Jewish NY State Senator Busted

This article has more jewish names in it than a guest list for a bar mitzvah.


In Albany, State Senator Carl Kruger was a canny and influential lawmaker for 16 years, respected for his command of the political currency that matters most: raising and spreading around campaign contributioBut there was something unusual about Mr. Kruger. He rarely socialized with fellow senators, seemed uncomfortable in crowds, frequently took his lunch alone in the drab Capitol cafeteria and, in an age of ubiquitous cellphones, could be spotted whispering into public pay phones.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors unveiled a 53-page criminal complaint against Mr. Kruger, 61, that unlocked many of the mysteries of his life — but deepened others. It portrayed a man who had amassed at least $1 million in bribes in return for political favors: helping hospitals seeking to merge, obtaining state money for real-estate developers, expanding the business hours of liquor stores.

And it revealed, prosecutors say, that the seemingly measured senator was using the bribes to bankroll a lavish lifestyle, financing a four-door Bentley Arnage and a $2 million waterfront home originally built for a boss of the Luchese crime family.

Mr. Kruger and seven other defendants — including Assemblyman William F. Boyland Jr., a fellow Brooklyn Democrat, and a prominent lobbyist, Richard Lipsky — were charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan with what United States Attorney Preet Bharara called “a broad-based bribery racket.”

Mr. Bharara expressed exasperation over the unrelenting corruption in Albany, saying lawmakers did not appear to learn.

“Every single time we arrest a state senator or assemblyman, it should be a jarring wake-up call,” Mr. Bharara said. “Instead, it seems that no matter how many times the alarm goes off, Albany just hits the snooze button.”

Mr. Kruger, wearing a dark suit and overcoat, entered the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in Lower Manhattan about 8:30 a.m. along with his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman. He said nothing to reporters.

A judge released the defendants, none of whom entered a plea.

“He’s saddened,” Mr. Brafman said, “because he’s been one of the most dedicated public servants for the last 25 years with an impeccable reputation. This is obviously a difficult day for all of us.”

The Senate Democratic leader, John L. Sampson, removed Senator Kruger on Thursday from his position as ranking member of the Finance Committee, effective immediately. Austin Shafran, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats, said in a statement, “These are serious charges, and it is inappropriate to comment further on an ongoing legal matter.”

In the investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation used a bug and taps on the cellphones of Senator Kruger and Mr. Lipsky, among others.

The complaint accuses Senator Kruger of accepting bribes to obtain state money for Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, Queens and to oppose a big box store in Brooklyn; and of doling out $500,000 in state funds to one of Mr. Lipsky’s clients.

Another of the accused was David P. Rosen, whose company, MediSys Health Network, gave Assemblyman Boyland a no-show job, according to the complaint. The lawmaker helped the company get a meeting with a New York State Health Department official, the complaint said.

But it was the tangled tale of Mr. Kruger — the stocky son of a cabdriver whose accent still bears the inflection of his native Brooklyn neighborhood, Brownsville — that most captivated Albany, now jaded by run-of-the-mill pay-to-play stories.

Under the scheme, according to the complaint, Mr. Kruger sometimes accepted payments from Mr. Lipsky, the lobbyist, to do work on behalf of his clients. Other times, prosecutors said, he accepted bribes from hospitals that were funneled through a friend and partner, Solomon Kalish.

In 2009, according to the complaint, Mr. Kruger received money from Mr. Lipsky and worked against a bill expanding the reach of state recycling laws, which was opposed by beverage distributors for whom Mr. Lipsky lobbied.

When his effort failed and the bill passed, Mr. Kruger introduced a bill to delay the date the new law would go into effect.

The complaint said Mr. Kruger last year tried to help a developer and client of Mr. Lipsky’s — not named but easily recognizable as Forest City Ratner — to obtain money for three projects: $9 million for the Carlton Avenue Bridge, $2 million for a retail development in Mill Basin and $4 million for the renovation of the skating rink in Prospect Park.

Beyond the accusations of official misconduct, the complaint also described the personal drama around how the money was allegedly used by Mr. Kruger and the Turano family of Mill Basin.