Political scandal grows as secret recordings lead to new investigations

Posted at 11:05 PM, May 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-08 23:05:09-04

The names of five more elected officials have surfaced in the widening investigation into political corruption.  None has been charged with any specific criminal wrongdoing. Morgan Pehme, Editor-In-Chief of City and State Newspaper, calls it “a tangled web that keeps getting more complex.”

Among those being probed is State Senator Eric Adams, a former police officer who is the leading candidate for Brooklyn Borough President. Senator Jose Peralta, who is seeking the Borough Presidency of Queens and who replaced his corrupt predecessor Hiram Monseratte, is also being scrutinized.  Senator Ruth Hassell Thompson is also named, as is Senator Valmanette Montgomery. They are all Democrats.  All were caught i n secret recordings made by disgraced Senator Huntley who wore a wire for the FBI for six months, and recorded colleagues and friends she thought might be corrupt.  The names of those she recorded hadn’t been made public until a federal judge ordered them released yesterday.  They were contained in a pre-sentencing memorandum for Huntley.

Political strategist Hank Sheinkopf told PIX 11 News, “What is disturbing here is that the state  senate looks like an organized crime family and it seems to have no end.  It means the Republicans will retain control for at least ten years.”

Also named is City Councilman Ruben Wills.  Democratic Senator Joh  Sampson and Malcolm Smith, who were secretly recorded, have already been indicted.  Editor Morgan Pehme, who visited Albany yesterday, described the mood as grim. “There’s a great sense of nervousness,” he said.

Federal authorities acknowledged that eight of the nine people whose names surfaced are under investigation.  It did not reveal who is not. A lawyer for Councilman Wills, however, claims his client is off the hook.

My sources are telling me the probe is widening and that agents are taking a close look at Manhattan Senator Adriano Espait, whose offices they have recently visited. I’m also told that Assemblywoman Vivian Cook is under the microscope. Investigators say she went on lavish shopping trips with now convicted Senator Huntley.  She is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday.