The charges stem from an investigation into the younger Skelos's business dealings, which according to prosecutors are deeply intertwined with the senator's actions in office. The criminal complaint spans 2010 to the present and, relying on wiretaps and the cooperation of a development company executive and an executive at an environmental technology company presumed to be the Arizona-based AbTech Industries, paints a picture of direct pay-to-play deals, and shakedowns meant to benefit Adam using the pressure of Dean's official power.
Skelos is the fifth straight state Senate leader to be indicted by the feds. Heated jockeying for his spot is already under way, the Post reports.
Allegations raised in the criminal complaint include:
- The Skeloses secured Adam a job as a government relations consultant at the environmental company even though, as Adam Skelos described it, he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff.” The understanding in hiring him was that he would secure lucrative government contracts using his dad's power and contacts, and his salary was directly tied to how many contracts he secured, plus a one percent gross revenue commission. He collected $198,000 to date.
- While the consultant gig was pending, Dean Skelos pushed the developer, a major donor, to funnel $20,000 to Adam in a payment disguised as a commission for title work he didn't do. During negotiations over that payment, Adam emailed his would-be benefactor: “I could really use the work if you have anything for me, it’s been a real slow year in the title world.”
- Dean Skelos has made $2.6 million for a no-show job that he has held at a law firm since 1994. His only work there consists of referring clients to the firm, including ones with business before the state.
- Dean Skelos pushed legislation to loosen rent regulation and extend the 421-a tax abatement for developers in an effort to benefit the developer. In return for this and other beneficial actions, the developer had $100,000 mailed overnight to the Erie County Republican Committee through various LLCs, and leaned on the environmental company to get Adam a better contract, among other favors.
- Before fracking was banned, Dean Skelos was seeking to shape Department of Health regulations on fracking in a way that would benefit the environmental company, which wanted work disposing of fracking waste. (The day the ban was announced, Adam, 32, called his dad and said, "Ahhhh! This day sucks!)
- Adam's work, including work not identified in the complaint as criminal, consisted entirely of selling services to his dad's donors and companies seeking New York state contracts.
- The environmental company issued an unsolicited proposal for a stormwater system in Nassau County. The county followed up shortly thereafter by issuing a call for bids for such a system. Adam assured his bosses at the company there would be “no competition.” He and his dad subsequently obtained a rushed “advisory opinion" from the state-controlled Nassau Interim Finance Authority for the company to show its investors. The contract was approved even though a technical aspect made it not legal in New York, and the county hadn't identified the money to pay for it.
- In the final stages of the approval of the stormwater contract, the Skeloses threatened to block it if Adam didn't get a raise from $4,000 a month to $10,000 a month, even though he hadn't met the benchmarks in his job agreement. In an internal environmental company email, one worker wrote: "I can’t believe he’s going to try to hold us hostage to renegotiate the contract. The engineers are getting paid for labor hours to do real work (I think around 5500 man hours). Unreal."
- Dean Skelos pushed to change the law to allow design-build storm-water contracts of the type the environmental company had been awarded, and which it specializes in.
- In December, 2014, the morning after a Nor'easter caused extensive flooding throughout the New York metro area, Adam Skelos cheered on the damage on Long Island because it would mean more demand for the contracts he was hawking: "We got some major water problems here with all the flooding going on … I love it! Keep it coming Mother Nature!"
- During the January wake for murdered NYPD Officer Wenjian Liu, Dean Skelos arranged to meet with Nassau County Executive Edward Managano to discuss the slow pace of county payments to the environmental company. At the wake, Dean took a call from Adam and said, "All claims that are in will be taken care of."
- Following the arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Skeloses got paranoid and wondered where U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara might turn next. Adam began relying on FaceTime and a burner cellphone for illicit communication. In one recorded conversation he said, "You can't talk normally because it's like fucking Preet Bharara is listening to every fucking phone call. It's fucking frustrating."
since this always worked out so well in The Wire and everything pic.twitter.com/xSH3t3weqF
— chelsea hassler (@chelseaadelaine) May 4, 2015
In a statement today, Dean Skelos denied the charges.
"I am not saying I am just not guilty," he said. "I am innocent."
Here is the criminal complaint: