Just weeks after he beat federal corruption charges describing him as a “a paid advocate in Albany, a politician on the take,” Brooklyn assemblyman William F. Boyland Jr. was arrested by the FBI again this morning – for taking bribes to pay the lawyers defending him in the first bribe-taking trial.
The FBI’s complaint alleges Mr. Boyland asked two undercover agents – who he thought were real estate developers who’d bribed him a few thousand before – for $250,000 in cash in an Atlantic City hotel suite in April. Mr. Boyland proposed a scheme that would see Boyland help them flip a hospital in his district, using state grants, for nearly double the $8m the undercovers would pay.
Capital New York has the transcript, which is worth quoting in full:
UC1: You tell me and don’t be bashful. What do you need now? Most of all because I want to make sure you have the stamina to keep going with all this stuff too, along the way.
BOYLAND: I have legal fees for this legal thing that I have. I have to hire a good attorney.
UC2: Have you not gotten a good one yet?
BOYLAND: I have a good attorney I just can’t pay him (laughs) For me to, be talking the kind of you know.. expansive kinda vision that I have for this project and myself, I not only have to be clear of this project I have.. I have to.. get clear of these.. charges but I have to sort of come back in a bigger sense. That, that’s what has to happen. You know? I mean in the long term I think you know everybody wins with that.
Mr. Boyland seems to have thought he was erring on the side of caution, going on to tell the agents that “I got a middle guy by the way . . . I gotta stay clean . . . I got a bag man . . .” and that “I stopped talking on the phone awhile ago . . . I’m just saying there is no real conversation that you can have that, you know, especially with what we’re talking about. You can’t do that.”
Nonetheless, hubris eventually got the better of him. When the FBI agents attempted to scale the bribe down to $5,000 for every introduction Mr. Boyland made to powerful officials, Mr. Boyland dismissed the idea offhand. “I’m not talking about $5,000 folks,” Mr. Boyland is recorded as saying. “We talking about the man.”
The Boylands are one of Brooklyn’s most powerful political families. William Jr. inherited a seat previously held by his father and uncle, whose names adorn schools in the district as well as the street where Mr. Boyland’s district office is located. This year, however, has seen Mr. Boyland tarnish the family name considerably. In addition to the two corruption indictments, he was busted playing the game CityVille on Facebook when he was supposed to be doing legislative work and claiming Albany expenses while in New York City for his first corruption trial. In total, Mr. Boyland has missed 20 of 60 Assembly sessions this year.
“The charges announced today are all the more astonishing in light of the fact that Boyland allegedly committed much of the criminal conduct after he had already been charged in another bribery case,” FBI assistant director Janice K. Fedarcyk said. “Recording phone calls is not the only method the FBI has available to fight public corruption.”
Mr. Boyland faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.