ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state Senate Leader Dean Skelos said Thursday he will cooperate with authorities following a published report that prosecutors and the FBI are investigating him and his son.
The New York Times, citing unidentified sources, reported Wednesday that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is examining whether the Long Island Republican influenced Nassau County's decision to give a stormwater treatment contract to an Arizona company that hired his son Adam.
The report says the investigation also focuses on $20,000 paid to Adam Skelos by a title insurance company he never worked for.
Dean Skelos appeared to acknowledge the investigation in a statement Thursday.
"I have and will continue to cooperate with any inquiry," he said.
Skelos, 67, leads the Senate's Republican majority and was first elected to the Senate in 1984. He and his office did not respond to messages seeking additional information.
The allegations come at a particularly difficult time for the New York Legislature. Former Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Manhattan Democrat who led the Assembly for 20 years, was arrested in January on charges that he took nearly $4 million in kickbacks and payoffs. He has pleaded not guilty.
Silver was the sixth legislative leader to face criminal charges in the past six years.
In January, when he announced charges against Silver, Bharara said his work continued. "Stay tuned," he said. His office declined to comment Thursday.
The newspaper reported that prosecutors have begun presenting evidence to a grand jury, and that the investigation has focused on a $12 million stormwater management contract awarded by Nassau County to Arizona-based AbTech Industries in 2013. The Times reported that Adam Skelos, 32, introduced local officials to the company, which won the contract even though it did not submit the lowest bid.
According to The Times the investigation also includes $20,000 paid to Adam Skelos by a title insurance company he allegedly never worked for.
Messages left for Adam Skelos' attorney and AbTech were not returned Thursday.
Brian Nevin, a spokesman for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, confirmed the existence of an investigation relating to county contracts. Nevin said Mangano and the county were notified that they are not targets of the investigation.
"Nassau County has the most transparent process known to government," Nevin wrote in a statement.
Nevertheless, Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced Thursday that her office will take a look at the county's contract process.
"Today's news about AbTech Industries is troubling and my Public Corruption Bureau will conduct a comprehensive review of Nassau County contracting practices," she said in a statement.
Several lawmakers declined to comment on the report Thursday. The leader of the Senate's Democratic minority, Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers, released a statement repeating her support for ethics reforms.
"It seems every day a new Albany scandal rocks New Yorkers' confidence in our state government," she said.