Dean Skelos Steps Down as N.Y. State Senate Leader After Arrest
ALBANY, N.Y., May 11 (UPI) — New York State Sen. Dean Skelos stepped down as the Senate majority leader Monday one week after he and his son, Adam Skelos, were arrested on federal corruption charges.
Sen. John Flanagan, a Republican from Suffolk County, was elected to take over the leadership post.
Skelos, a Republican representing part of Nassau County, announced the move in response to mounting calls for him to step down from the post from fellow members of the Senate.
He is accused of encouraging companies to do business with his son in exchange for showing them preferential treatment.
The father and son face charges of conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, extortion under color of official right, and solicitation of bribes and gratuity. The charges were filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
“Dean Skelos’s support for certain infrastructure projects and legislation was often based not on what was good for his constituents or good for New York, but rather on what was good for his son’s bank account,” said Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Investigators are targeting the Long Island Republican over his relationship with an Arizona contracting company that hired Adam Skelos. The company, AbTech Industries, was awarded a lucrative storm-water treatment contract despite not having submitted the lowest bid.
“I am innocent of the charges leveled against me. I am not saying I am just not guilty, I am saying that I am innocent. I fully expect to be exonerated by a public jury trial,” Dean Skelos said in reaction to the charges.
Skelos is the second of three top leaders in the New York government to step down in less than four months.
Silver, 70, was accused in a five-count indictment of “using the power and influence of his official position to obtain for himself millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.” It said he allegedly was involved in a scheme “to induce real estate developers with business before the state” to employ a real estate law firm with which he was involved that arranged payments to him for referrals to the firm, adding “There is probable cause to believe that Silver received approximately $4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position.”