Former Bronx Borough President Stanley Simon Indicted
NEW YORK (AP) _ A federal grand jury has indicted a top city politician on charges of extortion, perjury, income tax evasion and obstruction of justice, authorities announced today.
Former Bronx Borough President Stanley Simon, who resigned the post March 11 because he expected the indictment, was charged with three counts of extortion, one count of perjury, one count of income tax evasion and one count of obstruction of justice.
The indictment, handed up by a Manhattan federal grand jury, charged Simon with extorting a job at a Bronx-based defense contractor, Wedtech, and salary increases totaling $133,000 for his brother-in-law, Henry Bittman. The raises allegedly were paid between 1981 and 1986.
He was also charged with extorting $50,000 in cash contributions and payments for expenses from Wedtech from mid-1984 through the end of 1985 and extorting $14,000 in salary kickbacks from an employee in the Bronx borough president’s office from 1983 through early this year. The employee was not named.
The indictment, announced at a news conference by U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola, said Simon also failed to report $23,000 in income on his 1985 federal taxes. He said his and his wife’s combined income was $101,000 when it actually was $124,000, according to the indictment.
If found guilty, Simon faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the three extortion counts, and five years in jail and $250,000 on each of the perjury, obstruction of justice and tax evasion counts.
When he announced his resignation, Simon, 57, said he was stepping down with a ″clear conscience.″ He said he was resigning to devote time to putting together his defense.
Four former executives of Wedtech, once one of the largest employers in the Bronx, have already pleaded guilty to bribery and grand larceny charges and reportedly testified before the grand jury investigating Simon.
The New York Times reported they admitted making payments to Simon and the borough’s two congressmen, Rep. Mario Biaggi and Robert Garcia.
Biaggi and former Brooklyn Democratic leader Meade Esposito were indicted March 16 on conspiracy and bribery charges.
Biaggi was accused of getting a free vacation in return for interceding at Esposito’s behalf with government officials to help an ailing ship repair company in which Esposito had a financial stake.
Neither Biaggi or Garcia, who allegedly received money from Wedtech officials to obtain federal business, have been charged in connection with the probe.
Simon’s indictment comes on the heels of the sentencing of his mentor, former Bronx Democratic leader Stanley Friedman who was convicted of racketeering last Novemeber at a trial in New Haven, Conn.
Friedman was convicted of bribing city officials in return for getting a city contract for Citisource Inc., which makes hand-held computers.