Republican Assemblyman Joe Errigo was accused Wednesday by federal prosecutors of accepting thousands of dollars in cash bribes in exchange for introducing a bill at the behest of a lobbyist and an unnamed member of the state Assembly.
Errigo was charged with bribery and wire fraud, making him the latest state lawmaker to face corruption charges in the scandal-plagued New York state government.
Prosecutors outlined an alleged scheme in which an unnamed lawmaker — identified as “member A” in the criminal complaint — and a lobbyist worked to introduce legislation that transferred authority over a Rochester development project to the state Department of Transportation.
It was the lobbyist, also not named in the complaint, who suggested Errigo be used to introduce the legislation to make the bill “untraceable” to the original lawmaker.
The cash bribes, handed over in envelopes during different steps of the bill introduction process. The money used to “grease the skids” which included one payment for the legislation receiving a bill number. All told, some $10,500 in cash bribes changed hands.
Errigo was first elected in 2000 and served until 2010. He was re-elected in 2016 to fill the vacancy created when Assemblyman Bill Nojay died by suicide as he was about to face criminal fraud charges. During the campaign, Errigo made headlines when he suggest in a radio interview that President Obama was telling black to “kill the whites.”
Errigo lost his Republican primary earlier last month to Marjorie Byrnes.
“The allegations against Assemblyman Joe Errigo announced today are disturbing for everyone in state government and for the people of the 133rd Assembly District,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb. “We have just learned about the charges, and more facts will be presented as the legal process runs its course. If a crime has been committed, the guilty parties should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any time these kinds of accusations are brought against a public official, it severely damages the public trust.”
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