Dean Skelos became the second man out of the Albany’s powerful “three men in the room” to be convicted of abusing his powers Friday.
The former State Senate majority leader, along with his son Adam, were both found guilty of eight counts.
The elder Skelos, a Republican, was accused of using the power of his office to steer money – through what were virtually no-show jobs – to his son at companies whose executives testified that they felt little choice but to go along for fear of alienating the senator.
In the course of just 11 days, juries in separate cases have convicted both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. The convictions mean that both are out of their jobs as convicted felons.
For Silver’s part, the Democrat was convicted Nov. 30 on all seven federal charges leveled against him, including extortion and money laundering, involving a scheme to use his immensely potent position to personally enrich himself by nearly $4 million.
Within moments of the Skelos verdict, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office has prosecuted both men, put out a statement: “The swift convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos beg an important question – how many prosecutions will it take before Albany gives the people of New York the honest government they deserve?”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also put out a statement, calling on the Legislature to get on board with reforming the system: “There can be no tolerance for those who use, and seek to use, public service for private gain. The justice system worked today. However, more must be done and will be pursued as part of my legislative agenda. The convictions of former Speaker Silver and former Majority Leader Skelos should be a wakeup call for the Legislature and it must stop standing in the way of needed reforms.”
Nicholas A. Langworthy, the chairman of the Erie County Republican Party, issued a statement critical of the former Senate leader.
“Today, justice was served on yet another corrupt New York State elected official,” Langworthy said. “Somehow, when Dean Skelos was selected as State Senate majority leader, he thought that meant his incompetent son should get rich. The Skelos family’s self-serving, greedy schemes were outrageous violations of the public trust, more like an organized crime TV drama than government. First Sheldon Silver, now Dean Skelos – but we need more. I’m staying tuned, hoping for more arrests and convictions as U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara drains the Albany swamp because only when it’s empty can we give New Yorkers the government they truly deserve.” .