Less than three weeks after being acquitted in a federal corruption case, a New York state assemblyman from a prominent Brooklyn political family was arrested Tuesday on new charges that he sought and accepted bribes from a carnival promoter and two undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town real estate investors.
William Boyland Jr. was released on $100,000 bond after appearing in federal court in Brooklyn on charges of soliciting more than $250,000 in bribes in exchange for performing official acts. A criminal complaint cited incriminating conversations that took place in bugged hotel rooms in Atlantic City and Manhattan in the sting operation.
Boyland, wearing a blue sweatsuit, declined to comment as he left court.
“We’re sorry to be here again,” said his attorney, Michael Bachrach. “We intend to vigorously defend this case.”
Boyland, 41, came under scrutiny in 2010 when the FBI directed the carnival promoter — who was cooperating in the corruption probe — to try to contact another unnamed elected official suspected of accepting bribes, the criminal complaint says. The carnival owner instead ended up speaking to Boyland, who later accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to help the promoter obtain permits and leases, it says.
The promoter also introduced Boyland to the agents, the complaint says. During a meeting in Atlantic City in April, the lawmaker was caught offering to arrange a deal for the phony businessmen to buy a hospital in his district at a discount and secure state funds for a renovation in exchange for $250,000, it says. At the time, Boyland already had been charged with bribery in the earlier case.
After one of the agents told Boyland not to “be bashful” in naming his price, the lawmaker said, “Two fifty,” then expressed his need to keep his role secret by using a “middle guy,” the complaint says.
“I gotta stay clean,” he allegedly said. “I got a bag man.”
The complaint says he added: “I stopped talking on the phone a while ago. …. I’m just saying there is no real conversation that you can have, you know, especially with what we’re talking about. You can’t do that.”
In a statement, Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI’s New York office, said the new charges “are all the more astonishing in light of the fact that Boyland allegedly committed much of the criminal conduct after he had already been charged in another bribery case.”
The assemblyman “was unaware that it was two undercover FBI agents with whom he was arranging quid-pro-quo deals, and to whom he insisted on speaking in person to avoid the recording of incriminating phone calls,” Fedarcyk added.
Earlier this month, a Manhattan jury found Boyland not guilty of charges he took a no-show job in exchange for doing political favors for a corrupt hospital executive.
The first case stemmed from an investigation that resulted in the conviction at a September non-jury trial of the hospital executive, David Rosen, on charges that Rosen sought to bribe Boyland and two other legislators, former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio and state Sen. Carl Kruger. The judge found Rosen sought to pay off the politicians while seeking legislation to protect and enlarge medical facilities located largely in poor neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.
Boyland worked for one of Rosen’s hospitals before he was elected in 2003 to the legislative post, which pays about $79,000 a year. Prosecutors alleged the hospital continued to pay him an annual salary of about $35,000 a year until 2008 — even though he never did any real work or followed rules requiring him to report the income — in exchange for helping Rosen secure millions of dollars in state funding.
The assemblyman never denied the hospital paid him a salary. But his lawyer argued that the government failed to prove his client viewed it as anything other than legitimate compensation for community outreach that had nothing to do with his duties as an elected official.
Boyland’s uncle, Thomas Boyland, represented the same Brooklyn district in the Assembly from 1977 to 1982. After he died in office, his brother, William Boyland Sr., was elected to fill the seat. In 2002, the elder Boyland easily won re-election to an 11th two-year term, but resigned between the election and the start of the next session to turn the seat over to his son.
Seminerio died in prison, where he was serving a sentence since his 2009 conviction for defrauding his Queens constituents of honest services.
Kruger is facing charges he accepted more than $1 million in bribes from a variety of business people. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting a separate trial.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.