“How many prosecutions will it take before Albany gives the people of New York the honest government they deserve?” asks U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara after the convictions of Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo followed this with a self-serving statement saying that the “convictions of former Speaker Silver and former Majority Leader Skelos should be a wake-up call for the Legislature, and it must stop standing in the way of needed reforms. The justice system worked,” Mr. Cuomo continued. “However, more must be done and will be pursued as part of my legislative agenda.”
Perhaps Cuomo has not realized that this may be a wake-up call for him? Two of Bharara’s ‘three men in the Albany room’ will now be ratting him out to get reduced sentences. Cuomo’s goose would appear to be cooking though it may not be ready for carving for some time to come given the time the two rats will need to spill Coumo’s beans and save their own skins.
Who else is cooperating?
Remember Jay Savino who at one time was employed doing Clarkstown’s tax certeriori work after Town Attorney Mele claimed she couldn’t come up with his resume? Gromack claimed he didn’t know how Savino’s name came to her attention even though he lived around the corner from the supervisor.
Savino was convicted of accepting a bribe outside Spark’s Steakhouse in Manhattan where John Gotti fired shots into mob boss Paul Castellano. Castellano expired in the street and Savino expired in Town Hall nearly as rapidly as Clarkstown’s tax cert attorney.
Gromack had hired Savino, who at the time was the Bronx GOP Chairman, into a patronage job in Clarkstown at the request of ex-Rockland County Chairman Republican Vinnie Reda. Reda expired as the Republican Party’s Chairman with ‘shots’ being fired at him concerning allegations of missing Republican Party funds.
That was all part of Clarkstown’s past political incestuousness involving also the patronage jobs for ex-County Legislator, Frank Sparaco, who was convicted of election crimes, fired from his second patronage job, sentenced to time in jail, and has now expired as a Rockland County politician and power broker.
Savino admitted that he was living in Rockland County while voting in the Bronx and chairing the Bronx Republican party. He testified at the federal corruption trial of former New York City Councilman, Daniel Halloran, detailing Halloran’s role in a bizarre scheme to get Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith on the Republican ballot for mayor of New York City. Halloran was convicted.
Savino, who did legal work for Clarkstown until his April 2013 arrest, is apparently still cooperating with federal authorities hoping to get probation. He faces up to 30 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines call for between two and seven years.
Savino, who remains free on $250,000 bond, served as a cooperating witness against the Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret. The mayor and deputy mayor have both been convicted of corruption and have been sentenced.
Former New York State Senate leader Malcolm Smith was sentenced to seven years for bribing New York City Republican Party leaders and for his role in obtaining New York State funding for the Spring Valley real-estate project in exchange for cash bribes paid on his behalf to the New York City Republican Party officials. Queens County GOP Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone was sentenced to 42 months for receiving bribes and witness tampering.
Yet today Savino remains unsentenced. Why? The only logical conclusion is that his cooperation continues and there are further trials in our local neighborhood in which he will be required to give future testimony.
U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara, subpoenaed the ethics filings of Rockland County personnel including those of Supervisor Alex Gromack. Gromack failed to disclose compensation that he received from Richard Brega Jr.’s bus company, which has been embroiled in a number of suspicious and controversial incidents in Rockland County. Richard Brega’s low and mid-level employees contributed thousands of dollars to try to get New Square representative Ilan Schoenberger elected as County Executive several years ago. The total financial contributions to Schoenberger’s campaign exceeded fifty thousand dollars from Mr. Brega, his family and his employees. Two of Brega’s Customer Service Advisors and a Parts Manager contributed $4,000 each. Even more disturbing, was that all of the contributions were sunken into the Schoenberger war chest over a mere three day period with many donated on the same date.
Further, in a public statement before the Clarkstown Town Board, Rockland County Democratic Chairwoman, Kristen Stavisky, publicly revealed that Bharara had also subpoenaed documents from the Town of Clarkstown.
Then we have the situation with Melissa Reimer in Ramapo whose cooperation with the FBI appears to have been wrapped up.
And so we are left to wonder if Preet Bharara, in this hiatus period between the Shelly and Skelos convictions and a possible Cuomo bombshell arrest, is ready for a news conference in Rockland County? All indications are that one or more corruption cases in Ramapo and/or Clarkstown has been wrapped up.
Meanwhile one convicted politico, who claims he spends his time washing dishes in his family’s restaurant, The Whiskey Kitchen on Route 303, remains to be sentenced.
His name is Jay Savino. He is the joker who holds several aces in his hand and who – with an assassin’s smile – appears ready to bet a big pile of Clarkstown’s poker chips in keeping himself out of prison.