Sheldon Silver, NY Assembly Speaker, has been arrested by the federal government in part for "pressuring two real estate companies doing business with the state to hire a law firm that was regularly paying him bribes, the 35-page complaint charged." (NY Daily News). See the NY Times report, the Times' graphic explaining the charges, and the NY Observer article. Click here for the press conference video.
As a practical matter, tenants depend on Silver and Cuomo as the two Democrats of the "three men in a room" who actually determine which laws get passed each term. (The third is the speaker of the State Senate, GOP Dean Skelos.) The indictment shakes up the balance in Albany and severely weakens Silver. Silver has said many good things on tenant issues and has ensured basic renewal of the rent laws, if not the serious improvements that tenants need like the repeal of vacancy deregulation and a cap on MCI rent increases. The indictment, of course, alleges he's been collecting illegal money (evading even the very loose election law limits) from some big real estate companies for years.