When it came to corruption, New York State Senator Carl Kruger was a full-service finagler.
In exchange for bribes and favors, the longtime lawmaker would lobby on behalf of your company or cause, push through legislation and basically do whatever needed to be done to keep the cash flowing into his greedy hands.
Until his avarice was exposed in dramatic fashion, Kruger was a popular state representative in one of the most diverse districts in Brooklyn. Kruger should have stuck to serving the best interests of New York State Senate District 27, covering the hardworking residents of Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, and Midwood.
Elected in a special election in February 1994, the former State Assemblyman had a noteworthy run in New York State’s upper house, rising to Ranking Minority member on the Senate Committee on Aging, as well as assignments to the Crime Victims, Crime and Corrections, Energy and Telecommunications committees.
In fact, in 2007 when then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (Republican) tapped Kruger (Democrat) as Chairman of the Senate Social Services Committee, it was the first time in New York history a minority-party senator was named to chair a committee.
Media-hound Kruger made headlines throughout the years. He was among the lawmakers suing then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Department of Education to block the dissolution of 32 community school districts (the suit failed) and legislation to prohibit use of electronic devices, like mp3 players and cell phones, in NYC crosswalks (also failed).
Kruger was a member of infamous “The Gang of Three” during the 2008 palace coup in Albany when Democrats threatened to cross the aisle and side with the Republicans (failed spectacularly, and all three were served prison time on offenses unrelated to that rebellion).
Kruger started to slide down the slippery slope of corruption in 2010, when the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn began investigating rumors of his shilling political favors for campaign donations.
Indicted on March 9, 2010, on bribery charges and corruption allegations related to a hospital merger, a story began to circulate that Kruger lived with his male partner, while that man’s mother posed as Kruger’s girlfriend. Considering his lack of support of same-sex marriage in the legislature, Kruger duplicitousness further fueled the media frenzy.
Kruger surrendered to authorities the following day.
Realizing a conviction automatically bounced him out of the State Senate, the Brooklyn senator resigned prior to pleading guilty of corruption charges on March 20, 2011, openly weeping in court.
In sentencing Kruger, Judge Jed Rakoff of Federal District Court could have sent him away for 9 to 11 ¼ years, but showed leniency for Kruger’s good deeds. Facing 50 years in prison on the initial indictment, Kruger’s plea helped him secure a still-daunting seven-year stretch.
His companion, gynecologist Michael Turano, received a two-year prison sentence for his involvement in the corruption scandal.