Attorney General Cuomo Announces Two
New York, NY (February 6, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and State Inspector General Kristine Hamann today announced a multi-count indictment against James Jackson, the former Superintendent of the 69th Regiment Armory, a national historic landmark, on extortion and bribery charges.
Jackson, 30-year New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) employee who ran the Armory for more than 8 years, is charged with felonies for demanding over $30,000 from vendors in exchange for allowing use of the Armory for Marc Jacobs fashion shows and Ramsay Art Fairs, among others. Jackson faces more than 20 years in prison.
“In cases in which we find public employees abuse their positions for personal gain, it is not just a violation of law but a betrayal of public trust,” said Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. “We will continue to combat public corruption across all levels of government and hold public servants accountable for dishonest acts such as the bribery schemes exposed today.”
“The state's armories were created for use by the military and the public. They were intended as community assets, as a place for the public and local charities to meet.
We must ensure that New York's armories are always available for rent through a fair and open process. As a state employee, Mr. Jackson's job was to maintain the integrity of the Lexington Avenue Armory, not to extort funds and divert them for his own use,” said Inspector General Kristine Hamann.
Since 1904, the Armory has been the headquarters of New York’s Fighting 69th, and continues to be a home for other military units deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 44 members of the Army National Guard, 1st Battalion 69th Infantry are currently in Afghanistan. The balance are in training and expected to be deployed to Afghanistan in Spring 2008. Renowned for the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art, a watershed event in the history of American art, the Armory’s military drill floor is frequently transformed into a scene for vital art and cultural events.
The 69th Regiment Armory is located at 68 Lexington Avenue, between 25th Street and 26th Street, in Manhattan. The Armory’s rental charges for a commercial event are about $6000-per-day excluding utilities, security, and insurance coverage.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted jointly by the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau and the Office of the Inspector General. On behalf of the Inspector General, the Investigation was lead by Chief of Investigations Kelly Donovan, Investigative Attorney Paul Ryan, Deputy Chief Investigator Nick D’Amelio, and Investigator Roberto Santana. The New York City Police Department assisted in the arrest. On behalf of the Attorney General’s Office, the investigation was conducted by Deputy Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Assistant Attorney General John Carroll, Assistant Attorney General Renée L. Jarusinsky, Investigator Kevin McCann and members of the Attorney General’s Investigations Bureau under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity Ellen Biben.
Former Tax Agent Sentenced For Official Misconduct
Cuomo today also announced the sentencing of Victor Molina, a former New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) employee, for misusing his position to access confidential computerized tax information of a company to benefit his outside law practice in the Bronx. Molina, who is an attorney, worked for NYSDTF as a Tax Compliance Agent since 1998. Molina pled guilty to Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor and was sentenced to 3 years’ probation and the maximum $1000 fine. As a condition of his plea, Molina was required to resign from state service and banned from seeking future New York State employment.
Molina was sentenced before Judge Jacqueline Williams in Brooklyn Criminal Court.
“All public servants at every level of government have a responsibility to act honestly and respect the confidentiality of private records such as tax documents,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office’s Public Integrity Bureau will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who give public service a bad name by using their positions for personal gain.”
The Molina matter was referred to the Attorney General’s office by NYSDTF. Attorney General Cuomo thanks the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Office of Deputy Inspector General and Investigator Richard Gambino for their assistance with this investigation.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Rachel S. Pauley and Noah Falk under the supervision of Ellen Biben, Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity.
Today’s actions are the latest in an ongoing effort by Attorney General Cuomo to restore public integrity into state government. Other notable actions include:
- The arrest of a New York State Department of Education employee, Daniel D. Lorello, who allegedly misused his position to steal hundreds of historic documents and artifacts belonging to the State Library, selling some for personal profit on eBay and trading others at collectors’ shows.
- Convicting New York Power Authority Deputy Counsel Carmine J. Clemente for defrauding the state. Clemente resigned from his position and paid more than $34,000 in fines and restitution.
Convicting James L. Leggiero, a former high-level State Office of Mental Health (OMH) employee, for stealing $1.2 million from taxpayers to support his own lavish lifestyle of luxury homes and fast cars. Leggiero could serve up to 10 years in prison and must make full restitution to the state.
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