NY capital projects include $8M in pork from 5 ex-senators

NY capital projects include $8M in pork from 5 ex-senators

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Thomas Libous was forced to resign from the Senate after being found guilty of flying to the FBI, but he still has $  3.2 million in pork that's going forward.Jim Fitzgerald/AP

Thomas Libous was forced to resign from the Senate after being found guilty of flying to the FBI, but he still has $ 3.2 million in pork that’s going forward.

ALBANY — They may be gone, but their pork lives on.

Nearly $ 8 million in new capital project money publicly itemized for the first time Monday by the Senate GOP is tied to five men no longer serving in the chamber.

The money, which critics decry as pork-barrel spending, makes up nearly 11% of the total $ 74.7 million in capital projects unveiled by Senate Republicans.

A hefty portion — $ 3.2 million — was sought by now former Senate Deputy Leader Thomas Libous, a Binghamton Republican forced to give up his seat earlier this year after being found guilty of a felony charge of lying to the FBI.

More than $ 4.5 million worth of projects originally pushed by former Republican Sens. George Maziarz, who gave up his Niagara Falls seat at the end of 2014 amidst a federal probe into his campaign account, Greg Ball, who represented Putnam County, Lee Zeldin, who retired from his Suffolk county seat for a successful run for Congress, and Buffalo’s Mark Grisanti, were also funded.

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Senate GOP spokeswoman Kelly Cummings said the projects for the five were already in the pipeline since they were in office—many for a year or more.

“All of these projects were identified as important within the specific communities, they continue to be important, and as such they are moving forward,” Cummings said.

None of the nearly 548 projects listed were earmarked for the Senate Democratic minority.

Instead, the entire $ 74.7 million was allocated for projects requested by the Republicans who control the chamber and six breakaway Democrats who are aligned with them.

“It’s the political power of the majority flexing its muscle and driving how they want the money spent,” said Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group. “In Albany, money follows power.”

Bronx Sen. Jeffrey Klein, who heads the Independent Democratic Conference, scored a whopping $ 11.7 million worth of projects — nearly 16% of the Senate total.

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His projects included $ 2.1 million for the New York City Housing Authority Pelham Parkway Houses to purchase and install safety lighting in common areas.

He also pushed for $ 1.5 million for construction of a baseball field at NYCHA’s Throgs Neck Houses, $ 1 million to convert an existing hockey rink into soccer fields at Loreto Park, and $ 1.5 million for the renovation and reconstruction of basketball and handball courts at Henry Hudson Park.

The Senate also greenlighted about $ 3 million in projects requested by Sen. Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican who is still in office but was forced to give up his powerful majority leader position earlier this year after being indicted on federal corruption charges. His trial is slated for November.

Sens. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) and Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) earmarked millions of dollars combined to Brooklyn and Queens schools.

The projects are part of the State and Municipalities Program, which is financed by the state Dormitory Authority bonds and is controlled by Gov. Cuomo and both houses of the state Legislature. Lawmakers allocated $ 385 million to the program in the most recent state budget.

As the Daily News first reported Saturday, the Assembly detailed $ 35 million worth of capital projects, with still more to come. Some of that money went to the Assembly Republican minority.

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