Second State Senator Was Wired to Record Colleagues

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) —

For the second time in two months, federal prosecutors have revealed that a New York state lawmaker snared in a criminal probe tried to earn lenient treatment by secretly recording other elected officials for the FBI.

In court papers filed Friday, prosecutors said former state Sen. Shirley Huntley, a Queens Democrat, made numerous recordings of her meetings over several months last year after she was herself caught on an incriminating wiretap.

Nine different people were subjects of the surveillance — seven elected officials and two people who had previously worked for politicians.

Huntley’s legal memorandum said recordings, “did yield evidence useful to law enforcement.”

Prosecutors didn’t specify what that evidence was or name the officials involved. They told the judge that the details of the recordings would be discussed in a separate letter, filed under seal.

But the Daily News reported Saturday that the subject of Huntley’s wire was Sen. John Sampson, a Brooklyn Democrat who as a former Democratic Conference chairman in the Senate was once among Albany’s most powerful politicians.

Sampson allegedly asked Huntley to wield her influence on behalf of a businessman holding a Kennedy Airport lease in March 2012. The man wanted to expand his lease, and Huntley arranged for him to meet Port Authority officials. Huntley allegedly took $1,000 in bribes for her work.

According to the Daily News, the FBI is examining a $100,000 “loan” to Sampson from one of his legal clients, Queens businessman Edul Ahmad.

Ahmad also delivered a $40,000 “loan” to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), for which Meeks’s attorney admitted his client made no payments for two years until the FBI began looking into it.

The revelation comes roughly a month after state Assemblyman Nelson Castro, a Bronx Democrat, resigned after admitting that he made similar recordings of colleagues for federal investigators after they told him he would be charged with perjury in yet another corruption investigation.

His cooperation ultimately helped lead to the indictment of a fellow assemblyman from the Bronx, Eric Stevenson.

Huntley is scheduled to be sentenced May 9 after pleading guilty to mail fraud conspiracy last winter. She admitted embezzling nearly $88,000 from a state-funded nonprofit group she controlled. Prosecutors said she also accepted a $1,000 payment from a businessman who was trying to get the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to lease him more space at Kennedy Airport.

Despite Huntley’s agreement to help the government, prosecutors said in the sentencing memorandum filed Friday that they decided not to enter into a formal cooperation agreement with her because she repeatedly lied about her own crimes.

In meetings with investigators, Huntley “generally accepted responsibility,” prosecutors wrote. But when pressed for details, she “often provided answers which were false, implausible and inconsistent.” During some meetings, she “frequently changed her answers to such questions multiple times.”

“Moreover, in multiple instances, the defendant adamantly defended her false representations, only relenting when confronted with documentary evidence contradicting her claims,” prosecutors wrote. “Under these circumstances, the government concluded that the defendant could not serve as an effective cooperating witness, and therefore declined to offer her a cooperation agreement.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that the latest political corruption scandal was an opportunity to push for change.

“You will certainly have a certain amount of bad actors in government, the way you have bad actors in every aspect of life,” Cuomo said. “We’ve had more than our share in Albany.”

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!

Hamodia Logo