Whoever said crime doesn’t pay hasn’t been to Albany.

Disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver hopes to soon join an exclusive club of 18 crooked ex-pols who pull down millions in taxpayer-funded pensions.

The former lawmakers, who were censured, indicted or convicted, have collectively glommed more than $3.8 million since fiscal year 2010, Empire Center for Public Policy figures show.

A jury convicted Silver, 71, of public-corruption charges on Monday and the verdict forced the Lower East Side power broker to immediately relinquish his Assembly seat. The next day the Democrat — who faces 130 years in prison for stealing $5 million — applied for his state pension.

He could collect as much as $98,010 a year, a comp­troller’s estimate showed.

Silver’s former counterpart across the Capitol, Republican ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, 67, could get an $79,860 annual pension even if he is convicted in his federal corruption trial.

State pols are allowed to collect a pension for the rest of their lives once they file for retirement. They can opt for a lesser pension so that their spouses can collect checks after their death.

And while state law mandates they forfeit their political office upon a criminal conviction, the state constitution says nothing about stopping pensions. The state passed a law in 2011 giving judges power to strip pensions of felonious lawmakers but it applied only to new members.

“It’s unacceptably outrageous that lawmakers who violated the public trust can now rely upon taxpayer-funded pensions to ease their way for the rest of their lives,” said Citizens Union director Dick Dadey.

Former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, 75, who managed the state’s $125 billion pension fund, pleaded guilty in 2010 to a pay-to-play scheme that netted nearly a million dollars in gifts, travel accommodations, and campaign donations. The Democrat has netted $654,543 from his pension over the past six years, including $167,446 while serving his 19-month prison sentence.

Late Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, who resigned his Assembly seat in 2013 after he was accused of groping female staffers, grabbed at least $323,170 in pension payments before his death at age 74 last month.

Former Brooklyn Sen. Carl Kruger, 66, admitted to taking $500,000 in bribes in 2011 and received a seven-year sentence. The Dem has banked about $232,044 while serving his federal prison term, Empire Center estimates show.

US Attorney Preet Bharara vowed in 2013 to seize politicians’ pensions with judicial approval. He blocked former Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, convicted on bribery charges, of getting his pension, but Queens ex-Sen. Malcolm Smith, 59, convicted in February of trying to buy his way onto the Republican ballot, has been collecting his $24,247 annual pension.

© 2015 New York Post

You may also like

EDITORIAL: FOILed by a judge: Manhattan jurist Melissa Crane must speed it up on making police pensions public

Long ago the Empire Center for Public Policy asked the NYPD Pension Fund for the names of retirees and how much each is paid, to add the data to its indispensable database on how New York taxpayer dollars are spent. Read More

Super superintendent pensions soar over $200,000 for 12 Hudson Valley schools chiefs

Overall, 52 educators from the Hudson Valley in 2018 were eligible for pensions of $160,000 or more, according to a report issued by SeeThroughNY, an online project of the Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany. Read More

City workers’ pension funds hinge on Mayor de Blasio’s environmental stand

Tens of thousands of Long Islanders' pension funds are invested in gas and oil holdings. New York City wants to divest about $3.7 billion from them because of climate change. Read More

Conservative group sues pension fund for not releasing info on NYPD retirees

The Empire Center has filed a petition in state Supreme Court that claims the city acted “unlawfully” in failing to provide an accounting of pensions of former NYPD cops. Read More

Put down the shield: Police should turn over pension data to the public

Pensions for government retirees have been public information in New York since forever, but for nearly a decade, the Empire Center for Public Policy has been trying to collect and publish names and dollar figures on its SeeThroughNY.net website — only to be stymied by the pension funds. Read More

As city worker OT surges, so does pressure on pension costs

The city's generous payroll and benefits system continues to draw fire for exorbitant overtime and often unchecked disability pensions. Read More

Retired New York City educators are receiving average annual pensions as high as $88G, report shows

“It’s definitely an outmoded way to fund retirements when you look at how the private sector has moved toward defined contribution retirement plans,” Girardin said. “Every year we remain in the pension business, we’re putting taxpayers who haven’t even been born yet on the hook for paying benefits 50 or 60 years from now.” Read More

Unlike many, New York mostly avoids risky pension gambles

Pension system investments "are all in danger of veering off the road, just at different speeds," the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon said in October. Read More

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!