This guy has been the worst thing ever to happen to NY politics... Sheldon Silver: Bad to the bone U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara nails the Assembly speaker dead to rights, and it’s about time NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, January 22, 2015, 11:34 AM Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News He must pay They got the bastard. So say the feds. Presumption of innocence granted, it was a pleasure to see Sheldon Silver in handcuffs. For his offenses against New Yorkers have long been criminal. As Assembly speaker, Silver has practiced gangster rule fit for a Mafia social club without the guns and goons. Cross him and you were dead politically. Pay tribute and you prospered — if he felt like it. And that was the legal way of doing business, as sanctioned by laws and rules written by Silver. Now, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has stripped Silver bare as a polite extortionist who used the power of his office and state money to pull down millions of dollars in legal fees for doing absolutely no legal work. He hooked on with Weitz & Luxenberg, a law shop that represents asbestos victims who suffer from diseases like mesothelioma, while having zero background in the field. Lawmakers on both sides of aisle call on Sheldon Silver to quit The deal was that Silver would earn fees by referring clients to the firm. To get those clients, Silver funneled a half-million dollars in taxpayer funds to a prominent mesothelioma physician and directed the doctor to send clients to Weitz & Luxenberg. After the doctor complied and the firm got nice money out of case settlements, Weitz & Luxenberg paid Silver more than $3.2 million, supposedly his share of the recoveries. Never mind that none of the clients had ever had any contact with Silver. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Faces Federal Corruption Charges NY Daily News Similarly, Silver put the arm on two major real estate developers who happened to have been regular supplicants for favorable state legislation. At his command, the developers retained a two-person law firm to handle real estate tax work. When the firm collected, Silver got a handsome slice of the action. All the while, Silver filed false financial disclosure statements, violated attorney ethics rules regarding the disclosure of shared fees, bullied his partners into hiding his dealings and lied about his private income in numerous public pronouncements. After Gov. Cuomo made an issue of Albany ethics, Silver fought tooth and nail against every reform. Ultimately, Silver used his muscle in a court battle to stop Cuomo’s Moreland Commission from obtaining the same information now uncovered by a federal grand jury. Cuomo disbanded the panel, surely to Silver’s short-lived relief. But today he’s toast. And how sweet it is.