Disgraced former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty Thursday to a single felony charge of second-degree official misconduct. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
Alan Hevesi walked right past a pool of cameras after pleading guilty Thursday to a single felony charge for steering state pension fund business to a friend in return for a million dollars in benefits.
Hevesi is now the highest ranking former state official to plead guilty in connection to a massive pay to play scandal being investigated by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Hevesi said he directed $250 million in pension fund business to a friend and political fundraiser. In return, he and his children received $75,000 worth of trips to places like Israel and Italy.
Hevesi also raked in $500,000 in political contributions and secured $380,000 in fees for a lobbyist pal.
In court, Hevesi said he deeply regretted his conduct and apologized to taxpayers. He is now cooperating with investigators.
For the first time, Hevesi also admitted that his longtime political consultant and confidant Hank Morris acted as a middle man and directed pension fund business to friends and political associates.
Morris has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting trial.
Hevesi's guilty plea comes nearly four years after he resigned as state comptroller and pleaded guilty to another felony for directing state workers to chauffeur his wife.
In a statement, Cuomo said, "He was solely charged with protecting our pension fund, but he exploited it for his personal benefit instead. With his guilty plea, we can now focus on
the process of restoring public trust in government."
Cuomo has made fighting public corruption a main issue in the governor's race, and will no doubt use Hevesi's guilty plea to bolster his case for higher office.
Current State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is not under investigation, according to Cuomo's office. As for Hevesi, he has surrendered his passport and is free on his own recognizance.
Hevesi will be back in court on December 16 for sentencing.
He faces a maximum of four years in prison, although it's possible he could spend no time behind bars.