NY Lt Gov Brian Benjamin resigns after his arrest over allegations of bribery fraud
New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin has resigned after being arraigned Tuesday in federal district courtroom on bribery and conspiracy expenses in connection with an alleged scheme concerning phony marketing campaign donations, while Benjamin ran for New York City comptroller.
In a statement, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she has conventional Benjamin’s resignation “effective immediately.”
“While the felony process plays out, it’s far clean to both folks that he can’t keep to function lieutenant governor,” Hochul stated. “New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence of their authorities, and I will preserve running every day to deliver for them.”
Damian Williams, the U.S. Lawyer for New York’s Southern District, issued the five-count number indictment on prices of bribery, theft of honest services, and falsification of statistics in connection with a scheme to illegally acquire tens of heaps of greenbacks in public matching budget for Benjamin’s unsuccessful marketing campaign for the comptroller function.
“This is a simple story of corruption,” Williams said.
Benjamin is accused of conspiring with Gerry Migdol, a Harlem actual property investor and former near partner, to falsely “procure numerous small donations” of $250 or less at some stage in Benjamin’s 2021 marketing campaign.
According to the indictment, the phony donations have been allegedly used to inflate Benjamin’s marketing campaign account and illegally gain get admission to to money from the 8-to-one public matching fund for applicants.visit our site.
Migdol was arrested last November.
Migdol and Benjamin also are accused of conspiring to falsely characteristic 3 separate larger campaign donations totaling $25,000 to 2 of Migdol’s household and to a constrained legal responsibility employer related to Migdol.
According to the indictment, Benjamin, who turned into a nation senator on the time, then rewarded Migdol for the phony donations through steering an surprisingly massive $50,000 nation grant to a charitable association associated with Migdol, referred to as the Friends of Public School Harlem. The grant, even though, has not yet been allotted.
Benjamin is likewise charged with accomplishing a “collection of lies and deceptions to cover up his scheme,” along with presenting false statistics to the State Police while he become vetted to be lieutenant governor remaining August.
Benjamin did not comment at his arraignment, wherein he pleaded no longer responsible. Bail was set at $250,000, and his journey is limited, consisting of being barred from traveling to the State Capitol in Albany.
The indictment comes simply 8 months after the kingdom’s former governor, Andrew Cuomo, resigned over a couple of scandals.
Despite Benjamin’s resignation, his name will continue to be at the poll as Hochul’s going for walks mate. He changed into voted the Democratic Party’s designee on the convention in February and can not be removed from the ballot unless he leaves the kingdom, runs for any other office, or dies.
Benjamin faces two number one challengers, and his legal troubles could enhance their probabilities of winning in June. Diana Reyna, a former New York City Council member, is the strolling mate of Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi. Ana Maria Archila is seeking the submit alongside New York City Public Advocate and gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams.
In a assertion, Suozzi called the arrest an “indictment on Kathy Hochul’s loss of revel in and bad judgment” and accused her of fostering a “subculture of endured corruption.”
The Working Families Party, which endorsed Williams and Archila, condemned Hochul and Benjamin and installed a plug for their applicants, who are also going for walks as Democrats within the June 28 primary.
“When citizens display up to the polls in June, they’ll must make a decision whether or not they need to preserve a long-standing way of life of corruption or chart a brand new route forward with leaders who need to do right by using our groups,” Sochie Nnaemeka, director of the New York Working Families Party, stated in a announcement.
The Republican designee for governor, Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin stated Hochul must never have chosen Benjamin in the first location and he or she need to pass rapidly to give up her association with him.
Republicans within the New York State Legislature, wherein they’re the minority birthday party, additionally condemned Benjamin’s arrest.
Senate GOP Leader Robert Ortt, in a assertion, known as it “every other stain on New York State Government” and said it “calls into question Hochul’s judgment” for selecting Benjamin within the first place.
Republican State Party Chair Nick Langworthy said Hochul became a “blind eye” to reports of Benjamin’s past shady dealings and selected a “dirty flesh presser” to function her governing accomplice and walking mate.