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Friday, December 10, 2010

Newspapers Starting To Wake Up About Widespread Corruption

Leibell's fall shows need for,limits of reform
The Journal News - EDITORIAL - December 8, 2010

Vincent Leibell, certified Monday as an unambiguously crooked politician, was well aware by late fall that federal investigators looking into public corruption had hit pay dirt with his office. We now know that while Leibell was running for county executive of Putnam, a race he won in November, he also was running from the truth. The latter finally overtook him in the frigid morning, when he pleaded guilty to two charges of corruption, shredding any doubt about the ex-senator's place in the county's history of political infamy. The man long regarded as the most powerful politician in Putnam has now been revealed as a mong the dirtiest — and going back to 2003. He pleaded guilty to charges that he pocketed $43,000 in kickbacks from attorneys doing business with the Putnam Community Foundation, the nonprofit senior-housing organization Leibell funded through legislative grants. He joins a growing list of state lawmakers who have succumbed to the slack oversight and, perhaps, the sense of entitlement associated with so-called member items, the taxpayer-funded grants doled out by legislators. Sen. Pedro Espada, D-Bronx and Westchester, gained widespread attention in 2010 for allegedly siphoning off millions from a health-care concern funded with member-item funds. Espada was defeated in a September primary and still faces a bevy of inquiries. Leibell won his primary and general elections with relative ease.

"Someone make it stop!" the good-government group NYPIRG — New York Public Interest Research Group — said in a statement released after Leibell entered his guilty pleas. "The governor and legislators should not hide behind this time of transition and their 'lame duck' status. It would be truly lame for them to duck ethics reform when yet another scandal confronts them and further antagonizes the public. The time to act is now." In recent years, legislators have tightened reporting and disclosure rules for member items, but those changes hardly go far enough. Legislators still manage to turn what should be arm's- length relationships with recipient organizations into opportunities for individual financial enrichment. Real reform would do away with member items altogether: worthy causes would be made to compete for funding, just as other pressing needs must. But no package of reforms would protect the public from those truly committed to abusing their trust. "Business is not slow" in the corruption- fighting department, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. According to court documents, Leibell engaged in a transparently clumsy deceit aimed at covering up his demand and receipt of kickbacks. He was caught on hidden microphones issuing instructions on how the deceit should be masked. "You and I say there was never any cash relationship. Period. ... Since you and I are in agreement, it didn't happen." But it did, again and again, as Leibell's guilty pleas made plain. Leibell also addressed the corruption case when he appeared before the Editorial Board in September, along with Putnam Legislator Mary Ellen Odell, his opponent in both the primary and general election. Odell hinted at the scandal now unfolding, saying: " There is something abuzz in Putnam County." Leibell, for his part, denied any wrongdoing and spoke glowingly of the work of the Putnam Community Foundation. They were just more lies on top of the others.


holding breath said...

It's about friggin' time!

Anonymous said...

These gangsters all have non profits (not for profit except themselves) - odd isn't it! These lawyers must have figured out a legal way to steal - how nice! Wonder if they have to note these non profits on their ethics forms? Wonder where they are reported?

Justice for all said...

The media waking up to corruption? Dream on. Are you still suffering from the Bernstein/Woodward media delusion about investigative reporting Bernstein/Woodward were only publishing on command what a disgruntled temporary head of the FBI (who Nixon would not appoint permanently)spoon feed to them. Court corruption in NY exists because the media covers it up. They mistakenly believe feel good, which is easy to produce, sells, when it doesn't.
Have you hear any negatives today about the slimy slug's, Judge Lippman's, pronouncements on judicial pay increases?

Anonymous said...

Like Hell! These bastards have been bought off. Now they are waking up!? So SORRY buddy! Screw them, they don't give a damn about anyone of us. All these bastards care about is themselves. The public get screwed...time for the pitchforks...someone said "Off with their heads!" One of the reasons that the papers are folding an d the internet is the ultimate source. They con us anymore!

Anonymous said...


It is no secret that the Brooklyn Administration for Childrens Services ("ACS") and the Brooklyn Family Court Judges routinely get pressured by the Crown Heights Hassidic Jewish Community to either squash or destroy any and all Sexual Abuse allegations or investigations against Crown Heights residents/sexual abusers.

If you are a Pedophile/Child Sexual Abuser, move to Crown Heights, New York.

The FBI, NYPD, and ACS is powerless to either investigate, prosecute, or convict you there.

And Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and Andrew Weiner will do nothing to help those sexually abused children either.

This city sucks.

Anonymous said...

This story has died since the Journal Moose has been told to kill it! Let's look at the record what really, really big corruption stories has the Journal Moose ever been allowed to publish? Name ONE, go ahead! And remember Westchester County is ground central for corruption, just look at the DA, if you can!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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