The former CEO of Brookdale Hospital was found guilty of bribing state Sen. Carl Kruger and two other elected officials on Monday — potentially hammering another nail into the coffin of the embattled southern Brooklyn legislator, who will go trial for taking that bribe, among other alleged payoffs, in January.
Legal experts say that federal prosecutors have now proven more than a third of their case against Kruger (D–Brighton Beach) — and David Rosen may even testify against Kruger in order to cut a deal at sentencing.
“If I were Sen. Kruger, I would be very distraught right now,” explained David Shapiro, a former FBI agent, assistant prosecutor and assistant professor of economics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “I’m glad I’m not in his shoes, whether I did it or not.”
Federal Court Judge Jed Rakoff found Rosen, 63, guilty of bribing Kruger, Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. (D–Cypress Hills) and former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D–Queens), crimes that could get him up to 70 years in jail.
Federal prosecutors claimed Rosen secured $400,000 in state funding by promising Kruger he would do business with a hospice company that the state senator had on the payroll of his consulting firm, Adex Management. That company, Compassionate Care Hospice, was paying Kruger $5,000 a month to drum up business for it.
During trial, prosecutors said Kruger created Adex with co-defendant Saul Kalish and two others, one of whom is believed to be Michael Turano, his alleged lover and son of Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano, with whom they both live.
But the deal between Brookdale Hospital and Compassionate Care fell apart when Seminerio — to whom Rosen had given a no-show consulting job — was arrested.
Still, in his 40-page decision, Rakoff said that after giving sham jobs to both Seminerio and Boyland, Rosen “found it easy to enter into an even more blatantly illegal relationship with [Kruger],” and that documented meetings and e-mails between the two — which prosecutors used as evidence in Rosen’s trial — made it clear that Rosen knew what he and Kruger were doing.
“If Rosen was in doubt, the constant messages by Kruger should have [helped him to fully] understand that Kruger had a financial interest in Compassionate Care,” Rakoff wrote. “[But], even without such knowledge, Rosen fully agreed to what he clearly knew was a solicitation of a bribe — an offer of Kruger’s official assistance in exchange for Rosen’s promise that he would ‘get [the Compassionate Care contract] done.’ ”
Boyland goes to trial later this fall. Seminerio was ultimately convicted of bribery in 2009 and died in prison — and now Rosen may face the same fate.
Defense attorney Robert Morvillo told reporters that Rosen was “devastated by the court’s findings.”
“[Rosen] consistently strived to ensure access to quality health care to the challenged communities in Queens and Brooklyn,” said Morvillo, who added that he and his client were “exploring available remedies.”
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who caught Rosen, Kruger, Boyland and five others in a sweeping bribery indictment in March, said that Rosen’s guilty verdict was “a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Albany.”
“If there were any doubt about the pervasive nature of public corruption in Albany, today’s multi-count conviction should put it to rest once and for all,” he said.
But Kruger is refuting that description. Despite Rosen’s conviction — and all the damning evidence that was brought out against the legislator at trial — Kruger is maintaining his innocence, defense attorney Benjamin Brafman told reporters.
“We are confident that a jury will conclude that Mr. Kruger did not act with any corrupt motive or intent,” Brafman said.
But that will be hard, Shapiro noted, especially since Rosen was just convicted by Rakoff, who many describe as a thoughtful, fair-minded judge.
“When you’re accused of something really horrible, but it wasn’t really that bad, you want a guy like Rakoff because he can see through the clouds and fog and render a decision that’s not swayed by public opinion,” Shapiro said. “But Rakoff’s already found Rosen guilty, so that could be a problem.”
Kruger is accused of taking close to $1-million in bribes from Rosen, lobbyist Richard Lipsky, Brooklyn developer Aaron Malinsky, and other hospital officials.
The payments were allegedly sent to Olympian Strategic Development Corporation, a fictitious company set up by Michael Turano.
The FBI claims that Turano and Kruger used the money to pay the mortgage on a multi-million–dollar home on Basset Avenue in Mill Island that they share with Dorothy Turano. Kruger also bought a Bentley for Michael Turano’s brother, prosecutors claim.
Despite the charges, Kruger said he will continue to represent his constituents, although he’s maintained a low profile and made only a few public appearances this past spring and summer.
Many expect Kruger to resign as his trial date — which is set for January — approaches, but now believe Rosen’s conviction may hasten the process.
“I give him until Thanksgiving,” one political insider said.