Two days after charging a New York state lawmaker with bribery, federal authorities arrested his chief of staff on Thursday on charges she was in on shaking down a carnival promoter and two FBI agents pretending to be out-of-town businessmen trying to buy favors.
Ryan Hermon, chief of staff for Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., was released on $100,000 bail after a brief appearance in federal court in Brooklyn. She and her attorney declined to speak to reporters as they left court.
Hermon's arrest stems from the same sting operation that resulted in bribery charges against her boss, the scion of a powerful political family in Brooklyn. He also is out on $100,000 bail.
Boyland, 41, was already under indictment in a separate corruption case in Manhattan when investigators say he solicited more than $250,000 in bribes from the carnival promoter, who was cooperating in the probe, and the undercover agents. A jury found him not guilty in the Manhattan case less than three weeks ago.
A criminal complaint filed Thursday in the new case alleges that Hermon was caught on tape demanding under-the-table payments from the promoter and undercover agents in exchange for helping them cut corners on getting business permits and closing real estate deals.
The complaint details a secretly recorded meeting at a Manhattan restaurant in February during which Hermon allegedly took a bribe from an undercover agent wearing a wire. During the sit-down, she allegedly indicated she wanted to be paid by saying, "I wouldn't, you know, mind eating some steak and potatoes."
When the agent offered her a "down payment" of $1,000, she responded, "Are you serious? Oh my God! ... You just, like, made me hot," the complaint says.
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch called the alleged conspiracy "an affront" to Boyland's constituents.
"Ryan Hermon's job was to provide aid and assistance to her community," Lynch said in a statement. "Instead, she allegedly used her position to help herself, trading her influence and energy for personal gain."
Boyland's uncle, Thomas Boyland, represented the same Brooklyn district in the Assembly from 1977 to 1982. After he died in office, his brother, William Boyland Sr., was elected to fill the seat.
In 2002, the elder Boyland easily won reelection to an 11th two-year term, but resigned between the election and the start of the next session to turn the seat over to his son.