16 April 2015

Things are Getting Very Interesting in New York State Politics

As you may recall, the Speaker of the New York Assembly, Sheldon "Shelly" Silver was indicted for corruption, and it looks like the prosecutors have a pretty good case. (See here)

Basically, Sheldon Silver has been one of the "3 Guys in a Room," (Governor, the State Assembly speaker and the State Senate majority leader) who have made pretty much all the decisions in Albany for a very long time, over 20 years, and it is pretty clear that he knows where the bodies are buried.

What's more, it appears that the prosecutor, US Attorney Preet Bharara, is upping the pressure, specifically by indicting his son-in-law for financial fraud:
A son-in-law of the former State Assembly speaker was arrested on Monday and accused of defrauding investors out of $7 million, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court.

The defendant, Marcello Trebitsch, 37, of Brooklyn, told investors that he would use their money to trade in securities through his investment fund, and promised them double-digit returns with very low risk, according to a statement from the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Trebitsch’s wife, Michelle Trebitsch, is the daughter of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, the former speaker who has been indicted on corruption charges.

Agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Mr. Trebitsch, and he appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Manhattan. He was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud.

The complaint said that Ms. Trebitsch, a certified public accountant, was a co-owner and managing partner of the investment fund, Allese Capital. She has not been charged.
They don't need to charge her. (Yet)

The US Attorney can seize Silver's daughter's family assets under RICO, and that would have the effect of impoverishing his daughter and his grandchildren.

Also note that Michelle Trebitsch was not just the "Co-Owner" of the firm, she is a CPA, and she did the books, so you can be sure that Shelly is under a lot of pressure to roll over right now.

If Silver rolls on someone to protect himself, his daughter, and his grandchildren, it has to be someone big, i.e. one of the two other "Gusy in a room", the Senate Majority Leader or the Governor.

We are now getting reports that evidence against Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is being presented to a federal grand jury.

What's more, it appears that Skelos' son is being targeted as well.

So, it appears that the Feds are trying to turn Skelos into a cooperating witness as well.

This would imply that they are after Cuomo as well, and that he may be their ultimate goal.

This is what makes the reports that Andrew Cuomo made a tidy $180 for every copy of his memoir that was sold, interesting:
In the first week after its release in October, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's memoir, "All Things Possible," sold almost impossibly poorly. According to Nielsen Bookscan, fewer than 1,000 people picked up a copy that week. And as of last month, the grand total of all sales was at 3,008. (Plus 13 audiobooks.)

But before you go complaining that being a writer is unrewarding work, know that Cuomo's time and effort was worth it -- financially, at least.

According to his tax release, made public on Wednesday, Cuomo reported earning $377,000 in income on the book in 2014. That's apparently on top of the $188,333 he got as an advance that was reported in his 2013 filing, meaning that Cuomo seems to have made north of $565,000 for his book though last month.

Or: Nearly $188 per hardcover book.
While I have no doubt that reporter Philip Bump did his homework on the above story, I have a feeling that someone pointed him in the general direction.

I strongly suspect that whoever it was, they had a close relationship to US Attorney Preet Bharara.

If Cuomo gets indicted, it would amuse me no end.


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