6 charged in alleged straw donor scheme to help get Eric Adams elected New York City mayor
Jul 7, 2023, 8:32 AM
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Six people were charged Friday in an alleged scheme to divert tens of thousands of dollars in public funds to New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign months before his election.
The indictment announced by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg does not implicate Adams or any other city employees. Rather, it describes a straw donor scheme orchestrated by individuals with business before the city who hoped to maximize their donations to the future mayor in exchange for political favors.
“We allege a deliberate scheme to game the system in a blatant attempt to gain power,” Bragg said in a statement. “The New York City Campaign Finance Board program is meant to support our democracy and amplify the voices of New York City voters. When the integrity of that program is corrupted, all New Yorkers suffer.”
Prosecutors said the scheme was led by Dwayne Montgomery, a former NYPD inspector currently listed as the director of integrity for the Teamsters Local 237, which represents municipal workers.
According to the indictment, Montgomery recruited friends and relatives to take advantage of the city’s generous matching funds system, which provides an eight-to-one match for the first $250 donated by a city resident.
In addition to Montgomery, the indictment names as defendants Shamsuddin Riza, Millicent Redick, Ronald Peek, Yahya Mushtaq, and Shahid Mushtaq.
According to prosecutors, between 2020 and 2021, those who made donations in their own name were reimbursed by Montgomery, who provided more than $40,000 of his money. He worked with a string of co-defendants to help recruit donors, including Riza, who indicated he was hoping to secure work from the city.
“FYI ! This is the one I want , Safety , Drywall , and Security one project but we all can eat,” Riza wrote in a July 2021 email to Montgomery, sending along the information for a construction project called Vital Brooklyn, prosecutors allege.
Montgomery also worked alongside a campaign representative to organize a virtual fundraiser for Adams in August, 2020, prosecutors contend. The representative is not named in the indictment.
None of the defendants could immediately be reached for comment.
Adams’ campaign released a statement denying any involvement in the alleged scheme.
“There is no indication that the campaign or the mayor is involved in this case or under investigation,” a spokesperson for Adams’ campaign, Evan Thies, said in a statement. “The campaign always held itself to the highest standards and we would never tolerate these actions.”
The defendants each face charges of conspiracy, attempted grand larceny, and offering a false instrument.