Alan Hevesi

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Alan Hevesi
53rd Comptroller of New York
In office
January 1, 2003 – December 22, 2006
GovernorGeorge Pataki
Preceded byCarl McCall
Succeeded byThomas Sanzillo (acting)
41st Comptroller of New York City
In office
January 1, 1994 – December 31, 2001
MayorRudolph Giuliani
Preceded byElizabeth Holtzman
Succeeded byBill Thompson
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 28th district
In office
January 3, 1973 – December 1993
Preceded byAlfred A. DelliBovi
Succeeded byMelinda Katz
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 25th district
In office
December 1971 – May 12, 1972
Preceded byEmanuel R. Gold
Succeeded byVincent F. Nicolosi
Personal details
Born(1940-01-31)January 31, 1940
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedNovember 9, 2023(2023-11-09) (aged 83)
East Meadow, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Carol Stanton
(m. 1967; died 2015)
Children3, including Daniel and Andrew
EducationQueens College (BA)
Columbia University (MA, PhD)

Alan George Hevesi (January 31, 1940 – November 9, 2023) was an American politician and convicted felon who served as a New York State Assemblyman from 1971 to 1993, as New York City Comptroller from 1994 to 2001, and as New York State Comptroller from 2003 to 2006. Hevesi was originally from Queens, New York City.[1]

A member of the Democratic Party, Hevesi was elected State Comptroller in 2002 and reelected in 2006. He resigned from office effective December 22, 2006, as part of a plea bargain with the Albany County Court related to his unlawful use of state employees to care for his ailing wife.[2] In February 2007, Hevesi was sentenced to a $5,000 fine and permanently banned from holding elective office again; he received no jail time and no probation.[3] He also pleaded guilty to corruption charges surrounding a "pay to play" scheme regarding the New York State Pension Fund; on April 15, 2011, he was sentenced to one to four years in prison.

Personal life[edit]

Alan George Hevesi was born in Manhattan on January 31, 1940, and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, where he primarily resided for the rest of his life.[2] His parents were Jewish immigrants who left Hungary in 1938 to escape the Nazis. 55 of Hevesi's relatives were murdered in concentration camps.[4] Hevesi's father was Eugene Hevesi (1896–1983), a Hungarian-born American Jewish leader who served as foreign affairs secretary for the American Jewish Committee and as representative to the United Nations for several Jewish NGOs.[5] His brother, Dennis, a reporter for The New York Times and Newsday, died in 2017.[6][7]

Hevesi earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1962 from Queens College, CUNY. He received a Ph.D. in public law and government from Columbia University in 1971.[8] The title of his doctoral dissertation was Legislative Leadership in New York State.[9] Hevesi taught political science at Queens College for more than 30 years.[8]

Hevesi married Carol Stanton in 1967; they had three children and were married until her death in 2015.[2] Their sons, New York State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and former New York State Senator Daniel Hevesi, have both had careers in politics.[10]

Hevesi died from Lewy body dementia at a care home in East Meadow, New York, on November 9, 2023, at the age of 83.[2]

Political career[edit]

State Assembly[edit]

On November 2, 1971, Hevesi was elected to the New York State Assembly to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Emanuel R. Gold.[11][12] He took his seat during a special session in December 1971.[citation needed] Hevesi served in the Assembly for 22 years.[8]

New York City Comptroller[edit]

Hevesi unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for city comptroller in 1989, as did Frank Macchiarola.[13][14] Both finished behind Brooklyn District Attorney and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman. In May 1993, Hevesi began his second campaign for city comptroller.[15] The primary election again featured a three-way race, with Holtzman, Hevesi, and Herman Badillo.[16][17] Hevesi defeated Holtzman to secure the Democratic nomination,[18] then Badillo, who contested the general election as a fusion candidate of the Republican Party and Liberal Party.[19][20]

In 1995, Hevesi, as Comptroller, thwarted an attempt by then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to fill a one-time hole in the city budget that year by selling the New York City water supply system.[21]

By December 1997, Hevesi enlisted the weight and soundness of his city's finances in the cause of forcing Swiss banks to meet the demands of the World Jewish Congress and other organizations then suing Swiss banks over Nazi-era bank balances the WJC said were owed to the heirs of victims of the holocaust, joined eventually by both then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and then-Governor George Pataki. In his book on the subject, Norman Finkelstein called Hevesi "the godfather of Holocaust restitution sanctions."[22]

Hevesi recruited many other states' and municipalities' financial officers to put their powers in the service of this cause, at one point calling them to a conference in New York at which they discussed ways to coordinate their actions for maximum effect.[23] Sanctions against Switzerland having seemed successful in securing the $1.25 billion (1999) settlement, Hevesi then brought the power of the ad hoc network he had constructed to bear on subsequent actions against Germany, Austria, and other countries,[24] where its use was deemed successful in raising the amounts of the settlements.

Hevesi served as New York City Comptroller from 1994 to 2002, when he was term-limited out of the office.[25][26] He won his second term with a Liberal Party endorsement, after which former mayor David Dinkins declined to support him.[27]

State Comptroller[edit]

In 2001, Hevesi sought the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York,[28][29] running on the platform of "Most Experienced, Best Qualified".[30][31] He finished fourth, behind Public Advocate Mark Green, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, and New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.[32] Hevesi was the Liberal Party nominee for mayor in the general election,[33][34] but did not campaign, instead endorsing Green. Following his defeat in the mayor's race, Hevesi started his campaign for state comptroller, defeating William Mulrow in a primary,[35] followed by Republican John Faso in the 2002 election.[36][37]

In November 2006, Hevesi was reelected as New York State Comptroller.[38] On December 23, 2006, Hevesi pleaded guilty to a single felony, agreed to pay a fine of $5,000, and immediately resigned as comptroller.[39][40]


Commencement comments[edit]

At a commencement address he delivered at Queens College on June 1, 2006, Hevesi told his audience that U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was so tough he would "put a bullet between the President's eyes if he could get away with it." Several hours after his remarks, Hevesi apologized for his comments, calling them "beyond stupid, beyond moronic, totally offensive" and "incredibly moronic".[41]

Using state employees to chauffeur wife[edit]

On September 21, 2006, Hevesi admitted that he used Nicholas Acquafredda, a state employee and member of his security detail, to drive and aid his ailing wife.[42] Hevesi claimed that in 2003, the State Ethics Commission decided that he should pay back the entire cost of having a state employee chauffeur his wife unless such services were necessary for safety purposes. A spokesperson from the State Ethics Commission denied that such a decision was made.[citation needed]

On September 26, 2006, after his Republican challenger, Christopher Callaghan, asked the Albany County District Attorney's office to investigate the matter, Hevesi said he would reimburse the state more than $82,000 for having a public employee chauffeur his wife. Callaghan first phoned in the complaint to the State Comptroller's own hotline.[42] Hevesi had admitted the previous week that he had not previously reimbursed the state. Callaghan and the 2006 Republican nominee for Governor, John Faso, also called for Hevesi's resignation. Then New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who was then running for Governor of New York, withdrew his endorsement of Hevesi. The controversy stimulated interest in the candidacies of Callaghan and minor party candidates Julia Willebrand of the Green Party and John Cain of the Libertarian Party.[43]

Hevesi claimed that drivers were needed to provide security to his wife, though a bipartisan ethics panel concluded that the State Police found no threat that would justify such an arrangement. The panel also concluded that Hevesi had no intention of repaying the state for the services rendered to his wife until Callaghan publicly filed a complaint.[44]

On October 12, 2006, Albany County District Attorney David Soares' office acknowledged that it was officially investigating actions by Hevesi regarding the public employee hired to chauffeur his wife.[45]

On October 23, 2006, the "Ethics Commission concluded that Hevesi had 'knowingly' violated state law."[46] On November 3, 2006, Hevesi was ordered by the office of state attorney Geeneral Elliot Spitzer eto reimburse the state $90,000 — in addition to the $83,000 he has already paid – in compensation for what had been deemed an improper use of a state employee.[47] Hevesi apologized in a TV ad, stating, "I'm asking you to weigh my mistake against my 35 years of public service, I'm human...I'm a good comptroller who did a dumb thing."[48]

On December 12, 2006, Hevesi agreed to a deal that called for the $90,000 in escrow money to be turned over to the state and for him to pay an additional $33,605 within 10 days, making his payback total (with $83,000 already paid) $206,000. According to the Attorney General's report, Hevesi had actually hired four (not two) employees as his wife's "security detail", and said employees ran personal errands for the Hevesi family. On December 13, 2006, a poll conducted between December 5–11 by Quinnipiac showed that 45% of people in New York believed that Hevesi should resign, while 43% believed that he had paid his debt to the state.[49]

On December 14, 2006, the Albany County District Attorney acknowledged that he had a strong enough case to indict Hevesi. In February 2007, after Hevesi had pleaded guilty in December 2006 to a charge of defrauding the government, he was sentenced by Judge Stephen Herrick in Albany County Court to a $5,000 fine and barred permanently from elected office. As part of the plea deal, he was given no jail time and received no probation. Prior to sentencing, Hevesi paid the state more than $200,000 in restitution. He expressed remorse for his actions and told the judge: "I'm culpable, I'm responsible and I apologize."[citation needed]

Payoffs to Raymond Harding for political favors[edit]

On October 6, 2009, Raymond Harding, chairman of the Liberal Party of New York, pleaded guilty to charges that he accepted $800,000 from Hevesi's aides when Hevesi was comptroller of the state of New York.[50]

Accepting gratuities[edit]

As state comptroller, Hevesi faced a conflict of interest allegation in relation to a private capital fund named Markstone Capital Partners, according to a report in the New York Sun.[51] The opening paragraph stated, "The New York State comptroller, Alan Hevesi, encouraged California pension managers to invest in a private capital fund founded by a man whose wife has been a generous donor to his political campaigns." The story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Hevesi met with his California counterpart, comptroller Steve Westly, and Elliott Broidy of Markstone Capital Group. They met on May 19, 2003, in order to "pitch" the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) to invest in Markstone, a fund that invested in Israeli companies. The Sun reported that in June 2003, Hevesi had invested $200 million in Markstone. Broidy is a major Republican political contributor who did not directly contribute to Hevesi's political campaigns, but Broidy's wife, Robin Rosenzweig, had contributed $80,000 since 2002 — $30,000 before the May 2003 meeting, and $50,000 afterwards. She also contributed to Andrew Hevesi's State Assembly race.[citation needed]

On October 7, 2010, Hevesi pleaded guilty to accepting gratuities for steering the investment funds to California venture capitalist Elliot Broidy. Hevesi had accepted $75,000 in trips for himself and his family and $500,000 in campaign contributions, and benefited from $380,000 given to a lobbyist.[52] After being accused of "pay to play" practices involving the New York State Pension Fund during his tenure as Comptroller, Hevesi pleaded guilty to a corruption charge; on April 15, 2011, he was sentenced to one to four years in prison.[53] He began his prison term on April 17, 2011.[54]

Hevesi went before a parole board on November 14, 2012, and was released on parole on December 19, 2012.[55] He served 20 months of a maximum four-year sentence.[56]



  • Gittell, Marilyn; Hevesi, Alan G (1969). The Politics of Urban Education. Praeger.
  • Hevesi, Alan G (1975). Legislative politics in New York State : a comparative analysis. Praeger. ISBN 0-275-05520-5.

Journal articles[edit]

Newspaper articles[edit]

  • Hevesi, Alan G. (July 8, 1999). "New lead paint law protects landlords, not children". New York Amsterdam News. ISSN 0028-7121.
  • Hevesi, Alan G. (July 9, 1998). "A stand must be taken". USA Today. pp. 11A. ISSN 0734-7456.
  • Hevesi, Alan G. (April 25, 1987). "When Blacks and Jews Pull Together". The New York Times. p. 1.31. ISSN 0362-4331.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McShane, Larry (October 8, 2010). "Disgraced former state Controller Alan Hevesi: From family man to felon". Daily News.
  2. ^ a b c d Roberts, Sam (November 9, 2023). "Alan Hevesi, New York Official Who Fell From Grace, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
  3. ^ "The Chauffeurgate Scandal Finally Ends for Alan Hevesi". Albany, New York: News 10. February 10, 2007. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
  4. ^ McShane, Larry (October 8, 2010). "Disgraced former state Controller Alan Hevesi: From family man to felon".
  5. ^ "Dr. Eugene Hevesi, 87, A Jewish Leader, Dies". The New York Times. February 17, 1983. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
  6. ^ Navarro, Mireya (July 15, 1993). "A Comptroller Candidate Fights for Recognition". The New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
  7. ^ Maier, Thomas (September 9, 2017). "Dennis Hevesi, former Newsday reporter, dies at 73". Newsday. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c "NEWSDAY VOTERS GUIDE / The Race for Mayor of New York City". Newsday. Archived from the original on January 16, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  9. ^ Havesi, Alan. Legislative Leadership in New York State (Thesis). Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  10. ^ Navarro, Mireya. "A Comptroller Candidate Fights for Recognition", The New York Times, July 15, 1993; accessed October 8, 2007.
    "A native New Yorker, Mr. Hevesi lives in Forest Hills with his wife, Carol."
  11. ^ Farrell, William E. (October 26, 1971). "Queens and Nassau Will Pick 4 for Assembly and 2 for Senate". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  12. ^ Farrell, William E. (November 3, 1971). "Voters here fill six seats in Albany". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  13. ^ "Alan Hevesi for Comptroller". New York Times. August 30, 1989. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  14. ^ Schwartz, Maralee (September 10, 1989). "TWO RIVALS HOPE TO DENY HOLTZMAN PRIMARY VICTORY". Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  15. ^ McKinley Jr., James C. (May 21, 1993). "Hevesi Throws Hat in Ring For Comptroller's Office". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  16. ^ "HOLTZMAN BATTLING HARD TO SURVIVE IN NEW YORK PRIMARY". Washington Post. September 13, 1993. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  17. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (August 3, 1993). "TV Campaign Unveiled to Build Hevesi Image". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  18. ^ "COMPTROLLER HOLTZMAN LOSES RENOMINATION BID". Washington Post. September 28, 1993. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  19. ^ Dao, James (September 29, 1993). "Now Hevesi and Badillo Turn to Face Each Other". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  20. ^ "Sleaze Will Out". Baltimore Sun. October 4, 1993. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  21. ^ Firestone, David (November 21, 1995). "Giuliani Sues City Comptroller Over Sale of Water System". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  22. ^ Bazyler, Michael J. (2003). Holocaust Justice. New York: New York University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8147-9903-5.
  23. ^ Rickman, Gregg (1999). Swiss Banks and Jewish Souls. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. p. 205. ISBN 1-56000-426-6.
  24. ^ Finkelstein, Norman (2003). The Holocaust Industry (2nd ed.). New York: Verso. p. 121. ISBN 1-85984-488-X.
  25. ^ Toy, Vivian S. (November 7, 1996). "With Term Limits Affirmed, Politicians Ponder the Future". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  26. ^ "THE STATE COMPTROLLER RACE". Buffalo News. September 7, 2002. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  27. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (June 11, 1997). "Dinkins Won't Support Hevesi for Re-election". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  28. ^ Lipton, Eric; Cooper, Michael (September 1, 2001). "Hevesi on the Defensive". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  29. ^ Hardt Jr., Robert (December 27, 2000). "MAYORAL FREE-4-ALL LOOMS IN 2001". New York Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  30. ^ Martinson, Jane (March 22, 2001). "Mayoral race under way". The Guardian. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  31. ^ Kuntzman, Gersh (April 23, 2001). "MEBQ: MAYORAL EFFORT BEGETS QUERIES". New York Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  32. ^ Powell, Michael; Haughney, Christine (September 26, 2001). "N.Y. Democrats Face Mayoral Runoff". Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  33. ^ Seifman, David (May 26, 2001). "BETS ARE ON HEVESI FOR THE LIBERAL NOD". New York Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  34. ^ Haberman, Maggie (June 3, 2001). "HEVESI WINS BACKING OF LIBERALS". New York Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  35. ^ Menchaca, Paul (September 19, 2002). "Queens Native Alan Hevesi Will Square Off Against Faso". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  36. ^ Bernstein, Andrea (October 28, 2002). "Hevesi Returns In Comeback Run For Comptroller". Observer. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  37. ^ Lovett, Kenneth (November 6, 2002). "HEVESI-FASO RACE GOING DOWN TO THE BITTER END". New York Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  38. ^ Cardwell, Diane (November 8, 2006). "Despite Accusations, Hevesi Is Re-elected New York's Comptroller". The New York Times.
  39. ^ Cooper, Michael (December 22, 2006). "New York State Comptroller Expected to Resign". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  40. ^ Cooper, Michael (December 23, 2006). "Hevesi Pleads Guilty to a Felony and Resigns". New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  41. ^ "Hevesi apologizes for remarks about Bush at commencement". June 2, 2006. Archived from the original on August 22, 2007.
  42. ^ a b Cooper, Michael (September 23, 2006). "Hevesi Admits Using State Driver for His Wife". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  43. ^ Lucadamo, Kathleen (October 30, 2006). "Flap-happy day for underdogs". New York Daily News.
  44. ^ Mahoney, Joe (October 24, 2006). "Ethics Panel Raps Hevesi. Says Using State Worker To Drive Wife Was Illegal". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  45. ^ Mahoney, Joe (October 26, 2006). "Gov Grinding His Ax For Hevesi. Aides Already Hunt For A Replacement". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  46. ^ Mahoney, Joe; Smith, Ben (November 20, 2006). "Gov Steps Closer To Legal Case Vs. Hevesi". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  47. ^ "Comptroller Alan Hevesi ordered to pay more". WHEC-TV. November 3, 2006.[dead link]
  48. ^ Cooper, Michael (November 4, 2006). "Comptroller Repays State $90,000 More for Wife's Driver". The New York Times. Albany, New York. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  49. ^ "New York Voters Split On Whether Hevesi Should Quit, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Most Oppose Closing Hospitals". Quinnipiac University. December 13, 2006. Archived from the original on February 13, 2016.
  50. ^ Hakim, Danny (October 6, 2009). "Ex-Political Boss Pleads Guilty in Pension Case". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  51. ^ Gerstein, J. (May 11, 2006). "Hevesi's Advice Stirs Questions On the Coast".
  52. ^ Pressman, Gabe (October 8, 2010). "Alan Hevesi: The Man Who Betrayed the Public Trust". WNBC.
  53. ^ The Associated Press (April 15, 2011). "Former state comptroller Alan Hevesi sentenced, 1 to 4 years in prison". syracuse.
  54. ^ Lovett, Kenneth (April 17, 2011). "Former Controller Alan Hevesi begins prison stint in an infirmary ward room". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  55. ^ Precious, Tom. "Former state comptroller getting out of prison". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  56. ^ Fenton, Reuven (December 13, 2012). "Ex-NY Comptroller Alan Hevesi out of prison after serving 20 months in pension scandal". New York Post. Retrieved December 8, 2021.

External links[edit]

New York State Assembly
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