Hevesi pleads guilty in kickback scheme

October 8, 2010 Updated Oct 8, 2010 at 7:55 AM EDT

By Business First of Buffalo - The Albany Business Review

October 8, 2010 Updated Oct 8, 2010 at 7:55 AM EDT

Business First of Buffalo - The Albany Business Review

Former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of receiving reward for official misconduct, charges that relate to his accepting nearly $1 million in benefits in return for approving $250 million in pension fund investments.

He faces up to four years in prison.

The plea was announced Thursday by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has been investigating the "pay-for-play" kickback scheme involving the state's pension fund.

The benefits Hevesi admitting to receiving included $75,000 in travel expenses for himself and his family; $380 in what was described as "sham consulting fees" and more than $500,000 in campaign contributions.

Hevesi has also agreed to cooperate with Cuomo's investigation into the so-called pay-to-play kickback scheme a the Office of the New York State Comptroller.

Cuomo said Hevesi acknowledged he received the gifts in exchange for "improperly favoring and approving a $250 million investment in Markstone Capital Partners, L.P. from the New York State Common Retirement Fund.

Cuomo said Hevesi also admitted that while serving as comptroller he knew Henry "Hank" Morris - his paid political adviser and campaign manager - was using the pension fund for a pay-to-play scheme in which Morris personally received fees from pension deals and steered investments to friends and political associates.

Hevesi, who served as state comptroller from January 2003 until he resigned in December 2006, became widely known in the Buffalo area for suggesting Erie County lawmakers needed "adult supervision" during a budget battle.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.