News Column

New York Assemblyman Up on Bribery Charge

April 4, 2013

A state assemblyman from New York City was charged Thursday with taking bribes from developers of adult daycare centers, federal authorities said.

Eric A. Stevenson, 47, was the second New York City lawmaker to face federal corruption charges this week.

"For the second time in three days, we unseal criminal charges against a sitting member of our state legislature," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "As alleged, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was bribed to enact a statutory moratorium to give his co-defendants a local monopoly -- a fairly neat trick that offends core principles of both democracy and capitalism, simultaneously, and it is exactly what the defendants managed to do. The allegations illustrate the corruption of an elected representative's core function -- a legislator selling legislation."

Federal investigators said Stevenson, in return for a $5,000 payment, drew up legislation that would have created a moratorium on building new adult daycare centers in the city. He also allegedly helped with construction permits.

Four businessmen involved in adult daycare, Igor and Rostislav Belyansky, David Binman and Igor Tsimerman were also charged. Stevenson and three of the businessmen were arrested and Tsimerman surrendered.

A source told The New York Times that a legislator described in the complaint as Assemblyman-1 is Nelson Castro, a Democrat who represents a Bronx district. The source said Castro agreed to help prosecutors and resign his seat in return for not facing charges.

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat who represents a Queens district, was charged Wednesday with trying to get a spot on the mayoral ballot as a Republican by bribing Republican leaders.

Source: Copyright UPI 2013