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Despite Federal Investigation, Silver Confident of Re-Election as Speaker

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Sheldon Silver with Rabbi Reuven Feinstein in Albany last year after the Speaker was re-elected to his leadership post.
Sheldon Silver with Rabbi Reuven Feinstein in Albany last year after the Speaker was re-elected to his leadership post.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he fully expects to be re-elected to his leadership position next week, a post he’s held since 1994.  This week, it came to light that Silver, a Lower East Side Democrat, is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney and the FBI for payments he received from a small law firm. The New York Times reported that Silver failed to report attorney fees paid by the firm, Goldberg & Iryami, on disclosure statements.

Questioned about the issue after Governor Cuomo’s inauguration yesterday, Silver said, “Members of my conference have confidence in me, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on this matter.”

The Post snapped a photo of Jay Arthur Goldberg, one of two lawyers in the firm, outside his Staten Island home “wearing a military-style Russian hat with a hammer-and-sickle insignia.” Goldberg said, “There was absolutely nothing illicit going on… [I] can’t say any more than that because there is an investigation going on.”

Democratic members of the Assembly are standing by the Speaker, including Assemblyman Joe Lantol, who told the Post, “I think members will stick with Shelly… It’s hard for me to believe Shelly would do anything that is incorrect and especially unlawful. Everybody makes mistakes.”  Asked for his reaction to the news reports, Cuomo said, “I only know what I read in the newspaper.”  He added that it was not his place to weigh in on whether it’s time for Silver to step down. Those “decisions will be left to the speaker and the Assembly,” Cuomo said.

Goldberg & Iryami specializes in helping property owners, including some on the Lower East Side, win reductions in their property tax bills.

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