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Lobbyist: I bribed Kruger

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A deep-pocketed lobbyist who worked for Forest City Ratner Companies admitted to funneling more than $250,000 in bribes to former state Sen. Carl Kruger in an attempt to buy favor for his clients from the disgraced rep.

Richard Lipsky, who was employed by the developer of the Atlantic Yards arena and residential high-rise project for five years, told Manhattan Federal Judge Jed Rackoff that he had an “implicit agreement” with Kruger that payment to the senator — which he euphemized as “referral fees” — would benefit his clients.

“I felt obliged to keep Kruger happy, and so I willingly agreed to pay the referral fees,” Lipsky, 64, said as he pled guilty to bribery during a brief court appearance on Wednesday, adding that he knew the payments to the consulting companies run by Kruger’s alleged lover, Michael Turano, guaranteed that Kruger would “take official action as a member of the New York State Senate to benefit me, my family and my business.”

But Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Lipsky should have influenced Kruger with “the power of his arguments, not the power of his checkbook.”

“For too long and in too many ways, corruption has warped government in New York State and New York City,” Bharara said. “We want to root out that corruption and restore the public’s faith in its government and its leaders.”

Lipsky is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in May.

Before his arrest, Lipsky’s clients list included unions, restaurant associations, retail stores, and supermarket chains.

One of his biggest clients was Forest City, which paid Lipsky $4,000 a month to help line up legislative support for its many real estate development projects. Forest City also paid him an additional $2,750 a month to promote the Atlantic Yards project.

That all changed last March when Forest City fired Lipsky once he was indicted for bribing Kruger.

No one from Forest City was ever indicated or charged in the Kruger bribery scandal — and it is unclear if the company knew what Lipsky was doing.

“The [federal complaint against Kruger and Lipsky] in no way says or suggests that we behaved in an inappropriate manner,” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco explained.

Lipsky’s confession was a lot more formal than Kruger’s. The disgraced legislator wept openly when he admitted to taking more than $1 million in bribes from Lipsky and others.

“I apologize if I’m a little emotional right now,” he told Judge Rakoff, his voice trembling, on Dec. 20. “I accept responsibility for my actions and am truly sorry for conduct.”

Kruger, who resigned from the senate hours before he pled guilty, is facing up to 50 years in prison when he’s sentenced in April.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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Reader Feedback

Unknown from Southern BK says:
It's pretty lame how every Carl Kruger story your staff writes seems to percolate with mean-spirited glee over this man's misfortune. So, he wept. It makes him human. We all know what he confessed to was wrong, he knows it was wrong...his life is already ruined...but trust The Bay News to squeeze crap out of a stone. What a sad joke this paper's become. Would it someday hurt to take the high road?
Jan. 6, 2012, 7:19 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
@ unknown from Southern BK.....

Kruger & Associates are sad because they got caught. Kruger has been shaking down businesses & people since he started in politics.
Don't forget Kruger has come from the most corrupt Democratic Clubs in NYC. The Thomas Jefferson Club.
Their godfather was none other than Meade Esposito.

google him & find out what I mean.
Jan. 6, 2012, 9:08 pm
HappyLeader from Manhattan says:
Fascinating, isn't it, how time after time we read about how it was Forest City Ratner's money that was given to the bribers - here at Atlantic Yards, in Yonkers, and who knows in how many other places - yet Ratner always seems to walk away without being indicted. Nothing like having friends in high places.
Jan. 6, 2012, 10:06 pm
jail from time says:
prison
Jan. 7, 2012, 10:36 am
Unknown from Southern BK says:
@ jerry from brighton beach -- I appreciate where you are coming from and am familiar with the history of the TJ Club, Meade Esposito, and so forth. My point was more about the "News of the World"-style and histrionic tone of writing that this paper has assumed in recent years. The story was fine, until the bit about Lipsky’s confession being "a lot more formal than Kruger’s" and that "The disgraced legislator wept openly," which was pointlessly introduced for no other reason than to add —— to a bull. I was, however, impressed that the word "blubbering," twice used to describe the former senator's emotions in articles past, was omitted from this story. This is not reportage. This is an unconscionable, lowbred expression of exultation in seeing a man hanged. Isn't his impending sentencing enough? Must we also jump for joy?
Jan. 8, 2012, 9:26 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
@ Unknown : What goes around comes around.
Yes. Jump for joy. At least one crook is going to the pokey.
In fact Kruger, in my opinion, is still stealing money from the public, by getting his $ 70,000 Pension, which is probably protected from being garnished when he has to pay back restitiuion.
He deserves nothing.
Jan. 8, 2012, 10:33 am
Unknown from Southern BK says:
I disagree, but I know that what I say will not convince you, so I won't try. However, I do believe that, in spite of confessing to something so very unfortunate, it doesn't and shouldn't erase many years of public service. Do I believe justice has been done? Well...yes. But do I think he should be stripped of every penny that he worked for in serving the mostly unappreciative people of his former district, who benefited in so many ways from his work? I do not.
Jan. 8, 2012, 11:15 am
jerry from brighton beach says:
@ Unknown: Kruger lined his own pockets for over 20 years of public service.

He was suppose to be a public servant.He only served himself.

He turned out to be a crooked BUMMMM !

Can't wait till April for his sentencing. By the way, where is Kruger today ?

Probably on a cruise vacation, paid for by the taxpayer. Meaning You & me .
Jan. 9, 2012, 10:56 am

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