Attorney General made campaign donations from indicted developer to charity

ALBANY — Attorney General Letitia James, despite allegations by her Republican opponent Michael Henry, gave most of the campaign contributions she received from a Harlem real estate developer who was recently indicted for fundraising to charity. campaign.

James’ campaign, in which she was a gubernatorial candidate before dropping that bid, told the Times Union in November that it planned to return all the money developer Gerald Migdol and his family had contributed to his statewide campaigns. The comments came after Migdol was arrested in connection with an alleged straw donation campaign scheme linked to former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin, who has also been indicted on federal charges.

The criminal charges relate to Benjamin’s failed bid for New York City Comptroller.

Although it appears James only returned $9,000 of the $35,250 his campaign received from Migdol, his wife Sheryl and son Aaron, the campaign clarified on Thursday that the remaining money, 26 $250, had been donated to charity.

James’ campaign brought in $4,000 it received from the Migdol family in 2021 that it received when James announced his candidacy for governor, according to state Board of Elections records.

In January 2020, James returned a $5,000 donation made in December 2019 by Migdol; the check had bounced, according to the campaign.

The money that was donated to charities, $8,750 to each of the three organizations, had been received during filing periods before James announced his brief run for governor.

The money was donated to: New York Cares, which focuses on volunteering for social issues; Little Essentials, which helps children in poverty; and God’s Love We Deliver, which provides meals for those too sick to cook.

Henry, a Republican from New York, told reporters Thursday in Albany that in November, following Migdol’s indictment, she had not “returned a penny of the corruption money.”

“I call on Attorney General Letitia James to publicly report, if she has not already done so, all funds she has received from Gerald Migdol, his family and his organization and to report to the public to see exactly how much money she’s gotten from him over the years,” Henry said.

Henry also questioned why James hadn’t opened an investigation into the Migdol case.

“Why did she accept this money from Gérald Migdol? And why didn’t she ask for an investigation?” said Henry.

About five months after Migdol was indicted, federal prosecutors indicted Benjamin earlier this month on bribery and campaign finance charges. The indictment led to Benjamin’s resignation, although he pleaded not guilty and indicated he would fight the charges.

Migdol and his family have contributed $111,100 to 25 campaigns since 2006, state records show. Most of the funds have been donated since 2013.

James received most of the money, and Harlem Congresswoman Inez E. Dickens received $17,250. Since 2020, outside of James, Dickens, and Benjamin, the state Senate Democratic campaign committee has received $15,000, which was noted in Benjamin’s federal indictment; Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was awarded $1,000.

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