Sunday, December 1, 2013

Speaker Sheldon Silver Trial, His Law Firm $$$ #565




Silver's Legal Costs So Far $2.9 Million Skelos $762,145
Silver spent $2.9 million on legal defense (PoliticoNY) * Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos spent $762,145 of his campaign funds on legal defense, and has $1.58 million remaining in his account.



It is Time for the Press to Explain to New Yorkers The Effects of Silver's 421-a and Cancer Pay to Play Cover-Up
“He’s trying to figure out how he got the referrals. It turns out to be an incredibly prescient question,” Caproni said. No hard feelings that it took federal investigators seven years to catch up to what The Post sniffed out a long time ago * Sheldon Silver's misleading statements to Daily News cited as evidence at corruption trial (NYDN) In the articles, the former Assembly speaker gave a limited description of his work for the personal injury firm Weitz & Luxenberg. Silver referred clients to the firm and received a percentage of any settlement or verdict. Silver’s chief spokesman at the time, Michael Whyland, provided the information and testified he believed it was true. “He said he represented ordinary, simple people who had been harmed,” Whyland said. The government also showed the jury a 2013 News article in which Whyland said Silver “invests in blue-chip stocks as do millions of Americans.” Silver is charged with trying to conceal his corrupt cash in an exclusive “high-yield, low-risk” investment vehicle.

Silver After Helping to Kill Moreland Hoisted By His Own Petard 

Feds eyed Sheldon Silver's outside income for two years (NYDN) in April 2014, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara seized documents from Gov. Cuomo's suddenly shuttered Moreland anti-corruption commission, providing new leads into the Albany cesspool. in April 2014, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara seized documents from Gov. Cuomo's suddenly shuttered Moreland anti-corruption commission, providing new leads into the Albany cesspool. Court documents hint at the first threads prosecutors began to tug at as they built a corruption case against Silver, which ultimately helped build the case against Skelos. In 2009, under new guidelines, Silver first disclosed he earned outside income that “included being of counsel to Weitz & Luxenberg,” according to a criminal complaint. As prosecutors examined Silver’s legal work that vague use of “included” stood out — pointing to outside income that had not yet been revealed. It later emerged he was paid $3 million for doing no legal work at all beyond directing clients to the firm. The Moreland Commission had subpoenaed Glenwood Management — the mammoth real estate company that is the top political campaign contributor in Albany. “There was a lot of stuff there," a separate Moreland source said, adding documents featured "pretty explicit" conversations regarding how to influence legislators with cash.
Moreland Investigation Ends, Media Cover-Up



Cuomo Who Kills Moreland Claims Victory for the Silver Conviction But Lowers Bar On Albany Reforms
Casey Seiler: Moreland panel: the rewrite (TU) Things are true because they are backed up by facts, not because they are said once, or 10,000 times. Which brings us once again to the cursed life and premature burial of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission on public corruption, which haunts the Capitol's second floor like the chain-wrapped ghost of Jacob Marley in "A Christmas Carol." The death of the commission midway through its planned 18-month lifespan occurred as part of the negotiation of the state budget in March 2014, and it was a three-man job. One of the perpetrators, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was on Monday found guilty of selling his office for private gain. Another, former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, is on trial for the same thing. (The case of Skelos & Son had its own Jacob Marley moment on Wednesday, when a federal prosecutor noted that the defense's witness list included former state Sen. Owen Johnson, who has been dead since — wait for it — last Christmas Eve.)* Cuomo answers Silver verdict with excuses, not action (PoliticoNY)*   AFTER SILVER CASE, CUOMO LOWERS BAR ON ETHICS FIXES -Bill Hammond for POLITICO New York: The guilty verdict against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was less than 24 hours old when Gov. Andrew Cuomo began lowering expectations that he and the Legislature would do anything about Albany's ongoing corruption epidemic. Rationalization No. 1: Further reform is futile. "I don't care how strong the law is," Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday. "If a person is going to break the law, the person is going to break the law." Rationalization No. 2: Getting pols to agree on certain high-concept reforms, such as switching to a full-time Legislature and strictly limiting outside income, is also futile. "There was no appetite to do it in the Legislature," Cuomo said. With all due respect, Mr. Governor: Excuses, excuses.

The man held principally responsible for the panel's demise is Cuomo, because as he noted in April 2014 in response to questions about his administration's meddling in its work, "It's my commission. My subpoena power, my Moreland Commission. I can appoint it, I can disband it." The Moreland Commission did do its job," Cuomo said Tuesday at the Apollo Theater. * "The Moreland Commission was not an investigative, prosecutorial commission," he continued. "That commission was to spur — to educate the public, to spur the Legislature to pass ethics laws, which they did."  That description directly contradicts several things, including the fact that the panel was named "The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption," and that 10 of its 25 members were sitting district attorneys. It also belies a 30-second TV ad that Cuomo released two weeks after launching the commission in July 2013 — the first TV spot in his re-election campaign.  Its now-quaint title:

 "How We Are Cleaning Up Albany." "Trust is everything to me," the governor says straight into the camera. "That's why, for all we've accomplished to fix state government, our job's not done until we've cleaned up the legislative corruption in Albany. So I am appointing a new independent commission, led by top law enforcement officials from all across this great state, to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing." The precise words the governor would deny 17 months later appear as text: "Investigate and prosecute wrongdoing."Cuomo reappears on screen, looking resolute. "Politicians in Albany won't like it, but I work for the people." At some point in the past few weeks, the Moreland Commission's website went away. If you think that might have been due to the state approaching its data limit, consider that the website for Cuomo's equally defunct SAGE Commission (which issued its final report in February 2013) and a page devoted to the governor's desire to see same-sex marriage legalized (which happened in June 2011) remain in working order. Even weirder, the official Executive Chamber videos of two of the Moreland Commission's three public hearings were "unlisted" on YouTube, which means you couldn't find them by searching for, say, "Moreland" and "hearing." Video of the third Moreland session — a real doozy in which top staffers from the state Board of Elections get grilled like flank steaks — appears to be in the wind altogether: Previously working links now show the video to be "unavailable."





Albany Shocked 
Albany Panic As They Fear Their Will Be Held Accountable to Corruption, As Their Dear Leader Heads to Jail

Shelly Silver’s conviction is an indictment of Albany’s entire political culture (NYP) It’s a big win for New York. Not just because he was such a disastrous lawmaker. But also because it means even powerful pols like Silver, who ruled the Assembly with an iron fist for years, can be held to account for their corrupt doings. US Attorney Preet Bharara and his team deserve hearty congratulations for their unceasing effort to get to the bottom of Albany’s influence-peddling. Silver’s lawyers had insisted his behavior was consistent with “the system New York has chosen, and it’s not a crime.” Wrong on both counts. Now Bharara is looking for a similar conviction against the former head of the Senate, Dean Skelos — who’s also on trial for corruption. Unfortunately, even a guilty verdict there won’t “fix” Albany, as Bharara himself has suggested.* Silver ‘earthquake’ leaves Albany’s power structure intact (PoliticalNY) * Cuomo To Set Special Election For April 19 For Silver Seat (YNN) * Andrew Cuomo Really Likes the Idea of a Full-TimeLegislature (NYO) *Republican state Sen. John Bonacic called for a ban on lawmakers earning income from “active employment” other than their government jobs a day after Silver was removed from office, State of Politics reports:  * A court filing signed by federal Judge Valerie Caproni lays out the schedule of events after Silver was convicted, and the sides will have until March to file paperwork before any sentencing date is scheduled. (He has until Jan. 11 to file a motion for acquittal). * Buffalo Assemblyman Mickey Kearns said the Silver verdict felt like a validation of his call for the Manhattan powerbroker’s removal, and he plans to re-join the Democratic conference now that the ex-speaker is gone.* Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said she sold off her stock in Merck & Co., a pharmacuetical company that was brought up as a possible conflict of interest during cross examination in Silver’s corruption trial,Gannett Albany reports: 


Bharara most likely take the pension money away from Silver like he did for other Albany crooks
Sheldon Silver will be able to collected a pension. He's in Tier I and has 44 years of service credit.



Silver Scheme Doc Striped of Grant Money, Title and Staff Raises

Columbia sanctions ‘corrupt’ doc in Sheldon Silver scheme (NYT) Columbia University can’t fire Dr. Robert Taub — who funneled cancer patients to disgraced politician Sheldon Silver in exchange for funding — so they’ve stripped the tenured professor of his grant money, title and staff raises. Taub sued when Columbia tried to terminate himafter Silver was indicted on corruption charges, and a judge ordered that he could keep his job pending the outcome of a civil trial.* Columbia University can’t fire Dr. Robert Taub — who funneled cancer patients to former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in exchange for funding — so they’ve stripped the tenured professor of his grant money, title and staff raises.



For Holdout Juror the Secret Glenwood Agreement With the Law Firm and Silver Did it
As Trial Began, a ‘Humble’ Assemblyman Didn’t Appear Guiltyto Several Jurors (NYT) In Mr. Silver’s awarding of a grant to Dr. Taub, Ms. Phillips said on Monday, “I didn’t think there was any scheming or manipulation or anything dangerous.” Around 3 p.m. on Monday, she came across something that changed her mind: Mr. Silver’s financial disclosure forms. There was one name that she thought should be there — that of Goldberg & Iryami, the law firm that prosecutors said secretly shared legal referral fees with Mr. Silver — but it was difficult to find. “I was wondering, why wouldn’t it just be out in the open just like the other things, why was this kind of hidden?” she said. “So I had my doubts at that point.” Less than an hour later, the jury was unanimous.

Silver Guilty On All Counts

Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, IsFound Guilty on All Counts  * Sheldon Silver, for decades one of most powerfulpoliticians in New Yorkstate, has been convicted in federal court:  * Breaking: Sheldon Silver, former N.Y. State Assemblyspeaker, found guilty of corruption (NYT) * First take: Sheldon Silver guilty on all counts against him  *Sheldon SIlver's conviction triggers his automaticexpulsion from the Legislature, where he has served since 1977  * Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, IsFound Guilty on All Counts  * Statement of US Attorney Preet Bharara on conviction offormer NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver * Today, Preet Bharara issued a one-sentence statement. InJanuary, he spoke for 36:40 on Silver's arrest 


Andrew Cuomo Cheers Sheldon Silver Verdict (NYO) Gov. Andrew Cuomo today applauded the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver—who once stood alongside him as one of the most powerful Democrats in the state. Mr. Cuomo praised the work of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in uncovering Mr. Silver’s misdeeds and putting him on trial. * Ex-Assembly Speaker Is Convicted of Corruption (NYT) Sheldon Silver, a Democrat and one of New York’s most powerful politicians, will forfeit the Assembly seat to which he was first elected nearly 40 years ago.* Guilty Verdict Is a Spur to Would-Be Reformers of Albany’s Political Culture (NYT) Government-watchdog groups expressed optimism that the conviction of Sheldon Silver would lead to action, perhaps against the loophole that allows direct corporate contributions to political campaigns.Bill de Blasio Says New Yorkers ‘Deserve Better’ Than HisOld Ally Sheldon Silver (NYO) *  
 .



Silver Juror Two Notes to the Judge 
Prosecutor Send A Common Sense Message to Albany = 2 Juror Juror A Does Not Understand Common Sense


NO verdict in Sheldon Silver corruption trial today. The judge is dismissing the jurors. They will not be back in court until Monday.

Judge refused to name hold-out juror at shelly trial. Sent them back to delib. Jury going home at noon for holiday. BACK Mon #sheldonsilver * The judge will not meet with a "stressed" juror inthe trial of Sheldon Silver, ex-Assembly speaker. 

Sheldon Silvertrial jurors send 2 notes to judge *Juror Asks to Be Excused Shortly After Deliberations Begin    
The Daily News wonders how jurors on the Sheldon Silver could be stressed out or have patience for Silver’s New York way of governing, considering all of the damage his actions have done to the city and state: *In a highly unusual move, a juror in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s federal corruption case sent a note to the judge shortly after noon pleading to be excused from the jury. “I have a different opinion/view so far in this case,” she wrote, “and it is making me feel very, very uncomfortable.” * …the judge rejected this request. 


 A second note indicated one juror was having “difficulty distinguishing” if exchanging state funds for something in return is illegal, and asked if an Assembly ethics code “clearly outlines this.” A few hours later, a third note was passed to the judge asking for further clarification on counts five and six which relate to extortion. The judge again pointed to her instructions and deliberations continued. She did not call them back into the courtroom. Then at about 5:30 pm Tuesday, the judge was preparing to dismiss the jury for the night when she received a fourth and final note from the same juror who felt pressure, this time asking for a meeting with the judge. Judge Caproni declined to meet with the juror Tuesday night, citing the late hour.


Sheldon Silver corruption trial jury ranges inage from 28 to 69; 2/3 of jurors have college or graduate degrees.  (NYT)  So who's on Sheldon Silver's jury? 7 from Brx, 3 Manhattan. Cabbie, 3 nurses, transit worker * It was clear early on in the jury’s deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that things were not going well, with one juror asking to be excused because she felt physically unwell due feeling “pressured.” The judge refusedher request, but will speak with her this morning.* Judge Valerie Caproni has been propelling the parties forward at a brisk pace in Silver’s trial, insisting on using just about every minute of every day to keep proceedings moving.* Silver and his attorneys were smiling as they left the courthouse today.* Sheldon Silver Trial Jury Stops for Thanksgiving; Deliberations to Resume Next Week (NYT) Before the court broke for the holiday, the judge rejected a juror’s request for a private meeting, saying it would be improper.



Sheldon Silver’s theme song (NYDN) The lawyers who represented Sheldon Silver, upholding the principle that even such as he are entitled to a defense, asked jurors to buy the idea that prosecutors criminalized the New York way of doing political business. Soon after deliberations got underway, one of those jurors reported being stressed out while another note from the panel suggested that her peers had little patience for Silver’s New York way. And what is that? In Silver’s New York. In Silver’s New York, an Assembly speaker blocks toughened financial disclosure rules that would have applied to his ill-gotten income. In Silver’s New York, defense lawyers say ho-hum to all that, since at each step of the way Silver stayed on the right side of a ban on quid-pro-quos. Hey, they say, he never directly asked anyone to do anything in return for his good will. * Panicked notes, accusations of talking to TV reporters andmuch drama. Jurors in Sheldon Silver make decision messy: (NYT) * Silver jury recesses without verdict, reluctant panelist to stay (NYP)


Judge Caproni has finished charging the jury in Sheldon Silver's federal corruption trial, deliberations underway *The jury in Shelly Silver trial will deliberate until 5:30 pm today. If no verdict, they are back Weds until noon. Then off the rest of week

With closing arguments complete, Judge Valerie E. Caproni is expected to instruct the jury in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption case today, after which it is to begin its deliberations.* Juror rebels at Sheldon Silver trial  *Prosecutor: RejectSheldon Silver's 'politics as usual' defense (NYDN) Prosecutors urged a jury Monday to send a powerful message to Albany and reject Sheldon Silver's defense that the $4 million he allegedly earned through twin corruption schemes is merely politics as usual. * Shortly after deliberations began in the corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, two jurors sent notes to the judge, one pleading to be excused from the jury and the other clarifying whether or not giving New York State funds for “something in return is illegal,” the Times reports * Juror in Sheldon Silver Trial Asks to Be Excused (NY1)

During lengthy closing statements, Assistant Manhattan U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein recounted the Lower East Side democrat's secrecy and outright lies surrounding the millions in referral fees Silver got through two law firms.  “This was politics as usual? You must reject that," Goldstein said at the conclusion of his remarks in Manhattan Federal Court lasting over three hours. "To taint your fellow legislators in the democratic process with your own corruption and say that's politics as usual? It's not even close. Not by a mile. This, ladies and gentlemen, was bribery. * Back at the federal courthouse. Silver's attorney says they helped craft the jury instructions. Deliberations later.

This was extortion. This was corruption. The real deal. Do not let it stand." Goldstein said the trial, which featured over 20 witnesses and hundreds of pages of evidence, boiled down to a simple question of motive. "Why did Sheldon Silver do it? He did it for the money," Goldstein said.
Sheldon Silver is the political equivalent of a squeegee man (NYP) “Why did Sheldon Silver do it? He did it for the money,” Assistant US Attorney Andrew Goldstein told the jury, which begins deliberations Tuesday. “His services were corrupted by his greed and lies, by bribery, kickbacks and extortion,” Goldstein charged. “The defendant got one hell of a quid from the asbestos scheme. The defendant gave Dr. Taub all kinds of quo,” Goldstein said in a brutally damning three-hour summation. “If Silver sent the grant aid and gave these benefits, even in part, for the money, the $3 million, that is illegal.” The speaker repaid Glenwood Management, Goldstein explained, by pushing through a state tax break. “Think about what is going on here: The speaker of the Assembly is meeting with lobbyists, bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars, setting up a whole process with letters that keep the whole thing secret so he can keep getting paid. This is a crime.” “This was bribery. This was extortion. This was corruption — the real deal. Don’t let it stand,” he urged the jury.* Whether Albany dysfunction can constitute illegal behavior as well was at the center of both side’s closing arguments in the three-week corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, The New York Timesreports:  * “Don’t be barreled over by somebody’s view of what the Assembly should be,” the assemblyman’s attorney Steven Molo urged the jurors. “Instead, consider the law.”*  Judge in Sheldon Silver case tells jurors she cannot meet (NYDN)



Silver's Friend Out of Jail As His Trial Reaches An End  
Charity’s Onetime Leader Begins a Work-Release Program (NYT) William E. Rapfogel, the former chief executive and executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, had admitted to stealing more than $1 million from his own charity.Rapfogel Approved For Work Release (YYN) Willie Rapfogel, the former head of a prominent Jewish charity and a friend of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, has been approved for work release, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on Wednesday confirmed. Rapfogel, the former executive director of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was convicted of siphoning millions of dollars from the charity over the years. His case was closely watched in state and city political circles, given his ties to key officials, including Silver, now on trial in an unrelated corruption case.
More on the Rapfogel Conviction





Another Media Story How the Election Law Allows Silver to Pay His Legal Bills and Constitution to Keep His Pension
When Will the Media or the Fake Goo Goos Poll the Lawmakers Individually and Ask Them to Go On the Record to Change the Election Law to Bar Using it for Legal Bills? And to Admen the Constitution to End Pensions to Pols Who Are Convicted of Crimes Against the People
Convicted for corruption, Sheldon Silver still collects a pension thanks to his fellow pols (NYP) Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted of corruption Monday — and by Tuesday, he’d already filed his retirement papers. Who can blame him? Under the state Constitution, he can still collect his juicy pension — close to $100,000 a year, by some estimates. For life. Courtesy of New York taxpayers. Yes, Silver earned millions by steering state cash to a doctor who, in turn, sent patients to his lawfirm. Yes, he backed legislation to help a real-estate firm that hired a law firm he shared fees with. But courts have ruled public pensions are constitutionally protected assets that can’t be seized — even when the pensioners are guilty of gross malfeasance. Yet New York’s Constitution would have to be amended to impose the same kind of penalty on those who took office before then. So the state Senate passed a bill this year calling for just such an amendment. Guess who blocked it? Shelly’s former Assembly colleagues. They claimed the bill was too broad — that it would hit not just elected officials and high-ranking staffers, but also ordinary “janitors.” In fact, Carl Heastie bowed to pressure from organized labor — particularly the teachers union — which feared it might end up costing some members their pensions. And what if it did?




More Silver Trial Goes to Jury
 prosecutor called former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver a “master of deception” as summations began in the Manhattan Democrat’s closely watched corruption case. * “The defense all boils down to this: this is all just a coincidence,” said Andrew Goldstein, the assistant U.S. attorney who gave the summation. “You know the quid and the quo are connected. It’s obvious. It’s common sense.” *Prosecutors sum up Silver case: ‘Those lies scream guilt’ (PoliticoNY)  ‘You know the quid and the quo are connected Prosecutors had over three hours to spell out, again, how they say Silver took official actions in exchange for personal profit under two alleged schemes — directing real estate companies to hire a tax certiorari firm that paid him undisclosed referral fees, and sending grants to support a cancer researcher who gave Silver the names of patients suffering after exposure to asbestos.*   Sheldon Silver Trial Ends: Politics as Usual Or CriminalActs? (WSJ) Prosecution and defense give closing arguments; Assemblyman Silver says his attorneys did ‘very good job’


Prosecutor closing in Sheldon Silver trial: "It wasn't by the people or for the people; it was by Sheldon Silver for Sheldon Silver."
Those patients became plaintiffs represented by the law firm where Silver is of counsel. “The defense all boils down to this: this is all just a coincidence,” said Andrew Goldstein, the assistant U.S. attorney who gave the summation. “You know the quid and the quo are connected. It's obvious. It's common sense.” * Jury Hears ClosingArguments in Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial (NYT) A federal prosecutor told a jury on Monday that Sheldon Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly and once one of the state’s most powerful politicians, had made millions of dollars through two corrupt schemes and should be convicted of all seven of the counts against him. “What you heard during this trial is what Sheldon Silver secretly has been doing for years: Cheating, lying and getting away with it,” the prosecutor, Andrew D. Goldstein, said in a closing argument as Mr. Silver’s three-week corruption trial neared its conclusion in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Goldstein said it was clear that Mr. Silver had set up the quid pro quo schemes and had been “motivated by the money.” “It’s totally obvious,” he continued. Steven F. Molo, a lawyer for Mr. Silver, began his summation after the court’s lunch break, declaring: “Sheldon Silver did not sell his office. There was no quid pro quo. He is not guilty.” “In response to all of the evidence stacked” against Mr. Silver, Mr. Goldstein said, the defense “continues to claim that all of this was politics as usual. “You must reject that,” he continued. “To taint your fellow legislators in the Democratic process with your own corruption, and say that that’s ‘politics as usual,’ it’s not even close. Not by a mile. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is bribery. This was extortion. This was corruption, the real deal. Do not let it stand,” Mr. Goldstein said.

  Silver’s $4M kickback scheme is NOT politics as usual: prosecutor (NYP) “The defendant got one hell of a quid from the asbestos scheme,” Goldstein said. “The defendant gave Dr. Taub all kinds of quo.” Goldstein said Silver was motivated by greed, repeatedly saying: “Why did Sheldon Silver do it? He did it for the money.” The prosecutor also blasted Silver’s suggestion that crusading Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara — who’s sent a host of state and city officials to the slammer — was trying to criminalize the way things have always been done in the state Legislature. “Let’s dispense with the nonsense … and let’s talk about the evidence, which Sheldon Silver tried desperately to keep secret for years,” he said.  Silver’s $4M kickback scheme is NOT politics as usual: prosecutor (NYP) “The defendant got one hell of a quid from the asbestos scheme,” Goldstein said. “The defendant gave Dr. Taub all kinds of quo.” Goldstein said Silver was motivated by greed, repeatedly saying: “Why did Sheldon Silver do it? He did it for the money.” The prosecutor also blasted Silver’s suggestion that crusading Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara — who’s sent a host of state and city officials to the slammer — was trying to criminalize the way things have always been done in the state Legislature. “Let’s dispense with the nonsense … and let’s talk about the evidence, which Sheldon Silver tried desperately to keep secret for years,” he said. Defense lawyers, however, made the case that the only people who have been misleading are prosecutors. To prove corruption, there must be proof of "quid pro pro" — meaning something in exchange for something else, the defense said. No witnesses have said that there was ever any explicit agreement.  Silver was friendly with Dr. Taub, the doctor at the center of the asbestos referrals. Taub testified that the men never had any agreement, but that he passed along cases in hopes of building his relationship with Silver. "There was no quid pro quo, no this for that, none," said Steven Molo, Silver's lead attorney Monday. Prosecutors had a "theory in search of case" that's "devoid of any evidence," he said. "It takes two to tango and there certainly was no dance of corruption going on with Mr. Taub," Molo continued. Similarly, Silver had no agreement with real estate developers. For many years, the developers had no idea Silver was getting referral fees — leading Molo to argue that it's "an awfully odd bribery scheme" if you don't know you're being bribed, or extorted.

At times, Goldstein alluded to counter-arguments he expected Silver's attorneys would make. There is little dispute about the “quid” and the “quo” in both of the schemes. Prosecutors have established the payments and, separately, the official actions without much objection. To wit, Goldstein used a PowerPoint presentation offering 16 reasons that jurors should “know” what was going on in Silver's mind — even though Silver did not take the witness stand, and even though witnesses said there was never any explicitly articulated exchange of favors for cash. The prosecutor said jurors could impute that state of mind from other factors in the case, including the perception of other people involved in the exchanges as well as what he called Silver's “lies” on required disclosure forms and in response to press inquiries. “Those lies scream guilt,” Goldstein said. * The push by a JCOPE commissioner appointed by Silver to legislators applying for exemptions from new financial disclosure rules — passed in the wake of Silver’s corruption indictment earlier this year — to submit the paperwork seeking exemptions by hand, in person, and not just by email, could weaken future corruption cases.In Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s corruption case, in which no witness testified directly to knowledge of an illegal quid pro quo, how Judge Valerie Caproni tells jurors to interpret the evidence as it relates to the law could sway deliberations. Two relatively low pro Prosecutor: Ex-NY Assembly Speaker Took Bribes (WCBS)  Motivated by greed, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver devised schemes to collect millions of dollars in kickbacks in exchange for using his office to support a cancer researcher and real estate developers, a federal prosecutor said Monday at closing arguments in Silver’s corruption trial.  “Why did Sheldon Silver do it? He did it for the money,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein repeatedly told jurors in federal court in Manhattan. Goldstein detailed one quid-pro-quo deal in which he said Dr. Robert Taub steered his patients with cancer caused by asbestos to Silver’s law firm, allowing the powerful Democrat and lawyer to secure more than $3 million in referral fees from lucrative personal injury claims. In exchange, Silver steered $500,000 in taxpayer funds to Taub’s research projects and helped his son and daughter get a job and an internship, the prosecutor said. “The defendant got one hell of a quid from the asbestos scheme,” Goldstein said. “The defendant gave Dr. Taub all kinds of quo.” The prosecutor also took aim at the defense’s accusation that overzealous prosecutors were trying to criminalize behavior that’s politics as usual in the Assembly. “Let’s dispense with the nonsense — and let’s talk about the evidence, which Sheldon Silver tried desperately to keep secret for years,” Goldstein said. According to the government, the message was perfectly clear and perfectly criminal Aside from the asbestos scheme, prosecutors have accused Silver of persuading some of New York’s biggest developers to hire a tiny law firm that secretly funneled $700,000 in fees to the ex-speaker.During the same period, Silver worked behind the scenes to deliver tax-abatement and rent-control legislation that favored developers, part of a pattern of corruption that netted the lawmaker $5 million in illicit income during his reign as speaker, prosecutors say.*   Account for themoney to curb the scandals   *    The trial of #SheldonSilver has demonstrated just how much the former Assembly speaker was not telling thepublic

Silver Skelos's Trial Updates
U.S. Attorney's Office: No court in the corruption trial against Sheldon Silver tomorrow or Friday. Closing arguments expected Monday. The gov't says it plans to rest its case today. Defense just told the judge it will not be calling witnesses


NYT Editorial Attacks Silver's Lawyers Defense of Normal Albany Conduct 
Although it is not clear how defense lawyers will proceed, one of Mr. Silver’s attorneys offered a disturbing clue. He told the jury that the prosecutors have been looking “at conduct which is legal, conduct which is normal, conduct which allows government to function consistent with the way that our founding fathers of the state of New York wanted it to function, and they say this is illegal.” Is having a secret stash of millions of dollars to dole out, as Mr. Silver is accused of doing, normal? Is it normal to pocket more than $4 million in legal fees for working on issues that matter to his political supporters? Is it normal to exchange legislative favors for a no-show job and a $200,000 consulting bonus for your son — a charge leveled against Mr. Skelos? If so, normal in Albany is even worse than we thought.



Silver's Lawyer What Corruption File Motion to Have All Corruption Charges Dismissed
Sheldon Silver files motion to have all corruption charges dismissed — seriously (NYP)  Silver filed a Hail Mary motion Thursday to get all the corruption charges against him tossed out, but the judge overseeing his trial indicated she wouldn’t be letting him off the hook. “Sheldon Silver respectfully moves for a judgment of acquittal on all counts of the superseding indictment,” reads the disgraced politician’s last-ditch motion. “Despite over two weeks of testimony and numerous witnesses, the Government has not shown that Mr. Silver committed extortion, honest services fraud, or money laundering.” Manhattan federal judge Valerie Caproni reserved judgment on Silver’s motion, but signaled with doubting questions that Silver shouldn’t expect a lifeline from her. “He received leads that are worth lots of money. He gives grants that are worth lots of money. And as soon as it’s going to become public, the grants cease,” Caproni said, referring to Silver’s alleged asbestos-patient referral scheme. And when Silver’s defense attorney Steven Molo argued that the grants Silver sent the doctor weren’t even very big, Caproni said, “They don’t have to be extraordinary. You can be found guilty of bribery if you give someone $1,000.”* Silver’s Lawyers Ask Judge for Acquittal on All Counts (NYT) Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s defense team argued that the government had not met its burden showing he committed the charges against him.* Lawyers representing Silver asked a federal judge to acquit their client on all counts, arguing that the government had not met its burden of showing that he committed honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering, the Times reports:  * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver filed a Hail Mary motion to get all the corruption charges against him tossed out, but the judge overseeing his trial indicated she wouldn’t be letting him off the hook.





Why Did Silver Hide the Glenwood and Cancer Doctor Money In His Wife's Account?
Finance wiz: I advised Silver to hide $300K in wife’s account(NYP) Sheldon Silver stashed away $300,000 in an investment account in his wife Rosa’s name so he would not have to disclose the income to the state, a financial adviser testified Wednesday. “It would allow him to not have to disclose in his annual statement that particular piece of his investments,” investor Jordan Levy testified in Manhattan federal court. Silver also had access to investments, including Clover Community Funds, that were hugely profitable even though he didn’t meet the minimum cash requirements others had to. “Is Clover Community Funds something that’s available to the general public?” prosecutor Carrie Cohen asked. “No, it’s not,” Levy replied. “How was Sheldon Silver able to invest $75,000 if the minimum was $250,000?” Cohen continued. “Because I made the arrangements,” said Levy. The financial wizard then admitted that he never billed Silver a dime for the help and insider advice.


Silver's Pay to Play Hidden Money Shows How Moynihan Nailed It When He Said Our Culture is "Defining Deviancy Down"
“Nothing ever,” he said. Levy also testified that Silver was on the Public Authorities Control Board when Levy was chairman of the Eerie Canal Harbor Development Corp., which was asking PACB for money for projects. “Did Sheldon Silver tell you he would be supportive of the projects when they came up for a vote of the PACB?” Cohen asked. He did, according to Levy.* Jury Hears Where Sheldon Silver’s Money Went as U.S. Rests Case (NYT) As the government rested its case, one of its last witnesses, a venture capitalist, testified how he helped Mr. Silver invest hundreds of thousands of dollars.*  Prosecutors Rest Case in Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial (NY1) * After more than two weeks of testimony, prosecutors rested their case in the corruption trial of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, which ended a parade of some of the state’s highest-profile political, corporate and academic figures, The Wall StreetJournal reports:   * The government wrapped up nearly three weeks of testimony and evidence in its corruption case against former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, resting its case after calling two witnesses who testified in support of the money-laundering charges against the assemblyman. * Silver will not be taking the stand in his own defense. In fact, his attorneys don’t plan to call any witnesses at all, but instead will present only documents to back up their arguments. * Silver invested $700,000 in his wife’s name as a way to dodge disclosure of his money, Jordan Levy, a Buffalo-based investor, testifiedProsecutors say that move was intended to conceal the money.* Sheldon Silver's defense attorneys plan to offer a case sominimal that judge used air quotes when referring to it.  * Defense Won’t Call Any Witnesses in Trial of SheldonSilver (WSJ)  Lawmaker’s attorneys to present documents as evidence; prosecution rests its case



Silver Trial Bring Out How Albany Lobbyists At Center of Silver's Pay To Play Deal With Glenwood 
Lobbyist Cites Unease Over Payments to Sheldon Silver (NYT) The meeting at the State Capitol in Albany took place nearly four years ago, but Richard Runes, a lobbyist who oversees government relations for Glenwood Management, a major real estate developer in New York, recalled his unease at what he had discussed with Sheldon Silver, then the speaker of the Assembly. The two men had spoken about an agreement between Mr. Silver and Glenwood, in which Mr. Silver received undisclosed payments from a law firm to which Mr. Silver had allegedly pushed Glenwood to refer some of its tax business. Mr. Runes, testifying on Monday in Mr. Silver’s federal corruption trial in Manhattan, said he felt “shock and surprise” at the news of the payments. Mr. Runes’s testimony, which began on Friday, is part of the second prong of the government’s case, in which prosecutors say Mr. Silver received about $700,000 in illegal payments from the law firm Goldberg & Iryami in return for having referred it certain tax business from Glenwood and a second developer, the Witkoff Group.

On Friday, another Glenwood lobbyist, Brian Meara, testified that while vacationing in Florida in 2011, he received a call from Mr. Silver, who mentioned how he might need to file new forms disclosing certain fees he had received. Mr. Meara said he was “surprised and concerned” and called either Mr. Runes or Charles C. Dorego, a Glenwood executive. Mr. Runes testified that he spoke with Glenwood’s owner, Leonard Litwin, and Mr. Dorego. Yet Mr. Runes said he remained “uncomfortable with the arrangement,” and did not discuss it with anyone else. “It was too hot,” he said.  Ultimately, Mr. Silver’s fee-sharing arrangement was described in a side letter that the speaker signed, but it was omitted from the retainer agreement between Glenwood and the law firm. Mr. Runes, asked by the judge, Valerie E. Caproni, what he thought was being accomplished by putting the agreement in a separate letter, said he believed that retainer documents were filed publicly, “whereas the side letter would not be.” * Albany lobbyist Richard Rune said he felt uneasy over payments to then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for referring tax business to a firm and for outlining related terms outside of the main retainer, The New York Times reports: 



The Feds Case Against Silver: Kickbacks From Real Estate for 421-a and A Cancer Doctor
Leonard Litwin: The Cuomo-Silver Connection (Little Sis) First, prosecutors say Silver earned $3 million for referring asbestos sufferers to a personal injury law firm despite doing no legal work on the cases. Those patients came from a doctor who secretly received $500,000 in state money for research at Silver's direction, according to the government. * Prosecutors say the second scheme allowed Silver to collect $700,000 in kickbacks by steering real estate developers with business before the legislature to another law firm that specializes in challenging tax assessments. Prosecutors say the second scheme allowed Silver to collect $700,000 in kickbacks by steering real estate developers with business before the legislature to another law firm that specializes in challenging tax assessments. Prosecutors say that Silver referred two developers to the law firm Goldberg & Iryami, which specializes in real estate taxation.*  Inside the Trial of Sheldon Silver (NYT) The corruption trial of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver centers on charges that the former speaker cashed in on his political power. The list of people who may testify or be mentioned at his trial is a who’s who of Albany politics and New York City real estate.



Albany's Culture of Corruption Silver Trail Explained By Convicted Former Senator Malcolm Smith
With former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial starting today, followed by the start of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ trial on Nov. 16, the entire culture of Albany will be in the spotlight. Court papers in the two cases suggest that testimony in Federal District Court will expose in granular detail what watchdog groups say is a seamy world where big money and politics have long intersected with government.  From the NYT: "Court papers in the two cases suggest that testimony in Federal District Court will expose in granular detail what watchdog groups say is a seamy world where big money and politics have long intersected with government. There are accounts of kickbacks disguised as legitimate income; no-show jobs for a lawmaker’s son; and the use of state money to influence a doctor to refer clients to a favored law firm that, in turn, paid millions of dollars to a lawmaker. The two trials — Mr. Silver’s case is to begin on Monday with jury selection, and the case against Mr. Skelos, who is going on trial with his son, Adam, is scheduled to start on Nov. 16 — could run as long as six weeks each, so they will probably overlap for about a month. Never before have two lawmakers of their stature gone on trial at the same time in New York. The trials come after roughly 18 months of intensive investigations by a large team of federal prosecutors in Manhattan, their investigators and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They zeroed in on not only Mr. Silver, a Democrat, and Mr. Skelos, a Republican, but also on up to a dozen other lawmakers from both parties. Some of those inquiries are still underway." * Q. and A.: The Trial of Sheldon Silver (NYT) Key questions in the corruption case against Mr. Silver, once one of the most powerful men in New York.


How Lobbyists Float Around the Silver Corruption Using Plausible Deniability
Glenwood Lobbyists Meara: “I was surprised and concerned”
Glenwood Lobbyists Richard Runes: “Uncomfortable with the arrangement”





Exhabit #1 Lobbyist Meara Recommended the Law Firm That Pay Off Silver, Yet He Testified He Did Not Know Silver Was Getting Paid Off Until 2011
Glenwood Lobbyists Richard Runes, was asked why Jay Arthur Goldberg of Goldberg & Iryami, the law firm that paid Silver for referrals, represented so many of Glenwood’s buildings. “He was recommended through Brian Meara by Speaker Silver to [Glenwood chief] Leonard Litwin,” Runes said. Meara earlier said Silver called him around Christmas 2011 to say he was pocketing some of the fees Glenwood paid Goldberg.“I was surprised and concerned,” Meara testified.

Exhabit #2 When Silver Said Gleenwood’s LLCs Was Not Glenwood Lobbyist Meara Told Runes and Dorego and Disengaged Himself, Because He Said It Was A “Dangerous Position” to Be In 
Silver phone call in 2011 to Lobbyist Meara:  Meara recalled that Mr. Silver then asked a peculiar question: Did the lobbyist represent Glenwood Management, a big real estate developer, as well as its limited liability companies, or just Glenwood itself?  . Meara said he later had conversations with two Glenwood attorneys, Richard Runes and Charles Dorego, about his conversation with Silver. Both, Meara said, were also surprised and concerned and said they would “seek clarity” from Silver. Meara said he didn’t involve himself with the situation going forward, calling it “a dangerous position” to be in.

Exhabit #3 Lobbyists Runes Said He Remained Uncomfortable About the 2011 Private Letter  of Agreement (outlining related terms outside of the main retainer) Between Silver and Glenwood Put Together After the Changes In the Lawmakers Disclosure Law Which Led to the Silver LLC BS
Ultimately, Mr. Silver’s fee-sharing arrangement was described in a side letter that the speaker signed, but it was omitted from the retainer agreement between Glenwood and the law firm. Mr. Runes, asked by the judge, Valerie E. Caproni, what he thought was being accomplished by putting the agreement in a separate letter, said he believed that retainer documents were filed publicly, “whereas the side letter would not be.” Yet Mr. Runes said he remained “uncomfortable with the arrangement,” and did not discuss it with anyone else. “It was too hot,” he said.





Siver Aide Still Sucking On the Govt Tit for 6 More Weeks
Sheldon Silver’s top aide remains on city payroll (NYP) The top aide to disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver still has a job and will rake in $20,827 in taxpayer-funded pay over the next six weeks. Judy Rapfogel, who was not called to testify in the corruption trial in which her boss was convicted, will finish her decades-long career closing his Manhattan district office and “completing casework,” Assembly spokesman Mike Whyland said. Rapfogel is “weighing her options,” a source close to her said, but she will not be rejoining the Assembly, Whyland said. Rapfogel, 61, whose husband, William Rapfogel, 60, served 14 months in prison for stealing more than $1 million in insurance kickbacks at a charity he ran, did not return calls. Rapfogel made $180,503 annually as Silver’s chief of staff and stayed by his side after Assembly Democrats removed him as speaker following his January indictment.* The top aide to disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver still has a job and will make over the next six weeks. Judy Rapfogel, who was not called to testify in Silver’s trial, will finish her decades-long career closing his Manhattan district office and “completing casework,” a spokesman said.




Runes Secret Letter and Anonymous Ethics Check That Was Too Hot
Lobbyist Testifies Glenwood Chief Kept Silver’s Name off Retainer (WSJ)  CEO Litwin agreed to private letter acknowledging lawmaker’s fee-sharing deal, lobbyist says. One of the top political contributors in New   York state, Leonard Litwin, personally made the decision to remove Sheldon Silver’s name from what would have been a publicly disclosed document showing the fee-sharing arrangement between Mr. Silver and a law firm employed by Mr. Litwin’s real-estate company, according to testimony. Mr. Litwin, chief executive of Glenwood Management Corp., “did not want to sign a retainer that listed Mr. Silver as one of the attorneys,” Richard Runes, a Glenwood lobbyist, testified on Monday at the corruption trial of the former New York state Assembly speaker. Mr. Litwin decided to take Mr. Silver’s name out of the retainer, Mr. Runes testified, but allowed that he would sign a separate, private letter acknowledging the fee-sharing deal. Even so, Mr. Runes said: “I was uncomfortable with the arrangement.” Prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office allege that Mr. Silver engaged in a quid-pro-quo scheme whereby he received referral fees for bringing Glenwood’s business to a law firm, Goldberg & Iryami PC, that specializes in tax certiorari work, while negotiating legislation that had a favorable impact on the real-estate company. On Monday, prosecutors sought to demonstrate that there was an extortive aspect of the charges Mr. Silver faces, repeatedly asking Mr. Runes to describe what he believed would be the consequences of standing in the way of Mr. Silver’s fee-sharing arrangement with the Goldberg firm. “If you hold a tiger by the tail, you have a difficult choice to make: Do you let it go, or not?” Mr. Runes said, hinting that a decision estranging Mr. Silver would be a dangerous one. Mr. Runes also testified that during the period when Mr. Litwin decided how to handle the retainer matter, Mr. Runes sought the advice of Glenwood’s compliance counsel,David Grandeau, but solicited his thoughts on only a hypothetical situation similar to the one involving Mr. Silver. Asked why he chose to mask the specifics of the then-speaker’s involvement from Mr. Grandeau, once the state’s top lobbying regulator, Mr. Runes replied: “Some lawyers are more discreet than others.” He later added that he regarded the scenario as “too hot” to risk exposure.* Lobbyist Richard Runes, who represented the real-estate firm that helped former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver line his pockets testified that Glenwood Management’s entanglement with the ex-Albany powerhouse was like “holding a tiger by the tail.” * Silver’s attorneys argued in court that his corruption trial could turn into “a trial within a trial” when the government introduces details about the assemblyman’s failure to disclose the scope of his outside income. * In the coming week, Silver’s attorneys must decide if they will mount a defense and if their client will testify.

Silver Trial Update 
Real Estate Lawyer for Glenwood Knew Their Dealing With Silver Might Be Illegal 
Law firm: We thought Silver’s fees might be illegal (NYP) A lawyer for the real-estate developer at the center of the corruption charges against Sheldon Silver testified Monday that his company knew their dealings with Silver might be illegal — and put details of it in a side letter to keep the shady arrangement secret. Glenwood Management lawyer Richard Runes took the stand in Manhattan federal court to describe his company’s reaction after the then-state Assembly speaker finally told them that he was taking a cut of the legal fees that Glenwood paid his lawyer pal for work. Silver had been referring Glenwood’s business to his law buddy at the time. “I was concerned because Mr. Silver was the speaker so it was complicated,” Runes testified. “I didn’t know if this was in fact legal,” he said. But while Glenwood executives were uncomfortable when they learned that a cut of their fees -– a total $700,000 – was going to Silver, they also didn’t want to rock the boat, Runes testified. “Our concern was not to make an enemy out of Mr. Silver. We didn’t want that,” testified Runes, who earlier said Silver could have crippled their business, noting, “The speaker could suggest or negotiate changes that would be bad for our business model.” Glenwood chief Leonard Litwin eventually ordered underlings to resolve the “complicated” issue involving Silver by taking the politician’s name out of the new retainer agreement between his company and his pal’s law firm, Goldberg & Iryami – and instead putting the arrangement in a letter that was only seen by a few Glenwood executives, Runes testified. Runes said he went to Silver’s Albany office to relay the news Jan. 18, 2012. “He said, ‘Fine,’ ” Runes said. Judge Valerie Caproni asked Runes what he thought was accomplished by putting details of the arrangement into the side letter.“

I believe the retainer agreements for certiorari [certain legal tax issues] are filed somewhere to be viewed and the side letter would not be,” Runes said, a seeming admission that the developer wanted to keep the agreement a secret. Prosecutors said they could wrap up their testimony by Wednesday. * Real estate execs 'upset' to learn they were paying Sheldon Silver referral fees (NYDN) The chief lobbyist for the state's biggest residential real estate developer testified Monday that top execs at the company were “angry” and “upset” after learning they’d been paying Sheldon Silver without knowing it. Richard Runes recalled January 2012 conversations with Glenwood Management founder Leonard Litwin and general counsel Charles Dorego after the real estate taxation law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, notified them that Silver received referral fees as a result of the firm's representation of the company. "I was surprised, concerned, upset," Runes said about learning of the arrangement. "I did not know if this in fact was legal. There were too many complications."  Litwin, similarly, was "upset" and "in a sense, angry," Runes said, noting that the referrals had been paid for “10 to 12 years and we didn’t know about it.” The lobbyist noted a possible loophole in his hypothetical — the state politician received the referral fees from an LLC controlled by the real estate company, rather than directly from the company's main account.  The ethics lawyer gave the deal the green light, Runes said. Litwin then ordered that Glenwood's retainer with Goldberg & Iryami omit any mention of Silver or his fees. A separate letter was drafted and signed by Dorego that did describe the legal fees. The "side-letter," as Runes called it, was drawn up as a way to prevent public disclosure of the deal. Silver’s attorney, Steven Molo, sought to poke holes in the charge that Silver took legislative action favorable to the developers. “Mr. Silver’s position to your knowledge...was consistently pro-tenant?” Molo asked. “For sure,” Runes replied * Juror’s injury nearly derails Sheldon Silver trial schedule (NYP) A juror in the Sheldon Silver corruption trial almost derailed the trial schedule Monday when she said she couldn’t come to court until Wednesday because she twisted her ankle. But Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni kept the trial on track by personally phoning the juror and telling her to come to court. The juror agreed to be there by 11 a.m.* A Glenwood lobbyist testified in Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial that the firm “feared” the former Assembly speaker. * Lawyer’s testimony shows there’s no escaping Shelly’s ‘schemes’(NYP) Maybe you never felt Silver’s hand in your pocket. Maybe you don’t care.  But picture your firm trying to do an honest day’s business and even employing a compliance lawyer to make sure every single detail is up to code — when, suddenly, you realize you’ve unwittingly been paying off Silver. What the hell do you do? Panic. Which is what Runes more or less did. He went to the boss of Glenwood Management and other top brass to tell them. They were equally upset. But no one could figure out how to get away from Silver. But when Runes found out Silver was personally profiting — to the tune of some $750,000 — from real-estate tax work, it was like turning around to find the lion was sitting at your dinner table wearing a napkin around its neck and holding a knife and fork in its paws. Runes was so scared that when he went to the lawyer in the firm who specializes in ethics rules, even though the conversation was protected by attorney-client privilege, he didn’t even tell say exactly what he’d just learned. . . . ” Instead, he used one of those hypotheticals familiar to Dear Abby readers: “Erectile dysfunction would never happen to me, but suppose I have a friend who Runes described to his firm’s ethics lawyer a vague scenario that left out all the juicy details and got an OK. So, problem solved, right?  When prosecutor Howard Master asked Runes whether his concerns had been resolved by the conversation, Runes paused. And paused. And paused some more. “Not completely,” he said. “Because I was uncomfortable with the arrangement.”  * Issues That Could Arise in 3rd Week of Sheldon Silver’s Trial (NYT) Lawyers for Mr. Silver, the former speaker of the New York State Assembly, must decide if they will mount a defense and if their client will testify.
IDC GOP Senate Coalition and Skelos  Flanagan



If New Yorkers Can Not Get Mad As Hell At Silver for Pay to Play Cancer Research Then Something is Wrong With Our Culture


Taub admitted he lied to federal investigators when they came around at 6 a.m. one morning to ask him whether he had steered asbestos victims to Silver’s law firm, enriching Silver to the tune of more than $3 million. *Sheldon Silver corruption trial loses a juror (NYP) The Sheldon Silver corruption trial has already lost its first juror. ​​The juror begged off the lengthy trial so she could return to her job helping the homeless, court records...* Doctor at Sheldon Silver Trial Tells of ElaborateArrangement, Years in Making The corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has already claimed its first victim: Juror No. 4. (She had a work conflict).* Defense Strategy in Sheldon Silver Trial Highlights Transactional Nature of Albany Politics (NY1)

From the Good Doctor Taub to Litwin's Glenwood to Killing Moreland




Second Real Estate Developer “Incensed and Belligerent” Upon Learning his Company had Unwittingly Paid Silver 
Steve Witkoff, founder of the Witkoff Group, testified that he became “incensed and belligerent” upon learning his company had unwittingly paid then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver through a real estate law firm, the Daily News reports:  Steve Witkoff, founder of the Witkoff Group, said on the stand in Manhattan Federal Court that the lawyer who broke him the news, Arthur Goldberg, even asked that Witkoff lie to investigators and say he was aware of the arrangement in which Silver received referral fees.  “I was incensed and belligerent with him,” Witkoff said. “I felt he was asking me to remember something that was simply not the case in my view.” Silver is accused of orchestrating a scheme in which he used his former position as Assembly Speaker to direct the Witkoff Group and another developer, Glenwood Management, to Goldberg’s firm, Goldberg & Iryami. he deal yielded him $700,000 in referral fees, prosecutors say. Silver allegedly took official action beneficial to the developers in return. Witkoff and the powerful Lower East Side democrat first met in the 1990s and had a “professional” relationship, Witkoff said. In 2004, Silver suggested Witkoff use Goldberg for cases challenging city tax assessments – but Silver failed to mention he would get paid as a result. “It was an easy favor to do. I was looking to create goodwill with Mr. Silver,” Witkoff said. Under cross-examination by Silver’s attorney Steven Molo, Witkoff said he had no expectation that Silver would take official action in exchange for the use of Goldberg & Iryami.* Developer testifies he didn't know about Sheldon Silver's share of referral fees Newsday * Silver Made Misleading Comments About How He Disclosed His Income, U.S. Says (NYT) Prosecutors in Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial in Manhattan played recordings of the assemblyman giving statements to reporters about how he disclosed outside income.



Monday Update: Still Nothing In the Papers About the Silver Trial Testimony Showing the Pay to Play 421-a Real Estate Deal That Paid Silver Millions 







Sunday the Media Continues It Cover-Up Of the Damage 421-A Has Done to NYers













What Will Federal Rat Charles Dorego Testify About the the Agreement He Signed With Silver 
Dorego is Also Star Witness At the Skelos Trial 
Letter Surfaces at Sheldon Silver Trial Showing Potentially Lucrative Deal (NYT) In early 2012, Sheldon Silver, then the New York Assembly speaker, and a large real estate company signed an agreement that promised to be beneficial to him. Mr. Silver, the letter said, would get a cut of any fees generated by a law firm that was doing business with that company, Glenwood Management. “As agreed, a proportionate division of fees will be made between Jay Arthur Goldberg P.C. and Sheldon Silver Esq.,” the letter read. The agreement surfaced on Thursday at the political corruption trial of Mr. Silver, now in its second week, laying out for the first time for jurors the potentially lucrative fee-sharing arrangement under which, the government says, Mr. Silver received illegal payments for using his influence to benefit Glenwood, a privately held firm that is one of the state’s largest contributors to political campaigns. 


What the Media Covers-Up About Charles Dorego Star Witness in Both Silver & Skelos Trials














How the Press Let Down Their Readers By Not Covering What Was Exposed About Real Estate At the Silver Trial
Glenwood Management is also a big beneficiary of state tax breaks, many of which required the blessing of Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The prosecutor, Andrew D. Goldstein, questioned Michael Hoenig, Glenwood’s vice president of finance, on the letter, but the executive said he had not seen it before, testimony that suggested it was a secret arrangement. Before being questioned on the letter, he said he oversaw the relationship with firms like Goldberg & Iryami and kept a file on Glenwood’s dealings with his tax certiorari firms. Mr. Silver’s lawyers questioned Mr. Hoenig and showed there were many decisions at the company he did not have direct knowledge of. However, they did not ask him about the 2012 letter between Mr. Silver and Glenwood, which was signed by Mr. Silver and Charles Dorego, a senior vice president and general counsel of Glenwood.  Monday Update The Times profiles some of the central players in the DeanSkelos corruption case set to begin today, including Glenwood Management counsel Charles Dorego and a couple of Arizona-based businessmen: * It would be ironic, the Post writes, if the one thing that takes down former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is a letter written by a small law firm to  comply with a 2011 state ethics laws on disclosing outside income:
Shelly Laundromat Washes the Financial Disclosure Laws -Lobbyist Meara Testifies
Lobbyist Tells of Unusual Phone Call From Sheldon Silver,Ex-Speaker, at Trial ((NYT) It was Sheldon Silver, the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, and he started telling Mr. Meara about financial disclosure records, and how he might have to file new forms disclosing certain fees he had been receiving. Mr. Meara recalled that Mr. Silver then asked a peculiar question: Did the lobbyist represent Glenwood Management, a big real estate developer, as well as its limited liability companies, or just Glenwood itself?  Mr. Meara recalled that Mr. Silver then asked a peculiar question: Did the lobbyist represent Glenwood Management, a big real estate developer, as well as its limited liability companies, or just Glenwood itself?  Just Glenwood, Mr. Meara recalled replying. Mr. Silver then said that he was receiving fees only from Glenwood’s limited liability companies, and not Glenwood specifically, so there would not be “a problem” with the fees in question, Mr. Meara said. Prosecutors are expected to argue that the distinction, while apparently important to Mr. Silver, is meaningless; if either Glenwood or its limited liability companies paid Mr. Silver and in return received official actions from him that would favor the developer, the government will contend that it constitutes fraud. “I was surprised and concerned,” Mr. Meara said in Federal District Court in Manhattan, and testified that he did not understand the difference. Mr. Silver is on trial for political corruption; the government has accused him of receiving illegal payments in the form of referral fees from a small New York law firm. In turn, prosecutors have alleged that Mr. Silver has used his influence to benefit Glenwood, a privately held firm that is also one of the state’s largest contributors to political campaigns.



Both Agnew and Silver Blamed the Press  Now Silver is Blaming and Lying to A Weaken Media On Why He Kept His Corrupt Glenwood Deal Secret











As to why more wasn't revealed about private clients silver said "the media harasses people."* Silver said repeatedly during various media interviews he only reps individuals not companies or corporations with business before the state * Issued into evidence was an interview Silver did with @nypost in 2008 where he was asked about his clients and outside income * .@mwhyland revealed father had asbestos exposure and when he told Silver about it, Silver asked.Silver presumably won’t testify at his trial (he doesn’t have to), but the jury got to hear his voice when prosecutors played tape of him telling The Post’s longtime Albany observer Fredric U. Dicker that he was just a humble lawmaker. “My clients are little people. I don’t represent any corporations, I don’t represent any entities that are involved in legislation,” Silver said on a May 2008 recording. Witkoff and Glenwood are multibillion-dollar players in the New York real-estate game. They are far from little. Judge Valerie Caproni praised Dicker’s interviewing skills: 


Juror Dozed Off During Meara Testifying 
Jurors doze off, doodle during Sheldon Silver trial (NYP)  Some jurors were behaving badly at Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial in Manhattan federal court on Friday. A woman nodded off during crucial morning testimony — and remained in dreamland for a full 12 minutes — while an alternate was more interested in doodling than paying attention. The woman’s catnap came as lobbyist Brian Meara was testifying about a meeting he arranged between the former Assembly speaker and a Glenwood Management bigwig to talk about legislation the real-estate company wanted passed in Albany regarding rent regulation and tax abatements. She dozed with her head slumped forward from at least 10:03 a.m. to about 10:15 a.m., when she woke with a start and started stretching her wrist. The alternate, meanwhile, spent much of the morning sketching a full page of cartoon-like faces in pen in his juror notebook, paying no attention to the testimony. Apparently, the judge, prosecutors and defense team were too absorbed in the testimony to notice the nap break and doodling.* Shelly wants the jury to believe everything is a big coincidence (NYP)



Silver Created Hidden Pots of Gold for Himself Way Beyond Member Items Editorial Boards Silent
Prosecutors: Silver had final say over how grant money was spent (PoliticoNY) Sheldon Silver had sole discretion over whether to award funding to various groups from a little-known pot of money, federal prosecutors said Monday on the fourth day of his federal trial that hinges on whether the former state Assembly speaker was engaged in a quid-pro-quo with a Columbia University physician or whether it was simply business as usual at Albany.   Witnesses for the prosecution repeatedly testified that it was Silver who had the final say on how money from the Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) was spent, and that other agencies reviewed those grants only to make sure the paperwork was in order. They would not have considered the merit, said Dennis Whalen, who at the time of the grants was executive deputy health commissioner for the state.  "We were the banker and the bookkeeper," Whalen testified. "We didn't have any say over who got the money or how much." * Sheldon Silver’s Grants Suppressed in Budget Reports, Official Testifies in Corruption Trial (NYT) Testimony in the trial of Mr. Silver, the former speaker of the New York Assembly, focused on the extent of his power to approve discretionary financing without accountability.* * An Assembly staffer admitted to hiding former Speaker Sheldon Silver’s discretionary funds from public reports while testifying at Silver’s trial on corruption charges, The New York Times reports:  * Sheldon Silver Trial Update: Gary Klein from Weitz &Luxenberg is back on the stand this am.  #AlbanyOnTrial * In testimony during former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial in lower Manhattan yesterday, prosecutors produced a document from January 2004, requesting a $250,000 grant for a mesothelioma research center out of Columbia University run by Dr. Robert Taub. More here and here. * Deputy Assembly Budget Director Victor Franco testified he would “hide” public money Silver allocated to himself from a spreadsheet listing allocations to all members of the Assembly, as was standard at the time. * Report: NY budget has billions 'in the shadows'  via @lohud * Sheldon Silver Was Paid for Referrals, Not Legal Work, LawFirm Leader Says at Trial: Lawyers from Weitz &…  * One of the best-kept secrets in New York politics: Sheldon Silver’slucrative outside legal work. (NYT) * SILVER DOLLARS: Lawyer says disgraced former assembly speaker wasn't getting referral fees 'fast enough' (NYDN) * Testimony at Sheldon Silver’s Trial Suggests How LucrativeMesothelioma Was (NYT) The testimony in court on Tuesday had provided an unsparing look at the Darwinian battles among lawyers to sign up clients from a small, lucrative pool of cancer patients who had mesothelioma, a disease that could be traced beyond doubt to asbestos exposure. Such cases were worth 10 to 20 times as much as other cancers with less certain causes, a law firm manager testified. * Attorney Testifies About Sheldon Silver's Perks Wall Street Journal 



Pay to Play Bribery is For the Public Good Albany Deputy Budget Director? Editorial Boards Silent


Silver’s defenseconvinces witness ‘illegal quid pro quo’ was a ‘public good’ (NYP) Sheldon Silver’s defense team got a state budget official to admit Monday that the research money the then-Assembly speaker funneled to a cancer doctor represented a “public good,” even though prosecutors say it was part of an “illegal quid pro quo” from which Silver reaped $3 million. Deputy Budget Director Victor Franco Jr. testified during cross-examination in Manhattan federal court that Silver doled out “dozens and dozens” of taxpayer-funded grants during his decades in power. “You’d agree that to fund cancer research is a public good?” lawyer Justin Shur asked.  “Yes, I would,” Franco answered. *   New York Assembly budget worker says he would ‘hide’ money for Sheldon Silver (NYDN) * Witnesses: Silver had sole control over funds (Newsweek)



If New Yorkers Can Not Get Mad As Hell At Silver for Pay to Play Cancer Research Then Something is Wrong With Our Culture


Taub admitted he lied to federal investigators when they came around at 6 a.m. one morning to ask him whether he had steered asbestos victims to Silver’s law firm, enriching Silver to the tune of more than $3 million. *Sheldon Silver corruption trial loses a juror (NYP) The Sheldon Silver corruption trial has already lost its first juror. ​​The juror begged off the lengthy trial so she could return to her job helping the homeless, court records...* Doctor at Sheldon Silver Trial Tells of ElaborateArrangement, Years in Making The corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has already claimed its first victim: Juror No. 4. (She had a work conflict).* Defense Strategy in Sheldon Silver Trial Highlights Transactional Nature of Albany Politics (NY1)

From the Good Doctor Taub to Litwin's Glenwood to Killing Moreland




Glenwood LLCs Was Not Only Used to Contribute to Pols 
Silver Used the Real Estate LLCs of Glenwood to Avoided Reporting His Pay to Play Fees
At Silver’s corruption trial, veteran lobbyist recalls phone call (PoliticoNY) In that conversation, Meara testified, Silver first disclosed his financial relationship with the real estate developer Glenwood Management — a client on whose behalf Meara had regularly lobbied Silver. Meara said that on the call, Silver mentioned new disclosure regulations set to take effect for lawmakers, said the rules would mean “certain fees from certain people” and then asked Meara if he represented any of the limited-liability corporations under which Glenwood ran its individual properties. Meara said he was paid by Glenwood proper. “'Then that’s not a problem, because I’m only getting fees from the LLCs,'” Meara recalled Silver telling him. Meara said Silver had never told him he was getting referral fees from Glenwood properties through the law firm Goldberg & Iryami, and that he “didn’t understand the distinction” between Glenwood the parent company and the LLCs it owned. He said he hoped it wouldn’t be an issue “legally.” Meara also said he was worried about how Silver would be perceived in his district and in the Assembly's Democratic conference, should they learn the chamber's then-speaker was getting fees from work done on Glenwood’s behalf. “The conference is overwhelming pro-tenant and anti-landlord,” Meara explained in his testimony. Meara said he later had conversations with two Glenwood attorneys, Richard Runes and Charles Dorego, about his conversation with Silver. Both, Meara said, were also surprised and concerned and said they would “seek clarity” from Silver. Meara said he didn’t involve himself with the situation going forward, calling it “a dangerous position” to be in.* Jury Hears Testimony from Key Albany Lobbyist in Silver Trial (NY1)





The Media Does A Sidebar with Silvers Defense But Does Not Ask Lawmakers to Comment On the Trial
Shelly Sidebar (YNN) During Sheldon Silver’s federal corruption trial, defense attorneys have now tried at least twice to suggest heavy handed tactics on the part of prosecutors to cajole witnesses into cooperating with their case. It fits in with overall defense narrative that there is just no case here and prosecutors have bent the rules and overreached. Practically speaking, the defense has not denied any of the facts laid out by the government. Silver’s team has disputed the government’s presentation of the facts, but not the basic facts that Silver steered public money to cancer research, and received referral fees for cancer patients. The defense simply maintains that all of that is legal, if unseemly. And none of it rises to the level of a federal crime.


Meara's Testimony Shows How the Shadow Govt That Corrupted NY Works
Lobbyist: I set up shady meeting between Silver and real estate exec (NYP) An Albany lobbyist testified Friday that he set up a shady meeting between former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and a real-estate executive that prosecutors say was part of a quid pro quo that netted the lawmaker $700,000 in illegal kickbacks. Brian Meara took the stand in Silver’s corruption trial at Manhattan federal court to reveal he organized the June 2011 meeting between the lawmaker and a Glenwood Management executive, with the executive presenting the company’s proposal for new rent-regulation laws. “Do you remember Mr. Silver’s reaction?” prosecutor Howard Master said. “He didn’t say yes; he didn’t say no. He probably said, ‘I hear you,’ and that was typical,” Meara replied. “How satisfied was Glenwood with the legislative package that was offered?” Master asked. “They were satisfied,” Meara said. Silver is accused of using his position to push legislation that would benefit Glenwood in exchange for the company sending tax work to a law firm that paid him big kickbacks.


Prosecutors also showed jurors a document illustrating how an earlier draft of the legislation would have harmed Glenwood by letting tax abatements expire and allowing the city to adopt stronger rent regulations.Prosecutors also showed jurors a document illustrating how an earlier draft of the legislation would have harmed Glenwood by letting tax abatements expire and allowing the city to adopt stronger rent regulations. The legislation that was adopted in July with Silver’s support extended the abatements and barred the city from enacting stricter rent regulations. In later testimony, the Glenwood exec, Richard Runes, was asked why Jay Arthur Goldberg of Goldberg & Iryami, the law firm that paid Silver for referrals, represented so many of Glenwood’s buildings. “He was recommended through Brian Meara by Speaker Silver to [Glenwood chief] Leonard Litwin,” Runes said. Meara earlier said Silver called him around Christmas 2011 to say he was pocketing some of the fees Glenwood paid Goldberg.“I was surprised and concerned,” Meara testified.



Glenwood LLCs Took Over NY's Govt and Politics

In last year’s New York gubernatorial election, LLCs tied to Glenwood outspent all other donors, according to data from the good government nonprofit New York Public Interest Research Group. In 2013, Glenwood and its affiliates were the second-biggest political donor to state-level candidates, NYPIRG data showed. In the complaint against Silver, prosecutors peg contributions from “Developer 1” to candidates for state office and state political committees at more than $10 million between 2005 and about 2014. Meanwhile, a report from good government group Common Cause/New York found that since 2005, Glenwood and related LLCs donated a total of $12.8 million to state politicians, including $1.2 million to Cuomo. * Glenwood Management,LLCs and Public Corruption * Skelos complaint details Glenwood connection | POLITICO *  Developer linked to Silver case tops 2014 donor list ...



Albany On Trail 
Silver, and the system he led, go to trial (PoliticoNY)  What prosecutors cast as misdeeds — collecting referral fees from a real estate law firm employed by major developers and a firm that represented asbestos patients treated by a medical researcher that Silver gave state funding — were presented as the inevitable conflicts of a part-time Legislature where lawmakers have side jobs. “New York has adopted a citizen Legislature model. They not only live under these laws, they work under these laws … and this allows more points of view to be heard,” Molo said. “That may make you uncomfortable, but that is the system New York has chosen, and that is not a crime.” It's a system where campaign money flows, where powerful interests hire connected lobbyists to ensure their needs are whispered into the right ears. Where the speaker can prevent a vote on legislation that has the support of the majority of the chamber's elected representatives. It's a system where Silver doled out earmarks based on seniority and loyalty to consolidate his own grip on power. Where he traded a reduction in pension benefits for the ability to draw legislative districts and authorized the state's first charter schools in exchange for a pay raise.


Developers Who Have Destroyed NY's Govt and Campaigns Are Lying Scum Bags
Group who knew about Sheldon Silver’s deal with taxationlaw firm kept it quiet: witness (NYDN)On the stand, Glenwood’s chief financial officer, Michael Hoenig, said he knew nothing of the deal — though he kept track of the company’s retainer agreements with law firms.“Where in this retainer agreement does it say part of the fee will be paid to Sheldon Silver?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein asked in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday. “It doesn't,” Hoenig replied. Goldstein produced a 2012 letter sent to a higher-ranking executive at Glenwood disclosing the deal with Silver. “That letter is new to me,” Hoenig said.Of Glenwood’s 26 New York properties, about a third received tax breaks and special financing under the 421a program, according to news reports and public records. On four Manhattan rental buildings alone — the 173-unit Liberty Plaza in Lower Manhattan, the 466-unit Paramount Tower on East 39th Street, the 272-unit Brittany on the Upper East Side and the 230-unit Hampton Court in Harlem — Glenwood has saved more than $181 million in property taxes, according to the New York Daily News.


Silver Even Lied to the Daily News Editorial Board Member Now They Need to Stop Clowning Around and Get Mad and Fight For Their Readers Safety?
Not a Silver of truth for Shelly (NYDN) We at the Daily News Editorial Board know Silver is calculatingly dishonest because he lied repeatedly to us about a matter now central to his case. a board member had lunch with the speaker. What do you do to earn that money, he was asked. With calmness that would have defeated a lie-detector machine, Silver spun a tale about an endless flow of clients.  a board member (Daily News) had lunch with the speaker. What do you do to earn that money, he was asked. With calmness that would have defeated a lie-detector machine, Silver spun a tale about an endless flow of clients. Now, the trial has documented there was not a shred of truth in the story, and revealed why he fabricated the tale. Because, actually, he had siphoned state funds out of a secret account, given that money to a doctor who treated mesothelioma patients, persuaded the doctor to refer the patients to Weitz & Luxenberg and bagged referral fees. Oh, and Silver had never met any of the clients and did no work on their cases.* The Daily News writes that former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s trial has shown his once-routine description of his legal work contained “not a shred of truth,” and instead he bagged referral fees by directing state funds to a doctor:






When Will Reporters Ask Albany Lawmakers if They Agree With Silver's Defense That Corruption Is Normal Way to Do Business? 

Sheldon Silver’s stunning defense: Corruption is everywhere (NYP Ed) It’s not just Sheldon Silver on trial in Manhattan federal court: It’s the whole system. Silver’s defense is that corruption is the bread and butter of New York politics — so how can it be a crime? The prosecution says Silver, for decades the state’s second-most-powerful official, “picked the people’s pocket to line his own.” To which Silver’s team answers, So what?


Uh-uh. New Yorkers never intended it to work like that. (If they had, why did Silver keep his lucrative dealings secret?) But it’s clear the system does work that way — and then some. Heck, Molo basically agreed with prosecutor Carrie Cohen’s contention that Silver used “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” deals to line his pockets to the tune of $5 million. How corrupt is it? On Tuesday, Dr. Robert Taub testified he referred 25 patients ailing from asbestos exposure to Silver’s law firm in return for state funding Silver arranged for his research center. Silver then pocketed huge fees (on top of a six-figure salary) from the firm. Prosecutor Cohen says, “This was not politics as usual. This was bribes and kickbacks, illegal criminal conduct.” The jury will decide if it was a crime. But it sure looks like bribes and kickbacks — andAlbany politics-as-usual.* Sheldon Silver’s legal team is putting the whole New York political system of bribes and kickbacks on trial by using Albany’s culture as a defense in his corruption case, the Post writes:





Michael Whyland


Sheldon Silver's misleading statements to Daily News cited as evidence at corruption trial (NYDN) In the articles, the former Assembly speaker gave a limited description of his work for the personal injury firm Weitz & Luxenberg. Silver referred clients to the firm and received a percentage of any settlement or verdict. Silver’s chief spokesman at the time, Michael Whyland, provided the information and testified he believed it was true. “He said he represented ordinary, simple people who had been harmed,” Whyland said. The government also showed the jury a 2013 News article in which Whyland said Silver “invests in blue-chip stocks as do millions of Americans.” Silver is charged with trying to conceal his corrupt cash in an exclusive “high-yield, low-risk” investment vehicle.

Tenant Leader McKee Called Lobbyist Meare Testimony He Did Not Remember A Great Wins for His Client RSA Absurd
Another Shelly Sidebar (YNN) Earlier this month, Lobbyist Brian Meara testified for the government in the federal corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Meara has known Silver for more than 40 years. He was compelled to testify by trial subpoena. At one point Meara was asked if he remembered the 1997 fight over the rent laws. Meara claimed he did not. Tenant Advocate Michael McKee ( who was right in the middle of that fight ) calls Meara’s assertion “absurd.” The way McKee describes it, that was the year “Silver gave away the store,” and essentially “gutted the system.” In exchange for a 6-year extension, Silver agreed to a number of provisions that greatly weakened the rent laws and tenant rights. That included requiring tenants to pay rent into an escrow account during disputes with landlords, making it easier for tenants to get evicted and perhaps most significantly enshrining into State law vacancy deregulation. That was what one Democrat once described as the “original sin.” While it’s true vacancy decontrol actually began in 1993 ( before Silver was Speaker ),  1997 made it a permanent state of mind. Rent protections would eventually be phased out, it was just a matter of how quickly. Even when Democrats took control of the Senate in 2009, that was not something they rolled back. Meara was lobbying at the time for the Rent Stabilization Association, which wanted the laws weakened. And according to McKee, he counted Meara walk between Silver’s office and the Senate lobby 17 times to make sure Silver’s proposal would be palatable to the real estate industry. In the end, the deal was cut. The advocates were never shown bill language before the bill went to print. “Silver,” McKee says, “sold us out.”



Pay to Play Agreement Signed by Glenwood Executives That Paid Off Silver for 421-a Tax Breaks and Other Real Estate Give Aways
Letter Surfaces at Sheldon Silver Trial Showing Potentially Lucrative Deal (NYT) In early 2012, Sheldon Silver, then the New York Assembly speaker, and a large real estate company signed an agreement that promised to be beneficial to him. Mr. Silver, the letter said, would get a cut of any fees generated by a law firm that was doing business with that company, Glenwood Management. “As agreed, a proportionate division of fees will be made between Jay Arthur Goldberg P.C. and Sheldon Silver Esq.,” the letter read. The agreement surfaced on Thursday at the political corruption trial of Mr. Silver, now in its second week, laying out for the first time for jurors the potentially lucrative fee-sharing arrangement under which, the government says, Mr. Silver received illegal payments for using his influence to benefit Glenwood, a privately held firm that is one of the state’s largest contributors to political campaigns. Glenwood Management is also a big beneficiary of state tax breaks, many of which required the blessing of Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The prosecutor, Andrew D. Goldstein, questioned Michael Hoenig, Glenwood’s vice president of finance, on the letter, but the executive said he had not seen it before, testimony that suggested it was a secret arrangement. Before being questioned on the letter, he said he oversaw the relationship with firms like Goldberg & Iryami and kept a file on Glenwood’s dealings with his tax certiorari firms. Mr. Silver’s lawyers questioned Mr. Hoenig and showed there were many decisions at the company he did not have direct knowledge of. However, they did not ask him about the 2012 letter between Mr. Silver and Glenwood, which was signed by Mr. Silver and Charles Dorego, a senior vice president and general counsel of Glenwood. The proceedings on Thursday also lifted the veil a bit on the day-to-day operations of Glenwood. From Mr. Hoenig’s testimony, it was clear that for many years the ultimate decision maker at the firm was Leonard Litwin, the 101-year-old principal of Glenwood. Mr. Hoenig was asked who picked the firm’s lawyers, lobbyists and decided which political candidates received contributions. The answer to all three questions was Mr. Litwin. “He was hands-on all the way,” Mr. Hoenig said. The Glenwood executive said that in recent years, Mr. Litwin’s health has been failing and his daughter, Carole Litwin Pittelman, had taken over the day-to-day running of the firm.* Prosecutors in the Sheldon Silver corruption case called two key players, including an official with Glenwood Management, to the stand today to answer questions about the former Assembly speaker’s alleged involvement in a real-estate kickback scheme. * Silver has been fairly upbeat during his trial – a switch from his normally reserved demeanor. Update Testimony just wrapped for the day in Sheldon Silver's trial. Preet sat in for several hours of afternoon portion. Jury will sit tomorrow. Prosecutors didn't have time to get to Glenwood lobbyist Brian Meara today, so he's now expected to testify tomorrow.* With 2 leaders on trial in corruption cases, no wonderethics and public integrity in NYS get poor marks * Prosecutors Move to Second Part of Legal Attack Against Sheldon Silver (NY1)



2 Top Albany Lawmakers On Trial A Block Away From Each Other And This is All the Editorial Boards Say? DN: F Instead of the D given? 


Editorial: F-minus Albany correction (NYDN) After surveying the anti-corruption laws and practices of all 50 states, the Center for Public Integrity has ranked New York the 30th worst in the country, with a grade of D-minus. This is so unbelievably generous that, absent the center’s rock-solid public integrity, we’d be inclined to shout that the fix must have been in. Otherwise, all we can surmise is that the graders have never strayed close enough to Sheldon Silver or Dean Skelos to witness the swallowing of ethics by governmental black holes.* New York received a D- in the Center for Public Integrity’s state integrity rankings for 2015. The numeric score of 61 the Empire State received ties it for 30th on the list, which is part of the Washington D.C.-based organization’s State Integrity Investigation.

No hope for Shellyafter damning letter revealed in court (NYP) Michael Hoenig — the witness during whose testimony the document detonated in US District Court — is the chief finance officer for Glenwood Management, the real-estate firm at the center of the (second) set of dirty-dealings charges against Silver. Prosecutor Andrew Goldstein casually showed the jury a document containing the phrase a “division of fees will be made between Jay Arthur Goldberg, P.C. and Sheldon Silver, Esq.” For Team Silver, this wasn’t an “ouch” moment so much as it was the Hindenburg bursting into flames. When you’re defending an allegedly corrupt pol, the last thing you want to see is your client’s signature on a document showing him divvying up what ought to be public money with a megabucks lawyer. Goldberg, Silver’s childhood friend, represents real-estate firms that beg the government to reduce the assessment values of their properties to diminish their property taxes. Goldberg knocked millions of dollars off the official value of buildings for Glenwood after Silver referred their business to him. At a real-estate tax rate of over 12 percent, that meant millions of dollars of tax savings for Glenwood, the owner of the buildings. Goldberg, the government showed, in turn gave 25 percent of that pot of cash to his pal, Shelly.Silver’s lawyers are not a shy bunch: “Objection!” has been their favorite word throughout this trial. But they sat in glum silence as the government made the Sheldonburg blow up in flames.



NYT More Interested In Pushing Defense Case Than Investigating Silver's Corruption and Getting Reaction From Lawmakers
Friends or Friendly? Sheldon Silver’s Trial Focuses on Relationship With Doctor (NYT) How jurors in the corruption trial of Mr. Silver, the former New York State Assembly speaker, perceive the connection between him and Dr. Robert N. Taub could be crucial in determining his fate.  The presiding judge, Valerie E. Caproni of Federal District Court, told jurors at the outset of the trial that the government must prove that Mr. Silver knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud and “received things of value in the form of bribes or kickbacks, and that he knew when he accepted those things he was expected, in exchange, to take official action as the opportunity arose.” 

Do All Lawmakers Believe Their Are A Build-In Conflict of Interest In Their Job?

Judge Caproni even alluded to the defense’s strategy during a sidebar conversation with lawyers, out of the jury’s earshot. She said to Mr. Silver’s lawyers that their “entire defense is that the reason these referrals occurred was not to get benefits from the state via Shelly Silver, it was because they were friends. During his testimony Dr. Taub struggled with the word friend, and often rejected the suggestion. “Dr. Taub, I think we established Mr. Silver is your friend, correct?” Mr. Silver’s lawyer, Mr. Molo, asked. “We had a friendly relationship, yes,” Dr. Taub replied. Still, even the best of relationships can come with complications. Mr. Goldstein asked the doctor how many of his friends, when he asks them for something, ask for something in return. “If you have a very close family friend, that’s not what you expect,” Dr. Taub responded. “We had a very friendly relationship, and under those circumstances, there are negotiations involved in it.”

Family Says Silver Cheated Them Out of A Rightful Asbestos Settlement
 Family says Silver’s scheming cheated them out of rightful asbestos settlement (NYP) Relatives of an asbestos-cancer victim steered to former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s law firm in what the feds called an “illegal quid pro quo” say the disgraceful deal-making cheated them out of a rightful settlement. Andrea Rega of Cape Cod, Mass. — whose late father, Aniello, was one of scores of cancer patients sent to Silver’s law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, by a doctor allegedly in exchange for New York state research grants — told The Post Wednesday that the Manhattan Democrat’s fee from the deals cheated the family out of money. “I’m convinced the law firm would’ve worked much harder for my father’s case if they weren’t giving Sheldon Silver the 33 percent,” Rega said. “That’s why the law firm wasn’t working as hard as they could — because somebody else was taking the money.”*  Point of view: Money for Nothing? Sheldon Silver Trial ShedsLight on Referral Feesvia @WSJ * NY’s Shelly corruption trial: Insight into Albany, NY’sblack hole of dealing and a doctor’s unholy relationship: (PoliticoNY)





Silver Where is My Check
NYS Legislature Silver's Corruption Private Bank Comes With His Own Stamp to Keep His Hands Clean
The prosecution’s persuasive painting of Sheldon Silver’s quid pro quo (NYP Ed) Sheldon Silver sure thought he’d earned the money that prosecutors say was an illegal payoff — at least, he wanted it paid fast. Meanwhile, he was keeping his own name off the state grants that the prosecution says were the quid to that pro quo. On Tuesday, Gary Klein — managing attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg, Silver’s firm — testified that Silver threw a massive tantrum if his referral fees didn’t arrive chop-chop. The fees (over $3.3 million in total) were Silver’s cut from referrals sent to the firm by Dr. Robert Taub — who was getting half a million in state grants, thanks to Silver. Taub testified last week that he sent the patients to Weitz & Luxenburg in exchange for that funding. The firm plainly credited Silver — hence that cool three mil. Silver “was upset or angry that it took a couple of weeks from when a check was issued to when it reached his mail,” Klein said. In the end, he got a stamp custom-made so he could deposit the cash for Silver. Which gives new meaning to the claim of firm co-founder Perry Weitz that Silver made the money by not actually getting his “fingers dirty.”

Up in Albany, the speaker was keeping his fingerprints off the grants to Taub. On Monday, prosecutor Howard Master asked Assembly staffer Victor Franco what steps he took to “conceal or not reveal the amount of discretionary funding that Sheldon Silver had allocated to items of his own choosing?”  “Typically,” Franco replied, “it was our protocol not to print reports or anything that was specifically related to the speaker.” How? “If it was an Excel spreadsheet, we would suppress the line that had his name on it. Stuff like that,” said Franco. This is certainly looking corrupt; Shelly’s in trouble if his lawyers don’t do better. To date, they’ve made only one real point: that this is just how the Legislature works. Problem is, that doesn’t speak to his innocence — but to the utter corruption of New York’s government.* Attorney gave Sheldon Silver special treatment, he says (NYDN) Sheldon Silver wanted his money — and he wanted it fast! The supervising attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg testified Tuesday he gave the then-Assembly speaker special treatment at the firm after the powerful pol complained he wasn’t getting his referral fees fast enough.

Direct Deposit Silver Style 
The attorney, Gary Klein, said in Manhattan Federal Court that Silver complained about a two-week delay between when a check for his referral fees was cut and when it was actually deposited in his account.“He was upset or angry that it took a couple of weeks from when a check was issued to when it reached his mail,” Klein said, citing a 2005 check that took 12 days to be deposited. So Klein took measures to expedite the process. Initially, Klein told the firm’s accounting department to deliver the checks to Silver “personally,” but the result was that they just “sat in a drawer,” Klein said. So Klein got a stamp from Silver allowing him to deposit the checks directly into the assemblyman’s law account. “I would go to HSBC bank. I would deposit the check with a teller,” Klein said. * Assembly budget worker says he would ‘hide’ money for Silver (NYDN)* Lawyers from Weitz and Luxenberg lifted the veil on former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s employment at his corruption trial, admitting he was paid only for referrals and did no actual legal work, the Times reports:  * The Post writes that the prosecution is doing a good jobin the Sheldon Silver case of arguing the former speaker was corrupt, and that Silver is in trouble if his lawyers don’t come up with a better defense than blaming Albany culture: * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may have performed no legal work for Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. for the many years he was of counsel, the firm’s leaders testified, but he was treated to some unusual perks – including paychecks hand-deposited by its managing attorney. * A witness at Silver’s trial said cases involving the asbestos-related disease were worth at least 10 times what other cancers might fetch for lawyers.* Testimony during Silver’s trial has provided an unsparing look at the Darwinian battles lawyers engage in while soliciting clients from a small, lucrative pool of cancer patients with mesothelioma, The New York Times’ Jim Dwyer writes: 




Corruption Pots of Gold All Over Inside the NYS Budget . . .  Its Not Just Member Items 

Graft kings: What Shelly Silver’s trial reveals about government (NYP) At Silver’s trial in lower Manhattan this week, perhaps the least interesting witness was a personable budget gnome named Victor Franco. As far as I can tell, Franco is an upstanding citizen. I take it that he’s honest and does his job in accordance with the law. But as deputy budget director, he was involved in pushing through huge transactions involving pots of money whose actual destination was never revealed to the public. There was no competitive-review process for these grants. There was no debate about whether the beneficiaries were deserving. From 2000 to 2006, through something called the Health Care Reform Act — hey, who’s against health-care reform? — there was an annual treasure chest of $8.5 million in grants that Sheldon Silver, and Sheldon Silver only, could spend as he pleased, as long as the recipient was in the health-care field. (Or game. Or racket.) When Silver’s acquaintance Dr. Robert Taub started dropping unmissable hints that he wanted Silver to fund his mesothelioma research in exchange for Taub referring terminally ill asbestos victims to Silver’s law firm so Silver could reap millions in finders’ fees, Silver went back to unspent money from one of the $8.5 million annual Health Care Reform Act stashes and started doling it out. Franco was one of the guys in the middle who did the paperwork. * Silver, ‘corrupt’ doc didn’t have to be friends to be partners in slime(NYP)




Cancer Doctor Attacks Lawyers to Get Silver Business 

Silver started $3M corruption scheme with betrayal offriend, emails show (NYP) Sheldon Silver’s $3 million-plus gravy train started rolling when a cancer doctor poached a client for him from another assemblyman who considered the now-tainted speaker a friend, according to evidence introduced Monday at Silver’s corruption trial. Dr. Robert Taub convinced mesothelioma patient Catharine O’Leary to seek legal representation through Silver in 2003 by bad-mouthing her first lawyer, John Dearie, as “no good,” an email shown by prosecutors revealed. Dearie, a former Bronx assemblyman, confirmed to The Post that he was the lawyer mentioned in the email — and he called the back-stabbing “serious business.” “I find it extremely difficult to come to grips with the notion that Shelly Silver would ever say anything negative about me,” said Dearie, who served in the Assembly from 1973 to 1992. “I’ve known Shelly from the day he walked into the Legislature.”  The email, sent between lawyers at Silver’s Weitz & Luxenberg firm, says that Taub told O’Leary that “Dearie was no good and that she should call Sheldon Silver/Weitz & Luxenberg.”* Silver’s alleged scheme to use his public post to enrich himself started rolling when a cancer doctor poached a client for him from another lawmaker who considered the now-tainted speaker a friend, according to evidence introduced the assemblyman’s trial.



Dr Taub Emails to Silver Good Side Referrals
Prosecutors unveiled a damning e-mail that shows a Columbia cancer doctor steered asbestos victims to then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to curry favor with him. “I will keep giving cases to Shelly because I may need him in the future — he is the most powerful man in New York State,” Dr. Robert Taub wrote in 2010.

‘Damning’ email shows doctor was staying on Silver’s good side(NYP) Prosecutors on Thursday unveiled a damning e-mail that shows a Columbia cancer doctor steered asbestos victims to then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to curry favor with him. “I will keep giving cases to Shelly because I may need him in the future — he is the most powerful man in New York State,” Dr. Robert Taub wrote in a May 2010 e-mail to Mary Hesdorffer, a nurse and executive director of the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. In related e-mails to Hesdorffer, Taub admits he tried to gain research funding from Silver by warning him that a $3 million-plus “gift” from a foundation tied to a rival law firm “might well impact the volume of referrals” to Silver. Questioned at Silver’s corruption trial Thursday, Taub revealed he got the first of two $250,000 state grants arranged by Silver without ever submitting an application. “The process was usually the opposite, which is, first, you fill out the paperwork, and then you get the grant,” said Taub, who avoided prosecution by agreeing to testify against Silver. * During cross-examination of Taub, defense lawyer Steven Molo sought to portray Silver as a caring friend whose relationship with the doctor was based on goodwill, instead of the bribery scheme alleged by prosecutors. *  A legislative budget director testified that he was not aware of any application process for access to a secret pot of $50 million worth of state money that Silver controlled.  * As oncologist Robert Taub continued to testify against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in his corruption trial, old emails suggested Taub sent clients to Silver’s law firm expecting something in return, The New York Times writes: * Witness in the Sheldon Silver trial reveals greedmasquerading as altruism (NYT) * In Sheldon Silver trial, testimony show NY state grantprocess as opaque, centralized & largely lacking in oversight  (WSJ)
women, three men. Largely Hispanic and Black #AlbanyOnTrial 



Dr Taub Takes the Stand

Doctor testifies against ex-NY Assembly speaker at trial.  * Columbia University oncologist Dr. Robert Taub, the star witness in the government's corruption case against Sheldon Silver, said the assemblyman asked him to keep secret an arrangement that benefitted both parties, the Daily News writes:  * The star witness in the government’s case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Columbia  University oncologist Dr. Robert Taub, said the assemblyman asked him to keep their referral arrangement under wraps. *  Taub also admitted that he lied to investigators when they first asked him about the referrals * Doctor Tells of Elaborate Arrangement at Sheldon Silver Trial (NYT) A plan involving mesothelioma patients’ being referred to a law firm, the heart of the corruption case against Mr. Silver, came into focus as Dr. Robert N. Taub of Columbia University testified.

Star prosecution witness testifies against Sheldon Silver (NYP) Sheldon Silver had a big incentive for using his political weight as Assembly Speaker to funnel asbestos victims to the Weitz & Luxenberg law firm — he got a one-third cut of their legal fees just for making the referrals. The testimony from the firm’s co-founder, Perry Weitz, came just before the prosecution’s star witness, Dr. Robert Taub, took the stand Wednesday to spill the beans on the arrangement he had with Silver — testifying in detail about what prosecutors call the “illegal quid pro quo” and alleged cover-up that let Silver line his pockets with $3 million from the mesothelioma firm. The arrangement proved lucrative for all sides, with Weitz estimating that Silver’s clients collected about $20 million in “recoveries,” while Silver and the firm split about $10 million in legal fees.Weitz said Silver was never expected “to get his fingers dirty” with legal work, and that the cases he referred were considered “gravy.”

Ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver told doc to keep scheme a secret, feds’ witness says at corruption trial (NYDN) * At Silver's Trial, Witness Cites 'Pattern' of Referrals Wall Street Journal * Silver trial continues with key testimony WRGB * Cancer doctor testifies of arrangement with former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Newsday * Doctor Says He Sent Patients to Sheldon Silver in Hopes of Getting Research Funds Observer * Given a non-prosecution agreement after admitting he initially lied to federal agents, a doctor testified he directed patients to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver hoping he would encourage mesothelioma research, The Wall Street Journal writes:  * A Columbia University oncologist considered one of the key witnesses in the case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver testified that there “was a pattern” in which the lawmaker would ask the doctor for patient referrals whenever the physician requested help with funding for his research. More here and here


Silver Lawyer Defending the Indictment of the American System - Animal House Albany 
Sheldon Silver’s legal defense: I represented the Statue of Liberty! (NYP) In a whimsical, free-associating, completely screwball opening argument, Silver’s defense lawyer Steven Molo set up a picnic of irrelevance and promptly feasted on it. Silver, he pointed out, once represented the Statue of Liberty herself (which, like the courthouse where his client will be sent off to prison, sits in Silver’s district).  ome get into law because of Clarence Darrow or Thurgood Marshall. Molo’s legal avatar must be Otter, from “Animal House,” who defended the Deltas by proclaiming, “I put it to you, Greg — isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.” Molo is gambling that, based on demographic probabilities, his jury is composed of liberals, hence fans of government, hence maybe kinda willing to look the other way when government officials are picking our pockets and lining their own. Eleven of the 12 jurors are members of minorities and/or women. To all of this, Molo could whine only that the prosecution needs to chill about our noble public servants doing normal Albany business. The prosecutors, he added, “don’t like the fact that friends might do favors for friends.” And nothing says “let’s be pals” like 3 million bucks.* Jimmy Vielkind writes the Silver trial puts Albany’s self-dealing system into the spotlight.




Daily News Lovett Who Gets His News From Albany Insiders Writes About Their Dream of Defeating Bharara In the Silver and Skelos Trials


Ken Lovett: “Hard-charging US Attorney Preet Bharara’s crusading reputation could take a major hit if his office can’t win convictions against (former Assembly Speaker Sheldon) Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, whose separate corruption trial is set to begin Nov. 16.”* If former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is convicted, his staff would lose their jobs, including his Chief of Staff Judy Rapfogel, who at a salary of $180,000 makes more than Silver and even Cuomo, the 
DailyNews’ Lovett writes:  * Sheldon Silver’s schemes encouraged greed and corruption, lawyers say (NYP)The referral-fee system that let ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pocket $3 million despite not doing any actual work is a powerful catalyst for greed and corruption, according to lawyers familiar with the practice. “In my opinion, that rule clearly encouraged an abuse of power, because Sheldon Silver was in a position where he was able to benefit monetarily without lifting a finger, by using taxpayers’ money to fill other people’s pockets,” said personal-injury lawyer Rosemarie Arnold. While Arnold pays for referrals in New Jersey — where she’s certified as a civil trial attorney with “extensive and substantial experience” — she won’t do so in New York because it lacks the Garden State’s certification program. * Politico New York details how a prominent physician who wasinvolved in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s alleged money-making schemes that led to corruption charges, Dr. Robert Taub, became involved with the Manhattan Democrat’s crimes:


Opening Statements Silver Trail 

‘Power. Greed. Corruption.’: Sheldon Silver’s trialbegins   Opening statements just wrapped up in Sheldon Silver's trial. Gov says all about power and greed. Defense says he broke no laws.*They say Silver used "secret state money" to help Taub's research, and then helped his family members. The other scheme involved big real estate companies who prosecutors say had Silver "on retainer." They hired a tax firm that paid him. Prosecutors say Dr. Robert Taub of Columbia will testify that Silver basically shook him down for asbestos patients to get legal referral $. Federal prosecutors said the case was a simple matter of "power, greed, corruption." They allege Silver did two kickback schemes. * Both the defense and prosecution offered two vastly different takes on Silver’s tenure in Albany. * Lawyers Offer Contrasting Views of Sheldon Silver as His Corruption Trial Starts (NYT) * Prosecutors charged Silver “betrayed” his office through allegedly masking bribes and kickbacks as legitimate legal referrals.

Extraordinary Work Feds $5 Million in Pocket
Silver's lawyer, Steven Molo, treated the opening like a civics lesson. He portrayed Shelly as one cog in the flowing works of government. Molo at one point displayed a picture of the Capitol, and marked it with the Assembly and Senate. Molo said of his client, pointing to the chart. Albany is one big balancing act, Molo said, where governing requires private meetings, lobbyists and "to consider different interests." A part-time Legislature was set up by our forefathers, damn it! This "allows more points of view to be heard," Silver's lawyer Molo said.  "This may make you uncomfortable, but that is the system New York has chosen, and that is not a crime, Silver's attorney Steve Molo said. The whole time, Preet Bharara sat watching. He mostly covered his mouth to hide his emotion, but at times dropped his hand to reveal a scowl 


'Power. Greed. Corruption.': Sheldon Silver's trial begins (NYP) Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was ripped by the feds as the quintessential greedy lawless power broker on the first day of his corruption trial Tuesday — while his lawyer portrayed him as nothing less than a devoted public servant. Silver’s lawyer, Steven Molo, then got up and tried to paint Silver as a local guy the jurors might relate to — even claiming that the Manhattan assemblyman “represented the Statue of Liberty’’ because it was in his district. * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was ripped by the feds as the quintessential greedy lawless power broker on the first day of his corruption trial Tuesday — while his lawyer portrayed him as nothing less than a devoted public servant. * Silver’s lawyer, Steven Molo, then got up and tried to paint Silver as a local guy the jurors might relate to — even claiming that the Manhattan assemblyman “represented the Statue of Liberty’’ because it was in his district.





After They Become Federal Rats Lobbyist Meara and Glenwood Bagman Fear Giving $ to Silver Oh My


Bharara: Real estate firm panicked by Silver fees (TU) Law firm's disclosure prompted anxiety, prosecutor argues    In court papers filed Monday in the federal corruption case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara said he wants to enter into evidence "expressions of concern, surprise and fear shared among the lobbyists and representatives of" real estate developer Glenwood Management.  Silver is accused of steering real estate developers including Glenwood, which have substantial business before state government, to a small law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, which allegedly paid him kickbacks. Bharara wants to introduce evidence showing that around December 2011 — when Silver learned the law firm needed to disclose to Glenwood his receipt of a share of Glenwood's fees — he called Brian Meara, one of Glenwood's lobbyists. During that call, Silver claimed "that there was no issue with him getting the fees because he 'only represented the (limited liability companies)' " controlled by Glenwood, the filing states. But the filing states that Meara "was surprised and concerned" by what Silver told him, and he shared his concern with Glenwood officials, including chief lobbyist Richard Runes and general counsel Charles Dorego


Silver Skelos were dealt setbacks as federal judges ruled against several legal challenges
 Setbacks for Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver in Corruption Cases (NYT) Federal judges rejected requests by the two former legislative leaders to exclude evidence and dismiss charges.In one case, a judge denied a request by State Senator Dean G. Skelos, the former majority leader, and his son Adam, for a hearing into their allegation that the government had “leaked grand jury information” to the news media in violation of grand jury secrecy rules — a claim that the federal authorities had denied. Another judge rejected a request by lawyers for State AssemblymanSheldon Silver, who had served as speaker, to exclude evidence that he argued was irrelevant and prejudicial. Judge Wood found that the defense had also failed to demonstrate that the information in question could have come only from government sources. The government, she said, in the months leading up to the grand jury, “issued subpoenas to more than 100 individuals and entities, interviewed approximately 20 individuals in connection with the investigation” and had talked with lawyers who represented many of those people. “There were thus hundreds of individuals” not covered by secrecy rules, she added, “who would have had information about the existence and aspects of the investigation and who could have provided this information to members of the press.” “Glenwood’s campaign contributions are relevant to Glenwood’s motive to enter into an alleged quid pro quo relationship with Silver, even if the contributions themselves were not part of the quid pro quo exchange,” Judge Caproni wrote.* Skelos strikes out in bid to toss corruption charges (NYP) * Judge refuses to toss out corruption charges against former NY Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (NYDN)*  
A judge has refused to throw out charges or evidence in the corruption case brought against former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam. The duo had wanted a hearing into their allegation that the government “leaked grand jury information” to the media in violation of secrecy rules — a claim federal authorities denied. * Another judge rejected a request by lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to exclude evidence from his federal corruption trial that he argued was irrelevant and prejudicial. * According to pretrial conference proceedings, federal prosecutors handling the trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may present more than 1,500 exhibits to the jury once the trial starts next week, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * Veteran constitutional activist Robert Schulz was back in court Friday appealing a ruling by a lower court that Silver was within his rights to pay victims of sexual harrassment $103,000 in “hush” money, the Times Union writes:   *  Sheldon Silver'slawyers want Dr. Taub to show documents (NYDN)


"Mr. Runes and Mr. Dorego then engaged in discussions in which they, too, expressed deep concern about the defendant's receipt of a share of fees from Glenwood, and the fear of adverse consequences should Glenwood refuse to consent to the arrangement," the filing states. The state Legislature has sway over key real estate laws affecting Glenwood, including the 421-a tax abatement program and rent regulation in New York CityThe matter was also discussed with Leonard Litwin, the owner of Glenwood, according to court documents. That allegedly resulted in an arrangement in which Glenwood, Silver and the law firm agreed to a "side letter" consenting to Silver's "continued receipt of fees from Glenwood, without acknowledging the defendant's financial interest in retainer agreements between Glenwood and the Goldberg Firm. * "Sheldon Silver’s cronies ‘afraid of him’ (NYP) Disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told officials at a powerful real-estate firm that there was no problem with him taking fees from a law firm to which they steered property-tax cases — even though they feared “adverse consequences” from pulling out of the deal, according to new court papers filed Monday.


Jury has been selected in the corruption trial of Sheldon Silver. Nine women, three men. Largely Hispanic and Black #AlbanyOnTrial 






1st Witness Against Silver Assemblywoman Paulin: Silver Runs the Show - 3 Men in A Room Confirmed
Silver attorneys question Paulin on Albany conflicts (PoliticoNY) In question after question from prosecutor Howard Master about who controlled virtually every aspect of the lower legislative chamber — from committee chairmanships and staff hires, to seating arrangements and budget negotiations — Paulin replied that it was Silver. Paulin said that negotiations over high-profile legislation, such as the state budget, was largely done by the speaker’s office, with members typically learning about the fate of the chamber’s priorities after the Assembly leader had finalized deals with the state Senate and Governor’s office. Asked about Silver's interest in helping real estate interests — who allegedly employed an attorney recommended by Silver to facilitate a kickback scheme — Paulin testified "there was no disclosure in conference." Paulin said she was also unaware of the level of reserve funding in a state health care fund. The government alleges Silver funneled money from that fund for grants to an asbestos cancer research doctor, in return for referrals to the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, where Silver had long served as of counsel. Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a government witness in the case, was grilled by Silver’s defense team for votes she took that benefited interests she or her husband had made investments in.



Jury Silver May Have Had A Few Dirty Dealing Throughout His Career

Sheldon Silver’s ‘dirty dealings’ notedby prospective jurors (NYP) “You wrote, ‘It seems the speaker may have had a few dirty dealings throughout his career,” Manhattan federal judge Valerie Caproni asked one prospective juror, a handsome 27-year-old children’s book editor from Manhattan, about what he wrote on a questionnaire he filled out last week. “I hold politicians and elected officials to a very high standard,” the editor answered after affirming his “dirty dealings” answer. Silver’s defense attorneys tried to get that juror tossed from the pool, but Caproni denied their request after the editor said he thought he could be fair and impartial. Sheldon Silver’s ‘dirty dealings’ noted by prospective jurors (NYP) “You wrote, ‘It seems the speaker may have had a few dirty dealings throughout his career,” Manhattan federal judge Valerie Caproni asked one prospective juror, a handsome 27-year-old children’s book editor from Manhattan, about what he wrote on a questionnaire he filled out last week. “I hold politicians and elected officials to a very high standard,” the editor answered after affirming his “dirty dealings” answer. Silver’s defense attorneys tried to get that juror tossed from the pool, but Caproni denied their request after the editor said he thought he could be fair and impartial.* Assemblyman Sheldon Silver got his first good look at prospective jurors who will hear his case and decide his fate , but while he did not seem to know or recognize any of them, many were already familiar with him, The New York Times reports: * Potential jurors for Sheldon Silver's trial aware of his‘dirty dealing’ (NYDN) * Jury selection was slow going, but opening statements in the Silver trial are likely to start today.

Vito Lopez Uses Government Funds to Run His Machine, Sexual Abuse



As the Two Top Lawmakers Head to Trial, True News Will Report Not Only the Trial But Also Show How What is Exposed At the Silver and Skelos' Trials, is A Cancer In the State's Entire Election System and Govt 
Albany Braces for Corruption Trials (WSJ) As the two men who for decades were Albany’s most powerful legislators head to their public-corruption trials in Manhattan federal court next month, the lawmakers, lobbyists, aides and others who populate state politics are bracing for fresh criticism of the Capitol’s culture. The trials—of New York’s former Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, starting Nov. 2, and of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, two weeks later—are set to expose the inner workings of a cast of characters that stretches from the state capital to Nassau County to Columbia University, and to some of the country’s biggest law and real-estate firms. Silver Jurors   Potential Jurors Screened in Sheldon Silver Case (NYT)  More than 100 prospective jurors filled out questionnaires, as lawyers sought to identify conflicts that might disqualify them from serving in the corruption trial of the former Assembly speaker.* More than 100 prospective jurors filled out questionnaires yesterday, as prosecutors and defense lawyers sought to identify potential bias or conflicts that might disqualify people from serving next week in the corruption trial of ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Thursday Update The lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are carefully considering which aspects of his character should be raised before the jury ahead of the first day of his corrpution trial next week, the Timesreports: * Headline: “Sheldon Silver’s Lawyers Confront Risks of Putting His Character on Trial.” * In recent weeks, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s lawyers and the governmenthave engaged in a delicate dance over what aspects of the lawmaker’s character may be raised before the jury during his federal corruption trial — a discussion that is likely to continue as the trial progresses, in whispered sidebars or without jurors present.* Albany on trial: Silver, Skelos head to court * Assemblywoman Amy Paulin said she’s been advised federal prosecutors may call her to testify in generalities during ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s federal corruption trial about how the chamber operates. JCOPE  With corruption and the policing of government still pressing issues in New York’s Capitol, JCOPE has proposed that state elected officials be barred from accepting and asking for campaign contributions from any person or group under investigation by, or involved in legal action with, their offices.




Silver's Lawyers Core Case: All We Did is Normal Politics, Everyone Does It!  Go to Albany and Make $4 Million?  
More than 30 state lawmakers have either been indicted or forced from office in recent years


Daily News: Silver No Plea Deal Offered, NYP: Plea Deal Ignored by Silver Lawyers . . . 
“What the government objects to in this case is not actual federal crimes but rather longstanding features of New York State government that the U.S. attorney finds distasteful,” Silver’s attorneys Steven Molo and Joel Cohen claimed in court filings. Sheldon Silver ignored ‘plea deal,’ prosecutors say (NYP) Federal prosecutors sent indicted state politician Sheldon Silver a letter laying out his likely sentence if he pleaded guilty on all corruption charges — but he never responded, they revealed in court Friday. “More than a month ago the government sent the defendant a . . . letter and no response was given,” assistant US Attorney Carrie Cohen said during the last pretrial hearing before Silver’s trial next week, adding, “Defense counsel has never asked for a plea offer.” Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni rejected five prospective jurors after prosecutors and defense attorneys objected to answers they gave on questionnaires they filled out earlier in the week. Jury selection for Silver’s trial begins Monday. No Plea Deal Daily News  Sheldon Silver was never offered plea deal: prosecutors (NYDN) Lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver never asked federal prosecutors about a plea deal in his upcoming corruption trial, prosecutors revealed Friday. Asked by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Valerie Caproni whether an offer to cut a deal had ever been extended to the 71-year-old Silver, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen said no — and "defense counsel has never asked for a plea offer." * Sheldon Silver's Federal Corruption Trial Begins Next Week(NY1)
Speaker Sheldon Silver, His Law Firm $$$


Why is Silver Ruling Out A Plea Deal Now? Is He Looking for A Better Deal? 


With his federal corruption trial looming, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver is ruling out a plea deal. “We’re ready. We will be ready, and I believe in court, we will be successful,” the former Assembly speaker said. (His trial is expected to be lengthy).



Judge Feds Can Use Silver's Meth Clinic Relocation and Real Estate $200,000 Against Him 
Sheldon Silver Trial Can Include Clinic Move, Federal Judge Says (NYT) A judge ruled that prosecutors may introduce evidence showing that the former State Assembly speaker took action on behalf of a real estate developer to block a methadone clinic’s relocation. * '$200G is not chump change': Jurors in Sheldon Silvertrial can hear about large contributions he got from real estate company, judgerules (NYDN) Jurors in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s upcoming corruption trial can hear about the large campaign contributions he got from a real estate company, a judge ruled Friday. “$200,000 is not chump change,” Manhattan Federal Court Judge Valerie Caproni told Silver’s lawyers, who’d argued contributions from Glenwood Management have nothing to do with the charges and would prejudice jurors against him. Silver is accused of using his office to insure state laws remained favorable to Glenwood. 

Sheldon Silver suffers blow as judge rules evidence is usable (NYP) Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took a beating in court Friday when a Manhattan judge ruled that piles of potentially incriminating evidence could be shown to the jury at his upcoming corruption trial. The assemblyman’s attorneys had tried to bar pieces of evidence from trial, including his allegedly incomplete financial-disclosure forms and his attempts to halt construction of a methadone clinic in an alleged quid pro quo with a real-estate developer. But federal Judge Valerie Caproni said she would allow testimony on the clinic and the disclosure forms. 


“You want the jury to think Albany is a cesspool, that everyone up there is guilty,” she told federal prosecutors during the 2 ¹/-hour proceeding. Prosecutors allege that in the forms, Silver left off some of the money he pocketed in a $4 million bribery and kickback scheme. “Mr. Silver, I just want you to know I can sort of hear you, so the government can probably hear you better,” Caproni warned him. Silver’s trial is slated to begin Nov. 2. * Sheldon Silver Appears in Court for Pretrial Hearing(NY1) *  Evidence involving real estate deal to be included in Silvertrial: Federal Judge (Real Deal) The evidence involving the clinic was not originally included in the indictment against Silver, but prosecutors have now received permission from Federal District Court Judge Valerie E. Caproni to include it in the trial. Prosecutors allege that Silver had an “undisclosed interest” in helping Glenwood Management and that Silver was receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal payments. They claim that those payments were disguised as referral fees from a law firm to which Silver directed some of Glenwood’s legal business, according to the Times. 

Bharara is unpacking 421a as the taxpayer-funded golden road of corruption to Albany  Behold, the ShellySilver trial
The stunning arrest capped a secret grand-jury probe that began in June 2013, court papers said, and marked the latest in a string of public-corruption cases spearheaded by crusading Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.  Asked how the case stacked up against the many other public-corruption cases he’s brought, Bharara summed it up. “Any time you have an allegation — especially when it’s proven — against a public official, that is disturbing. And when you have an allegation against someone who is a public official — not just in a random file capacity, but a leader of an entire body who is known in the politics of Albany to be one of the ‘three men in a room’ — that is especially disturbing,” Bharara said.* Skelos’ attorney cited a @PolHudson post to try to discredit Preet Bharara. It didn’t work  * Bharara blasted for Libous prosecution: (LoHud)
@unitedNYblogs Preet is doing more than ThomasJefferson. He demands that people in power be honest fiduciaries or go to jail. And he warns!
@unitedNYblogs -Society had a choice: register lobbyists and have them self-report, or let them brown bag democracy into private property.



Will the Media Explain How Litwin's Gleenwood Created NY's Lobbyists Controlled Shadow Govt Which Runs NY's Govt and Campaigns 
  • Silver was accused of collecting more than $3 million in legal fees by steering asbestos-related cancer cases from a leading Manhattan oncologist to the Weitz & Luxenberg law firm. In exchange, Silver allegedly funneled two state research grants of $250,000 each to Dr. Robert Taub, along with other official favors.
  • Silver was also accused of scheming with his former Assembly counsel, Jay Arthur Goldberg, to split the fees paid to Goldberg’s tiny tax firm by two real-estate developers, including one identified by sources as Leonard Litwin, the state’s largest single political donor.
The Media Has Not Done One Story On Who Silver's Fed Rats Lobbyists Brian Meara and Gleenwood's Charles Dorego Are
  • Silver pocketed $700,000 from the scam and sold out tenants during the 2011 renewal of New York City rent regulations, the feds say.
  • The feds seized $3.8 million in allegedly corrupt payments to Silver that were stashed in eight accounts spread out among six banks.
  • Bharara said the charges against Silver demonstrated “the show-me-the-money culture of Albany has been perpetuated and promoted at the very top of the political food chain.” He also warned, “Our unfinished fight against public corruption continues. Stay tuned.”
After the Arrests of Silver and Skelos on Taking Money From Real Estate the Media Has Not Written A Word On the Shadow Govt Which Runs NY
  • Albany lawmakers were left reeling, with one top Democratic operative telling The Post: “There’s a lot of people scared s- -tless because Shelly covered up for a lot of people. Many big players in the political circles are worried the dominos are going to fall hard.”
  • Silver was charged with two counts of honest-services fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud, one count of extortion under color of official right and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
Team Silver Exits: The Mighty Fall 
The Post’s Bob McManus, however, writes that Tisch’s retirement as Regents chancellor and the retirement of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman mark an end to any lingering influence Assemblyman Sheldon Silver had over public affairs in the state
Sheldon Silver’s corrupt empire fallsas cronies exit public life (NYP Ed) One minute you’re the king of New York, never mind what Andrew Cuomo thinks, and 10 months later it’s all dust — your lawyers are preparing for a trial that could send you to prison for a very long time, and your friends in high places are falling over like bowling pins. The announcement that Merryl Tisch will bestanding down as chancellor of the state Board of Regents — the most powerful position in New York education — marks an end to whatever lingering influence former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may have had over public affairs in the Empire State. Similarly, the pending retirement of Court of Appeals Chief Justice (and trial-lawyer partisan) Jonathan Lippman removes Silver’s once extremely influential hand from the state court system. There is no small irony in the fact that Silver’s alleged abuse of the trial courts — US Attorney Preet Bharara charges that Silver abused his high office to corruptly make it rain for the power-house tort firm Weitz & Luxenberg — led to his own indictment. It extended far beyond Tisch and Lippman, of course. The same constitutional quirk that led to her chancellorship, for example, allowed the speaker to hand-pick state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli after then-incumbent Alan Hevesi left office en route to his own prison term. * The state Board of Regents announced plans to form its own panel to weigh improvements to the new teacher evaluation system, and its members are expected to be similar to those who sat on other Regents panels,the Times Union reports:  * Editorial: Merryl Tisch, uncommon to the core (NYDN Ed)The Daily News writes that Tisch’s retirement marks a“perilous setback” in the fight to raise educational standards, but notes that her advocacy may be particularly important in 2016 now that she’s free from political constraints: *Tisch Wishes She Communicated Better With Parents (YNN)






Silver's Evidence Disconnect 
Mountain of evidence will bury Silver, experts say (NYP) In one of the hardest blows against Silver, federal prosecutors revealed last week that the doctor at the center of his case will testify he only referred cancer patients to Silver’s law firm because the politician was funneling him state money in a clear “quid pro quo.” “You have a witness who is going to define the quid pro quo involving a public official, and this witness testifies that he got something of value from that public official in return for something — in this case money,” Ronald Hosko, former FBI assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division, said of testimony set to be given by Dr. Robert Taub. “That is absolutely damning evidence against Mr. Silver because it suggests that he was not acting out of the public good,” Hosko added. “He was acting of a personal motivation to enrich himself — it’s all about money and greed. That’s damning, very damning.”


Silver Doc Details Pay to Play Cancer Money and Selfish Jets
‘Corruption’ doc set to deliver death blow to Sheldon Silver (NYP) The doctor at the center of the corruption charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver “disapproved” of him and his law firm and referred cancer patients there only as long as Silver was funneling him state money for research, new court papers claim. Dr. Robert Taub allegedly was so unhappy with the deal to send asbestos-related cancer patients to Silver that once the speaker stopped their quid pro quo, the physician began referring his patients to more ethical lawyers, the paper says. Taub, who got nearly of $500,000 in state money for his research funneled to him from Silver, didn’t like that the firm failed to give any of the millions it made off cancer cases to mesothelioma research. “The Government expects that Dr. Taub will testify that for many years he disapproved of [Silver’s] law firm Weitz & Luxenberg because it made millions of dollars from representing mesothelioma victims (enough to buy ‘private jets’), and yet it did not donate money to support mesothelioma research,” federal prosecutors wrote in the new court papers, which were filed Monday. “Because of this disapproval, but for Dr. Taub’s quid pro quo relationship with the defendant, Dr. Taub would not have sent dozens of patients to Silver at Weitz & Luxenberg, resulting in millions of dollars to Silver personally.” The new court papers also state that Taub stopped sending patients to Silver once Silver stopped funneling him state money for cancer research — further evidence of a quid pro quo, according to prosecutors.*  In court papers filed yesterday in the federal corruption case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, US Attorney Preet Bharara said he wants to enter into evidence “expressions of concern, surprise and fear shared among the lobbyists and representatives of” real estate developer Glenwood Management. * The doctor at the center of the Silver scandal “disapproved” of him and his law firm and referred cancer patients there only as long as the former speaker was funneling him state money for research, the court papers claim.

Silver Flying On Govt Dollars From Frequent-Flyer Diversions to Private Cancer Jets
An e-mail Taub sent to an unidentified member of the nonprofit Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation in 2010 shows how much the doctor disliked Weitz & Luxenberg.  Dr. Taub stated that he mentioned to the patient that Simmons “is interested in supporting meso research throughout the country, not just private jets,” says the e-mail, which is filed as an exhibit to the new court papers. Taub also claims in the e-mail that a Weitz & Luxenberg lawyer had already called an 80-year-old cancer patient he was treating and trying to refer to the foundation, noting that the money-hungry attorney told the patient he would be charged 30 percent of the settlement fee. “Boy, the environment for new cases in NY is canine-eat-canine,” Taub wrote in the e-mail. Flashback Freuent-Flyer "He brags about his ability to build up mileage,” said one Albany insider. “Taxpayers are footing the bill to allow Shelly to fly halfway around the world on a mileage program.” Sheldon Silver goes out of his way to bank frequent-flier miles nypost.com/..



Vito Lopez and Gov Cuomo Among the Witness Silver Plans to Call At His Trial
Who's who of Albanypolitics on list of potential witnesses in Sheldon Silver corruption trial(Newsday) Defense lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have listed a virtual who's who of Albany politics including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as potential witnesses or subjects of testimony at Silver's upcoming federal corruption trial. Also included on a list of 62 names to ask prospective jurors if they knew are indicted state Sen. Dean Skelos, Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, prominent lobbyists Pat Lynch and Brian Meara, and high profile real estate figures such as Larry Silverstein, Leonard Litwin, Steve Spinola and Jack Rudin. In addition to big-name lobbyists and real estate moguls, it included current and former Assembly members, such as Vito Lopez of Brooklyn, Herman "Denny" Farrell and Keith Wright of Manhattan, and Audrey Pheffer of Queens. It also included a range of current and former top Assembly staffers, including Dean Fuleihan, now New York City's budget director, longtime Silver aide Judy Rapfogel, and former Assembly counsel Jim Yates. * Cuomo could be called as witness in upcoming Sheldon Silver trial (NYP)

Corrupt Silver Scandal Doc Back At Work for Now . . .  School Still Wants Him Out
Doctor at center of Silver scandal gets his job back — for now (NYP) The ousted Columbia University doctor embroiled in the corruption scandal of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has gotten his job back — for now. But the school wants to make him pay for the privilege as it continues to seek his ouster. Lawyers for Columbia are asking a Manhattan Supreme Court justice to make Dr. Robert Taub post a $350,000 bond pending a special hearing on whether he can keep his position. Silver Lawyers Say Feds Gamed Them Attorneys for ex-Assemblyman Sheldon Silver say they're being 'gamed' by prosecutors before trial (NYDN) Attorneys for disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said Tuesday they were being “gamed” by prosecutors less than a month before the start of his corruption trial. Attorney Steven Molo said in Manhattan Federal Court the government turned over 10,000 documents about a witness at the center of the scandal unnecessarily late. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen said the government “is not gaming anything” and that the documents were simply part of an ongoing investigation



The Silver Investigation Led to the Skelos Investigation the Corruption Connection Real Estate Glenwood's $$$ 
Sheldon Silver probe led to ‘incriminating’ evidence against Skelos (NYP) Federal proecutors​ ​​reaped a​ ​​windfall ​when they subpoenaed a real-estate development firm last year​ ​as part of their investigation into then-Assembly ​S​peaker Sheldon Silver​ ​and it turned up incriminating material about former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos,​ ​new court papers state. The prosecutors sent a grand jury subpoena to Glenwood Management in May 2014 as part of their probe into outside income earned by Silver, according to the Manhattan federal court papers. “As part of the document requests, the Silver [Glenwood] subpoena asked for all documents concerning political contributions to state officials or parties​​, and concerning the New York State Legislature,” state the newly un-redacted court papers, which don’t mention Glenwood by name.  “In addition to the materials about Dean Skelos produced by Developer-1, starting in or about May 2014, the Government began issuing grand jury subpoenas related to Dean Skelos.”* In a filing unsealed yesterday federal prosecutors revealed that they subpoenaed all eight Long Island Republican Senate colleagues of Sen. Dean Skelos in the course of building their corruption case against the former majority leader.* Federal prosecutors​ ​​reaped a​ ​​windfall ​when they subpoenaed a real-estate development firm, Glenwood Management, last year​ ​as part of their investigation into then-Assembly ​S​peaker Sheldon Silver​ ​and it turned up incriminating material about Skelos,​ ​new court papers state.  *Who's who of Albanypolitics potential witnesses in Sheldon Silver's trial @Newsday 

The Media Only Reports the Action of the Prosecutors Leaves Out the Governor and Other Lawmakers That On the Tit of Litwin and Other Real Estate Developers
 The papers don’t make clear what the materials are. The prosecutors had begun probing Skelos in April 2014 but their investigation had focused on his work for a Long Island law firm until his name popped up in the subpoenaed material from Glenwood, the papers say. Within a few months, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigators broadened the probe to include Skelos’ son Adam, who was indicted alongside his dad in May.  Some of the charges Skelos and his son face stem from their relationship with Glenwood, including the company arranging for Adam Skelos to get a $20,000 check from a title insurance company for work he never did, prosecutors have said. The new information in the court papers also reveals details about the investigations into Skelos and his son, including that investigators sent subpoenas to all New York state senators representing Long Island in April. The trial of Dean and Adam Skelos is set to begin Nov. 16. * Cuomo said there’s no federal investigation “that I know of” into any nano facilities in the Syracuse area. 

 Prosecutors discover Dean Skelos link during Sheldon Silver investigation (NYDN) New filings from the feds show that in May 2014 prosecutors for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara subpoenaed records of political donations by the politically connected developer Leonard Litwin. The subpoena was part of an investigation into Silver’s outside income, but prosecutors also searched for Skelos’ name, documents show. They discovered Skelos and his son had a connection to the real estate powerhouse as well, papers say. Skelos is charged with using his former position as majority leader to arrange cushy no-show jobs for his son. * Cuomo stonewalling goes from bad to worse (Investigative Post) * It’s been two months since the executive director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Letizia Tagliafierro, resigned from the position to take a job at the Department of Taxation and Finance. Yet there’s little public indication so far that the panel is casting a wide net in the search for her successor, as leadership of the ethics and lobbying watchdog panel has promised.

 Flashback Cuomo pressured to return $1M in Glenwood donations (Real Deal) * Andrew Cuomo raised$5.2M in campaign donations in six months (NYDN) * REBNY members gave a tenth of all N.Y. campaign money ... (PoliticoNY) *  Real estate mogul Leonard Litwin’s money filled campaigncoffers of AG Schneiderman and Controller DiNapoli (NYDN) * Real estate big blankets state Senate races with contributions (NY World) * Ratner (and wife) support Working Families Party, Cuomo, Schneiderman; even a contribution to Citizens Union (AYR) * Four LLCs tied to Leonard Litwin donated $162,000 to thePAC, according to Capital. Donald Zucker, who sits on REBNY’s executive committee and board of governors, was linked to 18 of the LLCs, which donated a combined $160,500 To the Jobs for New York PAC

Litwin's Glenwood Pushing Gentrification 421-a Was Not Only the Biggest Contributor to State Pols But City Pols As Well
 Glenwood Management famously utilized multipleLLCs to donate $3.6 million to various New York candidates in 2014, including $1 million to Gov.Andrew Cuomo’s campaign. * 1. NYS SENATE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE $1,131,000  2. ANDREW CUOMO 2014, INC. $1,089,200  3. NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION PAF $768,550  4. JOBS FOR NEW YORK, INC. $587,600  5. NYS SENATE REPUBLICAN CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE - HOUSEKEEPING $550,000


The Media's Cover-Up of Glenwood's 421-a Albany Corruption
Silver's Lawyers Want Silver's Piggy Bank Gleenwood Kept Them Out of the Trial
Prosecutors want to use developer’s political donations as evidence in Silver trial (NYP) Federal prosecutors argue they should be able to introduce a real-estate developer’s political contributions as evidence in Sheldon Silver’s public corruption trial because the money reveals “Silver’s state of mind in choosing to engage in a bribery and extortion scheme,” new court papers state. Lawyers for the ex-Assembly Speaker want the contributions made by Glenwood Management barred from Silver’s trial because they are “irrelevant” and “prejudicial,” their recent court papers state. But federal prosecutors fired back Wednesday. “Developer-1’s political contributions certainly are relevant to this case,” read the government papers, which don’t mention Glenwood by name. “They are highly probative of Silver’s state of mind in choosing to engage in a bribery and extortion scheme involving Developer-1, and they are highly probative of Developer-1’s state of mind in agreeing to make extortion payments to Silver.” Silver faces charges he pocketed at least $700,000 in kickbacks for steering and another real-estate developer to law firms that then gave him a cut of the fees, court papers state. Glenwood is the state’s biggest political donor, giving more than $10 million to candidates and political committees since 2005, including $200,000 to Silver. Silver’s lawyers also want to block prosecutors from offering evidence of the arrests and convictions of other legislators, but prosecutors wrote Wednesday that all they want to introduce at trial is “particular recordings where Silver himself claims that his conduct is appropriate in comparison to other indicted legislators.”

Federal prosecutors argue they should be able to introduce a real-estate developer’s political contributions as evidence in former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s public corruption trial
Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should not give 'confusing testimony' about $4M kickback schemes: prosecutors  (NYDN) Disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should not be allowed to tell a jury that the kickback schemes that netted him nearly $4 million complied with state laws, federal prosecutors wrote Wednesday. New filings from Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Preet Bharara's office ask Judge Valerie Caproni to prohibit Silver from introducing "inadmissible and confusing testimony about New York State law." The government says it intends to prove Silver failed to disclose the nature of his income on state-mandated disclosure forms — which it will then use as evidence that Silver broke federal laws. He is charged with seven counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion. "Silver's compliance or non-compliance with state laws is irrelevant to the charges here, and risks confusing the jury and prolonging the trial," Assistant Manhattan U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen wrote. The government says it should also be able highlight contributions from Leonard Litwin, one of the biggest political donors in the state. Silver is alleged to have directed Litwin, who was pursuing tax breaks from Albany, to give work to a real estate law firm with ties to Silver.

Silver's Trial Exposes Moreland Panel Belief That Cuomo Intervened In Their Investigations
Leaders of Moreland Commission Panel Felt Cuomo Intervened, Prosecutors Say (NYT) The United States Attorney’s office summarized the officials’ statements in a letter included in court papers filed by lawyers for Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker. Senior officials of a state anticorruption commission shut down last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have told federal prosecutors that they believed he and his staff intervened in its operations “in a manner that, at times, led them to question the independence” of the panel, the prosecutors said in a recent letter. The letter, which briefly summarizes the officials’ statements, was attached to court papers filed on Friday night by lawyers forSheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, as he prepares for his corruption case in federal court in Manhattan.The officials have not spoken publicly about the involvement of the governor’s office in the operation of the panel, which was known as the Moreland Commission. * Andrew Cuomo controlled anti-corruption commission: courts (NYP) Gov. Cuomo and his staff tampered with their anti-corruption commission to the point where panel members believed they were handcuffed, ​Moreland Commission ​panelists told prosecutors.  “Various members and staff of the Moreland Commission, including Kathleen Rice, Milton Williams, and Danya Perry stated during interviews, in substance and in part, that they believed that Governor Cuomo and his staff were intervening in the activities of the Moreland Commission in a manner that, at times, led them to question the independence of the Moreland Commission,” Bharara wrote in the last paragraph of a July 29 letter to defense lawyers.* Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Bill de Blasio ramp up rhetoric (WSJ)


Silver Just Being Silver
New documents reveal Sheldon Silver’s back-room dealings (NYP) Included in e-mails put into the court record by federal prosecutors is one from the cancer doctor at the center of Silver’s case, who writes to an associate, “If he delivers, I am sure it will cost me” about the then-Assembly Speaker helping him get city permits for a charity walk. Silver also stepped in to block a Manhattan drug clinic on behalf of a real-estate developer who was paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars. And he even wrote a letter on his official Assembly stationary to try to reduce property taxes on his own Lower East Side apartment building, the papers, filed Friday, allege.  The new court papers detail how Silver blocked a methadone clinic slated to open near a Glenwood building.“I thought Shelly killed this damn thing?!” a Glenwood rep wrote in a 2013 e-mail after another clinic was proposed near the same building. “We need to kill this again,” a Glenwood lobbyist responded.

The Media is Still Covering Up Real Estate's Role in the Silver, Skelos and the Killing of the Moreland Commission
 “Silver’s efforts to reduce local real-estate taxes for his own building — without disclosing to the Department of Finance that he resided in the building and accordingly stood to personally benefit — reflects deliberate deception by Silver ,” prosecutors wrote. In July 2011, the New York Post reported that Silver, a prominent proponent of rent stabilization, had led the campaign to take the complex market rate, although he denied that he had played a role.* Federal prosecutors allege former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver intervened with state agencies to block a Manhattan substance abuse clinic as a favor to a powerful developer helping Silver generate legal fees, Newsday reports:  * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver intervened with state agencies to block a Manhattan substance abuse clinic as a favor to a powerful developer (lenwood Management Corp.) that owned a nearby building and was helping Silver generate legal fees for himself, federal prosecutors allege in a new court filing. * How Sheldon Silver rewarded political friends (reports)


Their statements to prosecutors are in contrast to Mr. Cuomo’s assertions last summer that his office did not inappropriately intervene in the work of the panel, which he created in July 2013 and abruptly disbandednine months later. It is unclear from the filings how or if the defense or government might seek to use the former Moreland officials’ statements about Mr. Cuomo in Mr. Silver’s trial, or if they would be allowed to by the judge. The trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 2. The government says in the letter, which is dated July 29, that the statements about the actions of Mr. Cuomo and his staff came from “various members and staff” of the commission — including two of the panel’s three co-chairs and its chief of investigations.

An investigation by The New York Times published in July 2014 showed that Mr. Cuomo’s office had hobbled the Moreland Commission’s work, intervening when it focused on groups with ties to the governor or on issues that might reflect poorly on him. In response, Mr. Cuomo said that his office had merely offered advice to the panel, which he said possessed “total independence.”

He repeatedly cited a statement released by one of the panel’s three co-chairs, William J. Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, who said that “nobody ‘interfered’ with me or my co-chairs.” On Saturday, Mr. Fitzpatrick declined to comment on the court filing, saying he was not privy to the exact substance of what was said in the interviews between prosecutors and the individuals in question. He added that there remains in his mind a big difference between interference and attempted interference.






Assembly Paying $256K to Lawyers Involving Lawmaker No Longer In Office
Assembly paying $256G for sexual harassment issues (NYDN) The Assembly over the past month paid out $256,000 to law firms working on sexual harassment-related issues involving lawmakers who are no longer in office, state Controller Thomas DiNapoli reported Tuesday. The Senate during that period paid another $381,000 to an outside law firm for legal fees related to the defense of former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who ultimately was acquitted of federal corruption charges.
Albany Hush Fund Cover Up, Press Containment Timeline



Silver and Skelos Trials Both Scheduled for November
This Month Both Sampson and Libous Convicted
Friday Disgraced ex-state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam will stand trialon corruption raps in November – the same month that former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s graft trial is scheduled to begin. * The Skeloses pleaded not guilty to new bribery and extortion charges laid out in a recent superseding indictment. * Former Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala officially announced her campaign for the 52nd district state Senate seat formerly held by Tom Libous, who was found guilty of one count of lying to the FBI on July 22. “I’m here to announce the end of my retirement,” Fiala told her supporters. * Sen. John DeFrancisco was selected as the deputy majority leader of the state Senate, making him the second in command in the chamber. More hereNassau County awarded a $200,000 no-bid consulting contract to former Republican state Sen. Michael Balboni without legislative approval, and has paid him more than $64,000 to date. * Senate Republicans Plan Push To Keep Libous Seat (YNN)
IDC GOP Senate Coalition and Skelos  Flanagan



Skelos And Son Plead Not GuiltTo New Charges: Dean Skelos, the former Senate majority leader, and his son Ad... * Skelos And Son Plead Not Guilty To New Charges (YNN) * Despite Reformers’ Calls, A Special Ethics Session Seems Unlikely (YNN) *  Leader @SenatorSkelos, son pleadinnocence in new bribery charges. Trial set for Nov. 16 via @AP Former NYS Majority Leader @SenatorSkelos, son pleadinnocence in new bribery charges. Trial set for Nov. 16 via @AP* State Senate Majority John Flanagan appointed state Sen. John DeFrancisco as the Senate deputy majority leader after the post was vacated last week when the former deputy leader, Tom Libous, was convicted last week, Gannett Albany writes:   * Dean Skelos, Son
Plead Not Guilty to New Corruption Charges   


Silver Fails to Get His Case Dismissed Again in Court —the third time he has made the request
Ex-NY Assembly Speaker Again Fails to Dismiss Corruption Charges U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in New York denied Silver’s request to throw out the case, saying that none of his arguments were persuasive. Silver is scheduled to face trial in November on charges that he used his position to collect millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes.





Silver's Son-in-Law Pleads Guilty Does This Mean the Former Speaker Has Become A Rat
Shelly Silver's son-in-law pleaded guilty today torunning a Ponzi scheme (NBC) A son-in-law of indicted former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pleaded guilty today to operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of nearly $6 million over seven years. * Sheldon Silver's son-in-law admits running $7M fraud (CrainsNY) * #SheldonSilver's son-in-law pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to securities fraud  (Capital) * Sheldon Silver's son-in-law admits running $7M fraud  * A son-in-law of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Marcello Trebitsch, pleaded guilty to running a $6 million Ponzi scheme. As part of his plea agreement, Trebitsch agreed to pay back more than $5.9 million to the victims. His sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 2. * Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s son-in-law Marcello Trebitsch pleaded guilty Monday to securities fraud and agreed to pay back more than $5.9 million to victims in the scheme, the Times reports:  Monday * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spent $1,525,000 from his campaign account on lawyers this year after being arrested and accused of taking “kickbacks” from individuals with business before the state, theTimes Union  * Former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver has spent over $1.5 million in campaign funds on attorneys since January. His campaign committee also reported a loss in its savings through a $183,738 “unrealized investment loan” with Fidelity, and $290,870 in incoming cash from investments. * Freshman Democratic Sen. Marc Panepinto pressed state Workers Compensation Board officials to take action favored by his multi-million-dollar law firm, and it’s unclear whether he sought approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission before doing so. * It’s a lucrative time in Albany to be a white-collar lawyer. More than $1.9 million worth of campaign cash was spent on attorneys’ fees by some of the state’s most prominent elected officials between January and July, state Board of Elections filings show.

Silver's lawyers to Court What Crime
Sheldon Silver Cites Supreme Court Decision inAsking Judge to Toss Charge (NYO) In a motion to dismiss a superseding indictment against Mr. Silver, his attorneys made the same argument about the law behind one of the seven charges leveled against him: “monetary transactions involving crime proceedings.” Mr. Silver is accused of presenting as legitimate outside income from law firms what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleges was actually millions of dollars of kickbacks and bribes gained through his official position in Albany, using his influence to steer real estate developers to a law firm that paid him for referrals and to trade research funds for asbestos patient referrals. In the case of Johnson v. United States, the high court found that the Armed Career Criminal Act’s inclusion of any felony that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another” was too vague—and that the law didn’t have to be vague in every single application for it to be void.


Silver Covers-Up His Outside Income Again
Sheldon Silver refuses to disclose outside income, citingupcoming corruption trial (NYDN) * Silver Shies From Disclosure, Klein Discloses To The Penny (YNN) “Given pending proceedings in Federal Court it is inappropriate to answer this question,” Silver wrote.  “I think given the pending circumstances, the former speaker should be bending over backwards to be as open as possible about his outside employment,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group.  A year ago, Silver reported that his work for law firm Weitz & Luxenberg and other legal work generated up to $750,000 in 2013. Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who also faces federal corruption charges, reported earning between $150,000 to $250,000 from the firm Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale. New Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) reported earning between $100,000 and $150,000 in 2014 from the law firm of Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana in Uniondale. Flanagan announced in May that he had given up his outside legal work.  New Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s only outside income — between $1,000 and $5,000 — came from his job as an adjunct professor at Monroe College in the Bronx. Heastie (D-Bronx) also reported up to $90,000 in credit card and other debts. *  Citing his pending trial on federal corruption charges, former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver declined to disclose his outside income for 2014, according to the JCOPE, which released financial disclosure statements yesterday for every state legislator.


.Secret Government Lobbyists Partner With Silver in Corruption Rats on Speaker

Close friend, top lobbyist helped feds take down Sheldon Silver(NYP) Brian Meara, 63, is the person referred to in court papers as “the Lobbyist” who revealed that Silver told him “there was nothing to worry about” regarding the speaker secretly sharing in legal fees paid by Meara’s client, billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the sources said. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest aided by closefriend, Albanylobbyist(NYDN) Brian Meara has been cooperating as a 'fact witness' as part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation, sources told The News. The criminal complaint against Silver references an unnamed lobbyist who the sources say was Meara. According to the criminal complaint, the lobbyist represented a developer who was using a law firm that paid Silver for bringing in business. The developer, sources say, was politically connected Leonard Litwin, who Meara repped at the time. “The fact that Meara is the witness is not a good sign for Shelly,” said one Albany insider, alluding to how much Meara knows about his pal. In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers. His clients also include the Yankees owners and the Silvercup Studios production facility in Queens.


Feds LOL, Silver Bribes Were legal Fees 
Feds mock Sheldon Silver’s bid to dismiss corruption charges (NYP) Federal prosecutors mocked ex-state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s attempt to get his corruption charges dismissed, writing in court papers filed Friday that the payments he received were kickbacks whether they were handed over as “cash in a suitcase or disguised as referral fees.’’ Silver has tried unsuccessfully to get the charges tossed in the past by claiming he violated no federal law by receiving fees for referring cases to a law firm. “As much as Silver may wish otherwise, bribes, kickbacks and extortion are just as illegal in New York as they are in every other state,” the prosecutors wrote.  Silver resigned as Assembly speaker after he was charged in January.

It Took the Feds to Make Silver Vote his Mind Not His Pocketbook 
 Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, known for his control over his conference during his decades in power, has begun to vote against the party at times since losing his leadership position Out of power, Sheldon Silver votes his mind (Capital) * Now that he’s no longer speaker, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver has been able to vote however he wants on bills, which means he’s sometimes voting “no”, which he never used to do.

Silver $4 Million Dollars I Made Is Standard Practice  
Sheldon Silver reiterates that $4M earned was standard practice  (NYDN) Sheldon Silver reiterated Thursday that the alleged corruption schemes that authorities say earned him $4 million were merely standard practice in Albany and well within the law. The defense from Silver's lawyers Steven Molo and Joel Cohen came in response to Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s superseding indictment against the disgraced Lower East Side assemblyman. In the new indictment prosecutors detailed the alleged lengths to which Silver went to invest his corrupt cash, thus hiding it from investigators. But Silver’s attorneys said he’d earned the money fair and square, so there was nothing shady about his investing it. They called the newer charge of monetary transactions involving criminal proceeds “gratuitously tacked on.”* Silver attorneys ask again for dismissal (Capital)  Lawyers file third motion to dismiss in federal court



When Will the Daily News Ask the Albany Lawmakers If Silver Will Rat Them Out? 
(NYDN) “I intend to fully represent my constituents in the best way I know how,” he told the Daily News. “I am confident I will be fully vindicated.” Some close to Silver said he’s had a hard time adjusting after more than two decades as one of the state’s most powerful men. But others, including former Senate Democratic Leaders Martin Connor, Malcolm Smith, and John Sampson, stayed on after giving up their leadership posts. Some believe Silver wants to hang on as a bargaining chip with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But by law Silver would be automatically required to give up his seat if convicted of any felony regardless of what type of deal is cut.* Cuomo’s ethics reform package includes exemptions that would not subject state legislators to “total disclosure” of their income sources, which Cuomo has suggested was necessary, Capital New York reports Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the defunct Moreland Commission, says he has “no personal knowledge of the guilt or innocence of Speaker Silver.” …The DA also says he wasn’t surprised by the charges brought against Silver. Silver marched Sunday in Chinatown’s Lunar New Year parade as he usually does, and there appeared to be no signs that he is under federal indictment. At the parade, some fellow elected officials praised Silver for helping to push through a law allowing a Chinese new year holiday, while others tried to avoid being photographed with him.



Former Assembly Members Celebrate With Silver While His Fellow Members Protect His Pension
Silver Jokes About Corruption Case
Indicted Sheldon Silver celebrated at Assembly dinner (NYP) He’s under federal indictment, but that didn’t stopSheldon Silver’s colleagues from celebrating his tenure in the Assembly — treating him as a venerated peer rather than a pariah. The so-called “Pilots” dinner honors Assembly members who served at least five terms. Former Assembly speakers are invited to speak. He called out to former Staten Island Assemblyman Eric Vitaliano, who is now a federal judge in Brooklyn. “Shelly said, ‘Judge Vitaliano is in the Eastern District. It’s a quiet place. The action is in the Southern District [where Silver is being tried],’’’ one attendee said. “We all laughed.” * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon was a featured speaker at a dinner for veteran legislators this past Monday night at the Franklin Plaza in Troy, where he received a hearty ovation from both Republicans and Democrats. He put attendees at east by cracking a subtle joke about his corruption case

7 Days Ago True News Said the U.S. Attorney Was Target Silver's Kids to Pressure the Speaker, Skelos Daily News Copies Today
Is Bharara going after pols' kids to press parents?(NYDN) Albany insiders question whether U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (pictured) is deliberately going after the kids of Dean Skelos, Sheldon Silver and other embattled lawmakers to pressure their powerful dads into cooperating or taking plea deals. “The only time I’ve seen it this prevalent is when they’re going after organized crime families, and they’re trying to squeeze the bosses,” a former federal prosecutor said. Albany insiders question whether Bharara is deliberately going after the kids to pressure their powerful lawmaker dads into cooperating or taking plea deals.* Top Lawmakers Often Under Prosecutors’ Scrutiny( YNN)




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Feds Pressure Silver's Daughter to Talk By Leaking She is A Is A Target . . .  Will the Speaker Rat on Member and Developers?
Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s daughter is under investigation and will likely face charges in the alleged $7 million Ponzi scheme that got her husband arrested, the Post writes: Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s daughter is under investigation and will likely face charges in thealleged $7 million Ponzi scheme that got her husband busted, a law-enforcement source told The Post on Tuesday. * Michelle Trebitsch, 37, “is involved” and “most likely will squeeze a plea [deal],” the source added. * Trebitsch’s husband, Marcello Trebitsch, was charged Monday with running a five-year fraud that scammed a Maryland-based developer and his accountant with promises of double-digit profits from trades in large-cap stocks. * According to court papers, Michelle met with the developer in 2009 at a Manhattan restaurant where she said she co-owned her husband’s investment fund, Allese Capita LLC, “and that she was a CPA and maintained the books and records for Allese.”

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Feds Bang Silver's Family . . .  The Soldiers in Mob Families 
Sheldon Silver son-in-law busted by FBI in alleged Ponzi scheme (NYP) A son-in-law of disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was busted by the feds Monday on charges he ran a $7 million Ponzi scheme. Marcello Trebitsch, who’s married to Silver’s daughter, Michelle Trebitsch, allegedly promised his victims double-digit returns with very low risk before the scam collapsed. Trebistch claimed he would use investors’ money to buy large-cap stocks through Allese Capital LLC, a firm he co-owns with his wife, who is a certified public accountant, according to the feds. But he only actually invested a portion of the funds — and racked up “enormous trading losses” he kept secret — and spent the rest on himself and to pay back other investors.* Sheldon Silver’s Son-in-Law Is Arrested and Charged With Securities Fraud (NYT)Marcello Trebitsch is accused of defrauding investors out of $7 million, according to a criminal complaint.* Sheldon Silver’s son-in-law arrested, accused of defrauding investors with $7M Ponzi scheme (NYDN) * Former NYS Assembly Speaker's son-in-law facing federalfraud charges.(CBS6) *Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s son-in-law was arrested and accused of defrauding investors out of $7 million. Silver’s daughter is co-owner and managing partner of her husband’s investment fund, but she was not charged.

This Arrests of Silver's Son-In-Law Comes After the Former Speakers Lawyers Failed to Get His Case Dismissed On the Grounds  Prejudicial Statements They Claimed My By Bharara


Grand Jury Targeting Skelos Though his Son
Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader,and His Son Are Said to Be Focus of Corruption Inquiry (NYT) Federal prosecutors have begun presenting evidence to a grand jury considering a case against the leader of the New York State Senate, Dean G. Skelos of Long Island, and his son, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Investigators have served a number of subpoenas in recent weeks, including several to state senators on Long Island, and federal prosecutors have interviewed people who have had dealings with Adam Skelos, the Republican senator’s son. One focal point has been Adam Skelos’s hiring by an Arizona company, AbTech Industries, as well as a storm-water treatment contract that AbTech was awarded by Nassau County — the senator’s political backyard — even though the company was not the low bidder. Another area of inquiry has been a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company that he never worked for. Feds are also examining whether his son’s hiring as a consultant was part of a scheme in which the senator, in exchange, would take official action that would benefit AbTech or another company, Glenwood Management, a politically influential real estate developer that has had ties to AbTech.


Silver Trial Set for November 2  
Silver Back in Court Pleads Not Guilty 
Former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver will be arraigned again tomorrow morning after a new indictment charged him with transferring his crime proceeds into investments not available to the general public. * A large majority of New Yorkers believe new ethics laws shepherded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo into the state budget deal last month will have “no real effect on reducing corruption in state government,” according to a new Siena poll.* Ex-N.Y. Speaker Sheldon Silver pleads not guilty tocorruption charges (Bloomberg)t's a nice reminder that we have 4 sitting lawmakers under active federal indictment: Scarborough, Tom Libous, Shelly Silver & John Sampson * Lawyers for Silver accuse feds of withholding evidence(NYP) * Sheldon Silver's corruption trial set for November (NYDN) * Silver Arraigned on Charges in Federal Court (NY1) * Trial for embattled Assemblyman Sheldon Silver set forNovember: (DNAINFO)


Additional Charge Against Silver
Former New YorkAssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Faces New Charges (Huff Post) U.S. prosecutors unveiled new charges against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Thursday, accusing him of taking official actions on behalf of an investor who provided access to a high-return, low-risk investment vehicle. A revised indictment issued by a Manhattan federal grand jury added four new counts to three earlier ones facing the Democratic politician, who was first hit with public corruption charges in January. Beyond charges of honest services mail and wire fraud and extortion, the indictment says Silver engaged in monetary transactions involving crime proceeds by investing money from the scheme in a private investment vehicle. Silver never paid fees to the investor, but took certain official actions at the investor's request, the indictment said. By January, Silver's investment in the high-rate, little-risk investment vehicle had grown to $1.4 million, the indictment said. * Feds beef up Silver indictment with new charge(NYP) The superseding indictment accuses Silver of transferring the proceeds of his criminal acts into accounts controlled by another investor, who then transferred the money into another investment controlled by the former politician. “In or about February 2013 * Prosecutors target Silver’s investments (Capital)

Silver Doubles His Money With Tin Box Money With Investor Also Did Government Favor 4
Silver transferred a check in the amount of $50,000 from the Silver Account to the Investor-1 Account, which money was then distributed to an investment vehicle on behalf of Silver,” the new count of the indictment reads. “Investor 1” is identified in the indictment as someone who has access to private high-yield investment opportunities. The indictment lists multiple instances of similar behavior.* US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office expands its indictmentagainst former Assemb speaker Sheldon Silver  (Capital)The new charge alleges that, in or around 2006, Silver began using money derived from those schemes to open an investment account with “Investor-1,” who, according to the new indictment, “had access to private, high-yield investment opportunities, to distribute his crime proceeds across numerous high-yield investment vehicles not available to the general public.” The funds came from an account that Silver used to deposit both his checks from the Assembly, as well as the outside income. The investor provided access to a “private investment vehicle that promised a high annual rate of return with little risk” for which Silver “did not pay any fee or remuneration,” according to the indictment, which also claims Silver “took certain official actions as requested by Investor-1.” By January 2015, the indictment claims that Silver moved approximately $642,000 from his account into the investment fund, and that his account matured to a value of more than $1.4 million. * Sheldon Silver Faces New Charge in Corruption Case (NYT) Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, is accused of abusing his office in order to obtain nearly $4 million in illicit payments through two law firms.* Federal prosecutors filed a new charge against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, alleging he did official favors for an investor in exchange for access to investment opportunities, The Wall StreetJournal reports:  * Sheldon Silver hit with new charges over investments tied to alleged kickback schemes (NYT)

We Understand Silver's Lawyers and GOP Cox Protecting Skelos Attacking Bharara But The Nation?
As Preet Bharara approaches his sixth anniversary as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, it’s hard not to think that he is looking and sounding more and more like a candidate for higher office, the Nation writes: * If US Attorney Preet Bharara’s insistence that he’s not interested in seeking elected office turns out not to be true, he might have some trouble, thanks to “a spate of recent judicial challenges, rulings, and setbacks that have many questioning whether he has veered into overly aggressive behavior.” * Advice former federal prosecutor-turned-Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky has given his colleagues: “Look, if someone offers you a bag of money, don’t take it.” Cox: Bharara Trying Cases In Press - NY State of Politics


Silver's Send Stolen $$$ to Buffalo Investor 
Beefed up indictment vs. ex-Speaker Silver, appears toinvolve Buffalo’sJordan A. Levy. (Buffalo News)Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took “certain official actions” requested by a private investment executive believed to be Buffalo’s Jordan A. Levy, a longtime Silver friend whose advice helped make the once-powerful Democratic leader a wealthy man, according to a new indictment handed up by a federal grand jury on Thursday. Levy, a partner in JoRon Management LLC, an investment firm, has been represented in the Silver probe by lawyer Dennis C. Vacco, a former state attorney general and former U.S. attorney from Western New York. The only time, during the time period articulated in the indictment that Jordan Levy ever had conversations with Sheldon Silver in his official capacity as speaker was when Jordan Levy would talk about Buffalo-based projects, UB 2020, the Erie Canal Harbor and similar community-based initiatives.” A federal grand jury Thursday signed off on a superseding indictment brought by Bharara that includes a new count – “monetary transactions involving crime proceeds” – outlining how prosecutors believe Silver shifted illegal financial gains into various high-yield investments, including at least two with Buffalo connections. The indictment states Silver in 2011, with new disclosure requirements for lawmakers’ outside incomes, shifted more than $340,000 in Investment Vehicle-1 from his name to the name of a family member. By 2015, that investment account grew to more than $1.4 million, prosecutors say.* Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took “certain official actions” requested by a private investment executive believed to be Buffalo’s Jordan A. Levy, a longtime Silver friend whose advice helped make the once-powerful Democratic leader a wealthy man, according to a new indictment handed up by a federal grand jury. * The superseding indictment brought by Bharara includes a new count – “monetary transactions involving crime proceeds” – outlining how prosecutors believe Silver shifted illegal financial gains into various high-yield investments, including at least two with Buffalo connections. Silver now faces seven charges as opposed to the three contained in the original indictment filed in February. * “This new filing is an attempt by the government to address defects in the indictment that we raised in our motion to dismiss. We are reviewing this new pleading and we will respond as before, in court,” Silver’s attorneys said.

Silver Big Lawyers Says No Federal Offense . . .  Other Lawyers Going After His Control of the Asbestos Cases In Courts
Silver's Lawyers Try to Make Pay to Play Legal in Albany
Sheldon Silver’s Lawyers Again Ask Judge to Drop Indictment (NYT) Lawyers for Mr. Silver, who was forced to step down as the Assembly speaker after his arrest, argued that the conduct he is accused of “simply does not amount to any federal offense.” * Asbestos firms ready to fight Silver’s ‘slanted legal system’ (NYP) Now that disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is out of power, asbestos defense lawyers are revolting against what they say is a slanted legal system. Silver, who had ties to the mesothelioma-suit firm Weitz & Luxenberg, was accused of using his clout to stack the odds for plaintiffs. A group of 45 law firms that represent companies defending against asbestos lawsuits asked Administrative Judge Peter Moulton this week to put a 60-day moratorium on any pending and new cases to consider their gripes over Silver’s alleged influence.

Moulton replaced Justice Sherry Heitler as head of a special section of Manhattan Supreme Court called NYCAL, or New York City Asbestos Litigation, last month. Under her tenure, Heitler, at the request of Weitz & Luxenberg, last year lifted a 20-year rule that barred punitive damages in asbestos cases — paving the way for jackpot jury settlements and verdicts.*  The Assembly has retained a Manhattan law firm to provide legal help in the federal corruption charges brought against Silver. An initial contract, listed at $45,000, has been awarded to Zuckerman Spaeder. A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the retainer came after U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara requested official documents from the Assembly earlier this year.* What Preet finds 'distasteful' isn't illegal, argue SheldonSilver's lawyers in motion to dismiss corruption charges * Attorneys for Assemblyman Sheldon Silver argued that asbestos patient referrals by the former speaker were “just recommendations” and therefore within the rules of the law, the Daily News reports


Press Ignoring Bharara Pleas to Investigate Corruption Opens Door for Silver Lawyers to Blame the U.S. Attorney 
Bharara to Journalist Investigate Stop Copying My Press Releases do Investigative Reporting

One Year Ago

Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY) "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara. The press has a role to play. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said 

Bharara Trying to Repair New York's Broken Democracy Does the Job of the Press and the Missing Reform Political Leaders
ProsecutorDenies Creating a ‘Media Firestorm’ Over Sheldon Silver’s Arrest (NYT) * Preet Bharara DefendsHis Public Appearances at Zephyr Teachout Forum (NYO) Mr. Bharara told the filled room at the law school’s Lincoln Center campus that his public denunciations of Albany’s “culture of corruption” are intended to raise awareness of the ethics dilemmas facing the state government, to deter potential bad actors and to encourage well-intentioned public officials to push back against the problem.“Part of your job as a law enforcement official, whether you’re a prosecutor, or the Attorney General, or the FBI director, is to help prevent crime and deter crime.” * “It’s not enough to simply make sure we’re getting rid of the bad folks,” the US attorney said. “We want to make sure we are empowering, or sometimes embarrassing, good folks at any institution that exists to do something when they see something.”


Instead of Connecting the Corruption Dots to Save Democracy Media Joins Silver's Defense Team
U.S. Attorney Keeps Talking, but Leaves Out Sheldon Silver (NYT) Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, offered a notable silence on a corruption case involving the speaker of the New York Assembly after his public remarks became part of it.  Silver's lawyers recently asked a federal judge, Valerie E. Caproni, to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Silver on grounds of “improper extrajudicial” comments by Mr. Bharara. They cited a news conference he held on Jan. 22 to announce the charges, the speech the next day at New York Law School and an interview with MSNBC. The allegations have been strongly denied by Mr. Bharara’s office, which has asked Judge Caproni to deny the motion. Asked whether the United States attorney had taken a different approach in his speech on Friday because Mr. Silver’s pending motion, a spokesman for Mr. Bharara declined to comment. 

NY's Real Estate Industrial Legal Complex Tries to Shut US Attorney Bharara Up 
Mr. Bharara’s speech, atFordham University School of Law, was the keynote address of a symposium, “Fighting Corruption in America and Abroad.” But in his talk, Mr. Bharara returned several times to why he believed it was crucial for a law enforcement official like himself to publicly address corruption. He has noted that more than 18 New York State lawmakers had been prosecuted since 2007. “It’s a fundamental part of this job to talk about these issues,” he said, “so as a community and a country, we’re not just focused narrowly on prosecuting crime but also preventing it and deterring it.” Thomas H. Lee, the law professor who introduced Mr. Bharara, told the audience of academics, students, journalists and others that “as the U.S. attorney, he cannot answer any questions about ongoing prosecutions.” Mr. Bharara also indicated that he did not intend to discuss pending cases.  In the talk, Mr. Bharara raised the question of what kind of government people actually wanted, and seemed to veer at times into an almost philosophical discussion, with references to Archimedes and John Rawls, the noted theorist on justice who had been Mr. Bharara’s professor at Harvard College.  Would you fashion a weak legislature and strong executive?”

NY's Real Estate Industrial Legal Complex Already Controls the Media and Elected Officials
 Mr. Bharara asked. “Would you desire a system in which an individual representative has some power, or one in which all power is concentrated in a single leader?” Mr. Bharara did refer to a closed case involving Eric A. Stevenson, a former Democratic state assemblyman from the Bronx who was convicted in a corruption case and sentenced to three years in prison. Mr. Bharara cited Mr. Stevenson’s now infamous statement, recorded secretly by the government during its investigation, in which he said, “Bottom line, if half of the people up here in Albany was ever caught for what they do,” they would wind up in prison.

Silver's Assembly Gang As Loyal As Any Mob Gang in Silence, Even During Sexual Abuse 
Silver’s taintedpast comes to light after arrest (News10) Silver has been accused of covering up sexual harassment scandals of fellow lawmakers, and rape allegations against his chief of staff have topped headlines over the last two decades. Silver has been coined one of the ‘Three Amigos.’ He’s known to be a major player when it comes to passing state laws, and his authority commanded respect at the Capitol. In 2001, Elizabeth Crothers accused Silver’s then-Chief of Staff Michael Boxley of rape. She was a staffer for a republican assemblyman. According to reports, when she met with Silver to discuss the alleged rape, she said Silver was “callously” eating as she told her story. Silver initially backed Boxley who denied the claim. * Assembly Spends More For Sexual Harassment Investigations(NYP)

An internal assembly investigation was inconclusive, and Crothers never filed a criminal complaint. In 2003, Boxley was accused of raping another female assembly staffer. Boxley eventually resigned and pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct. Silver was later tied into several sexual harassment cases involving then-Assemblyman Vito Lopez. In 2013, a state ethics report found Silver failed to investigate the allegations. He later apologized for his role in the Lopez scandal. It was later found, Silver had arranged for a secret $103,000 settlement with two of Lopez’s accusers, and that money was found to have come from taxpayers. According to assembly rules, he was supposed to immediately refer the matter to the ethics committee. Silver has held the one of the highest powers in the state for 20 years out of his 39 years in office. Many believe he will fight the charges for the rest of his life and not willingly give up his role as Speaker of the Assembly.


Silver's Aide Whose Husband Went to Jail Still Receives More Pay Than Cuomo 
 Top aide for disgraced Assemblyman SheldonSilver earns more than Gov. Cuomo (NYDN) A month after disgraced Assemblyman Sheldon Silver resigned as speaker, his top aide remains one of the Legislature’s highest-paid employees — earning more than Gov. Cuomo, the Daily News has learned. Judy Rapfogel, Silver’s longtime friend and chief of staff, has held on to the same $180,503-a-year salary she had before Silver stepped down from the speaker’s post in February, according to the state controller’s office. Rapfogel’s salary — which tops the $179,000 earned by Cuomo — remained unchanged even as she moved from the speaker’s office to Silver’s personal legislative staff and saw her responsibilities diminished. 

Rapfogel's salary is higher than almost all other members of the Legislature’s staff. Only two top aides to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County) make more than Rapfogel, according to payroll records. Robert Mujica, who serves as both Skelos’ chief of staff and the secretary to the Senate Finance Committee, earns $183,340 a year and is the Legislature’s top paid employee. Thomas Dunham, who is the Senate GOP’s director of operations, is next highest, with a salary of $181,408. Republicans blasted the Assembly Democrats for allowing Rapfogel to continue earning a top-tier salary. “Just when you think Albany Democrats’ corruption caucus can't get any lower, they outdo themselves,” said David Laska, a spokesman for state GOP Chairman Ed Cox. In July, Rapfogel’s husband, William Rapfogel, was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for stealing $9 million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which he ran.

Instead of Connecting the Corruption Dots to Save Democracy Media Joins Silver's Defense Team
U.S. Attorney Keeps Talking, but Leaves Out Sheldon Silver (NYT) Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, offered a notable silence on a corruption case involving the speaker of the New York Assembly after his public remarks became part of it.  Silver's lawyers recently asked a federal judge, Valerie E. Caproni, to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Silver on grounds of “improper extrajudicial” comments by Mr. Bharara. They cited a news conference he held on Jan. 22 to announce the charges, the speech the next day at New York Law School and an interview with MSNBC. The allegations have been strongly denied by Mr. Bharara’s office, which has asked Judge Caproni to deny the motion. Asked whether the United States attorney had taken a different approach in his speech on Friday because Mr. Silver’s pending motion, a spokesman for Mr. Bharara declined to comment. 

NY's Real Estate Industrial Legal Complex Tries to Shut US Attorney Bharara Up 
Mr. Bharara’s speech, atFordham University School of Law, was the keynote address of a symposium, “Fighting Corruption in America and Abroad.” But in his talk, Mr. Bharara returned several times to why he believed it was crucial for a law enforcement official like himself to publicly address corruption. He has noted that more than 18 New York State lawmakers had been prosecuted since 2007. “It’s a fundamental part of this job to talk about these issues,” he said, “so as a community and a country, we’re not just focused narrowly on prosecuting crime but also preventing it and deterring it.” Thomas H. Lee, the law professor who introduced Mr. Bharara, told the audience of academics, students, journalists and others that “as the U.S. attorney, he cannot answer any questions about ongoing prosecutions.” Mr. Bharara also indicated that he did not intend to discuss pending cases.  In the talk, Mr. Bharara raised the question of what kind of government people actually wanted, and seemed to veer at times into an almost philosophical discussion, with references to Archimedes and John Rawls, the noted theorist on justice who had been Mr. Bharara’s professor at Harvard College.  Would you fashion a weak legislature and strong executive?”

NY's Real Estate Industrial Legal Complex Already Controls the Media and Elected Officials
 Mr. Bharara asked. “Would you desire a system in which an individual representative has some power, or one in which all power is concentrated in a single leader?” Mr. Bharara did refer to a closed case involving Eric A. Stevenson, a former Democratic state assemblyman from the Bronx who was convicted in a corruption case and sentenced to three years in prison. Mr. Bharara cited Mr. Stevenson’s now infamous statement, recorded secretly by the government during its investigation, in which he said, “Bottom line, if half of the people up here in Albany was ever caught for what they do,” they would wind up in prison.

More on Sheldon Silver and His Indictment  





Litwin's Glenwood Has Given $800,000 to Cuomo's Campaigns 
Leonard Litwin At the Heart of the Silver Indictment Campaign Money, LLC Shows How Everyone in Corruption Albany, INC, Gets Their Cut
State’s largest campaign donor a client of Silver’s second firm(Capital) Litwin has used 27 different Limited Liability Companies controlled by Glenwood Management to contribute at least $4.3 million to political committees in New York since the beginning of 2013. Five of these L.L.C.s—Briar Hill Realty, L.L.C.; Columbus 60th Realty, L.L.C.; East 46th Realty, L.L.C.; East 81st Realty, L.L.C.; and River York Barclay, L.L.C.—are currently retaining Goldberg & Iryami for challenges to their real property tax assessments, according to data maintained by the New York City Tax Commission.* Developer Leonard Litwin, by most measures New York’s most generous campaign contributor, is a major client of Goldberg & Iryami, the firm whose payments to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are reportedly being examined by the FBI.

Mystery “Developer 1″ in Silver case said to beGlenwood’s Leonard Litwin(Real Deal) Federal charges appear to cite state's top political donorThe 100-year-old Litwin spent the most money on political donations during that time, as The Real Deal reported. Crain’s also made a connection between Litwin and the $900,000 Developer 1 paid to eight lobbying firms. The complaint also calls out another developer. Cuomo's biggest donor is also the oldest | Crain's New York ... *  Glenwood Management CEO Leonard Litwin, thebiggest contributor to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s victorious re-election campaign, was also the top donor for the state Senate races. Of the $1.5 million he donated, 79 percent helped Republicans while 9 percent helped Democrats * Developers using loophole to funnel donations to Cuomo  (RealDeal) Glenwood, Extell and others contributing money to governor via LLCs, report shows 



Bharara Responds to Silver 
Preet Bharara’s comments on Sheldon Silver’s allegedcorruption were within the law: prosecutors (NYDN)  Prosecutors on Thursday defended Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s public statements slamming former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as “entirely proper.” The documents filed in Manhattan Federal Court came in response to a motion by Silver's attorneys seeking to have the case against the disgraced pol tossed due to Bharara's comments, which they said ruined his chance at a fair trial. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen said Bharara had done everything by the book. Cohen noted that Bharara — who gave a speech at New York Law School and a lengthy MSNBC interview in the wake of Silver’s bombshell arrest — had always spoken in general terms about corruption in Albany, or referred specifically to the criminal complaint against the Assemblyman. “At the end of the day, the defendant is left to complain, not about substance, but about the language the U.S. Attorney used when describing the complaint’s allegations to the public,” Cohen wrote.



Silver's Friends Attack Bharara In Slate 
 A Pace Law School professor who has been critical of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s speech-making and TV appearances in the wake of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s arrest has ties to Silver’s lawyer, the Daily News has learned. Prof. Bennett Gershman and veteran attorney Joel Cohen are longtime friends and occasional co-authors. Gershman, a former prosecutor, recently wrote an online article for Slate that took Bharara to task for what Gershman characterized as grandstanding with inappropriate comments about the speaker and Albany corruption. The article, though, had no mention or editor’s note that Gershman has collaborated on a number of times in the past with Cohen, one of Silver’s lawyers. * Bharara says he cut Silver a break, ‘spared him perp walk’ (NYP) * Federal prosecutors filed a memo opposing Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s motion to dismiss the corruption charges against him, dismissing a claim of “improper statements,” The Wall Street Journal reports: *The office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, asked a federal judge to deny a motion by Assemblyman Sheldon Silver to dismiss his indictment on grounds that Bharara orchestrated a “media firestorm” around the arrest of the former speaker.  Bharara maintains he actually went out of his way to spare Silver undue embarrassment by having him surrender in the basement of the Javits Federal Building before being driven to the courthouse rather than subjecting him to a typical “perp walk.”* Heastie on Silver: "We speak. I've always had a great relationship with him and I don't see why it would change. I consider him a friend."Preet Bharara critic is friend, collaborator of SheldonSilver's attorney (NYDN)





Hey Where is the Media's Outrage About Court Fixing? 

Silver Civil Court Judge Replaced 
Retired judge tied to Sheldon Silver finally replaced(NYP) The civil administrative judge whose court is being probed for allegedly giving Sheldon Silver’s ex-law firm special treatment is finally being replaced — more than two months after her term expired. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Peter H. Moulton will succeed Justice Sherry Klein Heitler, court administrators announced Monday, as feds continue to investigate whether asbestos cases received “red-carpet treatment” at 60 Centre Street. Heitler was the chief judge of a special section for asbestos litigation – which Moulton will now oversee. In February, s​o​urces told The Post that the courthouse was under federal investigation over its ties to the disgraced former Assembly speaker. The dozens of asbestos lawsuits were filed by Weitz & Luxenberg, where Silver was “of counsel” and received $5.3 million in ​what federal prosecutors have called ​kickbacks. Critics have said the firm gets a fast track, “better judges” and first dibs on jurors to hear its cases at the courthouse. * Kavanagh Signs On To Bill Blocking Legal Reimbursements(YNN) * Despite Arrest, Addiction Treatment Group To Honor Silver (YNN) * Assemblyman Sheldon Silver wrote a letter to a local newspaper in his Lower East Side district saying: “There is always more work to be done…My staff and I remain ready to assist community organizations and local constituents on issues big and small.”


Silver's Court Under Fed Investigation
Feds probe civil court following Silver’s arrest(NYP) The country’s most important civil court is under federal investigation, an insider says. The probe is focusing on the state Supreme Court’s civil division at 60 Centre St. in lower Manhattan, where many tentacles reach to disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the court source said. Silver was arrested last month on corruption charges, and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara warned the public to “stay tuned” for more developments. The case against Silver centers on his freelance legal “work” and the millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks he hauled in from real-estate and asbestos claims, the feds say. Many of these cases landed in the courtrooms at 60 Centre St., presided over by judges with ties to Silver and his lifelong pal, Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of the state Court of Appeals. Both men grew up on the Lower East Side, and Silver has been Lippman’s political godfather, pushing him to reach New York’s top judicial post. “The appointment of Sheldon Silver’s childhood friend, Jonathan Lippman, as the state’s chief judge based on his administrative experience made about as much sense as the Yankees making their accountant the manager of the team,” said Charles Compton, former president of the Supreme Court Officers Association. He added that Lippman was appointed “to protect and promote Silver’s interests.”* One of the old three men in a room in Albany is defending his former legislative colleague. Former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver deserves a fair trial and that he’s being charged by an overzealous federal prosecutor.


Silver Plays Bharara's Victim in Court
Silver in federal court. . . Attorneys filed motions to dismiss charges entered not guilty 

Casino industry: deep relationships, potential conflicts (Pressconnects) The selected casino bidders — Lago, Montreign and Rivers Casino — had prior business dealings with the firm that provided gambling-advisory services to the Gaming Facility Location Board. When a Chicago law firm ended its 11/2-year relationship with a partner in the Lago Resort & Casino project last March, it had another big client waiting in the wings. That month, the firm, which specializes in representing the gambling industry and also advising governments on gaming legislation and regulation, signed on with the New York Gaming Facility Location Board. Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP, which merged with law firm Shefsky & Froelich last year, became the state board's lead gambling consultant under a one-year, $4.9-million contract.



In December, the board recommended Lago, in Seneca County, for a commercial casino license. Montreign Resort Casino and Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor also got recommendations. Key officials involved in all three projects had previously used the Taft firm in their businesses.* Sheldon Silver’s Lawyers Criticize U.S. Attorney (NYT) Lawyers for the former New York State Assembly speaker accused the prosecutor Preet Bharara of a “media firestorm” undercutting the presumption of innocence. * Sheldon Silver nearly takes a tumble after court appearance (NYP)* The former speaker’s legal team moved for a mistrial based on “improper extrajudicial statements” by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is prosecuting the case. Cuomo “This is the world we live in. If Preet can make a case against Silver, he can make a case against Cuomo.”


The Silver Goodbye Part 1
Sheldon Silver’s 21-year reign as speaker comes to an end(NYP) Sheldon Silver ended his 21-year reign as Assembly speaker at 11:59 p,.m. Monday, forced by colleagues to give up the powerful post while facing federal corruption charges. Silver, 70, said he had a “a great run” and described his soon-to-be-successor, Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, as “a good man.” But it was a sad and humbling day for the Lower East Side Democrat, who was elected to the Assembly in 1976 and elevated to speaker in 1994, making him one of the most influential officials in the state. In his heyday, Silver frequently traveled to Albany in a chauffeur-driven state vehicle. For one final time, Silver walked from his spacious office on the ninth floor of the Legislative Office Building through the concourse connecting to the state Capitol building. 

He was accompanied by his press secretary, Michael Whyland, and his chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, whose husband was convicted last year of stealing from the charity he ran.* Sheldon Silver ended two decades as speaker with a quiet day spent largely behind closed doors, saying, “There are no thoughts,” in an emotionless tone as he left the Assembly chamber just after 5 p.m., the Daily News writes: * Judy Rapfogel IsWoman in the Middle of Two N.Y. Scandals (Forward) Depends What You Mean by Productive January Not A Productive Month In Albany(YNN) * Silver, to the amazement of some lawmakers, not only came to the Capitol yesterday, but also attended the private meeting among Democrats in which they embraced a new speaker. Lawmakers said Silver, who has insisted he will remain on as a member of the Assembly, also voted in private for Heastie. * The corruption charges brought against Silver may raise questions about the efficacy of attorney referral fee rules and the of counsel role, legal ethics experts said, but don’t expect rule changes any time soon. * Alexis Grenell calls Silver the “Bill Cosby of Albany,” saying his legacy “is inextricably linked to his callous disregard for the women who needed his protection.”* Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver slipped out of the chamber and past reporters after casting his vote for Carl Heastie, the Observer reports: * Silver may still receive a salary from his law firm Weitz and Luxenberg because several of the asbestos cases he referred to the practice are still unresolved, the Daily Newsreports:  *Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cast his vote for Heastie from his new desk at the back of the chamber, then slipped away without speaking to reporters.* Silver a Shel of his former self in Assembly’s last row(NYP)* Now relegated to a position of a rank-and-file member at the back of the chamber (albeit one with considerably seniority), Assemblyman Sheldon Silver cast his vote for his successor. Heastie didn’t mention Silver during his brief victory speech. Rapfogel's Met Council Corruption An insurance company executive who conspired with the former head of a leading Jewish charity to fleece it of nearly $7 million renegotiated his plea deal so he could serve his sentence in city jail instead of state prison.* Assembly moves to quickly erase Speaker Silver(Capital)* Cuomo on Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s corruption scandal: “If you can’t trust him, who can you trust?”* The purging of anything containing the words “Speaker Silver” has begun. * …Even the assemblyman’s own biography has been altered, with no mention of his former leadership role.* So dramatic has the upheaval been at the state Capitol after the Assembly transitioned from Silver to Carl Heastie that even public information brochures identifying Silver as speaker have been discarded. * "Shelly's controlwas unbelievable."(Newsday) * “Silver’s biggest sin was what he did to his own neighborhood.”

What Happens in Albany When Your Husband is In Jail and Your Boss Has Been Arrested, You Get A Pay Raise
Sheldon Silver’s top staffers get big pay raises for 2015 (NYP) Records show that Silver’s chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, and counsel, James Yates, both got $10,000 raises to boost their salaries from $170,422 in 2014 to $180,503 this year. Press secretary Michael Whyland saw his annual paycheck go from $114,324 to $125,294. In other offices, senior staffers said they haven’t had a hike in years.* 2 more sentenced for Met Council scheme(Lohud)


de Blasio Man of Integrity Blocked Affordable Housing for 30 Years  
Silver Blocks Housing for the Poor and PRs and de Blasio Calls Him a Man of Integrity

.@yoruba69 Exactly. If there was any doubt he's a full blown IDIOT, it's gone. Silver was caught blocking housing for poor PRs already.

 Silver Released On $200K Bond(YNN) * Bharara: Silver Case Goes To The ‘Core’ Of Albany’s Problem(YNN) * Assembly Democrats Back Silver Staying On As Speaker(YNN)  “I’m continuing to support the speaker and I would say the members are overwhelmingly from the conversation that we just had are continuing their support,” said Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who was joined by dozens of Silver’s 106-member Democratic conference in the Assembly. Two Democrats — Assemblymen Charles Barron and Mickey Kearns — reiterated their calls for Silver to step down today, but neither lawmaker had initially supported him in the first place. * The Moreland Connection(YNN)* Republicans Pile On Silver (Updated)(YNN) * US Attorney Bharara used several graphic charts to illustrate the flow of money and influence in the speaker’s alleged schemes, State of Politics reports:  * Since 2000 Silver has engaged in the scheme to defraud the public and used his position to obtain at least $6 million from two outside law firms. You can read the full federal complaint here:  * By default or by design, there are few Democratic successors to succeed Silver, who basically ruled the Assembly with unquestioned authority since 1994, save for a 2000 coup brought by Assemblyman Michael Bragman, State of Politicsreports: * Shelly Silver’sArrest: 5 Immediate Impacts on Albany * @GregDavidonNY asks: How much did Cuomo know about the Silver case? via @CrainsNewYork

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a swaggering press conference at his offices in Manhattan slammed Silver with a five-count complaint that portrayed the Democratic lawmaker as greedy and secretive
Federal charges appear to cite state's top political donorThe 100-year-old Litwin spent the most money on political donations during that time, as The Real Deal reported. Crain’s also made a connection between Litwin and the $900,000 Developer 1 paid to eight lobbying firms. The complaint also calls out another developer,* An unnamed firm described in the federal charges against Silver appears to be Glenwood Management, a Manhattan apartment developer owned by Leonard Litwin—the state’s largest political donor in the past decade,Crain’s reports:

Pitta Bishop Del Giorno Lobbyists for Litwin "Develper 1" in the Silver Indictment 
“Developer 2,” though this developer’s identity was not immediately clear. Together, 19 buildings owned by the two developers brought in more than 31 percent of Goldberg & Iryami’s revenue in 2011, according to the complaint. - See more at: http://therealdeal.com/blog/2015/01/22/mystery-developer-1-in-silver-case-said-to-be-glenwoods-leonard-litwin/#sthash.abfhWLM3.dpuf * Skelos Won’t Weigh In On Whether Silver Should Resign(YNN) * Silver Charged On Five Counts(YNN) * Aubry: Conference Remains ‘Supportive’ Of Silver(YNN) * Successors Few And Far Between For Silver(YNN) * Silver Turns Himself In(YNN) * De Blasio: Sheldon Silver is a ‘man of integrity’(NYP)* * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges and accused of using his power to secure millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks for over a decade, The New York Times reports:
de Blasio Harder Albany Times The fallout of the Sheldon Silver arrest: a rougher time in Albany for @billdeblasio  * * Silver’s arrest could potentially cause a seismic shift in power with reverberations felt from the speaker’s home district on the Lower East Side to the grounds of the State Capitol, the Times reports: * Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty may disband, hand offservices to other groups: sources (NYDN)




The Corrupt Speaker Replaced By Corrupt Tammany Hall County Party Leaders
Sheldon Silver stepping down to fight charges (NYP)Sheldon Silver agreed on Sunday to step down temporarily as Speaker of the Assembly as he fights federal corruption charges, according to sources. “Shelly will withdraw as speaker,” one source said. A coalition of up to five assembly Democratic will take over his duties. Two of them — Herman “Denny” Farrell of Harlem and Joseph Morelle of Rochester — will handle the budget negotiation with the governor and state senate.Sheldon * The quintet of leaders includes Farrell, Morelle, Heastie, Nolan and Lentol. RACE TO REPLACE: Democrats jockeying behind the scenes to replace Speaker Sheldon Silver in New York Assembly, source says(NYDN)





Anyone Who Understand Bharara Knows That Silver Rat Meara Has Become Not Only Skelos's Rat But Others
The press office for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano didn't return a request for comment about the scope of work performed as part of that lobbying contract. (The acting Nassau district attorney launched a probe into the county's process for awarding contracts.) Meara "didn't represent AbTech and never did" in any aspect of the $12 million deal, McKeon said. "He had no involvement in the (stormwater) contract. He stopped representing Nassau County long before the contract was awarded." Lobbying disclosures state Meara's firm was getting paid by Nassau though June 2013, but McKeon said his work on behalf of Nassau stopped in 2012. Top Albany lobbyist Brian Meara is denying any involvement in the ongoing investigation into Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son despite having several clients reportedly involved, theTimes Union reports: Though Meara didn't respond to requests for comment, a friend authorized to speak on his behalf said he has nothing to do with the Skelos investigation.The Skelos probe, described by the New York Times last week, has ties to three current or recent Meara lobbying clients, including a North Carolina subsidiary of a company calledAbTech Holdings.Investigators are reportedly looking into whether Skelos sought to exert influence in AbTech's pursuit of a $12 million stormwater management contract with Nassau County, Skelos' power base.Senate Republicans are reportedly nervous because Meara is a business partner with fellow lobbyist Mike Avella, a former counsel to the Senate GOP and Skelos. The two are principals in the Albany-based firm Meara Avella Dickinson.  Records show Meara Avella Dickinson also recently represented Nassau County, as well as another business mentioned in the Times report: real estate developer Glenwood Management.Run by the state's most generous political donor, Leonard Litwin, Glenwood was Meara's link to the Silver case: A longtime friend of Silver, Meara has reportedly received a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for helping prosecutors link payments made by the prominent Manhattan developer to the Assembly speaker, who was ousted from his leadership position in January following his arrest.* Mercury reopens for business in Albany, with Pat Lynch’s people (Capital)

All the Machines Men and All the Lobbyists Horses Could Not Put Shelly Together Again
He should have been stronger: Dump Silver. Compared with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Controller Tom DiNapoli, Cuomo was a profile in courage. Neither said boo. To their credit, city Controller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James also called for Silver to step down. As did only a handful of Assembly Democrats: Charles Barron of Brooklyn, Luis Sepulveda of the Bronx, Mickey Kearns of western New York, Carrie Woerner of Saratoga Springs, Al Stirpe of the Syracuse area and, in a major break, Keith Wright of Manhattan, who also serves as the county Democratic boss.



Stringer, James and Wright Dream A Dream . . . 
 THE NEWS SAYS: Enough finally was enough for Democratic leaders who stood up to Silver(NYDN) Enough finally wasenough (NYDN) The Assembly’s Democratic leaders have resolved to dump Sheldon Silver as speaker. Bravo to them.Initially, at his urging, five allies broached a plan to let Silver delegate leadership to them.  Denny Farrell of Manhattan, Carl Heastie of the Bronx, Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn, Joseph Morelle of Rochester and Catherine Nolan of Queens will forever be known as Silver’s partners in crime for doing his bidding. Gov. Cuomo pointed out the impossibility of managing negotiations with a five-member team while also saying that a replacement speaker would be “a good thing.” * Assembly Democrats ask Sheldon Silver to resign(Capital)* Controller Scott Stringer speaks out on Sheldon Silver: 'It's not time to step aside, it's actually time to step down'(NYDN)The Daily News writes that politicians’ portrayal of Silver as a champion for New York City overlooks his role in repealing the commuter tax in 1999, which has cost the city $10 billion to date * Assmb Keith Wright supporters say he has over 30 Dem votes sewn up for Speaker bid.



Why Silver Helped Kill Moreland  New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, now under federal investigation, was also under scrutiny this year by the Moreland Commission looking into the sources of his six-figure outside income, The WallStreet Journal reports: 

Preet is literally going where no man has gone before here
Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City U.S.Said to Investigate Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, OverPay(NYT) Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City, according to people with knowledge of the matter. *Silver, donor under investigation are longtime friends(NYP)A lawyer whose firm made unexplained payments to Sheldon Silver is so close to the Assembly speaker that the attorney attended a young Shel’s bar mitzvah nearly 60 years ago, The Post has learned.In addition to the payments, Goldberg has donated $7,600 to Silver’s campaigns since 2001, including $1,800 in February of this year, according to campaign-finance records. * The End Of Shelly Silver? Mother Of All Albany Scandals Brewing In NY Tonight(Daily Kos) * Sheldon Silver’s latest storm(Capital) The speaker came under fire for his handling of sexual misconduct by a former aide, Michael Boxley, as well as senior member from Brooklyn, Vito Lopez. The husband of Silver's chief of staff pleaded guilty to skimming money from a charity that was fueled by state grants. And Silver fired one of his lawyers after a report that he sat on accusations of sexual harassment concerning Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat.

Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have found that the law firm,Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., has paid Mr. Silver the sums over roughly a decade, but that he did not list that income on his financial disclosure forms, as required, the people said.  Silver is "not known to have any expertise in the complex and highly specialized area of the law in which Goldberg & Iryami practices"* "properties on the Lower East Side 4 which Goldberg has sought real estate tax reductions include Silver’s own co-op"Asked if the federal investigation would hinder the speaker’s legislative abilities, Whyland replied: “Absolutely not.”* Before the focus of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe emerged this week, Moreland Commission members said they had considered the speaker’s outside income a high priority up until the point that the panel was disbanded by Cuomo in a budget deal with Silver and the state Senate. The probe into Silver’s outside income sheds a rare spotlight on a small group of lawyers who specialize in challenging tax assessments in New York City’s complex property tax system.

The Shelly Silver era in New York state government is Over
 Heastie, Morelle, Wright moving quickly to be next speaker(LoHud) * Renewed Jockeying Underway To Replace Silver(YNN)  * Gibson ‘Digusted’ By Silver Scandal, Touts Term Limits, Dings Cuomo(YNN) * Assembly Republicans Want Public Vote On Speaker(YNN) * Lentol Backs Silver, Would Step In If Needed (YNN)* @BilldeBlasio says he want Assembly speaker to be from city. "It's been tough enough to get our fair share even with the speaker from NYC." * Upstate-downstatedivide grows in Silver succession  * Sheldon Silver and theLawyers of New York(New Yorker) * de Blasio point person Emma Wolfe is pushing hard for Carl Heastie to replace Shelly as speaker * Sheldon Silver says "I'm a member of this house and I will be a member" @wnyt * WATCH: SheldonSilver Not Saying Whether He Plans to Resign (NY1)


Goo-Goos Want Open Speaker Selection (YNN) * Assembly Democrats Consider Long-Term Versus Interim Silver Replacement(YNN) * An Unassuming Bronx Democrat Jockeys to Replace Sheldon Silver(YNN) * De Blasio: ‘Crucially Important’ Assembly Leadership ‘Fair’ To NYC(YNN) * De Blasio: Decisionon Silver is up to the Assembly (Capital) * The New York Timeswrites that Heastie and Morelle are the frontrunners, but Wright, Joseph Lentol and Catherine Nolan are all still potential contenders to be the next Assembly speaker:  * Assembly Republicans called for a public vote on the next speaker of the chamber in order to make clear where Democrats stand on keeping Silver as speaker and to remove outside influences, State of Politicswrites:

TIME TO GO: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be out by Monday following corruption charges as Dems eye successor (NYDN) * Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who is stepping down in two years and could run for a statewide office, said he was “disgusted” but not surprised by Silver’s arrestState of Politics reports: * Several Democratic Assembly members expressed doubt that Silver would resign willingly, even after the conference said it had lost confidence in his ability to lead, CapitalNew York reports: * If Assembly Democrats have to wrest the speakership from Silver they will be in uncharted territory, and the chamber’s rules provide little guidance if he steps down, other than naming an acting speaker, the Times Union reports * Not unexpected.Downstate dominates. Idea of a bipartisan coalition is interesting, though: (Democrat and Chronicle) * Meanwhile, in Albany, that Assembly Dems just broke into applause - about taking a food break * @JimmyVielkind So rumor has it Peter (among others) was backing Keith Wright, but Brooklyn County wants Heastie...* Crains: @BilldeBlasio "has not lined up behind any candidate but is thought to favor Mr.Heastie" via @CrainsNewYork   * When Assembly returns for session Mon, Dems will either have Silver resignation in hand or vote him out, whichever comes first. * Source confirms @YanceyRoy report Assembly Dems will vote to shorten time frame for interim speaker @JoeMorelle 'til Feb. 10 or 90 days.* Battle Over a Successor as Sheldon Silver Faces Calls toQuit as Speaker (NYT)* "Now that Silver is out, can (Bharara) turn him? CouldSilver become a cooperator?" #nightmarescenario * Morelle says Silver will not impede transition * Sheldon Silver to resign as Assembly speaker(NYP)* Silver: "I willbe a member of this house. I am elected by my constituents and I do not intendto resign my seat"(LoHud)* Assembly Republicans: Silver's Arrest, Aftermath a Distraction(NY1)* save those checks RT @nahmias: Silver scraps Albany fundraiser: 


Preet is literally going where no man has gone before here
Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City U.S.Said to Investigate Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, OverPay(NYT) Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City, according to people with knowledge of the matter. *Silver, donor under investigation are longtime friends(NYP)A lawyer whose firm made unexplained payments to Sheldon Silver is so close to the Assembly speaker that the attorney attended a young Shel’s bar mitzvah nearly 60 years ago, The Post has learned.In addition to the payments, Goldberg has donated $7,600 to Silver’s campaigns since 2001, including $1,800 in February of this year, according to campaign-finance records. * The End Of Shelly Silver? Mother Of All Albany Scandals Brewing In NY Tonight(Daily Kos) * Sheldon Silver’s latest storm(Capital) The speaker came under fire for his handling of sexual misconduct by a former aide, Michael Boxley, as well as senior member from Brooklyn, Vito Lopez. The husband of Silver's chief of staff pleaded guilty to skimming money from a charity that was fueled by state grants. And Silver fired one of his lawyers after a report that he sat on accusations of sexual harassment concerning Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat.

Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have found that the law firm,Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., has paid Mr. Silver the sums over roughly a decade, but that he did not list that income on his financial disclosure forms, as required, the people said.  Silver is "not known to have any expertise in the complex and highly specialized area of the law in which Goldberg & Iryami practices"* "properties on the Lower East Side 4 which Goldberg has sought real estate tax reductions include Silver’s own co-op"Asked if the federal investigation would hinder the speaker’s legislative abilities, Whyland replied: “Absolutely not.”* Before the focus of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe emerged this week, Moreland Commission members said they had considered the speaker’s outside income a high priority up until the point that the panel was disbanded by Cuomo in a budget deal with Silver and the state Senate. The probe into Silver’s outside income sheds a rare spotlight on a small group of lawyers who specialize in challenging tax assessments in New York City’s complex property tax system.



Silver Hanging On to Make A Deal With the Feds?  
What Happens If Silver Tells the Feds What he Knows About Albany to Reduce Jail Time?
Why Sheldon Silver can’t resign as Assembly speaker — yet(NYP) Soon-to-be-ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is holding on to his Assembly seat, despite the humiliation of losing power, because he thinks it will help him in his federal corruption trial, sources have told The Post. “If he resigned now, that would be an implicit admission of wrongdoing, something he denies and, besides, can’t afford to make,’’ a senior Assembly staff member said. All the sources predicted the near-40-year lawmaker, who announced Friday that he would leave the speakership Monday night after his arrest on five federal corruption charges, would either: 1. . . . Resign on his own from the Assembly after being acquitted at trial rather than face the humiliation of serving as a mere member of the Legislature’s lower house, or 2. Be automatically ousted upon conviction on any of the federal felony charges at the trial, likely to be held this year. “This is it for Shelly being in the Assembly, one way or another,’’ said a senior state Democrat who first met Silver in the late 1970s. “He’ll hold on to office through his trial, and then, one way or another, he’ll be out.”* Shelly’s gift to taxpayers (NYP) Say this for Sheldon Silver, who steps down today after more than two decades as state Assembly speaker: He’s doing New York taxpayers an unexpected favor. 

The Post writes that Silver is doing taxpayers a favor by retaining his district seat, which comes with a less expensive salary than his pension, and this drives home the need for public pension reform
Not only will Silver be saving taxpayers nearly $10,000 a year by not giving up his Assembly seat, he’s driving home a much-needed lesson about the urgent need for public-pension reform.That’s because, as the Empire Center for Public Policy notes, the 70-year-old Silver will cost taxpayers less as a sitting assemblyman than he would if he retired and started collecting his pension. As an assemblyman for the Lower East Side, Silver’s salary is $79,500 a year. But if he were to simply retire, his annual pension would come to $87,120 — and possibly even more, if his prior job as a Civil Court clerk gives him more credits. But hang on: Silver may not be so lucky after all. If found guilty on corruption charges, he not only faces up to 20 years in prison, he could lose his retirement nest egg. That’s because US Attorney Preet Bharara uses fines and forfeitures to deny New York pols convicted of corruption their public pensions.* How we can start disinfecting Albany (NYP) First, we should cut the legislative session from six months to three and reduce legislator compensation accordingly. * Silver's resignationleaves him just short of Schenectady'sHeck (TU)


Fake Sheldon Silver Unmasked - The New Yorker  Several hours after the news broke, last Tuesday night, that Sheldon Silver would be relinquishing his post as the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, an e-mail arrived in these offices from someone calling himself Fake Sheldon Silver. “We’ve made a determination that it would be acceptable to meet with you at this time,” the note read. Its author proposed a meal at Zafis Luncheonette, on Grand Street, down the block from the real Silver’s apartment. We can get the budget done and deal with any other major issues in that time. Second, we need to limit the terms of state lawmakers. One-third of legislative races in 2014 were uncontested. Elections are supposed to ensure officials are accountable, but this most basic check on power has been eliminated in much of New York thanks to gerrymandering and one-party rule. There should also be term limits on top leadership positions and committee chairmanships to further dilute the concentration of power. Silver represents 130,000 people, just like each of the other 149 members of the Assembly. But over two decades as speaker, he amassed power that rivaled the governor, who represents 19 million New Yorkers. This is remarkably undemocratic.* Today is Shelly Silver's last day of being speaker of thestate Assembly * Tom Precious: “Seemingly by design, Heastie has not been a visible and loud force in the Albany power structure.” The speaker-in-waiting called himself “an average guy who in my spare time likes sports and spending time with my daughter.”* Heastie has steered hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to his campaign contributors, according to an analysis by Capital New York. Additionally, his donors include individuals with business before the committee he chairs and supporters of bills that he has introduced. His campaign expenditures include international plane tickets and over $60,000 in unitemized expenses.* Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan of Queens said she is still in the race to be the next speaker of the Assembly, and called for the vote to be held on the initial Feb. 10 deadline, Gannett Albany writes:  * Heastie pledged that if elected Assembly speaker he would not take any paid outside jobs, tried to explain the 174 votes he missed last year, and said he is not under investigation, Gannett Albany writes: 

Silver Hurt NYC By Killing Commuter Tax  Sheldon Silver vs. NYC (NYDN Ed) Dispense with the myth that the speaker has been a tireless advocate for New York City's interests In 1999, he committed a dastardly crime against the 8 million people who live in the five boroughs — and they are still suffering the consequence. Republican George Pataki was governor. Republican Joe Bruno was Senate majority leader. Competing for suburban votes, they sought repeal of the so-called commuter tax, a minuscule 0.45% levy on income for out-of-towners working in the city.The tax was a farsighted legacy from the Rockefeller years that recognized that the city was essential to the economic health of the region. * @JeffreyToobin on Sheldon Silverand the lawyers of New York:



The Women of Albany Have Their Own Sexual Abuse Hush Fund Wall of Silence
It is even more interesting how the papers could act this way when their own editorial boards scream out for change in Albany. Why do the papers protect the pols Blue Wall of Silence even when they have written thousands of stories about the cops wall of silence and organized crime wall of silence? True News began pointing out the political wall of silence last may The Political Wall of Silence: Not One Pol Expresses Outrage, McLaughlin Goes to Jail


In Albany Women Are Not Equal
Sheldon Silver gave horndogs free rein(NYP) In the end, it was money, not sex, that brought down New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. And that’s a giant slap in the faces of women who’ve toiled long and hard in the state capital in Albany. “Don’t our lives matter?’’ one female Albany veteran asked me. Of course not! Over the decades, Silver, who plans to step down from his powerful post as speaker, likely on Monday, orchestrated payoffs to four women who accused his pals and cronies of sexual harassment or egregious intimate abuse. But this series of scandals (Silver has been accused of enabling, not committing, sexual offenses) had nothing to do with his fall from grace.


Wayne Barrett: How Shelly Silver Made His Pal Chief Judge  
Justice is Blindsided Shelly Silver games Governor Paterson to get hischildhood pal the state's top courts job By Wayne Barrett (Village Voice) Jonathan Lippman and Sheldon Silver grew up together on the Lower East Side in the 1950s, living next door in the insular Grand Street projects and sitting near each other's family in the neighborhood's Orthodox shul. After both graduated from law school in 1968 and drifted into low-level courthouse gigs in Manhattan in their early careers, one went on to become the longest-serving Democratic legislative leader in modern New York history, master of an unprecedented 107 to 43 majority in the State Assembly. The other remained largely unknown, except inside the state's vast court system. Below the political radar, the black-hatted, still religious, and gravel-toned Silver, who is celebrating his 65th birthday and 15th year as speaker this month, has been quietly boosting the more secular Lippman for years. Now, he's finally pushed Lippman from the series of back-office management posts where he's labored for years to the job of top gavel in the State Judiciary. * Lawyers say this is the worst judge in New York City(NYP) Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Braun’s courtroom is the worst-case scenario, with civil lawsuits dragging on for years because of endless adjournments, attorneys charge. If a lawyer is one minute late, Braun will adjourn the case for three months, lawyers claim. When lawyers fail to include room numbers on addresses, submit motions more than 25 pages long or don’t use proper margins in papers, their cases are adjourned.
Blog That Exposes NY Court Corruption
The Crimes of Lippman


NY Corruption, INC

Bharara Trifecta: Investigating the Lawmakers, Courts and Governor Same Time 
At least three judges at 60 Centre St. are connected to Silver from the Lower East Side.  Judge Martin Shulman is a former president of Silver’s synagogue, and the two are neighbors in a Grand Street co-op complex. In 1999, the judge was appointed an acting Supreme Court justice by Lippman, then the state’s chief administrative judge.  Shulman has been handling tax-reduction claims at the Centre Street courthouse for at least a dozen years and now presides over most of these cases. Many of these cases were filed by the Goldberg & Iryami law firm.* Shelly’s court (NYP Ed) As The Post reported Sunday, US Attorney Preet Bharara is now investigating the state Supreme Court’s civil division in lower Manhattan. Its courtrooms handled many of the asbestos and real-estate claims that provided Silver with much of his outside income. The stink here is that it isn’t just the plaintiffs Speaker Silver had ties to. He was pals with the judges as well. The most prominent is Jonathan Lippman, whom Shelly has known since childhood. Shelly helped engineer Lippman’s appointment as chief judge of the state Court of Appeals. In that post, Lippman appointed Arthur Luxenberg — yes, of the same Weitz & Luxenberg that was paying Silver — to a committee that helped decide which judges are appointed to the division handling the asbestos cases that are among Weitz & Luxenberg’s specialties. There are also the two landlords who are being represented in the same courtrooms by Silver’s other law firm, Goldberg & Iryami. Their case is being heard by Judge Martin Shulman. Not only does Silver live in the same building and go to the same synagogue as Shulman, Silver helped get Shulman his appointment. No one besides Silver has yet been charged with any wrong-doing. But with a state court now under federal investigation along with the governor’s office and the Legislature, Bharara now has all three branches of New York government in his crosshairs.

How Real Estate Scam Worked in the Court
The indictment accuses Silver of steering billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the state’s largest political donor, to the firm, along with another unnamed developer. In exchange, Silver reaped referral fees. The Goldberg firm handled tax appeals for 15 buildings owned by Litwin’s organization, Glenwood Management, and its limited liability companies, prosecutors said. Court records show that in one case that landed in Shulman’s court — involving a high-rise building on York Avenue — Glenwood won a $3.4 million reduction in the building’s assessment, which is used to determine its taxes.



Even as he ruled a vast state, it was always Grand Street that was his capital. And it was the clan he met there whose code he embodies
Litwin owns a rental building, The Fairmont — the same high-rise where Lippman and his wife rented a one-bedroom apartment between 2007 and 2010, The Post found. And Lippman’s son, Russell, a Harvard-educated lawyer, rented an apartment there between 2003 and 2005, public records show. Lippman, who earned $156,000 in 2010, moved into the rent-stabilized building in 2007 shortly after he was appointed presiding justice of the Appellate Division in Manhattan and was required to live in The Bronx or Manhattan. He had lived in Westchester. Bookstaver said Lippman paid market-rate rent of $3,195 for the apartment. He said Lippman rented at the Fairmont because he needed to move quickly and knew of the building because his son had lived there. He said Lippman did not know Litwin owned the property.

Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm where Silver was “of counsel” until he was dumped last week, practically rules a special section of the court dealing with complex asbestos litigation. Critics say the firm gets the “red-carpet treatment” including a fast track, “better judges” and first dibs on jurors to hear its cases. Sherry Klein Heitler, the chief asbestos judge, as well as the top administrative judge at 60 Centre St., has handled dozens of the firm’s cases in what is called New York City Asbestos Litigation or NYCAL. Last year, at Weitz & Luxenberg’s request, Heitler reversed a 20-year rule barring punitive damages in asbestos cases, paving the way for much bigger jury awards. Of 15 mesothelioma verdicts in the last four years, Silver’s firm won $273.5 million of $313.5 million awarded by NYCAL juries. The average award for an NYCAL asbestos case — nearly $16 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014 — is reportedly two to three times larger than those in other courts nationwide. * Wayne Barrett: How Shelly Silver Made His Pal Chief Judge (Village Voice)* Four Charged in a Bribery Scheme to Gain Clients in Arraignment Court(NYT)  A worker who interviewed defendants was paid as much as $1,000 per client that he steered to three lawyers and a paralegal, prosecutors said.* The corruption charges against Silver reveal the rot that has plagued Albany and deserve more national attention for exposing the links between politicians and the asbestos-plaintiffs bar, the Journal writes:

Wayne Barrett Blows Up Silver's Gand Street Gang
Sheldon Silver'sgang (Wayne Barrett, NYDN) How the disgraced speaker put a tight network, including lifelong Lower East Side friends, in powerful places. Rudy Giuliani used to tell a story about a mob hit-man who blessed himself before each murder. It could be a metaphor for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who for two decades presented himself as the personally devout, politically principled leader of the most progressive slice of New York political life. Even if he eludes jail, as have previous indicted Albany kingpins, the criminal complaint filed against Silver marks the end of his era. When Shelly Silver met the man that the government says became his meal ticket, Dr. Robert Taub, in November of 2003, he was already looking for a new hook. Taub, who ran a Columbia University center for asbestos victims, would prove to be the perfect partner for Silver, whose personal injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, was the biggest asbestos litigator in New York. Silver needed a new partner because his brother, Dr. Joseph Silver, the orthopedic chief at Brooklyn's Methodist Hospital who'd been steering patients (albeit ones less lucrative than asbestos victims) to him, got cancer in 2003. After Joseph died in August 2004, the speaker began hosting a lecture in his brother's name at the hospital. * Silver, the outgoing Assembly speaker, was forced to leave the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, but that doesn’t mean his financial relationship with the firm is over, the Daily News reports: 

Unlike Today's Stenographer Journalism Barrett Reporting Always Added to the Story 
Over the years, that grew; his referral fees now total $3.2 million atop his annual base. Without ever practicing law, Silver made far more, from this firm and another, than any actual working attorney in the Legislature. Incredibly, neither doctors' patients ever even met Silver. The deal that the state's most powerful legislator cut with Taub was all the more brazen because Manhattan prosecutors were at that very moment convicting a half-dozen lawyers for paying under-the-table fees to a so-called "runner" to get injury cases. The "runner" was prying medical records on car-accident victims out of emergency-room workers and selling them to the lawyers. The judge hearing the cases was Jim Yates, who is now Silver's chief counsel, as he was to Mel Miller, the last assembly speaker to face federal charges. According to the complaint, for his part in the Taub arrangement, Silver simultaneously sent a half-million dollars in state support to Taub's clinic, another grant to a nonprofit associated with Taub's wife, and helped Taub's son get a job at OHEL Children's Home & Family Services. OHEL is so tied to Silver it bought a camp in upstate Wurtsboro, just a few miles from his vacation house, located on what OHEL called the Dr. Joe Silver Campus. The advisory board chair for the camp is Martin "Elly" Kleinman, whose home health-care company, Americare, was fined $15 million for bogus Medicaid claims by two attorney generals, including Andrew Cuomo. Silver, who worked with Kleinman on the camp and attends an annual Silver Day there, has delivered millions in state subsidies to OHEL, which gave him its leadership award last year. 

OHEL's co-president, introduced with great fanfare by Silver at a 2012 gala, is another Lower East Side buddy, Mel Zachter, a board member for the camp who owns a summer home in the same upstate village as Silver and remained a member of Silver's synagogue after moving to Staten Island. Until recently, Zachter was also the chief financial officer at a scandal-consumed Silver affiliate, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which has become a headline hog all its own. It was the Met Council that caused these layers of insular overlap to blow up even before the Silver bust. The council's longtime CEO, Willie Rapfogel, took his fall in 2013, having squeezed $9 million out of his state subsidies for the poor, pocketing $3 million of it himself. 


Rapfogel and his wife Judy, who remains Silver's chief of staff and joined Yates at the recent members-only conference, live in the same building as Silver. Incredibly, Shelly and Judy insist that they did not know anything about Rapfogel's nest-egg — which included $420,000 in cash that investigators found in his homes and $350,000 he gave his son to help finance a new house. Sentenced to three-and-a-third to 10 years in July, Rapfogel raised $3 million from undisclosed "friends" to pay court-mandated restitution. The council's board was another who's who of Friends of Shelly. It included Richard Runes, the chief lobbyist for 100-year-old billionaire Leonard Litwin, whose Glenwood Management real estate empire is also at the center of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's charges against Silver. Runes represents Litwin — the state's single largest political contributor, who's dropped $10 million in various campaign kitties since 2005 — in negotiations over state laws affecting rent regulations and tax subsidies. 


The complaint alleges that unidentified Glenwood lobbyists met Silver to discuss pivotal real-estate legislation in 2011, when the Goldberg firm's payments to Silver soon soared from a mere $800 one year to $240,994. Silver then suddenly became "considerably more favorable" to real-estate interests on the bill "than expected," according to the Bharara complaint. (Runes was listed on Cuomo's schedule as one of the two Glenwood lobbyists that met with him to talk about the same legislation at that time.)   Growing up on or near Grand Street, the Rapfogels, Goldberg, Zachter, Lippman, and Silver were virtual Little Rascals, with Silver playing the ringleader in "Our Gang" then and as its members made their way in the world. . Silver magically moved Lippman from chief administrative judge, where he merely managed court operations, to the top judicial post atop the Court of Appeals in 2009.  Silver also blocked affordable housing on a barren, city-owned, 20-acre development site close to the coops for nearly 40 years, preferring, as one critic put it, rats to minorities. Silver and Rapfogel wound up favoring a Costco on the site after the developer hired Rapfogel's son, gave a million to Met Council and picked the council as its community partner.




Democrats defend Silver because they profit from his corrupt system(NYP) The ink was scarcely dry on the federal fingerprint pad last week when the usual suspects began lining up behind the biggest fish US Attorney Preet Bharara has hauled in to date: New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “I’ve always known Shelly Silver to be a man of integrity,” announced Mayor de Blasio, without an atom of irony. “There is no one in public life in New York who has fought more effectively, for decades, for almost everything I care about in public policy than Sheldon Silver,” Richard Gottfried of Manhattan, one of the Assembly’s longest-tenured members proclaimed with a straight face. “I want to see the facts before I have an opinion,” said Gov. Cuomo — ominously for him, also an object of curiosity to the feds. For Silver’s day gig — Assembly speaker — has him in the catbird seat regarding the disposition of billions upon billions of tax dollars every year. The special interests understand this, and boost the campaign accounts and electoral prospects of Silver’s allies, while damaging his adversaries, accordingly. Reasonably strong governors (George Pataki and Andrew Cuomo), a weak governor (David Paterson) and an insane governor (Eliot Spitzer) only rarely made waves on Silver’s pond — and when the turbulence settled the speaker was always stronger than ever. Fundamentally, they involve corrupt payments for work not performed — and greasing the skids for lawyers involved in New York’s notoriously seamy practice of adjusting commercial property-tax assessments. It’s a big-bucks business — and Silver certainly isn’t the only one stained by the skid-greasing. The real-estate industry generally is a cash-pump for politicians. (Cuomo himself last year collected as much as $1 million in campaign cash sifted through several limited-liability corporations by a single contributor, real-estate titan Leonard Litwin.)

All Daily Editorials Tell Silver to Get Out
The Times Editorial Board called on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to step down in the wake of his arrest on corruption charges, and says that reforming rules governing legislators’ outside pay should now be at the top of Albany’s priority list: 
 * Daily News editorial board says: Sheldon Silver must go. (NYDN)
Presumption of innocence granted, it was a pleasure to see Sheldon Silver in handcuffs, for his offenses against New Yorkers have long been criminal
The Speaker must go (NYP Ed) Cuomo  Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Daily News editorial board thearrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was "a bad reflection on government," but would not say if he believes Silver should resign his leadership post * Silver’s arrest puts the heat on Cuomo for Moreland disbanding(NYP) * Silver did all he could to derail and undermine the Moreland Commission panel established by Cuomo, and his arrest on federal corruption charges may explain why, The New York Times reports:  * Following Silver’s arrest, the Legislature must end the secrecy surrounding outside income, Cuomo must say what he knew about the Moreland Commission’s investigation and Silver must resign, the Times Unionwrites:


Silver and His Firm Weitz & Luxenberg Run the Courts and Judges Also
Silver’s law firm rakes in millions from judges he controls(NYP) His law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, gets its asbestos cases — and paydays — moved more quickly than those of other attorneys, and reaps a fortune from favorable rulings by friendly judges, charge lawyers and tort-reform advocates. Silver’s East Village firm handles more than half the cases in a special section of Manhattan Supreme Court called NYCAL (New York City Asbestos Litigation). So dominant is the firm, the court’s Web site refers to cases as “Weitz” or “non-Weitz.” The chief asbestos judge, Sherry Klein Heitler — also Manhattan’s chief civil judge — has handled dozens of Weitz & Luxenberg cases. “They’ve taken over a section of the courthouse, and the people in charge of the courthouse run it for them,” said a disgusted lawyer who files personal-injury cases in Manhattan. “It pours money into the firm.” Another judge, Joan Madden, consolidated unrelated asbestos cases. 




The King is Dead Long Live Whatever is Next
Silver being pushed out as Assembly Speaker (NYP) Scandal-scarred Sheldon Silver is being pushed out as the New York State Assembly Speaker after a 20-year Albany reign. Following a tense five hour meeting that ended Monday night, members of the 105-member Democratic conferences recommended that Silver resign in light of the shocking federal criminal charges filed against him by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Discussions centered on having Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester) take over as the Assembly leader in the interim, and eventually electing a new speaker. *  
Assembly Democratsto meet at noon today after calling on Sheldon Silver to step down as speaker (C&S) * * Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle went into Silver’s office to inform him Democratic members would give him until Tuesday to step down or risk being ousted from his position, The New York Times reports * Although Assembly Democrats gave Silver the option of resigning as speaker immediately or stepping aside and returning if acquitted, no one believed he could ever return once gone, The Buffalo News writes:  

Daily News: Five Democrats Working With Silver Are His Partners In Crime . . .  
Silver Must Go
Sheldon Silver's'stepping back' is a cynical stunt; Assembly Democrats must bounce him from thespeakership entirely (NYDN)  The five Democrats working with Silver are now his partners in crime. Their names must be memorialized on a roll call of shame: Denny Farrell of Manhattan, Carl Heastie of the Bronx,  Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn,  Joseph Morelle of Rochester, Catherine Nolan of Queens. New York's chief executive needs to definitely demand Silver's departure. So, too, must the state’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Ditto Controller Tom DiNapoli, a Silver acolyte who owes his current job to the speaker, and owes it to taxpayers to stand up to him now. Scott Stringer set the example for the mayor Monday, when the city controller became NYC's first prominent Democrat to buck his craven colleagues, and say Silver must go. "I do think it's not time to step aside, it's actually time to step down," he said. "We need one leader in the Assembly, someone who can guide these budget negotiations."

Glick Vs Freedom of the Press
Public Advocate Letitita James, too, said Monday that Silver must go. The Democrats have now had four days to read the complaint. Yet only five of the 105 Democrats in the Assembly majority have publicly demanded that Silver step down.   Those are Charles Barron of Brooklyn, Luis Sepulveda of the Bronx, Mickey Kearns of western New York, Carrie Woerner of Saratoga Springs, Al Stirpe of the Syracuse area and, in a major break, Keith Wright of Manhattan, who also serves as the county Democratic boss. “We are supportive of our speaker, as always,” echoed Jeff Aubry of Corona. Michael Benedetto of the Bronx and David Weprin of Fresh Meadows saw no cause for forcing Silver out. Manhattan Assemblywoman Deborah Glick declined to commit either way: "That's for us to have a full conversation over." Also weaseling out was Brooklyn's Nick Perry: "I'm still in the process of digesting all that happened." Ditto Manhattan's Brian Kavanagh. Four NYC members weaseled out by declining to comment: Helene Weinstein and Karim Camara of Brooklyn, and Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright of Manhattan. Twenty-two more, as of this writing, have so far lacked the courage to return our calls: Carmen Arroyo, Michael Blake, Victor Pichardo and Jose Rivera of the Bronx; Peter Abbate, Rodneyse Bichotte, James Brennan, Alec Brook-Krasny, Roxanne Persaud, Annette Robinson and Latrice Walker of Brooklyn; Robert Rodriguez, Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan; Edward Braunstein, Phillip Goldfeder, Nily Rozic, William Scarborough, Michael Simanowitz, Aravella Simotas and Michele Titus of Queens; and Matthew Titone of Staten Island.


Idealistic new wave of Assembly members who helped galvanize opposition to Silver, prodded a loyal old guard and cleared the way for an election of a new speaker 
Sheldon Silver Should Resign Already(NYT)  Political etiquette, what there is of it, decrees that after getting arrested, a politician should step down. * ONE DOWN: Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright quits race to replace Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, leaving four candidates vying for the spot(NYDN) * Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s chances of succeeding embattled Speaker Sheldon Silvergot a boost on when a key rival – Assemblyman Keith Wright – dropped out and backed the Bronx Democrat’s bid. Heastie’s team called Wright’s endorsement a “game changer.” * Heastie, who would be the first black speaker in Assembly history, has promised reformsif he’s elected. He also revealed his favorite term when it comes to the press: “No comment.” * Calls, meetings, texts, promises and head fakes were the rage as the competitors for Silver’s speakership raced to put together a coalition ahead of their competition.

Ruben Diaz Jr. Pushes for Carl Heastie to Replace Sheldon Silver
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle Morelle, who is trying to defy history by becoming the first upstate speaker in decades, is in New York City to meet with colleagues over the next several days and will continue to press his case for the job across the state. He said he should not be discounted by New York City leaders because he’s from upstate. Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda said he and more than a dozen other members are drafting a list of policy demands they want the next speaker to abide by. Among them are term limits on the speaker job and on committee chairmanships. Until the candidates respond, the group isn’t committing their votes. Interviews with more than a dozen legislators indicate that it was an idealistic new wave of Assembly members who helped galvanize opposition to Silver, prodded a loyal old guard and cleared the way for an election of a new speaker and, they hoped, a new start.* Ruben Diaz Jr. Pushes for Carl Heastie toReplace Sheldon Silver (NYO)


Without Silver's iron Fist . . .  Poor Leadership and Chaos?
Albany ripe for chaos after Preet’s capital crackdown(NYP) For Bharara doesn’t seem to be missing much on his long march through the swamps of Albany — and this could have a direct bearing on the most pressing question in New York politics today: Après Shelly, what? Short answer: Too soon to say with certainty, but look for chaos. For when it came to management style, Sheldon Silver never bothered with the velvet glove; with him, it was all iron fist, all the time. Initiative? Not in Shelly’s shop. Just a glance at potential Silver successors — Carl Heastie of The Bronx, Catherine Nolan of Queens and Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn — reveals no proven leadership skills, precious little imagination and virtually no independence from the interests that have been issuing marching orders to Shelly Silver for two decades. But neither is there an apparent willingness to use the iron fist — or, more to the point, the cleverness needed to get away that sort of a managerial style. But these aren’t tranquil times. These are Preet Bharara’s times. He said “stay tuned” last week, with one eye presumably on Cuomo and one on . . . how many others, especially in the Assembly? Until he lifts that alert, there will be no business as usual in Albany.
Instead, there will be a vacuum. They never last, but when they collapse, the effects can be spectacular. History will record Silver as having ruled his 105-person conference with an iron fist, quashing coup attempts and marginalizing potential enemies. But his ability to remain in power for two decades, until he was forced to step down this week, stemmed as much from his careful consideration of the conference’s needs as from his occasional ruthlessness.”* Bob McManus expects “chaos” in the post-Silver era.
 Bharara: when we made the decision to bring charges against the Speaker of the NY Assembly, we had far more than three people in the room. * "Is that really how government should be run? When did 20 million New Yorkers" agree to this? Bharara asks of "3 men in a room" * Bharara: "three men in a room" w so much power major problem, "why three? can there be a woman? Do they have to be white? Is it a closet?" * "Whenever corruption is on the rise that means democracy is on the decline" Bharara says @CityLandNYC event "The people of New York should be disappointed...should be angry" & asking serious Qs, Bharara says @CityLandNYC * Bharara recounting major public corruption cases v Halloran, Stevenson  @CityLandNYCAlbanyPower Dynamics Allow Immense Power, Little Reform (Gotham Gazette) * U.S. AttorneyCriticizes Albany’s ‘Three Men in a Room’ Culture (NYT) * Charges againstAssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may mark turning point in political corruptionbattle: prosecutor (NYDN)  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is accusing Silver of corrupt activity dating back to 2000, slammed the situation in Albany as 'a cauldron of corruption.'* * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara lashed out at the “three men in a room” arrangement that controls New York state government, claiming it is to blame for Albany’s “cauldron of corruption”, theObserver reports:

Preet remains New York’s only hope(NYP Ed) *Silver and top cancer doc worked together in ‘kickback scheme’(NYP) * Dark Master of New York Politics Accused of Taking Millions in Bribes(Daily Beast) * After taking down Wall Street, Preet sets his sights on Albany(NYP) * U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara remains the best and only hope for uprooting corruption in politics and business in New YorkformerAssemblyman Michael Benjamin writes in the Post: * 'STAY TUNED': U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara rips accused Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, creating buzz around the prosecutor's possible political future (NYDN) * BAD TO THE BONE: U.S. Attorney nails the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead to rights — and it's about time (NYDN Ed) * Prosecutors claim Speaker Silver dodged being caught with alleged bribes using every trick in book(NYDN) * A renowned Columbia University Medical Center oncologist, Dr. Robert Taub, is the key witness in the multi-million dollar bribery and kickback case against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, DNAinfo reports: * * Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm where Silver was “of counsel,” insisted that it was unaware of the Manhattan Democrat’s practice of “referrals” scrutinized by federal prosecutors, State of Politics reports: 

Assembly Democrats aggressively defended Silver, but Queens Democratic officials are positioning for Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to possibly take over as speaker in a post-Silver Albanythe Observer reports: * * The Working Families Party issued a statement of support for Silver, with executive director Bill Lipton saying, “Our justice system is based on the presumption of innocence,” Capital New Yorkreports * * Joe Lhota, the 2013 Republican mayoral nominee, slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio for backing Silver, despite previously calling for the resignations of pols like former Gov. David Paterson for their indiscretions,the Observer reports * * Asked to explain his belief in the integrity of Silver, de Blasio continued to stand by him, characterizing him as a staunch ally and insisting he would be able to continue doing his job, The New York Times reports: * * What sets the stunning charges against Silver apart from other Albany scandals is the breathtaking cynicism and hypocrisy of his alleged schemes,Bill Hammond writes in the Daily News: * When Silver blocked a budget with bizarre objections in 2004, Gov. George Pataki demanded to know who his client was, demonstrating that Silver’s shady dealings were common knowledge, the Post’s Michael Goodwinwrites * Working Families Party issues statement of support for Silver(Capital)* Pataki: Silver’s Arrest Part Of An Expanding Government(YNN)

Weitz & Luxenberg Gave $600,000 to Federal Candidates




Did Silver Pay the Berlin Rosen and the WFP to Keep the Albany DA Away? 
Was the Albany DA Elected to Protect Silver and His Staff Against Sexual Abuse and Other Corruption?
A capital veteran describes a telling dimension of Silver’s destructive stranglehold on government. The story begins in 2003, when Silver’s chief counsel was charged with rape and marched out of Assembly offices in handcuffs. Although District Attorney Paul Clyne was a fellow Democrat, Silver was furious at being embarrassed.  “He was fuming,” the Albany vet says, “and swore he would get a DA in there he could control and who would never embarrass him.”  Silver found his candidate for the 2004 election, little-known lawyer David Soares, and engineered the support of the upstart Working Families Party.  Against heavy odds, Soares upset Clyne in the primary and triumphed again in the general election. To this day, Soares remains the Albany DA, yet never finds anything amiss in the Legislature. Soares paid Berlin Rosen $30,000 in 2012.  Berlin Rosen's Alex Navarro-McKay as a WFP operative helped Soares get elected as Albany's DA * Cuomo attaches ethics reform laws to state budget voting (NYP)



The FBI May Have to Expand Their Investigation into A State Senator’s Campaign Account to Speaker Silver

“State and federal investigators want to know whether former state senator George Maziarz’s campaign account secretly bankrolled his chosen candidates for local offices in Niagara CountyThe Buffalo News has learned FBI agents want to determine who paid for mailers, advertising, robocalls and other campaign tools in certain local races. There is strong evidence that former Speaker Silver was also using his campaign account to help other candidates. From 2010 to 2014 Friends of Silver paid campaign consultant Berlin Rosen over $750,000 for almost no campaign work. During Berlin Rosen’s employment by Silver, the former speaker had only one weak GOP opponent, Maureen Koetz in 2014, who received less than 20% of the vote against Silver.  Why Berlin Rosen was paid so much money when Silver faced no challengers? Was the speaker trying to hide his involvement in other races that Berlin Rosen was running, like de Blasio for mayor in 2013?   From 2010 to 2014 Berlin Rosen worked in over 50 different state and city campaigns.   The FBI could look to see if the former speaker was trying to get over the candidate spending limit by paying the consultant Berlin Rosen directly?  During the 2009 city elections Berlin Rosen was working for all the candidates who hired the WFP’s Data and Field, which was accused of being used to going around the city’s campaign finance spending limits.  According to Silver’s federal  indictment, developer number one used LLCs as a “loophole corporations,” to get around the election law to funnel more money to political candidates, to buy influence to obtain tax breaks for his luxury building.  The FBI agents, who plan to give the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the results of their investigation in Maziarz’s campaign, cannot do the same if they investigate former Speaker Silver.  Not only does Silver’s consultant Berlin Rosen worked in both of Schneiderman’s campaigns, its owners Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin stated their political career working for Schneiderman when he was a state senator* Ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver to return to much smaller office (NYDN)


Employees of Weitz & Luxenberg have given at least $600,000 to federal candidates—nearly all Democrats—over the last two cycles, including Rep. Kathleen Rice, a former Moreland co-chair, the Observer reports:
Accused AssemblySpeaker Sheldon Silver's lawyer has experience defending corrupt pols(NYDN)  Silver lawyer Joel Cohen represented former state Controller Alan Hevesi when he was accused of helping himself to taxpayer money for personal expenses. *  An Albany Powerhouseon the Edge of a Volcano, via @nytimes  *  Sheldon Silver’s wealth a well-kept secret(NYP)* Silver’s thrifty spending habits and low-key, modestlifestyle might be why federal authorities were able to seize millions of dollars in bribes in kickbacks from eight of his accounts at six separate banks, the Post writes: * Former City & State editor Morgan Pehme outlines in the Gotham Gazette five immediate impacts Silver’s arrest will have on Albany, including potential reform, a major power shift and a signal of more arrests to come: * Assembly Speaker Silver's arrest marks stunning career turn(NYDN) * Assembly Speaker Silver can stay in power despite arrest(NYDN) * Editorial: Sheldon Silver is bad to the bone(NYDN Ed) * Feds sought evidenceof Silver's actual legal work. Got 1 file. One. And it was pro bono. Um... Aboutthose fees...? (NYT)* Silver’s Law Firm Disavows Referrals(YNN) * Columbia Doctor, Player in Sheldon Silver Investigation, Is Leaving Post(NYT) * Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker, Took Millions in Payoffs, U.S. Says(NYT) *Complaint Details How Silver Earned Millions From Obscure Legal Work(NYT)
The Longest Serving Assemblyman Pimps for Silver
The Democratic-controlled Assembly, dominated by city members, had always been the bulwark against repeal. Betraying his constituents and pandering to the suburbs, Silver this time said yes. And the accumulated losses to the city treasury now top $10 billion. He screwed the city, and the screwing gets worse year by year. That alone should have been enough to throw the bum out.* * The Post asks if there are enough honest DemocraticAssembly members—32—to join with Republicans and vote Silver out of his speakership, instead of negotiating behind closed doors: * Silver has frequently protected his members during his tenure, but Queens AssemblymanAndrew Hevesi said that “this time he has to protect his members by resigning,” adding: “There’s an element of courageousness to it.” “We think it’s a great difficulty for him to continue to operate,” said Assemblyman Jeff Aubry, also of Queens. I think he recognizes that it’s a great difficulty for him to continue to operate…It’s not a time that anybody is feeling good about.” *  Gov. Andrew Cuomo panned Silver’s five-member management plan, saying: “Management by committee I’ve never been a fan of, and I’ve never seen it work well.” * The Syracuse Post-Standard: “The stage is set for Silver to be gone. Once that happens, the Legislature needs to get to work repairing its tattered reputation and enacting ethics reforms that actually will stop unethical conduct.” * Sheldon Silver’sarmy of enablers (NYDN)
A Rebellion In the Puppet Assembly
Assembly Democrats ask Sheldon Silver to resign (Capital) Assemblyman Abbate says no decision tonight. Assembly Dems will meet tomorrow at noon.* Assemblyman Kavanagh said it's being conveyed by conference that Silver should step down. Doesn't expect new speaker vote tomorrow * Sounds like there's no consensus on who comes next. "I have no idea," Brian Kavanagh says. #nyassembly * Charles Barron says he continues to call for Sheldon Silver to resign and "I expect that to happen." * BREAKING: LI Assemb. Thiele: No support for #SheldonSilver to continue. But not certain who will succeed.* More Democrats, Including Cuomo, Want Silver to Step Down as Speaker (NYT) Over 20 Assembly Democrats called for Sheldon Silver to step down or appeared poised to do so; Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said it would be “good thing” if someone else took charge of the Assembly * With Leadership Fight Underway, Session Is Cancelled(YNN) As Democratic members of the state Assembly continue to discuss the future of Sheldon Silver as speaker, the chamber’s session days were cancelled for tonight and Tuesday, officials in the chamber said. Assemblyman Mickey Kearns, a Buffalo Democrat who does not conference with the majority, called the decision to cancel this evening’s planned session as well as Tuesday “a waste of taxpayer money.” The state Senate also cancelled its Tuesday session due to the blizzard now impact most of downstate and eastern New York.  The Kavanagh group is a coalition of youngish Assembly Democrats elected in last few years. Not the strongest ties to Silver * Assmb Kavanaugh abruptly cancels 5 pm press Conf of members critical of Silver Keith Wright Silver Resign a senior member from Harlem and Manhattan Dem chair, has called for Sheldon Silver to resign. Most prominent Dem to do so.  City ComptrollerStringer Calls On Silver To Give Up Speakership  Stringer calls on Silver to step down as speaker(NYP) * Remix: Dems fear, RNC cheers as Sheldon Silver's arrestclouds NY's DNC 2016 bid (NYDN)* Assemblyman Ryan calls Silver plan for running Assembly with 5 Dems "unworkable.'' Stringer New Leadership Comptroller Calls for ‘New Leadership’ in Albany AfterSheldon Silver Steps Aside (NYO) Keith Wright Calls On Silver To Resign(YNN) * Stringer To Silver: ‘Step Down’ Not ‘Step Aside’ (YNN) 

Shame in Albany. Capitol police ejecting reporters from state Assembly where lawmakers debating Sheldon Silver. 

Silver To Retain Speaker’s Stipend (YNN) * Manhattan DemocraticLeader Calls on Silver to Quit Post(NYT)  * Silver has not responded to a state ethics committee inquiry into why he did not publicly reveal about a decade’s worth of income from a small law firm on annual financial disclosure forms, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett says: Push Back Sheldon Silver faces pushback from fellow Dems over title (NYDN) * Assemblyman Charles Barron says Silver's plan to share some power 'an insult to our intelligence' * Assemblyman Jeff Aubry recently left Silver's office, saying he wasn't going to caucus. #nyassembly * Rapidly eroding Silver support: Cuomo critical, Wright & Stringer seek resignation, suburbanites & scattering of others revolt.* Assemblyman Mickey Kearns, a Democrat from Buffalo, said #nyassembly session tonight and Tuesday are canceled. He left in a huff.  Tom Libous Son Convicted  A federal court on Monday convicted the son of New YorkState Senate Deputy GOP Leader Tom Libous. He's next to go.  * Disappointed to see so many brand-new Assembly members inSheldon Silver's corruption caucus. (NYDN)* You have to go back to 1911 to find a Democratic Assembly Speaker who wasn't from New York City.* Silver is now in the crosshairs of the media, prosecutors and ambitious members." - @SquarePegDem, Sept. 2013 * Speaker Sheldon Silver faces pushback from fellow New York Democrats as he fights to keep title(NYDN)


Members of Silvers Staff Subpoenaed by Federal Prosecutors
The push to ease Silver out came after Gov. Cuomo and other Democrats blasted as unworkable the speaker’s plan to keep his title and have a committee of five loyalists run the Assembly while he focused on his legal defense. The idea was scrapped. * Assembly Democrats Call on Sheldon Silver to Step Down as Speaker(NYT)  “He’s lost the confidence of the majority of our conference,” one lawmaker said of Mr. Silver, who is accused of corruption. * 'HE MUST RESIGN': Democrats demand Silver remove himself as speaker, but the defiant politician trying to keep his title(NYDN) * * It may be coincidence, but a founder of the law firm that employed Sheldon Silver once worked at another firm at the center of one of the state’s “most notorious (proven) scams,” writes The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin:  


 Betrayal of the public trust is at the heart of the #SheldonSilver thief of honest svcs charges; pall on legislation. (Propublica) * Conundrum at the Capitol  (TU) The conference meeting served as the agonizingly drawn-out climax to the most tumultuous day in the state Legislature since the June 2009 onset of the Senate coup, which heralded five weeks of...* Assembly Democrats Ponder Next Step (YNN) Wanted: Leader for a 150-member state-level legislative body. Budget experience a plus. Candidates under investigation need not apply. That’s the situation Assembly Democrats find themselves in as they seek to end the tenure of embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a move that only a week ago before his arrest on corruption charges seemed unthinkable. Silver is yet to signal that he plans to officially step down as speaker, a post he’s held since 1994. “I am the speaker,” Silver declared last night as he was leaving the Capitol.* Silver’s-Gotta-Go Predict-O-Mat™(TU) * Cracks in the armor: Steck, Santabarbara, McDonald, Fahy, and Worner all calling for Silver to resign.* Silver remained aliberal bulwark despite Bragman coup, scandals over Boxley, Lopez: * Bill Hammond: After Silver, a new speaker and speakership(NYDN) * With Sheldon Silverout, watch for scaffold law reform and legalization of MMA. 



A Speaker Cou d'e'tat Derailed By Silver GOP loyalist on the Member Item Tit   
Assembly Republican blocks coup effort against Sheldon Silver(NYP) A bold plan to launch a “coup’’ against embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver through a coalition of Democrats and Republicans has been rejected by Assembly GOP leader Brian Kolb — who many lawmakers insist is actually in league with Silver, The Post has learned. The plan, which some in the Legislature contend could have enlisted the support of Gov. Cuomo, a Democrat, would have had the Assembly’s 44 Republicans vote as a bloc with a minimum of 32 of the Assembly’s 106 Democrats to cast the 76 votes needed to elect someone other than Silver, the Manhattan Democrat now being probed by US Attorney Preet Bharara. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R-Rensselaer), an increasingly outspoken critic of Kolb, has secretly pushed the plan to oust Silver for two years and accelerated it in recent weeks in the wake of new revelations involving Bharara’s investigation of Silver, who was just re-elected as speaker last week. Back to 3 Men in the Room With Republicans having won an outright majority of the state Senate, Sen. Jeff Klein is expected to be bounced from the negotiating table with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, where decisions are made behind outside the view of the public, the Daily News’ KenLovett writes: 
Blow to Klein  New Republican Senate majority is a blow to breakawayDemocrats, especially Sen. Jeffrey Klein (NYDN) * Respected Assembly sergeant-at-arms hits 40 years in chamber (NYDN) Women's Rights Bill Portions of the Women’s Equality Act will be among the first bills passed by the state Senate in 2015, but the chamber won’t be taking up a provision that would bolster the state’s abortion law, Gannett Albanyreports: *Silver: No WEA Vote Without Abortion Provision(YNN) *Senate To Vote On Eight Women’s Agenda Bills(YNN) * Our view: SheldonSilver's repugnant re-election as speaker(auburnpub.com) * Moderate Republicans Oppose Immigration Vote(YNN)* On Policy, Stewart-Cousins Sees Common Ground With IDC(YNN)* Under federal investigation, new records show Sheldon Silver spent another $30,000 from campaign account on legal fees.* With a federal investigation looming over outside income he’s received, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last month spent $30,000 on attorneys fees, State of Politics reports * The IDC released its 15-point policy agenda today - two days ahead of the full release of Cuomo’s Opportunity Agenda


The Silver Lobbyists Rat's Assemblyman Nephew Supports Silver  
Nephew of lobbyist who turned on Sheldon Silver supportedkeeping Silver as speaker (NYP) In an only-in-Albany moment, Brian Meara, a veteran lobbyist and longtime friend of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was publicly revealed to be cooperating in Bharara’s case against the speaker a day after his nephew, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein of Queens,attended a news conference of Assembly Democrats supporting Silver.
Silver Replace by Morelle Temp Feb10 Election
Dems have to either have Silver's resignation in hand, or have him ousted by Monday, next session day. Either way, Morelle interim speaker
Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle in news conference says there will be a "vacancy" in the office of the speaker come Monday.
With Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expected to relinquish his leadership, Assemblymen Carl Heastie, Joseph Morelle and Keith Wright are the top candidates to replace him * Sheldon Silver to Be Replaced as Speaker of New York State Assembly(NYT) * Morelle may have a head start in the race to replace Silver, but he could face several downstate rivals, including Carl Heastie, Joseph Lentol, Catherine Nolan and Keith Wright, The New York Times writes: * The Post says“good riddance” to Silver, but writes that Albany officials responded as if they were in a “banana republic” by letting him maintain his position for a week following his arrest: *Interim #SheldonSilverreplacement has more business-friendly agenda (Capital) Law Firm Cuts Ties With Silver Also Disgraced SpeakerSheldon Silver cuts ties with law firm Weitz & Luxenberg (NYDN)  Silver, who previously reported earning up to $750,000 from the law firm, will cut ties with it after a federal criminal complaint accused him of referring a Columbia University doctor’s cases to Weitz & Luxenberg.*Silver To Take Leave Of Absence From Weitz & Luxenberg(YNN)Assembly SpeakerCathy Nolan? She's campaigning for it(Capital) * Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan running to replace Sheldon Silver(NYP) * Assembly Dems Look To Turn The Page(YNN) * Silver out: CanMorelle defy 100 years of history? (Lohud) * Heastie Declares Speaker Candidacy(YNN)  * Lentol Jumps Into Speaker’s Race(YNN) * The Observer’s Ross Barkan assesses the five Democratic Assembly members vying to replace Silver as speaker of the chamber: Joseph Morelle, Joseph Lentol, Carl Heastie, Catherine Nolan and Keith Wright:  * If Silver remains a rank-and-file lawmaker rather than retiring after stepping down as speaker, he will miss out on pension benefits that would exceed his salary, the Empire Center’s Kenneth Girardin writes:  Reforms The Empire Center’s Tim Hoefer writes in the Post that term limits in state government would have ended Silver’s career years ago, and would generally curb career lawmakers who seekto preserve their positions: * ‘Shocked’ law firm gives Sheldon Silver the boot(NYP) * ‘Shocked’ law firm gives Sheldon Silver the boot(NYP)* The AssemblyDemocrats' Shel game  (NYDN Ed)
Why are they waiting until Monday to dump corruption-tainted Sheldon Silver as speaker?



Assembly Speaker Silver Arrested 

Sheldon SilverNew York Assembly Speaker, Faces Arrest on CorruptionCharges(NYT)  Federal authorities are expected to arrest Sheldon Silver, the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, on corruption charges on Thursday, people with knowledge of the matter said. The case is likely to throw Albany into disarray at the beginning of a new session. The investigation that led to the expected charges against Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has served as speaker for more than two decades, began after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in March abruptly shut down an anti-corruption commission he had created in 2013.


 Bharara added-ominously-that his office had a # of publiccorruption investigations that were continuing-“stay tuned" (NYT) * Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Leader, Is Arrested on Graft Charges(NYT) * Silver’s Case May Have Vast Impact and Alter Entrenched Way of Governance(NYT) The corruption charges for Sheldon Silver, the State Assembly leader, are expected to be a major disruption in a capital that has long believed he was untouchable. * Complaint Offers Motive for Silver’s Fight Against Corruption Panel (NYT)A federal prosecutor said the death of the Moreland Commission came as “a great relief” to the Assembly speaker, who actively fought its creation.* Gonzalez: SheldonSilver can help New Yorkby resigning(NYDN)

Update Silver was being held Thursday at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan, lawenforcement sources said. 
Mr. Silver, before entering 26 Federal Plaza, said, “I hope I’ll be vindicated.”Buffalo-area Assemblyman @Mickey_Kearns — one of two Dems who opposed Silver's reelection as speaker — calls for him to step down.* Assemblyman Jeff Aubry; "We are supportive of our speaker, as always."* Lawmakers on both sides of aisle call on Sheldon Silverto quit in bombshell corruption case(NYDN)Times Tells Silver to Step Down

Here's the federalcomplaint against @ShellySilver Silver allegedly obtained $4M in payments from Weitz &Luxenberg "solely through the corrupt use of his official position." US Attorney accuses Assembly Speaker Silver of taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, complaint says.Correction: Silver steered $500K to doctor who referred asbestos cases to his law firm Got the Bastard  New York Daily News really takes Speaker Silver to task withan editorial that begins with "They got the bastard"...  (NYDN) * Sheldon Silver arrested, accused of taking $4M in bribes, kickbacks(NYP)  * Released on Bail, Sheldon Silver Says He ‘WillBe Vindicated’(NYO) * De Blasio Calls Sheldon Silver a 'Man of Integrity' (DNAINFO) *After SpeakerSilver’s Arrest, Predicting ‘Chaos’ in AlbanyPower Balance (NYT) * Bharara lays out case against Silver, hints at more arrests(CrainsNY)


Silver to Step Down to Fight Federal Charges
Sheldon Silver agrees to step down as NYS Assembly speaker while he fights federal corruption charges. 5 members to run chamber
Updated: The Spinning Speaker Figure Head
Sheldon Silver "is not stepping down," his spokesman e-mails, but "appointing a senior grp of members to undertake various responsibilities" * Sheldon Silver to give up Assembly Speaker power(NYP)  Facing intense pressure to step down, Sheldon Silver has agreed to relinquish his enormous powers as Assembly Speaker to a 5-man committee.Under a deal being finalized last night, Silver will become a virtual figure head on Monday, as he cedes the iron control he has held over legislative matters in the State Capitol for the past 21 years. It is not clear if he will actually give up the title of Speaker, and sources said the deal to cede control will be declared “temporary,” meant to only last while he fights charges of kickbacks and corruption filed last week.
Dicker Cuomo Freaked Out Sources tell Fred Dicker the governor is “freaked-out and furious” over the bombshell criminal charges dropped on Silver, and also “obsessed with fear” because of the ongoing federal corruption probe. The governor is also angry with US Attorney Preet Bharara for stepping on his 2015 Opportunity Agenda headlines.


Silver Supports Heastie
Speaker hopeful Heastie has the support of Sheldon Silver(NYP) Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie could be sworn in as speaker as early as Tuesday, and he can count on the vote of the accused crook he’ll be replacing — Sheldon Silver. “I think it’s a great choice, I think he’s a wonderful man,” the disgraced speaker told The Post Friday as he entered his office at 250 Broadway.* SILVER EXIT: Embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver officially submits resignation letter, will step down effective Monday night(NYDN) * Heastie in line to replace Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (NYDN) * Silver to Resign as Speaker on Monday(NY1) * Silver Submits Resignation Letter(WSJ)* Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s forced leave of absence from Weitz & Luxenbergdoesn’t mean his financial relationship with the powerhouse firm is done.

The Speaker is Not Stepping Down . . . 
“The Speaker is not stepping down,” Whyland said. “He is appointing a group of senior members to undertake various responsibilities such as budget negotiations to ensure a timely spending plan for the state. This will give him the flexibility he needs so that he can defend himself against these charges, and he is confident that he will be found innocent.” Sources told The Post that — instead of Silver — budget negotiations would likely be overseen by Herman (Denny) Farrell of Harlem and Joe Morelle of Rochester. The other members of the five-man group were identified by sources as: Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn, Cathy Nolan of Queens And Carl Heastie of The Bronx. Even Silver does quit the top post, he is not expected to quit his office as assemblyman for the Lower East SideMeanwhile, the disgraced politician is scheduled to vote this week on handing out nearly $95 million in state grants and loans — despite allegations he funneled taxpayer money to a leading cancer doctor as part of a long-running kickback scheme. The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Public Authorities Control Board — where Silver is one of just three voting members — also includes a residential real-estate project in his district. * NO SILVER LINING: Sheldon to step aside as NYS Assembly speaker while battling federal corruption charges — 'appoints' five members to jointly run chamber(NYDN) Sheldon Silver will temporarily cede power as he fightsfederal corruption charges.(WNYC) * Silver still voting on public matters after corruption charges(NYP) * Halloran defends Silver amid corruption charges(NYP) GOP Push Silver Out "Republicansmay get some Democratic support if they push a resolution to oust Silverentirely." (NYDN) * Silver plans todelegate some power to five senior members. He doesn't plan to step down. @J__Velasquez & I explain:
)
Speaker Silver still running the show. He "appointed" the 5 Assemblymembers to the committee.





Cuomo: Silver Still the Boss
 Cuomo believes Silver is still running Assembly: source(NYDN)  According to an inside source, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is telling his political backers he believes that indicted ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is still calling the shots in the chamber
Update 




Silver Could Be Fined Up to Half A Million for False Disclosure Filings
Silver could face $520,000 in disclosure fines(NYP)  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, facing federal corruption charges, could also be hit with state fines of up to $520,000 if probers determine he violated New York’s ethics disclosure law, The Post has learned. The state Joint Commission on Public Ethics has opened probes into the outside income of state lawmakers — particularly Silver and other lawyer-legislators — to see whether they properly reported the sources for all outside income. Under the ethics law, public officials who “knowingly and willfully” file a “false statement” with “the intent to deceive” face a maximum fine of $40,000 per violation.* Sheldon Silver is also on hook in state probe(NYDN) Sheldon Silverignores JCOPE inquiry, could face probe, source says (NYDN)
If Shelly Silver isn't performing speaker duties, shouldn't he give up his $41,500 speaker stipend? He has stripped others of stipends



Yes. Our job's to shame you as needed, like now. MT @DeborahJGlick: It's for elected Assembly members, not press, to to determine our future



Lobbyists Working for Glenwood Management
Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Llc $150,000
Carl Andrews & Associates, Inc. $ 144,000
Empire Strategic Planning, Inc. $ 144,000
Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $120,000
Lieberman, Mark L. $90,000
Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000
Runes, Richard $60,000

Park Strategies $20,000




Silver as speaker would make New York’s government the national symbol of corruption
New York Democrats Ask Whether Silver Should Remain Leader (NYT) Many Assembly Democrats feel a deep loyalty to Speaker Sheldon Silver, but his arrest on federal corruption charges have left many wondering if he can carry out his job.
Sheldon Silver agrees to step down as NYS Assembly speaker while he battles federal corruption charges — 5 members to run chamber: source(NYDN)  The embattled Democrat was discussing with top Dems in the Assembly about possibly leaving as leader. But on Sunday, he admitted he had to step down while facing federal corruption charges. Earlier, an assemblyman said he had received calls from Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle and surrogates of Assemblyman Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Keith Wright (D-Manhattan) gauging his feelings on the uncertainty in the chamber.Updated: Cathy Nolan in the mix: Sheldon Silver in talks to potentially step down as Assembly speaker * The Fab Five: Silverto empower five senior members (Capital)* Sheldon Silver toTemporarily Relinquish Speaker Duties(NYT)

Silver is set to spare New York the shame of having the gavel of the state Assembly in the hand of a naked extortionist. But Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and the Assembly Democrat must sever all ties with him.*  Developer Who Keeps Low Profile Is Embroiled in Silver Scandal(NYT)  Unlike many New York builders, Leonard Litwin has never sought the limelight. Now, though, he is caught up in a case that is rocking the real estate and political establishments.


.Secret Government Lobbyists Partner With Silver in Corruption Rats on Speaker

Close friend, top lobbyist helped feds take down Sheldon Silver(NYP) Brian Meara, 63, is the person referred to in court papers as “the Lobbyist” who revealed that Silver told him “there was nothing to worry about” regarding the speaker secretly sharing in legal fees paid by Meara’s client, billionaire developer Leonard Litwin, the sources said. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest aided by closefriend, Albanylobbyist(NYDN) Brian Meara has been cooperating as a 'fact witness' as part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation, sources told The News. The criminal complaint against Silver references an unnamed lobbyist who the sources say was Meara. According to the criminal complaint, the lobbyist represented a developer who was using a law firm that paid Silver for bringing in business. The developer, sources say, was politically connected Leonard Litwin, who Meara repped at the time. “The fact that Meara is the witness is not a good sign for Shelly,” said one Albany insider, alluding to how much Meara knows about his pal. In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers. His clients also include the Yankees owners and the Silvercup Studios production facility in Queens.

Meara is one of the state’s most powerful lobbyists . . .  Part of the Silver, Queens Boss Crowley and Speaker Quinn Crime Families 
The Bayside resident is also close to Queens Democratic boss and US Rep. Joe Crowley, while his brother, Chuck, was chief of staff to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. In addition to the state court officers union and other labor groups, Meara represents a host of big-bucks industries, including casino operators, insurance companies and soft-drink makers. His clients also include the Yankees owners and the Silvercup Studios production facility in Queens. The Bayside resident is also close to Queens Democratic boss and US Rep. Joe Crowley, while his brother, Chuck, was chief of staff to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. According to Thursday’s criminal complaint against Silver, Meara got a non-prosecution deal from the feds in exchange for agreeing to serve as a “fact witness” against the Manhattan Democrat. The complaint says Silver got two developers — including “Developer-1,” identified by sources as 100-year-old Litwin — to hire the law firm run by Silver’s former counsel, identified by sources as Jay Arthur Goldberg. Silver allegedly pocketed at least $700,000 by splitting the fees generated by the lucrative property-tax challenges, without notifying either developer or disclosing the payments. 

Companies That Brian Meara Has Been A Lobby For
NRG Energy, Inc. , Motorola Solutions Inc., New York Black Operator's Injury Compensation Fund, Inc., PepsiCo, Inc., Dominion Voting Systems, Inc, New York Black Car Operators' Injury Compensation Fund, Inc., MANHOLE BARRIER SECURITY SYSTEMS, INC., COMMISSION ON INDEPENDENT COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES,  empire racing associates llc, ABC, INC. CBS Corporation, NBC Universal, Harter, Secrest & Emery LLP, Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance, Covanta Energy Corporation (formerly American Ref-Fuel Co.), American Ref-Fuel Company, Essex Enterprises LLC, Power, Crane & Company. LLC, Power, Crane & Company. LLC


Queens Boss Crowley Tied Into Silver By Corrupt Lobbyists 
When the other partner at Goldberg’s firm, identified by sources as Dara Iryami, got worried that new legislative rules would require Silver to disclose the payments, the firm drafted new retainer agreements outlining the fee-sharing arrangement with Silver, the complaint says. But in December 2011, shortly before the new retainer agreements were sent out, Silver phoned Meara, the complaint states. Silver allegedly asked Meara if his lobbying of Silver on real estate issues was based on his representation of Litwin or the limited-liability companies, or LLCs, “that nominally owned the buildings ultimately owned by” Litwin. “The Lobbyist replied that he represented Developer-1,” court papers say. “In response, Silver indicated, in sum and substance, that there was nothing to worry about, because he (i.e., Silver) was only representing the LLCs.






Why Did Silver Pay Berlin Rosen $750,000 When He Had No Challengers?
Does It Connect to the Albany DA Berlin Client, Never Going After A Corruption With the Lawmaker?
From 2010 to 2014 Friends of Silver (the former Speakers main campaign account) paid lobbyists campaign consultant Berlin Rosen over $750,000.  During that three election cycles Silver paid his campaign consultant he had only one election with a very weak GOP opponent Maureen Koetz in 2014.  Koetz received less than 20% of the vote against the speaker.  Why was Berlin Rosen paid so much money? Was the speaker trying to hide his involvement in other races that Berlin Rosen was running like de Blasio for mayor in 2013? Or was the speaker trying to get over the spending limit by paying the consultant Berlin Rosen directly for candidates he was supporting? Berlin works in a lot of campaigns.  Developer number one in the Silver indictment used LLC as a “loophole corporations,” to get around the election law to funnel more money to political candidates, to buy influence. Was Silver trying to buy with the $750,000 payment to Berlin Rosen?  Besides his own campaign account Friends of Silver, the speaker controls the Assembly Campaign Committee account and the Speakers PAC, which had Trump, James Dolan and Meryl Tisch among its individual donors.  Other than a handful of individuals with less colorful names (Schedule A) SpeakerPAC is mostly a destination for corporate and PAC money (Scheds B, C).  At its beginning, in 2000-02, SpeakerPac spends over $100,000 on entertainment (MARTEL’S RESTAURANT, THE GRAND DELI, RICK ANGERAMI-D.J., ALBANY PARTY WAREHOUSE, RADIO CITY ENTERTAINMENT, SODEXHO, and so on) and nothing else.  SpeakerPAC makes it rain like crazy on the Assembly, and occasionally writes out fat checks to DACC.

LOSING CONFIDENCE: Embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may be losing support as he also could face tax problems(NYDN) Behind the scenes on Friday, as the severity of the charges sunk in and calls for Silver’s ouster were splashed in newspapers across the state, many members started to waffle, sources said. “The members are losing confidence,” said an Assembly source. “They are expressing a lot of concerns.” Hours after Silver’s arrest on federal corruption charges 
indictment * Even before #SheldonSilver's arrest, state defense costs pile up @JimmyVielkind reports (Capital)

In Silver Case, U.S. Cites Link to Asbestos Litigation(NYT) A doctor’s obsession with raising money for research on a rare form of cancer helped set off a chain of events that culminated in the arrest of Sheldon Silver, the New York State Assembly Speaker.* Sheldon Silver declines synagogue’s prayer offer(NYP) * A play-by-play of Shelly Silver inside his Orthodox synagogue at sabbath services - by two women reporters:(nyp) * "I couldn't get a pay raise for my people .. or anextra computer or anything without going through the speaker." (NYDN) * Angelo Falcón, @TheNiLPnetworkquestionswhether Latino pols are positioned to gain from the Silver scandal.


After Bharara's Coup d'etat Daily News Assigned to Clean Up   

Daily News Hunger Games  Hunting Down Each Member of the Assembly And Ask Them If They Support the Speaker
Sheldon Silver's corruption caucus(NYDN)  As a service to their constituents, the Daily News Editorial Board is going to reveal where each of New York City's 62's Assembly members stands on the extortionist in their midst. Silver plans to walk into the Assembly on Monday to resume the rule that empowered him to pull down millions of dollars disguised as legal fees — for which he did no work. This must not happen. New York cannot be so demeaned. Nor can Silver’s colleagues give him their proxy to negotiate with Gov. Cuomo, who would have every cause to refuse talks. Sixty-two of Silver’s Democratic members represent New York City. At this juncture, they appear poised not only to meet with Silver in secret but also to carry him triumphantly to the podium on their shoulders. 


As a service to their constituents, the Daily News Editorial Board is going to reveal where each of the New York City 62 stands regarding the extortionist in their midst. We will do so as we are able to ferret them out. Today’s installment covers 11 members, 10 of whom have joined the Corruption Caucus. Richard Gottfried of Manhattan told City & State that support in the conference for Silver is not just “steadfast” but “enthusiastic.” “We are supportive of our speaker, as always,” proclaimed from Jeff Aubry of Corona“I hate to think about stepping on somebody’s body who is dying before the body is even cold,” Brooklyn’s Joe Lentol awkwardly told the Brooklyn Paper. Michael Benedetto of the Bronx said he sees no reason for Silver to resign now, saying, “I want things to play out.” Asked whether he thought Silver should go, David Weprin of Fresh Meadows said, “I do not.” Four members opted for a cowardly refusal to comment: Helene Weinstein and Karim Camara of Brooklyn, and Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright of Manhattan. Only Charles Barron of Brooklyn, who has longstanding differences with Silver, called for his head.



Monday Morning Albany Explodes  
Silver Striped Boyland, Lopez, Kellner of their Committee Chairmanships After Indictment . . . 
How Does Silver Remain Speaker?
Thursday, the Democratic conference met without their leader for 90 minutes before coming out mostly unified in their stated public support for Silver staying on as speaker. But behind the scenes on Friday, as the severity of the charges sunk in and calls for Silver’s ouster were splashed in newspapers across the state, many members started to waffle, sources said. “There’s a heightened spirit as people are trying to figure out where it’s going,” said a prominent Democratic leader. “This probably has a ways to go before it plays out.” Silver is set to return Monday to the Capitol for the first time since his arrest on federal corruption charges. 


His fate could become clearer when he meets behind closed doors that day with his Democratic conference. The Assembly source said those who have spoken with Silver say that even as support from members begins to evaporate he seems intent on holding on to his leasdership post, possibly as leverage in talks with the feds. “He also seemed confident he has a real chance to beat this thing, though many of the members are less optimistic,” he said. Silver, who was charged this week with bribery and extortion, could also face tax evasion charges in the coming months, legal experts told the Daily News.




Federal grand jury in SDNY returns indictment in U.S. v. Sheldon Silver
Sheldon Silver, officially under indictment (YNN) * The Associated Press reports Silver has been indicted on three charges. More from AP:  "Silver was indicted Thursday (today) by a grand jury in Manhattan federal court. The charges are honest services mail fraud, honest services wire fraud and extortion under the color of his official duties. The Indictment  *Sheldon Silver indictment UPDATE: @ap reporting Silver indicted on threecharges. *Two charges in the complaint brought by US Attorney Preet Bharara last month — a mail fraud conspiracy count and an extortion conspiracy count — were not included in the indictment. A spokesman for Bharara’s office declined to comment on why the counts had been dropped. The missing conspiracy counts mean prosecutors will not argue at trial that there was a secret agreement between Silver and at least one other person as part of the alleged corruption schemes. Prosecutors used the indictment to call for the seizure of Silver’s pension and two homes — the Lower East Side residence he’s lived in for decades and a Catskills retreat. They also want him to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars held in bank accounts and investments if convicted, and will target his state pension, too, though it is protected by the state constitution. * Silver’s tainted past comes to light after arrest (News10) * Silver’s heart was in Manhattan, but his LLCs were upstate (TU) * Jamming Lawmakers, Cuomo Links Ethics Legislation To Spending (Updated) (YNN)

Organize Crime Politics: Albany Crooks Stand By Their Don
Silver has been dirty for decades. Tammany revisited. "If" guilty he should go? Like asking if Boss Tweed was guilty...come on
Assembly Democratsrally behind Silver after arrest(Newsday) Democratic Assembly members came out strongly Thursday in defense of #SheldonSilver, their longtime leader:(NY1) * Silver has a well-documented history of coming down hard on many of his colleagues who have been ousted from their offices on similarly unsavory charges, the Daily News reports:  * State Assembly Democrats back Sheldon Silver amid calls foraccused speaker's resignation(NYDN) * Silver, a powerful negotiator, should remain in power given the high-stakes debates over schools and spending because constituents *Democrats in the Assembly insist they are standing bySpeaker Silver (TWC) * Assembly Democratssupport Sheldon Silver despite arrest  * Bruno on lawmakers receiving outside income: "They can select anyone of those people and prosecute them under the federal law."* ASSEMBLY DEMS STICK WITH SILVER: Assemblyman Richard Gottfried told City & State that support for Speaker Sheldon Silver among Assembly Democrats is “enthusiastic” and the allegations against him are “flimsy”:* Assemblyman Richard Gottfried insists support from his conference for embattled Speaker Sheldon Silver is not only steadfast, but “enthusiastic.” He’d be “astonished” if Silver resigns.


de Blasio Ties to Walk Back Silver's Integrity Statement 

'I SPOKE ABOUT MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE': De Blasio tries to explain defense of Silver as 'man of integrity'(NYDN)  * Mayor de Blasio Maintains His Support for Speaker Silver(NYT) Silver's Cancer Doctor Removed Doctor linked toAssembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest removed from head of cancer researchcenter position (NYDN)  Dr. Robert Taub still remains on the payroll but is no longer overseeing the Mesothelioma Research Center, officials said.* Silver must stepaside so N.Y. can focus on its future (Press Connect) *Charges Against Silver Cause Concern that CityCould Lose Out During Budget Talks (NY1) * Preet Bharara's warning sends chill through state Capitol (NYDN)* "After seeing.. Silver arrested, those under investigation might be quicker to come in andcooperate" 
.@GeraldoRivera: DN is trying to save Bill de Blasio “from himself”; Post wants him to “jump” off a bridge 


Sheldon Silver’s Arrest Leaves Cuomo in a Tough Spot(NYT) The arrest of the New York State Assembly speaker is threatening to upend the order that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo spent his first term in the capital working to restore. * In Silver’s Backyard, Views of the Case Against Him Are Split (NYT)  Sheldon Silver is an outsize presence on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which he has represented in the State Assembly for nearly 40 years and where he is also a polarizing figure. * Long Led by Silver, Assembly Democrats Face Uncertainty on a Successor(NYT) Sheldon Silver, who has served as Assembly speaker for more than two decades, has given no indication that he plans to resign. But as Democrats look for a potential heir, they are finding few options.
Albany Real Estate Corruption $$$ Game Survives 25% Empty Apartments Because of Bribery 

.
Silver and Lopez's Legal Bills On Us 

Albany Is Shocked About the Charges Against Silver
Sen. Jeffrey Klein is "shocked" about the serious allegations against Sheldon Silver.Pols standing by Silver: @DavidWeprin @billdeblasio @wright4harlem @aubry_jeff @DeborahJGlick @CarlHeastie @SandyGalef @dennyfarrell
Silver under pressure to resign(NYP)* Hochul: Silver’s Arrest Won’t Be A ‘Distraction’(YNN)  *Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle said Assembly Democrats continue to overwhelmingly support Silver following a party caucus this morning, the Post-Standard reports:  * Republicans around the state are calling on Silver to step down in the wake of his arrest on corruption charges, but Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos would not weigh in on whether Silver should resign, State ofPoliticsreports:
“I am happy the issue is being aired in a legal process,” Silver told reporters. “I am confident that when all the answers are aired I will be vindicated.” Silver

Albany Crooks In A Panic
Details of the specific charges to be brought against Mr. Silver were unclear on Wednesday night, but one of the people with knowledge of the matter said they stemmed from payments that Mr. Silver received from a small law firm that specializes in seeking reductions of New York City real estate taxes. The total amount of the payments was unclear, but another person has said they were substantial and were made over several years. Mr. Silver failed to list the payments from the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, on his annual financial disclosure filings with the state, as required. Several months ago, federal prosecutors in the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, subpoenaed documents from a personal injury firm that also paid Mr. Silver, income that he did disclose, one person with the knowledge of the matter said. Like others, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not been announced. Moreland Shutdown The investigation involving Mr. Silver picked up where the anticorruption panel that Mr. Cuomo shut down, the Moreland Commission, had left off. The inquiry focused on the outside income earned by New York State legislators, who are allowed to hold part-time jobs in addition to their legislative duties. * Sheldon Silver to be arrested on corruption charges: report (NYP) * Cuomo says Silver's arrest on corruption charges is 'bad reflection on government'(NYDN)

The Most Dangerous Man In American Politics

Preet Bharara Goes to War
The probe came after an investigation by Cuomo’s Moreland Commission panel, which was looking into corruption in Albany when the governor shut it down. One of the issues that the panel was looking into was how state lawmakers earn income from their non-government jobs. Silver is a personal-injury lawyer associated with the high-profile law firm Weitz and Luxenberg. Goldberg & Iryami specializes in an arcane form of law known as “tax certiorari,’’ according to the Times. That involves challenging real-estate tax assessments and seeking reductions for developers who own residential or commercial property. The firm appears to have only two lawyers, according to the Times. The newspaper said, that since 2001, the firm and its principals have made six donations to Silver, totaling $7,600. 

Why say this is a sad day for NY? If you were robbed, & they finally caught the thief, would you be sad or happy?
The most recent was in February, when it gave him $1,800, according to the report. The Times added that the law firm has sought tax reductions for many properties on the Lower East Side, which is the area Silver represents. In addition the financial controversies, Silver also became entangled in the Vito Lopez sex-harassment case when it became public that the speaker had hired two firms to defend the disgraced former assemblyman, spending nearly $700,000 in public funds. * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to be arrested Thursday on corruption charges: report(NYDN) Blogger asks Speaker Silver if he is corrupt last year (Video)


Shame On NY Reporters Who Need Prosecutors to Uncover Political Corruption
 Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to be arrested Thursday on corruption charges: report (NYDN)  The arrest of Silver, who has been one of most powerful men in Albany for more than two decades, was reported overnight by The New York Times. An arrest would create a power vacuum in the Assembly, where there is no clear heir apparent. Assemblymen Keith Wright (D-Manhattan), Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) are potential successors.* The Most Dangerous Man In American Politics (Buzzfeed) Preet Bharara goes to war.* HI-YO SILVER! AWAY! NYS Assembly Speaker taken into federal custody in Manhattan, will face corruption charges( NYDN)




Tax Payers Paying Hundreds Of Thousands 4 Lopez & Silver's Sexual Harassment Lawyers
Ex-BrooklynAssemblyman Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment scandal is netting $177,724 over the past six months for his lawyers, and he is using campaign cash to pay cover the costs, the Daily News reports:  Tuesday The Fight Over The Women’s Agenda Turns To Assembly(YNN) * Skelos: Using Surplus To Offset Toll Hikes A ‘One-Shot’(YNN) * Skelos: The IDC-GOP Coalition Remains In Place(YNN)* IDC Leader Jeff Klein was largely stripped of the power he held for the past two years, but Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos insisted little would change in how the chamber functions, State of Politicsreports: 

Cuomo and Silver using campaign funds to pay defense lawyers (NYP) Defending city and state politicians is one of the fastest-growing sections of the legal profession — and the cash to cover lawyers’ bills is coming straight out of campaign coffers. Gov. Cuomo used his 2014 campaign re-election fund to pay criminal lawyer Elkan Abramowitz $100,000 to represent him as federal investigators look into the shuttering of Cuomo’s anti-corruption task force. Silver funneled $30,000 through his Friends of Silver account to pay the firm Stroock, Stroock and Lavan after US Attorney Preet Bharara reportedly began investigating payments Silver received from the law firm Goldberg Iryami.
@unitedNYblogs Finding 36 Assembly Democrat apostates to revolt against Spkr Silver was the steep hill to climb. It would be pyrrhic & short








Daily News Says Silver Should Not Be Elected Speaker Again 
Sheldon Silver’ssecret shame (NYDN Ed) The Assembly speaker has just written a playbook for Albany politicians who want to evade basic ethics rules


By hiding an entire stream of private income from public scrutiny, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has opened the door to a Legislature of kept men and concubines. Silver’s concealment of substantial payments for doing who-knows-what disqualifies him from further service as a leader of the New York State Legislature. In a newly uncovered business arrangement, Silver has for at least a decade been receiving unknown sums from a law firm that specializes in disputing city tax bills on behalf of building owners. With his term as leader running out in the new year, Silver stands as the most visible symbol of Albany dysfunction — and one of the biggest obstacles to change. Assembly Democrats cannot in good conscience keep him as speaker.

Barron Only Vote Against Silver for Speaker 
Barron on Silver: Weneed a speaker who delivers to communities, not to members for individualagendas and interests (City and State) When Assemblyman Charles Barron was the sole vote against re-electing Sheldon Silver as Assembly Speaker, he said you could have heard a pin drop in the room .Barron told City & Statethat he had informed Silver earlier he would not be voting for him as speaker for the 2015 legislative session because Barron was upset with Silver’s decision not fight to keep Brooklyn’s district offices open last year when his wife, Inez Barron, left her seat in the Assembly to join the New York City Council, something Barron spoke about in a recent City & State TV interview.  *  Tom Precious: “Silver keeps his position through well-timed rewards and through punishing those who challenge him. Rewards may come in the form of moving bills to the floor or giving an Assembly member a larger leadership or committee post stipend, which also comes with bigger staffs and easier avenues for turning ideas into laws.”* Silver’s Re-Election Came With Few Quesitons(YNN)

.@SenatorSkelos confirms IDC Leader Jeff Klein will no longer be co-leader of NY Senate, says it was "difficult to keep track of that."Charles Barron argues against Sheldon silver for Soeaker despite not being allowed to discuss vote during roll call vote.* Silver re-elect Assembly speaker, says feds have notcontacted (YNN) * The state Senate approved new rules that strip IndependentDemocratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein of the title of co-president and his veto power over which bills come to the floor, State of Politics reports: * * The new state legislative session calendar shows the Senate and Assembly will meet 58 days this year in Albany, with five set aside for legislative budget hearings and the final day slated for June 17, State of Politicsreports: * Don't be surprisedif a number of major issues in Albanyaren't resolved until June



Feds Investigating Silver Pay to Play Real Estate Payoff 

Silver is expected to be re-elected easily next week for his 11th term as speaker despite new questions about what he does to earn his outside income

Sheldon Silver money man dons Soviet hammer-sickle cap(NYP) Tax lawyer Jay Arthur Goldberg — under investigation for making unexplained payments to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — emerged from his house on Staten Island Wednesday wearing a military-style Russian hat with a hammer-and-sickle insignia.“I think members will stick with Shelly,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Brooklyn).
“It’s hard for me to believe Shelly would do anything that is incorrect and especially unlawful. Everybody makes mistakes.”* Sheldon Silver silent as #corruption accusations resurface 
Susanne Craig ‏@susannecraig  I asked Sheldon Silver to shed light on the $ he has been receiving from a small law firm. "Nothing to shed," he said. http://nyti.ms/1JYGDyg  * Silver told reporters that he expects to be elected as Speaker by the members of the Assembly despite the recent reports of a federal investigation into his outside income, the Observer reports:

Wednesday Silver Update Firm That Paid Sheldon Silver Is Tied to Landlord With Troubled Past(NYT)  New York City Tax Commission records show that Goldberg & Iryami, the law firm that has made unreported payments to Sheldon Silver, the New York State Assembly speaker, also represents Baruch Singer, a landlord with ties to Mr. Silver. * UNDER PRESSURE: Critics want Assembly Speaker Silver to disclose law firm side gig(NYDN) * Gov. Sidesteps Silver Questions (Updated)(YNN)



Glick: Stands By Her Man
Assembly Democrats stood by their leader, saying Bharara’s probe is a fishing expedition. “Investigation by leaking seems to be the new way of trying to discredit people without actually producing any evidence,” said Assembly member Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan). “It won’t have any particular effect in the course of the [next Assembly] session.”* Despite the recent reports of a federal investigation into Silver, who becomes the longest-serving speaker in state history next year, insiders believe that rumors of Silver’s imminent political demise may be premature, the Times Union reports:

Why Silver Helped Kill Moreland  New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, now under federal investigation, was also under scrutiny this year by the Moreland Commission looking into the sources of his six-figure outside income, The WallStreet Journal reports: 

Preet is literally going where no man has gone before here
Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City U.S.Said to Investigate Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, OverPay(NYT) Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City, according to people with knowledge of the matter. *Silver, donor under investigation are longtime friends(NYP)A lawyer whose firm made unexplained payments to Sheldon Silver is so close to the Assembly speaker that the attorney attended a young Shel’s bar mitzvah nearly 60 years ago, The Post has learned.In addition to the payments, Goldberg has donated $7,600 to Silver’s campaigns since 2001, including $1,800 in February of this year, according to campaign-finance records. * The End Of Shelly Silver? Mother Of All Albany Scandals Brewing In NY Tonight(Daily Kos) * Sheldon Silver’s latest storm(Capital) The speaker came under fire for his handling of sexual misconduct by a former aide, Michael Boxley, as well as senior member from Brooklyn, Vito Lopez. The husband of Silver's chief of staff pleaded guilty to skimming money from a charity that was fueled by state grants. And Silver fired one of his lawyers after a report that he sat on accusations of sexual harassment concerning Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat.



Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have found that the law firm,Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., has paid Mr. Silver the sums over roughly a decade, but that he did not list that income on his financial disclosure forms, as required, the people said.  Silver is "not known to have any expertise in the complex and highly specialized area of the law in which Goldberg & Iryami practices"* "properties on the Lower East Side 4 which Goldberg has sought real estate tax reductions include Silver’s own co-op"Asked if the federal investigation would hinder the speaker’s legislative abilities, Whyland replied: “Absolutely not.”* Before the focus of US Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe emerged this week, Moreland Commission members said they had considered the speaker’s outside income a high priority up until the point that the panel was disbanded by Cuomo in a budget deal with Silver and the state Senate. The probe into Silver’s outside income sheds a rare spotlight on a small group of lawyers who specialize in challenging tax assessments in New York City’s complex property tax system.

The New York City police officers’ actions of jeering and turning their backs on de Blasio are acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity and are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation and shredding its hard-earned respect* The news of the probe into substantial, undisclosed payments to Silver only illustrate that citizens really need to know who is paying our politicians, how much they’re getting—and in exchange for what before they receive a pay raise, the Post writes
Assembly SpeakerSheldon Silver being investigated for payments from law firm: report (NYDN)  The Manhattan Democrat reportedly received payments from Goldberg & Iryami, P.C. over nearly 10 years, prompting an investigation by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Leonard Litwin Old Real Estate Campaign Money, LLC
State’s largest campaign donor a client of Silver’s second firm(Capital) Litwin has used 27 different Limited Liability Companies controlled by Glenwood Management to contribute at least $4.3 million to political committees in New York since the beginning of 2013. Five of these L.L.C.s—Briar Hill Realty, L.L.C.; Columbus 60th Realty, L.L.C.; East 46th Realty, L.L.C.; East 81st Realty, L.L.C.; and River York Barclay, L.L.C.—are currently retaining Goldberg & Iryami for challenges to their real property tax assessments, according to data maintained by the New York City Tax Commission.Developer Leonard Litwin, by most measures New York’s most generous campaign contributor, is a major client of Goldberg & Iryami, the firm whose payments to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are reportedly being examined by the FBI. * Cuomo's biggest donor is also the oldest | Crain's New York ... 


Glenwood Management CEO Leonard Litwin, thebiggest contributor to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s victorious re-election campaign, was also the top donor for the state Senate races. Of the $1.5 million he donated, 79 percent helped Republicans while 9 percent helped Democrats * Developers using loophole to funnel donations to Cuomo (RealDeal) Glenwood, Extell and others contributing money to governor via LLCs, report shows * Governor Cuomo’s top real estate donor is Glenwood Management, with $800,000 contributed through 19 LLCs, according to ProPublica * Of the LLCs giving to Cuomo, the most generous are controlled by Glenwood Management, a real estate development company headquartered on Long Island


Headed by Leonard Litwin, a reclusive 99-year-old magnate, Glenwood has given $800,000 to Cuomo since he took office using 19 separate LLCs. Glenwood's LLCs have also given millions of dollars to other New York candidates and committees, both Democratic and Republican. His lobbyists, including former state legislators Nick Spano and Carl Andrews, rarely detail anything beyond general real estate issues in their disclosure reports. Al d'amato Park Strategies, Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin LLC $99,999, Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $99,999, Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000 

The Corrupt Lobbyist Behind Leonard Litwin
Oh my, that's just delicious. The last time we heard anything about former GOP state Senator Nick Spano, he was being sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison after pleading guilty to felony tax evasion. (Sound familiar?) And I'm sure you remember former Democratic state Senator Carl Andrews from when he was being investigated by the feds and the state Inspector General for his involvement in the scandal ridden bidding process for the "racino" at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens. That scandal almost brought down Andrews' BFF, newly re-elected Senator John Sampson who is facing a federal corruption trial of his own in February on charges that somehow, amazingly, have nothing to do with Aqueduct. Andrews and Sampson became buddies under the tutelage of disgraced former Brooklyn Democratic boss Clarence Norman, who himself ended up being sentenced to nine years in prison for a string of almost comically corrupt offenses like just straight up selling Brooklyn judgeships to the highest bidder.

Singer "The Gentrifier" Runs Harlem Building Into Ground and Sell It for $18 Million
The burnt out prewar building at 92 Morningside Avenue has sat vacant for more than a decade. A 2002 fire ravaged the interior and displaced the former tenants, and over the last ten years, the boarded up building has fallen further into disrepair, attracting graffiti artists and squatters, even as the neighborsstarted to see new development. Two addition fires tore through the building in March 2012, then in May of this year, owner and notorious landlord Baruch Singer sold the crumbling property for $18 million to Renaissance Realty Group* Firm That PaidSheldon Silver Is Tied to Landlord With Troubled Past (NYT) *Washington Heights tenants band together to buy building (NYDN 2012) Removed slumlord Baruch Singer with help from Northern Manhattan Improvement Corp.* A development site in the Court Square area of Long Island City is slated to hit the foreclosureauction block May 17 with an outstanding lien of $38.54 million. The residential development site, at 44-30 Purves Street, was formerly controlled by developer and landlord Baruch Singer and investor David Weiss, who financed a residential project at the site in 2006 with a $13 million mortgage-backed loan from G3-Purves Street LLC, an entity which appears to be linked to Goldman Sachs.

Speaker Sheldon Silver, His Law Firm $$$

Silver Dumps On the Weak Press

Thursday Silver Update
Silver expects to keep Assembly post despite investigation(NYP) “Members of my conference have confidence in me, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on this matter,” he said when asked about the investigation after Gov. Cuomo’s inauguration. Silver brushed off questions on the probe Thursday, then, as if nothing were amiss, laid out his legislative goals, including his plan to raise the minimum wage. “People should not have to work a whole week and go home poor,” he said. “I think we’re doing great. I think New York is doing much better than it has been doing,” he said. “We’re better off now than we were four years ago, to borrow a campaign slogan or reverse it, actually.”

Albany Lawmakers and Their Secret Incomes(NYT Ed) State ethics laws are incredibly feeble, and penalties for violations can be little more than a tap on the wrist.A small band of reformers are hopeful that United States Attorney Preet Bharara and the Federal Bureau of Investigation may soon be able to shed light on how New York legislators amass income and whether it is connected to legislative payoffs that in effect amount to bribery.Federal authorities are now asking questions not only about the money he has disclosed but about what he has done to earn the large, undisclosed sums he has received for nearly a decade from Goldberg & Iryami, P.C. The Goldberg firm specializes in challenging tax assessments and seeking tax reductions, which is not known to be Mr. Silver’s main area of expertise. State ethics laws are incredibly feeble, and penalties for violations can be little more than a tap on the wrist for someone as wealthy as Mr. Silver. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed stricter disclosure requirements in 2014 and got almost nowhere. Mr. Bharara and his federal troops are combing through data left behind after Mr. Cuomo abruptly shut down the Moreland Commission on ethics, which was investigating the issue. They may be able to find the answers that have eluded others. In time, detailed disclosures of outside income should be required by state law.*Poll: Politicians, not the economy, worry Americans most. * "The unspoken word that hovers over everything havingto do with Albanyis the word 'Preet'"(NYDN) 



Silver Has His Own Law Practice Beyond Being Counsel to Weitz & Luxenberg 
Speaker Silver’s secret(NYP Ed) The Assembly speaker admitted for the first time that besides the hefty fees he commands as counsel to Weitz & Luxenberg, he also has his own personal law practice. His admission came last Thursday, after a New York Times report that federal prosecutors determined he’d failed to disclose some of his outside law-firm income, which topped $650,000 in 2013. As for what he specifically does to earn that money and for whom, Silver’s lips remain sealed. “I can’t tell you,” said the speaker, adding that “I follow the law.” Then again, this is a law he pretty much wrote himself and that does not require such disclosure. Silver and other legislators with outside law-firm income stand on the profession’s ethical code of confidentiality. But the New York City Bar Association, in a 2010 statement, called on Silver and his colleagues to fully disclose their outside income, “including the identity of their clients, their fees and a clear description of the services rendered.” Moreover, “there should be no blanket exception for attorney-legislators.” US Attorney Preet Bharara lunched last Friday with state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, shortly after a report that Bharara is pushing ahead with a probe of state lawmakers’ outside income. They discussed their “continuing partnership,” a DiNapoli spokeswoman said.

Yes, Shelly Silver has a private law practice. No, he won't disclose his clients
 The speaker insisted he discloses “everything” he’s earning outside his public paycheck.*Might a post-Christmas session be in the offing“The deadline is December 31,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “There are a lot of issues that are involved beyond salaries. We have a one-time budget surplus and how do we deal with that, and make sure we have one-time expenditures to match that.* Senate Republicans indicated a willingness to back “additional reforms” to the state’s ethics and election laws as talk continues to swirl about a potential special session before the end of the year, State ofPoliticsreports:  *  Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Declines to Reveal Source of Some Outside Income(NYT) An aide confirmed that Speaker Sheldon Silver earns money from legal fees in addition to the pay he has long acknowledged receiving from a personal-injury law firm, but did not offer more details.







By virtue of his status as top Democrat in the Albany Legislature, Silver:

  • Controls appointments to the state Board of Regents, which sets policy for New York’s multibillion-dollar education establishment; not for nothing did Silver put a lifelong friend, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, in charge of the whole enterprise. And not for nothing do the teachers unions — and their lavishly funded political action committees — love Shelly Silver.
  • Put Jonathan Lippman, another boyhood buddy and a fellow trial lawyer, in command of New York’s courts — from the lofty Court of Appeals down to the lowest justice of the peace. So no wonder New York is one of the most aggressive anti-tort-reform jurisdictions in America; no wonder that Silver’s association with one of the state’s most prominent trial-law firms, Weitz & Luxenberg, is integral to the indictments handed up against him on Wednesday
















































































.Albany Lawyers Up

So Shelly Hired a Penthouse Attorney and Andrew Hired Woody Allen's Attorney?

Andrew Cuomo is in trouble — but probably not for reelectionWashington Post * For the first time, Cuomo scrambles to play defense-Newsday *Cuomo Faces Legal Issues in Moreland Wall Street Journal * US Attorney presses Cuomo on witness tampering USA TODAY *Cuomo draws scrutiny from US attorney
Buffalo News  * Cuomo acknowledges federal inquiry; says office did nothing Poughkeepsie Journal * Aide seeks Cuomo aid Albany Times Union*Gov. Cuomo’s cover-up?(NYPED)Some of this contradicted earlier comments. For example, though co-chair William Fitzpatrick now says the governor honored the commission’s independence, the Times reported an e-mail in which he griped the governor’s office wasn’t treating the commission as independent. The Times says Bharara demanded that, “to the extent anyone attempts to influence or tamper with a witness’s recollection of events relevant to our investigation,” his office should be notified immediately.* A Daily News editorial notes that while Al Sharpton and other critics charge the NYPD with rampant, race-based brutality, it is unclear if de Blasio agrees, and until there is an even-handed review of over 1,000 complaints against the police force and a fair accounting of Eric Garner’s death, it will remain unclear if the brutality is endemic or isolated: http://goo.gl/gKgGDc



 Big Foot vs. Big Foot–Bharara’s warning to Cuomo & Co.(NYP Ed)  * It was Joseph Percoco, a longtime political aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who contacted several members of the now-shuttered commission in the past week and encouraged them to make public statements supporting the governor and affirming the panel’s independence. He even offered to provide drafts.* Cuomo’s Back-Room Style Draws a Potent Critic(NYT) Cuomo said his office was interested only in setting the record straight about the role it played in the handling of the disbanded anticorruption panel. * Trying to influence the commissioners while Bharara’s investigation is underway “put the governor is at risk in ways he was not before,” writes legal ethics Prof. Stephen Gillers. The US obstruction statutes are incredibly broad.” * Bharara’s investigators had already questioned delays in receiving thousands of emails and other documents they had subpoenaed from the panel more than two months ago.* Cuomo acknowledged having discussions with “relevant parties” about inaccuracies in news reports about his office’s involvement with the commission. * “Andrew Cuomo is having the roughest stretch of his political career since flaming out of the New York governor’s race in 2002,” POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman writes. “…The mess is almost entirely of his own making.” * In short: “Cuomo is in hot water for allegedly micromanaging his response to a scandal based on his own micromanagement.”* Cuomo Faces Legal Issues in Moreland(WSJ) * good ready by  Moreland mess turns  into just another Albany politician  Wife of chief Cuomo anti-corruption defender up for judgeship (NYP) * NYPost editorial: "Apparently it’s not as easy to laugh off a US attorney."(NYP Ed) * Erie County DA Frank A. Sedita III, a Moreland commissioner, defended commision co-chair, Onondaga County DA, Bill Fitzpatrick, calling him an “incorruptible public servant.


















































































































Silver's Trial Lawyers Pay Albany to Keep Civil Lawsuit Fines High NYS Trial lawyers spend record amount lobbying against payment limits for attorneys

BIG BUCKS FOR PAYDAYS: State trial lawyers spent record sum lobbying against pay limits(NYDN) Organizations representing trial lawyers — New York State Trial Lawyers Association and the New York Academy of Trial Lawyers — shelled out nearly $1.5 million to lobby lawmakers against a push to lower awards in civil lawsuits. It was revealed last week that Silver earned as much as $750,000 last year from Weitz & Luxenberg — at least $200,000 more than in 2012. The firm’s partner Arthur Luxenberg is also a member of the board of the Trial Lawyers Association. “It tells me that the trial lawyers are concerned a number of their golden eggs may be reformed,” said Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance.As Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver collected big bucks from a law firm last year, state trial lawyers spent a record amount lobbying against reforms that would limit large paydays for attorneys. Organizations representing trial lawyers shelled out nearly $1.15 million to lobby lawmakers against a push to lower awards in civil lawsuits. The spending by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and the New York Academy of Trial Lawyers marked a 9.7% increase from 2012 and a 37% jump from 2010, per the Lawsuit Reform Alliance.


Daily News Asks Readers to Email Them With Answer of What Silver Does for $750,000 From His Law Firm
Records show the Arroyos are members of an exclusive club — only four of the other 212 state-elected officials reported living entirely off their salaries.They included Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa (D-Manhattan), who resigned her post last week after admitting a 1996 sham marriage to become a US citizen.  This is the only the second year state lawmakers had to file outside income for themselves and their spouses. It was also the second straight year Assemblywoman Annette Robinson (D-Brooklyn) reported zero outside earnings.The Daily News digs into the mystery of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s “untaxing and lucrative” position as a personal injury attorney, which earned him as much as $750,000 last yearUP TO $3,600 AN HOUR: Sheldon Silver earned $750G in 2013 working a few hours per week at private personal injury firm(NYDN) Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's outside income re-emerged as an issue Wednesday with the release of his latest financial disclosure report. Last year, he worked roughly half a day each week for the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, which paid him up to $750,000. Critics question whether he is on the payroll to help stop tort reform in his Assembly role, a complaint Silver has long denied.* Expose Silver’s secrets(NYDN ed)So, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pulled down as much as $750,000 as a personal-injury attorney last year while having no law office, never appearing in court and seeming to work full-time on state business.(Do you know how? If yes, send us an email with the answer.) (Did you retain Silver and then Weitz & Luxenberg? If yes, send us an email.) (Did you witness such a transaction? If yes, send us an email.)* * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has a stock portfolio worth up to $2.5 million and he invested last year with Halliburton, an energy company virtually synonymous with Republican fundraising and policymaking, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes:  * State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should disclose what he does in his role “of counsel” that earned him between $650,000 and $750,000 as reported on his outside income filing, the Post writes:  Let the sun shine, Shelly(NYP Ed)

Silver Law Firm $750,000 "Huge Political Contribution"
Tuesday Watchdog wary of Sheldon Silver’s income from law firm(NYP) The head of a group pushing tort reform says Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s refusal to explain what he does to earn up to $750,000 from a prominent law firm raises a question of whether the payment is really a “huge political contribution.”The stinging charge by Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, came after Silver’s financial-disclosure forms showed his paycheck from the firm of Weitz & Luxenberg had swelled to between $650,000 to $750,000 last year, up as much as $300,000 in 2012.Stebbins said he couldn’t find a single case Silver had litigated, outside his role as Assembly speaker, since 1989.



Silver's arrest renews criticism of outside income via @JonCampbellGAN @DandC But as an equity partner in the Bronx practice, he’ll get a payout for his 33 percent share of the business. The 10-year Senate veteran will also receive future payments from his share of settlements or jury awards in cases he worked on that are resolved after Feb. 9.













Albany Indestructible Crook Led By A Bad Liar Who Can't Even Hide A Hush Fund  
It Was Another Sheldon Silver Who Did the Ethnic Cleansing to the Lower East Side
 
Silver A Natural Born Liar Does His Inner Tricky Dick
Silver tried to discredit an article on his role in blocking low-income housing in his district by blaming another Sheldon Silver, but documents make clear the role the assemblyman played, The New York Times reports:  *Sheldon Silver Gets Caught Lying To The New York Times(Gothamist)New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver did not appreciate it when the New York Times wrote a lengthy story about how he stalled the construction of low-income housing in the Lower East Side for decades. But instead of ignoring the piece, or expressing contrition, or firing off a bland press release, Sheldon Silver decided to lie. To the New York Times. No, Speaker Silver said, the Times had it wrong.*  The Shelly Silver Scandal Just Keeps Getting Stranger(NY Mag)* Dead Man Balking (WSJ) Shelly Silver tries to blame it on a corpse. On a weekend when Americans remember the men and women who fell in defense of our nation, it seems almost profane to mention the characters who inhabit New York's state legislature in Albany. But we thought you might enjoy the latest in avoiding accountability. Consider Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's unique way of honoring the dead. After the New York Times recently reported on Mr. Silver's success in preventing the construction of low-income housing on a vacant lot in his legislative district, Mr. Silver said it was simply a case of mistaken identity. He claimed the person who had blocked the project for years beginning in the 1970s was another lawyer named Sheldon E. Silver, who died in 2001.

The Other Sheldon Silver Was Not Involved In Keeping Affordable Housing Out of the Lower East Side
He didn't fight the housing with the United Jewish Council of the East Side—another attorney named Sheldon E. Silver did. When the Times produced evidence, including a letter showing Speaker Silver's objections to the housing under his letterhead, the Speaker's office stopped asking the Times for a correction, but pointed to two UJC letters with Sheldon E. Silver's name on it. Yet Sheldon E. Silver's widow, Shoshana, eliminates any doubts that Speaker Silver is trying to pin these actions on her dead husband.  Ms. Silver, now 66, said her husband did indeed briefly hold a job with the newly formed United Jewish Council right about the time he was admitted to practice law in New York, in June 1973. He was let go by the group by early 1974.If anything written on behalf of the council had Mr. Silver’s name on it after 1974, it had nothing to do with her husband, she said.* Assembly Speaker Finds Fall Guy: Another Sheldon Silver(NYT)* They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for Decades(NYT)* Sheldon Silver Backs John Liu Against Tony Avella(NYO) * Astorino Calls On Silver To Step Down(YNN)* GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is calling for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s resignation, saying he gave “bizarre mistruths” in telling the Times it had mistaken him for another man, Capital New York reports: *Cuomo: I Don’t Have A Vote To Oust Silver(YNN)
Did Sheldon Silver think everyone else was just so dumb that he'd get away with this?


Silver's Make Believe Dummy Speaks I Did Not Keep the Puerto Ricans Out of LES  
The Post board blasts a “childish” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for claiming a different Sheldon Silver is responsible for keeping low-income Puerto Ricans out of his district and calls on Albany to remove him from the Speakership

Silver Meets the Fake Silver
The two faces of Shelly Silver(NYP) Maybe Sheldon Silver’s problem is he’s never grown up. And like a 4-year-old, he’s now blaming his own misdeeds on an evil twin. Silver tried to persuade The New York Times that a dubious scheme to block low-income families, mostly Puerto Rican, from his Lower East Side district was perpetrated by a different Sheldon Silver. He even insisted on a correction.


NYT Says A Puerto Rican Community is Gone But Does Not Explain How It Was Removed

Rebuilding a Neighborhood, but Not a Community(NYT) Like much of the Lower East Side, Delancey Street has gone upscale. And now, the more than five blocks that lay fallow for nearly five decades will be rebuilt over time as Essex Crossing. There will be 1.9 million square feet for stores, offices, restaurants, the Andy Warhol Museum and, finally, housing. Half of the 1,000 planned apartments will be at market rate; the rest will be for low- to moderate-income tenants. Gone is a community on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that vanished 47 years ago, when some 1,800 families, mostly poor and Puerto Rican, were uprooted and their tenement homes demolished in the name of urban renewal. 

In March the NYT Explained How Silver and Rapfogel Kick the Puerto Ricans Out 
Amazing look at New York power brokers ensuring...inertia 
 "Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing ..."(NYT) They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for 47 Years. The long-ago walk was the first public display of an alliance that became central to the lives and careers of both Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. They worked together across the decades while climbing parallel ladders: Mr. Silver to Assembly speaker and Mr. Rapfogel to leadership of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a large, publicly financed charity. But their long affiliation came to an abrupt end last year when Mr. Rapfogel, 59, was arrested and charged in a scheme that had allegedly looted more than $7 million in kickbacks from Met Council’s insurance broker over the years.




Since Silver became speaker, there have been 5 govs, 6 Senate maj ldrs, 5 atty generals & 3 comptrollers

The Daily News separately noted Speaker Shelly Silver’s extensive history as an Albany kingpin: “Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last week was selected to begin his 20th year as the chamber’s leader, bringing the Albany powerbroker ever closer to Oswald Heck’s record of 23 years as speaker. Just how unusual is such longevity? Consider that since Silver became speaker in 1994, there have been five governors, six Senate majority leaders, five state attorney generals and three state comptrollers.”* State lawmakers have not received a raise for well over a decade, but top staffers in the Assembly and Senate saw salary hikes – some of them quite large – over the past six months.



The Long Goodbye Of Speaker Silver Begins

Wednesday Update
Camara Stands by Silver Following Report on Blocked Affordable Housing (NYO)

Amazing look at New York power brokers ensuring...inertia 
Sunday Update -  "Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing ..." They Kept a Lower East Side Lot Vacant for 47 Years. The long-ago walk was the first public display of an alliance that became central to the lives and careers of both Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. They worked together across the decades while climbing parallel ladders: Mr. Silver to Assembly speaker and Mr. Rapfogel to leadership of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a large, publicly financed charity. But their long affiliation came to an abrupt end last year when Mr. Rapfogel, 59, was arrested and charged in a scheme that had allegedly looted more than $7 million in kickbacks from Met Council’s insurance broker over the years.

He is due back in court in April. Mr. Rapfogel made clear that the goal was to maintain the area’s Jewish identity, seemingly at the expense of other communities. Mr. Silver and Mr. Rapfogel steadfastly opposed any mention of affordable housing, which would have altered the demographics of the neighborhood and put Mr. Silver’s political base in question.
A primary focus of their alliance had been a struggle to preserve the Jewish identity of the neighborhood they delivered for Mr. Koch all those years ago. Their battleground was some 20 barren acres along the southern side of Delancey Street, where, in 1967, the city leveled blocks of rundown apartment buildings.

More than 1,800 low-income families, largely Puerto Rican, were sent packing and promised a chance to return to new apartments someday. Now, nearly 50 years later, the land is still a fallow stretch of weed- and rat-ridden parking lots, though in the waning days of the Bloomberg administration, the city announced that the land would finally be developed into a complex called Essex Crossing, to include retail markets, restaurants, office and cultural space. And new apartments.“They’re the reason that this site has been empty for 50 years,” said Edward Delgado, known as Tito, who was a teenager when the city cleared the blocks and his family was evicted. He has been advocating for affordable homes at the site in the decades since.* The unseemly Ratner alliance with Silver and Rapfogel gets aired in Times's long look at stagnant Seward Park renewal area(AYR) * Assemblyman Kieran Lalor accused Silver of “the levers of bureaucracy and political favors to pursue segregation.”

Silver Lobbyists Team
Loeser has been consulting for the speaker for the past year along with Silver’s chief political adviser Jonathan Rosen; the Times and others noted the arrangement after Loeser came on board.  “My role for Shelly is not to speak for him, but to offer advice,” Loeser said. But “in this case it seemed clear that someone had to speak for Judy.” Judy Rapfogel remains a personal friend, Loeser noted. Mr. Loeser’s wife, Jessica, once ran Mr. Silver’s district office and is now a district leader in Mr. Silver’s Assembly district. Jessica is a lobbyists "zoning, economic development incentives, real estate transactions, landmarks preservation, and government relations.* Ex-Mayoral Aide to Help Assembly Speaker in Harassment Case (NYT) He will work closely with Mr. Silver’s main political consultant, Jonathan Rosen.


The Silver Ratner Rapfogel Atlantic Yards Joined At the Hip
But months later, he and Mr. Rapfogel quietly put their weight behind yet another new plan, from a handpicked developer who included no housing. According to official memos, Mr. Silver asked city officials to approve a “big box” store, like Costco, on the site. The developer, Bruce Ratner, would build it. The sponsor would be the South Manhattan Development Corporation, which Mr. Rapfogel then headed. The Rapfogels’ eldest son, Michael, finished law school in 2005 and soon went to work for Mr. Ratner. The job was seen internally as a way to please Mr. Silver, say people familiar with the son’s work; Mr. Ratner’s company rejects the notion. In 2006, the Public Authorities Control Board, over which Mr. Silver has significant control, approved Mr. Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. Intervention by Mr. Silver and others enabled the project to retain a lucrative tax break, even as that break was actually being phased out.  In 2008, Forest City Ratner, which compared to other developers makes few political contributions, gave $58,420 to the Democratic Assembly Housekeeping Committee, which is controlled by Mr. Silver. That same year, Mr. Ratner helped raise $1 million for Met Council and was honored at a luncheon given by Mr. Rapfogel and Mr. Silver. “Bruce is responsible for much of the development and growth that’s gone on in Brooklyn and in Manhattan,” Mr. Silver said at the event. “He is a major force in New York City for the good.”* How Bruce Ratner Wins Approval for his Projects  * New Met Council Head Steering Group Away From Politics(Jewish Week) * Speaker Silver allegedly kept SPURA empty for decades (Real Deal) Together Silver and William Rapfogel sought to preserve the area's Jewish character

Illegal Petitions UJC?
Officials from the United Jewish Council of the East Side were involved in the signature-gathering effort for Gerson and a host of other candidates - including Silver himself, who is running to be a delegate to the Democratic judicial nominating convention - an effort that threatens the group's tax-exempt status.

Buzz: Rapfogel Sentence Fight
 
The call has gone out to friends of Willie Rapfogel to write letters describing how the indicted former Met Council leader help the community. The word on the street is that the prosecutors want Rapfogel to rat on Silver and his other pay to play political friends. No word yet if the elected offices who sent member items funds to the Met Council in return for cash will face legal charges or even be named.


Media Coverage Enables Speaker Silver in His Multi-Scandal Escape Plan

No Coverage Allows Corruption, Attack Coverage Destroys

Silver like every elected official and the flacks, media barrons and prosecutors who protect them understand that only media attention to government scandals can cause enough public pressure to demand investigation.  So when the U.S. Attorney Bharara made a plea 7 months ago (Sept. 18, 2013 for more investigative reporting he did not tell the entire journalism cover-up story.* Silver “the Assembly will do what is appropriate to root out corruption" A month after a jury convicted Assembly Stevenson and today a jury sent Assemblyman Boyland to jail

"The Media Reports Indictments Or Corruption Trials, Does Not Investigate to Root Out Wrong Doing In Government" - U.S. Attorney Bharara

Bharara to Journalist
Investigate Stop Copying My Press Releases
"Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," Bharara said. "Groundbreaking corruption coverage is not just good copy, it's a path to good government." Bharara Preet Bharara hopes for more muckraking in ... - Capital Sept 18, 2013

Preet challenges journos to do investigative reporting (CrainsNY)The press has a role to play, Mr. Bharara said, noting that he is saddened by recent reports of newspaper closings and staff downsizing. "Rather than just covering the cases that my office and other offices are already bringing, figure out ways to break new ground and to cover new stories," he said. "Groundbreaking corruption * Robert Addolorato, the new chief of investigations for the Moreland Commission, worked as an investigator for Cuomo while he was attorney general, then started work in the Inspector General’s office in 2011, the Times Union reports: 
More On Corruption Fighter US Attorney Preet Bharara 





Silver Creating Moreland Legal Cover-Up
Sunshine for Albany(NYP Ed) Shelly Silver accuses the governor’s Moreland Commission of engaging in a “fishing expedition to intimidate legislators.” The Assembly speaker is probably right about that. Then again, even an angling novice wouldn’t have a hard time landing some big ones in the well-stocked corruption pond that is Albany. Silver’s complaint follows the disclosure that he’s spending even more taxpayer dollars to hire well-connected law firms to fight the anti-corruption commission’s latest subpoenas. One such contract was quietly hiked from $55,000 to $355,000. Meanwhile, other law firms are separately representing legislative Republicans and the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference. Ironically, even as he writes out the checks — including to the firm that employs him — Silver complains about “the great deal of money” that’s ­being spent. Silver’s initial pushback came last fall, when the Moreland people demanded that attorney-legislators such as him disclose a list of their clients to determine if any are doing business with the state (something this page called for three years ago). Until he was forced to do so by an ethics law passed in 2011, Silver wouldn’t even disclose how much he was being paid by his firm, the tort-law powerhouse Weitz & ­Luxenberg. Now the commission reportedly has subpoenaed various lawmakers, their campaign committees and vendors who were paid by their ­campaign accounts. Bribe Assemblymembrs Not to Steal Silver denounced subpoenas issued by Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission as a “fishing expedition,” saying the only way to end corruption is for taxpayers to fund political campaigns. Translation: Taxpayers must bribe politicians if they want them to stop stealing! * Subpoena Aimed At Common Sense Principles Adjourned(YNN) The firm, Strategic Advantage International, has been fighting an effort from the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption that is trying to determine who funded the group, which was aligned with Senate Republicans during the 2012 election cycle. 

Silver Struggles to Escape Sexual Harass Kellner That End His Speakership


Speaker Silver taps prominent ex-judge, lobbyist to handle Kellner's sex harass appeal.(NYP)  Former state Court of Appeals Judge Howard Levine, a senior counsel at the Albany firm, was selected by Silver in January to handle the unprecedented appeal from Assemblyman Micah Kellner. Former state Court of Appeals Judge Howard Levine was senior counsel at a prominent lobbying firm that donated thousands to Assembly Democrats, and now he will handle the appeal of Assemblyman Micah Kellner, who is accused of violating Assembly policy barring inappropriate comments.Since being hired as the hearing officer, Levine has also involved two members of his firm, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna. The firm has dished out thousands in campaign contributions since 2008 to members of both parties in both houses of the Legislature, including $7,500 to Silver, records show.The firm also has given $13,741 to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee — controlled by Silver — and another $2,500 to Assemblywoman Deborah Glick.

Court Rules to Protect Silver's Assembly From Serial Sexual Abuser Lopez

From Hush Funds to Court Media Cover-Ups
Silver’s robed protector (NYDN Ed) In an ridiculous ruling, a judge shields the Assembly speaker. The Daily News writes that a judge’s decision to toss a lawsuit accusing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of failing to protect two women from sexual harassment by Vito Lopez is preposterous: The undeserved breaks keep coming for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. In a preposterous ruling, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Kenney dismissed a lawsuit that accused Silver of failing to protect two young women from sexual harassment by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. There’s no question that Silver exposed the women to Lopez’ predations by conspiring to cover up previous misconduct. But Kenney let Silver off on the ground that the Assembly was, somehow, not the women’s employer.Never mind that Silver’s sexual harassment policy stated that state and federal laws imposed “legal responsibilities upon every Assembly employee as well as the Assembly itself as employer.”Several elected judges stepped aside from handling a case involving Silver, one of Manhattan’s most powerful Democrats. Kenney should have done the same.

 Albany Hush Fund Cover Up, Press Containment Timeline
State Assembly not liable in Vito Lopez grope suit: judge(NYP) The state Assembly is off the hook for Vito Lopez’s groping of staffers, a Manhattan judge ruled Tuesday. Judge Joan Kenney tossed a Manhattan civil lawsuit filed by two female staffers of the deposed Brooklyn assemblyman, ruling that the legislative body could not be held liable for the politician’s behavior because it was not the women’s employer.  She acknowledged allegations that the Assembly didn’t properly address the prior complaints — an action that could have prevented more incidents — but said there was no evidence that other lawmakers “aided or abetted Lopez’s discriminatory conduct.”  Kenney also wrote that because the elected politicians “have no ownership interest in the Assembly itself,” the body can’t be considered an employer for the purposes of the suit. A second, parallel case is still pending in federal court by the two women against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and against Lopez. A state ethics commission found last year that Lopez had accosted at least eight staffers with an unrelenting volley of lurid come-ons since 2010. The women’s attorney, Kevin Mintzer, vowed to re-file the state suit, amending it to show the Assembly as a whole was responsible for their safety because it published a sexual harassment handbook for all members and technically paid their salaries.*Judge tosses suit vs. Assembly for Vito Lopez’ harrassment(NYDN) A judge ruled that the Assembly is not responsible for claims of sexual harassment against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, although the legislative body did not properly address prior complaints

Albany's Pink Wall of Silence Continues

Women Pols and Groups Remain Silent
NY's Women's Groups & Women Pols More Interested in Political Power Than Cleaning Up Sexual Abuse in Albany 





Silver Fights JCOPE In His Quest to Keep Albany's Crime Rate High


Prosecutors Investigating Shelly Silver's Kids Over Voter-Fraud Allegations(Village Voice)

As the Media Pressure is Off Silver Sexual Hush Cover Up With the Departures of Kellner and Gabryszak and the Expected Guilty Plea of Pal Willie Rapfogel, Silver Goes After JCOPE spends more to resist corruption commission(Capital)Approves $300,000 on challenge to Moreland* DAs & Fitzpatrick: Crime rates down across NY state — not inside the state capitol. Pass now. *Silver Bemoans Moreland ‘Fishing Expedition’ * QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It is important to root out corruption, but the commission we believe has exceeded its mandate and has been engaged in a fishing expedition to intimidate legislators.” – Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver commenting on the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, via Gannett Albany * Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver called the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, set up by Gov. Cuomo last summer, a “fishing expedition” designed to intimidate legislators, Gannett Albany writes:   * The state Assembly has committed $205,000 in taxpayer dollars toward hiring independent counsel to investigate sexual harassment in its midst, State of Politics writes:
Albany Hush Fund Cover Up, Press Containment Timeline
  1. As long as important questions are asked—e.g. does Dinowitz support Silver refusing to cooperate w/ corruption panel?—no harm in fun


Silver Takes in Millions From Lobbyists
 City landlords donate to an odd ‘Common Sense’ group(Capital) Friends of Silver: $3 million on hand.  The committee associated with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver kept a steady balance through 2013. Expenses included paying the firm BerlinRosen, and he continued to pay the law firm of Stroock, Stroock and Laven, LLP, which he employed following the Vito Lopez scandal. His campaign account also supported several candidates, including Democrat John McManmon who lost his special election bid. * Sheldon Silver on hot seat over racino bid as e-mails track money to political committee(NYP)  Just before that scandal-plagued bidder was picked, Silver solicited “campaign dough” from Hank Sheinkopf, a friend who was lobbying for the company, the Aqueduct Entertainment Group.


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SILVERGATE


What Did Silver's Chief of State Judy Rapfogel Know About Her Husband Stealing Millions? And What Did Silver Know?
Met Council scandal gets closer to Speaker Silver(NYP Ed) The probe into the reported theft of $5 million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty by a key friend and ally of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is raising new questions about whether and how much Silver’s chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, knew about the scam. Now it turns out that when she ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat in 1997, her campaign spent a surprisingly disproportionate amount of money on auto insurance — nearly six times more than it did on renting campaign office space. What makes this significant is that those premiums were paid to the very same brokerage that’s been implicated in her husband’s alleged scam. And the campaign treasurer was her husband’s sister. Moreover, hers appears to be the only campaign that the brokerage, Century Coverage Corp., has insured since records were computerized.
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Rapfogel Corruption Closing In On Silver
SPEAKING OF WHICH: It’s an open question how long embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will keep his job—but if he steps down, the Legislature would face one of the most heated succession battles in a generation (City and State). Speaker Silver Faces sexual Harassment Lawsuit and Unwinding of His Friend Willie Rapfogel Scandal Investigation At the Same Time* Another lobbyist leaves a Silver-connected firm, reports Patricia Lynch Associates * Speaking of Which (part 2) The next transition may not be so smooth.(City and State)* 
SILVER PUSHING JUNE PRIMARY Once Again, Assembly Pushing June Primary * Assembly Democrats introduced legislation to move the state’s primaries from September to June to save an estimated $50 million, but Senate Republicans have balked at the bill in the past, Gannett reports * the mass exodus theory: "entire class of the most senior members could retire w/ Silver should he decide 2 step down" * Former Assembly Speaker Mel Miller thinks Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle has a shot at succeeding the current speaker, Sheldon Silver, even though he’s an upstater. Update Albany lobbying firm Patricia Lynch & Associates has received a tax lien for $192,369, its third in recent years, as it has shed several employees in recent weeks, the News reports:

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SilverGate
 


All The Kings Public Relations Men, Kiss Ass Reporters and Friendly Prosecutors Could Not Put the Speaker Back Together Again

Silver's Dead Mini Me Reckoning
Shelly’s Last Legs Sheldon Silver, the Assembly lion who protected his pride from a succession of hostile governors intent on declawing the Legislature, is now in the crosshairs of the media, prosecutors and ambitious members, writes Michael Benjamin: (City and State)* The Daily News argues that the scandal involving William Rapfogel’s looting of his own charity, is another reason that Assembly Speaker Silver should step down from his leadership position  * DN “Silver’s relationship with William Rapfogel…is one more damning reason why Assembly Democrats must dump Silver from the speakership. So, too, is Silver’s loyalty to Rapfogel’s wife Judy.”*  The NY Post: “Maybe it’s true (Silver) and his chief of staff didn’t know what her husband had been up to these past 20 years. Still, there was a day when the bar for stepping down wasn’t a criminal indictment.”* "[T]here is no doubt that Silver enabled the ripoff." [Daily News]* Judy Rapfogel sat in on meetings at which member item decisions were made – a process in which the Met Council, formerly headed by her husband, did quite well.

Update On ShellyGate
Lawmakers mull fate of scandal-tied campaign contributions(NY World)
Rabbi Linked to Kickback Scheme at Charity(NYT) But the board of the organization, the Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Poverty, took another action at the same time that was not widely noticed. It ended a longstanding consulting relationship with Mr. Rapfogel’s predecessor, Rabbi David Cohen, who led the organization, which is widely known as Met Council, before Mr. Rapfogel took over in 1992. In fact, Mr. Cohen is one of the two unnamed co-conspirators in the criminal complaint filed against Mr. Rapfogel this week, according to two people briefed on the investigation by the state attorney general’s office. The other co-conspirator is Joseph Ross, the owner of Century Coverage, according to the two people briefed on the investigation. The complaint filed on Tuesday against Mr. Rapfogel at Criminal Court in Manhattan says that the kickback scheme began before Mr. Rapfogel arrived and that the amount taken steadily increased over the years after he took over. Cuomo commented publicly on the kickback scheme involving William Rapfogel, the former head of the Metropolitan New York Council on Jewish Poverty, a case that has now ensnared Rapfogel’s predecessor,


Only the NYT Editorial Board has Remained Silent On Silver
Since the NYT is Not Writing Editorials About Silver or his Mini Me William Rapfogel, Here is an 2011 One They Did Demanding for An End to Member Itmes End the Slush (8/29/2011, NYT) The Daily News Call for Silver to Step Down and the NYP Calls Him A Crook

Update Cuomo Calls Rapfogel Charges ‘Disturbing’, Won’t Opine On Silver’s Future(YNN)



Rapfogel Wife Claims to Not Know Her Husband Had An Extra Million Dollars
The Good Wife
Judy Rapfogel, the chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and wife of William Rapfogel, said she knew nothing about her husband’s 20-year, $5 million kickback scheme involving the New York City charity he was running,
Shel Silver aide says she didn’t know of husband’s alleged theft from NYC charity(NYDN)
A day after William Rapfogel turned himself in on charges of stealing from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty as part of a $5 million kickback scheme, investigators and political insiders focused on whether his politically connected wife, Judy, had knowledge of the scam.* $25K of Rapfogel's stolen money went to the previous council Speaker . Christ.* Willie Rapfogel’s attorney insists neither the former Met Council executive director’s wife, chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, nor Silver himself knew of his alleged theft of millions of dollars from the nonprofit.* Silver’s den of thieves (NYDN ED) There is virtually no doubt that one of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s closest friends looted millions of dollars from a prominent taxpayer-funded not-for-profit organization — and there is no doubt that Silver enabled the ripoff. Silver’s relationship with William Rapfogel, longtime leader of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, is one more damning reason why Assembly Democrats must dump Silver from the speakership. So, too, is Silver’s loyalty to Rapfogel’s wife Judy, who serves as Silver’s chief of staff. * New York City’s Department of Finance has saved $72.8 million over the past two years by tightening generous property tax exemptions, saving nearly $31 million in fiscal year 2012 by registering 1,000 fewer nonprofits for tax breaks, the Post reports:  * "Either the Rapfogels have a closet the size of Lady Gaga’s, or Judy Rapfogel, who’s seen it all in Albany, at least had to have noticed the stashed cash in the closet and wondered, 'What the hell?'" [Linda Stasi]


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Poverty Pimps Centralize Control

The poverty pimps’ huge payday
Erwinna, Pa.: In the early 1970s, many of the city’s poor were served by the Council Against Poverty, whose criteria excluded poor Jews, who numbered in excess of 300,000. Recognizing this inequity, Mayor John Lindsay modestly funded in 1974 the Metropolitan N.Y. Coordinating Council Against Jewish Poverty, of which I was elected the first chairman. I served at no salary for almost a decade. We funded a decentralized system of local councils, partly to avoid the centralization of power that could give rise to so-called “poverty pimps,” who would enrich themselves at the expense of the less fortunate. Later, the Met Council’s power was vested in its corporate headquarters; salaries escalated to the point of being obscene. I never thought I would live to see the day when the “poverty pimps” of old seem like paupers compared to William Rapfogel, an overpaid executive director, who, not satisfied with a bloated salary, is accused of stealing millions from the poor. The worst nightmares of the originators of the Met Council have come true. Jerome M. Becker


Rapfogel is the latest scandal to envelop Silver(NYP Ed)
Scandals galore swirl around Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver(NYDN)
Arrest of his close friend William Rapfogel, the husband of Silver's chief of staff, in $5 million looting of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, brings stink of Albany cesspool even closer to home. Baruch College public affairs Prof. Doug Muzzio said, “Clearly, there’s a dysfunctionality in Albany and it seems the speaker is the sun in this particular solar system.”* On William Rapfogel arrest, says he's not investigating Speaker Sheldon Silver (Rapfogel's wife is Silver's chief of staff).
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Don Silver


Despite scandals, Silver’s power grows(NYP) The spate of scandals that has surrounded Shelly Silver should have forced him out as Assembly speaker long ago. Instead, he’s only reinforcing his grip over state government — this time, by having another of his former top aides assume a key spot at the state Board of Elections. Remember, Silver already has stoolies looking out for him in even higher posts. Tom DiNapoli was his hand-picked choice for state comptroller. His close childhood friend, Jonathan Lippman, is the state’s chief judge. But now the board is under heightened scrutiny from Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission. More than ever, Silver may need someone in a key spot there to protect his interests and those of his party.* Vito Lopez JCOPE Report
 
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Silver Missing?

Silver's Press Pass
Since His Close Friends and Advisor Willie Rapfogel Got Caught Pocketing Cash From His Non Profit Silver Has Been Out of the Press

Any legislator who wants to gridlock Albany as retribution for something Moreland does should find a new line of work
Silver hires more lawyers w/ public $.   
Did Vito Lopez writer the letter That Destroyed Rapfogel?
Whistle-Blower's Letter Led to Charity's Firing of Chief Executive(NYT)
Sheldon Silver on hot seat over racino bid as e ... - New York Post As the state evaluated the billion-dollar proposals for the Aqueduct Racetrack racino in 2009, principals for the shadiest bidder gave thousands to a political committee controlled by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — money that nobody today can account for. And months later, just before that scandal-plagued bidder was picked, Silver solicited “campaign dough” from Hank Sheinkopf, a friend who was lobbying for the company, the Aqueduct Entertainment Group.* William Rapfogel's Close Relationship With Sheldon Silver |NYDN) * \Sheldon Silver keeps role at convention despite sexual harassment ...
Assemblyman Keith Wright furious with Sheldon Silver over tax break bill scandal: source
Wright inherited the bill after Silver replaced former Assembly Housing Committee Vito Lopez, who was removed because of his sexual harassment scandal. The bill is the subject of an investigation, in which high-level politicians allegedly received money from real estate developers.* Silver hit by 'hu$h' probe | New York Post


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After Silver Expect A Mob War


When the leader of the mob commission gets whacked always expect a mob war
A post-Silver Assembly power struggle "would make 'King Lear' .. seem like bingo night in Voorheesville." 









 Breaking NYT Wants Vito and Silver Out
Mr. Lopez should be expelled from the Assembly now. And Mr. Silver — whose colleagues made last-minute efforts to redact critical details from the report — should be replaced as speaker. Enough!
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Sexual Harassment Kellner Running

Manhattan Has A Joe Hynes 
Micah Kellner Files Paperwork Indicating He’ll Pursue General Election(NYO) Kellner lost his highly-charged primary contest to opponent Ben Kallos by about 6 percent following revelations that a sexual harassment complaint was once filed against him. The Working Families Party, which endorsed Mr. Kellner long before his loss, has since voted to endorse Mr. Kallos in the general.WFP said We call on Micah Kellner to stand down from this futile and foolish endeavor.”* Scandal-plagued Kellner running on party line that’s disowned him(NYP) * Scandal-scarred Assemblyman Micah Kellner is burning more bridges is continuing his NYC Council run on the Working Families Party line in the general election even though he lost the Democratic primary and the labor-backed party has disowned him.* With a legit Republican also in the mix, that race could be interesting.* One former rival, Ed Hartzog, endorsed Kallos. [LongIslandExchange]


Silence of the Assemblymembers On Silver's Crimes Is Anti-Democratic - Lopez's Hush Fund to the Rapfogel Family

Reward: Call the Albany's Tip Line

Sheldon Silver’s many scandals(NYP) 1. Silver pal William Rapfogel, the hubby of his longtime chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, is arrested Sept. 24. and charged with stealing $1 million from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. 2. Silver signed off on a secret $103,080 payout to two sexual-harassment victims of disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez last year in an effort to keep a lid on the scandal. 3. Three of Silver’s children used his Grand Street address to vote in his district even though they had long ago moved away — one to New Jersey.  4. The speaker callously ate a snack while Elizabeth Crothers alleged that Michael Boxley, Silver’s chief counsel, raped her in 2001. Silver backed Boxley.

"The truth is that legislators don’t want to lose their ability to trade on their official status to make more money"BN
The Buffalo News says a state lawmaker who refuses to disclose the source of their outside income should resign* Silver’s driver making wasteful Albany-NYC trips(NYP) While Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver collects frequent-flier miles on the taxpayer dime on airplane trips from New York City to Albany via Washington, DC, his driver and bodyguard racks up thousands of miles on the ground. While Silver flies — often in first class — his nearly $80,000-a-year shadow sometimes drives Silver’s state-issued 2011 Ford Taurus from the city to Albany, the insider said. 


Silver Pay$ to Keep Speakership
Silver to Pay Members $$$ to Keep Him As Speaker
NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver To Cut Unit With Three Dozen Workers(NYDN) Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is preparing to shutter a decades-old unit within the Assembly, with some saying the embattled pol wants to allocate its funding to his members in hopes of strengthening his standing.* 30-year legal battle between state and Park Ave. firm over unemployment cost taxpayers $16M — and counting (NYDN)



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Team Silver Circles the Wagons
If the Daily News is Serious With Getting Rid of Silver They Should Send Their Reports to Ask Assemblymembers Why They Are  Supporting Their Speaker

Pay to Play Save Silver Ass
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he would continue to serve as long as the members of the chamber want him to be Speaker, and rank and file members at Somos said Silver has 100 percent support from the conference, NY1 reports: 
* Three NYC Democratic Chairs Shoot Down Talk Of Replacing NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver(NYDN)

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Lawsuit Fingers Silver Harassment Plot

Silver Tries to Kill Hush Fund  Lawsuit





































































































































Two women who accused Vito Lopez of sexual harassment filed a legal brief Tuesday opposing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's motion to quash their federal suit, arguing that Silver condoned Lopez’s prior mistreatment of women, the New York Post writes:
 
Vito accusers tarnish Silver(NYP)

Two women who accused former Assemblyman Vito Lopez of sexual harassment filed a legal brief Tuesday opposing Sheldon Silver’s motion to quash their federal suit holding the Assembly speaker responsible…the plaintiffs argued they wouldn’t have been harassed if Silver hadn’t condoned Lopez’s prior mistreatment of women. “No reasonable person in Silver’s position could have believed it was lawful to assist Lopez in concealing his unlawful harassment,” their lawyer, Kevin Mintzer, said in Manhattan federal court papers.* The legal fight over ex-Assemblyman Vito Lopez‘s sexual harassment scandal is still ongoing and two of his alleged victims filed a legal brief yesterday to try and kill Speaker Shelly Silver‘s motion to dismiss the entire case.
Weprin Supports Silver, See Nothing Wrong

Weprin's comments here are the root of the problem. I don't care if Shelly loves his job. He's corrupt to the core and ineffective - he has to go. The fact that Weprin sees the problem as "the media" without focusing on the facts behind the very mild "attacks" says something about Weprin.  WE like the speaker because he covers up our failures and corruption? Is that what he's saying? 
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined his fellow Democrats at Somos, and was said by Queens Assemblyman David Weprin to have “pretty much 100 percent support” from his conference members despite numerous problems in recent months.




Mounting Troubles For Speaker Silver

Howard Gotbetter, a veteran Manhattan lawyer, is suing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for breaching the contract of his oath of office, and gross negligence for failing to protect victims of sexual harass