Skip to main content

State Senator Kruger, lobbyist Lipsky said to surrender on corruption charges; details coming Thursday

With the expected indictments of Brooklyn State Sen. Carl Kruger and lobbyist Richard Lipsky on corruption charges--not related to Atlantic Yards, at least so far (but see below)--the ranks of Atlantic Yards supporters/enablers with a taint keep growing.

(Photo by Adrian Kinloch)

Quick: former Assemblyman Roger Green had to resign (and run again) after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor; Darryl Greene, Forest City Ratner's consultant on minority hiring, had to withdraw from the Aqueduct "racino" project because of his record of mail fraud; Carpenters Union official Sal Zarzana was cited by a court-appointed monitor for inappropriate expenditures; Carpenters Union official John Holt was cited for obstructing an investigation and giving false answers to an investigator.

The charges

The New York Times reports:
State Senator Carl Kruger, a powerful and at times controversial Brooklyn Democrat, is expected to turn himself in on Thursday to federal authorities in Manhattan on corruption charges, according to several people briefed on the matter. An influential lobbyist, Richard Lipsky, is expected to surrender alongside Mr. Kruger.

Mr. Kruger had been under investigation by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn who were looking into accusations that he had helped businessmen surmount bureaucratic hurdles in exchange for assistance raising campaign money, but the charges stemmed from an investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors and the F.B.I.
So details should emerge Thursday. Note of course that charges are not convictions, so the "taint" described above could be removed should Kruger and Lipsky emerge vindicated.

Last summer, news broke about an investigation into Kruger,--an aggressively unabashed supporter of Atlantic Yards, and recipient of Forest City Ratner-related campaign contributions.

Lipsky, who's worked for developer Forest City Ratner and against eminent domain for projects such as the Columbia University expansion and Willets Point, had not been mentioned as part of the Kruger investigation.

A Brooklyn developer?

The Daily News reports:
State Sen. Carl Kruger, one of the most powerful players in Albany, is expected to turn himself in on Thursday to face charges in a long-running, broad-reaching bribery conspiracy, sources told the Daily News.

Federal prosecutors will charge the veteran Brooklyn Democrat with using his clout as a public official to line his pockets, multiple sources said. Several of those who allegedly paid the bribes will also be charged.

The feds have been eying Kruger since 2007 amid allegations he collected campaign cash in exchange for political favors.

Sources said Kruger took bribes to do favors for hospital executives, a Brooklyn-based developer and a lobbyist, Richard Lipsky. The payoffs were funneled into checking accounts that Kruger had access to, the sources said.

(Emphasis added)

Did bribes inspire Kruger's serenade at a Senate hearing, or his Brooklyn aria at an environmental review hearing? Or was he just helping Forest City out of his love for Brooklyn?

There are numerous Brooklyn-based developers for whom Kruger might be accused of doing favors--after all, he brought a slew of supporters to protest the mayor's plan for Coney Island, thus helping developer Joe Sitt--so we'll have to wait and see.

Post source: "Everyone knows" Kruger's corrupt

The New York Post reports:
State Sen. Carl Kruger, a powerful Brooklyn Democrat, will surrender to federal authorities Thursday to face corruption charges along with an Upper West Side lobbyist, sources told the Post.

Kruger been under investigation since 2007 by Brooklyn federal prosecutors, who are probing allegations that he performed official acts in exchange for campaign donations.

But that still-ongoing probe is not related to the charges that Kruger, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Finance Committee, will face today in Manhattan federal court, sources told The Post.

...A Democratic political operative told The Post, “Everyone knows that Carl has been using his post to take money for years, so this isn’t surprising. What’s more surprising is that it didn’t happen 10 years ago.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…