‘Tis the time of year for remembering both the good and the bad. And when it comes to politics in New York, there are plenty of both.
While some New York politicians spent the year serving their constituents with moral aplomb, a handful of pols in the city and state were particularly rotten. In some cases, these pols have already stepped down as a result of their naughtiness; in others, their seeming improprieties are still a subject of debate (either by a jury of their peers, or an actual jury). See below for our list of the top six (allegedly) naughtiest New York politicians of 2011.
(D-former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, New York’s 9th district)
Tenure: 1999 – June 21, 2011
The dirt: The youngest person ever to be elected to the New York City Council, the recently married Anthony Weiner became a tabloid poster boy over the summer after getting caught engaging in inappropriate relationships with women via text message, email and Twitter (his wife Huma Abedin was pregnant at the time). The final straw was an intercepted cell phone picture of his namesake sent via Twitter to a college student. After brushing off the issue for several weeks, he eventually ‘fessed up, adding his usual flare for words: “I’m not sure it rises — no pun intended — to that level,” he said of a proposed investigation into the lewd missives; and, in reference to his initial brusque response to the reports of the inappropriate Twitter photo, Weiner said, “I was perhaps, forgive me, a little stiff yesterday.”
(D-State Senator, District 27, Brooklyn)
Tenure: 1994 – Dec. 20, 2011
The dirt: In March, federal prosecutors brought a host of bribery charges, which they characterized as a “broad-based bribery racket,” against the South Brooklyn senator, accusing him of raking in $1 million in exchange for official state favors. Seven others were also indicted, including William Boyland Jr. (see below) and Dr. Michael S. Turano, a gynecologist who lived at Kruger’s address and who was authorized to sign checks for Friends of Carl, the political committee that runs his campaigns. Kruger pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 20, reported The New York Times, and faces up to 20 years in prison. Kruger had resigned from the State Senate shortly before his plea, leaving his seat, which is eyed by both Republicans and Democrats, up for grabs.
William Boyland, Jr.
(D-New York State Assembly, 55th District)
Tenure: 2003 – present
The dirt: Just three weeks after William Boyland Jr. was acquitted of Manhattan corruption charges linked to a supposedly no-show hospital job, the assemblyman allegedly solicited $250,000 in bribes from federal undercover agents to pay for lawyers for his former case. The Brooklyn assemblyman has already received a holiday gift from the public: he’s now receiving taxpayer-funded legal representation on the grounds he doesn’t have the funds to pay for his own legal team.
(D-City Councilman, District 12, Bronx)
Tenure: 2002 – present
The dirt: Seabrook had been accused of 12 counts of soliciting bribes, money laundering and fraud. The charges included directing more than $1 million in taxpayer money to his nonprofit organizations through fraudulent schemes, more than half of which he allegedly then funneled to family and friends. Another count charged him with accepting thousands of dollars in illegal gratuities from a businessman who he helped to secure a Yankee Stadium contract. And, oh yeah, he’s also been accused of forging a $177 receipt for a bagel and a soda. Seabrook’s case ended in a mistrial in December because of a hung jury. He will be retried.
(D-New York City Comptroller)
Tenure: Jan. 1, 2010 – present
The dirt: It remains to be seen what will become of the current city comptroller and once-promising 2013 mayoral candidate, but the federal investigation into John Liu’s campaign donors has raised doubts about his leadership and, well, ability to supervise the city’s finances. An investigation by the New York Times questioned whether some of his donors existed and found that he failed to comply with a requirement to disclose names of “bundlers,” the inside guys who collect candidate contributions from friends, family and others.
(R-former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, New York’s 26th district)
Tenure: 2009 – Feb. 9, 2011
The dirt: The former House Rep. from Western New York bared all before resigning at the beginning of the year in the wake of a shirtless email fiasco. In what now appears fairly tame compared to “WeinerGate,” Lee, a married, two-term Republican, emailed a shirtless photo of himself in response to a Maryland woman’s craigslist ad for “women seeking men.” Upon discovering the identity of the politician — Lee said he was 39, divorced and a lobbyist while he is in truth 46, married and a U.S. Representative — the woman sent the details to the gossip website Gawker. The story ran a few weeks later and Lee resigned the day it — and his political career — broke.