It might be about time for William Valentin to have his day in Court.
We have reported on Valentin and his attempts at proving Seabrook’s improprieties with respect to irresponsible investments in Platinum and the potential that Seabrook was earning some form of compensation for for these investments. We had little doubt that Valentin was correct in his conclusions, despite having his case tossed out of court. It is our hope that he will finally be vindicated. We have posted an article below with some information on the Valentin case.
LostMessiah, June 8, 2016
Chief of New York Jail Officers’ Union Is Arrested on Fraud Charges
The 17-page complaint, sworn out by F.B.I. Special Agent Blaire Toleman, charges both men with one count of honest services fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
Lawyers for the two men could not be immediately reached for comment; a spokesman for Mr. Seabrook said the union president had no immediate comment.
The relationship between the mayor and Mr. Seabrook has been close in the past. At a 2014 fund-raiser for a union charity, Mr. de Blasio referred to Mr. Seabrook as a “friend” and a “great leader.” But Mr. Seabrook has also been one of the fiercest critics of the mayor’s reform efforts at Rikers Island.
The accusations do not involve Mr. de Blasio or any of the possible improprieties that are under scrutiny in more than half a dozen inquiriesswirling around the mayor and his aides. However, the role in the case of Mr. Rechnitz, a donor who has given more than $150,000 to causes supported by the mayor, is notable. He served as an intermediary, introducing Mr. Seabrook to Mr. Huberfeld to facilitate the union’s investment in Platinum Partners.
Mr. Huberfeld, through Mr. Rechnitz, paid an initial kickback to Mr. Seabrook of $60,000, the complaint said, noting that “ultimately Huberfeld agreed to pay Seabrook bribes that were expected to total hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The complaint does not name Mr. Rechnitz, referring to him instead as cooperating witness No. 1. It says that the information he has provided has been “reliable and corroborated by independent evidence.”
A lawyer for Mr. Rechnitz, Alan Levine, declined to comment.
The government’s interest in Mr. Seabrook and his relationship with Platinum Partners dates back roughly two years and was reported by The New York Times last June.
William Valentin, a correction officer who was forced off the executive board when he mounted a challenge for the union presidency, alleged that Mr. Seabrook had invested millions of dollars in the hedge fund without consulting the board.
Mr. Seabrook acknowledged the investment in an affidavit for a lawsuit, but declined to identify the fund and gave contradictory statements about how much the union earned from it. At one point, he said the return was $475,000 in three months; but the union’s audited financial statements listed a $47,529 return.
Mr. Huberfeld was convicted of fraud in 1993 for arranging for another party to take a brokerage licensing exam under his name. He was fined $5,000 and sentenced to two years of probation. In a separate case, in 1998, Mr. Huberfeld and a partner paid $4.6 million to settle a civil action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that alleged bank fraud.
Mr. Rechnitz’s involvement was reported in April by The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Seabrook, who favors finely tailored suits and cigars and is chauffeured around the city in black S.U.V.s, has come to exert extraordinary control over the Correction Department.
Over the years, Mr. Seabrook has been sued by current and former union employees, who have leveled allegations ranging from corruption to sexual harassment. He has withstood them all.
Judge dismisses lawsuit against correction officers union
State Supreme Court Justice Carol Huff has dismissed a lawsuit against the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association brought by a former member who claimed he was unfairly fired from his job with the union.
According court documents, William Valentin, a former COBA corresponding secretary, was fired after attempting to obtain access to the union’s mailing list. Valentin also accused COBA president Norman Seabrook of investing $10 million of the union’s money into a hedge fund without consulting the union board or properly vetting it.
According to court papers, Valentin was “unlawfully deprived of various benefits and powers associated with his elected position and that charges assured against Seabrook were unlawfully dismissed.”
Huff, sitting in Manhattan, dismissed the accusations as “a rancorous internal dispute.”
“At this point, the actions and inactions complained of in the petition amount to the internal workings of a union,” Huff wrote, adding that Valentin failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, pursuant to the COBA constitution and bylaws. Valentin also failed to establish that his charges against Seabrook are not being pursued as mandated by COBA rules, Huff wrote.
In a statement to Capital, Seabrook called the claims against him “meritless” and “a waste of time and money, not just for our hard working members, but also for the taxpayers of this City and State.”
“We’re glad the judge agreed that they are without merit. Hopefully our victory today will put this issue behind us and send a message to the person behind these frivolous claims that the matter is closed,” Seabrook said.
Dismisal of the suit comes weeks after reports that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office issued subpoenaes to Seabrook and the union over possible inappropriate uses of union funds.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney did not return a request for comment.
Valentin’s lawyer, Richard Gilbert, said he couldn’t comment on the decision until he’d spoken with his client.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/city-hall/story/2015/07/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-against-correction-officers-union-023613#ixzz4AzobNWzO
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