From the New York Post:
Embattled Brooklyn state Sen. Carl Kruger last year tapped his campaign fund for $10,500 in payments to an obscure New Jersey company that operates out of a private home and communicates via post-office box, The Post has learned.
The payments went to Reliable Repair Inc., a Fair Lawn, NJ, firm the Democratic lawmaker said was hired to install air conditioning and heating systems at his district office.
But campaign records on four 2009 payments to Reliable gave conflicting addresses for the business, including three that list a nonexistent address in New Jersey.
The fourth address was for a New Jersey post office, where a worker said Reliable pays for a box but operates from a home a half-mile away. Neighbors were unfamiliar with any business there.
Kruger, who’s being probed by the FBI in an alleged pay-to-play scheme, said the firm came “highly recommended” by Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay constituents.
Reached by phone to answer questions about work done for Kruger, Mark Yanishevsky, named as Reliable Repair’s vice president, asked: “Why are you trying to blackmail me? How did you find me?”
Here at Sheepshead Bites, we’ve got a lot of Kruger’s Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay constituents as readers. So does anyone recommend Reliable Repair Inc.?
Another NY Post article went further into detail of the campaign spending that we summarized last week. In addition to paying exorbitant prices for paint, landscaping, welcome mats and candy, the state senator doled out more than $40,000 on undocumented purchases.
Campaign cash paid for $43,479 charged on Kruger’s Bank of America credit card — but his filings don’t indicate what was purchased. There are also $15,839 in “unitemized” expenditures since 2008.
It should be pointed out that it’s illegal for politicians to spend campaign cash for personal use.
But, really, the NY Post is obviously being unfair. After all, mired in an FBI probe and with the Citizen Union calling for a criminal investigation, Kruger is clearly the victim. At least that’s what he’s saying:
Asked about the spending and the probe, Kruger teared up. “I am hurt, I am really hurt,” he said. He denied any wrongdoing.
As for the war chest, he said, “Look at it as accumulated over the years. I’m so careful how I spend it. I never went on a junket.”
He later issued a statement saying: “Each senator receives an allocation for staff and office expenses. I use funds from my campaign account rather than using taxpayer dollars to pay for additional expenses because of my personal commitment to providing the highest quality services to my constituents.”
Tell me, Senator, what are those high quality services? In the time I’ve been reporting on this neighborhood I’ve never seen you at a single civic association or community board meeting. I’ve also never heard a kind word uttered about you. So who, exactly, is it that you represent?