Brownsville folk know the Boyland family.
One of the busy thoroughfares is named after the late Assemblyman Thomas Boyland. His brother William was in the state Assembly for two decades. William Boyland Jr. has held the seat for almost 10 years and William Sr.’s daughter Tracy was a city council member for one term.
Last week, William Boyland Jr. pled not guilty in a corruption case, along with his chief of staff, Ry-Ann Hermon. They were brought up on a 19-count indictment that included solicitation of bribes from undercover federal agents.
Boyland was charged with accepting over $250,000 in bribes from undercover agents in several pay-to-play schemes centered around carnival and real estate development in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville.
While undercover agents secretly taped Boyland, he stated that he needed money from bribes to pay his legal costs for his first corruption case, which ended in an acquittal last November. Boyland and Hermon were both released on $100,000 bail.
Now the Boyland name is in danger of becoming synonymous with the William Boyland Jr. federal cases.
Last March, Boyland was swept up in a net that caught seven other people, including former state Sen. Carl Kruger, on federal corruption charges. Kruger pled guilty last month to grafting more than $1 million in a pay-to-play scheme that lasted five years.
On Nov. 10, 2011, Boyland was acquitted of federal corruption charges. Seventeen days later, he was arrested again on new federal bribery charges.
His legal team told reporters that there are no plea negotiations going on with the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office. As Boyland exited the court house last Wednesday, the assemblyman merely reiterated that his focus was on his job, stating, “I’m elected by the people of the 55th Assembly District and my job is to represent them.”
Representing District 55 in the New York State Assembly, which includes Ocean Hill, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and Bushwick, Boyland won a special election in 2003.
Boyland began his political career interning for the likes of Rep. Edolphus Towns and Major Owens.
As Boyland faces these new federal charges, there are fresh rumblings on the grapevine about who would go for his seat should he step down, or if it looks like he may be convicted.
Daniel Goodine, who is gearing up to run for male district leader in the 55th District, told the AmNews, “In 2008, I ran against him, but I’m just surprised that he would do what he is accused of doing. I was looking forward to working with him and hoping that we could do great work to help our community. Right now, though, I don’t think it is likely that will happen.”
Goodine, founder of Men Elevating Leadership for Youth, noted, “We are hoping that things will get better in Brownsville with the right leadership. We need to choose carefully whoever we put in that seat if Boyland gets convicted.”
The AmNews contacted the upstate and downstate offices of Democratic Party boss, Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, but received no response.
The AmNews was unable to get a response from Boyland or Hermon. They are not the only ones not talking, however. The AmNews called several Brooklyn electeds and community organizers and no one wanted to go on record with statements about the case.
While no politician or even community leader was willing to comment, one noted, “No one is going to touch that case, but the people in the streets really know what is going on.”
Boyland was also in the news last August when he was shot at while sitting in his car with his son on Sutter Avenue in East New York. No one was injured in the shooting, which took out the back window of his truck, and no one was apprehended.