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Striking Golden: Feds investigate pol’s campaign spending

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The feds are investigating Bay Ridge’s state senator for his use of campaign cash.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has subpoenaed state Sen. Marty Golden’s (R–Bay Ridge) campaign finance records, Golden’s attorney told this paper.

Bharara’s office declined to comment on the investigation, but the New York Post, which broke the story, suggested the federal prosecutor is looking into more than $500,000 Golden has spent since 2002 on functions at Bay Ridge Manor, a catering hall his family owns.

The news came one day after the longtime politician’s Democratic rival unveiled a proposal called he dubbed the “Golden Rule” that would ban lawmakers from funneling campaign cash into businesses owned by or employing their family members. The candidate charged that Golden has personally profited from renting the hall.

“The scheme that Sen. Golden employed here allows him to take campaign dollars and turn them into personal dollars,” said senate hopeful James Kemmerer during a press event held two doors down from Bay Ridge Manor, which is owned by Golden’s brother and employs the senator’s wife. “While families like ours have struggled to recover from this recession, Sen. Golden has put about $45,000 into this catering hall, and if you know New York median income, that’s about what an average family makes. So every single year, what an average family makes goes through this catering hall.”

An anti-corruption advocate who challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo in this year’s primary also spoke out against Golden at the presser.

“He’s one of the worst examples of the old boys club in a broken system that’s governing our state,” said Zephyr Teachout, who endorsed Kemmerer at the event. “His family business has received over half a million dollars from campaign funds and from state funds. You don’t have to be a genius to realize something is wrong with that.”

Golden bought the business in the early 1980s and sold it to his brother before taking office in 2002. Golden still owns the building at 476 76th Street and makes between $75,000 and $100,000 annually in rent, the pol’s 2013 financial disclosure shows.

In 2013, he also received income off of the sale, the report states. The senator cut 131 checks to the Manor since 2002, totalling $539,678.35 — mainly for constituent services and fund-raising, state campaign finance records show.

Before it was disbanded, the state anti-corruption Moreland Commission was reportedly investigating Golden’s expenditures at the catering hall, as well as his ties to Manhattan real estate developers who have backed his campaign.

Golden declined to comment for this article, and his office did not return requests for a statement, but his attorney pledged full cooperation with the federal investigation.

But the pol fended off allegations of corruption during a debate last month, defending his spending at the Manor as above the board.

“We did not funnel any type of money,” Golden said. “We’ve had events in many different locations, and we’ve had events in the Bay Ridge Manor, which we paid for and we did it correctly and by the law.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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