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Eric Stevenson battled own party before election

Members of the New York State Senate meet

Members of the New York State Senate meet at the Capitol in Albany. (June 23, 2011) Credit: AP

Bronx Assemb. Eric Stevenson was born into a family with deep roots in the local Democratic Party.

His father, Edward A. Stevenson Jr., was a Democratic district leader and board of elections commissioner. His grandfather, Edward A. Stevenson Sr., represented the Bronx in the Assembly from 1966 to 1970.

Eric Stevenson -- now accused in federal court of taking bribes in exchange for sponsoring legislation -- represents the 79th Assembly District, which covers neighborhoods in the South Bronx.

After years of fighting his own party's leaders, Stevenson, 46, was elected without opposition in 2010.

He drew attention in his first term by topping all state legislators in the amount of money collected in reimbursement for trips to Albany. Stevenson received $31,351 in such payments in 2011, more than one-third of his $79,500 salary, records show.

Citing Stevenson's expenses, critics said the reimbursement system is rife for abuse because documentation isn't required, but Stevenson denied he was trying to artificially boost his salary.

He first ran for public office in 2002, seeking the Bronx Assembly seat held by Democrat Gloria Davis, a 22-year incumbent who was facing a corruption probe at the time. Party leaders challenged his nominating petitions at the Board of Elections and filed a lawsuit seeking to knock him off the ballot.

Stevenson ended up running on the Independence Party line and lost. After Davis resigned and pleaded guilty to bribery months later, Stevenson ran on the Independence line again, and again lost.

Stevenson's official biography says he was born and raised in the Bronx. It does not list his formal education. It says he served as a community coordinator for Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who served in that office from 1987 to 2001, and also under Ferrer's immediate successor, Adolfo Carrion.

Stevenson later worked for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, between 2007 and 2010, doing legislative research and committee work, his biography said.

With John Riley and

Zachary R. Dowdy

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