On Oct. 28, 2010, Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. allegedly collected a $3,800 bribe from an undercover FBI agent at a fundraiser in Brooklyn. But state records show Boyland was collecting from the taxpayers, too – by claiming travel, food and lodging expenses as if he were on state business in Albany.
The latest federal charges against Boyland unsealed yesterday, barely three weeks after he beat an earlier corruption case, shine a spotlight on what prosecutors claim is a brazen pattern of trading government actions for cash payments.
But the 29-page complaint also details undercover agents’ secretly recorded conversations with Boyland in hotels, restaurants and his district office in New York City – on the same days he was claiming $165 in taxpayer-funded Albany expenses.
Boyland claimed $165 again Nov. 3, 2010, for an overnight stay in Albany, when the complaint alleges he was actually at a Brooklyn restaurant, meeting with an undercover agent and a carnival operator who was secretly working with the FBI.
“We pretty much have a green light here guys,” Boyland allegedly told them about a crooked deal to get carnival approvals through the city Parks Department. “We can pretty much do what we need to do here.”
While Assembly members are not required to attend legislative sessions in order to receive their $165 per day per diems, they are required to be at least 50 miles from their home district, doing legislative business, and staying overnight, according to Assembly rules.
Assembly members have said their expense reports operate on an “honor system,” because the reports are rarely audited, and no one in a position of power compares their attendance records to their payment requests.
Boyland has received more than $212,000 in travel expenses since he was first elected in 2002, claiming $35,000 last year on top of his $79,500 salary. He had the Assembly’s worst attendance record this year, missing 40 of 60 session days, yet claimed Albany expenses on days when his Facebook postings showed him elsewhere – and on 22 days when the Assembly marked him absent.
Read the full post at The Capitol.