2010-07-01 / Other News

Senator’s Part In Fed Corruption Probe Dropped, Says Attorney

By Charles Rogers

State Senator Carl Kruger State Senator Carl Kruger A lawyer for State Senator Carl Kruger told The New York Post last week that charges by federal authorities against Kruger alleging he traded specific favors for political contributions had been dropped. However, when asked to confirm the report, officials from the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s office told the Canarsie Courier they “would not confirm or deny it.”

In a report released Saturday, apparently Kruger’s top aide, Jason Koppel, was also being investigated as part of the case.

Published reports said Kruger’s office had been part of a corruption investigation for close to two years, alleging that either the lawmaker himself or staff members “traded favors for campaign contributions,” according to an article in Friday’s Daily News. The FBI issued a complaint charging the owner of a supper club in Brighton Beach, Michael Levitis, with telling federal investigators that Kruger would do favors for the right reciprocation, such as a fund raising event at the supper club for the senator. Kruger denies any connection to the supper club owner. Austin Shafran, Democratic Majority spokesman, to whom Kruger and Koppel directed questioning, said the pair are “victims of an influence peddling scam.”

Levitis had been charged with lying to the FBI, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, and was later released on $500,000 bail. His case is still pending.

The official complaint by which Levitis was arrested states that the club owner had been investigated by a special agent who conducted surveillance, used confidential informants and recorded conversations and then he “willfully and wrongfully made...false, fictitious and fraudulent statements.”

Senator Kruger’s name is not mentioned in the official complaint, but he is referred to as “a public official.” The reports in the Daily News and The Post mentioned the senator by name. Requests by the Courier for comments from Kruger’s office were not returned.

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