BY JORDAN GIBBONS
Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-Jamaica) is scheduled to plead guilty to felony charges next week and resign to settle the federal charges against him, according to the State Legislator.
“I will be accepting a plea to charges relating to my submitting false travel vouchers to the Assembly,” Scarborough said in a statement. “I did in fact claim to be in Albany at times when I was not there or I would claim to have stayed longer than I actually did. As a result, I will be stepping down from the job that I love and I will face whatever sanctions the court imposes at the proper time.”
Scarborough apologized to his family, colleagues, staff and community for misleading them as the issue unfolded.
“It is not easy to admit that you have engaged in improper behavior and have fallen short of the standards that were expected of you in a responsible position,” he said. “There is no excuse for my actions and I can only take responsibility for them and whatever consequences come as a result.”
Scarborough was charged in the federal indictment last September with 11 counts of improperly claiming “per diem” travel expenses in excess of $40,000 that did not take place.
Scarborough went on to explain the financial issues that he dealt with himself, as well as others in Albany, detailing how the legislature has not had a raise in 16 years and only one in 28 years.
“Whenever the issue of a salary increase was brought up we were told that our job was part-time, because we were only in session in Albany for six months out of the year,” he said. “I found this particularly offensive because when I was not in Albany, I spent my days, most evenings and most weekends meeting my constituents or attending events in my district.”
He said that two-thirds of the legislature report either no outside income or less than $20,000 in outside income, but the few with large outside incomes were used as “a club to beat back any suggestion that the vast majority needed or deserved an increase.”
Scarborough said that despite these “rationalizations” that he used to justify his actions to himself, there was no excuse for them.
“Many of my colleagues felt the same frustration with the salary situation as I did, but they did not act as I did,” he said. “Many people making less than I do have suffered financial crises and they have not acted as I did.”
Scarborough is expected to enter his plea on May 7 in U.S. District Court in Binghamton. Charges also include a State indictment, which charged him with two felony counts of grand larceny and 21 felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing.
Hartunian did not comment, but his office did refer the Queens Tribune to the article that first reported Scarborough’s decision in the Albany Times Union.
Reach Jordan Gibbons at (718)357-7400, Ext. 123, firstname.lastname@example.org or @jgibbons2.