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Corruption Chronicles

Stealing Millions From Taxpayers

A longtime Democrat New York legislator known as a community activist and leading figure in the state’s labor movement, has been federally indicted for embezzlement, fraud, receiving bribes and laundering money.

Queens Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin makes a hefty $263,600 annual salary as a legislator and president of New York’s largest labor organization, yet he stole $2.2 million from taxpayers, labor unions and contractors for his personal expenses and those of his wife, girlfriend and children.

A 186-page federal indictment details how McLaughlin abused his power as an influential state legislator and popular labor union figure over a decade. He stole $95,000 from Little League baseball teams to pay his rent, created fake jobs on his legislative payroll and kept the salaries and illegally used more than $300,000 of reelection campaign money to pay for his son’s wedding rehearsal dinner, renovation of his lavish house, a country club membership and even the purchase and installation of a plasma television for a girlfriend.

McLaughlin is also charged with using stolen money to buy an expensive sports car for his wife, pay school tuition for his children and rent payments on two of his houses. Additionally, he used subordinates as personal servants to trap rodents in his basement, clean his house and take his dog to the veterinarian.

This is a far cry from the biography posted by the New York City Central Labor Council, an umbrella organization of unions that represents more than 1.5 million working men and women. On its web site the council describes its president, McLaughlin, as an “organizer and mobilizer” with untiring efforts to secure a better life, decent wages and benefits for working men and women.


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