After a rocky trial involving several delays and political mis-steps, former state comptroller Alan Hevesi was convicted of taking kickbacks and bribes involving the state’s $150 billion pension fund.
Hevesi pleaded guilty last year to accepting $1 million in gifts from Markstone Capitol Partner LP in exchange for approving a $250 million investment in the firm from the state’s Common Retirement Fund. Hevesi was the sole regulator of the state pension funds assets.
Hevesi, 72, will not appeal the sentencing, said his attorney, Bradley Simon. Simon also asked at sentencing that his client be spared prison time because he suffers from diabetes, anxiety and heart disease.
During the trial, sentencing was delayed because of Hevesi’s health, and he spent his first day of incarceration in the infirmary of the Ulster Correctional Facility.
Hevesi’s son, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills, also argued in a two-page letter to the court sent late last month that sentencing should be lenient, given his father’s poor health.
Sentencing was further delayed when Justice Lewis Bart Stone declined to rule on the case after Simon claimed Stone had a close relationship with the attorney’s father.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Hevesi was “appropriately punished.”
“Today’s sentencing decision will help acheive my office’s principal objective of restoring New Yorkers’ faith in their state government,” he said.
Hevesi admitted to accepting gifts, including family trips to Israel and Italy, from venture capitalist Elliott Broidy, who pleaded guilty in December 2009. Hank Morris, Hevesi’s top-political aide, was sentenced last year. Hevesi was the seventh person to plead guilty in the case, launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo while he was serving as Attorney General.
In a brief statement, Hevesi said he was deeply sorry for his conduct, and that he would “never forgive himself.”
Hevesi was a state Assemblyman from 1971 to 1994, and the New York City comptroller from 1994 to 2002, when he was elected to state comptroller.
With good behavior, he could be out of prison in one year.