The latest casualty in New York’s ongoing political crime wave is Brooklyn assemblywoman Diane Gordon who was found guilty today in State Supreme Court of taking bribes.
Gordon, 57 and a Democrat, was convicted of having tried to steer city-owned land to a private developer who agreed to deliver her a free house in exchange for her help. Unfortunately for Gordon, the developer was working undercover for the city’s Department of Investigation which had snared him in his own schemes months earlier.
A spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, whose office won the conviction, said that Gordon was convicted on six counts, including bribe receiving as a legislator, a crime that carries a penalty of up to a decade behind bars. She was acquitted of a conspiracy count.
Gordon, a four-term assembly member from East New York and Brownsville, was considered a political power in her neighborhood.
Her verdict comes two months after former assembly member Brian McLaughlin of Queens pled guilty in federal court to stealing more than $2 million. And it comes just a month after Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned after being linked to a prostitution ring that was under federal investigation.
During the month-long trial, Brooklyn assistant district attorney Michael Spanakos played hours of video tape showing Gordon meeting with the developer, Raj Batheja, to discuss the house he would build for her.
City investigations department commissioner Rose Gill Hearn hailed the conviction.
“As an elected official, Gordon was supposed to work for the best interests of her Brooklyn community,” said Hearn. “Instead, Gordon marketed herself as a corrupt legislator ready to use her position to help a private builder unlawfully acquire City-owned land in her district if he, in exchange, would build her a half-million-dollar house in a gated community in Queens for practically no money.”
Gordon’s attorney, Bernard Udell, did not return calls.