Whatever Hiram Wants, Hiram Gets

Dems cough up $12,500 ransom to man who held state hostage

State Senator Hiram Monserrate has had a powerful chairmanship -- and the extra cash that goes along with it -- reinstated, a move rumored to be a payoff for his returning the Dems' side of the aisle and restoring the party's control of Albany.

Monserrate's seat at the head of the Consumer Protection Committee, which includes a $12,500 stipend, was suspended following his arrest in March by Senate President Malcolm Smith, pending an investigation into charges that he had slashed his girlfriend's face with a bottle in December.

"Me getting the committee chairmanship back is news to me," Monserrate told the New York Daily News. "I never asked to be reinstated as [head] of the ... committee. If that's what you're saying is occurring, oh well. If that's what leadership wants to do, that's their decision."

It was the defection of Monserrate, along with fellow Dem Pedro Espada, that lead to the month-long stalemate in Albany. For weeks, both Democrats and Republicans did nothing but grouse about each other, costing the state millions of dollars and throwing New York City school's into chaos and temporarily jeopardizing the security of Gotham's streets.

Today, they will finally get back to the business of running New York.

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