Former North Greenbush political boss F. James Germano pleaded guilty to felony solicitation, Monday, the day his trial was to begin.
The 86-year-old Germano was arrested on Nov. 2, 2012 in Vero Beach Fla., for offering a 12-year-old boy money for sex and then making the same offer to the boy’s mother. He was initially charged with two counts of stalking, attempting to procure a person under the age of 18 for sex and solicitation and lewd and lascivious behavior.
All but the solicitation charge were dropped in the more than two-year process. He is slated for sentencing on March 3.
Germano ran everything political in North Greenbush for some three decades. He stepped down as Democratic Party chair in 2002 amid allegations he swapped his considerable political influence for favors from then County Executive Henry Zwack.
Germano, Zwack and three of the latter’s top aides were acquitted by a jury.
The heavyset Germano was one of the more colorful characters in Rensselaer County politics. Once during a raucous committee meeting where Germano was vying to be the party chair he stood up and said “the next person who calls me a thug I’m going to break his legs.” Another, during another equally raucous meeting of the Democrats, one party member said he would not let the party turn in a “Banana Republic.” Germano leaned towards a friend and asked quite innocently “Did he just call me an ape?”