Jimenez: Schneiderman Fails to Prosecute Corruption, Asleep on Moreland
(Bronx, NY) Ramon Jimenez, the Green Party candidate for Attorney General, criticized Eric Schneiderman today for his ongoing failure to prosecute corruption.
The Green Party last week raised the question of why Schneiderman had not played an active role in protecting the Moreland Commission from interference by the Governor.
"We are glad that others are now asking the same questions about Schneiderman's complicity in Cuomo's efforts to prevent an independent investigation into political corruption. Unfortunately, this just part of the pattern of Schneiderman avoiding prosecuting those with political power," said Jimenez, a graduate of Harvard Law School who provides legal services to low-income residents of the Bronx.
"Schneiderman stood silent when Cuomo disbanded the Commission, even though all the members of commission were sworn in as deputy attorney generals. When Cuomo contradicted his original statements about the role of Commission, Schneiderman didn't say a peep," he noted.
The Green Party had called for the Commission to investigate the tens of millions of dollars that special interests were donating to Cuomo. Cuomo's office squashed the Moreland Commission's effort to subpoena the Real Estate Board of NY, whose members donate enormous sums to him. Project Vote Smart says that real estate interests have donated more than $230,000 to Schneiderman, the fourth largest source of his donations. The AG's office has also been criticized for its failure to crackdown in NYC on shoddy condo construction practices, which it regulates.
Jimenez scoffed at the suggestion by Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout that Attorney General Schneiderman should pick up the Moreland Commission investigation.
"We need a prosecutor to interrogate Schneiderman, not allow him to lead any investigation into his inaction. Schneiderman didn't do anything when Cuomo and Schwartz were pushing the members of the Commission around. His silence is complicity. We also saw Schneiderman's failure to bring any indictments over the thefts from the Puerto Rican Day parade, starting with Carlos Velasquez," Jimenez added.
Jimenez and community groups on June 10, 2013 sent a letter to Schneiderman raising numerous questions on the operation of the parade. Despite the enormous amounts of money raised, very little went to scholarships for students. The AG eventually concluded that the marketing agent had defrauded the Parade out of over a million dollars. However, rather than indicting Velasquez, the AG allowed him to pay the Parade $100,000 while cancelling a one million dollar debt he alleged the Parade owed him.
"Poor people get sent to jail for a theft of a few dollars. The rich and politically connected get a slap on the wrist," remarked Jimenez.
Schneiderman and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced the formation of a joint task force on public integrity in May 2011 which granted Mr. Schneiderman powers to criminally prosecute corruption involving taxpayer money. However, there does not appear to have been any prosecution of state lawmakers by the AG during the last 3 years, despite numerous indictments of state lawmakers by federal prosecutors. City Council member Reuben Willis was indicted by the AG's office.
"Corruption permeates the State Capitol but Mr. Schneiderman can't seem to find any to prosecute," said Jimenez.