Sep 26 2012

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The NY Times knows what we figured out

Everyone is running for the hills as Lipsky sings to the feds.

From the New York Times: — The halls of the New York State Capitol have for years provided a happy hunting ground for prosecutors and ethics investigators.

Over the last six years, 27 elected officials in Albany have been indicted, convicted, censured, or otherwise accused of misconduct, according to a running tally maintained by the New York Public Interest Research Group. The allegations have been diverse; they include a senator attacking a photographer and an assemblyman having an affair with an intern.

Now, it seems probable that the list will grow: Richard J. Lipsky, a well-known city and state lobbyist convicted of bribing former State Senator Carl Kruger, has been secretly cooperating with the federal authorities, suggesting that other elected officials could soon find themselves in trouble with the law.

“I thought, ‘Who did Lipsky turn on?’ ” said State Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat who has pushed to improve ethics rules in Albany. She added, “I bet many people in elected office and in the lobbying world said to themselves, ‘I wonder if it’s X.’ ”


At the City Council, two members have run afoul of the law in recent years after city and federal investigations into the Council’s corruption-plagued and long-opaque process of doling out discretionary funds. One, Miguel Martinez, is serving a five-year prison term for absconding with $106,000, some of which was intended for nonprofit groups. Another, Larry B. Seabrook, was convicted in July of nine counts of fraud for orchestrating a corruption scheme to channel hundreds of thousands of dollars in city money to his relatives and friends.

“A lot of members who started with me are no longer here because they are being housed elsewhere,”

City Councilwoman Letitia James of Brooklyn observed Tuesday. She would not be surprised, she said, if Mr. Lipsky tried to reveal “some sordid and/or illegal relationships,” given his extensive dealings with the City Council and the number of big projects the Council has debated.

“A lot of people are bracing themselves for what tomorrow holds,” Ms. James said. “I just hope it’s not any of my colleagues.”

In recent years there has been a steady stream of candidates running for office on a platform of removing the taint of corruption from politics in New York City and in Albany, including the governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat. But the list of allegations of wrongdoing has continued to grow.

“There’s too much of an incestuous relationship between lobbyists, elected officials and donors,” said State Senator Tony Avella, a first-term Democrat from Queens who previously served on the City Council. Assessing the extent to which lawmakers had cleaned up Albany, Mr. Avella said, “We haven’t even made a dent.”

None of the elected officials interviewed said they would be surprised to see colleagues charged.

“Unfortunately,” said City Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn, “that’s the track record.”

Around City Hall on Tuesday, there was no shortage of speculation among officials and lobbyists as to whom Mr. Lipsky might incriminate. Much of the talk focused on the officials who represent parts of the city like the South Bronx, Downtown Brooklyn and central Queens, where Mr. Lipsky was actively involved in land-use debates, particularly in efforts to derail development projects.


Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/09/the-ny-times-knows-what-we-figured-out-parkside-lipsky/

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