State Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat who represents neighborhoods including Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, and Midwood, turned himself into federal authorities this morning to be processed on several charges. Kruger was an opponent of the Child Victims Act, also known as the Markey Bill, which would have instituted changes in New York law that would have made it easier to expose and punish pedophiles.
Photo: NY State Senator Carl Kruger, left, and his attorney Bejamin Brafman, right.
State Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland surrender to feds to face bribe rap
BY Kenneth Lovett, Adam Lisberg and Greg B. Smith • New York Daily News
State Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland surrendered Thursday to face charge of selling their office for cold, hard cash, sources told the Daily News.
Federal prosecutors are expected to charge Kruger, a veteran Brooklyn Democrat, and Boyland, a fourth-term Brownsville Democrat, with pocketing tens of thousands of dollars in bribes, several sources said.
Six of those who were allegedly involved in paying the bribes will also be charged, including longtime lobbyist Richard Lipsky, two hospital executives and a Brooklyn-based developer.
The two Brooklyn politicians showed up early Thursday at the FBI headquarters in Lower Manhattan. They were expected to appear before a federal judge later Thursday, and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara set a press conference for mid-morning.
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 lobbyist Lipsky. The payoffs were funneled into checking accounts that Kruger had access to, the sources said.
One source said the feds will charge Kruger with using his influence in the Senate to push for approval of a merger involving the now-defunct Parkway Hospital in Queens.
The attempted Parkway Hospital bailout surfaced in charges filed against the late Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Queens), who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2009.
Seminerio died in prison in January.
Assemblyman Boyland was hired as a consultant by companies seeking influence in Albany, sources said.
Senate Democratic leaders told their members Wednesday night that Kruger would be surrendering to the U.S. attorney in Manhattan.
Kruger was at work in Albany yesterday - but he didn't tip off his staffers that he'd be facing the feds today.
"Business was as usual today," one staffer said.
Kruger's lawyer Benjamin Brafman had no immediate comment Wednesday night.
A call to Kruger's cell phone was disconnected.
Until the Democrats lost control of the Senate, Kruger was chairman of the powerful Finance Committee.
He is now its ranking minority member.
Kruger is no stranger to being linked to corruption cases.
Brooklyn restaurateur Michael Levitis last week admitted trying to bribe Kruger with campaign money for help passing a health inspection at his Brighton Beach nightclub, Rasputin.
When Levitis was arrested last summer, Kruger insisted he was the victim - and that the FBI was no longer investigating him, claims the feds strongly denied.
Court papers in Levitis' case revealed that the FBI public corruption squad was investigating allegations that Kruger and a member of his staff took cash for favors.
Kruger is Orthodox, I'm told. He was an opponent of the Child Victims Act, also known as the Markey Bill, which was meant to make exposing and punishing pedophiles easier. The bill failed to pass.
Update 10:35 am CST – The Daily News politics blog in 2009 has the following quotes about Kruger from haredi sources [Hat Tip: Duke]:
A front page headline in Hamodia that day which read, "Sen. Kruger Stands Up for Yeshivos, Marriage."
A statement from Agudath Israel of America calling Kruger "a true friend to our community since he arrived in the Senate fifteen years ago." Agudah's lobbyist, Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, also called Kruger "our hero".
(The author of the Daily New politics blog says she doesn't know if Kruger is Orthodox, but I'm told by a reliable source that he is.)