NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A New York City Democratic Party boss and three others were convicted today on racketeering and mail fraud charges in the worst corruption scandal to hit the city in 50 years.
Bronx Democratic Party boss Stanley Friedman--who was charged with turning the city's Parking Violations Bureau into a racketeering enterprise for personal profit--was found guilty of one count each of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud.
The jury, which deliberated four days, also convicted Lester Shafran, the former director of the parking bureau; Michael Lazar, a real-estate developer and former city transportation administrator, and Marvin Kaplan, chairman of Citisource, Inc., a company awarded a contract by the city to manufacture hand-held computers to issue parking tickets.
28 People Indicted
They were all convicted of racketeering, mail fraud and conspiracy in the scandal, which has resulted in indictments of 28 people, including six former city officials.
Sentencing was scheduled for March 1. The major count, racketeering, carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The scandal was the worst in New York City since Mayor Jimmy Walker was forced to resign in 1932 for his cooperation with Tammany Hall bosses in awarding city contracts.
The four men were accused of being at the core of a plot that transformed the city parking agency, which collected fines resulting from parking violations, into a department used illicitly for the defendants' personal profit from 1979 to 1985.
Bribes Put at $1 Million
Bribes in the case were estimated to total at least $1 million, and the government contended that Friedman, who has not resigned his post as the most powerful Democrat in the Bronx, was the "bribe broker" in the scandal.
The scandal broke Jan. 10 when Queens Borough President Donald Manes, who had controlled appointments in the bureau, tried to kill himself.
On Jan. 15, Geoffrey Lindenauer, a close friend of Manes and deputy director of the agency, was charged by federal officials with extorting $5,000 from the director of a private parking collection agency.
On March, 10 Lindenauer pleaded guilty to racketeering and mail fraud for extorting $410,000 from three collection agencies who had contracts with the city.
Lindenauer agreed to testify against the others, and on March 13 Manes killed himself by driving an 8-inch kitchen knife into his heart in the kitchen of his Queens home.