Talk about getting all your ducks in a row!
Disgraced ex-state Sen. Carl Kruger plundered his campaign accounts to pay off attorneys, hire a financial planner, receive a $7,500 primer of what life is like in federal prison — and even buy the chair he plunked his keister on in Albany, campaign finance filings show.
According to the state Board of Elections, the admitted con, who pleaded guilty in December to pocketing nearly $1 million in bribes from wealthy lobbyists and developers, used his campaign fund to pay defense attorney Benjamin Brafman $1.4 million for hammering out a cozy plea deal that could land him behind bars for the next 12 years — instead of 50.
But that wasn’t all: Kruger paid Jack Donson, who is listed as a “federal prison consultant,” $7,500 the day before he fessed up, reported City Hall News. Donson prepares inmates for incarceration and analyzes their prison sentences for accuracy, his website states.
Kruger also spent $25 to buy the chair he sat on in the Senate hall, a tradition outgoing legislators participate in, Albany officials confirmed.
Kruger referred all calls to Brafman, who said that the $1.4 million wasn’t just to defend his client against bribery charges, but also to represent his interests when Sheepshead Bay restaurateur Michael Levitis was caught on tape telling another eatery owner — who was also an FBI informant — that Kruger would fix his problems with the state if he tossed the legislator a fundraiser.
Once the head of the state Senate’s powerful finance committee, Kruger’s campaign coffers swelled to more than $2 million before his March 2011 indictment. After paying off his attorneys and other investments tied to his prolonged incarceration, he was left with a little more than $450,000 in his campaign account, according to the board of elections. The board stated that all of the payouts — including Kruger’s legal fees — were in accordance with campaign finance rules.
The eight-term senator wept openly last month when he confessed to selling his political clout to the highest bidder.
“I apologize if I’m a little emotional right now,” he blubbered to Judge Jed Rakoff. “I accept responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry for my conduct.”
The FBI said that Kruger and Dr. Michael Turano — his alleged lover and son of longtime companion Dorothy Turano — set up dummy companies to launder the bribe money.
Federal prosecutors said that lobbyists paid Kruger close to $1 million to:
• Delay the expansion of a bill that included a five-cent deposit on bottled water.
• Alter the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law so grocery stores could begin selling wine with expanded hours.
• Fight Walmart and other big-box stores from setting up shop in Brooklyn.
• Go to war with American Indian reservations to collect state sales taxes on cigarettes.Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-2525.