Wednesday, March 09, 2011

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.”

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