Prosecutors said that Fagen failed to report on his unemployment claims his yearly income of $19,828 as an elected city official, and that he received $405 per week in unemployment insurance benefits after he took office. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 19, 2010, they argued, he collected unemployment benefits that he was not eligible for, and “knowingly defrauded” the State Labor Department on 38 separate occasions.
Prosecutors also said that Fagen failed to disclose to the Labor Department his work as a consultant for a hotel membership benefits company, Willow Advisors, and continued to receive “undeserved” unemployment benefits.
Gann said that the jurors told him that Fagen’s diary — a key piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case against him, detailing his work as a councilman — was “completely discounted” in deliberations. Gann had claimed that the diary was exaggerated at the request of former City Comptroller Sandra Clarson in an attempt to make Fagen look as though his councilman’s duties took up full-time hours.
“[Jurors] saw in the entries in the diary that they were not accurate, even as to the dates of council meetings,” Gann said jurors told him. “That it was clearly something that was put together late in the game, having no real relation to actual work he was doing.”
According to Gann, the jury decided that, on the days that Fagen attended council meetings, he should have reported that time as work to the state, and that was the jury’s reasoning for the guilty verdicts on only 18 of the counts of offering of a false instrument for filing. That number corresponded to the number of weeks he attended council meetings and, in the jury’s eyes, incorrectly reported his work status, said Gann.
Corey Klein, the city’s corporation counsel, said that under New York state law, Fagen, a Democrat who is up for re-election this year, was removed from the City Council because he was convicted of a felony. He did not appear at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Klein explained that the council could vote to appoint a temporary replacement for Fagen prior to the November election.