Assemblyman William Boyland Jr, Brooklyn and Lobbyist Richard Lipsky
(AP) NEW YORK – A state senator, an assemblyman and a well-known lobbyist are among eight people charged in a federal influence-peddling case.
A criminal complaint issued Thursday names Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., both Brooklyn Democrats.
Charges in the complaint include conspiracy and money laundering. The complaint alleges that Kruger “received a stream of bribes totaling at least $1 million” and pushed legislation benefiting a health care network. It says he directed state money to lobbyist Richard Lipsky, who also is charged.
Kruger’s attorney had no immediate comment. Boyland did not immediately return a request for comment left with his staff.
A senator since 1994, Kruger was the powerful Senate Finance Committee chairman from 2008 to 2010 when Democrats controlled the Senate.
Boyland, whose father and uncle preceded him in the Assembly, has no active campaign finance records, according to the state Board of Elections database. Boyland’s 2010 re-election campaign apparently hasn’t filed its disclosures of contributors and spending, according to the database.
“Today’s arrests again spotlight the failings of New York state government and highlight the urgent need for the Legislature to pass comprehensive ethics reform — now,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose top policy goal is a tougher ethics law.
The Senate Democratic and Republican conferences declined comment.
Lipsky, a Manhattan-based lobbyist, didn’t immediately return a request for comment left on his voicemail.
Lipsky & Associates has been listed among the top 10 biggest lobbyists, according to city lobbying records. His clients have included the Small Business Congress and similar groups that fought so-called big box chain stores trying to locate in New York City. Other big clients have included an alliance of small grocery stores that had successfully fought for tougher penalties for selling tobacco to minors.
State Sen. Kruger Accused of Taking Bribes
Sen. Carl Kruger was charged Thursday with federal corruption, conspiracy and money-laundering for allegedly taking at least $1 million in bribes from associates and lobbyists in exchange for favors since 2006.
Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. and several associates are also facing federal charges in the latest takedown of state elected officials.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference that no matter how often the alarm goes off, Albany hits the “snooze button.”
“We are still up to our eyeballs with corruption,” he said.
Kruger and Boyland surrendered Thursday morning and are expected to appear in Manhattan federal court.
The associates named in court papers include influential lobbyist Richard Lipsky.
Court papers accuse Kruger of taking bribes from a number of individuals, including Lipsky, in exchange for “official acts in favor of which Lipsky had been paid to lobby.”
Kruger took steps in his job as state senator to ensure millions of dollars in state money went to development projects of those paying bribes, officials said.
The suspects set up a shell company called “Olympian” to try to hide the corrupt payments, investigators said.
A separate bribery conspiracy involved no-show consulting jobs where hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was funneled to Boyland and Kruger, prosecutors said.
In all, eight people were charged, including a real estate developer, two hospital CEOs and a health care consultant.
The investigation included intercepted cell phone calls between Kruger, Lipsky and another former assemblyman, Anthony Semenerio, who was arrested in 2008 in connection with a hospital consulting scam.
He was sentenced to six years in prison in February 2010, but died in prison.
Boyland is accused of similar crimes as Semenerio, for receiving “sham consulting payments.” He allegedly took a no-show job with a company called MediSys and in exchange, used his elected office to help set up meetings for the medical firm with the state health commissioner.
Kruger’s lawyer Ben Brafman said his client, a Brooklyn Democrat who has served in the state senate since 1994, is “saddened because he’s one of the most dedicated public servants.”
“This is obviously a difficult day for all of us,” Brafman added.
Calls and emails to Boyland’s offices and a home listing were not returned. Gerald Lefcourt, attorney for Lipsky, did not return calls for comment.
A fundraiser for Kruger recently made headlines with a guilty plea in federal court in Brooklyn. But the charges expected against Kruger do not appear to be related.
On March 1, Kruger fundraiser Michael Levitis, a restaurateur, admitted guilt to one count of making a false statement to federal authorities.
Boyland is in his fourth term representing the assembly’s 55th district in Brooklyn.
Gov. Cuomo said in a statement that the arrests “spotlight the failings” of the state government and highlight the need for ethics reform, which was one of his campaign promises.
“New Yorkers deserve a clean and transparent government comprised of officials who work for the people, not for the special interests and certainly not for their own corrupt self-interests,” he said.
The expected charges come amid a number of corruption cases involving Albany politicians. One-time Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno and Queens Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin are among the politicians who have been arrested and charged by the feds in recent years.
Kruger was considered one of the more powerful legislative leaders when Democrats controlled the senate.
State Sen. Carl Kruger, a powerful Brooklyn Democrat, will surrender to federal authorities today to face corruption charges, along with an Upper West Side lobbyist linked to him, sources told The Post.
Kruger has been under investigation since 2007 by Brooklyn federal prosecutors for allegations he performed official acts in exchange for campaign donations.
But that ongoing probe is not related to charges Kruger, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s Finance Committee, will face today in Manhattan federal court, sources said.
Those charges relate to lobbying involving hospitals in the city, NBC said.
In addition, longtime Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. of the 55th District in Brooklyn is facing corruption charges today, the station reported.
Also surrendering is lobbyist Richard Lipsky — well-known for helping small businesses oppose plans that would benefit larger business, including big-box retailers such as Walmart, The Post has learned.
He recently has been advising developers of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards project.
Lipsky, who has known Kruger for years, was lobbying for small bodegas and other stores in 2009 when Kruger sponsored a bottle-return bill that would cap how many bottles such retailers would be required to accept daily.
The FBI; Kruger’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, and Lipsky’s attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, all declined to comment.
A Democratic operative said, “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.”
Kruger has one of the Legislature’s largest campaign war chests: $2.6 million as of last July.
Lipsky was fired yesterday by The Committee to Save New York, a coalition lobbing for Gov. Cuomo’s budget. Committee spokesman Bill Cunningham said Lipsky, who was retained three week ago, was booted “to remove any distraction.”
Last week, Michael Levitis, a lawyer ensnared in the Brooklyn corruption probe, pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to the FBI when asked about his involvement in an effort to pay off Kruger through an intermediary — who turned out to be a government informant.
Levitis allegedly acted as a go-between in a pay-to-play scheme to help Kruger raise money in exchange for official favors.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/leaze_rap_for_top_pol_0rQRY794LmuAZUdbsm3c0I#ixzz1GEaBstuR
BY Celeste Katz
Now, this could really be something. Or it could be a total accident — we’ll find out.
NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney put together a list (which you can see here or below) of those who have benefitted from under-fire state Sen. Carl Kruger’s political generosity. Initally, he noted that only a few Senators, namely NYC Sens. Mike Gianaris and Liz Kruger, appeared not to have gotten any donations.
But here’s the catch, and maybe it’s a big one: I got a call (and perhaps others did, too) from the office of state Sen. Jose Peralta of Queens, insisting that he never got any KrugerBucks. HOWEVER, Kruger reported giving Peralta a donation. Peralta’s committee never reported receiving it.
Says Mahoney in an email: “It has come to my attention that the list I sent around earlier might not be the most accurate place to find out who Carl Kruger donated to. Nearly $50,000 of the donations he reported making were never reported as receipts by the committees he claimed he was sending checks to. There’s a chance this is a massive typographical error- perhaps dozens of campaign treasurers forgot to include donations from Kruger in their records. However, I’ve spoken to a staffer for one of the legislators who never got a check – Sen. Peralta – who was adamant that their filings were correct and Kruger’s claim that he once gave them $1,000 was not true.”
So the big question, as usual, is…
Where’s the money? SCRIBD REPORT: NYPIRG: Contributions From Kruger
Naming of prominent figures, including hospital executives David Rosen and Robert Aquino, seen as black eye; state Sen. Carl Kruger alleged to have taken $1M in bribes.
By Barbara Benson The charges filed by the federal government against a state senator and a state assemblyman reverberated across New York’s health care community on Thursday.
The government’s corruption case accuses State Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. of taking bribes from a high-profile hospital president, David Rosen, the chief executive of MediSys Health Network, who formerly served on the board of governors of the powerful Greater New York Hospital Association. Mr. Rosen’s health care empire includes Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Peninsula Hospital Center.
Also named in the government’s complaint are other health care figures. They are Robert Aquino, the former owner and president of Parkway Hospital, a for-profit hospital that is now closed; as well as Dr. Michael Turano, an OB/GYN with hospital privileges at Beth Israel Medical Center who is the son of Mr. Kruger’s close friend and a local community board director, Dorothy Turano. Also named is Solomon Kalish, owner of Adex Management, a marketing and consulting firm that brokers relationships in the health care industry, according to the government’s allegations laid out in a 53-page complaint unsealed Thursday.
Mr. Kruger has taken some $1 million in bribes since 2006 from Mr. Rosen, Mr. Aquino, and other defendants, alleges the government. Mr. Boyland is accused of profiting from a no-show job at Brookdale.
The government’s influence-peddling case was built on its earlier case against former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, who was convicted of bribery charges and died in prison.
Mr. Rosen’s involvement in the Seminerio case was laid out in the January 2010 sentencing memo by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald. She devoted many of the memo’s 46 pages to the disgraced politician’s relationship with Medisys. The language the judge used in her memo left some lawyers at the time wondering whether or not prosecutors would turn their attention to Mr. Rosen.
Those suspicions were borne out by Thursday’s allegations. The government alleges Mr. Kruger was one of three politicians who Mr. Rosen bribed “in order to obtain their support in state matters.” From 1999 to September 2008, Mr. Rosen is accused of paying bribes disguised as fraudulent consulting fees to Mr. Seminerio of about $40,000 a year. From 2003 to September 2008, he is also charged of having MediSys pay consulting fees to Mr. Boyland. Mr. Seminerio and Mr. Boyland took the “sham consulting payments” for performing official state actions of about $177,400, the complaint alleges.
The bribes paid to Mr. Seminerio at Mr. Rosen’s direction led to the lawmaker repeatedly agreeing to advocate for MediSys. His acts included advocacy before state agencies that helped discharge a $19 million loan in 2006 and the co-sponsoring of a bill to provide financing for MediSys in 2006. He also urged state officials to let MediSys take over two Queens hospitals, St. John’s Queens and Mary Immaculate hospitals.
Mr. Kruger is accused of acting in an official capacity in exchange for bribes.
Solomon Kalish and his company Adex was the conduit for Mr. Kruger receiving and making the bribes, said the government.
The government’s case documents say that Mr. Kruger also took bribes from Mr. Aquino, a rival hospital chief executive to Mr. Rosen. Mr. Aquino also wanted to take over St. John’s and Mary Immaculate, a merger that he hoped would keep Parkway open. The state had mandated Parkway’s closure under the Berger commission.
A spokesman for Mr. Rosen said he needed to consult with the MediSys board and did not immediately have a comment. Mr. Rosen would have to have the support of his board to remain in his post in light of the allegations. Even with that support, it is not clear if he could juggle preparing his defense against the criminal charges while acting as chief executive.