State Sen. David Carlucci spoke to the media Friday for the first time since charges of corruption against officials in Rockland County and New York City became public earlier this week.
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said earlier this week that Carlucci was not involved in any wrong doing.Carlucci said there was no reason for him to be concerned about being investigated.
"The main thing I have to say is my integrity is not for sale," Carlucci said. "I'm committed to serving our public to the best way possible.
"As the district attorney said, what the U.S. attorney has said, that I acted in the utmost integrity. Those are from the words of the U.S. attorney and the district attorney. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of makng sure the residents of the Hudson Valley are the No. 1 priority for me."
Carlucci confirmed that State Sen. Malcolm Smith did ask him to meet with Spring Valley developer Moses Stern about a project in Spring Valley. Smith is one of the officials currently facing charges along with Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret.
Carlucci said Smith approached him approximately one month ago. He said nothing seemed unusual to him because all Smith did was ask him to take a meeting. Smith did not tell him any details about the project.
"A standard procedure I have, I have an open-door policy," Carlucci said. "It was a normal request that I got. The situation this so-called developer had asked me to be involved in, I said I could not be of help to that developer."
Carlucci was asked if he thought Jasmin and Desmaret should step down.
"I think they definitely have to consider whether they can serve the public to the best of their ability," Carlucci said. "Anybody, if they are involved with this and guilty, immediately should step down. We need to to take a zero tolerance stance against any type of corruption. One of the main reasons I ran for the state senate was to help clean up Albany. I've worked in an independent way, an bipartisan way, to ensure that we are moving things along, moving the budget along, so we can serv the people of our community.
"Those people who have been alleged of this malpheasance really need to consider if they can best serve the public, and it looks right now like I don't think that they can."
Carlucci said that he believes the Independent Democratic Conference can continue to function even though Smith was a part of it.
"I'm not concerned about the politics. I'm concerned about cutting through the politics and governing in the best way possible," Carlucci said. "I'm committed to finding compromise and getting relief to the people of the Hudson Valley.
"The conference has nothing to do with that," Carlucci said. "This is something that a bad apple obviously decided to get involved in. We've got to put the politics aside. Part of the reason why I formed Independent Democratic Conference was to get away from these labels and this partisanship that has really crippled Albany in the past and as we can see, is crippling Congress now.
"We can't allow the actions of bad apples to ruin the lives of all New Yorkers. There are bad actors. There's no question about it. I'm committed to working with the Governor and working with my colleagues to make sure we root out corruption wherever it is. That means we've got a lot of work to do. We've got to continue in a bipartisan fashion to pass meaningful strong legislation so things like this don't happen again in the future."
Carlucci spoke with the media at Franklin Avenue Elementary School in Pearl River, where he was taking part in a ceremony thanking him for securing a grant the Pearl River School District used to put security buzzer systems in Franklin Ave. and three other school buildings.
During his speech to students and staff at Franklin Ave., Carlucci spoke about the importance of ensuring that good people continue to serve in government rather than allowing themselves to be discouraged by stories of officials not “upholding the integrity New Yorkers deserve.”
Editor's note: Check back with Patch for more on the ceremony for Carlucci at Franklin Ave. Elementary School in Pearl River.