Albert Baldeo first came to attention beyond his Queens neighborhood in 2006 when he ran with surprising strength against then incumbent GOP Sen. Serphin Maltese. But he didn’t get the Democratic nomination the following time. That went to Joseph Addabbo, who beat Maltese in 2008, one of the crucial turnovers that gave the Senate a Democratic majority for one term. Now Addabbo is fighting to hang on to that seat, which has been redistricted by the majority Republicans, in a contest against GOP challenger Eric Ulrich.
All of this is by way of politically identifying Baldeo — a Democratic district leader in the borough and twice-City Council candidate who surrendered today to federal authorities on corruption charges. He’s accused of using phantom donors, or straw contributors, to boost the amount in matching funds he could claim from the city Campaign Finance Board for his campaign. This is one of the abuses to which a public-finance system can be subject, and the CFB, in turn, has for years taken its auditing process quite seriously.