Former state Senator Shirley Huntley wore a wire for the government, indicating more corruption arrests could be imminent. The news comes just a few weeks after complaints were unsealed against public officials, including state Senator Malcolm Smith and former City Councilman Dan Halloran. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Earlier this year, former New York state Senator Shirley Huntley pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $87,000 from her nonprofit in Queens that received public money.
More details of that scheme have now come to light, revealing that Huntley was wearing a wire, and may have implicated others.
"If one person is wearing a wire, there's always the possibility a second was," said Mark Peters, a former corruption prosecutor. "And what often happens is, someone wears a wire, prosecutors get information on somebody else, and before they arrest or indict that somebody else, they go to that individual and see if they'll wear a wire. And you build the case brick by brick."
Last month, it was revealed that former Assemblyman Nelson Castro also wore a wire for the government, helping to implicate Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and perhaps others. In a separate case, state Senator Malcolm Smith and former City Councilman Dan Halloran are accused of trying to fix the mayor's race. And late Friday, Assemblyman William Boyland was charged with mail fraud.
"We've had corruption prosecutions before, and sadly, there's still corruption in Albany," Peters said. "So I don't think we're done, and I don't think we're close to done."
In the Huntley case, the former senator is accused of leaning on the Port Authority to help an unnamed businessman expand his business at Kennedy Airport. The suggestion came from another state Senator who is also unnamed. According to court documents implicating Huntley, "Between June 2012 and August 2012, the defendant, while acting at the direction of the government, made numerous recordings of meetings with nine different people including seven elected officials."
"It shows that corruption is way out of control in Albany," said Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York. "It's really a shocking set of circumstances. And it shows that as far as Albany's campaign finances are concerned, nobody is watching the store."
Governor Andrew Cuomo is hoping to pass a number of initiatives to clean up Albany this year, including the repeal of the so-called Wilson Pakula law, which allows cross-party endorsements of candidates by party bosses, and changing the criminal code to make those convicted of corruption face stricter penalties.