What’s the Matter With New York? Political Scandal in the Empire State

March 3, 2010: New York Governor David Paterson faces charges that he broke state law by soliciting and receiving free tickets to the opening game of the 2009 World Series last year, and then lying about it. The allegations follow revelations that Paterson may have thrown his weight around to help an aide accused of domestic abuse. But it doesn’t end there: Paterson is also being investigated in connection to a contract to transform a Queens horse track into a “racino” that may have been improperly awarded.

Paterson’s legal troubles are just the tip of New York corruption iceberg…


February 26, 2010: A House ethics panel report concludes that Rep. Charles Rangel’s (D-NY) staff knew two Caribbean junkets were paid for by corporations, a violation of House rules. Though Rangel argues in a presser that “members of Congress should not be held responsible for what could be the wrongdoing or mistakes or errors of staff,” the panel also finds that he was “responsible for the knowledge and actions of his staff in the performance of their official duties.”


February 26, 2010: Former Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY) receives for drunk driving a 30-day prison sentence, a court-ordered alcohol monitoring device, some community service and a fine to boot. Sweeney, a former Republican state congressman, was pulled over in April for going 59 mph in a 40-mph zone and refused to take a Breathalyzer test.This isn’t the first time Sweeney’s been caught inappropriately hitting the hooch. In April 2006, Sweeney was photographed boozing it up at a local fraternity party (pictured here).

February 18, 2010: Bernard Kerik, former New York Police Commissioner, is sentenced to four years in prison for lying during his vetting to be Secretary of Homeland Security, and for tax fraud charges arising in part from renovations on his apartment paid for by a company looking for a city license. Kerik was once, notably, well tied to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (also pictured), serving as his personal bodyguard and eventually winning a few posts in Giuliani’s mayoral administration. Rudy was also supportive of Kerik’s Homeland Security nomination.


February 9, 2010: Larry Seabrook, a New York City Councilman from the Bronx, is indicted under 13 counts of corruption for allegedly seeking to launder bribe money associated with a 2006 boiler contract at the new Yankee Stadium. To get the money into his own account, Seabrook apparently, among other things, sought $177 in reimbursement for a soda and bagel sandwich he bought for $7 outside New York’s city hall.

Newscom/ZumaWire/cc: stu_spivack

December 29, 2009: Reports surface that Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) enjoyed a tight bond with none other than convicted Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford. Apparently, Stanford asked Meeks to deliver a message to Hugo Chavez on his behalf, requesting that the Venezuelan president open a criminal investigation into a former Stanford employee. According to some sources, Meeks agreed.


December 7, 2009: Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R) is convicted on two counts of wire fraud. Bruno was charged with using his office to make money from payments for non-existent consultant work.

Newscom/Richard B. Levine

March 23, 2009: Democratic New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate is indicted on six counts of domestic abuse, including second-degree felony assault and third-degree misdemeanor assault. The police report alleges that Monserrate cut his girlfriend’s face because he thought she was having an affair with a police officer. Amid the allegations, Monserrate takes his seat at the Senate anyway, and soon jumps ship and becomes a Republican. He doesn’t last long as a GOPer either: Monserrate is expelled from the State Senate in February, 2010.


March 10, 2008: It’s revealed that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is among those caught soliciting high-priced prostitutes. Apparently, an investigation found that Spitzer was “Client 9” on a wiretapped telephone call to a prostitute, a revelation that eventually leads to Spitzer’s resignation.


Fall 2007: Allegations emerge that while serving as New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani used taxpayer money to chauffeur his then-mistress around to meet him for trysts. Complete coverage of Giuliani’s “shag mobile,” and an assortment of his other shady dealings, can be found at TPMmuckraker.


December 22, 2006: State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi steps down from his post and pleads guilty to a felony charge for using state employees as aides to his wife. Hevesi had struck a deal with prosecutors to pay a $5000 fine in exchange for a plea, thus avoiding any prison time.