Yet Another NY State Lawmaker Accused of Corruption

Eric Stevenson
Eric Stevenson

The crime wave of political corruption in the New York State capitol is still surging.

Assemb. Eric Stevenson (D-Bronx) was arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy and bribery charges along with four others, the same week State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) was also rounded up in a federal crackdown.

“For the second time in three days, we unseal criminal charges against a sitting member of our state legislature,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “It becomes more and more difficult to avoid the sad conclusion that political corruption in New York is indeed rampant and that a show-me-the-money culture in Albany is alive and well.”

Prosecutors alleged that Stevenson took more than $22,000 in bribes to draft legislation that ultimately became law declaring a three-year moratorium on the construction of adult day-care centers in New York City— effectively barring any other providers of day care for seniors from operating in a specified geographical area.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) called the accusations “a clear violation of the public trust and cannot be tolerated.” He added, “I am encouraging him to resign.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was appalled at the two cases.

“New Yorkers deserve a government that is as good as the people it serves, and the events of the last few days fail this and every standard of public service,” Cuomo said. “Those of us committed to the public and honored to hold its trust have zero tolerance for the actions brought to light this week.”

Stevenson is the latest of more than a dozen state lawmakers who have been accused of various corruption in recent years. His arrest came the same day State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) was sentenced to probation for stealing taxpayer money from a nonprofit.

Stevenson was caught on tape telling a cooperating witness, according to federal investigators, “If half of the people up here in Albany was ever caught for what they do . . . they . . . would probably be in [jail] . . . so who are they bullshitting?”