Larry Seabrook Caught At Last

A serial fraudster is nailed

Given this very public record, Larry Seabrook's most reasonable response to the criminal charges is a political version of the "Twinkie Defense." He's not the real culprit here. Instead, it's the enablers who continued to feed his habit no matter how many times he blew the family rent money at the racetrack. Allowing the legislator to "vouch for" an organization's competence to receive public funds was about as defensible as offering a drink to an AA member struggling to stay sober.

In June 2008, the Voice published an article about many of the same abuses described in the indictment, along with the Councilman's history as a recidivist con man. It was called: "Catch Larry Seabrook If You Can." At the time, Seabrook insisted that he had his habit under control. "I know what line I have to walk," he said. "I know where the line is, and I won't cross over it."

But even when he crossed the line, he could always rely on his enablers to look the other way. When Mike Bloomberg was up for re-election in 2005, he traveled to Seabrook's Co-op City home base to proudly accept the Councilman's endorsement as a local crowd roared with support. This was especially valuable to the mayor since the backing came from a Democrat residing in the backyard of his opponent that year, Freddy Ferrer.

Stan Shaw

In October 2008, long after the slush-fund scandal had erupted and the latest round of misspending was laid bare, Seabrook was one of the crucial votes courted by Bloomberg and Quinn to win the term-limits extension they sought. Seabrook was especially important because he was one of seven members of the Council's Government Operations Committee and had pledged his support for the resolution. He was due at City Hall for the 10 a.m. vote. He never made it.

He showed up a couple of hours later. Where had he been? "I had something at home I had to deal with," he told us. "They were installing windows in my apartment." He then went upstairs to the chambers for the vote by the full Council. Seabrook is also a reverend, and it was his day to provide the opening invocation for the session. He stood before the crowd and bowed his head: "We ask for guidance," he intoned.

trobbins@villagevoice.com

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