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Judge: Ex-legislator Larry Seabrook's pension not protected from forfeiture judgment

Ex-New York City Council member Larry Seabrook during

Ex-New York City Council member Larry Seabrook during a news conference on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan on June 23, 2003. Photo Credit: Julia Gaines

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that New York's Constitution does not protect former city councilman and state legislator Larry Seabrook's pension from a $418,000 forfeiture judgment issued in the wake of his corruption conviction.

Seabrook was convicted in 2012 of funneling city funds to nonprofits he controlled for the benefit of family and friends. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay back the money.

He hasn't paid and argued that his pension was protected by a provision of the state Constitution that says public pensions can't be "diminished or impaired." But U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel said federal law trumps that protection.

"This section of the New York State Constitution yields to the federal forfeiture to the extent that the state provision purports to foreclose forfeiture of Seabrook's pension benefits," Castel wrote.

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