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Adam Skelos looked to profit from fracking, documents say

Adam Skelos, son of New York State Senate

Adam Skelos, son of New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, leaves Southern District Federal Court in Manhattan after his initial hearing on corruption charges on May 4, 2015. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

ALBANY -- In 2013, as then-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was pushing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to authorize natural gas fracking, Skelos' son was angling to get payments from a wastewater treatment company seeking a piece of the hydrofracking windfall, according to federal documents.

"There is a great potential for him to exploit his father's contacts statewide," said one of the businesspeople not identified in the heavily redacted documents. "His contacts are very high level. His dad is Dean Skelos, NYS Senate majority leader."

The documents are part of the upcoming corruption trial of Dean Skelos, 67, a Rockville Centre Republican, and Adam Skelos, 32. They face eight charges accusing the former Senate majority leader of soliciting bribes and extortion of three different companies to hire Adam as a consultant in return for favorable legislation and public-works contracts. Both have pleaded not guilty.

A federal investigator stated that intercepted cellphone calls and texts yielded evidence that shows a businessman who wasn't identified "arranged for Adam Skelos to receive payments . . . with the understanding that Dean Skelos would reward" the businessman "through official acts."

The documents showed that the father and son also were planning to have Adam cash in on fracking through the same wastewater treatment company before Cuomo ultimately shelved the proposal.

The records cite emails beginning in "mid-2013" in which Adam Skelos began to push to position the company to sell products needed in fracking for natural gas trapped deep in shale deposits upstate. Adam Skelos continued to work on a fracking proposal as recently as October 2014.

"The easiest way to do this would be a simple amendment to the existing contract, to include oil and gas consulting," a Dec. 13, 2013, email stated.

The senator advised his son on fracking in an email on Sept. 4, 2012, writing: "Should think about showing product to these environmental groups. Can help you with local governments."

Skelos' attorney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The wastewater treatment company received a contract with Nassau County to provide water filtering products. The documents noted that the contract was announced on Oct. 10, 2013, in a news release Adam Skelos helped coordinate. Within 11 days, Dean Skelos' campaign committee made two $5,000 donations to the campaign of Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, the documents said.

Other documents noted that in September 2013, Adam Skelos emailed a person, whose name was redacted, a link to a story about Cuomo appointing a person to head the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

"This is 'very' good for us," Adam writes.

"Awesome -- the stars are aligning," the recipient replies.

Cuomo that month appointed outgoing North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman to head NIFA.

Cuomo was mentioned another time in the documents. In July 2012, Cuomo was pressing a campaign finance measure that would further disclose campaign donations to public officials made through real estate trade associations and other third parties. Skelos opposed the measure.

"We better make sure Dean keeps his word, AC is a wild card," stated the email from a person not identified in the records. "He can't blink on this issue or he is completely disarmed."


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