Brooklyn’s own Mel Miller was a member of the New York State Assembly since 1971. He was a popular figure in New York politics. In 1987 he was elected Speaker of the Assembly. His tenure in that post was to be short lived.
In addition to his role in the New York State Assembly, Miller was also worked with his former law partner Jay Adolf. They were heavily involved in real estate deals. Apparently shady real estate deals. He was manipulating the highly regulated co-op sales law to his advantage. The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York got wind of his suspicious transactions through a larger Kings County DA investigation. The US Attorney bought an indictment against Adolf and Miller.
On December 13, 1991 Miller was convicted of six charges of fraud, one of conspiracy and one of using a fake name to buy and sell apartments. The jury acquitted them of all charges involving the two other schemes.
The US Attorney used a cooperative witness, Avi Cohen, who owned a real-estate firm in Brooklyn. He told the jury that the defendants participated with him in schemes that included deceitful conduct, false names and forged documents to purchase and sell the apartments.
Upon his conviction, Miller immediately lost his position as Speaker and was, an mandated by law, expelled from his seat in the Assembly. There were charges that the prosecution was politically motived. There may be some truth to that claim. Miller appealed his conviction and won. His conviction was vacated in 1993, but he did not return to politics.
Miller’s legal trouble was in keeping with a New York Assembly tradition. Two of his three most recent predecessors in the Speaker position, Perry B. Duryea, a Republican, and Stanley Steingut, a Democrat, were also indicted. One of his successors in that position, Sheldon Silver, was also indicted and convicted of numerous counts of corruption.
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