|Former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos leaves Manhattan Federal Court during his retrial on|
extortion and bribery charges on Friday. (Jefferson Siegel / New York Daily News)
We all want to help our kids. But using threats and a public office to make sure that someone obeys is another matter.
Put father and son in jail for a long time. Teach other politicos a lesson in dealing with private matters while in public office.
That is my two cents.
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Disgraced pol Dean Skelos testifies in federal trial he was just trying to help troubled son
He was a good dad with a bad son.
Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos took the witness stand Friday at his federal corruption retrial to admit, yes, he pulled a few strings for his ne’er-do-well son — but no favorable legislation was advanced in exchange.
The former Albany bigwig, who’s accused of soliciting bribes and extorting businesses to employ his slacker son, Adam, explained what he did for the love of his kid.
“Quite frankly, I’ve asked a lot of people to help my son,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to ask (somebody) to help Adam, I would.”
But the disgraced ex pol said he never threatened or intimidated anyone for the favors, almost laughing off the insinuation under questioning.
The Long Island Republican — once one of the three powerful men who decided how the state budget would be spent — told the court about his decades-long political career, his son’s behavioral problems from a young age and their close-knit father and son relationship. Skelos cut a confident figure, wearing a beige suit and a blue tie, and cracking more than one joke during his testimony.
The fallen legislator said he and his adopted son, 35, had a impenetrable bond from the get-go, which he partially attributed to his wife leaving in 1982.
“(Life circumstances) changed — number one, I lost my election,” he said. “But also the marriage did not work out, and for a while, I was the primary caregiver of Adam.”
Skelos, 70, said he would take his baby boy to political events, even holding him up on stage when he gave speeches. Offstage, Adam Skelos grew up struggling in school and with behavioral problems, he said.
“We would discuss school. We would discuss our personal lives. Adam had certain issues he was dealing with,” Skelos said. When the boy was 7 or 8, his dad enrolled him in special-education classes for reading and language, where he remained for four or five years. Skelos said he tried to be a positive force in his son’s life, telling him, “Move forward — have confidence in yourself, do the right thing.”
By the time Adam Skelos reached his early 20s, drug and alcohol addiction became a bigger issue.
“What I would always try to do is manage him through those issues,” he said. “There’s nothing more important than being a parent.”
Skelos didn’t shy away from talking about his son’s temper.
“His temperament, sometimes he could get a bit abrasive,” he said. “It could get a little ugly.”
For all his close parenting, Skelos wasn’t able to instill a strong work ethic in his son.
Anthony Bonomo, a medical malpractice CEO who hired Adam Skelos at his father’s request, complained about the son not coming to work.
“He called me and indicated that Adam was not performing well — that he wasn’t showing up the way he felt he should,” the former senator told the court.
Instead of addressing it himself, Skelos said he kicked the problem back to Bonomo, who he said had been a friend for 30 years. He told the insurance executive, “If there’s any way you could remediate the problem, it would be nice.”
His lawyer, Robert Gage asked about his tone.
“Certainly not threatening,” he said. “I think what he heard was my frustration with Adam.”
|Adam Skelos, center|