Archive for the tag 'shirley huntley'

John Sampson (center) Source: nysenate.gov

State Senator John Sampson, who is the latest local politician to be embroiled in a serious corruption scandal, is now accused of threatening the witnesses lined up against him, according to a New York Times report.

The accusations now cast upon Sampson are growing in seriousness and scope. In the earliest reports released this week, Sampson was accused of soliciting advice from another New York politician, Queens State Senator Shirley Huntley, on how to arrange accommodations for a businessman seeking to use bribes to help his business at JFK airport.

Now Sampson is being fingered for stealing $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes and attempting to thwart the federal inquiry surrounding these crimes.

Federal prosecutors say that Sampson approached a friend in the office of the US Attorney for the Eastern District, asking for a list of all cooperating witnesses so that he could figure out a way to “take them out.”

Sampson used the $400,000 on an unsuccessful bid for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office in 2005. The Times then described what Sampson did next:

The next year, prosecutors said, he persuaded a prominent real estate developer to give him nearly $200,000 help cover up the thefts. When the developer was arrested on unrelated charges, Mr. Sampson feared his crimes would be uncovered and turned to his friend in the United States attorney’s office.

The developer was not named in court documents, but law enforcement officials with knowledge of the matter identified him as Edul Ahmad, who pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud in 2012. The employee in the United States attorney’s office also was not named. Prosecutors said the person, identified by a law enforcement official as Sam Noel, had been fired after being found with a list of the witnesses’ names that Mr. Sampson had requested.

Loretta Lynch, an attorney for the Eastern District of New York told the Times that this case represented, “one of the most extreme examples of political hubris we have yet seen.”

So far Sampson, who surrendered to federal authorities on Monday, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements to the FBI.

Prosecutors have offered Sampson a plea agreement in which he would have to plead guilty to embezzlement and accept a sentence of 37 to 46 months. If Sampson is found guilty at trial, he faces up to 20 years. Sampson has until the end of the month to accept the offer.

 

John Sampson (center) Source: nysenate.gov

It looks like the federal net for nabbing corrupt New York politicians is getting wider. According to a New York Times report, State Senator John Sampson, whose recently redrawn 19th District represents a chunk of Sheepshead Bay, was ensnared in a broader federal corruption probe that has already led to charges against other local pols.

Sampson’s charges stem from conversations he had with former Queens State Senator Shirley Huntley, who has pleaded guilty of stealing taxpayer money through a nonprofit organization.

In March of 2012, Sampson allegedly sought out Huntley’s advice after being approached by a businessman allegedly offering bribes in exchange for help regarding his business at Kennedy International Airport. The airport is located in the district Huntley used to represent.

Through court papers, the Times learned that Huntley, as a cooperating federal witness, recorded conversations she had with several local politicians, which, according to prosecutors, yielded useful evidence.

Sampson is expected to be charged with obstruction of justice. At this time, it is not known if other politicians will also be charged.

Photo by Erica Sherman

With the cost of renting out storefront property perpetually on the rise across the city, it comes as no surprise that many local politicians are having trouble meeting the budget limitations set for their respective headquarter bases. State senators based in New York City are allotted $40,000 a year for rental expenditures, but many have gone over that line, according to a report in the New York Post.

One of the state senators marked for going over their rental budget allotment is our own Marty Golden who rang up a yearly rent bill of $48,000 for his Bay Ridge headquarters. Still, its hard to blame Marty when a typical small storefront property on Sheepshead Bay Road goes for more than $4,000 a month.

Golden isn’t the only local politician having trouble meeting the limit:

Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) paid $49,723 for his district office at 38-50 Bell Blvd. He insisted the Senate Republicans negotiated his lease — claiming he didn’t even know he was over the limit.

Even imprisoned ex-Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) and indicted former Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) got in on the fun, despite having represented lower-rent neighborhoods, spending $45,000 and $47,452, respectively.

[Jeff] Klein cut his annual rent by $15,000 by leaving his East Tremont Avenue district office for the Hutchins Center, where he pays “market rate,” said spokesman Eric Soufer.

“Believe me, nobody comes to work for us because of the accommodations,” Soufer said. “I’ve had college dorm rooms that are bigger than our office.”

The problem politicians like Golden face is that they could rent cheaper space on higher levels in office buildings, but they would lose on-the-street contact and easy access to their constituents.

We put the question to our readers as to what is more important; paying extra to keep your local politicians closer to the ground and more accessible, or saving costs by pushing their headquarters into harder to access office spaces?