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Alan G. Hevesi (born January 31, 1940) is a Democratic politician and convicted felon who served as a New York State Assemblyman from 1971–93, as New York City Comptroller from 1994-2001, and as New York State Comptroller from 2003-06. Hevesi is originally from Queens, New York City.[1]

Alan Hevesi
Libeskind.jpg
Architect Daniel Libeskind and New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi at an event on Sunday, December 17th, 2006 in Battery Park, NYC
41st Comptroller of New York City
In office
January 1, 1994 – December 31, 2001
MayorRudolph Giuliani
Preceded byElizabeth Holtzman
Succeeded byBill Thompson
53rd Comptroller of New York State
In office
January 1, 2003 – December 22, 2006
GovernorGeorge Pataki
Preceded byCarl McCall
Succeeded byThomas DiNapoli
Thomas Sanzillo (acting)
Personal details
Born (1940-01-31) January 31, 1940 (age 79)
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Carol Hevesi
Children2
Alma materColumbia University (Ph.D.)
Queens College (CUNY) (B.A.)

Hevesi was first elected State Comptroller in 2002 and won re-election in 2006.[2] However, he resigned from office effective December 22, 2006 as part of a plea bargain with the Albany County Court which 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 later 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.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

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.[4] His late brother Dennis Hevesi was a reporter for The New York Times.[5] His grandfather was Simon Hevesi, Chief Rabbi of Budapest prior to World War II.[citation needed]

Hevesi earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Queens College, CUNY. He received his Ph.D. in Public Law & Government from Columbia University in 1971. The title of his doctoral dissertation was Legislative Leadership in New York State. His dissertation has been archived by University Microfilms International; it carries document number 7201325.[6]

Alan 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, both made their careers in politics.[7]

Political careerEdit

State AssemblyEdit

On November 2, 1971, Hevesi was elected to the New York State Assembly, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Emanuel R. Gold, and took his seat during the special session in December 1971. He was elected to a full term in 1972 and reelected nine more times. He remained in the Assembly until 1993, sitting in the 179th, 180th, 181st, 182nd, 183rd, 184th, 185th, 186th, 187th, 188th, 189th and 190th New York State Legislatures. He rose to chair various committees and be considered a potential Assembly Speaker. Simultaneously (from 1967 to 1993), he was an associate professor of political science at Queens College in Flushing, New York.

New York City ComptrollerEdit

He first 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 came back to challenge Holtzman in the primary, following ethics accusations against Holtzman. Holtzman had taken a questionable loan from Fleet Bank, which Hevesi assailed her on during an NY1 debate. Hevesi was also supported by Geraldine Ferraro, a former Congresswoman and Vice Presidential running mate of Walter Mondale. Hevesi defeated Holtzman to secure the Democratic nomination. Hevesi then defeated former Congressman Herman Badillo, the Republican candidate in the general election.

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."[8]

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.[9]

Sanctions took the forms, variously, of withdrawing balances from (the US branches of) Swiss banks, disinvestment in Swiss banks and their various investment vehicles, disinvestment in Swiss companies, and in companies of other nationalities with operations or markets in Switzerland. Hevesi and a number of his accomplices further undertook to deny regulatory permissions to Swiss banks seeking to expand their activities in their jurisdictions.

This effort 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,[10] 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.

State ComptrollerEdit

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 in the race; instead, he endorsed Green for mayor in the general election. Following his defeat in the mayor's race, Hevesi started his campaign for state comptroller, which he won, defeating Republican John Faso in 2002.

As State Comptroller, Hevesi served as the state's chief fiscal officer and as head of the state Department of Audit and Control. In New York, the comptroller signs state checks, handles state bookkeeping, conducts audits of state and local finances, and issues economic forecasts. The comptroller also serves as the sole trustee of the state pension system, an important role in the investment community based on the value of New York State's investment portfolio.

In November 2006, Hevesi was reelected as New York State Comptroller. On December 22, 2006, CNN reported that "[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."

ControversiesEdit

As state comptroller, Hevesi faced a conflict of interest allegation in relation to a private capital fund named "Markstone", according to a report in the New York Sun.[11] 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.[12]

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 wifeEdit

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 favorsEdit

On October 6, 2009, Raymond Harding, chairman of the Liberal Party of New York, pleaded guilty to charges that he accepted $800,000 from aides to Hevesi when Hevesi was comptroller of the state of New York.[22]

Felony conviction and sentenceEdit

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.[23] He began his prison term on April 17, 2011.[24] Hevesi went before a parole board on November 14, 2012 and was released on parole on December 19, 2012.[25] He served twenty months of a maximum four-year sentence.[26]

PublicationsEdit

BooksEdit

  • 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 articlesEdit

Newspaper articlesEdit

  • 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 alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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. ^ "Dr. Eugene Hevesi, 87, A Jewish Leader, Dies". The New York Times. February 17, 1983. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
  5. ^ Navarro, Mireya (July 15, 1993). "A Comptroller Candidate Fights for Recognition". The New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
  6. ^ Havesi, Alan. Legislative Leadership in New York State (Thesis). Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  7. ^ 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."
  8. ^ Bazyler, Michael J. (2003). Holocaust Justice. New York: New York University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8147-9903-5.
  9. ^ Rickman, Gregg (1999). Swiss Banks and Jewish Souls. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. p. 205. ISBN 1-56000-426-6.
  10. ^ Finkelstein, Norman (2003). The Holocaust Industry (2nd ed.). New York: Verso. p. 121. ISBN 1-85984-488-X.
  11. ^ Gerstein, J. (May 11, 2006). "Hevesi's Advice Stirs Questions On the Coast".
  12. ^ Pressman, Gabe (October 8, 2010). "Alan Hevesi: The Man Who Betrayed the Public Trust". WNBC.
  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. ^ https://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/04/former_state_comptroller_alan_1.html
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Precious, Tom. "Former state comptroller getting out of prison". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  26. ^ 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 linksEdit

New York 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
Rudolph W. Giuliani
1997
Liberal nominee for Mayor of New York City
2001
Succeeded by
Michael R. Bloomberg
2005