Councilman Martinez Resigns As Feds Close In

Pol steps down as he gets set to plead to federal charges

The City Council slush fund scandal claimed its first victim today as Councilman Miguel Martinez resigned from office after it was revealed that he will plead guilty to federal charges, the Daily News reported.

“Dear Speaker Quinn,” Mr. Martinez’s letter began, addressing City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, according to The New York Times City Room blog. “Effective today, July 14, 2009 I am submitting my resignation to the New York City Council.”

The nature of charges Martinez faces are still not known, but they may come down as early as this week.

"This is a sad day for the City Council, for the 10th Council District [upper Manhattan] andfor the City of New York," Quinn said in a statement. "I take this matter very seriously, and we will continue to be fully cooperative with authorities."

Martinez, a Democrat and seven-year veteran of the council, has reportedly cut a deal with federal prosecutors that would keep him from spending time in jail, the Manhattan Times reported.  He would be the first person charged in the wide-ranging probe by local and federal authorities into whether council members used member items to steer millions of dollars in taxpayer money to specious and closely-connected non-profit groups.

A non-profit run by Martinez's sister was raided in March by the Department of Investigation, the local agency charged with probing the Council's slush fund.

The group was given more than $1 million worth of taxpayer money since 2006, when Martinez's sister Maria joined its board, but the Council revoked its backing in April, the Daily News reported.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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