At age 101, the billionaire Manhattan real estate mogul Leonard Litwin is at the center of recent corruption scandals that have rocked New York’s political establishment. The New York Times has named Litwin and his firm, Glenwood Management, as “Developer 1” in the indictment brought by US Attorney Preet Bharara. That indictment has led to the ouster of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver last month. Silver is now facing federal corruption charges.
Glenwood Management owns 26 buildings comprising 8,700 apartments. The firm is one of two developers that are cited but not named in the US Attorney’s compliant, alleged to have paid a curiously small law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, nearly $700,000 to perform some of their property tax work. The complaint alleges that in 2000, Silver suggested that Litwin hire the firm, which was founded by Jay Arthur Goldberg, a former State Assembly staffer and Silver’s counsel. Goldberg & Iryami then paid hundreds of thousands of dollars disguised as “referral fees” to Silver, the US Attorney alleges.
Litwin made over $10 million in political contributions since 2005. In addition to contributions, Litwin spent heavily on lobbyists as well. In 2014 alone he spent $900,000 on eight different firms to lobby state officials. The Times reports that one-third of Litwin’s buildings receive tax breaks and special financing for setting aside 20% of the buildings’ units for affordable housing.
Litwin has donated heavily to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The Attorney General has been lambasted for not pursing public corruption allegations against public officials, despite frequent promises do so while he ran for reelection. The Mayor has been criticized for appointing Litwin to the 2016 Democratic National Convention “Host Committee” last week.
Litwin contributed $1 million to Governor Cuomo’s reelection effort, and another $500,000 to the New York Democratic Party, The International Business News reports. The Cuomo-run New York Housing Finance Agency later approved a $290 million low interest loan in 2014 to finance new luxury apartment building in Midtown Manhattan. At the time the loan was being considered, NYHFA was headed by Bill Mulrow, a registered lobbyist for the Blackstone group, a massive private equity fund. Mulrow was just recently appointed to be Cuomo’s new Chief of Staff.
Litwin’s extensive use of what is known as the “Section 421a Tax Credit” is becoming a focal point of the federal investigation, political operatives have rumored. It has been widely reported that the Governor is “distraught with fear” over the looming scandal, which is expected to badly tarnish his national image, with the prospect of a prison sentence.
In 2014, when the Moreland Commission began investigating the relationship between the real estate industry and public officials, Governor Cuomo quickly shutdown the Commission. At the time, his former Chief of Staff Larry Schwartz called the Commissioners to stop them from subpoenaing the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry funded lobbying group. Litwin is the “Lifetime Honorary Chairman” of that organization.
Litwin’s pervasive involvement in the funding and influencing of the State’s Democrat party establishment — and his central role in the federal probe of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — threatens to take down the entire New York political establishment.
It is rumored that Attorney General Schneiderman’s office is currently under investigation by the US Attorney’s office.
Great report on the state of New York’s Tammany Hall. Would love to see a “Schnanctimonius Schneiderman” perp walk out of AG’s NYC office at 120 Broadway one of these days!
Good going so far. Keep digging and bury the corrupt a55holes.
Its about time, this is what has been ruining New York for many years. These corrupt politicians have to go! The state keeps fu cking over the tax payers and the taxes just keep piling up it just never ends. Look at the NYS Thruway tolls, the prices to go over these bridges its crazy it clearly shows the money that is collected is used for other things other than what the tolls are intended for. Also the NYS lotto for the money the lotto takes in how much of that is really going to help out our schools? We are the highest taxed state in the US! Many leave NY to retire in another state where things are affordable and can live a much better life on their fixed income. Another thing is Cuomo, the tax dollars he wastes on his crap laws he puts into place that make no sense at all.
The most recent big one is the “Safe Act” 95% of that law is garbage and don’t make anyone safer. If anything its a plus for the criminal to make his job easier. When that law was put into play some of the negative things it did for NYS were loss of jobs for Arms Dealers and manufactures, many tax payers leaving NYS that believe in the 2nd amendment, turning legal gun owners into criminals because of a look of a gun, cost of the whole “Safe Act” data base, over flowing the local clerks offices that handle pistol permits having to add staff, this was a HUGE cost to all of NYS tax payers, also people having issues with simple anxiety do to normal life issues that do own firearms, they wont go for help because they are in fear of losing their firearms do to being reported or labeld mental, I could go on and on with this. Most all Police Departments wont enforce the “Safe Act” and are against it, what does that tell you? If Cuomo wants to make a difference and make the murder rate go down he should think of outlawing hammers, blunt instruments , all knives because 90% of the time that’s whats used in murders, take a look at Jim Tedesco’s speech on youtube he did a great job with the facts about the numbers of murders and what was used.
NYS has to weed out all the bad politicians and get rid of them and start making some serious changes.
Thanks for connecting the dots. The Dems and Real Estate are like bread and butter. Whitewater, Sub Prime etc. Thanks for bringing your expertise to the public.
hmm, nothing about Litwin’s connection to NYS Senate GOP? They were his biggest beneficiaries. Skelos’s ties to Litwin are reportedly being investigated by the Feds. Why would you leave that out?
Keep digging until you take every last one of these dirty CORRUPT POLITICIANS OUT, because “WE THE PEOPLE” Deserve so much better! And when you’re done here PLEASE Move on to DC, because is RAMPANT WITH THE SAME FILTHY PLAYERS..
Take them all down, Democrats and Republicans, all the corrupt ones and put the rest on notice that this will no longer be tolerated! Start with that egomaniacal lunatic that calls himself our governor! Enough! Let’s get some honest, hard-working people in these positions who will actually work for the people!
The cronyism and corruption in New York is nothing short of disgusting. I’ve been a contractor here for 30 years and the fraud and waste on construction projects has always been extreme, and gets worse every year. http://www.slideshare.net/RichPurtell/corruption-in-new-york-public-construction
US Attorney for Governor. Throw the rest of the bums in jail
I’m wondering if Trump is eyeing a run?
Hooray!! This is helping to restore my faith in the system. Orange County, Montoe, NY quality of life is being destroyed by the Satmar Hasidim of Kiryas Joel aided by Mario Cuomo first and now his son Andrew Cuomo. Overriding the Supreme Court with an unconstitutional law to give Kiryas Joel its own School District that the honest taxpayers pay for because the district is classified as Special Ed and over 90% of the residents are on welfare and Medicaid averaging 8 to 10 children per family. They are not supported by the men who created these children. They live in housing that would not pass housing codes and live with garbage in the streets. They have paid Governor Cuomo, as well as local and New York State Politicians off with financial bribes and Bloc Voting and are now trying to annex another 500+ acres to expand to 30,000 more residents not paying taxes, living on Medicaid and Welfare. After all the honest taxpayers have been forced to move because if this situation, who is going to pay the bills then? This has to be stopped- the residents of Kiryas Joel are laughing at all of us, as they drive around in their big black $80,000 SUV’s, shop in the best stores, purchasing businesses and land with the money they should be paying in taxes and collecting on welfare and Medicaid. They are corrupt and our politicians have been allowing them to get away with it. ITS TIME TO PUT A STOP TO IT!!!