New York State Senate leader Dean Skelos and his son are under a microscope from Federal prosecutors who have presented evidence to a Grand Jury over their business dealings.
The New York Times said that the long-time political leader, one of the most prominent members of the Greek-American community, is being targeted to see if there was any wrongdoing in the awarding of a contract and a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company although he didn’t work for it.
Investigators have served subpoenas to a number of people, the paper said, including several to other State Senators and those who have had dealings with the two.
A key focus has been Adam Skelos’s hiring by an Arizona company, AbTech Industries, as well as a storm-water treatment contract that AbTech was awarded by Nassau County — the Senator’s district – although it wasn’t the low bidder.
The Times, citing sources it didn’t name, said investigators are trying to see if Senator Skelos exerted any influence in the contract award to AbTech.
They are also examining whether his son’s hiring as a consultant was part of a scheme in which the Senator would help AbTech or another company, Glenwood Management, a politically influential real estate developer that has had ties to AbTech.
That could pose a conflict of interest or potentially violate federal corruption statutes although there has been no evidence presented either Skelos or his son did anything wrong and neither have been accused.
Adam Skelos, 32, when asked about the investigation during a brief interview outside his house, said he was surprised to learn he was the focus of a federal inquiry. “I had no idea that this was even an issue,” he said. “I got to tell you, this is really unexpected.”
Senator Skelos, 67, and his son did not respond to written questions from The Times.
Sen. Skelos’ law firm, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, received a Federal Grand Jury subpoena in 2014.
In January, WNBC-TV reported that federal investigators were looking into Skelos’ outside income, with a focus on his ties to the real estate industry. The law firm has not been accused of any wrongdoing either.
It wasn’t reported why the US Attorney’s office is going after either Skelos or his son without having determined any wrongdoing by either of them.
Adam Skelos introduced officials at the Nassau Department of Public Works to AbTech, Mary Studdert, a spokeswoman for the agency told the newspaper.
She said that Skelos had roughly a dozen meetings and phone calls with a senior public works official; that person was a member of the committee that evaluated the proposals for the storm-water project.
The contract was awarded to AbTech, an Arizona company, even though another company submitted a substantially lower bid. County officials at the time contended that AbTech would ultimately provide the best value, county documents show.
Nicholas J. DeSantis, President of the low bidder, Newport Engineering, said that the Public Works Department never acknowledged receiving his bid and that he was not notified that the contract had been awarded.