Sheldon "Shelly" Silver, the powerful Modern Orthodox New York State Assembly Speaker, is reportedly under federal investigation for taking money from a local real estate tax law firm, not declaring the payments, and then using his influence in the assembly to favor the law firm and its clients. Silver is close to the former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty William E. Rapfogel, who helped steal millions from the anti-poverty agency and direct some of those millions to local politicians. Silver has not yet been implicated in that scheme. Rapfogel is serving time in state prison for the thefts.
Above: Sheldon "Shelly" Silver
The New York Times, which broke the story a few minutes ago, reports:
Federal authorities are investigating substantial payments made to the State Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, by a small law firm that seeks real estate tax reductions for commercial and residential properties in New York City, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have found that the law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, P.C., has paid Mr. Silver the sums over roughly a decade, but that he did not list that income on his financial disclosure forms, as required, the people said.
The prosecutors, from the office of the United States attorney, Preet Bharara, and the F.B.I. agents were seeking to determine precisely what Mr. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, has been doing for the payments, the people said. Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and Mr. Bharara’s office declined to comment.…
Read it all here.
[Hat Tip: Devorah.]