The Hezitorial: Anticipated Results Over Nick Spano May Evaporate By HEZI ARIS

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Download Spano-020812-Plea Agreement

It was late Thursday, February 9 when the Yonkers Tribune / The Westchester Guardian would come to learn of a lawsuit in which the United States of America v. Nicholas A. Spano would charge the former New York State Senator with tax evasion. The complaint was read to him Friday morning, February 10, upon his appearance before the federal court in White Plains, New York. He was formally charged with obstructing and impeding the due administration of the Internal Revenue Laws. The complaint went on to state that Nick Spano had also failed to report consultant fees, and real estate commissions.

The lawsuit charges Nick Spano with having collected over $1 million in consulting fees over a 12 year period from a politically connected insurance brokerage firm, fraudulently deducting $180,000 in non-existent rental expenses to hide the money received from the insurance firm through a shell company he presided over, and with failure to report $45,000 in income received from the sale of a building in White Plains, New York.

Hearing of the anticipated case had Yonkers in stitches. The city was apoplectic in anticipation of Mr. Spano’s fall. Some among the fourth largest city in New York State were awaiting this day. There is a lust for bloodletting, particularly with regard to Nick Spano. Such has been the way among Yonkersites for seemingly two generations, if not more. Mr. Spano rose to great heights in the New York State Senate, regarded the third most powerful individual during his tenure. In those days nary a negative word was publicly said against him. Allegations would be spoken of in generalities but none would see the light of day. If mentioned, they were expressed in confidence and hushed tones.  The chatter was seemingly relegated to gossip rather than fact. Besides, all who were allegedly in the “know” were more concerned over awaiting their turn at the receiving end of the anticipated largesse of one kind or another from Uncle Nick, Yonkers own Santa Claus. The so-called patronage mill trough from which many would feed seemed to beget only their silence. Yet some would be heard bolting outside the confines of their self-induced silence to cast vague aspersions against the so-called “Don.”  

Those seemingly not part of the “inside” crowd would be recognized to join forces that seemingly challenged the status quo presided over by Mr. Spano. It would eventually be recognized that all the so-called adversaries could be found laying in the same orgy bed, to matter the assertions otherwise. Even so, the battle royale of the olden days continues to this day. The public allegations and recriminations made against Nick Spano, in fact, the entire family, are unabated. The catalyst behind the bad blood among the warring factions may be nothing more than jealousy. In politics, those who are jealous are envious of the power of influence and patronage and the wealth gained through position.

While there are many who salivate in anticipation of his demise, there are others who stand in friendship with Nick Spano and the Spano family.

The truth has not been told in Yonkers. The truth is likely not best described in exemplary terms and likewise not described in negative terms. No matter where one stands, the only certainty that can be attested over these many years is that Yonkersites have suffered by their lack of finding an outlet by which their allegations are respectfully scrutinized, that the assertions and allegations they harbor are not realized in the voting booth, and that their continued aversion to be more engaged in the political process has been detrimental to their quality of life specifically because they are not critical or questioning of the process by which they conform timidly.

Likely unconcerned one way or the other as to the personal outcome over Nichalos A. Spano, and reveling to the next circus tent in anticipation of another demise of one sort or another, Yonkersites flounder in their silence.

For the moment, it is all about this case.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement said,  “Former Senator Nicholas Spano is the latest in a regrettably long line of lawmakers turned lawbreakers. When elected officials put padding their pockets above the law, they tarnish our government and undermine people’s faith in their public servants. We will not tolerate this conduct and will continue to aggressively prosecute those who engage in it.”

Spano faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, as well as a fine of $250,000, which is equivalent to twice the gross gain or loss derived from the crime, whichever is more. 

Standing before Judge Cathy Seibel, Nick Spano with his head bowed, hands clasped before him in a contrite and deferential manner could not help but comprehend the severity of the charges before him.

“Today is obviously not a good day for me or my family, but I want to be honest and open about it,” he said in a statement issued through his lawyer. “I did not pay all the income taxes that I should have. For this I am sorry and I take full responsibility.”

Mr Spano, 58 years of age, pleaded guilty to a single felony tax charge. He will be sentenced on June 12.

While the mid-June sentencing is of great importance, greater relevance should continue to be focused upon the $400,000 personal liability the 2011 Yonkers City Council exonerated the former Mayor Phil Amicone being responsible for despite the ruling of the Honorable Cathy Seibel, the money inappropriately commandeered for the nValley Technology Center to the tune of $42 million, the Yonkers Baseball Project which cost $800,000, the cesspool known as the Hudson River Museum, also in the millions, the Phillipsburg Performing Art Center debacle which cost over $3 million, the Ridge Hill Development contracts that have not been complied, the Lisa Mrijaj contract valued at $600,000 with the Yonkers Parking Authority, the conduct of Nicolai Mrijaj, the overtime issues, the projects not authorized but contracted and bonds issued without authority. The lack of transparency in government, the master development scams, the lack of Request for Proposal protocol, the hiring of friends and family to city jobs, and on and on. Issues that continue to plague the city and exacerbate its growing deficit and growing blight are undeterred. The list is seemingly endless; besides few care to hear of it, laughing at another incident that has caused Yonkers pain.

The reality will not change Yonkers course until Yonkersites speak up. Write that letter to the editor and fill your comments with FACTS. Anything less is just not good enough. Kicking people to witness their grimace is childish. Its time we all did the right thing. Will you be holding your breath in anticipation we will witness that day?

Will the bloodletting sought over Mr. Nick Spano’s conduct evaporate like a mirage by our being deflected by another scandal?

When will we learn to focus? When will we speak up? 


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eHeziThe Hezitorial: Anticipated Results Over Nick Spano May Evaporate By HEZI ARIS

Comments 17

  1. Like if Nick got a speeding ticket….ya think it was his ONLY time speeding? Outside the courthouse, he was like a 10 year old having to say sorry for taking candy from the corner deli. C’mon what a sad state for a past senator.

  2. It’s creepy. If you speak your mind, you may be near somebody who is a Spano family member or is beholden to them or is a freind or whatever. So, it’s not a good atmosphere for freedom of speech right now in Yonkers. Bridges can evaporate in an instant. So now the entire Spano empire is tarnished, and if you speak your mind about it around City Hall, see how far that takes you in whatever your civic agenda is as a citizen visiting those halls of local power. I hope the FEDS are not finished. We need a clean up.

  3. As an Astorino supporter, not a big fan of Spano, I am ashamed of your comments on News 12 Rob, especially after reading the below article, seems a little like
    Eliot Spitzer’s self rightouness. Now Im the one ashamed.
    With Three Cases on File, Police Units Work to Overcome Corruption…/with-three-cases-on-file-police-units-work-to-o…Cached
    You +1’d this publicly. Un
    May 29, 1994 – ARRESTS earlier this month of three Mount Vernon police officers on Federal charges capped the third large-scale corruption scandal in less than a … Robert A. Astorino, 53, the department’s chief of detectives for the last 10 years. … Vernon case, Professor Sullivan, a retired New York City police captain

  4. Too many people believe that once the Feds have taken a plea on a single count that the game is over. Not even close. It just tlocks Nick down as a convicted Felon and gives the Feds a huge amount of leverage going forward to exact information. It is a long way from done. Keep your eyes and ears open as the information begins to pour out starting mid week when the trial begins for Nick’s former cohorts Zehy and the boob (yes I meant Mangone) Lets see whether he tried to shelter (hide) assets before the ink went on the page. Yet another thing for the Feds to watch as everything else unfolds.

  5. We rest our case …
    “That’s just the way business was done in Albany. If everyone else did business that way, like Joe Bruno, Vinny Liebell, Anthony Seminario, Guy Velella, Pedro Espada etc., why shouldn’t Nick and Johnny be allowed to do the same thing?”
    … And when your child or grandchild grows up and asks, “What did you do in politics?” … Is that what you’re going to say?
    I can’t relate to a number of you and I’m glad we have nothing in common.

  6. Everyone needs to stop for a moment and note what the U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara, said, “Former Senator Nicholas Spano is the latest in a regrettably long line of lawmakers turned lawbreakers. […] padding their pockets ”
    Nick is an admitted felon.
    Hezi, Amicone good or bad, has nothing to do with Nick Spano being a tax cheat.

  7. And furthermore, to Phil Reisman. I read your article today and you are full of it.
    Just because Nick apparently used his position as a powerful state senator to reel in companies that his brother John could manipulate state contracts for (and make millions in the process) doesn’t mean that the Spano’s did anything wrong. That’s just the way business was done in Albany. If everyone else did business that way, like Joe Bruno, Vinny Liebell, Anthony Seminario, Guy Velella, Pedro Espada etc., why shouldn’t Nick and Johnny be allowed to do the same thing? What kind of double standard is that?
    Nick, remember that if you don’t tell the whole truth that the feds will void your cooperation agreement. Just follow the rules and you and Johhny will be ok. Tell the feds everything the want to know. Protect your family. The hell with the others. That’s why we are all behind you.
    God bless the Spano family.

  8. Yeah. Good luck to Nick and his family.
    Over the course of the next few months, as he spills his guts to the US Attorney’s office about every crime he was either involved in or had knowledge of over the last three decades in exchange for not being charged with numerous crimes like the one outlined in the US Attorney’s criminal information (yes, the feds apparently have much more on Nick), we must stand by Nick and his family. We cannot allow all the good he has done with our taxpayer dollars over the years for the people of Yonkers to be tainted by years of criminal influence peddling, money laundering and fraud.
    We love you Nicky, no matter how dirty you were. We are with you to the end.

  9. Good work Hezi. The haters sure are out there. I remember all the good things that nick did for three decades. Judge him on his entire lifemandnnotmon not paying 52 thousand over 8 years. My family wish nick and the Spano s the best !

  10. I cannot begin to say enough good about Nick and all the things he has done for the disabled, the weak, the poor etc. This seems to have been a witch hunt and the only thing that they could come up with was a tax charge. A large percentage of wealthier individuals, if investigated would be guilty of the same thing but because of his name, he will be made an example of.
    Nick and family you are all strong and will rise above this! A tough road ahead but you will survive and be back helping the citizens again soon!
    Good luck!

  11. Nick, a simple tax charge after all the good you have done is simply a mistake. We stand behind you 100%. Tough situations come and go but tough people always survive! Looking forward to seeing you back on top!

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