Last Updated:3:52 AM, December 10, 2011
Posted:10:50 PM, December 9, 2011
The endlessly fascinating federal corruption trial of Bronx City Councilman Larry Seabrook ended in a mistrial — the second straight embarrassing setback for US Attorney Preet Bharara.
The prosecutor saw Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. skate on bribery charges last month. Boyland, of course, was promptly re-arrested on additional bribery counts just weeks later.
As for Seabrook, the jury deadlocked on 12 counts, including charges that the councilman received “illegal gratuities” from contractors at the new Yankee Stadium.
Indeed, boiler-company owner Leon Eastmondadmittedto paying Seabrook $40,000 between 2006-2009, but said these were normal donations for “help [Seabrook] gave the community.”
And, what sort of “help”?
Well, Yankee exec Lonn Trost testified that he hired Eastmond’s company for $13,000 above the lowest bid to fulfill a minority-owned firm quota that was crafted out of a “community-benefits agreement” that the Yankees were practically forced into with local “leaders” — including Seabrook — if the stadium was to be built.
Besides contracts, the Yankee CBA required the team to shell out nearly $1 million a year in cash, equipment and game tickets to local groups and businesses.
CBAs are a tool for local politicians forever seeking to gain access to public and private cash that they can then use asde factoslush funds.
Similarly, prosecutors also accused Seabrook of steering more than $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to various nonprofits he controlled.
Bharara has already announced that he plans to retry Seabrook.
We wish him well, but he’s going to have to do a better job of convincing New York juries of the guilt of the corrupt politicians in their midst.
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