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New York Legislator Pays For CSC-Chauffeured Rides

A New York State Assemblyman has been sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and restitution for unlawfully billing the state for rides he got for free from Correctional Services Corporation (CSC). The sentence was imposed after Roger Green, a veteran Brooklyn Democrat, pleaded guilty to two counts of petty larceny and one count of offering a false instrument.

Green's legal problems resulted from an investigation of free transportation provided to lawmakers by the scandal-plagued CSC. According to Albany County prosecutors, Green, 54, billed the state for travel expenses he never incurred while being chauffeured from Brooklyn to Albany in CSC vans. Green filed fake claims for about 30 trips, they said.

Green, along with many other current and former state legislators, also wrote letters to New York officials advocating extensions of CSC's state contracts for halfway house services. Between 1992 and 2000, the state, paid CSC $25.4 million for those services.

Green was nearly jailed in April 2004 for not paying a $2,000 fine in the case. Green had claimed he was too tapped to pay, but finally coughed up the money on April 29, two days after an Albany Judge issued an arrest warrant. As a state lawmaker, Green legally earned $91,000 a year, and who knows how much in kickbacks and bribes.

Green has admitted to using CSC vans but says he paid for gas and requested reimbursement only because he was confused by the state's vague guidelines. Green also contends that he was the victim of unfair treatment by the criminal justice system.
His case is not indicative of wider ethical problems in Albany, says Green. Instead, it shows that African-Americans--even those who make innocent mistakes--receive extra scrutiny from the criminal justice system.

Some young blacks from Brooklyn are mired in the prison industrial complex" because they commit serious crimes, said Green. But, he continued, We have a lot of children who get caught up in the system because they were careless. I'm in that last category." He said this with a straight face despite being convicted of taking kickbacks from a private prison company, one of the many financial beneficiaries and components of the prison industrial complex" he purports to criticize. All his acts on behalf of CSC were to perpetuate its feeding at the trough of New York tax dollars.

But this isn't a problem for New York voters. Apparently, many in the community agree with him. Green resigned his position in June, 2004 after pleading guilty to the charges, but ran again. He was reelected.

Still, there's at least one person who probably didn't vote for Greene--Albany District Attorney Paul Clyne, the man who prosecuted him. If the voters of Brooklyn want Roger Green to represent them in the Assembly, then they can have him," said Clyne. It's up to the voters to decide whether they want to be represented by a convicted thief.

PLN reports extensively on CSC and other for-profit prison contractors. See indexes for more.

Sources: Daily News (New York)

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