By NIKITA STEWART – NY Times February 3, 2015
New York City Councilman Ruben W. Wills with his lawyer, Chris Renfron, at his arraignment in May in Queens.
A New York City councilman was arrested on corruption charges on Tuesday for the second time in less than nine months.
The councilman, Ruben W. Wills, who represents southeastern Queens, was charged with five felony counts of failing to disclose his financial dealings on five separate disclosure reports filed with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board between 2012 and 2014, according to a news release from the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman. He did not elaborate on the case.
Both sets of charges against Mr. Wills, a Democrat, are the result of an anticorruption initiative of Mr. Schneiderman and Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller, that has led to several convictions and restitution in the millions of dollars.
Mr. Wills’s lawyer, Steve Zissou, said his client was looking forward to his vindication in a courtroom. He said that Mr. Wills, who was first elected to the City Council in 2010, “will continue to work tirelessly to help the people in his community live better and fuller lives.”
Mr. Wills was released without bail on Tuesday.
In May, Mr. Wills was arrested on multiple counts of fraud and grand larceny involving a nonprofit he founded and a shell company investigators said he created to collect matching public funds by claiming campaign expenditures that he never made. He has another hearing in that case on Friday.
Investigators say Mr. Wills stole more than $30,000 in public funds, spending some of the money at Nordstrom, Century 21 and Macy’s, where he bought a $750 Louis Vuitton bag.
The Council stripped Mr. Wills of his chairmanship of a subcommittee on drug abuse after his arrest in May. Mr. Wills is no longer permitted to distribute funds, called member items, like his peers. Councilman Mark S. Weprin, chairman of the Queens delegation, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Council speaker, oversee funding to groups in Mr. Wills’s district.
“The City Council takes these allegations from the attorney general and comptroller very seriously and we will be reviewing them,” Ms. Mark-Viverito said on Tuesday.
Councilman Is Accused of Stealing Public Funds May 7, 2014