Of all the crooked pols we have seen standing in the dock in recent years admitting to felonies on the public purse, it would be hard to find a more unlikely catch than Alan Hevesi.
Most scamsters emit some whiff of deceit.
For Hevesi’s fellow former assemblyman from Queens, Tony Seminerio, who copped his own fraud plea last year, it was a catch-me-if-you-can wink and a grin. For big Brian McLaughlin — yet another Queens man from the legislature — it was a too-good-to-be-true sanctimoniousness combined with a head swollen far out of proportion.
Smart as a whip Alan Hevesi — sober, modest, unfailingly decent and polite — had none of those criminal tells. He stood before a judge yesterday in his usual somber black business suit pleading guilty to crimes that Seminerio and McLaughlin only wish they’d had a crack at. You half-expected one of his many loyal boosters from the old days in his Forest Hills Democratic clubhouse when he was the hope of Queens to rush up to the defense table. “Say it ain’t so, Al,” he’d cry.
And you’d like to see the look on Alan Hevesi’s face when he said it.
The crimes he’s now confessed — using the public’s pensions for his personal and political amusement — deserves time behind bars, even if his “E” felony plea doesn’t require it. Afterward, he can go home to his family in Forest Hills. Maybe, like most of this city’s felons, he’ll eventually be forgiven. After all, Stanley Friedman, the ex-Democratic leader who only brought down an entire mayoral administration, shows up at political dinners these days, clinking glasses with old friends. Ex-congressman Mario Biaggi, old now and much-retired, gets cheers whenever he emerges from the house. No one brings up how he cheated his country out of millions.
But when Alan Hevesi’s finished with all this, you only hope he has the decency to keep the blinds down so we don’t have to be reminded.