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Jury Convicts Long Beach Councilman on Multiple Felonies

Michael Fagen faces maximum of 4 years in prison.

Councilman Michael Fagen.
Councilman Michael Fagen.

Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen was found guilty on charges that he illegally collected unemployment benefits in 2010 while he was employed by the City of Long Beach as a council member.

After a week of deliberations, the jurors at Nassau County Court in Mineola on Tuesday found Fagen guilty on 18 of 38 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and one misdemeanor count of petit larceny, said Chris Munzing, a spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorneys Office.

“The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 20 counts and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the top count of third-degree grand larceny,” Munzing told Patch.

Fagen, 56, faces a maximum of 4 years in jail. He will be sentenced by Judge Meryl Berkowitz on April 8.

District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement that Fagen began receiving $405 per week in unemployment insurance benefits from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) in September 2009. In November 2009, Fagen was elected to a four-year term as a Long Beach city councilman, a full-time position, and began receiving a yearly salary of $19,828 upon his inauguration in January 2010, Rice said.

Fagen failed to disclose his government employment to the DOL, as well as his employment as a salesman for a hotel membership benefits company while continuing to receive undeserved unemployment benefits, and after his inauguration he falsely certified that he was unemployed to the DOL, according to Rice.
 
“Elected officials are expected to put their communities and constituents first, not look for ways to pad their wallets at the expense of those they represent,” Rice stated. “Mr. Fagen violated the trust of Long Beach residents.”

Fagen's term on the council expires in November. According to the City Charter, the governor can remove a council member in Long Beach and the vacancy may be filled by the majority of the council.

Fagen and his attorney Marc Gann were unavailable for comments Tuesday afternoon. 
Bill February 05, 2013 at 09:01 PM
jack..that is mean
John Rider February 05, 2013 at 10:27 PM
It is ridiculous that City Council members receive a salary and benefits, including a pension. Like school board members, council members should not be paid for their participation in government. It is ridiculous that in a town of 30,000 (probably now less) people, our local elected officials receive a salary to represent us. They have their day jobs, and are required to attend the nighttime meetings of the city council, just as many concerned Long Beachers do anyway. Paying the city council makes them more part of the government bureaucracy then representatives out for the welfare of our citizens and their city.
Hamburger February 06, 2013 at 06:54 AM
They should be paid for sure, but definitely no benefits. And do health benefits extend to the families? Time to stop that practice
SeanyA February 06, 2013 at 07:09 AM
I have no problem with the salary, but the benefits need to go.
Eddie February 06, 2013 at 07:35 AM
Where were you all when the Democrats doubled the salary, gave themselves lifetime pensions and gave them and their family benefits by raising your taxes? Then you reelected them. Now you complain? Get your heads out of the sand and stop electing these criminals.
Sam Jackson February 06, 2013 at 07:59 AM
Same old long beach politics. Isn't it time to get rid of long beach politics and roll it into town of hempstead?
Hamburger February 06, 2013 at 08:12 AM
Taxes would have gone up regardless of who got elected
SeanyA February 06, 2013 at 08:56 AM
TOH? and deal with Kate Murray? I still think one elected Mayor and be done with the council.
William Polin February 06, 2013 at 10:03 AM
I thought working a 40 hour week, 9 to5 was a full time job, not two evenings A month.
Hamburger February 06, 2013 at 12:32 PM
here is a question for the gallery. If getting voted onto the council entitles them to health insurance, what happens when they are voted out? It does not seem like there are many who serve on the council for more than 2,4,6 years.......
Eddie February 06, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Some, through lack of oversight, have kept the insurance for many years after their term expired. The former City Council found hundreds of non-employees still on insurance rolls. That was fraud, but none were prosecuted.
Hamburger February 06, 2013 at 01:21 PM
and that is just dead wrong. sounds like a good gig - "free insurance for life"
Leonard Bauman February 06, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Last night the Honorable Councilman Fagen (D-North Park District) allegedly stated he was innocent and this is part of a vast left wing conspiracy that is out to get him. He allegedly will appeal this "wrongful conviction" and "will clear his good name." All we are saying, is give Fagen a second chance to redeem himself his few and far between supporters allegedly chanted.
Me February 06, 2013 at 03:29 PM
I am still trying to figure out why any of our city council members are claiming to be full time employees and getting benefits and pension credits? They can claim whatever they want but none of them are working "full time" for the city. Has anybody really done the math, how much does this cost the city each year? Not saying what Fagen did was right but there seems to be an awful lot of "offering a false instrument for filing" going on by our city council members submitting paperwork claiming to be full time employees. Where is the investigation of this whole thing?
Eddie February 06, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Pension and benefits cost about $26,000 per person.
Enough already February 06, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Bauman, did it ever occur to you that maybe fagen does have family that love and care about him I am amazed how you and a couple of others act as if he is Bernie madoff or Charles Manson. You sound like an angry old man. I am shocked that you harbor no ill will toward the rest of the council members as they are fudging their records in order to get pensions. They r the real thieves. . Fagen didn't even apply for a pension.
Bill February 06, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Yes, agreed, Enough already, Bauman is an angry old man who has nothing to do with himself. He is always on here chanting negativity and praising those who get hurt. Bauman, take your meds. Smile, life is not so bad.
joe February 06, 2013 at 07:10 PM
In addition to the $ 26,000 in pension and benefits the Council also is paid $20,000. $ 230,000 of our tax dollars to pay for these part time slugs. To answer a previous question , yes the free medical, dental and vision benefits extend to the family.
Hamburger February 06, 2013 at 07:21 PM
So you can get elected for a few years for $20k a year, then be eligible to collect $26k (or more) annual pension upon retirement
Cassie Bellasante February 06, 2013 at 07:28 PM
I feel like I am a broken record. Probably dating myself as most do not even remember what a record is... but I am not condoning this behavior, but I need to ask once again - where are our other city council members? Anybody seen them? Even Gov. Christie and Mayor Bloomberg are trying but I have yet to hear anything from our "illustrious leaders"... Maybe I am missing something!!! When I was waiting on the FEMA line at the rink, Fagen was the only city council member there lending support. hmmmmm, something is fishy here!
Robert February 07, 2013 at 07:48 AM
Lets be fair Cassie, the others showed up when it was time to have their pictures taken with some important person or do a picture for the paper, during the initial crisis. They love having their pictures taken. Fagen was down there volunteering every day wit FEMA, where were the rest? I hardly saw them and they were not woriking like he was and i was there a lot. Lets not forget, he called the coalition on all their b.s. then he calls them on the f/t pension that they were collecting and refuses it so they report him as working fulltime so he gets in trouble with unemployment for the "fulltime" job? When he started calling the new Dems out on the crap that they were doing, they turned on him too. I've watched all the city council meetings, you may not like fagen as a person, but he's the only one that has the rocks to call the coaltion or the new dems on their b.s. Down the road he's right - remember the audit. I'm not a hennessy fan either, but his blog about the broken promises is spot on - too bad he cant see the fault with his coalition buddies. Full time job for two meetings a month along with heath insurance and retirement? Sign me up. I smell something fishy here and it seems to smell further than long beach. P.S. - I think delusional awesome and cranky old bauman should hook up and sail off into the sunset.
Enough already February 07, 2013 at 08:53 AM
Hope they don't sail away without that other dirtbag jack kett
Leonard Bauman February 07, 2013 at 09:53 AM
1. I am not an angry old person as some have alleged. 2. I was stating the facts, he and his supporters are claiming he is innocent of the charges and that their is a left wing conspiracy that wants to see him fall from grace. 3. Yes, I bear witness to the fact that Councilman Fagen was on the front lines in the Waldbaums parking lot 3 months ago helping soldiers give out food and rations. 4. Peace to all and to all a good day. Be good to each Long Beacher and they will be good to you also.
Enough already February 07, 2013 at 10:16 AM
Amazing how you fail to answer why you have no anger towards the crooks collecting pensions by pretending its a full time job. And yes Leonard theofan did not want fagen there. He sent him an email that he was not happy that fagen wasn't on the same page as him as he had once thought. Did you go to the trial leonard? Bc that email was read along with others. But you keep bashing a man that all you are sure of is that he helped distribute food with soldiers. And keep defending the people who are really stealing your tax dollars in the form of pensions
Enough already February 07, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Oh and please read the last line of your post. Would be nice if you yourself followed it
Gretchen D. February 07, 2013 at 12:47 PM
I am with you Enough Already, and Robert. Fagen is the ONLY one who really worked for the people, and he is paying a price for standing up against those who didn't really care. They are the ones that truly scammed the system. Someone's life is now ruined, and people on here are gloating about it. This is not a hardened criminal. He didn't deserve this AT ALL! I can't understand the jury coming to the conclusion that he was guilty of 20 out of 38 counts. Makes no sense to me. He was either employed, or he wasn't. It was either full time, or part time. We all know that this is a part time position. Mostly everyone that sits on the council has another job. Who can live in Long Beach on just $19,000 per year??? We can all thank Mike Fagen for trying to do his best to shed light on the corruption in this town, and sacrificing his own life to do so.
Robert February 07, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Long beach ~ The Corrupt City by the Sea. Fagen is continuously the only one who has called the other city council members on the garbage they try to sell. the coalition hated him for speaking out and not playing by their rules and the dems, who were all to happy to be his buddy at election time, turned on him the minute he didnt bow to the almighty "puppet master" who controls the strings. I'd vote for him before i'd vote for any of the prior or current council members, shame we'll be stuck with whatever puppets either puppet master put forward in november. All we can do is hope for some new blood.
Hamburger February 08, 2013 at 07:55 AM
Please identify said puppet master(s) and provide a provide a brief description of how they pull the strings
Annette M La Salle February 09, 2013 at 05:51 PM
i feel very sad he did try to help the needy and seniors anyone who helps us always gets hurt i wish him luck and not such a steep sentence
Audrey Krostich February 27, 2013 at 11:04 AM
Marc Gann is a great lawyer.

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