Alan Hevesi sentenced to one to four years in jail

By Howard Koplowitz

After nearly four months of delays and adjournments, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge sentenced disgraced former New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi to one to four years in prison Friday morning for taking kickbacks and redirecting hundreds of millions of dollars of the state’s pension fund into a private equity group.

Hevesi, 71, who resigned from office in 2006 after another scandal, showed no emotion as court officers handcuffed him and took him away following sentencing by Judge Michael Obus.

The former state assemblyman and Forest Hills resident was convicted of taking $1 million in gifts from a private equity firm known as Markstone Capital Partners and redirecting $250 million of state pension fund investments to that firm when he was the state comptroller.

“I publicly disgraced myself. I only have myself to blame for what I have done,” he told the judge before the sentencing.

Hevesi pleaded guilty on Oct. 7 to corruption charges and his associate, Hank Morris, was sentenced to up to four years in prison in February for receiving placement fees in exchange for getting the pension fund to invest with favored firms.

Markstone Capital, which does business in Israel, gave Hevesi half a million dollars in campaign contributions and $75,000 for trips to Italy and Israel.

The sentencing marked the latest in a string of controversies that have haunted Hevesi since 2006. He resigned from his state comptroller position after he pleaded guilty to using a state driver to chauffeur his wife for personal use.

Hevesi’s attorney, Bradley Simon, pleaded with the judge to go easy with his client because of the tremendous amount of humiliation he has caused for himself and his family.

“He knows he is a pariah, he has suffered greatly,” he said.

The sentencing date was postponed four times since December for various reasons, including an emergency endoscopy when Hevesi was briefly hospitalized. Both of his two sons, including state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and former state Sen. Daniel Hevesi, were in the court during the sentencing.

Reporter Ivan Pereira contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz via e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com