Assemblyman on Silver: I won’t step ‘on somebody’s body who is dying’

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Greenpoint’s assemblyman is not touching embattled Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver just yet.

Federal agents arrested Silver, a Manhattanite, on Thursday morning on charges he took $6 million in bribes and kickbacks dating back to 2000, seriously loosening the grip he has maintained on the speaker seat since 1994. Lentol, with 42 years under his belt, is Albany’s longest-serving member and has been floated as a possible successor to Silver, but using morbid terms, he said it is too soon to make a move.

“I hate to think about stepping on somebody’s body who is dying before the body is even cold,” said Lentol. “It is not respectful to the man who has served as speaker for 20 years.”

Incidentally, Silver took the speaker position immediately following then-speaker Saul Weprin suffering an incapacitating stroke. Weprin died a few weeks later.

The Assembly’s Democratic Conference has rallied in support of Silver on Thursday, and Mayor DeBlasio went so far as to call him “a man of integrity.” His prediction of imminent death aside, Lentol stopped short of a full-throated defense of Silver, but did not condemn him either.

“We all know full well about the presumption of innocence,” said Lentol. “If we believe in it, then we should believe in it for the speaker.”

Lentol said he would certainly consider taking over the speaker post if Silver decides to step down.

Assemblyman Karim Camara (D–East Flatbush), also mentioned as a possible contender for the position, declined to comment.

The New York Republican State Committee blasted Democrats for circling the wagons around the allegedly dirty pol.

“Assembly Democrats’ continued support for Sheldon Silver in the wake of such outrageous corruption charges is beyond embarrassing. It shames our entire state,” spokesman David Laska said in a statement.

Among Democratic Assembly members, East New York’s Charles Barron was alone in denouncing Silver, calling him a “disgrace,” according to WNYC.

— with Matthew Perlman

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Vicky from Greenpoint says:
Grow a pair, Albany.
Jan. 23, 2015, 9:52 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Shame on Lentol. Shame on all the state Democrats.

Silver shouldn't even be granted the opportunity to resign. The Assembly ought to kick him out.
Jan. 23, 2015, 10:08 am
Bob from Hibbing says:
You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Jan. 23, 2015, 10:22 am
$6 million or $60 million or more from Kick him out as soon as he is found guilty. says:
the $6 million may be over $60 million is you dig deeper.

Now, he may use stepping down as a key to negotiate his prison time.

Death Penalty or let ISIS in the Middle East give him some punishment.
Jan. 23, 2015, 10:23 am
ty from pps says:
Why does it seem the only way we can get turnover in the "leadership" of our government is by indictment and prison sentences? Are we really this pathetic? Were Silver's voting bloc really that enamored with his legislative strong arming, scummy dealings and opportunistic voting record to keep reelecting him over and over again?

Just pathetic.
Jan. 23, 2015, 11:04 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Is his arrest a surprise for anyone after the Moreland Commission? And people went as far as to re-elect Cuomo. NY politics is pay for play from the city right on up to Albany. Hopefully the feds have a pair and won't stop until the reach the governor's doorstep and aren't just choosing an aging politician with one foot in the grave as an example...
Jan. 23, 2015, 11:26 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Preet will smash Silver's hold. MMA, and mix martial arts might have a chance in the near future at Barclay's.
Jan. 23, 2015, 2:30 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
“I hate to think about stepping on somebody’s body who is dying before the body is even cold,” said Lentol. “It is not respectful to the man who has served as speaker for 20 years.”

It's a shame Lentol can't feel as much compassion for his constituents as this cr-pweasel that he's a supplicant to.

But hey, at least Lentol didn't call him a "man of integrity" like de Blasio did. That statement made me lose what little respect I had left for our Mayor.

Lesson from our politicians: it's OK to be a lying, thieving, conniving goniff if you 1) have the right politics 2) have the support of unions and 3) support just enough of the right people to keep things cool.

Still, I think Shelly's string has run. Perhaps Bharrara has another trick up his sleeve for Cuomo and the Moreland Commission members.
Jan. 23, 2015, 6:28 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Albany is like "Game of Thrones" but with institutional style toilets serving as the eponymous stone chairs of power.
Jan. 23, 2015, 8:36 pm
Joe from Brooklyn says:
Notice how all entrenched Democrats are aligning with and behind Silver? They all TALK about eliminating corruption -- as if there's someone else to blame when its all of them. (But throw rocks at say, a Rep. Grimm for crimes committed 10 years before he even ran?). BARON deserves praise, here. All media needs to list and OUT the electeds from DeBlasio and on all levels -- that speak about "reform" and "transparency" yet do nothing right now.
Jan. 24, 2015, 10:41 am
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
I never thought I'd see the day when Charles Barron came across as the most rational and sensible public official.
Jan. 24, 2015, 11:31 pm
Myra from Park Slope says:
Has anyone heard from Assemblyman Brennan since the indictment?

Has anyone heard from Assemblyman Brennan in the last 30 years?
Jan. 25, 2015, 12:44 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
The more I think about how his corruption was already known but thrust into the light because of the Moreland Commission, and the more I think about how Cuomo ended the investigation because he didn't like where it was going; the more I think they wanted to have Silver quietly stepdown to make room for someone else. Once he said "No" they gave the go ahead, that person they are making room for is the Bulldog of NYC, Quinn. If Cuomo comes out of this unscathed then I know something is up!
Jan. 26, 2015, 2:14 pm

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