Former New York Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos and his son were convicted on corruption charges on Tuesday for soliciting more than $300,000 in bribes and extortion payments from three companies.
Dean Skelos, 70, and his son, 36-year-old Adam Skelos, were convicted on 3 counts of extortion, 3 counts of bribery, and 1 count each of conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. They will be sentenced later this year.
According to the evidence presented in court, the Republican lawmaker repeatedly used his position in the Senate to pressure companies to make payments to his son. Dean, prosecutors said, told executives that he would use his position to benefit those who paid, and punish those who did not.
As a result, executives at three different companies caved to his demands and agreed to pay more than $300,000 to Adam.
Executives from Glenwood Management Corp., a major real estate company in New York City, agreed to pay $20,000 to Adam after they met with Dean for his help to pass legislation that was crucial to the company’s profitability. They also arranged for $4,000 monthly payments to Adam from Abtech Industries, an Arizona company in which Glenwood’s founding family owned a stake.
After successfully obtaining the monthly payments under the guise of a consulting contract, Dean and Adam then threatened to block Abtech’s bid for a government contract unless the company sharply increased its payments. Fearing that it would lose the contract, Abtech agreed to increase Adam’s monthly payments to $10,000. In return, Dean took numerous official actions to benefit Abtech.
The third company was the medical malpractice insurance firm PRI which depended on the renewal of certain legislation before the state’s legislature. PRI agreed to give Dean’s son a full-time job with benefits, but Adam failed to show up despite being expected to work 40 hours per week.
When PRI’s chief executive complained, Adam berated and threatened him. “Guys like you couldn’t shine my shoes. Guys like you will never amount to anything, and if you talk to me like that again, I’ll smash your fucking head in,” Adam said, according to prosecutors.
The company’s CEO then approached Dean, who showed no concern and told the executive to “work it out.” The CEO understood that, if PRI did not continue making payments to Adam despite his non-performance and misconduct, he would risk Dean taking official action against the company.
Both Dean and Adam face a maximum sentence of 130 years in prison, but they will likely receive significantly less: the two men were sentenced to 5 and 6 years in 2016 before a federal appeals court overturned their convictions, citing improper instructions to the jury.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 24.