Another One Bites the Dust
February 9th, 2010
Councilmember Larry Seabrook, who served in the state Assembly and just started his third term at the City Council, is being charged with money laundering, extortion and fraud, according to an indictment released today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District.
But they also go beyond that.
According to the indictment, Seabrook also solicited payments from a Bronx subcontractor competing for a boiler contract for the new Yankee Stadium and subsequently used the payments for personal expenses.
Between May and October of 2007, that subcontractor was paid more than $283,000 for work done on Yankee Stadium. Between July 2006 and April 2009, checks were made out by the contractor to Seabrook’s local political organization — North East Bronx Community Democratic Club. The checks were made out to the club at Seabrook’s discretion, according to the indictment. On occasion, the councilmember directed those payments to his personal checking account or to the Bronx African American Chamber of Commerce, which he is closely aligned with, the indictment states.
Those “corrupt payments” totaled $50,000, according to the indictment.
Seabrook funneled the money for his personal use by claiming he had purchased expenses for the club, according to the indictment. He allegedly received reimbursements that he then used for personal expenses, including airfare to Florida, parking tickets, and flowers for his sister.
Seabrook then allegedly forged receipts to try to show his expenses were club-related. On one occasion, he submitted a receipt for a sandwich and beverage purchased near City Hall that originally cost $7. The receipt was doctored, the indictment alleges, to cost about $177.
Beyond that, the indictment alleges Seabrook directed more than $2.5 million in the City Council’s discretionary funding to nonprofits he in fact controlled. Seabrook negotiated office space for the groups (which was reported in the Times last year) and often made decisions for the groups, the indictment states.
Through these nonprofits, Seabrook paid “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to his girlfriend, sisters, nephews and brother in consulting fees. At the same time, these groups fell far short of meeting goals laid out in the council’s discretionary funding initiatives. Some of the groups included the North East Bronx Redevelopment Corp., the Bronx African American Chamber of Commerce, the New York African American Legal and Civil Hall of Fame, and others.
Of the money designated to these groups through the City Council, about $530,000 of it went to Seabrook’s girlfriend and family members, the indictment states. Through this process, Seabrook also allegedly inflated expense and rent payments.
The U.S. Attorney’s has scheduled a press conference for 12:30 p.m. downtown.
Seabrook’s attorney Murray Richman was in court and not available for comment.
The 65 page indictment, which is part of a years-long federal and city investigation, is below.By Courtney Gross on February 9, 2010, 12:01 pm
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