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Arrest surprises those close to assemblyman

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Waves of shock and disbelief made their way throughout the borough's political establishment after state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill) was arrested last week on federal corruption charges.

"This certainly has hit the county with quite a splash," said state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale), a longtime friend of Seminerio's.

Maltese said there were no indications that Seminerio was leading a lavish lifestyle.

"The guy has no expensive tastes. I don't think he's ever taken a trip," he said. "Tony is a guy that comes from the district. We both represent blue-collar workers."

Maltese said he spoke to Seminerio after the charges were publicized.

"He said he feels he did nothing wrong," Maltese said.

The senator suggested that the government has a strong case against Seminerio, who was allegedly caught on wiretaps arranging meetings between his consulting firm clients and state legislators and seeking payments for his work.

"I don't know what Tony's going to be able to say," Maltese said.

State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach), whose district abuts Seminerio's, also said she was surprised to learn of the charges.

"They say you don't know someone until you live with them," she said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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