Despite claims of failing health, disgraced former Comptroller Alan Hevesi was sentenced to up to four years in an upstate medium-security prison on Friday, April 15.
“First and foremost, I want to apologize to the people of New York state who put their faith and confidence in me to serve,” Hevesi told Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus prior to sentencing. “I violated their trust and take full responsibility for my indiscretion.”
He went on to say that he deserved and accepted “whatever punishment Your Honor deems appropriate.” He also asked the judge to “look at the entirety of my life as husband, father and public servant.”
Obus responded to Hevesi’s statement, saying that the former comptroller was charged with overseeing the state’s pension system and his failure to do so amounts to a betrayal of the public trust.
“Even in times of great cynicism about politicians and public officials, there is an expectation that individuals who have achieved such positions of public trust be worthy of that trust,” the judge told Hevesi. “When a person in that situation violates that trust, the damage, although hard to quantify, is quite profound.”
Hevesi, 71, was convicted for his role in a pension fund pay-to-play scheme and sent to Ulster Correctional Facility shortly after being sentenced – and immediately after arrival, was placed in the infirmary ward, according to an official at the facility, though no statement was given as to why he was initially placed there or his current condition.
Bradley Simon, Hevesi’s lawyer, argued during the sentencing that his client was in such failing heath that any prison time could be a “death sentence.” Among Hevesi’s health problems cited by Simon were diabetes, anxiety and a heart disease that could require a pacemaker.
In the weeks prior to the sentencing, Hevesi’s son, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, sent a letter pleading with the judge to spare his father jail time. In the letter, the younger Hevesi stated that his father’s inappropriate behavior should not overshadow a lifetime of public service.
Hevesi pleaded guilty last October to a single felony count for accepting nearly $1 million in improper benefits in exchange for his approval of a $250 million pension fund investment from venture fund manager Elliott Broidy of Markstone Capital.
Broidy was convicted of bribery in December 2009 and is expected to be sentenced in the coming months.