Purported Corruption Links Sheldon Silver to Controversial LES Landlord Baruch Singer

Posted on: January 2nd, 2015 at 6:04 am by

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SPURA sites, circa 1979

The SPURA-based controversy this past year had little effect; Sheldon Silver was still re-elected to State Assembly Speaker in November with 82.5% of the vote. Yet the hits, nevertheless, keep coming. More dirt that could certainly contribute to a possible downfall.

This week, the New York Times exposed some shady dealings involving Sheldon Silver that ultimately resulted in a federal investigation. The Feds are looking into substantial payments made to the speaker by law firm Goldberg & Iryami, whose goal is seeking reductions in city real estate taxes for its clients.

The two-attorney outfit also counts controversial Lower East Side landlord Baruch Singer as one of its clients. A few excerpts from the article…

The landlord, Baruch Singer, whose father was the long-serving rabbi at the synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where Mr. Silver has worshiped for decades, used the law firm to seek reductions in real estate tax assessments on a number of his buildings on the Lower East Side and in Harlem, tax records show.

The tax certiorari law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, which seeks reductions in city real estate taxes on behalf of its clients, has made payments to Mr. Silver over roughly a decade, people with knowledge of the matter have said. A personal injury lawyer with no known experience in the highly specialized field of tax certiorari law, Mr. Silver did not disclose the source of the payments, as required.

As part of the investigation, federal prosecutors and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been seeking to determine precisely what Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side and one of the most powerful figures in Albany, was doing for the money, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.

Mr. Goldberg’s firm sought tax reductions for an unknown number of Mr. Singer’s properties. But a review of court filings and records from the New York City Tax Commission showed a number of properties associated with Mr. Singer that were represented by the firm in recent years.

The properties included commercial buildings on Delancey Street on the Lower East Side, in the district that Mr. Silver represents. They also included properties in the Hudson Yards area on the Far West Side of Manhattan, and apartment buildings in Harlem and in Washington Heights.

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