“An FBI informant at the center of a political corruption probe that brought down the former state Senate majority leader says he helped elect Rockland Family Court Judge Sherri Eisenpress by using her money to bankroll an illegal campaign finance scheme and by bribing a public official, an investigation by The Journal News found.
The cooperator, Orthodox Jewish developer Moses Stern, never mentioned Eisenpress by name when he testified about the scheme at the 2014 corruption trial of ex-New York City Councilman Dan Halloran. But, in recent weeks, two independent sources confirmed to The Journal News/lohud that Stern was referring to her.
Eisenpress is facing an investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which can sanction a judge found guilty of misconduct. It’s unclear who filed the complaint against Eisenpress and whether it touches on the scheme and bribe.
The revelations have prompted Rockland Legislator Charles Falciglia to call for Eisenpress’ resignation.
“She had to know of this scheme,” said Falciglia, an anti-money laundering expert who has questioned how Eisenpress attracted many first-time donors who gave near-maximum contributions.
“Obviously, she was trying to influence the outcome of an election. It appears she’ll do anything to get elected,” he said. “This is the kind of person you want on the bench?”
Eisenpress’ campaign finances first came under public scrutiny in 2013, when the FBI announced six arrests in the sting operation targeting state Sen. Malcolm Smith, who was convicted of trying to bribe his way onto the New York City mayoral ballot.
It was revealed that the key FBI cooperator was Stern, who was a client of Eisenpress’ for at least eight years. Key straw donors in the case were identified as Joseph and Esther Markowitz of Monsey, who were listed as giving $20,000 to Eisenpress’ campaign either individually or through companies linked to their address.”
Read the complete Journal News story here.