New York Senate leader Skelos, son charged with corruption

New York Senate Leader Skelos, Son Charged with Corruption

(Reuters) - Federal authorities charged New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son on Monday with engaging in a corruption scheme, in the latest of a string of criminal cases against politicians in the state's capital of Albany.

Skelos, a 67-year-old Republican, and his 32-year-old son, Adam, were named in a six-count criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that included charges of conspiracy and extortion.

Prosecutors said Skelos pressured a real estate developer and an environmental technology company to pay his son more than $200,000 in exchange for his support on infrastructure and legislation.

The men surrendered to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday morning. They were expected to later appear in court.

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Dean Skelos and Adam Skelos corruption scandal
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New York Senate leader Skelos, son charged with corruption
Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, center, and son Adam Skelos, right, exit federal court with attorney G. Robert Gage Jr., left, in New York, U.S., on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. The Skeloses were found guilty on all eight counts of corruption. Photographer: Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A combination photo shows: Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (L) exiting the Manhattan federal court house in New York on December 8, 2015 and his son Adam Skelos (R) exiting the Manhattan federal court house in New York, U.S. on May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photos
Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (L) exits the Manhattan federal court house in New York City, U.S., May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos exit the Manhattan federal court house in New York City, U.S., May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R) exits the Manhattan federal court house in New York December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos arrives at the Manhattan federal court house in New York City, U.S. May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York speaks to the media during a press conference in New York May 4, 2015. New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, was taken into custody by federal authorities on Monday morning as part of a public corruption matter, an FBI spokesman said. Skelos and his son, Adam, were seen by a Reuters photographer walking into the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in lower Manhattan earlier in the day following reports that the two men would be charged criminally. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
New York State Senator Dean Skelos arrives at the Jacob Javits Federal Building in New York May 4, 2015. New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, was taken into custody by federal authorities on Monday morning as part of a public corruption matter, an FBI spokesman said. Skelos and his son, Adam, were seen by a Reuters photographer walking into the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in lower Manhattan earlier in the day following reports that the two men would be charged criminally. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, right, arrives at federal court in New York, U.S., on Thursday, July 12, 2018. Prosecutors say the once-powerful Republican politician badgered companies that needed his political sway to funnel more than $300,000 to his son through consulting work and a no-show job. Photographer: Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Adam Skelos, son of former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, exits federal court in New York, U.S., on Friday, July 13, 2018. Prosecutors say the once-powerful Republican politician badgered companies that needed his political sway to funnel more than $300,000 to his son through consulting work and a no-show job. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Adam Skelos walks into a Manhattan court for his sentencing on May 12, 2016 in New York, New York. Skelos and his father, former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, are scheduled to be sentenced for eight felony counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Adam Skelos walks into a Manhattan court for his sentencing on May 12, 2016 in New York, New York. Skelos and his father, former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, are scheduled to be sentenced for eight felony counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos walks into a Manhattan court for his sentencing on May 12, 2016 in New York, New York. Skelos and his son Adam are scheduled to be sentenced for eight felony counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, right, arrives at federal court in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Skelos and his son will be retried on corruption charges after their previous convictions were tossed on appeal. Photographer: Louis Lanzano/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos walks into a Manhattan court for his sentencing on May 12, 2016 in New York, New York. Skelos and his son Adam are scheduled to be sentenced for eight felony counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos speaks to a member of the media while exiting federal court in New York, U.S., on Friday, July 6, 2018. Prosecutors say the once-powerful Republican politician badgered companies that needed his political sway to funnel more than $300,000 to his son through consulting work and a no-show job. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Adam Skelos walks into a Manhattan court for his sentencing on May 12, 2016 in New York, New York. Skelos and his father, former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, are scheduled to be sentenced for eight felony counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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Skelos said in a statement he was "innocent of the charges leveled against me." His son's lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

In the last decade, 22 legislators have been charged in Albany for corruption, according to New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice.

Then-New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, was charged for corruption offenses in January. This is the first time in recent history that leaders of both of legislative chambers are simultaneously facing charges.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Skelos' case showed that "public corruption is a deep-seated problem" in New York.

Monday's complaint built upon evidence secured through cooperating witnesses, wire taps and search warrants.

According to the complaint, beginning in 2010, Skelos and his son pressured a real estate developer to pay Adam Skelos, a commissioned title insurance salesman, while the company was lobbying for legislation.

Payments included $20,000 disguised as a commission and $4,000 per month from an environmental technology firm tied to the developer seeking to win government-funded contracts, the complaint said.

Campaign finance records indicate the unnamed developer was Glenwood Management. Its lawyer declined to comment.

The complaint's description of the environmental company matched a subsidiary of Arizona-based AbTech Holdings Inc (ABHD.PK).

AbTech said on Monday it is cooperating with authorities.

In 2013 AbTech secured a $12 million stormwater systems project with New York's Nassau County. The complaint said while the contract was under consideration, Skelos and his son threatened to block it unless payments were increased, resulting in Adam Skelos receiving $10,000 per month.

By February, the company had paid Adam Skelos $198,000, the complaint said, while Dean Skelos took steps to help the company.

(Additional reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang)

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