By Tom Momberg
State Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-Jamaica) has announced he will resign his elected position and accept a plea to charges of submitting false travel vouchers.
Scarborough was indicted on federal and state charges in October 2014 for alleged use of campaign funds for his personal benefit and for claiming false travel expenses for reimbursement.
The incumbent for the 29th Assembly District since he assumed office in 1995, Scarborough is attributing his behavior to personal financial concerns.
“Money had always been tight, but sharply increased expenses created a financial crisis. I took on a second job at a college, but still found myself unable to pay my bills,” Scarborough said in a statement. “The Legislature has not had a raise in salary in 16 years and has had one raise in 28 years … Two-thirds of the legislature reports either no outside income, or less than $20,000 in outside income, but the example of the relative few with large outside incomes was used as a club to beat back any suggestion that the vast majority needed or deserved an increase.”
In stepping down, Scarborough said he is only admitting to submitting the false travel vouchers. He said he would accept any sanctions imposed by the court when the time comes.
There were factors that I used to justify my actions to myself, but I see them clearly as rationalizations,” Scarborough said. “Regardless, I clearly understand that there was no excuse for my actions and the blame rests solely with me. Many of my colleagues felt the same frustration with the salary situation as I did, but they did not act as I did.”