Saying power and greed corrupted them, a Nassau judge Tuesday sentenced three former government officials to time behind bars for their roles in a failed $80 million redevelopment project in New Cassel more than a decade ago.
"Each of you have betrayed the public's trust," Judge Alan Honorof told former Democratic Nassau County Legis. Roger Corbin and Patrick Williams, along with Neville Mullings, who headed the North Hempstead Community Development Agency.
"As you look back on your lives in months and years to come, I think that the worst punishment that you will suffer is the disappointment that you will have in yourselves," Honorof said as he imposed the terms in Nassau County Court in Mineola.
Corbin, 68, of Westbury, was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in prison for accepting more than $200,000 in bribes and official misconduct.
Williams, 66, of Uniondale, was sentenced to 1 year in jail for conspiracy.
Mullings, 73, of Westbury, was sentenced to 9 months in jail for conspiracy and official misconduct.
One of the defense lawyers, Frederick Brewington of Hempstead, said all three men immediately filed appeals.
The judge ordered the defendants to surrender in court Thursday. They will be incarcerated at that point if the Appellate Division does not issue a stay of the sentences during the appeals.
The charges stemmed from an indictment in 2010 charging they steered the project to a specific developer, sold false exclusivity rights to a bank and stole $150,000 in public money.
They were convicted in 2012 by a jury that was deadlocked on several other charges, which were dismissed by the judge Tuesday at the request of prosecutors.
Corbin faced up to 15 years in prison, and Williams and Mullings each faced up to 4 years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Jason Herman urged the judge to impose the maximum term on each defendant.
The three had the power to create a project that would benefit New Cassel, but instead they succumbed to "greed, power and political influence," Herman said.
Corbin declined to speak during Tuesday's proceedings.
But both Williams and Mullings made impassioned speeches in which they insisted on their innocence, praised the judge for his fairness and called prosecution witnesses liars.
"I respect the process," Mullings told the judge, adding it had been painful for him to sit through a seven-month trial and "listen to the lies" from the witness stand.
Williams said that while he was contrite, "I want to say to you . . . and the whole world . . . that I am not guilty."
Corbin's attorney, Kenneth St. Bernard of Mineola, pointed out to the judge that the jury failed to convict the men on more serious grand larceny charges.
The attorney said outside court that Corbin's sentence was "extremely harsh."
The judge said he believed that each of the men went into public service to do good, but added: "Your legacy will be anything but one of altruism."