A city judge essentially sentenced Joseph Sdao — a corrupt former project manager for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, who defrauded the city out of more than $30,000 — to a 12-weekend timeout yesterday.
Judge Martin Marcus of Bronx County Supreme Court sentenced Sdao, 69, of Westbury, New York, to 12 weekends in jail and five years probation for a second-degree felony bribery charge that Sdao plead guilty to in August.
Apparently Sdao was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. So “justice” was theoretically served.
“Corruption is insidious, especially when a city manager betrays the public trust by sharing confidential contract information in order to pad his pockets with cash,” Rose Gill Hearn, New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner, says. “This defendant’s corrupt conduct earned him a conviction and jail sentence.”
Sdao earned the 12 weekend getaways by rigging contracts for construction work on several Bronx playgrounds during his tenure as a project manager for the parks department.
He provided a company bidding for the contracts with access to confidential internal department documents — which gave that company an unfair advantage over other bidders. In return, Sdao received kickbacks on the contracts the company successfully secured.
Along with those kickbacks, Sdao also allowed the contractor to submit inflated billing prices for materials to the parks department in order to pocket the difference between the actual cost of the materials and the inflated bill. Sdao’s crooked schemes netted him more than $30,000.
Sdao is not the only sleazy former city official this week to pay the price — albeit a relatively minuscule one — for stealing from the kids. A Manhattan federal court sentenced former Department of Education consultant, Willard “Ross” Lanham, to more than three years in prison for stealing millions from a project designed to bring Internet connection to city public schools.
An investigation conducted by the New York Attorney General’s Office and the DOI led to the April arrest of Sdao in which he was charged with five felony counts of bribery and competition fixing. In addition to his jail and probation sentences, Sdao will also have to pay back the $30,000 he snatched.
“Corrupt public servants who violate their official duties undermine the public’s confidence in the governmental process and will be vigorously prosecuted by this office. Betraying the public’s trust and stealing money from the taxpayers will not be tolerated,” New York Attorney General Schneidermanin said in a release following Sdao’s sentencing.
Hopefully the Attorney General will continue to expose corrupt officials. Let’s just hope those officials will be required to spend at least a few weekdays in the pen.