ALBANY — Disgraced ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has filed for retirement and stands to receive a pension of up to $95,590 a year — even though he’s likely headed to jail.
Skelos, who was convicted earlier this month on federal corruption charges, filed his retirement papers on Dec. 22, state Controller Thomas DiNapoli’s Office revealed Tuesday.
DiNapoli’s office would not reveal how much Skelos will receive but the Empire Center for Public Policy estimated he’d receive an annual pension of as much as $95,590.
“It’s incomprehensible that one could dishonor his sworn pledge to uphold the trust of public and then expect the public to pay for his dishonor,” said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union.
In seeking his pension within days of his conviction, Skelos followed the example of disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) who filed for retirement soon after his conviction last month on seven counts of corruption.
Silver also stands to receive a pension of about $95,000 a year, according to the Empire Center. Both convicted lawmakers have more than 40 years of government service.
Although the Legislature passed a law in 2011 to strip the pensions of newly elected lawmakers convicted of corruption, it protected longtime officials like Skelos and Silver. Efforts to amend the state Constitution to remove the pensions of all corrupt lawmakers floundered in the Legislature this year.
However, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office convicted both Skelos and Silver, has suggested he will use civil forfeiture laws to claw back the disgraced lawmakers’ pensions.
“A politician who ripped off taxpayers by using his public post for private gain should not receive a benefit paid for by taxpayers,” Dadey said.
Skelos (R-Nassau County) and his son Adam were convicted on Dec. 11 on eight counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. Sentencing is set for March 2 and both men could face up to 130 years in prison.
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