Monday, December 21, 2015

Silver Part 222

Silver Wants Corruption Conviction Tossed
Sheldon Silver’s lawyers want his corruption conviction tossed (NYP) Lawyers for Sheldon Silver have 12 minutes on Thursday to argue before a three-judge appeals panel that the disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker’s conviction should be tossed — or that he be granted a new trial.  The appeal lawyers think Silver deserves another shot because, they argue, the definition of public corruption has changed since he was found guilty in November 2015.    They plan to cite the US Supreme Court’s move in June to toss the public corruption conviction of ex-Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, who accepted more than $165,000 in loans and gifts from a business executive in exchange for promoting a dietary supplement because there was no proof the McDonnell took the Ferraris, Rolexes and ball gowns in exchange for an “official act” like legislation.  The government’s case against Silver also included allegations of corruption that might now be deemed innocent, such as help he provided a co-conspirator’s daughter to land a job interview, Silver’s lawyer Steven Molo said in court filings.* Sheldon Silver Appeal Looks to New Definition of Corruption (NYT)

Silver's Court Where He Picks the Judges, Still Protects Silver's Doctor and Asbestos Racket 
Sheldon Silver’s doctor pal wins round in battle against Columbia (NYP) The doctor at the center of the corruption case that toppled former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver won a round in his lawsuit against Columbia University over his firing after more than 35 years on the job.  In three just-released decisions, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Manuel Mendez reinforced a July court order that protects Dr. Robert Taub by barring Columbia from interfering with his “salary, work, research and staff” until the school goes through the proper motions of terminating him.  Mendez also sided with Taub in his motion to hold Columbia in civil contempt for violating the judge’s order by trying to slash Taub’s salary from $300,000 to $105,871 and firing his staff.* The doctor at the center of the corruption case that toppled former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver won a round in his lawsuit against Columbia University over his firing after more than 35 years on the job, the Post reports.  * New York’s never-ending asbestos racket (NYP Ed)  A year after his corruption conviction, ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s influence is still harming our courts. The American Tort Reform Foundation now ranks New York City’s Asbestos Litigation court as its No. 3 “Judicial Hellhole,” after St. Louis and the state of California.  The ATRF report notes that the court favors plaintiffs even more than it did before Silver’s fall. Defendants continue to face liability beyond their level of responsibility.  And the court still favors plaintiffs with excess use of punitive damages and by regularly consolidating multiple cases into a single trial, making it easier to confuse jurors.  In part, it’s a legacy of Silver influence over the courts dating from the time he arranged for major asbestos litigator Arthur Luxenberg — the name-partner at Shelly’s old law firm Weitz & Luxenberg — to serve on a key judge-picking committee. Silver also blocked any and all tort-reform measures for decades.  The ATRF also faults the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, for expanding liability to cover companies that never made nor sold cancer-causing asbestos. The average award for asbestos cases in New York — $16 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014 — is at least twice the size granted by courts nationwide, according to Bates White Economic Consulting.

Senate GOP Candidates Use Corrupt Silver Ignore Corrupt Skelos Power Broker Klein
Disgraced Silver being used in campaign ads  (NYDN)  One TV ad paid for by New Yorkers For Independent Action, a Super PAC targeting candidates who oppose the creation of an education investment tax credit, attacks incumbent Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Saratoga County) for her ties to Silver.  The ads, which hits Woerner for backing Silver as speaker, concludes with pictures of the assemblywoman and Silver and the tagline: “It’s hard to stand up for us when she’s standing with them.” Meanwhile, Assemblyman James Tedisco, a Schenectady Republican running for state Senate, has an ad highlighting a public argument he had with Silver over taxes. The ad notes that Silver is gone but Tedisco is still fighting for constituents. * Depending on the outcome of the elections in November, IDC Leader Jeff Klein could become the Senate’s ultimate power broker, especially as his independent caucus grows to an expected six members, the Buffalo News writes.

Silver Avoids Jail  . . .  Did Anyone Expect Him to Be Lock Up?
Sheldon Silver avoids jail for at least another year (NYP) Crooked former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caught the break of a lifetime Thursday when a judge ruled that he can stay out of prison while he appeals — likely buying him at least another year of freedom. The powerful puppet master, who used his position to swindle $5.4 million in kickbacks and bribes, was supposed to surrender Wednesday to begin serving his 12-year sentence.
But Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni, who presided over Silver’s trial, instead granted the Manhattan Democrat’s request that he remain free on bail.*

Caproni made it clear in her ruling that she thinks Silver, 72, was guilty — even under a new and far narrower definition of “official acts” constituting corruption established by a June 27 Supreme Court ruling. In that case, the court tossed the conviction of ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who had accepted cash, loans and pricey gifts from a rich businessman looking for favors, ruling that simply arranging meetings did not constitute official acts. “As stated previously, this case differs from McDonnell because most of the official acts presented to the jury — the provision of state grants, approval of tax-exempt state financing, and voting on legislation — are undoubtedly official acts under McDonnell,” Caproni wrote. She granted Silver bail, however, over concerns that her instructions to the jury may have been inadequate under the new standards set by the high court. * Justice delayed for Shelly Silver(NYP Ed) * Silver, Like Skelos, Can Remain Free While Appealing Graft Conviction (NYT) Sheldon Silver, the former State Assembly speaker, and Dean G. Skelos, the former Senate majority leader, have moved aggressively to stave  off the day they had to begin serving their sentences.* In a ruling that appears to bolster Sheldon Silver’s appeal of his public-corruption conviction, a federal judge said that the former Assembly speaker can stay out of prison at least until Oct. 27 while he awaits a decision, The Wall Street Journal reports.  The Times’ Lawrence Downes knocks Silver’s successor for his Assembly seat, Alice Cancel, and writes the quality of new candidates running in the September primary have an opportunity to move beyond Silver’s legacy and bring real change and reform to the district.* Sheldon Silver not allowed to travel outside lower 48 states (NYP)

Silver Thinks Skelos McDonnell Will Keep Him Out of Jail Also
Silver cites Skelos ruling in bid to remain free on bail (NYP);Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue (NYDN) * Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue (NYDN)

Silver's Gerrymandering Jealousy Cuts A Romantic Rival Out of His District Silver and Skelos Replacement Special Elections  
Sheldon Silver has some serious jealousy issues (NYP) Crooked ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ended the career of a fellow pol — because the man had an affair with the powerful Manhattan Democrat’s mistress, sources told The Post. Silver was so jealous of then-Assemblyman Dan Burling carrying on with then-Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer that he forced his romantic rival out of office through a redistricting scheme, sources said. He engineered the drawing of new lines around Burling’s upstate district in 2012, said well-placed sources on both sides of the aisle in Albany. The maneuver expanded the Republican’s district into Erie County and exposed him to a potential primary challenge from East Aurora Mayor David DiPietro, sources said.* New York Elections to Replace Silver and Skelos Offer Intrigue and Incivility (NYT) The races to replace the former Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader, both removed after being convicted on public corruption charges, presents an unprecedented situation and has resulted in races filled with intrigue * Cuomo early on endorsed Kaminsky, the Democrat in the race to replace former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, but has not campaigned once for him in the Nassau County district where the governor remains popular, the Daily News writes:  * Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ended the career of then-Assemblyman Dan Burling because he had an affair with Silver’s mistress, then-Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer, sources tell the New York Post: * Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ended the career of a fellow pol, Republican former Assemblyman Dan Burling, by redistricting him out of office because Burling had an affair with the powerful Manhattan Democrat’s mistress, former Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer.Special Elections Cuomo has endorsed the Democratic candidate for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, and maxed out in contributions to his campaign, but has not appeared in person for the candidate in advance of tomorrow’s special election.* Tthe special elections on Long Island and in Lower Manhattan offer voters a chance to do the unprecedented: to replace, in the space of one day, two former members of New York State’s ruling triumvirate, both of whom are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks after being convicted on corruption charges. Cheep Silver bedded mistresses at cheap Albany hotels (NYP)  Sheldon Silver was the ultimate cheap date — bedding his “Barbie doll’’ mistress at budget hotels paid for with his taxpayer-funded per diem, sources told The Post on Monday. “It was the worst-kept secret in politics. Shelly would stay at [cheap Albany hotels] when he was up there doing state business. She was seen leaving his room on a number of occasions,’’ a politically connected source said of the convicted ex-Assembly speaker and Janele Hyer-Spencer, one of the women with whom federal authorities say he had affairs. “Let’s say it’s $100, and he spends $25 on accommodations and $25 on dining for the night. Then he’d pocket the rest. That’s why he chose’’ cheap hotels, such as the Red Carpet Inn, where rooms start as low as $55, the source said.

Silver Blocked A Bill to Protect Sexually Abused Kids After Catholic Group Hired Lobbyists the Speaker Was Sleeping With 
Sheldon Silveraccused of blocking bills to aid sexually abused kids after Catholic group hiredhis longtime aid as a lobbyist (NYDN)  Disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was all about pay to play — and sexually abused kids were the ones to pay the price. Silver stopped pushing for a bill to aid victims of predators after the state Catholic Conference hired his former long-time aide as a lobbyist, says a controversial former lawyer who has taken on the Church. John Aretakis, of upstate Troy, made the alarming charge in a scathing letter he sent to a judge who in May will sentence Silver on an unrelated federal corruption conviction. Aretakis wrote that he met with Silver each year between 2004 and 2006 to discuss the bill, which the then-powerful pol “bragged” had passed the Assembly several times with over 100 votes even as it stalled in the Senate. That changed after the lobbying firm owned by Patricia Lynch, who previously was a longtime Silver aide, took on the Catholic Church as a client, Aretakis wrote. The Church was aggressively lobbying against the bill.  Longtime aide Patricia Lynch was hired to lobby for the Catholic Conference in 2009 — the year after the last time the bill passed the Assembly. State records show that Patricia Lynch & Associates was first hired by the state Catholic Conference in 2009 — the same year the Democrats briefly took control of the chamber and had considered taking up the measure. Then-Senate Codes Committee Chairman Eric Schneiderman, now the state attorney general, tried to move the bill out of committee but the vote fell short and the measure died. “Once Ms. Lynch lobbied for the Catholic Conference, Mr. Silver’s support for our bill ended, and the bill did not come out of the Assembly’s Codes Committee ... which as speaker, he controlled,” Aretakis wrote.* The five members of a breakaway group of state Senate Democrats say they will supportnew legislation to help adults who were sexually abused as children seek legal recourse.* Cuomo: Silver’s Alleged Affairs Should Spur Ethics Reform (YNN) * According to sources, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver carried on affairs with two women at Albany-area hotels that were paid for with his taxpayer-funded per diem, the Post reports:  * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Silver’s alleged affairs should encourage state lawmakers to approve new ethics and anti-corruption legislation and called for legislation to be passed in post-budget portion of the legislative session, State of Politicswrites:

Just Like Ever One Knows About Corruption in Albany Everyone Knew About Silver's Affairs for Years
The affairs were poorly-kept secrets, Albany insiders said. Lynch and Silver were seen kissing in an elevator at the 2008 Democratic Convention in LA. Another legislative source said Silver and Hyer-Spencer had adjoining rooms during a 2008 Assembly trip to Israel. This, even though other lawmakers were also staying in the same hotel. Silver and Hyer-Spencer were also seen together in the hotel lobby at the Somos Uno conference during one of the Assembly’s annual post-election trips to Puerto Rico.

Silver Slept With A Lobbyists and Another Woman
Lobbyist having affair w Shelly tells him, on client matter: "I don't talk to anybody about the issue except you."
The @NYDailyNews, citing an anonymous source, says Sheldon Silver was having an affair with lobbyist Patricia Lynch.
Sheldon Silver cheated on his wife with two women (NYP)  While serving as Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver was engaged in extramarital affairs with two women – one of whom lobbied him on behalf of clients who had business before the state and the other for whom he used his position to recommend a state job, according to new documents from his criminal case. The revelation was included in the documents, which were unsealed Friday morning. The documents redacted the names of the two women, as well as other information about. Prosecutors had wanted to introduce the evidence during Silver’s corruption trial last year. At the heart of the secret files is a mysterious “Sealed Party A” – an unidentified woman whose name was never mentioned at Silver’s trial.  But her high-powered attorney Abbe Lowell has been fighting tooth and nail to stop the documents from going public. Judge Valerie Caproni said the filings – which pertain to a hearing last October about evidence that wasn’t presented at trial – add to Silver’s already tarnished reputation as ex-Assembly speaker. She alluded that the secret documents are related to “misuses of [Silver’s] public office.” “This is not one of his better moments,” Caproni said in court. The judge also noted that Lowell’s client was a public figure — and for that reason, there was a public interest in the matter.In filings, prosecutors insisted the information goes to Silver’s “ethics or integrity, separation of his personal business from his official position, and/or character for truthfulness and honesty.” “The Government did not seek to admit evidence of those relationships at trial on its direct case, but asserted that such evidence would be relevant and admissible if the defendant introduced character evidence suggesting that he was careful to separate his personal business from official business or that he was a man of integrity or a good family man,” one of the filings states. Documents allege there is “credible and corroborated evidence that while serving as Speaker of the Assembly, the defendant engaged in extramarital relationships with two women.” In one instance, the information was gained “inadvertent” by investigators who were listening to Silver’s phone calls. Silver’s relationship with the lobbyist “regularly lobbied the defendant on behalf of clients who had business before the state” the document states while she was able to “obtained certain clients in part because of her access to the defendant.” In one of the recordings with the lobbyist, Silver and the woman discuss an inquiry from a reporter about “affairs” with state legislators. “I don’t think he caught us,” Silver is alleged to have said in the conversation. Silver acknowledges to the woman that it is “not safe” they be seen together in public. In the record conversation, the lobbyist complained to Silver that she was not being treated well by a top member of Silver’s staff. The second woman, meanwhile, was the beneficiary of a state job that Silver “used his official position” to secure for her. The unnamed post was one Silver “exercised a particularly high level of control.” Silver kept two different cell phones, one that appeared to be for official use and a second that he used for personal discussions and was billed to a different name.Flashback ‘Silver’-spoon gal climbing the ladder (NYP) A former state assemblywoman and close ally of Speaker Sheldon Silver has quietly left her cushy job at the state Education Department for an even higher-paying one in state Family Court. Janele Hyer-Spencer, a motorcycle-riding former beauty queen, left her post as a legislative liaison for the Education Department on Jan. 29. Hyer-Spencer, a Democrat, was hired in September 2011 — after voters had booted her from her Assembly seat. As The Post reported last year, Silver — who has sway with the Board of Regents, which oversees the education agency — recommended Hyer-Spencer for he $84,000-a-year position. In March, Hyer-Spencer quietly took a new job as a “support” magistrate with the New York City Family Court. She’s now making $99,600 to work on child- support, paternity and other family issues, state payroll records show. Silver’s childhood friend Jonathan Lippman is chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals and oversees administration of the state courts.Skelos   Judge denies new trial for disgraced former Majority LeaderDean Skelos.  * New YorkEthics Rules Quiet on Lawmaker-Lobbyist Relationships (WSJ) * U.S. Cites Extramarital Affairs as Misuse of Power in Sheldon Silver Case (NYT) Two women were connected to Mr. Silver’s position as State Assembly speaker, according to newly unsealed papers from his federal corruption trial.
@hudsonette @darehgregorian it appears that lobbyists not only raise $ 4 pols but provide other services

Feds Push for 15 Years for Skelos While Albany Blocks Ethics Bill 
NYT Tries to Make It OK Not To Send A Message to Corrupt Albany by Sending Skelos to Jail  Prosecutors want former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to be sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison for his conviction on federal corruption charges, and his son to see about 10 to 12 years in prison
Does it make sense for Adam and Dean Skelos to ask for noprison time? Opinions are mixed. (NYT) Prosecutors are likely to seek stiff prison sentences for Dean G. Skelos, the former majority leader of the New York State Senate, and his son, Adam, who were both convicted on corruption charges.* Lawyers for former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos, asked that they avoid prison time, but that could backfire in a corruption case in which both were convicted on all counts,The New York Times reports: * Experts say the requests by former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, for no jail time resulting from their corruption convictions could run the risk of backfiring by being interpreted as essentially thumbing their noses at the judge and jury. * Feds push for Skelos and son to spend over a decade in jail (NYP) NO ETHICS New York’s leaders are still failing on ethics reform (NYP Ed) Cuomo and the Legislature’s leaders are oh so proud of their just-passed state budget — yet there’s not a word in it about ethics reform. 

Albany corruption mapped: * This, as former legislative leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos await sentencing after their landmark convictions for abuse of their offices. And after countless other lawmakers have headed off to prison in recent years. And after the Legislature failed to deliver on its No. 1 reform promise last year — to get the ball rolling on amending the state Constitution to strip pensions from legislator-felons like Silver and Skelos. Now comes a new Quinnipiac Poll showing that 86 percent of New Yorkers say corruption in Albany is a serious problem. So serious, in fact, that 48 percent said all current elected officials should be voted out of office so new officials can start with a clean slate. And 48 percent also see Cuomo as “part of the problem.”* Bharara recommends up to 15 years for Skelos (PoliticoNY) The memo was a rebuke of the defense’s argument that the duo should avoid prison time *  Federal prosecutors asked a judge to sentence former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to at least 12 years in prison, following his conviction on eight counts of public corruption charges, and asked that Skelos’ son, Adam, be sentenced to more than 10 years.* Prosecutors:Dean Skelos' $95k pension should draw big fine (LoHud)   Silver he sentencing for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been postponed again. According to court documents, it’s now scheduled to take place on May 12th, moved from April 13.

Longtime aide insists Sheldon Silver ‘cared for all New Yorkers’ (NYP) Sheldon Silver’s longtime chief of staff has gone to bat for her old boss, vouching that the convicted former Assembly speaker “always cared for and worked to help all New Yorkers,” new court filings show. Judith Rapfogel — whose crooked hubby William Rapfogel is currently in prison for bilking $9 million from the non-profit he ran — begged Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni for mercy at Silver’s sentencing in a two-page letter filed Tuesday.“I could write volumes about the good work Shelly did for the people of the state of New York,” Rapfogel wrote, even playing the 9/11 card. “We let people use our phones so they could call their loved ones,” she wrote. “Shelly also worked hard for minorities. He did what he felt was right, even if it went against his religious beliefs and even if it meant he would have to ‘answer’ to friends and family.”

Silver Disbarred and Skelos Delayed Until After the Special to Replace Him 
Former Speaker Silver Disbarred(YNN) *  Sentencing for former Senate Leader, Dean Skelos, and his son Adam, has been changedonce again. First the judge moved the sentencing date to April 25. Now, the pair will go before the judge on the 28.* Sheldon Silver Stripped of Law License (DNAINFO) The disgraced former Assembly Speaker was officially disbarred Tuesday after an appeals court ruling.* Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, Is Disbarred (NYT) * The hits just keep coming for Shelly Silver (NYP) First Sheldon Silver’s name was removed from his Assembly office door in Albany, now it’s been stricken from an official state list of practicing attorneys. Silver was automatically disbarred when he wasconvicted last November, so the disciplinary committee’s finding, released Tuesday, is mostly a ceremonial slap in the face to the ex-speaker. The five-member Manhattan Departmental Disciplinary Committee unanimously rejected the disgraced lawmaker’s plea to keep his name on the attorney roll pending the appeal of his guilty verdict.* Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was automatically disbarred when he was convicted last November, and now a disciplinary committee rejected his plea to remain an attorney pending his appeal in court, the Postreports: * A Court of Appeals panel ruled that controversial secret evidence kept out of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver’s trial can become public if the judge believes it is relevant to his sentencing, scheduled for April 13, Newsday reports: *  A state appeals court disbarred former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver after he was convicted in November of felony extortion for taking nearly $4 million from two law firms during his time as a legislator.* Silver’s lawyers argued that the disbarment should be delayed until a federal judge decides on their motion for a new trial, but the appeals court denied the request.

On the Day He is To Be Put in Jail for the Rest of His Life the NYP Writes How is Woman Tried to Grab His Penis At A Ranger Game
Sheldon Silver ‘got lucky’ with his mistress during a Rangers game (NYP) Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be sentenced Tuesday in a corruption case that unearthed his illicit affairs with two women, whom he bedded at cheap Albany hotels. Silver allegedly romped with former Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer at a Red Carpet Inn near Interstate 90, reserving the same $50-a-night drive-to-the-door room at the two-star hotel when he was in town for legislative business, employees told The Post. “He requested the same room all the time,” a groundskeeper told The Post. At one Rangers game, she sat next to Silver and allegedly got a little too frisky after downing several vodka tonics. “I was there when Hyer-Spencer grabbed his penis,” said a source who attended the game. “She got drunk and started grabbing and touching him, then put her legs on him and tried to kiss him. He made another Assembly member switch seats with her.” Silver allegedly even got his gal pal a job. Cynthia Woodside, a laid-off state Education Department lobbyist whose job was taken by Hyer-Spencer, told The Post on Monday that she faced hardships after losing the position. “I was out of work for nearly two years before I found another job at a much lower salary,’’ she said by e-mail, though she stopped short of blaming Silver. Silver will be sentenced for trading political favors to enrich himself, but he balked Monday at having to fork over all of his suspected ill-gotten gains. The government is asking he be forced to forfeit “all of his crime proceeds,” which it put at $5.2 million, plus a $1 million fine. But in a one-page memo to Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni, his lawyers argued that “requiring Mr. Silver to forfeit the amount calculated ‘would defy the purpose and spirit of forfeiture law.’ ’* Ex-Assembly Speaker Silver could be facing prison time (NYDN)*  
Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be sentenced today in a corruption case that brought to light his extramarital affairs with two women – a former staffer-turned-lobbyist and a former assemblywoman – details of which are still emerging.

Silver 5 Months After Being Convicted Still Driving Around With Govt Parking Placard That Allows Him to Park Anywhere 
Sheldon Silver still enjoying politician perks (NYP) Five months after he was expelled from the Assembly for his corruption conviction, Sheldon Silver is still driving a car with government parking placards. A permit indicating that “this vehicle is on official business” was displayed in the windshield of a Toyota Camry seen parked near the ex-speaker’s Grand Street home in February. Silver was spotted getting into the car Friday, but dashed back into his co-op building when a photographer tried to snap a picture. Such state placards allow their holders to park just about anywhere for free. Silver’s longtime chief of staff, Judith Rapfogel, has the same Assembly permit in her Toyota Avalon. It was seen displayed in the windshield on April 9. On Friday, it was there again, but turned over. The car had a ticket on it. Rapfogel left the Assembly in January. A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said that Heastie was “unaware” Silver and Rapfogel still had parking placards and that he would ask for them back. 

The Lobbyist Who Silver Was Sleeping With Business Fell Apart After Silver's Arrest  
Meet the women who allegedly slept with Sheldon Silver (NYP) One, Janele Hyer-Spencer, is a motorcycle-riding former beauty queen who’d blast around Albany in a Yamaha V-Star motorcycle and who allegedly got two state jobs through Sheldon Silver’s influence. The other, once-powerful lobbyist Patricia Lynch, was caught on tape by the feds huffing to the then-Assembly speaker that since one of his aides was rude to her, she’d only deal directly with him. Lynch served for six years as Silver’s communications director before starting her own two-person PR firm in 2001 that quickly grew into one of the largest lobbyists in the state — thanks to her Silver connections. Her extraordinary access to Silver — then one of the three most powerful politicians in the state — won her an enviable client list that included MadisonSquare Garden. Silver killed the West Side Stadium that MSG opposed during the Bloomberg administration.  When Silver got in trouble, Lynch’s business took a nose-dive and she sold it in August 2015 to MWW, a giant PR and lobbying firm. In 2010, Silver helped Hyer-Spencer get an $84,000 job with the state Education Department, sources have told The Post. * TARNISHED SILVER: Shocked neighbor describes former Assembly speaker's mistress as 'quiet,' while an Albany source calls her 'insufferable' and pushy (NYDN)

Judge Caproni Silver's Sex and Corruption Matter in Sentencing 
Sheldon Silver’s alleged affairs could lead to stiffer sentence (NYP) Revelations of Sheldon Silver’s alleged affairs with two women for whom he did favors while in office could earn him a stiffer prison sentence, a prominent defense attorney told The Post. Jeremy Saland, a former Manhattan prosecutor, said Silver’s relationships with former Staten Island Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer and lobbyist Patricia Lynch are relevant to determining punishment on May 3. “It can be relevant in this context in federal sentencing when this theory of a conflict of interest and his own personal gain supersedes that of his constituency, taxpayers and the residents of New York state,” Saland said. If true, the affair allegations “in no way trump what he’s convicted of, which, by itself, is significant behavior.”

Cheating Sheldon Silver even took corruption to bed (NYP Ed) For Sheldon Silver, it turns out, being the de facto king of Albany wasn’t just about pay-for-play, it was also play-with-pay. Silver’s lawyers dismissed the whole thing as “salacious allegations.” But Manhattan Federal Court Judge Valerie Caproni rightly noted the document contains “a piece of the crimes of his misuse of private office.” The material, she said, is “relevant” to the sentence she’ll impose next month on Silver for corruptly using his office in two kickback schemes that netted him millions. That he carried on with someone while “she lobbied him on behalf of clients who had business before the state” is highly revealing of Silver’s “integrity, ethics, honesty and truthfulness,” Bharara charges.* YOUR CHEATIN' HEART: Disgraced Sheldon Silver was unfaithful with at least two women, including lobbyist Patricia Lynch and Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer (NYDN)  * Sheldon Silver’saffairs of state: Sordid new details reveal just how corrupt the Assemblyspeaker was (NYDN) Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial already proved that the former Assembly speaker was in bed with lobbyists. Documents unsealed Friday showed that that was true literally as well as figuratively. With another politician, affairs might be fodder for gossip columns; here, they depressingly cement the legacy of a man who twisted every lever of government to serve himself. And Silver’s minions, many of whom surely knew how corrupt and sordid these arrangements were, went along with the man to whom they ceded their power and dignity. Lynch was Silver’s press secretary for years. After leaving the public payroll in 2001, she founded Patricia Lynch & Associates, which soon soared into the upper echelon of state lobbying firms. Which means Silver helped her build a fortune based on dealings in the dark. Prosecutors claimed the filings were “relevant not only to the defendant’s moral character, but to the use of his official position for private benefit.” Which is why Judge Valerie Caproni must give Silver the stiffest sentence possible. Let him try to win friends and influence people in prison.* Sheldon Silver cheated with lobbyist, ex-assemblywoman (NYDN) * Sheldon Silver and the lawyers of New York | The New Yorker * Silver’s mistress loved alluding to relationship with ‘Shelly’ (NYP)

Silver Trial Secret Evidence May Soon Be Unsealed by the Judge  
Judge Plans to Unseal Secret Papers in Sheldon Silver’sCase(NYT) From the tidbits of information gleaned at a hearing on Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, it appeared that prosecutors had argued last fall — in a closed hearing and in sealed court papers — to be able to use certain evidence against Mr. Silver at trial. His lawyers appear to have vigorously objected and the matter ultimately did not surface at trial. Federal prosecutors showed at trial that he had obtained nearly $4 million in illicit fees in return for taking official actions that benefited a Columbia University cancer researcher and two real estate developers in New York. The judge, Valerie E. Caproni, had indicated that she would revisit the issue of the secret information after the trial was over, and more recently asked the parties to file motions on the issue. The sealed materials appear to include documents and a transcript of a pretrial hearing that was held on the issue. In court on Thursday, Judge Caproni first held a public session limited to legal arguments, and indicated she favored the release of the materials, with redactions to protect the identities of people who are mentioned in the documents but are not parties to the case.

Silver Still Gets His Pension As His Top Aide Finally Loses Her Job 
 Sheldon Silver’s former top aide is out of her $180,000-a-year taxpayer funded job( NYDN) A former top aide to disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is out of her $180,000-a-year taxpayer funded job, the Daily News has learned. Judy Rapfogel left the payroll as of Jan. 13, officials said. A Silver employee since 1976, it was not clear Sunday whether she put in papers for a pension some say may hit six figures. The state’s Constitution must be amended so that state politicians convicted of corruption, like Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, can’t continue to receive state pensions, Assemblyman David Buchwald writes in the Times:* Assemblyman David Bouchwald OpEds about the need for a pension forfeiture measure to be passed in the Legislature after a deal on the issue was supposedly done last year. * Skeloses ask judge to toss out corruption convictions (NYP)* Attorneys for Sheldon Silver, the convicted former New York state Assembly speaker, filed motions for acquittal and for a new trial, saying the government failed to prove certain charges and, alternately, that “no rational juror could find the charges proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”*  Convicted of Corruption, but Still Getting a Pension (NYT) *   Dean Skelos and His Son, Convicted on Corruption Charges, Seek New Trial(NYT) * Convicted of Corruption, but Still Getting a Pension (NYT)Shouldn’t Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos have to give up their perks after being convicted of corruption?

The NYT Says Silver Has Always Been A Supporter of NYC, Forgot How He Killed the Commuter Tax
The Times tried to cut Silver a break, writing that he had always been a major supporter of new York city.
Not always... in 1999, silver and joe bruno (indicted but beat the rap on a technicality) Dean Skelos (under indictment) and Pataki conspired to eliminate the commuter tax because both parties were contesting a legislative seat in RocklandCountyThat decision has cost New York city more than $5 billion.  Rudy slammed the bill and GOP senator Roy Goodman said it was the most foolish decision he had ever seen.  By the way, the tax for the mainly white commuters was about a buck a day.-Jim Callaghan * Commuter tax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NYP Editorial Editor Threaten By Silver After 1999 Story Against Repeal of the Commuter Tax 

 The theory behind the tax was and is sound: These commuters made extensive use of the city’s public conveyances and systems, not to mention the protection of the NYPD and the FDNY, as they spent 250 working days within its borders and should help pay for their upkeep. That said, any politician philosophically opposed to such taxation would also have had a sound case opposing it on the grounds that it was, in effect, a user tax no other New York state resident had to pay (not to mention commuters from New Jersey and Connecticut, who had also been subject to it). But this was not why Silver suddenly pushed through an end to the commuter tax in May 1999. He did so because he was trying to secure victory for a Democrat in a special election in Rockland County, 60 miles north of the city. The election wasn’t even for the state Assembly. It was for a seat in the state Senate, then in the hands of the GOP, and which Silver was hoping to tilt to the Democratic Party. I was then the editor of this paper’s editorial page, and we called him out on it. We suggested his action made him ripe for a primary challenge in the next election since a rival could make the irrefutable case that Silver’s gameplaying had been directly and personally injurious to every single voter in his district. The day the editorial ran, Silver called The Post in a quiet rage and spoke to one of my superiors. Sixteen years later, here’s what I remember being told: Silver said we had done something very unfriendly, that this was not the sort of thing he liked to see or could take lying down. Such unfriendliness was the sort of thing that could lead him to make life uncomfortable for us personally. And me personally. His effort at intimidation had no effect. I stepped down from the editorial page at the end of the year, and my successor, Bob McManus, had no compunction whatsoever throughout his 15-year tenure about hitting Silver hard for his contemptible conduct as a public official. Bob is still writing tough pieces about Silver; did so in this paper yesterday, in fact. And here’s mine.

The Political Culture of Albany is Guilty . . .  Where Have All the Reform Gone . . .
Lost Reformers Who Empowered Silver Just As Guilty As Their Dear Leader

Sheldon Silver’saccomplices: What the former speaker's guilty verdict reveals about the cultureof New York's Capitol (NYDN) U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, his assistants and the FBI did a high service in revealing which species of crimes Silver was committing — at a time when everyone in Albany knew to a moral certainty that the speaker was betraying the public trust and rigging the game to hide his predations. Still, justice is incomplete. There is sadness in that the letters of the law prohibit naming virtually the entire Assembly Democratic caucus as co-conspirators to Silver’s corruption. They enabled him by vesting Silver with their proxies to do essentially whatever he wanted when the Legislature was in session. Assembly members didn’t have to work. They didn’t have to think. They only had to do as they were told in the name of their caucus, including faithfully voting on bills they had never read. Under Silver’s leadership, the Legislature was rated America’s worst. His trial contained few new revelations, because Bharara had spelled out the case in detail in the criminal complaint in January. Now, look back and remember how Silver’s Democratic colleagues struggled to keep him as leader after reading the document.SHED NO TEARS FORSHELDON SILVER, OR THOSE IN ALBANY WHO TURNED A BLIND EYE For the various elected officials and others who have expressed sadness for Silver, there is perhaps a misconception that corruption is a victimless crime, or at least one in which the victim is an abstraction. Whereas Lopez may have violated the women who worked for him, Silver simply violated the “public trust." Silver’s crimes were only possible because his colleagues in the Assembly, and the two other “men in the room,” accepted it as politics as usual. These enablers had to be comfortable with Silver’s defense that corruption is “conduct which is normal, conduct which allows government to function.” Or what U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has deemed a “culture of corruption.” But on Tuesday, Cuomo contradicted himself by suggesting that the same ethics laws he had no problem taking credit for would not deter a public official with corrupt intentions. “I don’t care how strong the law is,” he said. “If a person is going to break the law, a person is going to break the law.” If that’s so, then why wouldn’t Cuomo let the Moreland Commission, which he convened to “investigate and prosecute wrongdoing,” continue its work? In a feat of Cuomoian logic he countered, “The Moreland Commission was not an investigative, prosecutorial, commission.”

Not One of the Assemblywoman or Anyone Spoke Up Against the Silver Lopez Hush Fund

Two former Assembly staffers who claimed former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver didn’t take their sexual harassment claims seriously enough said they finally feel justice has been served, 
Even after Bharara persuasively declared in the complaint that the charges “go to the very core of what ails Albany,” including a “lack of transparency, lack of accountability and lack of principle, joined with an overabundance of greed, cronyism and self-dealing,” it took a public outcry to force Silver’s ouster after almost a week. Manhattan underboss Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who has spent four conscience-withering decades in the Assembly, went so far as to describe Silver as a hero. Consigliere Assemblywoman Deborah Glick proclaimed that Silver has been “upholding Democratic principles in this state.” Better for them, Silver rewarded members who knelt to him with money for their districts. That became the yardstick for success, not the drafting or passage of important legislation. As long as they got their funds, they were happy to have Silver as dictator. Even as he protected sex-harasser Vito Lopez and covered up ethics investigations. Even as he created a pot of secret funding for clandestine disbursement, money that was used in his bribery plot. Even as he rigged creation of a state ethics commission to prevent the panel from examining his personal dealings. Even as he refused to explain why a law firm was paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars a year — money that turned out to be part of his bribery plot. Because Silver knew better than to directly extort money, he separated his actions and his payoffs and then offered the wildly unsuccessful defense that he had simply engaged in politics the New York way and so had committed no crimes. 

Yes, indeed, Silver had done business the New York way. Yes, indeed, he had exploited a system he created, a system blessed and defended by Gottfried and Glick, and by Silver’s successor as speaker, Carl Heastie, and by every other pliant member of the Assembly. They enabled him. They aided and abetted him. And, they, too, are guilty.* Silver leaves a complicated legacy marked by his liberal priorities and a talent for legislating but also suspicions in Albany that he suppressed potential scandals, such as sexual harassment allegations,  * The whole political culture of Albany is guilty in the Silver case, Newsday writes, as the Legislature refuses to take steps like banning outside income, trying public campaign financing and entertaining term limits:the Journal reports: 

Silver Gets His Pension
Silver may be headed to prison, but he will still collect a hefty state pension. The former assemblyman is enrolled in the most generous pension tier system, and should collect $90,750 a year – more than most New Yorkers make in the private sector.*'He abused public trust, but he expects the public to continue to pay him': The decision to allow Sheldon Silver to get state pension enrages pols (NYDN)

Silver Staff Going Going Gone
Silver’s eight remaining staffers — including Chief of Staff Judith Rapfogel — have been given  their six-week notices, officials said.*Ex-staffers see justice in Sheldon Silver's conviction

The Election Law Which Silver Made Allows Him to Use His Campaign Finances to Pay Legal Fees
Will Bharara Takes His Pension Away 90,000?
Silver allowed to use campaign finances to pay legal fees (NYP) There’s one bank account that Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara can’t get his asset-freezing fingers on as he plans a likely multimillion-dollar restitution order against Sheldon Silverthe pol’s campaign war chest, which Silver can continue to use to pay legal fees. Records show that the former Assembly speaker spent $1.5 million from his campaign account on lawyers in January and February and had $1.7 million left as of July. Crusaders for campaign reform say it’s galling that state election law allows even a convicted politician to use campaign cash to try to beat p * The A-Team of federal prosecutors puts away crooked polShelly Silver (NYDN Ed) * BARRETT: SILVER’S CAREER A TAPESTRY OF CORRUPTION   (City and State) Party Leaders Pick? If Cuomo calls a special election on April 19 to fill the lower Manhattan seat vacated by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver after 40 years, party leaders – not voters – will decide who gets to run.* Records show that the former Assembly speaker spent $1.5 million from his campaign account on lawyers in January and February and had $1.7 million left as of July. There is nothing to prevent him from using the rest of that political cash for his legal fees.* Sheldon Silver files for his pension  * After losing his seat when he was convicted of seven federalfelonies, #SheldonSilver has filed for his pension *Dem Leader @AndreaSCousins: Push for Reform in Albany Like ‘Groundhog Day’—Even Post-#SheldonSilver *BDB USES RE INSIDERS TO SELL RE-FRIENDLY HOUSING PLANS,SURPRISED BY REJECTION (ethicsaintpretty)* * Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was forced from office after being found guilty on federal corruption charges, filed his retirement papers one day after the verdict was reached by a jury, State of Politics reports: * Sheldon Silver seeks his pension but federal prosecutors mayseek to have it forfeited. (NYT) * Sheldon Silver, Found Guilty, Moves to Collect State Pension (NYT)* Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silvefiled for his pension one day after a jury found him guilty on seven counts of corruption. After 44 years of government service, he is eligible to collect about $90,000 a year despite his conviction.

The NYT Is Still Arguing Silver Lawyers Case Daily 
Silver’s central argument for an appeal of his conviction seems likely to be that the government failed to prove a quid-pro-quo relationship existed between Silver and others who prosecutors said benefited from official actions he took on their behalf, The New York Times reports:  * When they appeal his conviction on seven federal corruption charges, Silver’s attorneys are    likely to argue that the government failed to prove that a quid-pro-quo relationship existed between the former assemblyman and others who prosecutors said benefited from official actions he took on their behalf.
 Wednesday The Questionable Ways of Albany,Exposed at Sheldon Silver’s Trial    (NYT)  The former speaker did not disclose Goldberg & Iryami on his annual disclosure form. Rather, for years he disclosed the income he received from another firm that he was associated with, Weitz & Luxenberg, and often added “law practice — fees,” or some variation of that. Mr. Silver’s lawyers argued that their client’s use of the words “law practice” made his disclosure forms accurate because Goldberg & Iryami had made its payments to Mr. Silver through his law practice account. Lisa Reid, the executive director and counsel for the Legislative Ethics Commission of New York, an agency that reviewed Mr. Silver’s annual disclosure forms, seemed to agree in her testimony. “Presuming that the income is coming from your clients and it is going into the law practice, yes, you would only need to list the income as coming from your law practice, correct,” Ms. Reid testified. Mr. Silver’s lawyers argued that their client’s use of the words “law practice” made his disclosure forms accurate because Goldberg & Iryami had made its payments to Mr. Silver through his law practice account. Lisa Reid, the executive director and counsel for the Legislative Ethics Commission of New York, an agency that reviewed Mr. Silver’s annual disclosure forms, seemed to agree in her testimony. “Presuming that the income is coming from your clients and it is going into the law practice, yes, you would only need to list the income as coming from your law practice, correct,” Ms. Reid testified. * During the one-month trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Silver’s political career was not the only thing to fall apart. So, too, did the curtain around how many things in Albany really get done.*Silver and his defense team will face an uphill battle inhis appeal, as legal experts who spoke with Politico New York say that the prosecution and the judge were on solid ground in their handling of the case: *Successful appeal unlikely for #SheldonSilver, experts say:

NYT Dreams Of A Silver Return to Albany At 125 Years Old?
But Says Nothing About the Effects On Albany of the Corruption Exposed At Silver's Trial
Colleagues Ponder Sheldon Silver’s Role in Albanyif He Is Acquitted (NYT) If Mr. Silver were to be acquitted, however, he could return to Albany for the 2016 legislative session, which begins in January. But few, if any, of his fellow Democrats believe that he could retake the position he ceded to Carl E. Heastie, a Bronx Democrat who was elected speaker in February* Another longtime member of the Assembly said a vindicated Mr. Silver — who remained active in the Assembly after his arrest and indictment — would be a force in the chamber because of his knowledge of the intricacies of state government. “No one knew more about the ins and outs than Shelly — no one’s even close,” the member said. “I have no doubt if he comes back, he will be very outspoken.”

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