Brooklyn Senator to Turn Himself In on Corruption Charges

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Source: Nicholas Confessore, William K. Rashbaum / New York Times

State Senator Carl Kruger, a powerful and at times controversial Brooklyn Democrat; a state assemblyman; and an influential lobbyist are expected to turn themselves in on Thursday to federal authorities in Manhattan on corruption charges, according to several people briefed on the matter.

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 Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Others, including William F. Boyland Jr., a four-term Democratic state assemblyman from Brooklyn, and Richard Lipsky, a lobbyist, and two hospital executives, were also expected to face charges in the case, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the charges had not been made public.

Some of the charges were expected to center on actions that the men took supporting the activities of hospitals in Brooklyn and Queens, the people said.

Mr. Kruger led the powerful Senate Finance Committee until Democrats lost control of the chamber last year, a position from which he amassed the Senate’s largest campaign war chest.

In the Brooklyn investigation, one of Mr. Kruger’s campaign donors, Michael Levitis, who is suspected of serving as an intermediary between the senator and those seeking favors, pleaded guilty this month to lying to federal investigators in the case.

Details of the Manhattan case against Mr. Kruger and Mr. Lipsky were not available on Wednesday night. The United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and officials with the F.B.I. were expected to hold a news conference on Thursday to announce the charges.

Mr. Kruger’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment on Wednesday, as did Gerald B. Lefcourt, who represents Mr. Lipsky. It could not be determined Wednesday night who represents Mr. Boyland.

Mr. Levitis, who owned the Rasputin nightclub on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, was accused by prosecutors in Brooklyn of lying about a discussion he had had with an F.B.I. confidential informant who was posing as a businessman looking for help with an inspection. The discussion was secretly recorded.

During that conversation, according to the charges, Mr. Levitis, a personal-injury lawyer, solicited a $3,000 payment, telling the informant that he would pass on $2,000 to an aide to Mr. Kruger and keep the rest. Mr. Levitis also told him that he might have to hold a fund-raiser for the lawmaker.

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Special Note: Democratic State Senator Carl Kruger has always had a “special” relationship with the Brooklyn Republican Party leadership.  After all, he has not had an opponent on the Republican line since at least before 1998, according to state records.

That’s definitely no accident when the 27th Senate District, represented by Kruger, has one of Brooklyn’s best Democrat-to-Republican ratios (77/23), second only to the 22nd Senate District’s (70/30), currently held by Brooklyn’s lone Republican, State Senator Marty Golden.

In fact, in 2002, when then-State Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (who also has been convicted on federal corruption charges) made a number of partisan redistricting deals to draw a Republican-friendly 22nd Senate District in Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Republican Party leadership gave Kruger a Wilson-Pakula to run on the Republican line.

To-date, Kruger’s token opposition in each election has been on the Conservative Party’s line.

This is a key example of the inexcusable collusion that breeds among the Republican and Democratic Party leaderships in Brooklyn, not the least of which entails the ideological compromises during elections required by the ugly sausage-making of Brooklyn’s “bipartisan” noncompetitive political system.

–Jonathan Judge

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