Political Shake-up in Brownsville with Second Boyland Corruption Trial
Brownsville Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. may be the last of a political dynasty that has seen his father, uncle and sister hold elected office. This year, his strong name recognition and deep community roots may not help him. Anger that arose from Boyland’s first corruption trial has reached a fever pitch with the second.
In 2012, the then-indicted Boyland was challenged in the primary by six contenders: (Uncle) Roy Antoine, Anthony (Tony) Herbert, Anthony T. (Basheer) Jones, David R. Miller, Nathan Bradley and Christopher J. Durosinmi. In that race Boyland beat his closest challengers (Jones, Antoine, Herbert and Bradley) by more than 900 votes.
This year will see the return of Antoine, Herbert (who has since become president of the East New York chapter of the National Action Network) and Jones.
But electoral newcomers have entered the race to unseat Boyland.
Lamont Carolina – a former staffer to Charles Barron and a former feilf organizer and voter registration director for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns – has created a campaign committee in anticipation of a possible run.
Local community activist Lori Boozer is the first to receive a union endorsement from the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agriculture Implement Workers of America. Boozer is a member of UAW.
Ineisha Williford, a staffer to Councilwoman Darlene Mealy, is another possible candidate who has filed to run.
Councilwoman Darlene Mealy has long been rumored to be mulling a challenge to Boyland. Mealy had voted in favor of Bloomberg’s third term which gave her the opportunity to run for her own third term. Mealy garnered 66% of the vote during the September 2013 primary against two challengers. Although she was reelected, Mealy is term-limited. Mealy’s challenge is giving up her council position at $112,500 per year in favor of an Assembly seat at $79,000. But the Assembly is not term-limited.
During closing arguments of Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr.’s second corruption trial, both defense and prosecution agreed that Boyland solicited $250,000 from federal agents posing as corrupt businessmen. Defense argued Boyland planned to take the money but not deliver anything in return. The prosecution stated the solicitation was attempted extortion.
Boyland never did receive the proposed $250,000, but he did allegedly receive a total of $14,300 from an FBI undercover agent in exchange for Boyland’s assistance obtaining permits to operate a summer carnival on an empty plot of city-owned land in his district.
In another scheme, Boyland allegedly proposed to an undercover federal agent a deal in which Boyland would assist in the purchase of a shuttered city hospital for a low price to be later re-sold at a profit. And in yet another scheme, Boyland was alleged to have solicited $250,000 for trying to help a would-be developer/undercover agent illegally foreclose on properties.
Boyland was also accused of funneling $200,000 in state funds earmarked for senior services to a nonprofit he controlled, then used the money to cover campaign expenses including “Team Boyland” T-shirts.
Boyland was acquitted of corruption charges after a 2011 trial involving Boyland’s relationship with the convicted head of MediSys, a hospital management group. The second trial stemmed from attempted extortion of $250,000 to pay legal fees generated during the first trial.
Last September, Boyland rejected a guilty plea and opted for trial. “I intend to fight these charges to the fullest extent of the law,” Boyland told Our Time Press at the time.
Ry-Ann Hermon, Boyland’s former chief of staff, pled guilty to corruption charges last year and testified against her former boss in the second trial.
On Monday and Tuesday, the jury heard closing arguments. A verdict is anticipated to come soon.