So our former state comptroller, Alan Hevesi, has pleaded guilty to corruption in the management of the state’s multi-billion-dollar pension fund and faces a possible 1 1⁄3 to four years in prison. He accepted $75,000 worth of gifts, mostly in the form of luxury travel, from a finance company to which he thoughtfully steered $250 million in pension-fund investments and from which he accepted $500,000 in campaign contributions, and he presided over an equally corrupt staff.
This is stuff that is just catching up to him, since he resigned from the comptroller’s job four years ago after pleading guilty to using state employees as chauffeurs and personal aides for his wife. He agreed to pay $206,000 in reimbursement to the state for that misuse of public money.
So at this point you’re probably wondering how much of a state pension Mr. Hevesi will receive for the rest of his days, since you already know that state pensions are not affected by crimes committed in office or by anything else either, being protected by our wonderful state constitution. And the answer is $105,221 per year. That’s for his 22 years of service as a member of the Assembly and four years of service — if you want to call it service — as state comptroller.
His eight years as comptroller of New York City, in between his Assembly and state comptroller gigs, are counted separately. The pension for that gig is another $56,062 a year.
So you can put your mind at ease. Mr. Hevesi, who is 70 years old, will not want for the necessities in his golden years.
Reflecting on the career of Mr. Hevesi, you might think, as I do, that we New Yorkers have plenty to be angry about, and you might think that we need a candidate for governor who is angry too and will put a stop to the corruption, the incompetence, and the milking of the system.
But then you look at the officially angry candidate, Carl Paladino of Buffalo, and you’ve got to think, saints alive, does this man have any political sense at all?
I mean, the other day he told us to hold everything, he was going to make a “major announcement,” for which purpose he was buying three minutes of airtime on Buffalo television channels.
“Major” suggested he would either drop out of the race, as some speculated, or else he would apologize to Andrew Cuomo for accusing him of extramarital affairs and thus put that distraction to rest.
But do you know what he did?
By now, of course you do.
He paid Cuomo a macho compliment by saying his “prowess is legendary”!
And he wasn’t talking about generic prowess, as in “bravery, valor, superior ability, skill, etc.” (Webster’s New World Dictionary), as some of his supporters insisted in messages to me. He was speaking in the context of illicit romantic affairs. When he blew up at a reporter, he explained, “What I meant to express in my anger was simply this: Does the media ask Andrew such questions? No. Andrew’s prowess is legendary.”
So that’s obviously not prowess in budget negotiations that he was talking about.
And please note this was not an off-the-cuff remark, like some of his others. This was a prepared statement that he worked on all day, so presumably he knew what he was saying.
He was trying to regain credibility with the voters, to get beyond the image he had created of himself as a loose canon, and after much reflection, that’s what he came up with: His opponent is a real stud! And he’s angry that the media doesn’t pursue it.
Oh, how I’m going to miss him, if he loses next month.
It’s true, there was a release of radiation at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory site in Niskayuna recently — on Sept. 30, to be exact — which was reported to both the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health, but as far as I can tell there is no reason to believe that wildlife in the area will start growing three heads any time soon.
“It was certainly not a major problem,” Peter Constantakes of the state Health Department assured me.
“There’s no reason to believe there was any off-site contamination,” Yancey Roy of the Department of Environmental Conservation said.
Apparently an old building known as the Separation Process Research Unit was being demolished, and in the process some contaminated dust was kicked up, which registered on the bottoms of workers’ shoes when they were examined as they left the site.
“We’re taking samples at the site,” Constantakes said, but so far no problems have registered, just the usual minute traces of radioactivity that would be expected even without the building demolition.
Knolls, as you may know, develops nuclear propulsion plants and reactor cores for the Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines. It’s run by a private company, Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp., on behalf of the Department of Energy. In ancient times it was run by General Electric.
Some of these letters, I don’t know what to do about them. Take the one the other day expressing anger at my “bashing” of Schenectady’s public safety commissioner, Wayne Bennett, over a marijuana raid in Hamilton Hill, a raid about which I supposedly said the police “found no weapons of mass destruction.”
I actually said the police had information that two handguns and an assault rifle were on the premises to be raided, but didn’t find them. Nothing about weapons of mass destruction.
And as for “bashing” the able and amiable commissioner, far from it. The heavily armed Special Operations Squad certainly looked like overkill for a lousy bag of marijuana, but as I noted, “if a patrol cop walked in there alone to make the pinch and got shot, we would all want to know why they didn’t take more precautions.”
When I bash somebody, I’m not so subtle as that.
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