Investigations deepen on payoffs, influence buying, favors and exchanges

Every personal email, every business email, every phone call, every text, every meeting, every restaurant booking, every toll payment, every credit card purchase, every nearby security camera…. everything associated with every backer, banker and VC who was associated with each of the “winning” companies is being checked, cross-referenced and chronologically sequenced, according to special investigator Jeff Bloom. Research goes back past 2004, per Bloom.

The probes have gone deeper and extremely comprehensive in order to root out the people involved in the bribery and influence peddling associated with the “winners” of the ATVM & LG funding programs.

Aware of such probes, the executives at each company are scrambling to grab as much as they can before it all crumbles under public scrutiny. Solyndra, Fisker, Abound and others have already gone under because of law and ethics enforcement efforts, more are soon to follow.

Multiple stings have been underway with recorded evidence piling up. Meetings with backers of car companies have been recorded. Here is just one example of the process and the increasing criminal charges:

May 8, 2013

State Senator Taped 7 Elected Officials in Corruption Inquiry

By THOMAS KAPLAN, MOSI SECRET and WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM

ALBANY — Former State Senator Shirley L. Huntley, a Queens Democrat, last summer recorded six state senators and a city councilman at the behest of federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to a document released on Wednesday by a federal court in Brooklyn, Ms. Huntley invited the lawmakers to her home and then taped her conversations with them. Among those recorded were Senators Eric Adams of Brooklyn, Ruth Hassell-Thompson of Westchester County, José Peralta of Queens, Velmanette Montgomery of Brooklyn, John L. Sampson of Brooklyn and Malcolm A. Smith of Queens. Senators Sampson and Smith have been charged with corruption in separate cases.

Ms. Huntley also recorded a city councilman, Ruben Wills, of Queens, and two political aides, Curtis Taylor, a former spokesman for the Senate Democrats, and Melvin Lowe, a former Democratic campaign consultant.

The disclosure of the names comes days after federal prosecutors revealed in court papers that Ms. Huntley had made the recordings from June to August last year after she was approached by the Federal Bureau of Investigation about her alleged involvement in multiple criminal schemes.

Ms. Huntley was one of multiple elected officials whose conduct has been investigated by federal prosecutors. Mr. Sampson was accused on Monday of stealing more than $400,000 from foreclosure cases that he was handling as a court-appointed referee.

Federal prosecutors, arguing in court papers that the names should remain under seal, said on Tuesday that eight of the nine people recorded by Ms. Huntley were the subject of continuing criminal investigations. And while prosecutors said in court papers last week that the recordings of meetings she made with Mr. Sampson and two other elected officials “did yield evidence useful to law enforcement authorities,” it was unclear whether that evidence incriminated those people or others, or was evidence that a crime was committed.

The disclosure of Ms. Huntley’s attempts to cooperate with law enforcement was a jarring one for a state capital that has been rocked by scandal in recent weeks. Just last month, federal prosecutors revealed that a Democratic assemblyman from the Bronx, Nelson L. Castro, had also made secret recordings for law enforcement – meaning that federal authorities in two different jurisdictions, Brooklyn and Manhattan, had state lawmakers making recordings for them.

Ms. Huntley, who lost a primary election last year, pleaded guilty in federal court in January to embezzling more than $87,000 in taxpayer money from a nonprofit agency that she ran. Despite the recordings she made, federal prosecutors ultimately decided not to enter into a cooperation agreement with her because she “provided answers which were false, implausible and inconsistent” in debriefings with the government, according to court papers.

Court papers filed last week by Ms. Huntley’s lawyer, Sally Butler, identified the nine people she recorded. The filing was made under seal, but members of the press petitioned the court to make the filing public. A judge, Jack B. Weinstein of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, agreed on Tuesday to unseal the documents, and he unsealed them at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

Thomas Kaplan reported from Albany, and Mosi Secret and William K. Rashbaum from New York.

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