Failed Assembly Candidate Helped Feds Snare Bronx Pol
NEW YORK — The key witness in a federal corruption investigation is a Bronx political wannabe whose dreams of political office were dashed when he lost a state assembly race to a challenger who wanted to make cupcakes the official state snack.
Sigfredo Gonzalez, 40, a Throgsneck medical supply salesman who ran unsuccessfully three times for the 79th Assembly District, ended up wearing a wire for the feds and acting as a go-between for bribes from his shady bosses to Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, according to a federal complaint.
The undercover pol — who lost to Michael Benjamin three times — worked with his bosses at an adult daycare center, Igor and Rostislav Belyansk, and Stevenson to rig legislation that would help them corner the market in the Bronx.
He even offered to draft the legislation.
"We get that bill passed, we're gonna be good money, you understand," Gonzalez is heard on the wire telling Stevenson.
Gonzalez slipped Stevenson a total of $22,000 in cash at meetings caught on tape. The money was stuffed in enevelopes and delivered at Jake's steakhouse, in Riverdale, and a hotel bathroom in Albany.
Gonzalez didn't start out on Team America. He got dragged into the federal corruption probe when he was caught on a wire offering a bribe to Nelson Castro, a Bronx assemblyman who had agreed to cooperate with the government to get out of a perjury charge.
Castro caught Gonzalez on a wire offering a $12,000 bribe to get the assemblyman to help tout the senior centers.
"Don't worry, we'll take care of you. I want them to give you a nice birthday gift," Gonzalez told the undercover Bronx pol according to wiretap transcript. He took a $2000 kickback for himself.
Gonzalez, who once did community outreach for disgraced Bronx politician Pedro Espada, couldn't be reached for comment Thursday night. A woman who entered his white two-family home in Throgneck carrying a dog denied knowing Gonzalez or knowing anything about the corruption probe.