Dean G. Skelos, 70, former New York Senate Leader of State Senate’s Republican majority, is convicted of corruption in retrial
Jury in Federal District Court in finds Dean Skelos and his 36-year-old son, Adam, guilty of bribery, extortion and conspiracy on Tuesday
Prosecutors said Dean Skelos, had wielded his political clout to pressure business executives to send his son around $300,000 for a patchwork of no-show or low-show jobs
Dean and Adam Skelos were convicted back in 2015, that conviction was overturned after a Supreme Court ruling narrowed the definition of corruption
Dean G. Skelos, 70, once one of the most powerful political figures in New York State, was found guilty of bribery, extortion and conspiracy on Tuesday, marking the fourth time in five months that a major federal case targeting corruption in Albany has ended in a conviction.
The jury in Federal District Court in Manhattan deliberated for three days before finding Mr. Skelos and his son, Adam, guilty.
prosecutors said the elder Skelos, the former leader of the State Senate’s Republican majority, had wielded his political clout to pressure business executives to send his son around $300,000 for a patchwork of no-show or low-show jobs, to his son, Adam Skelos. 36.
A Manhattan Federal Court jury found Dean Skelos and his son guilty Tuesday of using his powerful position as state Senate majority leader to strong-arm businesses into giving his son no-show jobs.
Skelos, who once was one of the “three men in the room” who controlled Albany, along with the Governor and former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, will do time alongside his troubled, high-stung son, Adam.
The Long Island Republican faced bribery and extortion charges and were both found guilty on all counts.
It was the second time the father-son duo were convicted. Dean Skelos, 70, was sentenced in 2016 to five years in prison and Adam Skelos, 36, got six and half years. They were retried due to a subsequent Supreme Court decision that changed the criminal elements of corruption. – A similar situation played out with former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, [D- Manhattan], who was also indicted in 2015 and convicted of fraud.
Both Mr. Skelos and his son were convicted on those charges in 2015, but their convictions were overturned last year after the Supreme Court limited the definition of public corruption.
The conviction came in spite of the former majority leader’s decision to testify in his own defense, a choice he declined during the original trial.
In three days on the witness stand, Skelos had painted an emotional portrait of his relationship with his son, declaring that he had acted as any loving parent would have and denying that he had ever traded his office.
The Skelos father and son duo were undone by the perversion of a simple fatherly impulse, prosecutors said: ‘There was little that the elder Skelos would not do, or ask, for his son.’
They used the father’s position as majority leader to pressure a Manhattan developer, an environmental technology company and a medical malpractice insurer to provide Adam Skelos with roughly $300,000 via consulting work, a no-show job and a direct payment of $20,000.
Skelos father and son pair, face up to the press after their initial conviction three years ago
‘Terrible employee’ Adam Skelos [photo], was described by his dad as possessing a “ temperament, [that] sometimes could get a bit abrasive, it could get a little ugly”
Dean Skelos had been one of the most powerful men in state government until his arrest in 2015, and his subsequent conviction. The verdict resulted in the majority leader’s expulsion from the State Legislature, where he had served for more than three decades.
According to prosecutors, soon after ascending to the Senate leadership in 2010, Mr. Skelos began hounding executives at several different companies to send money to his son. All the companies were seeking legislation that could make or break their business prospects, and Mr. Skelos made clear that he would kill the bills unless the executives complied with his demands, prosecutors said.
By 2015, the companies had sent Adam Skelos roughly $300,000, ostensibly for consulting or employment contracts, even though he did not bring in any clients, often did not show up to work and even threatened to smash in a supervisor’s head, prosecutors said.
Skelos, while conceding that he had asked the officials for help, testified that those requests were never tied to his position as majority leader. He said he had asked as a friend and father, downplayed his influence in Albany, and recounted his attempts to steer Adam Skelos to success, despite younger man’s temper, volatility and, at times, open hostility.
Prosecutors accused Mr. Skelos of repeating the repertoire he had leaned upon for decades in the State Legislature.
The second time around, the elder Skelos took the stand in his own defense, choking up while describing himself as a loving father trying to help the son who had been a screw-up for much of his adult life.
The gambit, which painted Adam Skelos as a man-child, apparently backfired, he said.
“Quite frankly, I’ve asked a lot of people to help my son,” Skelos said on the stand. “If I had the opportunity to ask [somebody] to help Adam, I would.”
Officials from the medical malpractice insurer PRI, the real estate giant Glenwood Management, and a manufacturer of storm-water treatment products, Abtech, testified that they gave Adam Skelos cushy jobs because of his dad.
But Adam Skelos was a terrible employee, showing up to work late and failing to meet his employers’ low expectations. He even threatened to “smash in” the head of one boss, according to testimony.
“His temperament, sometimes he could get a bit abrasive,” Skelos admitted on the stand. “It could get a little ugly.”
Adam Skelos did not testify in his defense.
Skeptical prosecutors said Skelos was nothing more than a smooth-talking crooked politician who abused his power.
“Dean had power, enormous power, and every two years he swore an oath — an oath to use that power to represent the people who elected him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McKay told the jury in closing remarks. “He had the power to make or break companies with state legislation. That’s not just a father trying to help a son, that’s criminal.”