Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin arrested on charges of campaign fraud

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy blasted the Hochul administration Tuesday morning following news that Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin surrendered himself to authorities to answer charges he accepted illegal campaign contributions.

According to multiple media reports, Benjamin turned himself in and was arrested Tuesday as the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Manhattan were investigating possible campaign fraud related to Benjamin’s bid for New York City Comptroller in June 2021.

Gov. Kathy Hochul selected Benjamin to be her lieutenant governor in September shortly after she took over the Governor’s Office from Andrew Cuomo who stepped down following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Langworthy said Tuesday that Hochul “turned a blind eye” when choosing Benjamin as her lieutenant governor.

“In her first major decision as governor, Kathy Hochul chose a dirty politician to serve as her partner in government and running mate,” Langworthy said Tuesday. “Brian Benjamin’s shady dealings and corruption were well-documented, but Hochul turned a blind eye and put him a heartbeat away from the governorship. 

“This decision was not just dangerous incompetence, it is proof that her tolerance for corruption runs deep in her veins, which is no surprise given she dutifully served with Andrew Cuomo for seven years,” Langworhty continued.

“Just days ago, she continued to say she had ‘full confidence in him.’ She does not possess the judgment nor the moral code to serve as governor. The only way to wipe clean the Cuomo-Hochul stench is to throw the entire corrupt cabal out of office this November.” 

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

Benjamin is expected to appear in a Manhattan federal court later today.

The investigation of Brian Benjamin started after a campaign fundraiser Gerald Migdol, was arrested last November, on counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted Migdol after he allegedly funneled campaign donations into Benjamin’s campaign fund using fake names to match state donated funds. Migdol allegedly used the names of his granddaughters to donate said funds. Between October of 2019 and January of 2021, prosecutors said Migdol misrepresented the monies going into Benjamin’s campaign fund in an apparent scheme to conceal the sources of the contributions.

Gerald Migdol, left, pictured with Brian Benjamn. Photo retrieved from

Migdol is the president and founder of the Migdol Organization, a real estate management and development firm based in Harlem. According to the Migdol Organization’s website, “t​​he Migdol Organization and family have long supported progressive democrats both locally and nationally.”

Shortly after losing his primary bid for New York City comptroller, Benjamin was appointed lieutenant governor by Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2021. Benjamin had previously served as the New York State Senator for District 30, which is made up of Harlem, East Harlem, the Upper West Side, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights and Morningside Heights.

One of the Republican candidates for governor, Harry Wilson, said in a statement today “We must clean house in Albany. Corruption has run rampant for years in administration after administration. Just days ago, Governor Hochul said she had ‘utmost confidence’ in her hand-picked Lieutenant Governor. What we’ve learned now is that, once again Hochul has made yet another enormous error in judgment that has contributed to the many challenges facing New Yorkers. She may have confidence in her lieutenant governor, but the people of New York have no confidence in their governor or her administration.”

Gerald Migdol is the president and founder of the Migdol Organization, a real estate management and development firm based in the Harlem area of Manhattan, involving himself and his business in inner city housing and property redevelopment. Working in the city for the past 40 years, Migdol founded the Migdol Family Foundation in 2004, additionally opening the Daniel Migdol Memorial Fund following the death of his son, Daniel Migdol, in 2008.