Parker Pocketed $22K Stipend Right Before Photog Flap

State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is seeking to extract the extra leadership pay of the second Democratic senator to be arrested this year in incidents police are investigating as assaults.
Sen. Kevin Parker was arrested Friday after an incident involving a press photographer. Smith immediately stripped Parker of his $22,000 annual stipend for serving as the Democrats' whip, who musters votes on bills, but Parker already received the leadership pay in April. Now Smith is seeking to deduct the stipend from Parker's base pay of $79,500.
A Senate majority spokesman said it is common practice to pay senators their extra leadership pay after the state budget is adopted.
Parker, of Brooklyn, is accused of chasing down and confronting a New York Post photographer to prevent him from taking his picture Friday night. He's charged with felony and misdemeanor criminal mischief, assault and menacing. If convicted of a felony, he could lose his seat.
“I expect to be here every week,” Parker said from Albany. “I think that the (court) system will work. It's worked for me in the past.”
Parker said he agrees with Smith's decision to replace him in leadership positions while the criminal case is under way.
“I don't think I have an anger issue,” Parker told reporters. “Hopefully this will be a bad memory.”
The encounter was the latest in a string of reported assaults involving Parker, who has held office since 2002.

In 2005, he was arrested on charges he punched a traffic agent who was writing him a ticket. The charges were dropped after Parker agreed to take an anger management class.

That year, Parker's security pass for state buildings was temporarily suspended for repeated violations of security regulations. A former aide complained that Parker had once assaulted her, then threatened her for talking about the incident.

Last summer, another aide filed a report with police saying Parker had shoved her and smashed her glasses during an argument. At the time, Parker claimed that the woman hit him first.

Smith said he's also awaiting a report on a recent confrontation he was told was “heated discussion” involving Parker and state police in an Albany parking garage.

“I know that he agreed to take anger management classes after the last incident,” Smith said, when asked if he thought Parker had trouble with handling his anger. “And I think he did so.”

It took Smith a month to strip Sen. Hiram Monserrate of his extra leadership pay after he was charged with felony assault. Monserrate, of Queens, is accused of slashing his girlfriend's face with a piece of broken glass in a jealous rage.
Smith wouldn't directly address a question about the time difference.
“Over time, you have to make sure members understand the importance of the standards that we are all given,” he told reporters Monday afternoon. “What has happened with Kevin Parker is an unfortunate situation. It's serious. And I dealt with it in a way I felt it needed to be dealt with.”
Monserrate has said he didn't commit a crime.

In a case unrelated to those against Parker and Monserrate, Smith told Democratic Sen. Pedro Espada, of the Bronx, to settle accusations that he violated campaign spending rules.
“I have instructed Senator Espada that he has one week to file his campaign committee with the state Board of Elections as well as submit a written payment plan with a significant down payment toward his debt,” Smith said in a statement released to reporters. “Failure to comply with any of these instructions will result in immediate action against Senator Espada.”
Espada has long contested the accusations.

The senator was among three Democratic dissidents, including Monserrate, who had threatened the Democrats' takeover of the Senate majority that they had thought they won in the November elections. Espada had held out for a committee chairmanship, the $12,500 stipend that goes with it and policy considerations.
The dissidents had threatened to side with Republicans or otherwise disrupt Smith's majority.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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