Malcolm Smith (U.S. politician)

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Malcolm Smith
New York State Senator Malcolm Smith 2009 cropped.jpg
Member of the New York Senate
from the 10th district
In office
2000–2002
Preceded by Alton R. Waldon, Jr.
Succeeded by Ada Smith
Member of the New York Senate
from the 14th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
2003
Preceded by George Onorato
Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
In office
January 7, 2009 – June 8, 2009
Preceded by Dean Skelos
Succeeded by Dean Skelos
Acting Lieutenant Governor of New York
In office
January 7, 2009 – June 8, 2009
Governor David Paterson
Preceded by Dean Skelos
Succeeded by Pedro Espada Jr.
President Pro Tem of the New York State Senate
In office
July 9, 2009 – December 31, 2010
Preceded by Pedro Espada Jr.
Succeeded by Dean Skelos
Personal details
Born (1956-08-09) August 9, 1956 (age 58)
Queens, New York
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Michele Lisby
Children Julian
Amanda
Alma mater Fordham University
Adelphi University
Profession Real estate developer
Religion African Methodist Episcopal Church
Signature

Malcolm A. Smith (born August 9, 1956) is an American politician. He is a Democratic member of the New York State Senate for the 14th district, a portion of southeast Queens that includes Hollis, St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens and parts of Jamaica. Smith was Temporary President of the New York State Senate from 2009 to 2010, the first African American to hold that position.

On April 2, 2013, Smith was arrested by the FBI on federal corruption charges. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the New York FBI alleged that Smith attempted to secure a spot on the Republican ballot in the 2013 New York City mayoral election through bribery of New York City Councilman Dan Halloran and two other Republican officials who were also arrested.[1]

Early life[edit]

A Queens native, Malcolm Smith earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Fordham University and went on to earn an MBA from Adelphi University. At Adelphi, he was inducted into Delta Mu Delta, an honor society for business administration. He has also completed certificate programs from Harvard Law School and Wharton Business School.

Prior to his political career, Smith worked in real estate development. In 1985, he was named president of Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica. In 1991, he founded Smith Development Corporation, and subsequently built over 100 housing units in southeastern Queens, Far Rockaway and Brooklyn. He was also responsible for several notable commercial projects such as the Pathmark Plaza-Springfield Gardens, the interior of the FAA building, and the baseball fields at Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica.

Political career[edit]

Smith began his political career as a Senior Aide and political protégé to Congressman Floyd H. Flake from 1986 to 1991.[2][3] Smith also served as a Chief Aide to City Councilman Archie Spigner, who was an assistant to Mayor Ed Koch,[4] and a member of the advance staff for vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

Malcolm Smith was first elected to the New York State Senate in 2000, in a special election. He was elected minority leader in January 2007, succeeding David Paterson.[4] After the 2008 state elections, Democrats gained a majority of seats in the state senate for the first time in 40 years, and Smith was subsequently chosen as Majority Leader and Temporary President of the body in January 2009. He was the first African American to hold this position.[5] But on June 8 of that year, two Democrats joined with the thirty Republicans in voting to replace Smith, triggering the 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis.[6] The crisis concluded the following month, when the two Democrats left the Republican coalition. As a compromise, Smith retained only the title of Temporary President, with the title of Majority Leader going to Pedro Espada Jr., one of the two Democrats who initially voted to remove Smith from his leadership position.

Smith's legislative achievements include securing funding for a health clinic in Hollis, a toxic waste cleanup project in Jamaica, and a three-bill package to combat child sexual abuse. He has also helped launch a series of forums statewide for prevention of foreclosure.

Smith has also sought to curb gun violence. In the wake of the Sean Bell shooting incident, Smith created and chaired the Tri-Level Legislative Task Force. The task force ultimately released a report on increasing public confidence in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and many of its recommendations have been passed by the state legislature.

Smith was reelected to his State Senate seat without opposition in 2012.[7] Following his reelection, he Smith joined forces with the Independent Democratic Conference to form a "bipartisan governing coalition" with Senate Republicans. He expressed interest in running for mayor of New York City as a Republican in the 2013 mayoral election.[8] He would have needed a Wilson Pakula in order to do so.[9] His attempts to obtain one led to his arrest by the FBI on corruption charges.[1] A mistrial was declared on June 17, 2014, with a new trial date set of January 5, 2015.[10]

In addition to serving as Secretary of the New York State Democratic Committee, Smith is a ranking member of the senate Banking Committee, a member of the Labor, Transportation, and Health Committees, and a co-chair of the High Speed Rail Committee for the National Conference of State Legislators.

Controversy[edit]

In August 2008, Smith held a golf-outing fundraiser for a group of 75 lobbyists, who each paid up to $75,000 to attend. One lobbyist who attended told the New York Post that Smith told the assembled group that giving him campaign contributions was akin to an IPO, in that they "should get in early because then it doesn't cost as much. The longer you wait to get in... the more it will cost you and if you don't get in at all, then it will be painful." The lobbyist said that, after these remarks, "people were looking around the room in disbelief."[11]

A federal grand jury has investigated Smith's involvement in various nonprofit groups.[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Smith is a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He is married to Michele Lisby-Smith. They have two children, Julian and Amanda. In 2006, a former aide of Smith's filed a paternity suit against him; he eventually acknowledged paternity of the aide's child and now pays child support.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Manhattan U.S. Attorney And FBI Assistant Director-In-Charge Announce Federal Corruption Charges Against New York State Senator Malcolm Smith And New York City Council Member Daniel Halloran" (Press release). United States Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  2. ^ a b Vincent, Isabel; Klein, Melissa (February 14, 2010). "$$ links of mentor Flake & pupil Smith". New York Post. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Lovett, Kenneth; Ross, Barbara; Smith, Greg B. (April 1, 2010). "Federal grand jury probes real estate and nonprofit deals for Malcolm Smith, other Queens pols". Daily News. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Confessore, Nicholas (November 27, 2008). "For State Senate, Delay to Get a Majority Leader". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Pehme, Morgan (July 30, 2010). "Malcolm on the Muddle". City & State. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ Schwach, Howard (June 12, 2009). "Smith Ousted From Senate Leadership Position". Wave of Long Island. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ "New York State Legislature – Election 2012". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ Kaplan, Thomas; Hakim, Danny (December 4, 2012). "Coalition Is to Control State Senate as Dissident Democrats Join With Republicans". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ Benjamin, Liz (August 1, 2012). "Malcolm For Mayor On GOP Line Over Before It Starts?". Your News Now. Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  10. ^ Jim Fitzgerald (June 17, 2014). "MALCOLM SMITH CORRUPTION TRIAL ENDS IN MISTRIAL". ABC7. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ ALBANY $QUEEZE PLAY, Fredric U. Dicker, New York Post, August 18, 2008

External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Alton R. Waldon, Jr.
New York State Senate, 10th District
2000–2002
Succeeded by
Ada Smith
Preceded by
George Onorato
New York State Senate, 14th District
2003–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
David Paterson
Minority Leader of the New York State Senate
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Dean Skelos
Preceded by
Dean Skelos
Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
2009
Succeeded by
2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis (Both Smith and Skelos claimed to be Majority Leader)
Preceded by
Dean Skelos
Acting
Lieutenant Governor of New York
Acting

2009
Succeeded by
Pedro Espada, Jr.
Acting
Preceded by
Pedro Espada Jr.
Temporary President of the State Senate
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Dean Skelos