Kruger Lobbyist Gets Only 3 Months in Jail for Role in Bribery Scandal - The Jewish Voice
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Monday, September 26, 2022

Kruger Lobbyist Gets Only 3 Months in Jail for Role in Bribery Scandal

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New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is in hot water yet again as his children are being investigated for voter fraud.A prominent lobbyist who was involved in the bribery and political corruption scandal that ended the career of Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger was sentenced to only three months in prison this past Friday. 65-year-old Richard Lipsky could have received as much as six years confinement for his role in the scandal.

Lipsky had been supplying valuable information in the case to authorities, an act that most likely contributed to his lenient sentence. In addition to his time in a federal prison, he will serve two years’ probation – all as punishment for his having given $200,000 in kickbacks to Kruger in exchange for business that that the veteran government official forwarded to him. Lipsky will begin his sentence on November 27.

The extensive corruption investigation ultimately yielded the indictment of six other men besides Kruger and Lipsky. The probe revealed that Kruger was the recipient of anywhere from $400,000 to $1 million in bribes between 2006 and 2011 in exchange for political favors. According to prosecutors, the former state senator utilized the ill-gotten money to finance a high-class lifestyle that included a Brooklyn mansion and a Bentley automobile.

Seven of the eight indicted men have since been convicted. After pleading guilty to corruption charges in December, Kruger was sentenced in April to seven years in jail. Another government official, State Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., was acquitted of bribery charges in November, but he was subsequently indicted on charges of soliciting bribes so that he could pay the legal bills he accrued from that trial. That case is pending.

At his sentencing, Lipsky stated to Manhattan federal court Judge Jed Rakoff that he had worked on grass-roots campaigns for the majority of his three-decade long career, specifically “for small businesses and communities who often didn’t have the resources to fight City Hall.” He related how he used his position to challenge “powerful elected officials and special interests, questioning their motives,” in cases that included representation of small family businesses against the efforts by big-box stores to set up shop in the city.

Apologetically, Lipsky admitted that – by joining forces with Kruger in a scheme that he says was engineered by the former legislator – “I simply forgot everything I had learned and lived by, and failed to apply the same accountability and high standards to my own behavior. Instead of remaining skeptical and righteous, I went along.”

Gerald Lefcourt, Lipsky’s attorney, pleaded with Judge Rakoff to abstain from sentencing his client to any time at all in prison. Lefcourt said that though Lipsky is a “lobbyist” with his own company, “he was something more of a ‘60s person who really could be called a community activist,” who had served independent grocery stores and small unions. Lefcourt stated that Lipsky and Kruger “were colleagues and allies, but not friends, did not always agree on the issues, and had no financial relationship.”

The attorney went on to explain that the relationship between the two men changed in 2007, when Kruger began sending clients to Lipsky and insisted on getting a 50% kickback in return. Agreeing to the proposal, Lipsky obtained six clients from Kruger, and he forwarded the payments to the consulting firm operated by an “intimate associate” of Kruger’s. “We understand this is not any defense…but it is part of the picture that the court should take into account,” Lefcourt told the judge.

Prosecutor Glen McCorty told the judge that he was moved by the “genuine” remorse displayed by Lipsky during the time he cooperated with the investigation. “He seemed very troubled and deeply uncomfortable when he talked about what he did,” McCorty asserted.

While he described it as a “sympathetic case” and praised Lipsky’s cooperation with prosecutors, Judge Rakoff said, “I think it still has to be the case that to engage in a form of public corruption you must understand that you go to jail.”

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