Even dems now want him gone: Silver out on Monday; Morelle to serve as interim speaker / Assembly Dems jockey for Sheld on Silver’s speaker post / “Others Known And Unknown” In Fed’s Complaint Against Silver

Silver out on Monday; Morelle to serve as interim speaker

Jon Campbell and Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau 7:56 p.m. EST January 27, 2015

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle with fellow Democratic Assembly members behind him, pauses before talking to reporters at the Capitol about the arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Thursday.(Photo: Mike Groll/AP)

ALBANY – Assembly Democrats emerged Tuesday evening and announced that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will vacate his position as of Monday. Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle will serve as speaker until Feb. 10, when an election would be held.

The announcement comes after two days of closed-door meetings among Assembly Democrats on whether to oust Silver after he was arrested Thursday and charged in a federal kickback scheme.

Assembly Democrats agreed Monday night that Silver, who has held the post since 1994, could not remain and that they would seek to vote him out if he didn’t resign.

It appears the resolution is to push Silver out in time for session on Monday, when they will require rules changes to put in Morelle, the Rochester-area lawmaker. So either Silver will resign, or they would move to expel him.

Unable to come to a consensus on a permanent speaker, the Assembly agreed that Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, already second in command, would hold the post until the vote on Feb. 10.

Morelle, Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright and Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lentol are among the lawmakers in the mix to the permanent speaker. With the majority of members from New York City, Morelle would face an uphill fight to keep the job permanently.

"The conference wants to put this beyond us, and I understand that. So we’ve got candidates now who are starting to emerge, and there is going to be a discussion," said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Mount Pleasant, Westchester County, earlier in the day. "But it’s up Silver to resign. I haven’t heard the process yet to force a speaker out."

Indeed, lawmakers spent the day trying to determine how to exactly part ways with Silver, who has held the post since 1994 and was arrested Thursday in a federal corruption scheme. He’s one year shy of being the longest-serving speaker in state history.

"I expect nothing anymore," Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County, said as she headed into the meeting.

Silver late Monday had not signaled his intention to resign, even as his colleagues called on him to step down or face being forced out. He had not yet attended Tuesday’s meeting with the conference.

"I have not told anyone that I intend to resign," Silver said. "I am going to be at the conference tomorrow—or the conference will continue tomorrow—and I am the speaker."

The Manhattan Democrat was charged Thursday with five felony corruption charges, which allege he pocketed $4 million in kickbacks from private law firms. He didn’t rule out a resignation, but said he will deal with it at "the appropriate time."

Some lawmakers were pushing to have Morelle in the position, at least temporarily to maintain continuity as the Legislature heads into budget talks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The state’s fiscal year starts April 1.

They can’t hold session—not scheduled until next week, anyway—without a speaker.

"I’m supporting Morelle as a temporary. I’m not supporting anyone for permanent," Ways and Means chairman Denny Farrell, D-Manhattan, said. "We have to function, and I want to make sure we continue to function because I can’t lose time doing budgets."

But New York City Democrats were privately concerned about Morelle taking the post in the interim, fearing it would cede too much power to him.

"One thing must be clear throughout the process: The next speaker of the Assembly must be elected from New York City," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Some lawmakers said Morelle should get the job, regardless of where he’s from.

"I think he is a very capable person. I think he is a person who would be able to balance the very diverse conference we have. He is a good strategist, he is a good negotiator," said Harry Bronson, D-Rochester.

But Bronson admitted, "It’s a democracy, right, and you have to get enough votes."

Assembly Republicans, meanwhile, demanded that Democrats quickly hold a vote for speaker if and when Silver resigns, saying legislative business has stalled. Since session started Jan. 7, the Assembly has held one vote: to pick Silver as speaker.

"Quite frankly, the members of the Assembly should be the ones electing the speaker, and we should not have several weeks gone by of special interests, outside forces, trying to influence who the speaker is," said Assemblyman Joe Borelli, R-Staten Island.

· Silver finally dumped as speaker – Editorial: Enough finally was enough

Assembly Dems jockey for Sheldon Silver’s speaker post

Jon Campbell and Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau 3:19 p.m. EST January 27, 2015

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, center, and Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Rochester, right, walk though the Legislative Office Building on their way to the Capitol on Monday in Albany. Silver was fighting to keep his grip on power Monday amid widening calls for his resignation in the wake of federal corruption charges. (Photo: AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin heads into conference in aftermath of Sheldon Silver scandal. Denise Nickerson/Albany Bureau

ALBANY – Assembly Democrats were convening in private for the second day in a row Tuesday as they sought to figure out how to get Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to step down and coalesce around his successor.

Several Democrats were jockeying for the top post, with Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, hoping to be the first upstate Democratic speaker in more than a century.

He faced an uphill battle because a majority of the 106-member conference comes from New York City, and many of those 61 members have made it clear that they would not relinquish power to an upstate legislator.

So it means Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie and Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright are also making calls to build support, lawmakers said.

"The conference wants to put this beyond us, and I understand that. So we’ve got candidates now who are starting to emerge, and there is going to be a discussion," said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, D-Mount Pleasant. "But it’s up Silver to resign. I haven’t heard the process yet to force a speaker out."

Indeed, lawmakers said they were still trying to determine how to exactly part ways with Silver, who has held the post since 1994 and was arrested Thursday in a federal corruption scheme. He’s one year shy of being the longest-serving speaker in state history.

"I expect nothing anymore," Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, said as she headed into the meeting.

Silver late Monday had not signaled his intention to resign, even as his colleagues called on him to step down or face being forced out. He had not yet attended Tuesday’s meeting with the conference.

"I have not told anyone that I intend to resign," Silver said. "I am going to be at the conference tomorrow—or the conference will continue tomorrow—and I am the speaker."

The Manhattan Democrat was charged Thursday with five felony corruption charges, which allege he pocketed $4 million in kickbacks from private law firms. He didn’t rule out a resignation, but said he will deal with it at "the appropriate time."

Assemblyman Joe Lentol, D-Brooklyn, said there was no guarantee that Silver would resign, saying he could have enough support to stay.

"The conference was split on resignation," he said. But Lentol was quick to say that if Silver resigned, he too would be interested in the post: "I think have more to offer than any of the other candidates."

Some lawmakers said Morelle should be put into the position, at least temporarily to maintain continuity as the Legislature heads into budget talks with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The state’s fiscal year starts April 1.

They can’t hold session—not scheduled until next week, anyway—without a speaker.

"I’m supporting Morelle as a temporary. I’m not supporting anyone for permanent," Ways and Means chairman Denny Farrell, D-Manhattan, said. "We have to function, and I want to make sure we continue to function because I can’t lose time doing budgets."

But New York City Democrats were privately concerned about Morelle taking the post in the interim, fearing it would cede too much power to him.

"One thing must be clear throughout the process: The next speaker of the Assembly must be elected from New York City," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Some lawmakers said Morelle should get the job, regardless of where he’s from.

"I think he is a very capable person. I think he is a person who would be able to balance the very diverse conference we have. He is a good strategist, he is a good negotiator," said Harry Bronson, D-Rochester.

But Bronson admitted, "It’s a democracy, right, and you have to get enough votes."

Assembly Republicans, meanwhile, demanded that Democrats quickly hold a vote for speaker if and when Silver resigns, saying legislative business has stalled. Since session started Jan. 7, the Assembly has held one vote: to pick Silver as speaker.

"Quite frankly, the members of the Assembly should be the ones electing the speaker, and we should not have several weeks gone by of special interests, outside forces, trying to influence who the speaker is," said Assemblyman Joe Borelli, R-Staten Island.

Silver late Sunday had arranged to temporarily delegate some of his duties to five senior members of his conference. But there was nearly universal rejection from Democrats, including lawmakers from the Hudson Valley and Long Island, who were among the first to publicly voice their concerns.

When one reporter asked Silver on Monday if he’s fighting the Democrats’ calls for his resignation, he said: "I’m not fighting. Do I look like I’m fighting?"

You’re still standing, the reporter said.

"I’m standing, and I’m going to be standing for a long time," Silver said.

Dems Want Silver Gone-On His Own Or Ousted

01/27/2015 by Dave O’Connor Leave a Comment

Democrats in Albany Monday told Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to quit his leadership post or be removed, The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday.
Update @ 2a.m. Tuesday-The digital New York Times reports Silver must either step down today or be removed. An hours-long caucus concluded Silver no longer had the confidence of Democrat colleagues, The Times reported. Earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it would be “a good thing” for Silver to relinquish the speaker’s post.
Silver is free on bail after being charged with at least five felony corruption charges by the US District Attorney last week.

The Journal’s report said Silver’s decision to temporarily cede power to a small group of Democrat Assemblymen was rejected and viewed as unacceptable by late Monday.

“Others Known And Unknown” In Fed’s Complaint Against Silver

01/22/2015 by Dave O’Connor Leave a Comment

NEW YORK-Only Sheldon Silver (D-Manhatten) is named in Thursday’s criminal complaint filed by federal authorities, but the information and remarks by a US Attorney make clear other names will be coming.

The document mentions an unnamed co-conspirator-“CC-1,” and also “others known and unknown,” as it outlines the probable causes for lodging at least five counts against the long-time speaker of the NYS Assembly who was arrested Thursday morning.

“Others known and unknown,” may help explain why the Moreland Commission, tasked with examining alleged corruption in Albany, was abruptly shut down last March by Governor Andrew Cuomo. A month before Silver complained to reporters about the commission, “The commission we believe has exceeded its mandate and has engaged in a fishing expedition to intimidate legislators.”

Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the southern district of New York, was outspokenly critical of Cuomo’s decision to shut down the commission, and Thursday said the action (came) “as a great relief to Mr. Silver.”

Bharara said the charges against Silver, “go to the very core of what ails Albany,” during a Thursday media conference. The US Attorny also advised reporters, “You should stay tuned,” and disclosed his office is conducting a number of other public corruption investigations.

The New York Times Thursday reported (“Complaint Offers Motive for Silver’s Fight Against Corruption Panel”) “it became clear the governor himself had interfered with its investigations.”

There is little doubt that CC-1 is attorney Jay Arthur Goldberg, who previously served as counsel to Silver and is a partner in Goldberg & Iryami PC, a small law firm that allegedly paid about $700,000 to Silver for referrals related to its real estate practice.

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