The NY Times and other news outlets are reporting that Bronx City Councilman Larry Seabrook was convicted by a federal jury on 9 of 12 charges corruption charges. The first trial ended in a hung jury.
City Councilman Larry B. Seabrook was found guilty on Thursday of orchestrating a broad corruption scheme to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in city money to his relatives, friends and a girlfriend through a network of nonprofit organizations that he controlled. [NY Times]
Seabrook’s felony conviction now forces his ouster from the City Council and triggers a non-partisan special election. I feel sorry for Larry and his constituents, especially for some of the past good works he did on their behalf.
After running in the 1980s against Vincent Marchiselli as champion of black self-determination, it’s a shame that Councilman Seabrook now goes out a convicted criminal accused of public corruption. I hope his example is not another object lesson only to ignored by those public officials and CBO leaders with their own hands in the cookie jar and thumbs on the scale of justice.
“Councilman Larry Seabrook,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement, “abused the power of his office to influence public contracts and to fund his own corrupt friends and family plan. Today’s conviction ensures that the councilman will pay for betraying the public trust. Rooting out public corruption and restoring the public’s faith in honest government remains a vital mission of this office.” [NY Times]
A few months ago, in a NY Post OpEd (NY’s grim gauntlet of graft), I noted that “the federal corruption trial of ex-City Councilman Larry Seabrook got under way as the case of Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. went to the jury in the same Manhattan courthouse. And others of my former colleagues are on their way there. Defendants may have to take tickets like in a deli.
New York politics sometimes seems like one unending narrative of corruption. It fills me with sadness — and, increasingly, increasingly, anger – to see so many people I’ve known and worked with descend to this.”
Kudos to US Attorney Preet Bharara for seeking to maintain integrity in public office and holding crooked lawmakers accountable.