Rasputin owner Michael Levitis has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors investigating a possible pay-to-play scheme focused on State Senator Carl Kruger.
Levitis was arrested last summer for his alleged role as an intermediary between business owners wanting help from the politician, and was recorded telling another restaurateur that he needed to throw a fundraiser in Kruger’s behalf in return for assistance on an official business inspection. The businessman agreed to give Levitis $3,000, with $2,000 going to pay off Jason Koppel, Kruger’s chief of staff and campaign treasurer.
Now, Levitis is pleading guilty to charges that he lied to FBI agents about the bribe. He faces up to six months in prison.
The New York Post is suggesting that the plea deal may mean that Levitis has agreed to assist prosecutors in turning up evidence against Kruger. According to an anonymous source, Levitis was asked, after his arrest, to help in their investigation of allegations that Kruger has performed official acts in exchange for campaign contributions.
Before last year’s elections, Kruger had one of the largest campaign warchests in all of New York State with nearly $2.4 million, though he did not face a serious challenger.
Kruger was recently replaced as chairperson of the powerful Senate Finance Committee by Syracuse State Senator John DeFrancisco.