NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Earned $5M in Bribery Scheme, Feds Say

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) was arrested Thursday for allegedly running a bribery and kick-back scheme that netted him nearly $5 million from two law firms since 2002, federal authorities said.Silver was charged with honest services fraud, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, extortion under color of official right and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. The 70-year-old lawmaker surrendered to the FBI and was released on $200,000 bond by Judge Frank Maas in Manhattan federal court.“Politicians are supposed to be on the people’s payroll, not on secret retainers for wealthy special interests they do favors for,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told reporters during a news conference. “These charges, in our view, go to the very core of what ails Albany: Lack of transparency, lack of accountability and lack of principle joined with an overabundance of greed, cronyism and self-dealing.”Silver, who has served as speaker since 1994, has been accused of using his influence in the state to pad his pockets with millions of dollars that he allegedly failed to report in annual state disclosure forms. The alleged schemes involve two law firms: one specializing in asbestos litigation, the other in real estate, prosecutors said.“Silver has obtained millions of dollars in outside income as a direct result of his corrupt use of his official position to obtain attorney referral fees for himself, including from clients with substantial business before the State, and not as a result of legitimate outside income Silver earned as a private lawyer,” investigators said in a 35-page federal complaint.Silver allegedly used his power as speaker to convince real estate developers, who conduct business with the state, to retain a real estate law firm controlled by Silver’s ex-counsel in Albany, according to the complaint. The alleged scheme netted Silver $700,000.The remainder of Silver’s allegedly undisclosed earnings—$5.3 million—came from an annual salary from the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, plus $3.9 million in referral fees, the complaint states. The longtime lawmaker used his position to “secretly direct” $500,000 in state funds to help with a doctor’s research efforts. In exchange, Silver received referrals for asbestos cases to the firm, according to the complaint.Federal prosecutors note that investigators spoke to more than 10 asbestos clients or their family members during their probe. None of the clients had ever contacted Silver to seek legal representation, the documents state.“No asbestos client and/or surviving family member was aware of any role played by Silver in providing legal services to himself or herself or a family member,” prosecutors wrote in the complaint.Silver earned considerably more money between 2002 and 2014 than he brings home as Assembly Speaker. In 2011, for example, he earned $922,849.19 in undisclosed profits, court documents claim. For his work as Assembly Speaker, Silver is paid $121,000 annually, plus he gets a car, a driver and travel reimbursements.As for his alleged real estate dealings, prosecutors found that Silver has no background in real estate litigation and no experience performing any such work, according to the complaint.“There is no record of Silver ever appearing before the Tax Commission,” the complaint states.“We’re disappointed that the prosecutors have chosen to proceed with these meritless criminal charges,” Silver’s lawyers said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “That said, Mr. Silver looks forward to responding to them—in court—and ultimately his full exoneration.”State lawmakers are not prohibited from earning outside income, but they are required to report such earnings in their annual financial disclosure statements. For years, Silver has publicly stated that he has worked as a private attorney for Weitz & Luxenberg.The investigation stems from an anti-corruption probe that started in the summer of 2013 by the Moreland Commission and was disbanded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March 2014. At the time, Cuomo’s decision was controversial because the commission was actively investigating potential misdeeds by public officials.The New York Republican State Committee was quick to pounce. In a statement, the GOP called for Silver to step down.“Sheldon Silver must immediately resign from the State Assembly,” said NYGOP spokesman David Laska. “While this is another sad day for New York, we cannot be distracted from the important business of growing our economy and creating jobs.”It’s unclear who Silver’s successor would be. Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) currently serves as Deputy Speaker but that reportedly doesn’t mean she would be next in line.Bharara said that he found the allegations to be “especially dispiriting” when considering Silver’s status as one of Albany’s most powerful lawmakers known as “the three men in a room” who negotiate the state’s legislative agenda together. The other two include New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and the governor.Silver faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the five charges, if convicted. Bharara noted that the investigation is continuing, adding ominously: “Stay tuned.”—With Timothy Bolgerlast_img read more

Childcare workers say some centres are like ‘factory farming children’

first_imgStuff co.nz 7 October 2015A quarter of early childhood teachers would not enrol their own children at their centres due to concerns about quality, a survey reveals.A ChildForum survey of more than 600 teachers, given exclusively to Stuff but due for official release on Wednesday, has some saying their centres are like “factory farming for children” or “mostly crowd management”.Centres and teachers were under pressure to provide safe and quality care, but indicated a lack of support, the research network’s survey report said.The Ministry of Education was pushing for 98 per cent of Kiwi children to participate in quality early childhood education, but its focus was on “increasing participation and not on quality”, it said.“It would seem that the policy push for increased participation is very likely putting children’s attachment and development of secure relationships, brain development, learning, and life-long outcomes at risk.”With 153 out of 601 teachers indicating they would not be happy for their child to attend their centre “we should be seriously worried”, it says. Reasons given related to quality and personal beliefs about young children’s needs.http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/national/72694017/Childcare-workers-say-some-centres-are-like-factory-farming-childrenCall for more investment in childcare qualityStuff co.nz 8 October 2015The focus for early childhood education should be quality, not high participation, sector representatives say.A ChildForum survey of more than 600 teachers found that a quarter of early childhood teachers would not enrol their own children at their centres due to concerns about quality, with some saying their centres were like “factory farming for children” or “mostly crowd management”.New Zealand Educational Institute early childhood representative Virginia Oakly said the report endorsed what the union had been saying for some time.“If we don’t get it right and make sure the education children are receiving is quality there are long-term effects on their education and well being.”The sector was “chronically underfunded”, and any extra funding was spent on new centres rather than improving services already available.Early Childhood NZ chief executive Nancy Bell said while the survey only represented 2 per cent of teachers, it highlighted its concerns, “namely teacher-child ratios for under-2s and teachers’ employment conditions”.http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/72778261/call-for-more-investment-in-childcare-quality.htmllast_img read more

J-D, CBA girls basketball advances to Class A title showdown

first_imgThe top-seeded Brothers used defense and hot outside shooting to roll past no. 5 seed Whitesboro 61-33, while the no. 2 seed Red Rams had to sweat until the final minutes before a strong closing stretch put away no. 6 seed New Hartford 55-46.Going first in this semifinal doubleheader, CBA had reason to be wary of Whitesboro, who was quite impressive in ousting no. 4 seed Cortland 43-28 in the quarterfinals earlier in the week. And the Warriors did score the game’s first four points.But then the Brothers seized control with a 21-0 outburst that, in a span of five-plus minutes, gave CBA a big cushion and showcased the team’s vast array of skills and qualities. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story For 12 months, the Christian Brothers Academy used its close defeat to Jamesville-DeWitt as a spark toward a special 2019-20 season.Whether it turns into something even more memorable now depends on whether the Brothers can unseat the Red Rams from the Section III Class A throne that it has held for eight years.On the same floor at Onondaga Community College’s Allyn Hall where the sectional final will take place, CBA and J-D got through their respective sectional semifinals in wildly varying ways. Tags: CBAgirls basketballJ-D On the defensive side, the Brothers swarmed Whitesboro and forced a string of bad shots and turnovers. Then, on the other end, CBA rarely missed from beyond the arc, ultimately hitting on nine 3-pointers by game’s end.Brooke Jarvis, the program’s all-time leading scorer, netted 15 points by the middle of the second quarter, but even when she had to sit most of the rest of the way due to foul trouble, the Brothers continued to dominate.All game long, Maura Clare Conan brought the energy on defense and contributed 10 points. The sister duo of Tori and Emily Hall joined Conan in the effort, Tori Hall hitting on a pair of 3-pointers right before halftime to stretch the margin to 37-18.Then, as CBA’s defense held Whitesboro without a field goal for more than seven minutes, Leana Heittman took over on offense, earning 12 of her 17 points during the second half to prevent any Warriors comeback.With its spot in the sectional final secure, the Brothers now watched as J-D got challenged by a New Hartford side that beat CBA earlier this season, and would nearly put an end to the Red Rams’ long title run.That didn’t seem likely when, in the game’s first five minutes, the Spartans were shut out and J-D built an 11-0 margin, but the work of the Spartans’ superb sophomore guard, Kaia Henderson, erased her team’s deficit by the second quarter.Soon, a theme emerged. Henderson, with 17 first-half points, was carrying her team’s attack, but was doing so with three fouls. Then she got her fourth foul early in the third quarter, even as New Hartford led most of that period.Paige Keeler’s 3-pointer broke a 32-32 tie and put J-D back in front just before the fourth quarter, but with the Spartans diversifying its attack, it went back in front twice during the final minutes.It took five consecutive points from Riley LaTray to pull the Rams out of a 44-44 deadlock and give it the lead for good, yet things were still in doubt when Henderson, her team down 49-46, was whistled for her fifth foul with 2:17 left, taking her out of the game.Without Henderson, who finished with 27 points, New Hartford was shut out the rest of the way, and the Rams closed with baskets from Sydney Baker and Momo LaClair, plus free throws by LaTray.Baker had earned 11 of her 13 points in the second half, matching LaClair’s total as Keeler got 10 points and Andrea Sumida, playing through her own foul trouble, had seven points.So just like it did against Bishop Ludden in the quarterfinal round, J-D had struggled, but made it through. Only CBA now stands between the Red Rams and another sectional banner, the two sides squaring off next Saturday at 1 p.m. at OCC five hours before those two schools meet in the boys sectional Class A final.last_img read more

USC student found dead off campus

first_imgFollow us on Twitter @dailytrojan According to the Dept. of Public Safety, a USC student was found dead in his apartment on Sunday night.The Marshall School of Business released a statement identifying Thu Yain “Roy” Kyaw as the deceased student on Monday.At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, DPS and the Los Angeles Police Department responded to a call on the 1300 block of West 29th Street. Kyaw’s roommates were not home at the suspected time of his death.“Upon arriving, [officers] discovered the male lying down unconscious and not breathing,” LAPD Public Information Officer Rosario Herrera said.The cause of his death has yet to be determined by the coroner’s office, but officers do not suspect foul play.A representative at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said that an individual was found in a residence on 29th Street in Los Angeles, but his identity has not been confirmed. He said that it could take several weeks to determine a cause of death because the autopsy will likely need to include a toxicology report.NBC Los Angeles reported that according to the coroner’s office, Kyaw died of “acute alcohol toxicity.” A representative of the coroner’s office told the Daily Trojan, however, that the rumors of alcohol poisoning that have surfaced are unsubstantiated.Dean James G. Ellis said in the statement that Kyaw was a sophomore from Singapore who was involved in Marshall programs such as last spring’s Learning about International Commerce (LINC) trip to Budapest.“This loss has hit our community particularly hard, as Roy’s older brother is a senior at Marshall,” Ellis said in the statement.Ellis urged Marshall students who knew Kyaw to contact Associate Dean Kim West, their advisor or counselors in Student Counseling Services or the Center for Work and Family Life for support.last_img read more

LeoVegas bringing the hygge with Danish entry

first_img Björn Nilsson: How Triggy is delivering digestible data through pre-set triggers August 28, 2020 Share Related Articles Kambi takes full control of LeoVegas sportsbook portfolio August 26, 2020 Submit Altenar: Supporting expansion plans in Denmark and Portugal August 20, 2020 StumbleUpon Share Last week, LeoVegas launched its LeoVegas Sport product into the Danish market.Having been granted a Danish licence, LeoVegas will now offer around 100,000 betting games daily in more than 40 different sports in Denmark.LeoVegas Group CEO Gustaf Hagman stated: “The launch of LeoVegas’ casino has been very successful and LeoVegas has established itself as a brand in Denmark. We see a clear growth potential for Sports and strengthening, with today’s launch, our offer in the Danish market. Our goal is to offer Denmark’s fastest and most engaging sports gaming experience”.“In parallel with the launch of Sport, we have invested in our Live Casino where we now offer the market’s best live experience with the widest product range and exclusive tables for LeoVegas customers.With these launches, we strengthen LeoVegas’ offer in the Danish market.”This is excellent timing for the company’s launch with the start of the Danish Superligaen on the 14th of July. Football will naturally be a major market for LeoVegas Sport in Denmark and the opportunity to make activations with the national top flight are numerous.The bookmaker has already been busy this summer with a two year double sponsorship (shirt and title) of Championship club Brentford FC and a three year principal partnership deal with Norwich City. Away from football it is also running a ‘Summer of Tennis’ campaign with lots of free bets and the ultimate prize of a Mercedes SLC.The acquisition of a Danish sports license further strengthens LeoVegas’ position as a leading player focusing on regulated markets. It is the latest in the growing LeoVegas license collection which already boasts Malta, Great Britain, Italy and Ireland.last_img read more