Dream home turns to jail cell - Convicted assemblywoman faces six years behind bars

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A scheme for a dream home left State Assemblymember Diane Gordon in a small dingy jail cell – one that a judge ordered her to stay in for the next six years.

Officials said that Gordon, who has led the 40th Assembly District since 2000, was sentenced to two to six years in prison for bribe-receiving in the third degree and receiving a reward for official misconduct.

“It must be said that your conduct was an outrageous breach of trust,” Justice Robert McGann told Gordon at the sentencing. “You were in this to benefit yourself to an outrageous degree.”

Gordon was arrested back in 2006 on allegations that she agreed to support a developer’s bid to build on a $2 million city-owned stretch of land on Livonia Avenue between Jerome and Barbay streets if he built a property for her just outside her district in Queens.

The developer, Ranjan Batheja, secretly taped the conversations he had with Gordon as she elaborated in great detail about how exactly she wanted her home to look.

According to published reports, Gordon demanded amenities such as granite kitchen counters, stainless steel appliances, cherry wood cabinets and two Jacuzzis in each bathroom.

Speaking at her sentencing hearing, Gordon apologized for her behavior. She also apologized to her constituents.

“This is a very painful experience for me as it must be for them,” she said. “I regret these circumstances deeply. No one wants to go to prison, and I am no different from anyone else.”

Gordon’s attorneys vowed to appeal the conviction.

Officials from the Kings County District Attorney’s office demanded the maximum. They said that Gordon was given a shot at no jail time as long as she stepped down from the Assembly, but thumbed her nose at the offer.

“Diane Gordon violated her oath of office and betrayed the trust of the people who she was elected to serve. She will pay a heavy price for that betrayal,” Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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