Tag Archive: Sheldon Silver


Congratulations, New York, You’re #1 In Corruption

 

 

 

 

 

” Other states have plenty of corruption, but it’s hard to beat New York when it comes to sheer volume. The indictment Monday of Dean Skelos, the state Senate majority leader, and his son Adam came just three months after charges were brought against Sheldon Silver, then the Assembly Speaker. Having the top leaders in both chambers face indictment in the same session is an unparalleled achievement, but Skelos is now the fifth straight Senate majority leader in Albany to face indictment.

  New York doesn’t so much have a culture of corruption as an entire festival. So far, Senate Republicans are standing by Skelos, but if they decide to make a change, they probably won’t turn to Thomas Libous, the chamber’s Number Two leader. He faces trial this summer on charges of lying to the FBI, while his son faces sentencing later this month on similar charges. All told, more than two dozen members of the New York state legislature have been indicted or resigned in disgrace over the past five years. “Albany for a long time has had a culture of self-interest, where private gains are woven in with public policy,” says Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause in New York.

  Clusters of corruption and even convictions are not unique to New York. Silver was one of four state House Speakers to face indictment over the past year (Alabama, Rhode Island and South Carolina are home to the others). In Massachusetts, three Speakers prior to current incumbent Robert DeLeo all resigned and pleaded guilty to criminal charges. When Dan Walker died last week, it was hard for obituary writers not to note that he was one of four Illinois governors over the past five decades who ended up in prison. “While I’m a proud New Yorker and want my state to be ahead in everything, I’m not sure we’re ahead on corruption,” says Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at Columbia University.

  Richman is kidding, but he makes a serious point. Give any U.S. attorney a year and 10 FBI agents and he or she can probably come back from the state capital with a passel of indictments. Having said all that, however, the waters in Albany have long been heavily stocked with potentially big fish. Remember in the movie Lincoln, when the president decides he has to resort to low dealings to get the anti-slavery amendment through Congress? The characters he relies on to do the trick come from Albany.”

 

Politico has the details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former N.Y. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Indicted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday in a case against him by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office.

  Mr. Silver, a Democrat, was accused by federal prosecutors in a 35-page complaint unsealed in January of using his political power to amass a “tremendous personal fortune” through kickbacks from real-estate developers and referrals to a personal-injury law firm. “

 

More on “Smelly Shelley’s” fall from grace at the Wall Street Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Law Firm At Center Of Silver Scandal Donated Huge Sums To Dems

 

 

Weitz & Luxenberg Federal Donations 2011-2012 (influenceexplorer.com)

 

” The plaintiffs law firm Weitz and Luxenberg, which employed Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is said to have provided Mr. Silver with $5.3 million in referral fees, despite his having “never performed any legal work whatsoever,” according to the prosecutors.

  If millions of cash for no work sounds like a generous arrangement, it’s not the first time the firm has shown its generosity. According to the Observer’s research, over the last two cycles, members of the law firm has given at least $600,000 to federal candidates, with over 99% of that going to Democrats. The top three recipients in 2013-2014 included Harry Reid ($44,400), Bruce Braley ($39,675) and Kay Hagan ($10,050); in 2011-2012, the top three were Barack Obama ($29,421), Heidi Heitkamp ($22,400) and Mazie Hirono ($22,400). The top ten recipients in both cycles were all Democrats.

  But even these amounts, capped by federal law, pale next to the dollars showered upon candidates for office in New York State. And although no wrongdoing has thus far been attributed to the law firm, it’s at least worth noting that two of the biggest recipients were both involved with the Moreland Commission, which was mysteriously and abruptly disbanded by the governor in March 2014 after less than a year on task of probing public corruption.”

 

New York Observer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver’s Law Firm Rakes In Millions From Judges He Controls

 

 

 

 

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.”

The firm told investigators it hired Silver, who has no experience in asbestos cases, in 2002, because it hoped to “increase the firm’s prestige and perceived power,” according to last week’s federal indictment charging Silver raked in about $4 million in bribes and kickbacks.

  That perceived power has paid off, critics say.

  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 and putting pressure on defendants to settle.

  Another judge, Joan Madden, consolidated unrelated asbestos cases. Joining up to seven plaintiffs has resulted in huge increases in NYCAL jury verdicts — from an average of $7 million to $24 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014, data collected by Bates White Economic Consulting show.

  Last year, Weitz & Luxenberg won a record $190 million in a consolidated trial for five mesothelioma victims who worked in different jobs for different employers.

  Of 15 mesothelioma verdicts in the last four years, Silver’s firm won $273.5 million of $313.5 million awarded by NYCAL juries. Law firms usually take a third.

  The average award for a NYCAL asbestos case — nearly $16 million per plaintiff between 2010 and 2014 — is two to three times larger than those in other courts nationwide, Bates White reported last month at an asbestos law conference in New York.”

 

NY Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Faces Arrest On Corruption Charges

 

 

 

 

” 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 anticorruption commission he had created in 2013.

  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.”

     God bless Preet Bharara and the Federal prosecutor’s office . It looks like Gov Cuomo’s shutdown of the Moreland commission was not enough to save one of the Dem’s favorite sons . Heres hoping Silver finishes his days in an 8×8 cell . Wishful thinking , I know , but one can hope .

Read more at the NY Times

Since Cuomo Won’t Fight Corruption, U.S. Attorney Must

 

 

 

preet-bharara

 

 

” In a move that should send chills down the spine of every crooked pol in Albany, hard-charging Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has resolved to finish the work of the anti-corruption commission that Gov. Cuomo shuttered in an unsavory backroom deal with the Legislature.

  Happy hunting to Bharara, who must now do his darndest to salvage a sweeping Capitol fumigation that never should have been abandoned.

  Few people put elected thieves behind bars with the prowess of Bharara. It was, in fact, a flurry of indictments from his office early last year that helped prompt Cuomo to demand reform from the Legislature in the first place — and then to create the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, a supposedly independent investigative panel, when lawmakers refused.

  The panel, crucially, was charged not only with probing outright fraud, but with exposing the routine, corrosive abuses of public trust that are standard practice in Albany while not clearly outside blurry legal lines.

  But last week, before the panel could finish the job or issue a final report, Cuomo abruptly pulled the plug in exchange for a handful of ethics reforms. Significant as some of those measures were, it was far too high a price to pay.”

   It’s good to someone in NY willing to dig into the pervasive corruption that is Albany , even if Cuomo won’t . Godspeed Sir we are sure that you will achieve much success as the NY political class is a target rich environment , and if there is any NY pol that is deserving of intense scrutiny from an outside party it is Sheldon Silver … as the article says , “Happy Hunting”

” The commission had also subpoenaed records of lawmakers’ murky outside income, including upwards of $500,000 that Assembly boss Sheldon Silver collects from a personal injury firm, and at least $250,000 that Senate chief Dean Skelos is paid by a Long Island firm that also happens to lobby the Legislature. “

Continue reading

Woman Who Said She Was Raped In 2001 By Sheldon Silver Aide Critical Of Latest Scandal

 

 

” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is coming under increasing fire for leaving top aide Bill Collins on the payroll despite his mishandling of another sexual harassment complaint.

Among those joining the fray Thursday was Elizabeth Crothers, the former Assembly legislative aide who in 2001 accused Silver’s then-chief counsel Michael Boxley of raping her.

Crothers said Collins further victimized her in 2003 when he sent a letter threatening to smear her in the press if she continued to speak out after a second staffer accused Boxley of rape.

Now, Collins is in hot water for allegedly covering up allegations made four years ago against Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat, by a twenty-something woman who worked for him.

Aides to Silver, who vowed to make the Assembly a safer place for women, claim he acted swiftly by immediately referring the matter to the chamber’s Ethics Committee when he learned that Collins had failed to bring the Kellner matter to his attention four years ago. But he has offered no explanation for why Collins is still drawing his $145,000 salary.”

    Silver is a disgrace and it seems entirely likely that Mr Collins is offering himself up as a scapegoat to save Shelly “hushmoney” Silver’s career . A safer environment for women , indeed . 

 

  For more on the true nature of Shelly Silver’s respect for women and the law see these previous posts …

 

“And Therein Lies The Rot That Is Albany”

NY State Assembly Democrats Shamefully Muzzle Debate On Sexual Harassment

Shelly Silver Sued Over Sexual Harrassment Hush Money

More On Why Sheldon Silver Must Go

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver’s Gag Order

 

” Like commissars of an authoritarian state, Assembly Democrats shielded dear leader Sheldon Silver from criticism Thursday by shutting off any mention of his coverup in the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal.

Silver’s house took up floor debate on Gov. Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, a 10-part bill widely trumpeted as designed to stem the victimization of women in the workplace and guarantee their right to abortion.

Its provisions include expanding sexual harassment laws to cover all businesses, including those with fewer than four employees.

The many Democrats who voted yes while continuing to defend Silver’s conduct are guilty of blatant hypocrisy. They are demanding standards in the private sector that they refuse to impose on themselves — out of loyalty to, or fear of, their political taskmaster.”

 

The sleaze in Albany grows and grows . Reminds us again which party is conducting a war on women ?

 

 

 

 

 

UPSTATE EMPIRE STATE POLS WORK TO REPEAL CUOMO’S GUN LAW

 

 

 

” Opposition to New  York’s extreme gun control law the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act continues and elected officials are stepping forward to promote full repeal of the bill that was hastily, strong-armed into law.

“The Republican majority made this happen,” said Rep. David J. DiPietro (R.-East Aurora), a freshmen state assemblyman representing parts of Erie and Wyoming County in western New York.

Dean G. Skelos (R.-Rockville Centre) who is the majority leader of the New York State Senate is to blame, he said.  “He voted for the bill.  He allowed the bill to come to the floor.

The former Village of Aurora trustee and mayor said that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo brokered a deal with Skelos to enact the SAFE Act.  “They threatened Long Island Republicans that if they did not vote for the bill, $1 million would be donated to an opponent for their seat.”

Skelos and his Long Island delegation sold us out,” he said.

An overwhelming majority of Democrats in the state’s assembly will not pass a repeal bill, and the governor will not sign it, she said.  “Our hope is in the lawsuits pending and the courts determining the law unconstitutional.” “

 

    Long Island “Republicans” are nothing of the sort . They are all John McCain style republicans which is to say , no republican at all .

 

 

 

 

Activist Sues To Have Silver Repay State For Lopez Hush Money Out Of His Own Pocket

 

 

 

 

 

” The taxpayers want their money back, Shelly.

An Albany activist is suing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver over the $103,000 secret settlement he authorized to pay off two former female staffers who accused pervy ex- Assemblyman Vito Lopez of sexual harassment.

The Albany Supreme Court lawsuit argues that the settlement violated the state Constitution.

The prohibition regarding the use of public funds in aid of private undertakings is very clear,” said small-government activist Robert Schultz, with the We The People of New York group. “Mr. Silver has admitted he did not handle the matter [sex-harassment allegations] properly.”

 

 

OUTRAGE: Chloe Rivera (left) and Victoria Burhans are suing ex-Assemblyman Vito Lopez, while Speaker Sheldon Silver is being sued for authorizing hush money.

 

 

A lawsuit we can support one hundred percent 

 

The money belongs to the taxpayers of this state and had no business being used for this purpose. Our elected officials take an oath to obey the New York state and federal Constitutions.”

The suit calls for Silver to repay the full sum, plus 10 percent interest, dating to June 2012, “directly from his personal funds” within 20 days.”

 

Silver is even slimier than Lopez . Albany is a cesspit of corruption and Silver is a major part of it .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How They Got Away With It

FILE PHOTO TAKEN APRIL 18, 2012

” This time, it’s about sex. An all-too-detailed report on the Vito Lopez scandal reveals that the once-powerful assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic leader harassed and humiliated his female staffers — demanding that they wear sexy clothes, playing with their hair, plying them with alcohol, luring them to hotel rooms and sticking his creepy hand up their skirts.

Perhaps most depressing of all was the reaction from Assembly Democrats when told their leader had turned a blind eye to despicable, potentially criminal behavior and put young women in harm’s way:

They excused him. They forgave him. They defended him. They praised his leadership.

Above all, they scoffed at the idea that the Manhattan Democrat’s 19-year reign as speaker should end.

The key to understanding all of this, as with so much of the corruption in Albany of late, is the corrosive culture of the Legislature.

And that begins and ends with the Democrat-controlled Assembly’s near-absolute boss rule.

As soon as they get elected, like it or not, Democrats forfeit virtually all of their power to Silver — who’s now been speaker for 19 years running — as their party leader and speaker.

Assembly members are independently elected, yes. They have their own ideas and their own duties to their districts and constituents.

But as soon as they cross the Capitol threshold, they basically become Silver’s employees.

He singlehandedly determines what laws his members can bring to the floor and pass, what committees they sit on, what hearings they hold and how much cash they’re allotted to hire staff and rent office space. He can even manipulate their salaries by awarding — or taking away — leadership posts that come with extra stipends ranging from $9,000 to $41,500.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Enablers’ Enabler

 

This Is What’s Wrong With Albany

 

” For those who still wonder how Albany works, here’s a short scorecard. Not long after a state ethics commission released a report on the serial sexual harassment by Vito Lopez, it became clear he would have to leave. It also became clear the politicians who enabled him would continue with business as usual.

Right now there’s something of a race regarding Lopez’s departure. The state assemblyman says he’ll resign on June 20. Andrew Cuomo says he should go now or be expelled. Shelly Silver says he’s working on expulsion.

What Lopez did is vile enough. But he couldn’t have got away with it for as long as he did without assistance from the most powerful man in the Legislature, Speaker Silver. Instead of moving to kick Lopez out when two staffers complained of sexual harassment, Silver enabled Lopez by paying the women over $100,000 from public funds to keep them quiet.

Then there’s Gov. Cuomo. The governor says there must be “zero tolerance” for the behavior Lopez showed. But instead of calling for Silver to step down for the coverup, Cuomo is defending him.”

 

 

A Little Background on “Shelly” Silver

 

     This man is allowed to sit on the board of one of the biggest tort law firms in New York , all the while controlling the very legislation that passes through the state government . Given the leftist proclivities of the “people’s republic of NY” Silver is and has been effectively in control of the state assembly for decades . Is it any wonder that trial lawyers rule the state , to the detriment of honest citizens everywhere ? 

 

1) Find a lawyer – Legal service professional: Sheldon Silver

phone 212-558-5500
fax 212-344-5461
e-mail client relations
Weitz & Luxenberg
700 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Admitted: New York

Law School: Brooklyn Law School

College: Yeshiva University

Member: Speaker, New York State Assembly

Born: New York, NY

 

2) Amid scandals, new state financial disclosure mandates

 “That means that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will have to disclose within a narrowed range of income levels how much he earns at Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm where he is of counsel.

Silver’s relationship with the powerful tort firm has long been an issue, as critics have wondered if it has led to legislation benefitting trial lawyers. The speaker has refused to say how much he earns at the firm.”

 

3) Sheldon Silver’s law firm digging for gold in “hydro-fracking …

4) NEW TORT STATE: Silver & Luxenberg | Gather

5) BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill tragedy to most, but to Sheldon …

6) Lawmaker And Lawyer: No Conflict, Says Silver – New York Times

7) State Officials Hide What Those in City Must Disclose

8) New York: Ethics Laws, Yes, but State Enforcement Non-Existent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuomo Staffers Elect To Quit

 

 

 

” Disenchanted members of Gov. Cuomo’s administration, embarrassed by the worsening government scandals and convinced that Cuomo won’t be president, will soon leave their jobs — just as the governor is stepping up plans to run for re-election next year.

Several “significant departures’’ are expected in the coming months, sources told The Post.

“A lot of people are looking to get out. They’re tired and, frankly, it’s not the best place to work,’’ said a source with first-hand knowledge of the situation. “There’s a lot of abuse that’s involved in working for the governor, and more and more people are saying, ‘What do we need this for?’ ’’ the source continued.”