MARCY, NY - As the former NY State Comptroller, Alan Hevesi once famously stated ,"I think there's such a level of deception that I think we have to bring in adult supervision" in calling for the finances of Erie County to be placed under the stewardship of a control board.
But it turned out Hevesi was the one who needed to be watched, eventually convicted and sentenced to serve up to four years in prison, for accepting gifts and campaign contributions from people trying to do business with the state pension fund, which he controlled.
One week ago, inside the medium security Mid-State correctional facility in Oneida County Hevesi, (AKA inmate #11R1334) appeared before a three-member parole board.
It was the second chance for Hevesi, now approaching age 73, to get out of prison. His first bid for parole was denied after a previous parole board found him less than contrite.
It was something Hevesi addressed right off the bat to this board admitting, "I am guilty in what I was charged. A year ago I tried to minimize that..and that is what I thought would be helpful to me," according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by WGRZ-TV.
Hevesi credited his three adult children with helping him see the light.
"They verbally beat me up, because I was in denial about what really occurred," Hevesi told the Parole Board.
In the transcript of the hearing, Hevesi speaks of accepting perks from everyone from representatives of foreign governments, to powerful Wall Street financiers, seeking to curry a favorable investment by the state pension fund of which he was the sole trustee.
He also indicates running with that crowd changed him.
"I got arrogant...I was a big shot in my own head....because I said I am entitled to some of those perks too," were among the admissions he made in seeking parole which was granted.
The 21 page transcript also gives insight to the Albany of the day, when Hevesi was asked whether --while he was taking contributions from those seeking to do business with the state--it ever raised questions in his own mind that what he was doing was wrong.
"It was standard operating procedure...it happens a lot...Is it justified? no...it creates terrible conflicts...I ignored those"
The transcript does not reveal some things.
While it indicates Hevesi has lined up a job doing work for an elder abuse program, the name of his potential employer was redacted, as was the address of where he plans to live...although
several New York City media outlets have reported that Hevesi will live with his son, current NYS Assemblyman Alan Hevesi (D-Queens).
The names of those who wrote letters on his behalf were also blacked out, so we don't know if they include any current government officials.
The transcript also reveals that Hevesi has spent his entire 19 months of incarceration in protective custody,...and that he got written up, once, for changing the channel on a TV without first getting permission from a corrections officer, who he then got mouthy with.
Hevesi is expected to be released from prison just before Christmas, and will be able to collect on two state pensions, worth $166,000 annually.
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