New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Essay

2094 Words Nov 1st, 2016 9 Pages
On January 22nd, 2015, former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (Democrat – 65th District) was arrested on federal corruption charges that alleged that he had failed to disclose seemingly illicit payments totaling nearly $4 million throughout his tenure as an Assemblyman in Albany. On November 30th, 2015, the former Speaker, who had served in the Assembly since 1977, would be convicted of seven counts of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundered that stemmed from a criminal scheme in which he abused his position to help benefit himself, two real estate law firms and a cancer researcher. The scheme, as described in testimony by a co-conspirator, involved a Columbia University cancer researcher Dr. Robert Taub referring mesothelioma patients to the Weitz & Luxenberg law firm, where Mr. Silver was employed. In exchange for the referrals, which began in 2003, Mr. Silver procured $500,000 in New York State grants for Dr. Taub’s research clinics in 2005; and Weitz & Luxenberg paid the former Speaker one-third of its fees and income from the cases (Weiser & Craig, 2015). On May 6th, 2016, Mr. Silver was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison and ordered to pay back more than $7 million in illegal gains and fines. Despite the gravity of his sentence, the resolution did little to repair or restore the public’s trust not only in state elected officials, but the policies, agencies and institutions responsible for facilitating and sustaining that trust.

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