Architect of New York Gun Control Found Guilty on Corruption Charges

New York state Sen. Dean Skelos, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver in January, before the governor’s State of the State address and executive budget proposal in Albany. (Photo: Mike Groll/Associated Press)

New York state Sen. Dean Skelos, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver in January, before the governor’s State of the State address and executive budget proposal in Albany. (Photo: Mike Groll/Associated Press)

(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Mike Doran)

New York’s former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the architects of New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act, was found guilty Monday on seven federal corruption counts, reports local media.

Silver, one of New York’s longest serving speakers, was convicted of profiting $4 million from kickbacks and bribes in several schemes involving back door real estate deals and cancer patients.

“Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Silver, according to prosecutors, would give state grants totaling $500,000 to a cancer researcher, Robert Taub, who would then send his asbestos-exposed patients to Weitz & Luxenberg, a personal-injury law firm that would pay Silver from the settlements.

In another scheme, Silver directed real-estate developers to do business with another law firm, Goldberg & Iryami. The Speaker would then support legislation in the developer’s favor and disguise the hefty payments as legal work he had done on the side.

What a model citizen, right?

Silver was found guilty of two counts a piece for mail fraud, wire fraud and extortion, and a single money-laundering charge. All are felonies and the former speaker could face up to 30 years in prison.

The Speaker stepped down from his position in January but stayed on as a legislator. However, the conviction means he cannot hold office, and after a 38-year tenure all traces of his presence at the capitol were removed.

As one of Albany’s infamous “three men in a room,” where the governor, Assembly speaker, and Senate president decide the state’s policies privately, Silver wielded tremendous power over the legislative process, and used this power to quickly pass bills like the SAFE Act by working in conjunction with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Leader Dean Skelos.

The SAFE Act was rushed through as an emergency bill in the middle of the night after the events at Sandy Hook. The highly criticized political move bypassed the state’s three-day waiting period on legislation to rush through severe limits on magazine capacity and the purchasing of ammunition, as well as requiring all so-called “assault weapons” to be registered with the state.

But wait; wouldn’t you like to know who else is in hot water?

Dean Skelos, the former Senate Leader, is on trial for corruption. He was allegedly using his position and influence to help his son Adam get lucrative jobs. The New York Post reports that while the evidence against Silver was strong enough to convict, the evidence against Skelos is “brutal;” including wiretaps where Adam brags after Silver’s arrest: “There’s no heat on us … that is a story that was put out by the governor.”

Speaking of the governor, Cuomo has been quick to distance himself from the controversy surrounding Silver.

“Today, justice was served,” said Cuomo in the statement after the verdict was delivered. “Corruption was discovered, investigated, and prosecuted, and the jury has spoken. With the allegations proven, it is time for the Legislature to take seriously the need for reform. There will be zero tolerance for the violation of the public trust in New York.”

However, while Cuomo may harp about ethics reform, the governor may be next in line to face trial on corruption charges.

The New York Post also reports that Anthony Bonomo, one of Cuomo’s top contributors and whom Cuomo made the chairman of the New York Racing Association, was the one who gave Skelos’ son the cushy job.

“Bonomo is Cuomo’s guy, and he wouldn’t offer anything to Skelos’ kid without first making sure it was OK with the governor or his people,’’ the Post quotes a senior state Democrat.

“This is a drip by drip that’s getting closer and closer to Cuomo, with Bonomo and Dorego providing prosecutors with an inside look at how the corrupt Albany system works,’’ the Post quotes another senior state political figure.

One corrupt official down, two to go.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • alex December 13, 2015, 10:06 pm

    another slimy,scummy thing that got pulled out into the light,he should be executed!!!!!

  • Michael December 6, 2015, 10:55 am

    The New York S.A.F.E. Act has been a dismal failure. The New York State Police estimate there are over a million “assault weapons” in New York state; however, the latest “registration” figures indicate less than 24,000 “assault weapons” have been registered in that state. Maybe the citizens of that state should now consider having their elected “representatives” repeal that unAmerican legislation.

  • hey December 5, 2015, 12:24 pm

    The idiots of New York voted him in just like Obama. Is it any wonder New York, Chicago, and LA are gangster/drug kartel paradises much like the rest of the United States is becoming under this law administration as law enforcement are scrutinized for taking self defense behind a firearm by Obama, which makes them want to be non productive as the local judicial systems keep letting the scum bags on the streets to influence the next generation. This country is becoming a circus show compared to the rest of the civilized world.

  • BGD December 4, 2015, 4:47 pm

    Just put signs on the doors to the state capital that say NO CORRUPT POLITICIANS. That’ll stop em.

    • Kalashnikov Dude December 6, 2015, 10:04 am

      You mean right under the no firearms signs? We need to put up some signs saying “No Terrorists” as well. Wish they’d thought of that in San Bernadino……

  • Kivaari December 4, 2015, 12:16 pm

    Shocking, a corrupt New York democrat. Just shocking. Just how do politicians and police commissioners hold office with modest salaries and leave office multi-millionaires? The SAFE act, is probably not effected by money issues, just the grand desire to lord power over the little people. These NY slime are so much smarter than everyone else. So naturally they want to keep us weak and defenseless. Just like California denies the people the right to self defense. It is a core belief of liberals that only they are competent to have those rights.

  • Wayne A Lincourt December 4, 2015, 11:50 am

    Oliver, you might change that sticker to read “I hate NY City.” The people of most of the other 98% of the state feel the same way you do. Unfortunately, NY City has enough votes to swing the state.

  • Jack December 4, 2015, 11:46 am

    Use to live in NY, moved to Florida, All Good Now..

  • RAPTOR555 December 4, 2015, 10:52 am

    The NY democratic sheeple voters deserve these crooks. They keep voting for politicians that act contrary to their well-being and then wonder why their lot in life keeps getting worse while the politicians get richer and richer. Stupid, stupid people.

  • Oliver Klozzoff December 4, 2015, 9:55 am

    The Peoples’ Republic of New York needs to be taken down, including the corrupt Skelos and Andrew “Il Duce” Cuomo. When the Moreland Commission that was investigating government corruption in Albany was getting too close to uncovering all of Cuomo’s misdeeds in office, he quickly ordered the Commission disbanded! How’s that for corruption? These bastards are why you can no longer buy an AR-15 in New York, nor can you bring one into the state. Thanks to the unSAFE Act passed in the middle of the night by these corruptocrats. New bumper stickers: I HATE NY.

    • Larry December 4, 2015, 11:36 am

      The corrupt New York state & city governments can be taken down with just one small change in voting habits. No one with a brain should ever vote for another person with a “D” behind their name.

  • William the Bruce December 4, 2015, 7:54 am

    What a lying worthless cocksucker

    • Jack December 4, 2015, 11:51 am

      And BO is notoriously gay also!

  • William the Bruce December 4, 2015, 7:53 am

    What a lying worthless cocksucker

  • angel December 4, 2015, 7:16 am

    WILL ROGERS was right, we do have some of the best politicians money can buy, the same one’s that want to rule the way WE live….

  • John December 4, 2015, 6:41 am

    It would be nice if people like him who are convicted of felonies in office directly related to their position held could have their votes negated on any legislation they pass during their tenure.

    • Methadras December 4, 2015, 1:57 pm

      No, the laws they authored should be null and void along with votes for any legislation. They should all be rendered extinct and expunged from the law books.

      • Al December 6, 2015, 12:49 pm

        “Void ab inicio” is the legal term: It applies to ANY law that is unconstitutional – null and void as if never enacted. These are organized criminals who have placed themselves above the law. Good for thee but not ME.

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