April 28, 2016
Dear Judge Caproni:
The undersigned is an attorney who has spent 38 years representing working people in employment and occupational safety matters, and most of the last 21 years as the Democratic District Leader in Greenwich Village, a community that borders that which Sheldon Silver used to represent.
I do not know whether you have received letters from other elected officials…, but I have an inkling that you have not, especially from Democratic Party lead-ers. This sad fact points out exactly why Sheldon Silver should be required to serve the maximum term allowable in prison; a message needs to be sent to the entire political establishment.
Sheldon Silver is not just one more corrupt politician. He served for all of my time as a party leader as the head of what is supposed to be the State’s most democratic body. He was the consistent voice in negotiations over rent laws, land use, voting rights, criminal justice, and environmental regulation. He was a trusted fiduciary, not just of the people who lived in his district but of the people throughout the whole state. His actions touched on billions of dollars in expenditures. And his brazen acts—the collection of over $5 million in bribes, covered up by fraud—tainted every act he took as an leader for 21 years, and every act of the State Legislature during those 21 years. Sheldon Silver decided which laws would be voted on and which would not. We will never know how much his private greed impacted the laws we live under day to day. There is little that one could do worse to weaken society’s respect for its government. The injury is irreparable…
I urge you to give Sheldon Silver the maximum sentence on each charge for which he has been convicted. I assume that you will order forfeiture of the money Mr. Silver gained through his scheme. But in order to send a message to those in Albany who may not have learned their lesson, Sheldon Silver, must be stripped of his $79,000-per-year pension. To do less would allow him to benefit, Arthurforassembly.nyc and click on “contribute” while in prison, from his unconscionable breach of trust.
Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq.