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Latest Corruption Arrest Erodes Power of Minority Politicians

Monday, May 06, 2013

Another lawmaker representing New York City in Albany has been indicted. This latest case is continues to weaken the power of New York City's delegation in the New York Senate, and to lawmakers representing communities of color in particular.

As WNYC’s Anna Sale reports, most of the latest criminal busts have all involved black and Latino lawmakers.

State Senator Bill Perkins of Harlem told WNYC that while none of the politicans have been convicted, “it hurts very, very much to make the case for leadership, when the leadership is engaged in corruption. And it’s very hard to make the case to our communities to support us when we’re caught with our hands in the cookie jar.”

The once-powerful New York state senator John Sampson pleaded not guilty to charges of embezzlement, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. Federal prosecutors already have offered a plea deal to Sampson.

Outside the court house, Sampson's attorney, Zachary Carter, said, "This is not a corruption case. It's an ordinary criminal complaint."

Sampson was a court-appointed referee to watch over escrow accounts for sales of foreclosed properties in Brooklyn. It's alleged he embezzled $440,000 between 1998 and 2008.

To hear WNYC's Anna Sale discuss the latest arrest and its implications with Host Amy Eddings, click the audio above.

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