Last week, ex-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi was granted parole. He had been in prison since April 2011 when he was sentenced to one to four years for taking $1 million in campaign contributions and travel expenses in exchange for pension business while comptroller.
There are many who think Hevesi was given special treatment because of his connections in state government and the powerful positions he held. We will never know all that went on behind closed doors at the parole board, but we think it was a wise decision.
He was denied parole the first time his case came up for review in April.
Hevesi, of Forest Hills, is 72 and, some say, a broken man. Before the scandal that sent him to prison hit, he was one of the most powerful and arrogant men in the state. He will never be powerful again and does not present a danger to New Yorkers.
The decision to bring a felony prosecution and the judge’s tough sentence have already shown that no one is above the law. Keeping Hevesi in prison for four full years would have been a waste of taxpayers’ money.
The conditions of his parole include a curfew, a ban on traveling out of state without permission and a ban on associating with other figures in the pension corruption scandal. Parole officers can enter and search his home at any time without a warrant.
When the parole was announced, Hevesi’s son, state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, issued what had to be a painful statement:
“My father has publicly acknowledged that he willfully allowed himself to become unbelievably arrogant, entitled and personally corrupt. In addition to the betrayal of the public trust, my father has also taken responsibility for several lifelong patterns that have hurt his family and friends that are unrelated to what happened in the comptroller’s office.”
Andrew knows corruption in Albany didn’t end when his father went to prison, but Andrew’s words turned to the moving loyalty of a son:
“I can say without hesitation that I have never loved him more, been more proud of him or been more resolute in aspiring to be a man like him than I am now. He and my entire family are closing the book on this part of our lives.”
We also hope the book is closed.