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Gerald Migdol Is Charged in Marketing campaign Finance Scheme

Gerald Migdol Is Charged in Marketing campaign Finance Scheme

Gerald Migdol Is Charged in Campaign Finance Scheme

A Manhattan actual property developer was charged on Friday with scheming to hide contributions to a candidate on this yr’s New York Metropolis comptroller’s race in a bid to get as a lot public financing for the candidate as attainable.

The developer, Gerald Migdol, organized for dozens of donations to be made to the marketing campaign within the names of people that had not approved the funds, in accordance with an indictment unsealed on Friday by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

One contribution that prosecutors stated Mr. Migdol organized, a $250 cash order, was made within the title of a relative who’s a minor, prosecutors stated.

The indictment doesn’t title the candidate Mr. Migdol sought to assist. However the particulars of the case and publicly accessible data recommend it’s Brian A. Benjamin, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for comptroller and is now New York’s lieutenant governor.

The indictment doesn’t point out that the candidate knew of the scheme.

Mr. Migdol, 71, was arrested early Friday on fees of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identification theft, officers stated. He pleaded not responsible in an arraignment on Friday in Federal District Court docket in Manhattan and was launched on bond. The wire fraud fees carry a most sentence of 20 years in jail.

“Free and truthful elections are the inspiration of our democracy, and marketing campaign finance rules are a method communities search to make sure everybody performs by the identical guidelines,” Damian Williams, the U.S. legal professional for the Southern District of New York, stated in an announcement.

Reached by telephone after Mr. Migdol’s arraignment, Joel Cohen, his lawyer, stated his consumer had pleaded not responsible “and that’s applicable.”

“That claims what we have to say,” Mr. Cohen added.

A person who answered the telephone at Mr. Migdol’s family-run actual property firm, the Migdol Group, declined to remark. The corporate, which relies in Harlem, owns and operates residential properties throughout New York Metropolis.

In an announcement, a spokesman for Mr. Benjamin’s comptroller marketing campaign stated that “neither Lieutenant Governor Benjamin nor his marketing campaign are being accused of any wrongdoing and they’re ready to totally cooperate with authorities.”

The spokesman added that “as quickly because the marketing campaign found that these contributions have been improperly sourced, they donated them to the marketing campaign finance board.”

The workplace of Gov. Kathy Hochul referred all inquiries to Mr. Benjamin’s marketing campaign. Ms. Hochul selected Mr. Benjamin as her lieutenant governor in August after she succeeded Andrew M. Cuomo.

Mr. Migdol’s household has lengthy supported Democratic candidates, in accordance with the Migdol Group web site, which incorporates pictures of relations with Mr. Benjamin and different politicians.

A number of Migdol relations, together with Gerald Migdol, contributed to Mr. Benjamin’s marketing campaign below their very own names, marketing campaign finance data present.

The contributions at problem within the case towards Mr. Migdol, the indictment says, have been meant to permit the candidate’s marketing campaign to qualify for public-matching funds by means of town’s marketing campaign finance system, doubtlessly unlocking tens of hundreds of {dollars} in further cash. The scheme ran from November 2019 to January 2021, the indictment says.

Just a few of the contributions talked about within the indictment got to the marketing campaign by an individual at Mr. Migdol’s course, prosecutors stated. The indictment doesn’t title the individual, who’s recognized solely as CC-1. The indictment additionally cites different unnamed “co-conspirators.”

Mr. Migdol, prosecutors stated, defined the scheme in a message to the unnamed individuals in July 2020, describing how town’s public-financing system might multiply their contributions eightfold.

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“We get 8xl for cash orders of $100,” the message stated, in accordance with the indictment. “For Cash orders of $250=8×1 for first $100 and the opposite $150 just isn’t matched. So a MO for $250 is price $950 for [Candidate-1]. Hopefully our subsequent Metropolis Comptroller.”

A biography of Mr. Migdol on his firm’s web site says he has been concerned in the actual property enterprise in New York Metropolis for greater than 40 years, primarily in Harlem and the Bronx.

Mr. Migdol informed The New York Submit in 2006 that he began shopping for brownstones in Harlem within the early 2000s after they have been promoting for a number of hundred thousand {dollars}, far lower than the costs such buildings can fetch right this moment.

In October 2019, Mr. Migdol acquired a group management award in Harlem that described him as “a real Harlem legend.” He stated in his acceptance speech that Mr. Benjamin had nominated him for the award.

“I’m grateful to my new good friend — our nice State Senator Brian Benjamin,” Mr. Migdol stated within the speech, which his firm posted on its web site. “At first look my nomination wouldn’t usually be a preferred selection. He then stated however for the truth that what you guys do right here is worthy of being honored.”

Mr. Benjamin, a former state senator from Harlem, positioned fourth within the Democratic major for comptroller, nicely behind the winner, Brad Lander, a Metropolis Council member from Brooklyn.

Most of the particulars within the indictment have been first reported in January by the information web site The Metropolis, together with that a number of individuals whose names have been listed on donations to Mr. Benjamin’s marketing campaign stated they’d not made the funds.

One donation reported by The Metropolis was a $250 contribution made within the title of Mr. Migdol’s 2-year-old grandson.

Jefferson Siegel contributed reporting.

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