Ex-NY Comptroller Alan Hevesi Gets Prison Term In Pension Probe

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi, apologizing for his acts of “shame,” was sentenced Friday to one to four years in prison for his leading role in an influence-peddling scandal at the state’s massive pension fund.

The chapter concluded a twofold downfall that stands out as a symbol of scandal even in a state that’s rife with it.

“Although it was never my intention, I know that I caused enormous damage to the integrity of my former office. I have publicly disgraced myself,” Hevesi said, his voice soft but steady. “I will never forgive myself. I will live with this shame for the rest of my life.”

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: He Showed No Emotionhttp://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/diamond_hevesi_110415.mp3Alan%20Hevesi%20Sentenced%20for%20Influence%20Peddling

As he walked out of court in handcuffs, he nodded to the roughly half-dozen relatives who accompanied him, including his sons, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and former state Sen. Daniel Hevesi, and his daughter, Laura.

Hevesi, 71, also a former state assemblyman and New York City comptroller, was the highest-ranking state official entangled in a sweeping probe of “pay-to-play” practices at the $141 billion pension fund. He pleaded guilty in October to a misconduct charge.

The defense asked state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus to spare Hevesi time behind bars, pointing to his public service and saying his public fall from grace was punishment enough.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports: Hevesi Apologizes And Accepts Responsibility

Obus said he found prison time necessary.

“Even in times of great cynicism about pols and about public officials,” the public still expects its officeholders to be worthy of their trust, the judge said. “When a person in that situation violates that trust, the damage, although hard to quantify, is quite profound. And this is such a violation.”

Hevesi admitted that in awarding pension fund investments, he “improperly favored” a venture capitalist who paid for at least $75,000 worth of travel expenses to Israel and Italy for the comptroller, his family and other officials. Hevesi also acknowledged roughly $900,000 in other favors the businessman did for him or others in his orbit, including a total of $500,000 in campaign contributions to Hevesi and other candidates he or his staff suggested.

A former Queens College professor with a doctorate in political science from Columbia University, Hevesi won an Assembly seat in 1971. During 22 years in the chamber, he gained a reputation as an impressive debater, wrote more than 100 laws and was known for his work on health care.

Hevesi won the New York City comptroller’s job on his second try in 1993, came up short in a 2001 bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor and took the statewide comptroller’s election the next year.

As Alan Hevesi ran for re-election in 2006, the state ethics commission found he had violated the law by using a staffer as a driver for his seriously ill wife for three years and not paying for it until after his Republican opponent raised the issue.

Still, Hevesi was re-elected by a wide margin, saying his “mistake should not erase 35 years of public service.” But about six weeks later, he pleaded guilty to defrauding the government and resigned. He paid a $5,000 fine.

It was the end of his political career but just the beginning of his legal problems. Over the next four years, an investigation by Gov. Andrew Cuomo showed that officials and cronies got fees and favors from financiers seeking chunks of the retirement fund to manage. As comptroller, Hevesi was the fund’s sole trustee.

Eight people have pleaded guilty. More than a dozen other people and financial firms have agreed to pay a combined $170 million in civil penalties.

The probe swept up a roster of players in politics and finance, drawing guilty pleas from figures including the former head of New York’s defunct Liberal Party and civil fines from people including former “car czar” Steven Rattner, the financier who helped lead the Obama administration’s bailout and restructuring of Chrysler and General Motors.

The only other person sentenced so far in the pension fund probe, former Hevesi political adviser Henry “Hank” Morris, is serving 16 months to four years in prison.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Comments

One Comment

  1. WOODSIDE MIKEY m says:

    Send this A$$HOLE TO HELL…( or what his race calls IT…) A S A P A COMPLETE AND TOTAL CROOK !!! PUT THIS D-BAG WITH MADOFF !!! HOW DO YOU STEAL FROM YOUR OWN PEOPLE ???? A$$HOLE CROOK (ps. BRING SOME K Y JELLY TO EASE YOUR PAIN )

  2. Auburn Dale says:

    It was Hevesi who first claimed that the MTA had a “second set of books.” Not one but TWO appeals courts have ruled that he was LYING through his teeth, yet the lie still lives on.

  3. guest says:

    Where are the ones that involved race in the guy that was arrested for fraud on the accident he was never in? About 3 of 5 comments were regarding the guy being an “illegal immigrant” but no one mentions that this Hevesi guy is White. The point is proven that race has nothing to do with these crooks making it hard for all of us.

  4. Dr. Jerry says:

    I remember when Alan Hevesi was considered a prime example of a ‘good’ honest politician. And he was for a long time. It’s a shame that even someone like this could be corrupted by an opportunity to misuse his position of power and responsibility for self-gain. I guess greed is a powerful force in the world.

  5. David Flores says:

    dam n shame . i respected him until he turned into your typical politician

    1. Auburn Dale says:

      He always was “your typical politician” – he just wore the facade better than most.

  6. KAREN says:

    IT IS A SHAME THAT SOME PEOPLE
    USE THEIR POWER TO GET M0NEY
    FOR FAVORS
    SINCE THIS IS MONEY UNDER THE
    TABLE THEY CANNOT PAY TAX ON IT
    THEY DESERVE TO ROT IN PRISON

  7. vy says:

    Here’s a solution for the campaign money pay to play scandles that keep popping up everywhere.
    ALL campaign contributions over $250.oo must be disclosed within 1 week of receipt no matter who the contributor is, and if the contributor is an organization, like a PAC (political action committee) the people who fund that orgtanization with over $250.oo must also be disclosed within 1 week of receipt.
    Also the organizations who produce and distribute political “informational” advertising to support or oppose an issue or candidate must also disclose all of their contributors who fund over $250.oo.
    All these reporting limits would be for each election cycle, or per year if there was no election tide to a candidate, elected official, or issue.
    This way the Republicans can raise all the wealthy persons and big corporate donations they want, as long as those donors are disclosed.
    And the Democrats can have the opportunity to counter any big wealthy and corporation money with the ability to show the public that the support for a position is driven by the greed of the people putting up the lobbying money.
    Also any person or organization who pays over $250.oo to lobbiest to promote a position to elected officials must also disclose who contributed to the cost of their lobbying services.

    Those rules of transparency would go a long way to cleaning up politics by shining the light of day at the sourses of the funds that are attmepting (many times successfully) to influence policies.

  8. dp says:

    Greed and stupidity at work again….a bright man doing such stupid things just to fatten up his bank account. He got we he deserved.

  9. ANALTIMETWISTER says:

    SO I GET CENSORED FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH..YOUR LIES WILL CHOKE YOU..

  10. nyc says:

    I can’t believe there are corrupt polititions ! I hope one day someone starts going after lobbying firms and their contacts on the hill. It would just be tooo big !!

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