Former New York State Senator Malcolm Smith was convicted in federal court last week of bribery, wire fraud and extortion. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.
Convicted at the same time was Vincent Tabone, a former Queens Republican Party official. Smith, Tabone, and other GOP officials conspired to allow Smith, a liberal Democrat, to run for New York City mayor as a Republican in 2013, in return for $25,000.
Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) to be convicted of crimes. Formal investigations of several New York politicians began in 2010 after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) exposed corruption through stories in the New York Post, New York Times and New York Daily News.
The axiom that "all that rises must converge" is upside down in New York State where all that falls is now converging. According to the New York Post, Rep. Charles Rangel's campaign manager helped incorporate a nonprofit group that was plundered by New York City Councilman Ruben Wills, who was arrested last week. From the article:
Rasheida Smith, a longtime southeast Queens Democratic operative, is listed on the incorporation papers of New York 4 Life, the group that state authorities say Wills looted for more than $30,000 to buy such luxuries as a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag.
New York State Senator Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) announced on Saturday that she expects to be arrested on Monday on corruption charges. In March 2011, NLPC exposed a sham charity she founded called The Parent Workshop, to which she steered tens of thousands in taxpayer money.
In an interview Tuesday on New York City's WNYW-TV, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) denied that he is under investigation by federal authorities, contradicting several previous reports by the New York Times, New York Post and New York Daily News.
The New York Post reported on Saturday that a nonprofit called the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation received subpoenas connected to a broader investigation of Meeks, who has steered millions in federal funds to the group.
As he has done in the past, Meeks attributed his woes to the New York Post and NLPC. Of the most recent reports, he told WNYW-TV reporters David Price and Rosanna Scotto:
On Saturday, Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) made the following statement:
Beginning at the height of the selection process for Aqueduct Racino development investors as I fought for local participation, and for the past several months, right-wing interest groups such as the National Legal and Policy Center and sensationalist media outlets have lodged unfounded attacks against me and other respectable members of the Queens community related to my family home and my involvement with New Direction Local Development Corporation.
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is one of 31 House conferees appointed by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on the financial regulation bill. When he was named on June 9, Meeks claimed:
As conferee I plan to make sure that by having a strong presence of financial oversight and accountability in this legislation U.S. consumers will have the necessary financial protection and be as financially informed as possible.
But now Meeks is using “oversight” in a different context. You see, when he failed to disclose $55,000 in personal loans as required, he called it an “oversight.” This excuse sounded downright familiar to us. It is the same one cited by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) when he failed to report hundreds of thousands in income and assets.
Rev. Floyd Flake, a former member of Congress, is a political force in Queens where he is the pastor of a 23,000-member church. His protégés include U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks and state Senator Malcolm Smith, both under a grand jury investigation apparently triggered by NLPC’s expose of a charity called New Direction Local Development Corporation, and Meeks’ sweetheart deal on a home.
According to a story by Russ Buettner in yesterday’s New York Times, Flake and his partners ended up as owners of two eight-story apartment buildings that were “built and subsidized with public money.” In addition, the 300 units were “well maintained by one of the church’s charities.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) formally notified the House of Representatives that he had received a subpoena, as required by House rules. The subpoena was first reported by the New York Daily News on April 2 in the wake of our allegations that Meeks got a sweetheart deal on his house, and is involved with a charity that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never saw it.
Did Meeks and/or Pelosi sit on the subpoena notification until after the March 21 health care vote? It depends on when Meeks got the subpoena. House Rule VIII states:
According to the New York Daily News today, a federal grand jury is investigating some of Queens’ most prominent politicians, including Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). NLPC first exposed Meeks’ involvement with a charity called New Direction that raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received it. NLPC also first exposed Meeks’ purchase of a home for far less than it is worth.
In a Complaint to the House Ethics Committee filed on March 19, NLPC asked for an investigation of Meeks’ purchase of the house. The Complaint detailed how a contractor named Robert Gaskin not only built the home for Meeks, but also did work for several other Queens politicians and nonprofits they control. At the same time, Gaskin received numerous contracts on taxpayer-funded projects.
In today’s Queens Chronicle, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) attacked NLPC as “a right-wing, inside-the-Beltway organization with an explicitly stated partisan agenda.” As evidence, Meeks claimed that I “served as a top advisor to Mitt Romney during his presidential campaign.” The only problem is that Meeks got the wrong Peter Flaherty.
Maybe Meeks should learn how to aim before he fires. Or at least learn how to use Google. The Peter Flaherty who advised Romney is a principal in the Shawmut Group in Boston. He is a former assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County, and served as Vice-President of Walden Media, a film production studio. Flaherty worked as a senior advisor to Mitt Romney while he was governor, and held a senior position in his 2008 presidential campaign. He is also credited with helping to engineer Scott Brown's upset Senate win this year.