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Syracuse Mayor Wants Predecessor to Repay City

February 24, 1988

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ Mayor Tom Young is asking a federal judge to order former mayor Lee Alexander and the people who bribed him to pay $1.5 million in restitution to the city.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Thomas A. McAvoy and U.S. Probation Officer Frank Waterson, Young asked that the city be named a victim of Alexander’s extortion-kickback scheme in the pre-sentence report now being prepared.

If that request is rejected, the city may sue Alexander and five or more local businessmen who paid bribes for city contracts, Young said Tuesday.

″If your household was robbed of cash and valuable jewels and the thieves were found, along with some of the loot they stole, who’d receive the stolen cash and jewels? Obviously the owner of the home,″ Young said.

″I’m head of the household. We’re requesting that what’s been stolen from this household be returned to it.″

Waterson declined to comment specifically about the Alexander case, but he said consideration of restitution to the victim of any crime is a matter commonly brought up during sentencing.

Alexander and nine others who pleaded guilty to federal charges of racketeering, tax evasion and conspiracy will be sentenced March 10 and 11. The charges stemmed from a probe by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service into corruption during Alexander’s tenure as mayor from 1970 to 1986.

″The administration believes the city was a victim, and we’re doing the best we can to recover as much of the assets as possible,″ said Syracuse Corporation Counsel Frank Harrigan.

The city is asking for a portion of the money Alexander has returned to the federal government, as well as restitution from the ex-mayor and his associates, Harrigan said.

Alexander already has surrendered $1.4 million in cash, bonds and coins to the federal government.

The ex-mayor could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison, but the U.S. Attorney will recommend a term of 10 years.

Federal authorities have said they will administer a lie detector test to Alexander next week to determine if he is withholding any other illegally gained assets.

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