November 30, 2015

Former Trustee Guilty of Corruption Charges

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Sheldon Silver — the former speaker of the New York State Assembly and a former ex-officio member of Cornell’s Board of Trustees — was convicted on federal corruption charges Monday.

Silver, 71,  was found guilty of seven counts of corruption that include charges of extortion, money laundering and honest service fraud arising from schemes in which he attained nearly $4 million in exchange for using his political power to benefit a cancer researcher and two real estate developers, according to The New York Times.

Pg-1-Sheldon-Silver-Courtesy-of-NY-Times

Former speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver — who was also a Cornell trustee — leaves federal court Monday. (Robert Stolarik / The New York Times)

In addition, Silver is guilty of using his position, which he has held since 1994, to obtain large payments to a law firm that specializes in advocating reductions of New York City real estate taxes, according to The Times.

Because of his conviction, Silver must forfeit his legislative seat, which he has held for nearly four decades.

The federal investigators, led by Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, charged that Silver did not disclose the payments from the firm Goldberg & Iryani on his yearly financial disclosure filings.

The jury came to a decision on their third day of deliberations following a five week trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Silver is the highest-profile case of a large number of state lawmakers who have been convicted on corruption charges by Bharara’s office.

”Today, Sheldon Silver got justice, and at long last, so did the people of New York,” Bharara said in a statement released after the verdict.

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