A Harlem real estate developer has turned on the disgraced ex-lieutenant. Governor Brian Benjamin at a secret plea hearing last month, unsealed court documents showed on Tuesday.
Jerry Migdol’s guilty plea in Manhattan federal court on April 11 came five months after he was charged with trying to rip off the city’s system to match campaign donations. He admitted to arranging and concealing tens of thousands of dollars in bogus contributions from 2019 to 2021 for the failed Benjamin City Comptroller bid — including one from his 2-year-old relative — to bolster the candidate’s campaign war chest . Migdol also pleaded guilty to defrauding banks from 2018 to 2019.
“I entered into a quid pro quo agreement with Brian Benjamin, who was then a state senator. Specifically, he offered to get a state grant of $50,000 for my charity in return for contributions to the campaign that I agreed to give and procure for him,” Migdol told the court, according to an unsealed transcript of the hearing.
“The fraudulent contributions were intended to allow Brian Benjamin’s campaign to procure public matching funds under false pretences.”
Benjamin resigned hours after his arraignment on April 12 on federal corruption charges related to his role in the alleged scheme to direct state funds to Migdol’s nonprofit, Friends of Public School Harlem. , in exchange for donations of straw.
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Migdol’s plea is punishable by 107 years in prison. Prosecutors say they will seek clemency on his behalf in return for his cooperation, according to filings.
A source familiar with the matter previously told the Daily News that Migdol, 72, was ready and willing to take action against the lieutenant governor after his arrest in November 2021. The unsealed documents are the first official confirmation that Migdol is cooperating with the federal government.
Benjamin first asked Migdol to help raise funds for his municipal campaign at the promoter’s home in March 2019, according to the indictment. When Migdol said he was relying on the same pool of donors to fund his nonprofit, Benjamin reportedly hatched a plan to have the two men compensated. In exchange for raising funds, Benjamin pledged to allocate public funds to Migdol’s nonprofit through his Senate office, prosecutors say.
The New York City Campaign Finance Board provides up to $8 for every $1 in eligible funds raised by a candidate. Unable to raise legitimate donations for Benjamin’s failed bid for comptroller, Migdol simply made them up, in some cases issuing donations on behalf of people who had never heard of the candidate, it first reported. The City.
Benjamin did not tell Gov. Hochul that authorities were probing her past grants before she hired him as her right-hand man last summer, The News reported.
Migdol attorney Joel Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Benjamin and his lawyers could not be reached.