Things are getting so bad for scandal-plagued Queens Democratic congressman Gregory Meeks that he had to acknowledge on the House floor yesterday that he’s been subpoenaed in a probe.
But which probe? Meeks is embroiled in several controversies — national, international, local. Yesterday, all he had to say was that he had been subpoenaed. House rules require that lawmakers announce it on the floor when that happens, as Politico noted in breaking the news.
Is it Meeks’ alleged role as an influence-peddling messenger boy to Hugo Chavez on behalf of Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford just before Stanford’s empire collapsed? Or Meeks’s suspiciously sweetheart purchase of a big, new home in Queens? Maybe it concerns his Hurricane Katrina charity fund that produced only a trickle of money but buckets of suspicious behavior.
Politico reports that “the subpoena covered a period going back to 2000 and seeks a broad range of documents from the seven-term lawmaker.”
A scandal roundup:
• Meeks bought a new home in Queens in 2006 for $830,000 from real estate developer Richard Dennis. But just last month, the Times reported that he may have gotten the kind of sweet deal that only a corrupt pol would merit. Also under scrutiny is additional work reportedly done to the home by architect Robert Gaskin. According to the Daily News, a grand jury may be investigating the connection between the work Gaskin did for Meeks and several other Queens politicians and the contracts he received to do work for non-profits they managed.
• Federal prosecutors are investigating a charity set up by Meeks and State Senator Malcolm Smith to provide relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina, which allegedly raised $31,000 but has only disbursed $1,392.
• The Chavez Affair: Meeks allegedly flew to Venezuela to carry a message to Chavez on behalf of Ponzi schemer Stanford. Extremely juicy details from the Miami Herald.
Stanford was bipartisan in his use of congressmen and congresswomen. Here’s a hilarious photo from 2005 of Stanford, in his home base of Antigua, influence-peddling other Congress members — including Katherine Harris, who as Florida’s secretary of state in 2000, helped cost the Democrats the presidential election.