It was not even one week ago that Patriot One New’s very own Jonathan Tisk reported on the numerous campaign finance scandals that NY State Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin was involved in. It was just a matter of time before the Lt. Governor would eventually be brought up on criminal charges.
Sure enough, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday that her Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin has resigned after surrendering to authorities and now faces campaign finance fraud-related charges in connection with a past campaign.
“I have accepted Brian Benjamin’s resignation effective immediately. While the legal process plays out, it is clear to both of us that he cannot continue to serve as Lieutenant Governor. New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in their government, and I will continue working every day to deliver for them,” Hochul said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
Following news of his resignation, Benjamin’s attorneys, James D. Gatta and William Harrington issued a statement calling his actions “laudable — not criminal.”
“There has never been a federal case like this in America,” the statement said. Brian supported a $50,000 grant to Friends of Public School Harlem. Every dollar was to buy supplies for public school students in Harlem. There was nothing inappropriate about this grant.”
Regardless of the outcome, this is not a good look for NY State Democrats as they are still dealing with the recent sexual harassment allegations and nursing home scandal that former NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo was involved in which ultimately cost him his job as he too was forced to resign. Charges have been dropped against Andrew Cuomo since, but faith in the office of the Governor in NY State has been seriously destroyed.
Benjamin, a Democrat, was charged with bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and falsification of records in an alleged scheme to obtain campaign contributions from a real estate developer in exchange for Benjamin’s agreement to use his influence as a state senator to get a $50,000 grant of state funds for a nonprofit organization the developer-controlled.
Facing charges including bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and falsification of records, Benjamin pleaded not guilty Tuesday at an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court. He was released and bail was set at $250,000.
The lieutenant governor appeared in Manhattan federal court Tuesday afternoon and left without talking to reporters.