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Councilman Larry Seabrook conviction has candidates lining up

Bronx Times

A potentially crowded race is on to fill disgraced City Councilman Larry Seabrook’s northeast Bronx seat.

Some candidates had already planned to challenge the controversial pol before his recent conviction, while some new names are now surfacing in a wide-open non-partisan race.

That, however, does not mean the Bronx Democratic Party won’t have a large (but behind the scenes) say in who receives its quiet backing in the November 6 general election.

Seabrook automatically lost his office after his July 27 conviction on federal conspiracy and wire and mail fraud charges.

With Seabrook term-limited, some candidates were already weighing runs for 2013.

That included Andy King, who ran against Seabrook in 2009.

King is an organizer for the 1199 SEIU union, which unlike his last race, is now backing him, helping King to raise a healthy campaign warchest.

Seabrook’s daughter Latisha has also been rumored as a candidate.

“It would be a gross aberration of politics for anybody to help Latisha,” said one influential Bronx political insider. “No one could possibly be that stupid.”

But a longtime Bronx political operative disagreed, saying “The Seabrook name still has capital among a lot of old timers in that district who know and liked Larry, who did a lot for them.”

Other possible names being floated include Jamaal Bailey, the Democratic district leader in Dem Party Boss and Assemblyman Carl Heastie’s 83rd Assembly District in Wakefield-Williamsbridge; Bronx deputy city clerk Shirley Saunders, and Community Board 12 member Pamela Johnson.

Also Jerome Rice, a community activist and correction officer, and Marickka Scott, Bronx Board of Elections Democratic co-deputy leader and Heastie’s ex-chief of staff.

King, Rice and Saunders all previously ran against Seabrook, with Saunders coming within about 100 votes of winning in a 2002 primary.

Seabrook’s 12th Council District covers Co-op City, Williamsbridge, Wakefield and Eastchester, running from E. Gunhill Avenue in the south up to the Westchester County line, and to the Bronx River Parkway on the west.

Although a longtime mentor to Heastie, Seabrook sided with former Party Boss and assemblyman Jose Rivera in the Rainbow Rebellion led by Heastie and then Assemlbyman Ruben Diaz Jr. that toppled Rivera.

Seabrook has been a longtime local power, having also served in the state Assembly and Senate, and in the Council since 2002.

His history as a political rascal, tap dancing on the legal edge of misusing public and campaign funds, earned him the nickname The Fox.

The “bagel’ sobriquet came from him putting a $177 Council expense account in for a $7 bagel and ice tea.

Federal prosecutors charged the 61-year-old politician in a broad corruption scheme, presenting evidence that he funneled several hundred thousand dollars in city funds to family, friends and his mistress through a network of do-nothing non-profits.

His first trial ended with a deadlocked jury. This time, a jury convicted him on nine of 12 charges, each one carrying up to 20 years in prison.

He now joins ex-Bronx state Senator Pedro Espada as a convicted felon.

Espada was recently convicted in Brooklyn federal court of looting a half million dollars from his Soundview Healthcare clinic. He still faces a federal tax evasion trial in Manhattan.

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