View Full Version : Disgraced black councilman laughs off fraud allegations in court

The Bobster
03-02-2017, 11:16 AM

Judge threatens to arrest councilman if he skips court date
By Georgett Roberts and Emily Saul
March 1, 2017 | 11:26pm

Ruben Wills
Natan Dvir

A Queens judge has an arrest warrant at the ready for indicted City Councilman Ruben Wills if he fails to show up in court Thursday.

That’s because Wills was a no-show Wednesday, with his lawyer e-mailing Justice Ira Margulis that the court date slipped his mind and he forgot to tell the councilman about it.

“Last time he was having surgery and I forget to tell him the new date,” lawyer Steve Zissou admitted to Margulis via e-mail, as the counselor himself was also absent from court.

Wills underwent surgery for an undisclosed medical issue in February, but had indicated he would be well enough to return to court Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Travis Hill told the near-empty courtroom.

The Democrat, who is charged with stealing more than $30,000 in taxpayer money — using some of the cash for department-store shopping sprees — was ordered to return to court Thursday.

If Wills is a no-show, Margulis said he’ll be forced to issue the arrest warrant, which he drafted Wednesday but held pending Thursday’s appearance.

The Bobster
07-05-2017, 07:49 PM

Disgraced councilman laughs off fraud allegations in court
By Georgett Roberts and Kaja Whitehouse
July 5, 2017 | 5:04pm | Updated

Queens Councilman Ruben Wills literally laughed off allegations that he defrauded the city and state out of $30,000 at the start of his closely watched corruption trial on Wednesday.

The Democrat from Jamaica, laughed and shook his head as prosecutors finished up opening remarks in Queens ​Supreme ​Court accusing him of siphoning campaign money ​and grants ​to fund department-store shopping sprees and pay for other person​al​ expenses.

Assistant attorney general Travis Hill told ​jurors that Wills used taxpayer money intended for non-profit, New York 4-Life, for his own personal expenses – including payments for his campaign worker, Michelle Davis, and a $750 Louis Vuitton bag.

Davis is expected to testify at the trial.

“We wouldn’t be here if the defendant, Ruben Wills, paid for his personal expenses out of his own personal bank account,” Hill ​said in court.

Public funds “cannot be spent on personal expenses,” ​he noted.

After Hill finished explaining the case to jurors, Wills laughed silently and shook his head in disbelief.

Wills also giggled when Jesse Schaefer from the city’s Campaign Finance Review Board took the stand and testified that he didn’t know Wills personally, but that he recognized him from photos.

The councilman has shown disdain for the process before, including showing up late for court and leaving before he was dismissed — resulting in a bench warrant from the judge demanding he re-appear.

After Hill ended his opening remarks, Will’s lawyer chalked the allegations up to sloppy accounting.

“This plot is so dumb,” his lawyer Kevin O’Donnell told the jury. “If he wanted to steal that money he could’ve done a better job.”

“He was jammed up because he was sloppy (and) never had a grant before,” O’Donnell said.

Will was indicted in 2014 by ​state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on four counts, including grand larceny in the and falsifying business records. If convicted of the top charge of grand larceny, he faces a maximum of seven years in prison.

After openings, prosecutors showed the jury receipts from Macy’s, Nordstrom and Home Depot that they said reflected Wills purchases with public campaign funds.

At Nordstrom he bought men’s dress shirt, cuff links, women’s and boy’s shirts, receipts showed.

At Home Depot, Wills bought cleaning supplies, mops, track lights, receipts showed.

The $749.51 receipt from Macy’s wasn’t itemized, but a Macy’s rep confirmed it was for a Louis Vuitton purchase.

The trial continues on Thursday.