Swindling ex-lawmaker Carl Kruger is a common crook with an all-too-common story: a mediocre politician, high on his own hubris, becomes a legend in his own mind. Then he abuses the public faith, gets caught, and arrogantly continues to profess his innocence until the undeniable facts catch up to him. Then, he claims his innocence some more — remember, he thinks he’s invincible — until he realizes time is ticking, and resigns just before pleading guilty to keep his lucrative pension intact. For an encore, he wallows in the mud of self-pity like a wounded hippo.
Corrupt Carl knew the high-stakes game of doing big, bad wrongs, but he played it to the shady hilt like the hustler he was. He resigned as state senator last December, and then confessed to accepting more than $1 million in bribes for political favors — a cunning move to retain his retirement package, www.nypost.com/p/news/local/corrupt_ex_pol_kruger_getting_pension_vci2pBjElcVbmqC4o5di5I“>estimated to be upwards of $65,000 a year. Only then did he turn on the waterworks to gain public sympathy. That’s more the act of a sly fox who couldn’t give a toss about his vices, than a repentant man hoping to reverse the error of his ways.
Crafty Carl’s chutzpah was in fine form at his sentencing last week, too, when a federal judge slapped him with a seven-year prison term for being a greedy and corrupt little piggy, who dumped his demons at the doorstep of honest government, while living it up on the public’s dime as one of the most powerful lawmakers in Albany. He didn’t apologize either for pretending to be an upstanding legislator, although he did warble the blues on his own heartstrings.
“I am broken, destroyed, and disgraced, I have no one else to blame, this will haunt me for the rest of my life,” whined the ex-chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and past member of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee — ironic, no?
Dishonorable Carl still didn’t see fit to apologize to the voters who had placed their trust in him for the 16 years he held office. The least he could have said was, “Sorry folks, for being a rotten, wicked, treacherous, hypocritical, two-faced, unprincipled, sleazy, two-bit cheat.” A little agonized hair-pulling and apoplectic chest-thrashing on bended knee wouldn’t have hurt either. What does he have left to lose, after all, but his disgrace?
Shamed Carl was lucky to get a reduced sentence from the judge for his “good works.” That puny repertoire includes reputedly publishing the only Russian-language newsletter by an elected official in the city (woo!), attempting to ban the use of electronic devices in crosswalks (woo-woo!), and voting against same-sex marriages while he allegedly carried on an affair with the son of the district manager whom everyone thought was his ladyfriend (woo-woo-woo!). Confused? Join the club.
Judge Jed Rakoff hit the nail on the head when he told the lawbreaker, “We have only to look at other countries to see that once corruption takes hold, democracy itself becomes a charade, and justice becomes a mere slogan camouflaging a cesspool of self-interest.”
Conniving Carl has tarnished America’s reputation and exposed himself to be a megalomanic of the worst type for using his public position to promote his bottom line. He’s poised to discover that jailbirds worship murderers — but corrupt politicians? Not so much.
Read Shavana Abruzzo's column every Friday on BrooklynDaily.com.