Brian Benjamin Arrested and Resigned, Yesterday
New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin has surrendered to authorities to face campaign finance fraud-related charges in connection with a past campaign and has since resigned.
Benjamin is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court.
His arrest comes after reports that Manhattan federal prosecutors and the FBI were investigating whether Benjamin knowingly engaged in a campaign finance fraud scheme. Subpoenas were issued in connection with the investigation, two sources familiar with the subpoenas said at the time.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin turned himself in to federal authorities in Lower Manhattan as they unsealed his indictment. He faces five bribery charges and related allegations tied to a campaign contribution scheme first exposed by The City.
It was last January when The City first reported on suspicious campaign donations to Benjamin’s campaign for city comptroller, including a contribution from a 2-year-old boy. The funds were potentially eligible to be publicly matched $8 for every dollar contributed, up to $100 for each named donor.
His camp promised to return the cash. By late February, they had given back more than $13,000 in contributions tied to Gerald Migdol, a Harlem real estate entrepreneur, the Campaign Finance Board said at the time.
In August, despite THE CITY’s revelations, newly elevated Gov. Kathy Hochul chose then-state senator Benjamin as her lieutenant. Then, just after Hochul’s win in the November election, federal prosecutors indicted Migdol in an illegal campaign funding scheme.
We now know Benjamin had been subpoenaed by local and federal law enforcement authorities prior to his selection by Hochul, which he failed to disclose to Hochul or in a state form.
The indictment alleges that Benjamin met repeatedly with Migdol, identified as “CC-1,” to collect money orders Migdol had orchestrated. In exchange, they allege, he arranged a $50,000 grant to a nonprofit Migdol controls.