It didn’t seem that long ago that COVID media darling, disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo, resigned from office amidst reports of scandalous behavior. He slinked away from office in the Summer of 2021 wearing his numerous scandals like a heavy winter coat. The most recent scandals in our memory range from allegations of sexual harassment against eleven women to a massive cover-up of the number of elderly people who died in New York nursing homes from COVID. The deaths of the elderly, in my opinion, are far more egregious, as these deaths could’ve been avoided if not for his Executive decision that forced these homes to accept recovering COVID patients. This callous and insane Executive order resulted in the deaths of 15,000 New Yorkers. As appears to be typical in New York these days, former Governor Cuomo escaped serious criminal litigation. His days in the political realm, at the time, appeared to be finished.
Andrew Cuomo’s pick for Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, was sworn in as New York’s Governor on August 24, 2021. Sadly, the newly minted Governor had as much executive acumen as her disgraced predecessor. Utilizing the same “special Executive powers” that Cuomo did, she made COVID vaccines a requirement to work in New York, particularly in the public sector. This draconian mandate resulted in serious staff shortages and unnecessary firings in public sector jobs, including Police, Firefighting, Health Care Personnel, and Utility Workers. Sadly, amongst serious public scrutiny over her governance of the State, she plans to run for election in the 2022 cycle.
One of the less reported scandals coming out of the Governor’s Mansion is about Lieutenant Governor, Brian Benjamin, who was appointed to the position in September of 2021. Prior to his appointment, he served as the New York State Senator for District 30, which encompasses Harlem, East Harlem, and the Upper West Side. In recent history, he has been a very vocal proponent of the “defund the Police” movement. He also had an unsuccessful run for New York City Comptroller in the 2021 cycle before his appointment to Lieutenant Governor. The failed run for Comptroller has led to a Federal investigation into his alleged knowledge of fraudulent contributions to his campaign.
“But late last year, federal prosecutors and the FBI subpoenaed Benjamin’s former campaign advisers for financial records and communications between the campaign and a Harlem real estate investor, who was charged with bringing in illegal campaign contributions…”
The investigation stemmed from the Federal indictment last year against real estate investor Gerald Migdol, who was charged with wire fraud, identity theft, and other crimes allegedly connected to Brian Benjamin’s candidacy for Comptroller. Although this indictment doesn’t name Brian Benjamin, details found in the records seem to indicate that Brian Benjamin knew about the scheme to obtain fraudulent contributions to secure matching public funds to benefit his campaign.
“Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin was questioned by the feds amid a reported probe into whether he was allegedly involved in a scheme to illegally funnel contributions to his failed campaign for city comptroller last year.
Benjamin admitted to The Post that he was interviewed earlier this year in connection with the conspiracy and wire fraud charges filed in November against Harlem landlord and lawyer Gerald Migdol, who’s accused of making illegal, ‘straw’ donations to Benjamin’s campaign…Benjamin, who is referred to as “Candidate-1” in Migdol’s indictment, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.”
However, in late March of this year, the Federal investigation into Brian Benjamin is broadening its scope. It was reported that Federal Prosecutors began subpoenaing records from the State Senate related to discretionary spending he may have illicitly funneled into his former district during his term as a State Senator.
“Investigators with the Southern District of New York have subpoenaed state officials and Senate employees as they probe money Benjamin steered toward projects in his former Harlem district, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told The News.
The inquiry is related to funds doled out through the State and Municipal Facilities Program, or SAM, a lump sum appropriation in the state budget administered through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, according to the source.”
Given the political landscape of New York, the chances of a serious criminal indictment being made against Brian Benjamin are slim to none. We’ve had a really rough time living in New York with the consistent Executive Order bludgeoning administered to us at the hands of Governor Hochul. To add insult to injury, there may be a real chance that the Lieutenant Governor has been involved with serious financial crimes while campaigning in a New York City election as well as during his term as a State Senator. New Yorkers deserve better.