Newly disclosed records show Suffolk district attorney employees have received $3.25 million in bonuses since 2012 — $550,000 more than reported previously — as county lawmakers prepare for a hearing Tuesday on a bill to tighten legislative control over how proceeds from seized criminal assets are spent.
Bonus recipients included deputy chief homicide prosecutor Robert Biancavilla, who received a total of $108,886 between 2012 and 2017, and division chief Edward Heilig and top public corruption prosecutor Christopher McPartland, who each received $73,000, according to records obtained from county Comptroller John Kennedy’s office through the Freedom of Information Law.
Federal prosecutors have charged McPartland and former District Attorney Thomas Spota with attempting to cover up former county Police Chief of Department James Burke’s assault of a suspect who broke into his car. Spota and McPartland have pleaded not guilty.
The bonuses, which were funded from assets seized in criminal cases by the district attorney’s office, did not receive legislative approval. The original figure of $2.7 million came from documents provided by County Executive Steve Bellone’s office, which only included bonuses for top management employees.
On Tuesday, the legislature will hold a public hearing on a bill by Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) to require asset forfeiture expenditures, including by the district attorney’s office and the police, sheriff’s and probation departments, to be approved by the Public Safety Committee.
Calarco called it inappropriate to spend asset forfeiture money on bonuses, particularly without a legislative vote.
“Asset forfeiture money that comes into this county counts into the millions of dollars,” Calarco said. “That’s a lot of money to be spent at the sole discretion of an individual with no oversight.”
Note that Albany's proposed solution isn't "asset forfeiture is bad", it's "spending the massive windfall from asset forfeiture should require state legislature approval, not county approval." Don't in fact be surprised if states start collecting county/city police asset forfeiture funds like this across the country in the name of "transparency".
It's still legal police shakedown tactics that net billions every year, and once these funds start disappearing down the rabbit holes of state legislatures, well states will just have to keep making their seizures in order to help balance the budgets, you know.
So no, Congress won't do anything, and neither will states. Except for, you know, counting the money they forcibly take from Americans.