Bloomberg News

New York Councilman Convicted of Public Corruption

July 26, 2012

New York City Councilman Larry B. Seabrook was convicted of nine public corruption counts in a retrial in federal court in Manhattan and by law was immediately removed from office.

Seabrook, a Democrat who represented part of the Bronx, was found guilty today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan after two days of jury deliberations. His crimes included directing city money to “purportedly independent nonprofit organizations” that he controlled, prosecutors said.

Another jury deadlocked on the charges in December, leading to a mistrial.

“Councilman Larry Seabrook abused the power of his office,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Today’s conviction ensures that the councilman will pay for betraying the public trust.”

Seabrook is to be sentenced Jan. 8. The trial began June 20. The jury found the councilman not guilty of corrupt solicitation in connection with government business, using telephones to facilitate payments for official conduct, and money laundering.

Thanks to Prosecutors

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn thanked prosecutors and investigators for their “commitment to seeking justice.”

“Larry Seabrook has been convicted of crimes that display a galling abuse of the trust and confidence placed in public officials,” Quinn said in an e-mail.

Under New York law, an office is considered vacant once its holder is convicted of a felony or a crime involving a violation of his oath of office. The council’s website today listed the District 12 position held by Seabrook as vacant.

State law requires the mayor to issue a proclamation certifying a special election within three days of the creation of a vacancy. The election is to be held within 45 days, if practicable, said Jerry Goldfeder, a specialist in election law who served as special counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo when he was state attorney general.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg intends to certify a nonpartisan election for Nov. 6, this year’s general-election day, said Stu Loeser, a spokesman for the mayor. The seat, like all City Council positions, will then be open in 2013 under New York City’s usual partisan election system.

The district at that point will have new borders, as determined by the Districting Commission, Loeser said.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent company of Bloomberg News.

The case is U.S. v. Seabrook, 1:10-cr-00087, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Grannis in New York at egrannis@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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