Wednesday, May 22, 2024

NYC Mayor Eric Adams, DA Alvin Bragg at Center of Alleged Straw Man Donor Scheme, 6 Charged

'FYI ! This is the one I want, Safety, Drywall, and Security one project but we all can eat... '

(Headline USA) Six people were charged Friday in an alleged scheme to divert tens of thousands of dollars in public money to New York City Democrat Mayor Eric Adams’s campaign months before his election.

The indictment, announced by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, does not implicate Adams or other current city employees in the upended plot.

Despite Adams’s campaign reportedly benefiting from the alleged scheme, Soros-funded Bragg’s case describes a straw donor conspiracy orchestrated by people with business before the city who hoped to maximize their donations in exchange for political favors.

Among the defendants are the owners of a construction safety business that’s working on a trash depot on Staten Island and a former NYPD commander now serving as director of integrity for a union that represents thousands of city workers.

“We allege a deliberate scheme to game the system in a blatant attempt to gain power,” said Bragg, who has come under intense criticism for the sham indictment of former president Donald Trump, which many legal scholars have blasted as baseless and politically motivated.

“The New York City Campaign Finance Board program is meant to support our democracy and amplify the voices of New York City voters. When the integrity of that program is corrupted, all New Yorkers suffer,” Bragg said.

Prosecutors said the effort to illegally structure donations was led by Dwayne Montgomery, a former NYPD inspector currently listed as the director of integrity for the Teamsters Local 237, which represents municipal workers. Adams reaped rich rewards from labor union support during his mayoral bid.

According to the indictment, Montgomery recruited friends and relatives to take advantage of the city’s generous matching funds system, which provides an eight-to-one match for the first $250 donated by a city resident.

He is accused of orchestrating the donations of at least 23 straw donors between 2020 and 2021, while also helping to organize at least one fundraiser for Adams. It’s not clear how much money was ultimately steered to the campaign.

The indictment also names Shamsuddin Riza, Millicent Redick, and Ronald Peek as helping to organize the contributions. Yahya Mushtaq and Shahid Mushtaq, the leaders of EcoSafety Consultants, a construction company with active city contracts, are named as well.

Although New York’s campaign finance rules bar those with business before the city from donating more than $400, prosecutors say the defendants devised a scheme to donate to the campaign under the names of EcoSafety’s employees, without their knowledge.

“You could use a straw man,” Riza allegedly told Yahya Mushtaq during a phone call. “Whoever’s on the LLC or the incorporation, those are the people that do business with the city. Anybody else is an employee, the employees don’t fall under that criteria.”

Riza, who owns a construction company and was previously charged with falsifying business records, also indicated that he was hoping to secure work from the city.

“FYI ! This is the one I want, Safety, Drywall, and Security one project but we all can eat,” Riza wrote in a July 2021 email to Montgomery in which he sent along the information for a construction project called Vital Brooklyn, prosecutors allege.

The defendants each face charges of conspiracy, attempted grand larceny, and making false statements. None of them could immediately be reached for comment. A spokesperson for Adams’ campaign, Evan Thies, released a statement denying any involvement in the alleged scheme.

“There is no indication that the campaign or the mayor is involved in this case or under investigation,” Thies said. “The campaign always held itself to the highest standards and we would never tolerate these actions.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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