Brooklyn Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, who is facing tough primary and general election challenges this year, just confirmed a rumor we’d been hearing: That he has brought on disgraced ex-Brooklyn State Sen. Carl Kruger’s chief-of-staff as a campaign consultant.
Jason Koppel, who had served as both Kruger’s chief-of-staff and campaign treasurer, recently joined Cymbrowitz’s campaign team, but does not have a formal title.
“I call him and ask him about things that are important to the community, and that’s the extent of it,” Cymbrowitz said. “He’s very well-connected on my constituents issues.”
Because of the recent nature of the hiring, Koppel does not show up on Cymbrowitz’s July filing with the state Board of Elections, the assemblyman said. Koppel also reportedly recently resigned as Kruger’s campaign treasurer.
Given all the intrigue surrounding Kruger’s conviction in a massive bribery scheme, some suspicion was also cast Koppel’s way, including over a big salary increase amid the charges against Kruger.
In an unrelated case, the Post reported in March 2011 about a lawyer who was caught on a secretly recorded audiotape, telling an FBI informant that he needed to pay off Koppel to get assistance from Kruger.
But as a couple of Brooklyn political observers noted when contacted for this story, Koppel has been extremely thoroughly vetted since then — and never has been charged with any wrongdoing. That’s even as the U.S. attorney’s office recorded years of conversations among Kruger and others that were used as evidence against the senator, and Kruger himself cut a deal on a plea agreement.
Cymbrowitz faces a Democratic primary against Ben Akselrod. If Cymbrowitz survives, he’ll face Republican Russell Gallo in the general election. Koppel could not immediately be reached for comment.
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