Feds Probe NY Political Boss's Extra Income

Sheldon Silver's connection to law firm is a little murky
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser User
Posted Dec 30, 2014 10:02 AM CST
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, talks to reporters in a hallway at the Capitol on March 28, 2014, in Albany, NY.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
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(Newser) – Federal prosecutors are probing New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's wallet, which they say is padded with a little more cash than can be easily explained, the New York Times reports. Authorities say Silver received "substantial payments" from tax certiorari firm Goldberg & Iryami PC for a decade, but he didn't report it as required on financial disclosure forms. Further troubling, Silver apparently knows little about tax certiorari, and his role at his own firm—Weitz & Luxenberg—is murky. Silver, a personal injury lawyer, recently reported $650,000 in 2013 income from his outside work, but the Times reports no evidence that he represented clients in state or federal court. He's not obligated by law to divulge any details. Silver's legislative salary is $121,000.

This investigation had its roots with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's short-lived anti-corruption Moreland Commission, meant to scrutinize lawmakers' outside earnings in search of payoffs disguised as income, as well as ferret out conflicts of interest. Silver's connection with Goldberg & Iryami caught the feds' attention because the firm has sought real estate tax reductions on suspicious properties. These include Silver's own co-op, the Hillman Housing Corporation, buildings in his Manhattan district, and one housing his campaign committee, Friends of Silver. The longtime speaker is somewhat popular with federal investigations—a previous one looked into his loans to a litigation funding company, and another examined his relationship with a lobbyist. Click for the Times' full report. (Rick Perry's alleged misdeeds recently earned him a mugshot.)

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