Ruben Wills Sentenced to Up to 6 Years for Corruption, Expelled From Office

Katie Honan

DNA Info

Aug 10, 2017

Ruben Wills was kicked off the City Council on Thursday, an automatic expulsion triggered as he was sentenced to up to six years in prison after he was found guilty in a corruption trial, officials said.

Wills will also have to pay nearly $33,000 in restitution of campaign funds and state grant money he funneled for his own shopping sprees, including a $750 Louis Vuitton bag at Macy's.

"Ruben Wills stole money meant to benefit the community he was sworn to serve," Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, who investigated him along with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, said in a statement.

“New Yorkers deserve elected officials whose priority is the needs of their constituents, not lining their own pockets," Schneiderman added.

Wills was elected in 2010, and used public matching funds from his 2009 City Council campaign to pay more than $11,000 to a shell company that was supposed to translate and distribute campaign literature, the state attorney general said.

Instead he redirected the money to a charity Wills controlled called NY 4 Life, which also received grant money earmarked by former State Sen. Shirley Huntley — who lost her seat in 2012 after pleading guilty to embezzling $87,000 in state funds from another charity.

After his sentencing, Wills was immediately removed from the council. After his conviction on July 21, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said Wills "betrayed the trust of all New Yorkers."

"We thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his diligence in investigating and trying this case, and the jury for their service in bringing justice to New Yorkers," she said at the time.

A spokeswoman for the council said she could not comment further, as Wills is no longer in the council.

Adrienne Adams, chairwoman of Community Board 12, announced her candidacy for Wills' seat in July.

Wills' lawyer could not be reached for comment.