A New York state assemblyman from the Bronx has been arrested and accused of taking bribes in exchange for help he gave to several businessmen who were trying to open an adult day care center for the elderly and disabled, prosecutors say.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson announced the arrest of Democratic Assemblyman Eric Stevenson and four others Thursday.
Prosecutors say Stevenson, who was elected in 2010, allegedly contacted Con Edison to expedite services for the center and helped get a certificate of occupancy from the city Buildings Department. He was allegedly paid $10,000 for these services.
The criminal complaint says Stevenson got another $10,000 for helping to draft, propose and enact legislation establishing a temporary moratorium on the construction of new adult day care centers, helping eliminate competition.
According to the complaint, another assemblyman, who has been charged with multiple felonies in a sealed indictment, helped provide information and evidence that led to Stevenson's arrest.
The identity of the second assemblyman was not in court papers, but Assemblyman Nelson Castro, another Bronx Democrat, told Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that he is resigning, spokesman Michael Whyland said.
Stevenson told reporters after his court appearance Thursday he had no plans to resign. His attorney, Murray Richman, said, "It's sad to see these charges brought. I have no doubt that in the final analysis Eric Stevenson will be exonerated of all the charges brought against him."
The arrests come days after State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, was arrested on federal charges in a plot to bribe Republican county chairmen to get on the GOP primary ballot for New York City mayor.