A former top exec at the city’s television station is expected to plead guilty this afternoon to looting some $60,000 in ad revenues due the city. It’s hardly the biggest ripoff by a municipal employee, but what makes Trevor Scotland‘s appearance today a ‘matter of interest’ – as the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office is terming it — is whether prosecutors indicate that Scotland is cooperating in an ongoing probe of activities at the station.
Court records show that assistant U.S. attorney Brent S. Wible wrote to federal Judge Paul Crotty on October 19 seeking a one-week delay in a scheduled court appearance that day for Scotland. The delay was in “expectation that the defendant will enter a guilty plea,” wrote Wible.
In August, the head of the scandal-scarred agency, a former campaign aide to Mayor Bloomberg named Arick Wierson, was forced out of his job last spring after a city Department of Investigation probe turned up widespread mismanagement. Scotland, the former director of development and operations, told investigators that he was able to get away with his theft because Wierson and other top execs were absent much of the time. Wierson, the $150,000 a year director of the station whose wife worked at Bloomberg LP’s television arm, allowed Scotland to sign his name to documents if he wasn’t around.
Part of what kept Wierson and other NYC TV aides so occupied, the Voice reported, was work on their own private movie, a documentary called “Back Door Channels” about the 1979 Camp David peace accords in which wealthy businessman Leon Charney – who hosts an interview show on the station – played a leading role.
Before the scandal hit, Scotland and Wierson regularly appeared with Mayor Bloomberg who hailed their station as an example of his administration’s innovative approach to communications.