A former Nassau County legislator surrendered Tuesday to begin serving a jail sentence following his 2012 conviction in a scheme to steer an $80 million New Cassel redevelopment project to a favored developer.
Democrat Patrick Williams of Uniondale surrendered after the state’s highest court recently declined to hear his appeal.
The state Court of Appeals in Albany also declined to hear appeals from Williams’ co-defendants, Roger Corbin, another former Democratic county legislator, and Neville Mullings, who had run the North Hempstead Community Development Agency.
In 2012, a Nassau jury convicted the trio on charges stemming from a 2010 indictment that said they steered a project to revitalize New Cassel’s downtown – that later failed — to a developer willing to “pay to play,” sold false exclusivity rights to a bank and stole $150,000 in public funds.
In 2014, current Court of Claims Judge Alan Honorof sentenced Williams, now 69, to a year in jail for conspiracy. He sentenced Mullings, now 76, of Westbury, to 9 months in jail for conspiracy and official misconduct.
The judge also sentenced Corbin, now 70, of Westbury, to 2 to 6 years in prison for taking bribes and official misconduct.
But an appellate court granted stays of all three of the sentences while considering separate appeals from the trio, who were then released on six-figure bonds.
In January, that lower appellate court upheld all three convictions, finding in each case that evidence had been sufficient to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Williams arrived in Nassau County Court Tuesday wearing a business suit, and embraced family before turning himself over to law enforcement officials to be handcuffed and transported to Nassau’s jail. He’s expected to spend about nine months behind bars.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said Tuesday in a prepared statement that all three defendants “victimized the New Cassel community in a corrupt scheme to enrich themselves and, nearly ten years later, they will finally be held accountable for their crimes.”
She added that Nassau residents “are tired of corruption in their government” and her office is “committed to holding accountable those in power — and those who enable them — when they betray the public trust.”
Williams’ attorney, Brian Griffin, said after the court proceeding that his client still maintains his innocence and was heading to jail “resolute in his conviction that he did nothing wrong.”
“Unfortunately the Court of Appeals refused to hear his case. This is unfortunate because if they had, the fundamental flaws in the prosecution would have been exposed and his innocence would have prevailed,” the Garden City lawyer added.
The surrenders of Corbin and Mullings also are expected within the next two weeks, a court official said Tuesday.
Hempstead attorney Frederick Brewington, who represents Mullings, declined to comment Tuesday on the Court of Appeals’ decision but confirmed his client would surrender shortly.
An attorney for Corbin, who served federal prison time for evading taxes on payments he got from a developer at the center of the Nassau corruption case, couldn’t be reached for comment.