May 7, 2010
Golf Course Bribe Leads To Disbarment
The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department struck from its rolls an attorney deemed automatically disbarred as a result of a felony conviction. The court described the circumstances:
On January 29, 2009, the respondent entered a plea of guilty to the aforesaid [bribery] crime before the Honorable James Hudson. During the plea allocution, the respondent admitted that he had been an elected legislator in Suffolk County from 1990 through 2005. Dating back to the Spring of 1996, the respondent had engaged in conversations with a friend and later business associate, Neil Trabich, with respect to Trabich's interest in securing the right to manage the Northport Veterans Administration Hospital Golf Course. Trabich operated a number of local municipal golf courses and needed to be associated with a local nonprofit organization in order to be deemed eligible to effectively bid on this golf course. To that end, the respondent, acting as a Suffolk County legislator, agreed to introduce Trabich to one such organization, the Northport American Legion. The respondent admitted that he arranged introductory meetings for the two parties in his legislative office. In return for the introduction, the respondent requested from Trabich the sum of $18,000 in the event he succeeded in securing the right to the golf course. Trabich did succeed and paid the respondent the requested sum in three installments. The American Legion was unaware of the arrangement. The respondent failed to disclose the sum received from Trabich on his yearly disclosure statements filed with the Suffolk County Ethics Commission. During the month of October 2002, after a debate in the county legislature, the respondent voted in favor of a resolution affecting Trabich's business venture. The respondent failed to disclose his relationship with Trabich to the legislature before debating and later voting on that resolution.
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