Former State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, who has been in prison since his conviction on corruption charges, will be released by Dec. 19, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said Thursday.
Mr. Hevesi, 72, has been incarcerated since April 2011, when he was sentenced to one to four years for his role in a sprawling scandal involving the state’s $153 billion pension fund, which he oversaw as sole trustee. Mr. Hevesi, a Democrat, has been held at a medium-security prison in Marcy, N.Y.
Among the conditions of his parole: he will be subject to a curfew, he cannot travel out of the state without permission and he cannot associate with other figures in the pension corruption scandal, including his former political adviser Hank Morris, who is also still behind bars.
Even as the Parole Board decided Thursday to release Mr. Hevesi, it rejected the latest bid by Mr. Morris, who was regarded as the mastermind of a scheme to make investment firms pay for access to the pension fund. The board said Mr. Morris’s release would be “incompatible with the welfare of society” and scheduled his next appearance for August 2013.
Mr. Hevesi’s career began to fall apart in 2006, when he pleaded guilty to a felony charge stemming from his use of state employees to chauffeur his wife. In the deal, he avoided prison time.
But his legal problems worsened amid a pay-to-play scandal involving the state pension fund, and he was a target of an investigation led by Andrew M. Cuomo, who was then the attorney general and is now the governor. A number of friends, family members and associates of Mr. Hevesi benefited inappropriately from their relationships with the comptroller’s office, the investigation found, reaping millions of dollars from financial firms seeking to handle the pension fund’s investments.
At a parole hearing last year, Mr. Hevesi, whose jobs in prison included washing windows and sweeping floors, was repentant.
“I’m certainly guilty,” he said at the time, adding, “I have time in prison to think through all the people that I’ve hurt.” Asked by the board then what he would have done differently, he said, “Not being moronically stupid.”
Mr. Hevesi’s son, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, a Queens Democrat, issued a statement on Thursday declaring that, based on his father’s actions since his conviction, “I have never loved him more, been more proud of him or been more resolute in aspiring to be a man like him than I am now.”
“My father has publicly acknowledged that he willfully allowed himself to become unbelievably arrogant, entitled and personally corrupt,” Assemblyman Hevesi said. “He let corruption flourish around him by intentionally denying what was happening in his office.”
But, Assemblyman Hevesi said, “I have witnessed my father confront his personal failings and overcome his own denial and defense mechanisms in an attempt to regain the fierce integrity that has always defined him.”
“My dad has owned and taken responsibility for his actions,” he added, “he has been extensively punished for them, and now he and my entire family are closing the book on this part of our lives.”
Source: The NY Times