Skelos Arrested on Corruption Charges

Skelos Arrested on Corruption Charges

Skelos Arrested on Corruption Charges
May 4, 2015

Following the arrest this morning of state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara held a press conference to address the charges and to once again tell the public to “stay tuned” for more corruption busting.

Those charges allege that the Senate majority leader unlawfully used his power and influence repeatedly to “illegally enrich his son, Adam, and indirectly himself.”

“By now, two things should be abundantly clear. First, public corruption is a deep-seeded problem in New York State,” Bharara said. “It is a problem in both chambers, it is a problem on both sides of the aisle. And second, we are deadly serious about tackling that problem.”

The criminal complaint against Skelos and his son outlines six counts as part of a scheme by Skelos and his son to repeatedly pressure one of the largest real estate developers in the state—that has been reported in multiple locations to be Glenwood Management—and an environmental technology company—reported to be AbTech Industries—to direct money to Adam Skelos. In return, Dean Skelos allegedly used his position and influence as state Senate majority leader to push through legislation benefitting the companies.

A senior executive at the real estate development company and a senior executive at the environmental technology company have agreed to testify against Skelos and his son in exchange for a non-prosecution agreement. These two cooperating witnesses, along with other evidence, allege the companies made payments of more than $200,000 to Adam Skelos and also secured him a job at AbTech Industries in order to influence real estate legislation that was regularly before the Senate majority leader. The cooperating witnesses also allege Sen. Skelos would punish the developer if his son, Adam, was not taken care of.  

Skelos released his first public statement on his arrest directly following the press conference:

“I am innocent of the charges leveled against me. I am not saying I am just not guilty, I am saying that I am innocent. I fully expect to be exonerated by a public jury trial,” Skelos said. 

* * *

The 42-page criminal complaint against Skelos and his son includes documents, statements from cooperating witnesses and recorded phone conversations from the two defendants, including correspondence on a cellphone that Adam Skelos referred to as a “burner” and believed could not be traced.

City & State compiled a timeline of the “greatest hits” from recorded conversations of Skelos and his son:

  • On Dec 17, 2014, ADAM SKELOS spoke to CW-2 on the phone about the slow pace of work and payment under the Nassau County contract, telling CW-2 in substance and part, “[M]y father sat with [the Nassau County Executive] two weeks ago. [Nassau County Executive] promised that it’d be done and that they’d find the funding for it.”
  • On Dec 17, 2014 the governor publicly announced that hydrofracking would not in fact be permitted in the State. ADAM SKELOS and DEAN SKELOS, the defendants, spoke on the phone immediately following the announcement (AS$942). During the call, DEAN SKELOS assured ADAM SKELOS, using coded language, that although the governor’s announcement meant that ADAM SKELOS would not be able to receive commissions from the Environmental Technology Company related to hydrofracking, DEAN SKELOS would work with ADAM SKELOS so that he would continue to profit from stormwater projects.

ADAM SKELOS: Ahhh! This day sucks!

DEAN SKELOS: It does. Well, we’re going to totally focus on that other thing now. Ok?

ADAM SKELOS: Yeah. Oh my god.

DEAN SKELOS: Ok, [Lobbyist-3] is going to call you. We’re going to refocus on that other stuff, ok?

ADAM SKELOS: Alright, alright. That’s good.

  • On January 15, 2015, ADAM SKELOS spoke to DEAN SKELOS and told him that CW-2 was “my best chance for being successful” and that if the Environmental Technology Company did not succeed then he would “lose the ability to pay for things.”
  • On Jan. 30, 2015 ADAM SKELOS called Lobbyist-2 and reported that CW-2 believed that they should not be pushing State Legislation to benefit the Environmental Technology Company “because of everything that came out.” Lobbyist-2 said he agreed, telling ADAM SKELOS that “we’ve got to rethink this whole thing out. I think too much is going down … and we’ve got to be careful you know with the Senate side. You know, we got real problems here … there’s too much going on, too many reporters involved, too many fucking Feds so we gotta be careful.”
  • On a phone call on February 10, 2015, ADAM SKELOS was going to “FaceTime” DEAN SKELOS. ADAM SKELOS told DEAN SKELOS that he would explain during their FaceTime call why he wanted to use FaceTime. In an earlier call on February 4, 2015, ADAM SKELOS told CW-2 that ADAM SKELOS had used FaceTime to communicate with a certain individual “because of what’s going on with my dad because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill, just the data plan.”
  • On or about March 25, 2015, during a intercepted call with a Senate staff member during which ADAM SKELOS was seeking to reach DEAN SKELOS to get an update on budget negotiations, ADAM SKELOS complained that it was “fucking frustrating” that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon with [a] fucking note [tied] to its foot.”
  • On Marge 28, 2015 ADAM SKELOS placed an intercepted call to DEAN SKELOS, who relayed he was in Albany seeking to finalize the State budget. ADAM SKELOS complained that his father could not give him “real advice” concerning issues with the Environmental Technology Company because “you can’t talk normally because it’s like fucking Preet Bharara is listening to every fucking phone call. It’s just fucking frustrating.” DEAN SKELOS replied, “It is.”
  • On February 23, 2015, ADAM SKELOS also personally arranged for an “official” meeting between CW-2 and Senator-3, telling Senator-3’s legislative director (“Legislative Director-1”) that he was “going to stay out of” the meeting “because of obvious reasons.” In a subsequent call with CW-2, ADAM SKELOS said “[I]t’s better that I distance myself from being in like official meetings, you know, that have to do with the State because, one, I’m not a registered lobbyist and, two, it’s a conflict.”
  • In particular, intercepted calls and witness interviews reflect that DEAN SKELOS caused the Office of Senator-3 to cancel the meeting. When ADAM SKELOS learned of this cancellation on February 25, 2015, he contacted his father (asking DEAN SKELOS to call him back immediately using DEAN SKELOS’s wife’s phone, which DEAN SKELOS did) and, telling his father that he would be “very, very” vague” on the phone, urged DEAN SKELOS to permit the meeting. DEAN SKELOS promised to discuss the issue later with ADAM SKELOS but he warned: “Right now we are in dangerous times Adam.”
  • March 20, 2015 ADAM SKELOS called the CEO and told him that the issue of ethics reform “is kind of getting in the way and taking the spotlight off everything right now.” Nevertheless, ADAM SKELOS assured the CEO that “[w]e’ll get to the Promised Land eventually.”


Bharara has refused to draw any parallels between Skelos’ arrest and the arrest of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in January, or comment on who else may be investigated. But he did say there is no intention to disband the public corruption unit.

Below is the 42-page complaint against Dean and Adam Skelos.

Skelos Criminal Complaint

Placeholder blue outline avatar
Ashley Hupfl