Sadly, he was arraigned at a federal courthouse Jan. 22, 2015, on bribery and corruption charges.
JTA reported on the story and linked it to another scandal involving an associate of Silver.
William Rapfogel, the longtime CEO of New York’s Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was arrested in September 2013 for involvement in a kickbacks scheme. He pleaded guilty to helping fleece more than $9 million from the charity, including $1 million that he pocketed himself, and was sentenced last July to 3 ½ years in prison and ordered to pay $3 million in restitution.The Times discussed Silver's scandal with regard to how it affects Governor Cuomo. Cuomo is not Jewish.
Rapfogel’s wife, Judy Rapfogel, is Silver’s chief of staff. After her husband’s arrest, Judy Rapfogel claimed she had no knowledge of her husband’s criminal malfeasance, and she remained on Silver’s staff.
Silver and William Rapfogel lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same shul, the Bialystoker Synagogue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The two men often sat together in the sanctuary on Shabbat morning, though in recent years Silver began going to the early minyan on Saturday mornings, a neighborhood insider who declined to be identified told JTA.
Rapfogel’s eldest son, Michael Rapfogel, works for real estate developer Bruce Ratner, who has been on the receiving end of numerous favorable decisions by the Public Authorities Control Board, over which Silver has significant control. In 2006, Silver’s intervention helped secure a lucrative tax break for Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, even though that tax break actually was being phased out, The New York Times reported.
The criminal complaint filed this week against Silver by the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Silver was “on retainer to a mammoth real estate developer” while his office was passing legislation affecting that developer’s business, meeting with lobbyists paid for by the developer and “deliberately keeping secret from the public any information about this lucrative side-deal, in violation of the law.” The complaint does not identify the real estate developer by name.
The heart of the charge against Silver is that he received nearly $4 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his official acts – especially in matters relating to real estate and health care funding — and that he hid the money by disguising it as income from a law practice focused on personal injury matters.
Silver amassed a tremendous personal fortune through the abuse of political power, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.
“As today’s charges make clear, the show-me-the-money culture of Albany has been perpetuated and promoted at the very top of the political food chain,” Bharara said.
“And as the charges also show, the greedy art of secret self-reward was practiced with particular cleverness and cynicism by the speaker himself,” he said. “Politicians are supposed to be on the people’s payroll, not on secret retainer to wealthy special interests they do favors for.”