Alan Hevesi

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Alan Hevesi
Alan Hevesi crop.jpeg
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
In office
December 1971 – December 1993
Preceded byEmanuel R. Gold
Succeeded byMelinda Katz
Constituency25th district (1971–1972)
28th district (1973–1993)
Personal details
Born (1940-01-31) January 31, 1940 (age 80)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Carol Hevesi
Children2
Alma materQueens College, CUNY (B.A.)
Columbia University (Ph.D.)

Alan G. Hevesi (born January 31, 1940) is a former 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 is originally from Queens, New York City.[1]

A member of the Democratic Party, Hevesi was elected State Comptroller in 2002 and reelected in 2006.[2] 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.

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]

Hevesi 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.

Background[edit]

Hevesi's parents were Jewish immigrants from Hungary. They left Hungary in 1938 to escape the Nazis, and 55 of their relatives died at the Auschwitz concentration camp.[4] Hevesi's father was Dr. 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 late brother Dennis Hevesi was a reporter for The New York Times.[6]

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.[7] The title of his doctoral dissertation was Legislative Leadership in New York State.[8] Hevesi taught political science at Queens College for more than 30 years.[7]

Hevesi and his wife Carol are residents of Forest Hills, Queens, New York. Their sons, New York State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and former New York State Senator Daniel Hevesi, have both had careers in politics.[9]

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.[citation needed] He took his seat during a special session in December 1971.[citation needed] Hevesi served in the Assembly for 22 years.[7]

New York City Comptroller[edit]

Hevesi unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Nomination for City Comptroller in 1989; he was defeated by Brooklyn District Attorney and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman. In 1993, he defeated Holtzman to secure the Democratic nomination. Hevesi then defeated former Congressman Herman Badillo, the Republican candidate, in the general election.[citation needed]

By December 1997, Hevesi as Comptroller of the City of New York 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 was owing to the heirs of victims of the Holocaust, joined eventually by both then-Mayor of New York City Rudolph Giuliani and then-Governor of New York State George Pataki. In his book on the subject, Norman Finkelstein dubs him "the godfather of Holocaust restitution sanctions."[10]

He recruited the financial officers of many other states and municipalities in the US to similarly place the powers and responsibilities entrusted to them by their employers at the service of this cause, at one point calling them to a conference in his own city at which they discussed ways and means of coordinating their individual actions for maximum effect.[11] 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 in subsequent actions against Germany, Austria, and other countries,[12] 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.[citation needed]

State Comptroller[edit]

In 2001, Hevesi sought the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York, running on the platform of "Most Experienced, Best Qualified". He finished fourth, behind Public Advocate Mark J. Green, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, and New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone. Hevesi was the Liberal Party nominee for mayor in the general election, but did not campaign, instead endorsing Green. Following his defeat in the mayor's race, Hevesi started his campaign for state comptroller, which he won, defeating Republican John Faso in 2002.

In November 2006, Hevesi was reelected as New York State Comptroller. On December 22, 2006, CNN reported, "[N]ew York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi entered into a plea agreement which included his immediate resignation Friday to avoid a felony indictment by a New York State grand jury charging him with defrauding the government by having staffers drive his wife and assist her in with personal matters from 2003–2006. Hevesi pleaded guilty to Superior Court Filing of defrauding the government, a Class E felony, and will pay a $5,000 fine. Hevesi admitted the wrongdoing when allegations surfaced in November, and has repaid the state more than $200,000."

Controversies[edit]

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 (D-NY) 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."[13]

Using state employees to chauffeur wife[edit]

On September 21, 2006, Alan Hevesi admitted that he used Nicholas Acquafredda, a state employee and member of Hevesi's security detail, to drive and aid his ailing wife.[14] 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.[14] 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. 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.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

On October 23, 2006, the "Ethics Commission concluded that Hevesi had 'knowingly' violated state law."[18] On November 3, 2006, Hevesi was ordered by the office of state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to 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.[19] 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."[20]

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.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23] 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, Mr. Hevesi invested $200 million in Markstone. Mr. Broidy is a major Republican political contributor. Mr. Broidy did not directly contribute to Hevesi's political campaigns, but his 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.

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.[24]

In October 2010, 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.[25] He began his prison term on April 17, 2011.[26] Hevesi went before a parole board on November 14, 2012 and was released on parole on December 19, 2012.[27] He served twenty months of a maximum four-year sentence.[28]

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McShane, Larry (October 8, 2010). "Disgraced former state Controller Alan Hevesi: From family man to felon". Daily News.
  2. ^ Cardwell, Diane (November 8, 2006). "Despite Accusations, Hevesi Is Re-elected New York's Comptroller". The New York Times.
  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 2011-05-03.
  4. ^ https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/disgraced-state-controller-alan-hevesi-family-man-felon-article-1.188640
  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. ^ a b c https://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/newsday-voters-guide-the-race-for-mayor-of-new-york-city-1.772239
  8. ^ Havesi, Alan. Legislative Leadership in New York State (Thesis). Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  9. ^ 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."
  10. ^ Bazyler, Michael J. (2003). Holocaust Justice. New York: New York University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8147-9903-5.
  11. ^ Rickman, Gregg (1999). Swiss Banks and Jewish Souls. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. p. 205. ISBN 1-56000-426-6.
  12. ^ Finkelstein, Norman (2003). The Holocaust Industry (2nd ed.). New York: Verso. p. 121. ISBN 1-85984-488-X.
  13. ^ "Hevesi apologizes for remarks about Bush at commencement". June 2, 2006. Archived from the original on August 22, 2007.
  14. ^ a b Cooper, Michael (September 23, 2006). "Hevesi Admits Using State Driver for His Wife". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  15. ^ Lucadamo, Kathleen (October 30, 2006). "Flap-happy day for underdogs". New York Daily News.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Mahoney, Joe; Smith, Ben (November 20, 2006). "Gov Steps Closer To Legal Case Vs. Hevesi". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  19. ^ "Comptroller Alan Hevesi ordered to pay more". WHEC-TV. November 3, 2006.[dead link]
  20. ^ Cooper, Michael (November 4, 2006). "Comptroller Repays State $90,000 More for Wife's Driver". Albany, New York. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ Hakim, Danny (October 6, 2009). "Ex-Political Boss Pleads Guilty in Pension Case". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  23. ^ Gerstein, J. (May 11, 2006). "Hevesi's Advice Stirs Questions On the Coast".
  24. ^ Pressman, Gabe (October 8, 2010). "Alan Hevesi: The Man Who Betrayed the Public Trust". WNBC.
  25. ^ https://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/former_state_comptroller_alan_1.html
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ Precious, Tom. "Former state comptroller getting out of prison". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  28. ^ Fenton, Reuven (2012-12-13). "Ex-NY Comptroller Alan Hevesi out of prison after serving 20 months in pension scandal". New York Post. Retrieved 2016-08-09.

External links[edit]

New York State Assembly
Preceded by
Emanuel R. Gold
New York State Assembly
25th District

1971–1972
Succeeded by
Vincent F. Nicolosi
Preceded by
Alfred A. DelliBovi
New York State Assembly
28th District

1973–1993
Succeeded by
Melinda Katz
Political offices
Preceded by
Elizabeth Holtzman
New York City Comptroller
1994–2001
Succeeded by
Bill Thompson
Preceded by
Carl McCall
New York State Comptroller
2003–2006
Succeeded by
Thomas Sanzillo
Acting
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rudy Giuliani
1997
Liberal nominee for Mayor of New York City
2001
Succeeded by
Michael Bloomberg
2005