Nassau Community College trustee Michael Freeman was among seven people charged with participating in a scheme in which real estate developers paid bribes and kickbacks in exchange for contracts from New York City’s affordable housing agency, the Associated Press report.
Six developers and contractors were also charged in connection with the probe, write Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz at NBC New York.
NYPD, the Department of Investigation, Housing and Urban Development and IRS officials assisted the FBI in the probe.
United States Attorney Lynch commented:
“New Yorkers relied on these defendants for the safe haven of affordable housing. Instead, the defendants allegedly put their own greed over the needs of low-, moderate- and middle-income NewYorkers. As detailed in the government’s indictment and other court filings, the defendants corruptly lined their own pockets by stealing millions of dollars in public funds dedicated to affordable housing… In doing so, they undermined HPD’s mission and cheated the taxpayers, who ultimately fund that mission.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated:
“This scheme involved, among others, a public official and two attorneys, people with an ethical duty to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. As alleged, these defendants went way beyond that. They engaged in collusive criminal conduct that enriched them and victimized taxpayers.”
Freeman is a real estate attorney. He was appointed a trustee of the college in 2009 by Gov. David Paterson and became chairman last year.
John Durson, the vice chairman of the board, told Newsday that Freeman showed “passion and dedication” in serving the school. But Durson did comment that it was right for him to resign. Freeman tendered his resignation Thursday.
Freeman has pleaded innocent.