Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro says he has been cooperating with federal and county prosecutors on public corruption cases for years.
Castro, a Democrat, announced today in a statement that he would be resigning from the Assembly after one of those cases was made public just hours ago with the arrest of fellow Assemblyman Eric Stevenson on federal charges that he accepted bribes.
Castro said in his statement that he had agreed to cooperate with the Bronx district attorney's office and the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York "in conjunction with various investigations aimed at rooting out public corruption." He said he began to cooperate with the Bronx district attorney's office in 2009 following an indictment on a civil matter. Castro was elected in 2008.
Stevenson, also a Democrat from the Bronx, was arrested this morning on federal charges that he accepted bribes. Stevenson's lawyer told The Times he is still reviewing the charges against his client and "would have no comment until he had done so."
The federal complaint against Stevenson refers to an "Assemblyman 1," which news reports have identified as Castro.
The Bronx district attorney's office and federal prosecutors declined to comment.
Castro, who was elected in 2008, was a key figure in the push to pass the state DREAM Act that would have helped immigrants who are not legal residents to pay for college.
Here is Castro's full statement:
Today I announce that I am resigning my seat in the New York State Assembly, effective Monday, April 8, 2013.
On July 31, 2009, I was indicted by a Bronx County Grand Jury for committing perjury in a 2008 civil matter, held prior to my election to the Assembly. I appreciate the seriousness of my misconduct.
Thereafter, I agreed to cooperate with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and, later, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, in conjunction with various investigations aimed at rooting out public corruption. As one result of this cooperation, among other things, this morning a complaint was unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York charging Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and four others with various federal crimes. I continue to cooperate with State and Federal authorities in this prosecution and in other investigations.
I am very proud of my accomplishments and the many benefits that I have secured on behalf of my district over the last four years. These include helping thousands of constituents to apply for U.S. citizenship on a no-fee basis, and providing educational programs focusing on the Citizenship & Naturalization Exam; obtaining funding for technology purchases and initiatives for the schools in my district; sponsoring events for senior centers and youth programs in my district and beyond; and securing additional low cost housing units in the area. Most of all, I take pride in how our diverse population has united to transcend racial and ethnic differences and work together.
My district is comprised of hard working and honest people, devoted to their families and to their community. I deeply regret my misconduct while campaigning before I was elected to office. It is my sincere hope that my constituents remember me most for the good I have done as their representative, rather than for the poor example I set as a candidate.
Because of the sensitive nature of ongoing prosecutions and investigations, I must direct all further inquiries to my attorney, Michael C. Farkas, Esq.