Albert Baldeo, a Democratic Party leader in New York City, was arrested by the FBI this morning on corruption charges. According to the New York Times:
Mr. Baldeo is accused of using phantom donors to funnel illegal campaign contributions to his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for City Council in order to fraudulently increase the amount of matching funds provided by the city, federal prosecutors said.
The phantom donors were first publicly described in a New York Post story of October 11, 2011. The information was provided to the Post by the National Legal and Policy Center as part of our investigation into U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and his political network.
Baldeo is the third Meeks associate to be face legal action in recent days.
On October 10, Guyanese-American businessman Edul Ahmad pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud as part of a plea bargain related to a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme. In 2007, Ahmad made a $40,000 “loan” to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) that was not disclosed until 2010 when the FBI reportedly made inquires about Meeks’ finances. Meeks’ omission is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Commitee.
On August 27, New York State Senator Shirley Huntley (D-Queens) was arrested on corruption charges. In March 2011, NLPC exposed a sham charity she founded called The Parent Workshop, to which she steered tens of thousands in taxpayer money.
Baldeo appears to especially close to Meeks. The two shared an office from 2006 to 2009. The two have jointly sponsored workshops and programs on immigration and mortgage foreclosure. Meeks even arranged for a Congressional Proclamation in 2009 that called Baldeo a “visionary leader” and thanked him for his community service. See photo.
According to the October 11, 2011 Post article:
Candidates in the (City Council) race are eligible for matching taxpayer funds if they raise at least $5,000 and have 75 donors or more from the district…
Baldeo’s scheme appears to been somewhat crude. From the Post:
Most shocking is the $95 donation attributed to Christopher O’Hearn, the campaign treasurer for another candidate, Charles Bilal. Baldeo “did not ask me for a donation. I don’t have a clue why I am on that list,” O’Hearn told The Post.
Meanwhile, the embattled Meeks is campaigning in the swing states of Ohio, Nevada and Florida for President Obama’s re-election. He says his role is about “having the President’s back.”
Check out this video. Four years ago, Meeks linked Baldeo’s “leadership” to President Obama’s vision of change:
His (Baldeo’s) leadership indicates a change for the better that our country is headed. It is the same change that President Barack Obama has been talking about when he was elected. He understands, President Obama, that America has to have a new image that it had over the last eight years. And it has to have new people that’s involved in the change. I’m telling you that Albert is one of those new people that’s involved in the change that President Obama has been talking about.