Convicted politicians: Where are they now?

New York State Senate
Hiram Monserrate.

Convicted politicians: Where are they now?

Tracking New York’s convicted politicians
August 8, 2017

Voters may wish a corrupt politician would just disappear. And sometimes, they do – by choice or by court-ordered mandate – drop out of public life. But others, like former City Councilman and ex-state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, run for office again, despite the notorious designation of “convicted felon.” Here’s where some lawbreaking lawmakers have ended up.

Sol Wachtler

The former chief judge of the state Court of Appeals served about a year in prison in Minnesota after a 1993 conviction for harassing a woman after they had an affair and threatening to kidnap her daughter. Wachtler has since written a memoir and a novel, and still serves as adjunct professor at Touro Law School on Long Island.

Alan Hevesi

Former Assemblyman and New York City Comptroller Alan Hevesi faced serious issues after he became state comptroller, and was forced to resign in 2006 as part of a felony plea deal for having state employees serve as drivers and caretakers for his wife. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to separate felony corruption charges for a pay-to-play scheme with the state pension fund and served 20 months at an upstate prison. The retired Hevesi returned to his home in Forest Hills, Queens, and now gives occasional lectures on politics at the Central Queens Y.

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Hiram Monserrate

The former Queens lawmaker was acquitted of felony domestic abuse charges in 2009, but was convicted on misdemeanor charges for injuring his girlfriend, and expelled from the state Senate for the offense in 2010. He was then convicted in 2012 and sentenced to two years in prison for misusing city funds to pay for his Senate candidacy. He’s now trying to re-enter politics, running in the Democratic primary for a northern Queens City Council seat – though his bid for district leader failed last year.

Pedro Espada, Jr.

The onetime Senate majority leader was convicted in 2012 of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Soundview Health Center, the Bronx nonprofit he founded. The Democrat went to prison in 2013, and is currently in a Brooklyn halfway house with release scheduled for October.

Larry Seabrook

The case against the Bronx ex-city councilman first ended in a mistrial, but he was tried again in 2012 and convicted on felony counts of stealing more than a million dollars of public funds. He served four years in prison – with time in Brooklyn and Central Pennsylvania – and was just released on July 14.  

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Michael Grimm

The former Staten Island congressman pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion in December 2014, the month after he was reelected, and resigned from the House soon after. The Republican served seven months at Federal Correctional Institute, McKean, a medium security facility in western Pennsylvania. Grimm has reportedly been making calls to drum up support for a run for his old congressional seat.

John Sampson

While the former leader of the state Senate Democrats dodged some charges against him, but he was convicted in 2015 on felony charges of lying to the feds. He was sentenced in January to five years in prison, and is currently at Federal Correction Institute Fairton in in southern New Jersey. He has a scheduled release date of September 2021. 

Jeff Coltin
is a senior reporter at City & State. He covers New York City Hall.