FBI Investigating Bronx Political Machine?

New State Assembly speaker, Carl Heastie, now former Bronx party chair. (photo NY Post)

New State Assembly speaker, Carl Heastie, now former Bronx party chair. (photo NY Post)

Here is one interesting read for those that follow Bronx politics. This appeared in the NY Post on Feb. 9th, 2015 written by JOHN CRUDELE

The FBI is investigating The Bronx.

Not the whole borough. Just the way politics is conducted, according to a pair of reliable sources.

And that could prove interesting since power in Albany shifted to Bronx politicians once Sheldon Silver — arrested by FBI agents in January on charges he accepted $4 million in bribes and kickbacks — gave up his role as speaker of the New York Assembly.

Silver, from the Lower East Side of Manhattan, stepped down as speaker on Feb. 3. Taking over as Assembly speaker — one of the most powerful politicians in the state — was Carl Heastie, a longtime Bronx political power.

Federal investigators are looking at voter fraud and financial mismanagement in the borough, sources tell me.

It’s unclear who the target is, or if there is more than one. But I’m told that the investigation is — at least in part — spurred on by information provided to Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Bharara, whose jurisdiction includes The Bronx, is on a bit of a crusade. He was incensed, sources said, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year abruptly shut down the one-year-old Moreland Commission, which was investigating public corruption.

I’m also told that FBI agents from upstate New York, and not Manhattan, are working the case.

Depending on the outcome, any probe could be embarrassing to Heastie and Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president who is considered Heastie’s mentor, as well as the Albany establishment in general.

The impetus for the probe could have been information provided to Bharara by opponents of Diaz, one of whom I spoke with last week. Included in the material was evidence of alleged voter fraud — particularly alleged fake signatures on voter petitions.

I’m hearing that one document turned over to Bharara shows that some candidates in certain Bronx districts got more votes than the number of voters who went into the booths.

There is also a question about the use of campaign funds for personal purposes, a source tells me.

Stay tuned. This could get interesting quickly.