Southern Brooklyn

Cymbrowitz Campaign Hires Kruger’s Scandal-Tarred Chief Of Staff

Jason Koppel (Source: Erica Sherman)

Former State Senator Carl Kruger’s chief of staff is heading back to work… on the reelection campaign of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz.

City and State revealed yesterday that Jason Koppel, who served as Kruger’s chief-of-staff and campaign treasurer, and whose name came up in at least one of the FBI’s probes into Kruger, is now working as a consultant for Team Cymbrowitz.

“I call him and ask him about things that are important to the community, and that’s the extent of it,” Cymbrowitz told City and State. “He’s very well-connected on my constituents issues.”

Koppel recently resigned as Kruger’s campaign treasurer, where he sat on a trove of $417,000 even though his old boss is behind bars. And, as the FBI probe into Kruger’s dealings became public, it was discovered that Koppel received a 40 percent raise over the 16 months of the investigation, making him the highest-paid legislative staffer in Albany, raking in $162,442 a year.

It is not yet known how much Cymbrowitz is paying Koppel for his consulting services, as his hiring came after the time period covered by Cymbrowitz’s latest campaign financial filings.

Besides his well-paid work for the now-imprisoned pol, Koppel’s name surfaced in an FBI investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of Rasputin Nightclub owner and Russian Dolls “star” Michael Levitis.

Levitis was recorded by an FBI informant saying he would help a fellow restaurateur gain favor with Kruger by passing a bribe off to Koppel after taking a cut for himself. He was sentenced to three years probation and fined $15,000 for lying to FBI agents.

All of that said, political observers are cautioning against guilt-by-association. City and State notes:

As a couple of Brooklyn political observers noted when contacted for this story, Koppel has been extremely thoroughly vetted since then — and never has been charged with any wrongdoing. That’s even as the U.S. attorney’s office recorded years of conversations among Kruger and others that were used as evidence against the senator, and Kruger himself cut a deal on a plea agreement.

Comment policy


  1. I think Steven Cymbrowitz has really lost it this time.  First he sucks up to the Russians, now he hired a Kruger flunkie.  

    He better start thinking of working in the private sector, cause I doubt he will ever get elected again.  But them again, he must feel sucking up to the Russians will get him back in office.  Hopefully it won’t.

    Cymbrowitz, you really blew with the AMERICANS born here.  SHAME ON YOU!!!

  2. Kreuger was accused of corruption 30 years ago, Cymbrowitz is just counting on the same expediency from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Figuring he will be dead before convicted. 

    The Brooklyn Democratic Machine firing on all cylinders of corruption.

  3. he sucks up to Russians? not true at all. He sucks up to very few Russians who gets money from him and give him back.

  4. Having worked part time for Kruger several years ago, I feel confident saying Koppel knew what was going on in every facet of his Carl’s life. 
    Jason was also one of the most callous persons I have ever met.

  5. “I call him and ask him about things that are important to the community, and that’s the extent of it,” Cymbrowitz told. “He’s very well-connected on my constituents issues.”  Let’s vote Cybrowitz out ASAP

  6. Having dealt with Jason, exclusively, whenever I had to call Senator Kruger’s office during the 10 years that I was an editorial assistant with the Bay News, I have to say that he was — contrary to your experience — one of the nicest, friendliest, most professional and accommodating public relations representatives I ever had to deal with.

  7. You had a brief career in Senator Kruger’s office because you were slow and incompetent. Glad we can add the word “vindictive” to your sorry resume.

  8. The reason I had a brief career was MY decision because I had to attend a funeral on a Friday and Koppel told me, “We work on Fridays.”  Very compassionate. 
    FYI, others in the Brooklyn office told me “to watch out for Jason” when I started.
    Also, he never said a word to me about my work habits.
    Get your facts straight, Worm.

  9. Yes, he had a cordial face for the media and the public and an insensitive private one, much like his mentor.

  10. If one wants to vote against Cymbrowitz because of his record or what he stands for, that is your right as an American.  What is wrong is the unfounded continued attacks and allegations against Mr. Koppel.  All that was ever alleged, is the unfounded allegations by the owner of Rasputin. What nobody ever says is that said owner was convicted and sentenced for lieing to the FBI about said allegations.  In the Indictment which led to Sen Kruger’s ultimate Federal Prison Term, the US Government revealed thousands of hours of phone and other conversations of the Senator and his cronies. What the US Government, in their Indictment alleged, was that there was only ONE BAG MAN (i.e, taker of bribes) for the Senator. That being his lover, who was also subsequently sentenced to Federal Prison Time for  his conduct.  The question you all have to ask, are you going to continue to believe unfounded rumors which have no basis of fact just because they are printed in Sheepsheadbites, NYPOST , or DAily News, or the thousands of hours of recordings made by the FBI and the statements and indictments filed by the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office. Me? I choose to follow the facts and not condemn a person just because of rumors. That is the American WAy. That is the same American Way which Cymbrowitz and Akselrod are both running hard and honorably to represent.

  11. Firstly, I disagree. They were both very kind to me, even after I was no longer in a position to provide press coverage. Furthermore, once upon a time, there was a 
    “proposed” comments policy, which stated that “Comments should be relevant to the post’s contents” and that “No personal attacks, either to business, agencies or people discussed above or to other commenters, are allowed under any circumstance.” Publicly stating that someone is  “one of the most callous persons” you have ever met is, to me, a defamation of character, but since the policy is merely “proposed” and not actually enforced, I guess your opinion is permitted in the fetid swamp that is this entire thread.

  12. Do you happen to have a link to those thousands of hours of FBI recordings? did you, yourself listen to those thousands of hours of FBI tapes?  are there unedited transcripts we can read?   without being able to listen to those tapes for ourselves we have absolutely no idea what was or wasn’t IN those tapes so just saying these tapes exist and the FBI chose to NOT pursue any legal action is kind of meaningless  because People caught in scandals make DEALS with the Feds all the time.. 🙂

    it was not a smart political move by Cymbrowitz… and that is something people will take into account when deciding if they want to vote for him.

  13. Jason Koppel has the right to defend himself. Deals got made with the FBI to get testimony and evidence against other players. If you believe Jason Koppel had no idea of bribes, I got a Brooklyn Bridge for sale .  

  14. Cymbrowitz and 
    Jason Koppel  are perfect together. Show Me Your Friends and I’ll Tell You Who You Are. Does anyone know if Cybrowitz visitedhis best friend Kruger?  Cybrowitz may say. “I call Kruger and ask him about things that are important to the community, and that’s the extent of it,” Cymbrowitz told. “He’s very well-connected on my constituents issues.”  

  15. In a country where you cant find a decent running mate for the Republican presidential candidate  how to  do expect Cymbrowitz to find a decent chief of staff

  16. Just to be clear: Cymbrowitz did not hire Koppel as a chief of staff. He’s a consultant on the campaign. Cymbrowitz’s chief of staff is very capable.

  17. What about the $2,500,000 million that was raised when Sammy the Bull Koppel was Kruger’s treasure? $2 Million was already paid for legal frees.  Was all that money kosher?  Kruger pleaded guilty to getting a lot of pocket change.  Did Koppel agree to go against Kruger to get the senators guilty plea? 


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