Ally of Ex-Lt. Gov. Benjamin Admits ‘Quid Pro Quo' for Donations

Gerald Migdol pled guilty to a list of federal charges and told a court he worked with the former lieutenant governor to help his campaign

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A one-time close ally of former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin pled guilty to a litany of federal fraud and bribery charges, telling a court there was a 'quid pro quo' involving donations to Benjamin's campaign and money for a charitable organization.

Harlem real estate magnate Gerald Migdol made the admission in a court hearing in early April, the record of which was unsealed late Tuesday.

"(In) 2019, I entered into a quid pro quo agreement with Brian Benjamin, who was then a state senator. Specifically, he offered to obtain a $50,000 state grant for my charitable organization in exchange for campaign contributions that I agreed to give him and procure for him," Migdol said in a statement read in court, according to a transcript of the hearing.

"(From) at least 2019 through at least in or about 2021, I agreed with others to misrepresent and conceal the sources of certain contributions to Brian Benjamin's political campaign," Migdol went on to say.

Benjamin resigned as lieutenant governor on April 12 after being charged with bribery, fraud and conspiracy.

Prosecutors allege Benjamin schemed to get campaign contributions from Migdol in exchange for Benjamin using his influence to get a $50,000 grant of state funds for a nonprofit organization Migdol controlled.

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."

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