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Witness tells of bribes in trial of developer, 2 LI lawyers

A former New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development official testified Monday that he took $2.5 million in bribes at the trial of a developer and two Long Island lawyers.

One-time assistant Commissioner Wendell Walters said he accepted everything from cash in cigar boxes to sweetheart real-estate deals, along with appliances and expensive trips from various developers and contractors during 13 years at the agency.

Walters said he never kept an exact count of how much he was getting in payoffs. "I didn't really keep a spreadsheet," he said. "It was all in my head. I kept stuffing it in a bag."

Walters, who pleaded guilty in 2012, appeared as a government witness in federal court in Brooklyn at the trial of developer Stevenson Dunn, 52, of Brooklyn, and lawyers Lee Hymowitz, 62, of Oceanside, and Michael Freeman, 66, of Manhasset.

Dunn, a high school friend of Walters, and the two lawyers were partners in SML Development. They were accused in 2012 of being part of an HPD bribery and kickback scheme involving Walters and contractors.

The trial began last week. Walters' testimony resumes Tuesday.

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