Guldi alleges in an affidavit that Levy used his political influence to provide protection for the criminal acts of a key witness in the insurance fraud trial against Guldi.

 

March 24, 2011 -- Levy announces he will not seek a third term in November 2011 and will turn over his entire $4-million campaign chest to the district attorney's office.

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