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Former NYC councilman pleads guilty to bribery 
The Associated Press

NEW YORK - A former city councilman admitted in court Thursday that his support for a developer's gourmet market project on the Brooklyn waterfront came at a price: $50,000 in cash and a $1.5 million discount on property.

"In exchange for the property and cash, I agreed to give my official support to . . . the real estate project," Angel Rodriguez told a U.S. magistrate while pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge.

Rodriguez, 45, quit the council on Wednesday after admitting publicly for the first time that he had broken the law. He faces up to four years and nine months in prison at sentencing; he would have faced up to 6 years if convicted at trial.

Rodriguez's alleged co-conspirator, Jonathan Morales, also pleaded guilty at Thursday's hearing and faces the same prison term. No sentencing date was set.

Outside court, Rodriguez insisted, "At no time did my actions compromise my constituents, who I love, nor the council."

U.S. Attorney Alan Vinegrad disagreed.

"He harmed his constituents in the most fundamental way - by selling his office for personal gain," Vinegrad told reporters.

A 15-count indictment unsealed in March accused Rodriguez of agreeing to back a multimillion-dollar real estate project in exchange for $50,000 cash and a $1.5 million discount on prime Brooklyn property.

Rodriguez - an accountant and Democrat who was elected to represent the 38th Council District in 1998 - initially opposed the plan for the developer, Greg O'Connell, to pay $1.7 million for a city-owned warehouse in the Red Hook section and convert it into the gourmet market.

Submitted by: Werner Hetzner 

Source: Schenectady Gazette  8/30/02




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