Monday, April 18, 2011
Kruger aide climbed pay scale as feds closed in
A top aide scrutinized in the federal pay-to-play probe that snared his boss, state Sen. Carl Kruger, is raking in a $162,442-a-year salary -- the highest of any staffer in the state Legislature, The Post has learned.
Jason Koppel, 34, the embattled Brooklyn Democrat's chief of staff and campaign manager, saw his salary rise 40 percent -- or $47,128 -- over the 16-month period ending January 2010.
The pay hikes came as the feds stepped up an investigation into Kruger that also looked at Koppel, according to sources and court documents.
Kruger even backdated the last raise three months, in essence giving Koppel a $6,700-plus bonus, records show.
That put his 2010 earnings at $169,228 -- more than double Kruger's $79,500 legislative salary.
Koppel has never been charged.
"Given the stink surrounding Kruger, [Koppel's] huge salary doesn't smell right at all," said Dick Dadey, of watchdog group Citizens Union.
Days after The Post inquired about his salary, Koppel told the Senate's payroll office he'd be taking a $27,000 pay cut, effective within weeks.
Kruger is charged with trading political favors over five years for more than $1 million in bribes that his live-in boyfriend, Manhattan gynecologist Dr. Michael Turano, allegedly helped launder.