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Testimony: Brooklyn assemblyman sought money at dinner

New York State Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. arrives

New York State Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. arrives at Federal Court in Brooklyn to be arraigned on May 13, 2013. Credit: Charles Eckert

Brooklyn Assemb. William Boyland Jr. told an undercover agent posing as a corrupt developer that he was plotting a run for borough president or even New York City comptroller, according to testimony in Boyland's federal corruption trial Tuesday.

"He is the sole manager of a more than $6 billion pension fund, so you know, money managing is going to be the thing," Boyland told the agent as he solicited $1,000 during a 2011 dinner at the Keen Steakhouse in Manhattan.

Boyland, 43, is charged with taking and seeking bribes from undercover agents in connection with carnival permits and a real estate deal, skimming state money from a nonprofit and claiming bogus travel expenses for legislative work in Albany.

In the first day of testimony in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday, prosecutors played tapes made by Brian Getson, an undercover FBI agent posing as "Ryan Kelly," a businessman from Philadelphia and purported friend of carnival promoter Al Weiner, an informant.

At one of the first meetings between the two in the fall of 2010, they discussed means by which "Kelly" could "compensate" Boyland for his help in getting clearance from city agencies for possible carnival sites in his Brownsville neighborhood.

Boyland said they could use a "consulting firm" to pass money, but also noted that he effectively controlled four different nonprofits.

"I have a few of them in line where, where you know, they can be . . . sort of venues and conduits," he said. "Those individual executive directors, you know, they're um, networked. You know the importance of networks, right?"

The first payment he made, Getson testified, was a $3,800 campaign contribution to attend a Boyland fundraiser in Brooklyn just before election day in 2010.

The agent wore a wire to the event, he said, and ran into Boyland's father, Frank, who held the Brownsville Assembly seat for 20 years prior to his son taking over in 2003.

Making small talk, he said he had enjoyed being a legislator -- "We done all right and we had a good time at it too" -- but he didn't miss it and didn't think he had the subtleties to survive any more.

"They would probably have a guy like me locked up," he said. "You know, like old guys like us they throw them in jail . . . Junior and them use the right terms, you know?"

Testimony is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

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