Ex-Council aide gets pension status back

The Board of Pensions Thursday voted to restore the pension status of former City Council staffer Christopher Wright, who had been disqualified after he was convicted of corruption in 2009.

Wright’s sentence was tossed out earlier this year by a federal appeals court after a U.S. Supreme Court decision narrowed the scope of the “honest services” law, which was used to convict Wright -- a former chief of staff to ex-Councilman Jack Kelly -- and two others.

Wright, Ravinder Chawla, a Kelly political donor and Andrew Teitelman, Chawla's attorney, were convicted in 2009 by a jury of conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud and related mail-fraud offenses. Prosecutors alleged that Wright had received a rent-free apartment from Chawla and free legal services from Teitelman in exchange for official acts. All had been free on bail since July 2010, pending their appeals. Prosecutors have said they’ll review whether to retry the case.

Wright had been disqualified from receiving a pension because his sentence met the city criteria for pension forfeiture. But because Wright’s sentence had been vacated, he again qualifies to be part of the pension fund, said Pension Board Executive Director Fran Bielli. Wright is not yet age-eligible to collect a pension. His salary when he lost his city job was $91,179 and he was a city worker for just over 20 years.

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