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Ex-NYC jails union boss Norman Seabrook sentenced to more than 4 years in prison for taking $60,000 bribe

2019-02-08

Former COBA head Norman Seabrook arrives at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse on February 8, 2019 in New York. (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

A $60,000 kickback will cost Norman Seabrook at least four years of his life.

Fifty-eight months behind bars was the sentence imposed on the corrupt former president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association for taking a secret payment in exchange for a $20 million investment of members’ money in a doomed hedge fund.

The fund, Platinum Partners, ultimately went bankrupt and most of the money was lost.

In papers filed ahead of sentencing, Seabrook had sought leniency, citing his many achievements on behalf of COBA’s 18,000 current and retired members.

Seabrook once was one of the city’s most powerful labor leaders. He held sway over jail operations and was an aggressive advocate for correction officers. He often was an obstacle of any reforms he saw as coddling inmates at the expense of safety.

Despite his influence, Seabrook felt he wasn’t getting enough money in 2013.

“It’s time for Norman Seabrook to get paid,” he declared, according to testimony.

Jona Rechnitz, a donor to Mayor de Blasio who has admitted to bribing an array of public officials, delivered the $60,000 to Seabrook in a Ferragamo bag.

Rechnitz had brokered the deal as a favor to Murray Huberfeld, a founder of Platinum Partners.

Huberfeld is awaiting sentencing for his role in the scheme and has pledged to repay $7 million to the union.

The case was part of a sprawling federal probe of corruption in the upper ranks of the NYPD. Prosecutors also eyed de Blasio’s fundraising practices, but opted not to bring charges.