The powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly taken into federal custody for alleged corruption, The New York Times reported Thursday.
“I hope I’ll be vindicated,” the speaker, Sheldon Silver, said as he walked into a federal building in downtown Manhattan.
According to the Times report, the still-unknown charges appear to be linked to undisclosed income he received from a real estate law firm. Silver failed to list his “substantial” income from the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, as required.
Additionally, Silver reported between $US650,000 and $US750,000 in outside income from a personal injury law practice, but has never detailed publicly what he does for the money. US Attorney Preet Bharara reportedly subpoenaed documents from the firm several months ago. Silver has long been criticised for killing tort reform attempts, despite his apparent conflict of interest.
“State ethics laws do not require him to provide any details about what he does, who his clients are, or even if he has any clients at all. Public records contain no indication that he has ever appeared on behalf of clients in state or federal court,” the Times reported in December.
Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, has been a fixture in Albany politics for decades and has held his current office since 1994. The quintessential backroom negotiator and one of Albany’s so-called “three men in a room,” Silver was one of the most powerful people in Albany.
Silver maintained this power even as he became mired in controversies. He was accused of shielding a powerful colleague who was accused of shocking incidents sexual harassment. A top aide mishandled another serious sexual harassment allegation. His chief of staff’s husband was arrested for an embezzlement scheme and reportedly had hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed in their home.
But still, due to his influence, almost no New York Democrats have been willing to criticise Silver over the years, let alone call for his ouster as speaker.
Silver’s office did not immediately return a request for comment from Business Insider.
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