In a lengthy statement announcing his resignation as State Senator majority leader today, Dean Skelos claimed that a news photographer startled his 2-year-old grandson and made him “split his lip open.”
“The past seven days have taken a tremendous toll on my entire family, including my wife, my son, my 94-year-old father, my brothers and sisters, and two young grandchildren, who have all been unfairly placed under the media’s spotlight,” Mr. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, said. “Most recently, a news photographer was in my son’s
backyard and the disruption caused my 2-year-old grandson to fall and split his lip open.”
Rather than admit many of his colleagues and GOP donors formed him from his post, Mr. Skelos said the “media scrutiny” following his arrest on federal corruption charges undid him. “This scrutiny was more real and more eye-opening than I could have ever imagined when I asked the members of our conference to stand by me last week.”
Mr. Skelos ticked off a list of his accomplishments, including a rebate program for homeowners, the enactment of Megan’s Law and a program to help seniors afford prescription drugs. He took a dig at the Senate Democrats, who had their own corruption scandals several years ago. One former Democratic majority leader, Malcolm Smith, was found guilty on corruption charges and another, John Sampson, will go on trial soon.
“During my tenure as Temporary President and Majority Leader of the Senate, we’ve passed five consecutive on-time budgets and ended the dysfunction and chaos that existed when New York City Democrats ran our entire state government,” he said.
The federal complaint against Mr. Skelos claims that he used his position to pressure a developer, believed to be mega-donor Glenwood Management, into getting his son a no-show consultant job at a company that produced
Mr. Skelos said he is innocent. Initially, like in the case of the corruption arrest of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in January, Mr. Skelos fought to keep his job. But in the process, he appeared to alienate his colleagues and Republican donors, reportedly threatening to resign his seat to deny the GOP their thin majority in the 63-member chamber.
Mr. Skelos’ replacement will be another Long Islander, State Senator John Flanagan. Mr. Flanagan chairs the Education Committee and is an ally of Mr. Skelos, backing him for majority leader days before his resignation.