According to a report in the New York Times, a grand jury is considering evidence for potential corruption charges against Dean Skelos—the Republican leader of the New York State Senate—and his son Adam.
Among the evidence reportedly presented by federal prosecutors to the grand jury is a storm-water treatment contract awarded by the Long Island senator in his district to an Arizona-based company his son worked for. From the Times:
One focal point has been Adam Skelos’s hiring by an Arizona company, AbTech Industries, as well as a storm-water treatment contract that AbTech was awarded by Nassau County — the senator’s political backyard — even though the company was not the low bidder. Another area of inquiry has been a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company that he never worked for.
According to people familiar with the questions being asked by federal authorities, investigators are seeking to determine whether Senator Skelos exerted any influence in matters involving AbTech. They are also examining whether his son’s hiring as a consultant was part of a scheme in which the senator, in exchange, would take official action that would benefit AbTech or another company, Glenwood Management, a politically influential real estate developer that has had ties to AbTech.
And as the Times notes, Glenwood Management is "one of the state’s largest campaign donors":
For a small business in Arizona, AbTech would seem unlikely to be associated with Glenwood, which develops rental apartments in New York City.
Glenwood’s link to AbTech is buried in the regulatory filings of AbTech’s publicly traded parent company. In 2011, one of its largest investors was a company that shared an address on Long Island with Glenwood’s corporate headquarters.
Two men with close ties to the real estate company — Charles Dorego, a top Glenwood executive, and Steven Swarzman, a grandson of Glenwood’s longtime principal, Leonard Litwin — have signed public records filed by the company that invested in AbTech’s parent company, Abtech Holdings. Mr. Swarzman became friends with AbTech’s founder in Arizona, and, impressed by the environmental sponge, became AbTech’s East Coast distributor, according to a 2006 article in Newsday.
Glenwood's relationship with businesses associated and influenced by state figures has come under scrutiny before: The company's came up in January's arrest of disgraced former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges.
Indeed, the inquiry into Skelos, 67, and his son, 32, stems in part from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation into an anti-corruption panel, the Moreland Commission, first assembled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013 but was dissolved the following year in budget negotiations involving Silver and Skelos.
“I had no idea that this was even an issue,” Adam Skelos told a Times reporter outside his home who asked about the investigation. “I got to tell you, this is really unexpected.”