March 24, 2023


Business&Finance Specialists

Gerald Migdol Is Charged in Marketing campaign Finance Scheme

4 min read

A Manhattan actual estate developer was charged on Friday with scheming to conceal contributions to a prospect in this year’s New York Metropolis comptroller’s race in a bid to get as much public financing for the applicant as probable.

The developer, Gerald Migdol, arranged for dozens of donations to be created to the marketing campaign in the names of people who experienced not approved the payments, according to an indictment unsealed on Friday by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

One particular contribution that prosecutors said Mr. Migdol organized, a $250 funds get, was built in the identify of a relative who is a slight, prosecutors claimed.

The indictment does not identify the candidate Mr. Migdol sought to aid. But the facts of the situation and publicly available information and facts advise it is Brian A. Benjamin, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for comptroller and is now New York’s lieutenant governor.

The indictment does not show that the applicant knew of the scheme.

Mr. Migdol, 71, was arrested early Friday on expenses of wire fraud, conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud and aggravated id theft, officials explained. He pleaded not responsible in an arraignment on Friday in Federal District Court docket in Manhattan and was released on bond. The wire fraud rates carry a highest sentence of 20 years in jail.

“Free and honest elections are the basis of our democracy, and campaign finance polices are just one way communities search for to be certain everyone performs by the exact regulations,” Damian Williams, the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of New York, stated in a assertion.

Arrived at by cellphone just after Mr. Migdol’s arraignment, Joel Cohen, his law firm, explained his customer experienced pleaded not guilty “and that is proper.”

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

A person who answered the cellular phone at Mr. Migdol’s family members-run true estate company, the Migdol Firm, declined to comment. The enterprise, which is centered in Harlem, owns and operates household properties across New York City.

In a assertion, a spokesman for Mr. Benjamin’s comptroller marketing campaign claimed that “neither Lieutenant Governor Benjamin nor his marketing campaign are getting accused of any wrongdoing and they are well prepared to totally cooperate with authorities.”

The spokesman added that “as before long as the campaign discovered that these contributions had been improperly sourced, they donated them to the marketing campaign finance board.”

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

Mr. Migdol’s spouse and children has very long supported Democratic candidates, according to the Migdol Business site, which consists of images of family customers with Mr. Benjamin and other politicians.

Quite a few Migdol family members associates, together with Gerald Migdol, contributed to Mr. Benjamin’s campaign less than their very own names, campaign finance data demonstrate.

The contributions at problem in the situation towards Mr. Migdol, the indictment states, had been intended to enable the candidate’s marketing campaign to qualify for public-matching cash via the city’s campaign finance system, most likely unlocking tens of 1000’s of pounds in extra revenue. The plan ran from November 2019 to January 2021, the indictment claims.

A few of the contributions talked about in the indictment had been supplied to the campaign by a particular person at Mr. Migdol’s course, prosecutors said. The indictment does not identify the human being, who is determined only as CC-1. The indictment also cites other unnamed “co-conspirators.”

Mr. Migdol, prosecutors claimed, explained the scheme in a concept to the unnamed people today in July 2020, describing how the city’s general public-financing program could multiply their contributions eightfold.

“We get 8xl for income orders of $100,” the information reported, in accordance to the indictment. “For Revenue orders of $250=8×1 for initially $100 and the other $150 is not matched. So a MO for $250 is worthy of $950 for [Candidate-1]. With any luck , our up coming Metropolis Comptroller.”

A biography of Mr. Migdol on his company’s web-site states he has been involved in the actual estate organization in New York Town for additional than 40 a long time, primarily in Harlem and the Bronx.

Mr. Migdol told The New York Submit in 2006 that he begun shopping for brownstones in Harlem in the early 2000s when they have been promoting for a number of hundred thousand bucks, far a lot less than the prices this sort of buildings can fetch these days.

In Oct 2019, Mr. Migdol obtained a community leadership award in Harlem that explained him as “a genuine Harlem legend.” He mentioned in his acceptance speech that Mr. Benjamin had nominated him for the award.

“I am grateful to my new close friend — our good Point out Senator Brian Benjamin,” Mr. Migdol reported in the speech, which his organization posted on its site. “At first glance my nomination would not normally be a well known option. He then stated but for the simple fact that what you guys do right here is deserving of getting honored.”

Mr. Benjamin, a previous state senator from Harlem, placed fourth in the Democratic main for comptroller, very well guiding the winner, Brad Lander, a Town Council member from Brooklyn.

Several of the aspects in the indictment were being to start with claimed in January by the news internet site The Metropolis, which include that a number of folks whose names were being detailed on donations to Mr. Benjamin’s campaign said they had not designed the payments.

A person donation claimed by The City was a $250 contribution built in the name of Mr. Migdol’s 2-12 months-old grandson.

Jefferson Siegel contributed reporting.