In a 2-1 decision, disgraced former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi was denied his first shot at parole last week and will remain in an upstate prison, where he is serving time for corruption, for at least one more year.
Hevesi, who was sentenced to one year to four years in prison in April for taking $1 million in campaign contributions and travel expenses in exchange for pension business while state comptroller, told the parole board he was “certainly guilty.
“And there’s some refinements on the edges, but the answer is I’m guilty. I hurt a lot of people … and I’m feeling bad. I have time in prison to think through all the people I’ve hurt,” the former Forest Hills resident told the parole panel at Midstate Correction Facility in Marcy, N.Y, according to a transcript of the hearing.
Hevesi also represented Forest Hills and parts of western Queen in the state Assembly and served as the city comptroller.
Then-state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who filed the charges against Hevesi, said he went on trips to Israel and Italy funded by Elliot Broidy, of Markstone Capital Partners, a firm that specialized in Israeli investments, in exchange for Hevesi’s investing pension funds with Markstone.
During his parole hearing, Hevesi said the Italian trip was just a stopover in a Rome hotel for one night on the way back to New York from one of the Israel visits.
Hevesi also said the travels to Israel “were serious business trips” and not luxury vacations as the charges against him made them out to be.
When asked why he should be paroled, Hevesi said it was not likely he would commit another crime.
“I’m not a career criminal,” he told the panel. “I’ve made this awful, terrible error. I acknowledge how many people I hurt, which I never intended. I’m going to either work –– if you think that’s appropriate, I’m glad to do that.”
But Hevesi said he would spend most of his time taking care of his ailing wife, who is in a nursing home, and watching after his grandchildren.
“I’d rather focus on my wife. I’m her connection to the outside world. I’m the one who visits her every day, takes her to medical appointments to her doctors outside the nursing home,” he said. “And I will be a baby-sitter and I will focus on the family.”
Hevesi also said he wanted to write and was thinking of penning “a couple of books.
“I will be the kind of parolee that the parole officer would be delighted in having,” he said. “I know what I did was wrong and it’s a painful process to come to that conclusion, how wrong and stupid and criminal I was.”
But the parole board did not believe Hevesi was being sincere and accused him of minimizing his crimes.
“During your interview, while you expressed that [the crimes] happened on your watch, your explanation of your culpability was shallow,” wrote one of the three commissioners of the state Commission of Correction.
The commissioner said that while Hevesi admitted his failures, “the majority of the panel finds more compelling the course of conduct from which you have attempted to distance yourself, the violation of your trusted role as an elected official and the loss of integrity of the New York State Office of the State Comptroller.”
A second commissioner agreed with the written opinion and a third dissented, but chose not to explain why she was siding with Hevesi.
Hevesi’s next parole board hearing is scheduled for November 2012.