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January 18, 2016
NYC Correction Officers’ Union Head Arrested In Corruption Probe
Correction officers’ union chief Norman Seabrook was busted by the feds Wednesday on corruption charges for allegedly selling himself for a “Ferragamo bag full of cash,” authorities said.
Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Affiliation, was arrested by the FBI at his Bronx dwelling and accused of receiving $60,000 in kickbacks stuffed contained in the $820 bag, in keeping with federal officials.
“For a Ferragamo bag full of money, Norman Seabrook allegedly sold himself,” Manhattan US Legal professional Preet Bharara mentioned at a press conference announcing the bust in reference to a sweeping corruption probe of City Corridor and the NYPD.
Also arrested was former Platinum Partners hedge-fund honcho Murray Huberfeld. They’re charged with honest companies wire fraud.
“It’s a quite simple-and-easy quid pro quo. The quid being the $60,000. In return for that kickback there was a quo: Norman Seabrook utilizing his energy as head of the union” to direct money to the fund beforehand run by Huberfeld, Bharara said.
Seabrook was expected to earn between $a hundred,000 to $a hundred and fifty,000 in kickbacks, in response to the federal complaint.
Bharara said it was the first time Platinum Partners had received union pension cash.
“Just as excessive-net-value traders had been getting out of the fund, Seabrook was getting in with union retirement cash,” he stated.
Seabrook made selections “based not on what was good for his union members, however primarily based on what was good for Norman Seabrook,” he added.
In a search of Seabrook’s house, FBI brokers discovered a bag that matched the outline from the Ferragamo receipt, he stated. Additionally they found 10 pairs of Ferragamo shoes.
A corrections officer who dropped by to check out the scene had harsh phrases for the busted union boss.
“He’s filled with s—. We all anticipated this type of factor from him. He can’t be trusted,” the officer advised The Post, declining to be recognized however exhibiting his credentials.
Mayor de Blasio mentioned Seabrook would be suspended.
“If confirmed true, it’s disgusting and it’s very, very unhappy. It means he stole money from his personal workers,” Hizzoner stated.
Between November 2013 and 2015, Seabrook obtained kickbacks for steering greater than $20 million in wire transfers from the union’s pension fund to Platinum Companions, based on the complaint..
Round December 2013, Huberfeld confirmed to a 3rd social gathering that Platinum was keen to make “substantial payments” to Seabrook in trade for COBA’s funding into the company, in response to the complaint.
The third social gathering – known as a cooperating witness but unnamed in the complaint — is Jona Rechnitz, a donor to de Blasio who is at the center of a sweeping corruption probe, sources informed The Post.
Rechnitz, who launched Seabrook to Huberfled, has pleaded responsible to conspiracy, in accordance with the complaint.
Huberfeld advised Rechnitz that if COBA invested with Platinum, the company would get, as a part of its compensation, 20 p.c of the revenue on the union’s investment – and that Platinum would conform to pay the union boss 10 percent of its 20 % share, the feds say.
When the intermediary offered the supply to Seabrook, the union chief best ferragamo shoes requested: “How much is Norman Seabrook going to receives a commission ”
After consulting with Huberfeld, Rechnitz told Seabrook that the quantity might be between $a hundred,000 and $150,000 a year, the complaint says.
Earlier than assembly Seabrook on Dec. 11, 2014, Rechnitz went to Salvatore Ferragamo – Seabrook’s favourite luxurious-goods store – and bought him the expensive bag, which he stuffed with $60,000.
The kickback was disguised and invoiced as best ferragamo shoes being for tickets to “8 Knicks Video games @ 7500 per game” for 2 seats, in accordance with the complaint, which noted that the team’s file was a dismal 4-20 that yr.
Seabrook was apparently unimpressed, however, complaining angrily that the cash was not as a lot as he had been promised, the feds say.
Former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks and several other excessive-ranking cops attended the journey, sources have stated. Banks resigned from the drive in 2014.
The FBI is investigating whether the two businessmen offered free holidays and different freebies to Seabrook and Banks.
De Blasio stated he has not spoken to Seabrook in “several months.”
“We have lots we’ve been attempting to change on Rikers Island. Typically he was keen to work with us, sometimes he wasn’t,” he mentioned. “But the reform on Rikers Island will continue aggressively, I need to make that very clear. We’re adamant about changing the tradition of Rikers Island.”
The mayor sought to separate the case against Seabrook from the scandal enveloping the town authorities.
“Although investigations proceed, I imagine that the vast majority of the problems have been recognized and clearly within the context of the police department they’re being acted on very aggressively,” he mentioned. “What he did concerned his own union, his personal pension fund, which is separate from the city authorities obviously.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was troubled by the “drip, drip, drip of alleged scandals.”
“Now all of this comes collectively. Individuals are alienated. Individuals are unhappy with government. People are dissatisfied with politicians,” Cuomo said.