Apr 23rd - 2:18 pm
The former top political aide to disgraced ex-Comptroller Alan Hevesi will be released from prison June 3, according to a ruling from the state Parole Board today.
Morris, along with Hevesi, was sent to prison for his role in a massive pay-to-play scheme to sell access to the state’s pension fund.
Morris was serving a 16-to-48 month sentence and has been denied parole three seaprate times.
But Morris and his lawyer argued the Parole Board improperly followed the process for holding a hearing, with Columbia County Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott eventually ordering a new hearing.
Hevesi was released a parole late last year.
Mar 7th - 2:19 pm
Hank Morris, the imprisoned former political advisor to ex-Comptroller Alan Hevesi, is suing to challenge the state Parole Board denying an early release, claiming officials did not follow proper procedure or taken into account his model behavior as a prisoner.
Update: This isn’t the first time Morris has sued the state over his parole. He did so back in July 2012 as well.
In the lawsuit filed today in state Supreme Court, Morris’s lawyers insist that he poses no recidivism risk and that parole officials did not take into consideration new procedures for hearings that took effect in October 2011.
Morris, 57, was denied parole in November 2012, with the board citing at the time his “inability” to understand his state of mind at the time he took part in a massive pay-to-play pension fund scandal.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the Parole Board not following a change to procedure approved by the Legislature in 2011. The amendment to the parole law required the board to have written procedures when making parole decisions with the goal of streamlining the process.
But the written procedures were not in place at the time of Morris’s August 2012 hearing.
Morris, an inmate at Hudson Correctional Facility in Columbia County, began his four-year prison term in March 2011 after pleading guilty to providing access to the pension fund in exchange for lucrative fees. Investigators accused him of taking more than $19 million, which was ultimately paid back.
Hevesi, who resigned in 2006 from the comptroller post over an unrelated scandal, was released Dec. 12 from Mid-House Correctional Facility.
The lawsuit also points to Morris’ record of good behavior in prison and that he is unlikely to become a repeat offender.
“It is clear, therefore, that by conducting legally defective parole hearings, Respondents are attempting to block any judicial review of their actions, leading to the unlawful prolonged incarceration of a man who cannot rationally be said to pose any threat to society,” the complaint reads.
Dec 11th - 11:43 am
Disgraced former Comptroller Alan Hevesi is being released from a Oneida County prison tomorrow at 8 a.m., the state Parole Board announced today.
Hevesi was sentenced to prison for his role in a massive pay-to-play pension fund scandal in 2011. He sentenced to one to four years in prison, but was granted parole on Nov. 14.
Initially his release date was no later than Dec. 19.
Hevesi will remain under community supervision until April 14, 2015 and plans to live in his home in Queens.
The Democrat was comptroller until the end of 2006, when he resigned after it was revealed that he used a state driver to chauffeur his wife.
Nov 20th - 12:11 pm
In his sit-down interview with the State Parole Board earlier this month, disgraced former Comptroller Alan Hevesi told commissioners of a “confrontation” with his adult children — including Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi of Queens — that resulted him in re-thinking his actions in the pay-to-play pension fund scandal that sent him and his former top political aide to prison.
Hevesi will be released from Mid-Hudson Correctionl Facility by Dec. 19 after serving roughly 19 months in prison for his role in the scandal.
Hevesi, who had been previously denied parole, told commissioners that his children forced him to confront the scandal differently, insisting that he no longer wanted to minimize his role.
“They are loving, they are loyal, supported me, stood by me all the way through this and then they beat me up, verbally beat me up because I was in denial about what really occured,” Hevesi said.
The Democrat, who resigned in 2006 amid charges that he used his security detail to act as chaffeur for his wife even though he was re-elected to a second term, told commissioners of an abusive “thug” older brother who terrorized his family.
And Hevesi attributed his actions to the power of managing a sprawling bureaucracy, the state retirement fund and rubbing shoulders with important people got to his head.
“I got arrogant. Not arrogant in that I treated people like British nobles and how they treat their servants, not like that, but I am entitled. I am dealing with hedge funds, millionaires and Wall Street billionaires and president of South Africa and Gerry Adams and the Clinton White House and suddenyl I’m a big shot in over my head…. It got away from me.
Hevesi, insisting that his office did good work despite the scandals, also acknowledged that he contributed to some of the cynicism in the public when it comes to state government.
“There is a lot of damage here that I caused,” he said.
Hevesi was sentenced to one to four years in prison. His former political aide, who arranged for favored access to the state’s pension fund, was denied parole earlier this month.
Hevesi also told the Parole Board that he had gotten into a dispute with a corrections officer over changing the television channel in a common area at Mid-Hudson. Hevesi said no voices were raised, but words were exchanged. He calle the interaction a “mistake.”
Nov 15th - 6:06 pm
Add John Faso to the list of one-time political foes agreeing with the Parole Board’s decision to allow disgraced ex-comptroller Alan Hevesi to leave prison.
Faso, a former state Assembly minority leader who ran against Hevesi and lost narrowly in 2002, said it was in an interview it was time for Hevesi to see his family.
“I agree the Parole Board made the right decision,” Faso said. “I don’t think there’s any further purpose to his serving anymore time in state prison and I think Alan Hevesi ought to go home to his family.”
In his November 2011 parole hearing, Hevesi said he would like to live a “quiet life” if released and possinly work on a book.
Faso, who also ran against Eliot Spitzer for governor in 2006, added, “He’s certainly admitted his guilt in the matter. He served his time.”
Hevesi will be released as late as Dec. 19. His longtime political guru at the center of the case, Hank Morris, was denied parole today.
Faso says he thinks there is still something Hevesi, 72, can still contribute to society.
“Certainly the public humiliation of this has to be tremendous and hopefully he can still do something productive with his life and I think he will, actually,” Faso said.
Earlier in the day CapCon caught up with Hevesi’s 2006 Republican opponent, Saratoga County Treasurer Chris Callaghan, who was similarly gracious about Hevesi leaving prison.
Nov 15th - 3:50 pm
Former Comptroller Alan Hevesi may be out of prison by Dec. 19, but his former political-aide-de-camp and co-conspirator in the pay-to-play pension fund scandal will remain behind bars.
The state Parole Board denied his request to leave prison early, citing his “inability” to understand his state of mind during the scandal is at issue.
“Your repeated assertions of not knowing what your state of mind was for over a 2 year period druing the crime is of grave concern for the board. While the board believes your sincere expression of remorse your inability to understand your state of mind during your criminal conduct prevents avoidance of similar future conduct.”
In February, Morris told the parole board that he didn’t know the scheme to provide hedge funds and other investors with an inside track to the pension fund was illegal and clamied to not know he was under investigation until he read bout in the press.
Morris says he also has kept busy by reading, exercising and helping fellow inmates get their GEDs.
Morris PB Decision Nov. 2012 11R0731
Nov 15th - 12:57 pm
Update: So you can pretty much ignore this unless you’re looking for a refresher from when this was released in November of 2011.
Former Comptroller Alan Hevesi described his role in the pay-to-play pension fund scandal that landed him in prison as “moronic” and “criminal” and reiterated to parole officials that he was ultimately responsible for the scandal.
Hevesi, who the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced today would be released by Dec. 19 from Midstate Correctional Facility in Oneida County following his parole hearing on
Wednesday from last year.
In telling the board why he deserved parole, Hevesi told them that he’s “not a career criminal.”
According to a transcript released today by DOCCS, Hevesi says he wants to focus on his family, which includes several grandchildren and a wife who is in assisted living.
“I’ve made this awful, terrible error. I acknowledged how many people I’ve hurt which I never intended. I’m going to either work — if you think that’s appropriate I’m glad to do that. I’d rather focus no my wife. I’m her connection to the outside world… And I will be a babysitter and I will focus on the family. And I would like to write — I’ve been thinking about a couple of books I want to write. I used to do some academic stuff. So that I would live a quiet life.”
Hevesi also went into detail on his relationship with former political consultant Hank Morris, saying he never realized that his longtime aide’s registering as a placement agent wuold pose a problem.
Hevesi said he was “completely trusting there would be no conflict with us. And then I picked up the paper one day and the Attorney General characterized our operations, and that changed my life for several years.”
He described Morris as an inscrutable aide who was brilliant political tactician, but whose personal life was something of a mystery.
“Strategizing I would go to him because he was very good about it. When it came to politics and the campaigning strategy, we were as close as could be. As I said, I could call him at 3 in the morning and wake him up. When it came to the rest of his life, he was like the KGB, completely secret.”
Hevesi was comptroller from 2003 through 2006. He resigned before taking office in a second term after it was revealed in an unrelated scandal that a state employee had been driving his wife to personal appointments.
In transcript, Hevesi says that driver was needed for security, especially after receiving death threats, one of which included a flattened bird sent to him in a FedEx package.
Nov 15th - 10:50 am
As first reported by The Daily News this reporting, disgraced former Comptroller Alan Hevesi is being paroled after serving 19 months of a four-year prison sentence for his role in a massive pay-to-play pension fund scandal.
This morning, the state Department of Correction and Community Supervision confirmed that Hevesi, a 72-year-old Democrat, is being paroled by Dec. 19 of this year.
The department also released the terms of Hevesi’s parole, which lasts through April 2015.
Hevesi, otherwise known as prisoner 11-R-1334, must report within 24 hours of his release to his parole officer and promptly reply to any questions from the officer.
He cannot leave New York state without permission.
Hevesi cannot take illegal drugs or own a firearm. For any controlled substance, Hevesi must have a proper medical explanation.
He also cannot communicate or contact his co-conspirators in the scandal, including Hank Morris, David Loglisci and Elliot Broidy.
Hevesi, 72, was elected comptroler in 2002 and resigned in 2006 in an unrelated scandal after he came under pressure for misusing his state driver for personal uses.
He was sentenced in April 2011 to one to four years in Oneida County’s Mid-State Correctional Facility.
The full terms of Hevesi’s parole is after the jump. More >
May 7th - 6:28 pm
Disgraced former political consultant Hank Morris and Dan Hevesi, an ex-state senator and son of jailed former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, are named in pay-to-play pension fund lawsuits brought by a New Mexico government agency, the AP reports.
The suits, filed in state and federal courts by State Investment Council, claims the agency’s onetime top manager, Gary Bland, and the Dallas-based financial advisory firm Aldus Equity Partners improperly steered investments to political supporters of former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Dan Hevesi was one of several placement agents on a New Mexico investment deal.
Aldus Equity’s founding partner, Saul Meyer pleaded guilty in October 2009 to fraud for his role in the New York pension fund scandal.
At the time, then-AG Andrew Cuomo branded Meyer “a corrupted gatekeeper.” Meyer pleaded guilty to charges that he paid over $300,000 in bogus finders fees to Morris in exchange for $375 million worth of investments in Aldus private equity funds between 2004 and 2006.
In 2007, investigators subpoenaed records from a financial business owned by Dan Hevesi, who is Alan Hevesi’s eldest son, but no charges were ever brought against him.
Last fall, the Times reported Alan Hevesi had agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge for his role in the pension fund mess in order to protect Dan Hevesi and also his younger son, Assemblyman Andy Hevesi.
Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty last October and was sentenced in April to one to four years in prison – the maximum penalty possible.
Morris was sentenced in February to up to four years behind bars.
Apr 29th - 11:00 am
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks tighter rules for lobbying and favor-currying before the state’s pension fund, the New York Public Interest Research Group has compiled a list of the 265 companies that have invested in the pension fund along with how much they’ve spent lobbying the state last year.
The companies spent $31.9 million lobbying the state in 2010. The fund invests about 44 percent, or $26.8 billion, in the companies.
The state retirement fund is one of the largest pension systems in the country. At the same time, the companies spent $2.5 million cumulatively on lobbying state officials. The companies include a who’s who of major firms, banks and insurance companies.
As the public discussion unfolds about what role, if any, lobbying should play in investment decisions, this information provides a window into the resources deployed and the potential influence wielded by major players in the state’s pension fund.
Less than two weeks after former Comptroller Alan Hevesi went to jail for his role in a massive pay-to-play pension fund scandal, Cuomo proposed tight rules for the pension fund and a permanent ban on placement agents and a ban on director contributions to the comptroller from firms and companies that have business before the fund. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli had a ban on placement agents directly lobbying the office since 2009.
Hevesi was sentenced to 1-4 years in state prison after accepting millions in gifts in exchange for investments in the pension fund, a scandal that also included his political operative, Hank Morris.