ALBANY - Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who was convicted Monday on seven counts of corruption, extortion, money laundering and collecting nearly $4 million in kickbacks and bribes is now eligible for a state pension that could be worth about $85,000 a year.
The estimate is a result of a Newsday calculation based on the 71-year-old Democrat’s 44 years of state employment, his inclusion in the state pension’s system Tier I and other factors. State employees, however, have several options in how to collect their pensions. Public pensions in New York are guaranteed under the state constitution even against criminal convictions.
Silver automatically lost his lower Manhattan seat when he was convicted of a felony. He had made $121,000 a year as a base salary before he was replaced as speaker by Assemb. Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) in February after Silver’s arrest.
In August, Newsday reported that at least 13 former state elected officials who were convicted of corruption and other charges are eligible to collect state pension checks totaling more than $604,000 a year.
Efforts to suspend pensions for those convicted of felonies committed in the public jobs have been blocked in the Legislature.
Federal prosecutors have increasingly sought to counter the pensions of convicted politicians with fines in settlements and in sentencing.
Silver plans to appeal the verdict in federal court that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.