- Last Updated: 11:14 PM, July 26, 2012
- Posted: July 27, 2012
Ok, so he walked on the bagel charge — but Larry Seabrook still got schmeared.
A federal court jury yesterday took down the now ex-city councilman from The Bronx on multiple corruption counts — though it gave him a pass for bilking taxpayers of $177 for a bagel.
Now he’s facing up to 20 years, mostly for wire and mail fraud and conspiracy.
Too bad. He earned the time — not that his crimes, while egregious, were in any sense imaginative or original.
Indeed, Seabrook just got a little too greedy with the City Council’s notoriously corrupt “member item” pork-distribution process — and, if nothing else, his conviction should give fresh impetus to finally shut that system down.
Seabrook was convicted of funneling $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to his girlfriend and relatives (including his sister and two brothers) through a network of nonprofit job-training groups he controlled.
His excuse: He was deceived by other people whose “agenda was to steal, rob and pillage,” as his lawyer put it.
Unlike last fall, when a jury was unable to reach a verdict, the second panel decided that Seabrook’s agenda and that of the people he hired were one and the same.
Before being elected to the council in 2002, Seabrook was an assemblyman and state senator — a reminder that there’s no better training ground for corrupt officials than the Legislature.
Amazingly, he was actually acquitted of another scheme — laundering money to disguise a $50,000 payoff from a Bronx business owner in return for a contract at the new Yankee Stadium.
There are any number of reasons to deep-six member items — including the fact that they give incumbent councilmembers an obscenely unfair electoral advantage.
But mostly they need to go because they represent a standing invitation for self-enrichment at taxpayer expense.
Seabrook’s depredations may have been extreme, but — again — they were hardly unique.
There is no legitimate reason to preserve member items. Not one.Follow @NYPostOpinion