BY TRONE DOWD
Former City Councilman Ruben Wills was recently brought back into the spotlight following two major developments in his ongoing legal troubles.
Last week, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office announced that the former Southeast Queens elected official pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying records in the second degree.
“New Yorkers trust that their elected officials will serve with integrity,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Again and again, Ruben Wills violated that trust—stealing taxpayer dollars to line his own pockets and filing false documents to hide his financial dealings. He’s now in prison, paying the price. No public servant is above the law, and we’ll continue to root out and prosecute public corruption across New York.”
The guilty plea in the class A misdemeanor comes four months after the disgraced politician was sentenced to two to six years in prison for misappropriating taxpayer funds for his own personal use.
But according to a bombshell report from the Daily Beast, Wills’ sentencing has been rough one.
Wills has filed a $10 million suit against the city of New York in response to the treatment he’s allegedly received on Rikers Island and in the Vernon Bain Center jails. He claims that the way guards and nurses addressed his many health concerns have exacerbated his injuries in recent months, confining him to a wheelchair. Alleged mistreatment included failing to give Wills his prescription medicines, misplacing his medical records and ignoring his pleas to receive medical attention, despite a judge’s orders to tend to those issues.
The PRESS of Southeast Queens reached out to Wills’ attorney, Natraj Bhushan, for specifics of the former councilman’s medical condition. Bhushan said that while he could not share those details—as they are the subject of additional legal action that may be in the works—he noted that the condition has had an impact on Wills, both psychologically and physically
According to his lawyer, the suit filed is aimed at the city’s Department of Corrections.
During his time as councilman, Wills was a staunch advocate of ending abuse at correctional facilities, such as Rikers Island.
During the last time before his prison stint that the PRESS of Southeast Queens spoke with Wills, he said that he had plans to fight the decision made in August.
“We are disappointed in the verdict,” he said. “I’m innocent. We’re going to appeal on this and win. I think there are a lot of constitutional violations that happened.”
The PRESS of Southeast Queens confirmed that Wills’ appellate attorney, John Edelstein, was already in the process of making that happen.
“We are obtaining a complete record of the case,” he said. “We will then perfect the appeal and move forward.”
Wills is currently being held at the Marcy Correctional Facility in Utica. Wills’ seat on the council was recently filled by former Community Board 12 chairwoman Adrienne Adams, who won the seat during the Nov. 7 general election.
Reach reporter Trone Dowd via email at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.