Thursday, September 11, 2008

New York State Legislator Indicted


"Assemblyman Seminerio put his office up for sale to those willing to pay the right price," Mr. Garcia said. "The absence of genuine transparency in Albany provides cover for officials seeking to enrich themselves at the public expense."

Mr. Seminerio's assembly office declined to comment, and neither he nor his attorney could be reached yesterday.

Mr. Seminerio, a Democrat who served as a corrections officer before joining the Assembly 30 years ago, allegedly connected his "consulting" clients with powerful government officials who could further their interests. The U.S. attorney's office refused to identify the government contacts involved by name, instead describing them as various legislators, including committee chairs, and high-ranking agency officials. There is no indication in the complaint that they knew Mr. Seminerio was illegally profiting from their relationships with him.

Mr. Seminerio's alleged clients — some of whom were undercover or secretly cooperating with prosecutors — included executives involved in health care, corrections, and real estate. For example, prosecutors said, he promised to advocate a hospital's interests by speaking with an Assembly committee chair about the state's health care budget.

"I could talk to anybody in Albany," he said in an excerpt of the conversation, which was recorded by the FBI. "I'll take care of you."