Sunday, August 24, 2014

Post: court papers indicate that indicted lobbyist Lowe admits fraud; consultant had ties to Forest City, though not part of charges

The New York Post reported 8/2014, Ex-Sampson aide admits to swiping $100K from officials
Indicted state Sen. John Sampson has been thrown under the bus to the feds by a former top aide who is also in big trouble with the law, new court papers reveal.
Melvin Lowe admitted during confidential meetings with prosecutors that he defrauded the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee out of $100,000 – and gave $75,000 of the money to “Senator #1,” the filing says. A source said “Senator #1” is Lowe’s ex-boss, Sampson (D-Brooklyn), who is fighting charges that he, himself, also committed fraud and tax crimes.
Lowe has admitted that he failed to file tax returns for 2010 to 2012, despite earning $923,000. His trial is September 2.

As I wrote in July, 2010, DSCC consultant Lowe, connected to Sampson and Ratner (and Boyland's challenge to Montgomery), racks up the bucks. City Hall News broke the news that "Largely Unknown DSCC Consultant Cleared $300k In Last Year."

Here's brief coverage from 8/31/09 about Lowe's DSCC hiring, his role in Forest City's Ridge Hill project, and a report (which I never corroborated) of consulting work regarding Atlantic Yards.

When the charges surfaced

Last October, I wrote Former Forest City Ratner lobbyist Melvin Lowe, Sampson crony, charged with corruption.

None of the charges involved Forest City or any other developer. But it continued a remarkable string of corruption charges regarding people with ties to Forest City, including Carl Kruger, Sandy Annabi, Richard Lipsky, and William Rapfogel, as well as Sampson.

Lowe was mentioned, though not called as a witness, during the 2012 Yonkers corruption trial. "Are you familiar with a company known as Westchester Invaders?" asked William Aronwald, defense attorney for Annabi, the former Council Member who flipped her vote to benefit Forest City's Ridge Hill project and was later convicted.

"Isn't it true Forest City Ratner made a contribution of $10,000 to Westchester Invaders at Council Member [Patricia] McDow's or [FCR lobbyist] Melvin Lowe's request?"

"I can't recall," replied former Forest City governmental affairs EVP Bruce Bender.

As I wrote, Westchester Invaders is a drum and bugle corps that McDow has saluted, but I couldn't find corroborating evidence of a Forest City Ratner contribution. Then again, it would not be out of line with company practices in Brooklyn.

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