Taxi bribe attempt to highlight the lavish lifestyle of Melrose Credit Union CEO Alan Kaufman while drivers suffered
Prosecutors say Kaufman received gifts like rent-free housing and lavish dinners from Georgiton, the former president of a major taxi fleet manager in Queens. In return, Kaufman personally approved more than $ 80 million in low-cost loans, the government says, and made Melrose pay $ 2 million for $ 50,000 worth of naming rights to an Astoria ballroom that it owns from is located Georgiton.
Kaufman was also accused of soliciting and pocketing kickbacks from CBS Radio, the Jets, and Madison Square Garden in exchange for Melrose buying more ads.
Georgiton pleaded guilty. But Kaufman is fighting prosecutors, and his trial is expected to take at least two weeks.
Kaufman did not want to comment on this article, nor did his lawyer Nelson Boxer. The US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan did not respond.
Kaufman’s defense lawyers say he’s wrongly taking the overthrow for a decimated industry.
Prosecutors might not be throwing the book at Kaufman if it hadn’t been for terrible stories, like the one about Melrose client Kenny Chow killing himself after using his home as collateral for more than $ 600,000 in loans would have.
The CEO treated the credit union run by his father and grandfather as if it were his. But followers say he has already been punished for it. They say Melrose’s failure didn’t cost depositors a penny, even though it cost the federal government about $ 700 million.
Boxer’s job is to convince the jury that his client cannot be compared to the banker Lionel Barrymore in. portrayed It is a wonderful life rather, the guy who helped the people portrayed by Tony Danza and Christopher Lloyd on the classic sitcom taxi.
It won’t be an easy sale.
The records show that Kaufman was a careless banker. According to the government, Taxi Medallion loans made up more than 70% of Melrose’s portfolio – a ridiculous level of focus. However, as we learned after the financial crisis, wrongly running a financial institution is not necessarily a crime.
Looting one is another matter, however, and the 20,000 members of Melrose – many of them immigrants who work hard hours – didn’t know they were subsidizing the CEO’s lifestyle.
When Melrose sank under a load of bad and defaulted loans, Kaufman attempted to rake in a $ 8 million deferred compensation package before leaving in 2016, 1998. The board was never told that the credit union Kaufman and his family were responsible for the Renting limousines is paid for personal use, the government said.
Kaufman’s side counters that the loans to Georgiton were not on favorable terms. And while the CEO was not billed for rent to live in a Jericho, LI home owned by Georgiton, Kaufman paid certain taxes and fees related to the property. (The government said Kaufman forged Georgiton’s name on the checks.)
Georgiton is not expected to testify in the process, and he has not agreed to cooperate with the government as part of his plea deal. When convicted, he apologized for his actions, but US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan refused to.
“That wasn’t a mistake,” said Kaplan. “That wasn’t a misjudgment. This was a longstanding behavior that was essentially corrupt. “
The prosecutors wanted two years in the slammer for Georgiton. However, Kaplan sentenced him to three years probation for not wanting to jail a 63-year-old man while Covid-19 was raging.
“It’s a difficult balance to find,” the judge admitted.
That was two months ago. The coronavirus is currently less prevalent and vaccines are available. When convicted in court, Kaufman wonders if the pandemic is still bad enough to keep him from being locked up.
That’s a goddamn thought to have on your mind.