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Stop the Corruption

Gimme a break.

Last week, Ruben Wills, a city councilman representing southeast Queens, was indicted on charges of stealing more than $30,000 in public funds from a charity and going on a shopping spree that netted a Louis Vuitton bag.

Sound familiar?

Last year, former state Sen. Shirley Huntley, Wills’ ex-boss, went to jail for misappropriating some $88,000 from an educational nonprofit to finance her buying impulses at Roosevelt Field. She’s in a facility in Brooklyn, where she is preparing to re-enter society later this year.

In a bid to lighten her sentence, Huntley invited some legislators over to her Jamaica house to record their conversations with a hidden device in a water bottle as the FBI eavesdropped in another room.

Heard enough? We’re just beginning.

In June, Sen. Malcolm Smith, of SE Queens, goes on trial in federal court for allegedly trying to rig the 2013 mayoral election so he could run as a Republican, even though he was the ex-Democratic majority leader in Albany.

His co-defendants in the bribery case are ex-Councilman Dan Halloran, a northeast Queens Republican, and Vincent Tabone, ex-vice chairman of the Queens GOP.

You’ll notice quite a few formers running through the refrain of corruption cases in Queens, but everyone charged is innocent until proven guilty.

But the recurring theme of fraud and theft of taxpayer money is troubling, whether the charges end in convictions or not.

State Assemblyman William Scarborough, of southeast Queens, is being investigated by the FBI for possible violations of travel expenses incurred on trips to Albany.

And to round out the current status of Queens electeds in and out of jail, former Flushing Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, who is serving a 10-year sentence for pilfering $3.1 million from union funds, fellow lawmakers and the Electchester Little League, could get out four years early for good behavior.

This is a euphemism for his extensive co-operation and willingness to wear a wire to ensnare other corrupt Queens wrongdoers, namely Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio of Ozone Park, who died in jail.

The bottom line is that Queens residents deserve better. Even the whiff of possible corruption is damaging to the public morale and diverts attention from the serious problems our legislators were elected to solve.

It’s time for Queens to decide how the borough can eradicate these unsavory practices and the practitioners.

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