Two Brooklyn state legislators, including the powerful and sometimes controversial Sen. Carl Kruger, were brought up on charges Thursday of taking bribes for political favors, a case that officials said reflected “an unholy alliance of politicians, lobbyists and businessmen.”
Kruger, a state senator since 1994, received bribes of at least $1 million from his co-conspirators since 2006 in exchange for sponsoring and supporting bills, lobbying other politicians, and steering state funds to his friends, according to a 53-page court complaint.
The documents also accuse Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. of accepting a $177,000 no-show consulting job in exchange for favors.
“Every single time we arrest a state senator or assemblyman, it should be a jarring wake-up call,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “Instead, it seems that no matter how many times the alarm goes off, Albany just hits the snooze button. Maybe this time they will get the message.”
In the past six years, criminal or ethical violations have driven 13 New York legislators out of office, according to Citizens Union, a nonpartisan civic group.
Also slapped with charges — that range from corruption and bribery to money-laundering and influence-peddling — were a lobbyist, two top hospital executives, a real estate developer, a doctor and a health care consultant. Each charge carries a prison term of up to 20 years.
In response to the indictment, senate Democrats axed Kruger from his leadership role of the Senate Finance Committee, which he has held since 2008. It was not immediately clear whether legislators would move to take further action against Kruger and Boyland, both of whom were released without bail Thursday.
Kruger’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said the senator “has been a dedicated, honest public servant for more than 25 years, and he’s “saddened by the filing of these charges but intends to vigorously defend himself in a courtroom where he expects to be fully vindicated.” Boyland’s office declined to comment.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver both took the opportunity to call for the Albany legislators to pass a comprehensive ethics reform bill.