Mel Miller

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Melvin Howard Miller (July 24, 1939 – March 8, 2019) was an American lawyer and politician.

Life[edit]

Miller was born on July 24, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York City.[1] He graduated from Brooklyn College and New York University School of Law. He was admitted to the bar in 1964, and was a member of the New York County Lawyers Association. He taught at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

He was a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly representing Kings County from 1971 to 1991, and sat in the 179th, 180th, 181st, 182nd, 183rd, 184th, 185th, 186th, 187th, 188th and 189th New York State Legislatures. He was Speaker from 1987[2] to 1991. He was responsible for the Fiscal Reform Act of 1990.

Conviction[edit]

Upon being convicted on 8 out of 19 felony charges in the Federal court at Brooklyn, he lost the speakership on December 13, 1991,[3] and was replaced by majority leader James R. Tallon as acting speaker until the election of Saul Weprin to the speakership on December 16, 1991.[4]

In the case, which did not involve his work in government, Miller and his Assembly aide and onetime law partner, Jay Adolf, were charged with cheating legal clients out of some of the profits from investments in cooperative apartments. They acknowledged receiving a total of about $250,000 in three deals, but denied defrauding clients. The jury convicted each defendant of six charges of fraud, one of conspiracy and one of using an assumed name, all involving one scheme to secretly buy and resell eight apartments in a Brooklyn building. The jury found that they had deprived their clients of the right to buy the apartments and receive the profits.[5]

Under New York State law, any member of the state legislature convicted of a felony is automatically expelled. Miller immediately lost his seat in the Assembly and position as speaker.[5]

Reversal[edit]

In 1993, Miller's convictions were overturned on appeal.[6]

Later career[edit]

He was widely recognized as an authority on public finance and the state budgetary process, and as one of the founders of Bolton St Johns, he served as senior consultant to the firm.

Death[edit]

He died in Manhattan from lung cancer on March 8, 2019.[7]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ New York Red Book (1987–1988; p. 205)
  2. ^ Assembly's New Speaker Disagrees With Cuomo in the New York Times on January 8, 1987
  3. ^ Conviction Adds New Troubles for Cuomo and the Budget in the New York Times on December 14, 1991
  4. ^ Man in the News: Saul Weprin; A Quiet Conciliator in the New York Times on December 17, 1991
  5. ^ a b Miller Is Found Guilty of Fraud; Speaker Loses Seat in Assembly in the New York Times on December 14, 1991
  6. ^ Ousted Speaker In Albany Wins Case on Appeal in the New York Times on June 25, 1993
  7. ^ "Mel Miller, Assembly Speaker With Tarnished Career, Dies at 79". New York Times. March 11, 2019.
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Sidney A. Lichtman
New York State Assembly
44th District

1971–1991
Succeeded by
Joni A. Yoswein
Political offices
Preceded by
Stanley Fink
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
1987–1991
Succeeded by
Saul Weprin