Dean Skelos, the New York republican senate majority leader, has revealed that he is resigning amidst federal corruption charges. Skelos was arrested on May 4 for the charges and is expected to step down immediately. His resignation is a surprise after he adamantly claimed that he would be found innocent of all charges, hinting that business would continue as usual. Despite his resignation as the New York senate majority leader, he plans on keeping his legislative seat within the senate. He was immediately replaced by Senator John Flanagan from New York as majority leader.
Both Dean Skelos and his son were arrested for federal corruption charges on May 4, according to the New York Daily News. He maintained his innocence during the arrest. However, in a turn of events on Monday, Dean Skelos spoke to his republican members of the senate and announced that he was resigning his majority leader position effective immediately. However, he stated that he would retain his seat on the senate. His position was promptly handed to John Flanagan, the senate education committee chairman. Although the transition is not official, a vote is expected later today to solidify Flanagan’s position.
Skelos’ charges accuse him of trading his influence for payments to his son, Adam. However, both Adam and Dean Skelos deny that anything of the sort ever happened. Despite his decree of innocence, democrats were quick to declare a movement to a vote of ouster. Pressure steadily built against Skelos since the day of his arrest, leading to his resignation announcement today, according to UT San Diego.
Skelos joins a list of seven other top lawmakers in New York that have resigned recently amidst scandals over the last six years.
According to officials, Skelos used his political influence as a means of extortion for money with individuals that had business with the state of New York. He specifically targeted a senior executive member of a real estate development firm. The executive was cooperating with the government and revealed that all money gained was paid to Dean’s son, Adam. In return, Dean Skelos would work on behalf of the developer to meet their legislative priorities.
Dean Skelos was integral in voting for all real estate legislation that worked in the favor of the real estate developer, specifically those in relation to property tax abatement and rent regulation. An ongoing investigation is also exploring a $12 million dollar contract to AbTech Industries in 2013. Adam Skelos was reportedly a consultant for AbTech Industries and received a pay raise that doubled his salary after the deal went through.
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