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Heastie Says He Acted Correctly In Repaying Restitution

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Karen DeWitt

The Speaker of the Assembly is defending himself against a newspaper report that he profited from his late mother’s embezzlement crimes.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says a New York Times article unfairly characterized him as failing to sell a house that a judge ordered his mother to put on the market, to pay restitution after she was convicted of embezzlement. Heastie says after his ailing mother died, his lawyer told him he did not have to dispose of the property, and he continued making $235,000 in mortgage payments,  taxes, and home improvements  until he sold the house several years later.

“I did everything I was supposed to do upon my mother’s death,” said Heastie, who says he reached out to an attorney, who told him he had no more obligations and to “go on and live my life”.

“I’m angry and I’m insulted that anyone would infer or suggest that I somehow benefited from my mother’s situation,” the Speaker said.

Heastie says he hopes people don’t judge his mother for making a “mistake”.

“She was a wonderful lady,” he said. “Let my mother rest in peace.” 

Wendell Jamieson, Metro editor at the New York Times, says the paper "absolutely" stands by the story.

"We believe the incident regarding his mother's house raised questions, and we sought to answer them," Jamieson said. " I think we gave full voice to his side of the story."

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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