Dottie Turano: I’m not going anywhere

Photo by Steve Solomonson

The district manager of Community Board 18, who for years lived off the largesse of disgraced state Sen. Carl Kruger in a multi-million dollar waterfront home with her two children, says she’s keeping her $100,000-a-year job at CB18 — even as her suitor and co-conspirator son head to prison.

Several members of CB18 are pushing District Manager Dorothy “Dottie” Turano to step down because Kruger, and her son, Dr. Michael Turano will be heading to prison for pocketing nearly $1 million in bribes — but the 22-year manager says she’s not going anywhere.

“I won’t give this up,” said Turano, 73, at last week’s Community Board 18 meeting — her first public appearance since Kruger and her son pleaded guilty. “I love what I do.”

Turano was absent from the December Community Board 18 meeting — which took place a day after Kruger’s blubbering confession at court — avoiding potentially embarrassing questions from reporters and the public. Board Chairman Sol Needle said that Turano was on vacation, but would not say if it had been pre-planned or whether it was hastily planned after Kruger’s guilty plea.

But Turano, who was never criminally charged, but mentioned frequently in the FBI’s criminal complaint against Kruger, was apparently in fine form last week, and was seen laughing and cracking jokes with community board members who gave Turano a bouquet of flowers after Kruger was indicted.

Kruger’s bribery scandal was not mentioned at last Wednesday’s meeting — a surprise since some board members believe that Turano should be held responsible for her role in the scandal.

“Turano’s the angelic front of Carl Kruger — she’s been screwing community board residents and she’s been screwing the city,” said a source with ties to Community Board 18. “Five out of six board members are thinking the exact same thing I am.”

Board member Neal Duncan said that even if Turano hasn’t been charged, she may face ethical violations.

“There are ethical questions that have arisen from her association with Kruger that she should answer,” Duncan said. “It’s the borough president’s responsibility to see if there was any breach in ethics pertaining to her position.”

Yet other board members are backing Turano, no matter what her role in the scandal was.

“Why should she step down? She hasn’t been charged, so she hasn’t done anything wrong,” board member Gardy Brazella said. “All you can do in situations like this is pray for her and hope for the best.”

Turano, who lives in a gaudy, $2 million home the feds say Kruger paid for with his bribe money, has been beside the disgraced legislator as he rose from Community Board 18 to the state senate.

The FBI claims in court papers that Turano got the board to approve developer Aaron Malinsky’s plan to erect a BJ’s supermarket in Canarsie for Kruger. She also maneuvered the board into rejecting a rival development proposal for the same spot.

“Decisions are not made in this community unless they are presented to elected officials,” Turano told the board at the time.

The FBI said Malinsky was bribing Kruger by funneling close to $500,000 of dollars to dummy companies set up by Kruger and Michael Turano — although prosecutors later dropped all criminal charges against Malinsky, because they couldn’t prove the developer knew the money was going to Michael Turano’s company, Olympian Strategic Development, which the feds say Kruger had set up to receive bribes from a select circle of deep-pocketed lobbyists and developers.

Turano may not be facing any criminal charges, but she is going to be punished: investigators may seize Turano’s home, since they say it was paid for with Kruger’s ill gotten gains. If it isn’t seized, the house may have to be sold anyway to pay off the $850,000 in fines and penalties outlined in Kruger’s plea deal.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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