Stanley Simon, former Bronx Borough President who spent two years in federal prison for racketeering, has been helping Second District Civil Court judge candidate Juana Valentin with her campaign.
Mr. Simon, who has been out of politics for more than two decades, said in a recent interview that he’s been giving Ms. Valentin advice on Bronx politics, campaigning and the district, which represents the western half of the Bronx.
“I’m doing the best I can to help her out,” he said. “Very few people know the Bronx as much as I do.”
Mr. Simon has kept a very low profile in the Bronx and in Riverdale since he was released from jail in 1991 after a two-year stint in prison. As borough president, Mr. Simon helped Wedtech, a Bronx-based defense contractor, get city approvals for a lease and in turn, received $50,000 in campaign contributions and cash. He was charged with racketeering, lying to a grand jury and income tax evasion. As a result, he resigned as borough president and had to pay a $70,000 fine.
He was adamant that he is not running Ms. Valentin’s campaign, but he has called some of his friends to raise money for her. He said he is a close friend of Judge Raul Cruz, who is vacating his seat and for whom Ms. Valentin has worked for 10 years.
Mr. Simon said he thinks Ms. Valentin is best qualified to take over Judge Cruz’s post.
“I think she’s extremely qualified for the job,” he said.
Ms. Valentin prides herself as an independent voice and alternative to Ed McShan, who has the support of the Bronx County Democratic Committee and every local elected official. She defended her relationship with Mr. Simon and called him “a friend.”
“I have the most respect for him,” she said. “He paid his debt to society.”
“People go through the judicial system and if they come back as model citizens, should we continue to punish them? No,” she said.
Michael Lippman, a former lawyer for the Bronx Public Administration, is also involved in Ms. Valentin’s campaign as a spokesman and election attorney.