Corruption Charges Tossed
Federal Indictment Dismissed On Eve Of Trial
Corruption charges tossed
By Anthony M. Destefano NEWSDAY STAFF WRITER
Just days before trial, federal prosecutors in Manhattan dropped corruption charges against a former School Construction Authority officer “in the interest of justice.”
Neron Holder, 50, of Elmont, had been charged in November 2005 along with five others, accused of taking bribes from contractors working on public school construction projects. Investigators alleged that Holder and one co-defendant had demanded and accepted about $40,000 from a contractor in return for processing payment for work done on a school in the Bronx.
But on Monday, Manhattan federal Judge Victor Marrero approved a prosection request to effectively drop the case against Holder. Government attorneys filed a document late last week that signaled that they were abondoning the case. “Based on the review of the evidence in the case and information pertaining to [Holder] acquired subsequent to the filing of the indictment, it has been concluded that further prosecution of Neron Holder would not be in the interests of justice,” the government filing stated.
A spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia declined to elaborate.
“He is happy,” defense attorney William S. Petrillo of Rockville Centre said of Holder. “We commend the U.S. Attorney’s actions. The action supports the reliability of Mr. Holder’s not-guilty plea.”
Petrillo said Holder resigned, effective Wednesday, from the School Construction Authority, for which he served as a project officer, and is now looking for work. Petrillo said a trial had been scheduled to begin on May 21.
Court records show that four of Holder’s co-defendants pleaded guilty in the case and received sentences ranging from probation to 18 months in prison. One defendant, Tosif Siddiqi, who was charged with accepting thousands of dollars in computer and electronic equipment for approving payment requests, is to go to trial in October.