|Majority Leader of the New York State Senate|
January 1, 2011 – May 11, 2015
|Preceded by||Pedro Espada Jr.|
|Succeeded by||John J. Flanagan|
June 24, 2008 – December 31, 2008
|Preceded by||Joseph Bruno|
|Succeeded by||Malcolm Smith|
|Lieutenant Governor of New York|
June 24, 2008 – December 31, 2008
|Preceded by||Joseph Bruno|
|Succeeded by||Malcolm Smith|
|Member of the New York Senate|
from the 9th district
January 1, 1985 – December 11, 2015
|Preceded by||Carol Berman|
|Succeeded by||Todd Kaminsky|
Dean George Skelos
February 16, 1948
Rockville Centre, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Washington College (BA)|
Fordham University (JD)
Dean George Skelos (born February 16, 1948) is an American politician from Long Island, New York. A Republican, Skelos represented the Ninth District in the New York State Senate from 1985 through 2015. He served as Senate Majority Leader in 2008 and again from 2011 to 2015. Skelos is the second Long Islander to have held the position of Senate Majority Leader; the first was Ralph J. Marino.
Skelos forfeited his Senate seat when he was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2015. In 2017, his conviction was overturned following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McDonnell v. United States. His retrial resulted in a second conviction on July 17, 2018. Skelos was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. He began his prison term in January 2019.
Early life, education, and law career
Skelos was born on February 16, 1948, in Rockville Centre, New York, the oldest of four children. He is the grandson of a Greek immigrant. Skelos graduated from Washington College in Maryland with a B.A. in history in 1970 and earned a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1975.
New York State Assembly
In 1980, the seat for the 19th District in the New York State Assembly, representing parts Nassau County, became open when incumbent Assemblyman Raymond J. McGrath decided to run for the United States House of Representatives seat that was opened by the retirement of nine-term incumbent John W. Wydler.
Running on the Republican, Conservative, and Right-to-Life party lines, Skelos won the general election on November 4, 1980, by defeating Democratic and Liberal party candidate Peter S. Kilcommons, Jr. by a 64% to 36% margin (30,749 to 17,371 votes).
New York State Senate
After one Assembly term, Skelos gave up his seat to challenge incumbent Democratic-Liberal New York State Senator Carol Berman in 1982. The reapportionment earlier that year changed the boundaries of the 9th Senate District, which previously included parts of Nassau and Queens County. The new district, drawn by Senate Republicans, was entirely within Nassau County and favored Republicans. Skelos was endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties. Berman, running on the Democratic and Liberal party lines won the race by 6,108 votes (55,504 to 49,396). Matthew Doyle, the Right-to-Life party candidate, received 2,520 votes in the three-way race.
In 1984, Skelos challenged Berman in a rematch. This time, Skelos, who had President Ronald Reagan visit the district and campaign for him, narrowly defeated Berman in a two-way race, winning by 50.7% to 49.3% (67,834 to 65,875 votes).
In 1986, Berman challenged Skelos in their third consecutive state senate contest. Skelos, running on the Republican and Conservative party lines, defeated Berman, the Democratic and Liberal parties' candidate, in a three-way race, winning 53% of the vote (49,761) to 43.7% (41,005). Right-to-Life party candidate Joan McDermott received 3.2% (2,967) of the vote.
From 1995 to 2008, Skelos was Deputy Majority Leader of the New York State Senate. In 2008, he became the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate after Joseph Bruno stepped down from that post.
In 2011, Skelos voted against the Marriage Equality Act, which the Senate passed 33-29. In a statement, he said: "This is a very difficult issue and it will be a vote of conscience for every member of the Senate."
Federal prosecution and conviction
Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos, were arrested and charged with six counts of corruption by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in May 2015. The criminal complaint included extortion, fraud, and bribe solicitation charges. Skelos was accused of taking official actions to benefit a small Arizona environmental company, AbTech Industries, and a large New York developer, Glenwood Management, that had financial ties to AbTech.
According to the complaint, Senator Skelos agreed to do so as long as the companies paid his son. On May 28, 2015, Skelos and his son were indicted by a federal grand jury on six counts of bribery, extortion, wire fraud, and conspiracy. The indictment was largely the same as the six-count criminal complaint, but it also accused the elder Skelos of securing over $100,000 in payments and health benefits from an unnamed medical malpractice insurer.
After his arrest, Skelos asserted that he and his son were innocent. He stepped down from his majority leader post in the Senate a week after his arrest; he had already begun a leave of absence from the law firm of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek. "The criminal complaint against him said he had earned $2.6 million there since 1994, despite apparently doing no actual legal work; he was paid instead for referring clients, some of whom had business before the state."
In July 2015, in an expanded indictment, federal prosecutors added two new charges of soliciting bribes from a Long Island company in return for favorable legislation. The new indictment charged that Skelos procured a position for his son at a medical malpractice insurance company with business before the state:
... the CEO agreed to hire him, "in part because the CEO understood from Dean Skelos's repeated requests relating to the court-reporting service that Dean Skelos wanted the CEO to assist Adam Skelos financially." The CEO offered the younger Mr. Skelos a job in sales that paid $78,000 a year, even though he wasn't licensed to sell insurance ... A week after he was hired, ... Adam Skelos' supervisor called him to set up a meeting about his schedule, "given that Adam Skelos had not reported for work for more than one hour during the previous four days." ..."Adam Skelos called back Supervisor-1 and threatened to 'smash in' Supervisor-1's head, and told Supervisor-1 that Supervisor-1 would 'never amount to anything' and that 'guys like' Supervisor-1 'couldn't shine Adam Skelos's shoes.'"... The younger Mr. Skelos went on to say he didn't need to show up to work because his father was the Majority Leader of the State Senate, according to the indictment.
On December 11, 2015, a unanimous jury convicted Dean and Adam Skelos of all eight counts of bribery, extortion, and corruption. Dean Skelos was convicted of using his position in the Senate to benefit three companies—a real estate developer, an environmental technology company, and a medical malpractice insurer—in exchange for the companies' agreement to give work to his son. Prosecutors said that the three businesses provided Adam Skelos with about $300,000 and other benefits. The trial verdict automatically terminated Dean Skelos from the state legislature.
On May 12, 2016, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood sentenced Dean Skelos to five years in prison, and Adam Skelos to six-and-a-half years in prison. Wood allowed both to remain free on bail pending appeals based on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in McDonnell v. United States, in which the court reversed the corruption conviction of a former Virginia Governor.
On September 26, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the convictions and ordered a retrial, arguing that the district judge had given the jury improper instructions. However the panel wrote that the government's evidence appeared to be sufficient to allow a properly instructed jury to convict the Skeloses, as there was enough evidence to establish that there had been a quid pro quo arrangement in each of the schemes at issue.
The retrial of Skelos and his son began on June 19, 2018. The Skeloses had filed a motion for a change in venue, arguing that because of pretrial publicity in New York, the trial should be moved to another state. The motion was later rejected. During the retrial, in contrast to the first trial, Skelos took the witness stand and testified in his own defense. On July 17, 2018 Skelos and his son were found guilty on all charges.
On October 23, 2018, Skelos was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison. Judge Wood suggested that he had been unrepentant and that parts of his testimony were outright false. While a four-year sentence would have otherwise been appropriate, she said, his lies warranted an additional three months, adding, "Although a defendant has a right to testify in his own defense, giving false testimony must be punished." Adam Skelos was sentenced to a four-year prison term. Skelos reported to the Federal Correctional Institute in Otisville, Orange County, New York to begin his prison term on January 8, 2019.
Under New York State law, Skelos continues to draw his annual pension of nearly $100,000 while in prison.
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- "Roll call". nysenate.gov. 2011.
- "Same sex marriage legislation: Skelos' Statement". nysenate.gov.
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- Zapotosky, Matt (May 12, 2016). "Former New York State Senate majority leader sentenced to five years in federal prison". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
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- Fuller, Nicole (January 8, 2019). "Dean and Adam Skelos report to federal prison, officials say". Newsday. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- New York State Senate: Dean G. Skelos official website
|New York Assembly|
Raymond J. McGrath
| New York State Assembly
|New York State Senate|
| New York Senate
| Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
Pedro Espada Jr.
| Majority Leader of the New York State Senate
John J. Flanagan
| Lieutenant Governor of New York