After serving eight months in federal prison, disgraced former state Sen. Nicholas A. Spano was released earlier this week to a halfway house, where he was to spend three months transitioning back into society.
But five days later, Spano was back in federal custody at a detention center in Brooklyn, and a source familiar with his family said Spano requested the move because he feared for his safety among the other ex-convicts at the Bronx Community Re-entry Center.
Spano is in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, according to records from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A booking officer confirmed Saturday that Spano remained in custody at the Brooklyn facility, which typically houses male and female inmates awaiting trial or arraignment.
Spano's White Plains-based attorney, Kerry Lawrence, would not answer questions when reached Saturday.
"I'm really not going to comment on it right now," Lawrence said.
Spano, 59, pleaded guilty in February 2012 to federal tax evasion for failing to pay taxes on a $45,000 real estate commission and $5,000 in rental payments. The guilty plea officially ended a long political career for Spano, a Republican who represented New York's 35th State Senate District from 1987 to 2006, when he lost a re-election bid to Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins. After losing his State Senate seat, Spano had been working as a consultant in Albany.
Spano served eight months at Schuylkill, a medium security federal prison in Minersville, Pa. The former state senator said he passed the time by teaching a government class to fellow inmates and taking classes as a student.
Nicholas Spano is the older brother of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. A source close to the Spano family told News12 that the former state senator was unnerved by the other residents at the halfway house, some of whom were violent offenders.
Typically, when an inmate is returned to prison after a stint at a halfway house, it's because the inmate violated the terms of his release or the rules of the halfway house, said Ed Ross, spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Ross said he did not have information about why Spano was transferred from the Bronx halfway house to the Brooklyn detention facility.
"If there are safety issues that the individual encounters at the halfway house, it is incumbent on them to communicate to the staff," Ross said.
Calls to the city's Community Corrections Office were not returned Saturday. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, which administers federal prisons, said she did not have information on why Spano was transferred.
Herbert Hadad, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who prosecuted the disgraced state senator, said he had no comment when reached Saturday.