Yesterday evening, the NY Times gave everyone this weekend a treat about one of the most powerful men in Albany: "Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, and His Son Are Said to Face Arrest Next Week."
This comes two weeks after it was revealed that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the Long Island Republican and his son Adam. From the Times:
The charges against Senator Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam, 32, are expected to be detailed in a criminal complaint and are likely to include conspiracy, extortion and solicitation of bribes, one of the people said. The charges could be announced as early as Monday.
The senator and his son have been at the center of a federal inquiry that has examined a range of matters, including the younger man’s business dealings, according to people who are familiar with questions that have been asked by investigators.
Basically, the questionable thing is how an Arizona company that manufactures sponges to filter pollutants won a bid for Nassau County (Skelos' district) even though it wasn't the lowest bid—and how Adam Skelos got a job from the company. AbTech has connections to the big NYC real estate company Glenwood Management, "which is controlled by Leonard Litwin, a major political donor to lawmakers in both parties."
Plus, the younger Skelos got $20,000 "from a title insurance company that he never worked for."
Bharara took over the public corruption investigations left from Governor Cuomo's "ethics" panel, the Moreland Commission. Cuomo pulled the plug on the commission, claiming it was an "overwhelming success." Months later, he arrested Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the formidable Lower East Side Democrat, for his involvement in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. While Silver has professed his innocence, he still stepped down from the leadership position.
Bharara said at a recent talk at Fordham Law School, "Archimedes said to move Earth itself, all he needed was a long-enough lever and a place to stand. To put it blunter, in New York terms: If we could clean up Times Square, can we really not clean up Albany?"
Tellingly, the Times points out:
Should Mr. Skelos, who has led the Senate Republican conference since 2008, step down, there is no clear successor.
Senator Thomas W. Libous, the second highest-ranking Republican in the chamber, might otherwise be the leading candidate to take over, but he is also under federal indictment, and fighting cancer. Mr. Libous, who represents the Binghamton area, is accused of lying to federal agents during a corruption investigation.