9/24/12

Jeff Feldman: the Brooklyn Boss's Right-Hand Man

As Frank Seddio steps into Vito Lopez's shoes as boss of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Jeff Feldman, the man who ran the day-to-day operations of the Brooklyn Democratic machine under Howard Golden, Clarence Norman and Vito Lopez, has joined Seddio as his right-hand-man.

Like the powerful bosses he has served over the decades, Feldman, husband of State Supreme Court Justice Marsha Steinhardt, has had his legal troubles.

On January 30, 2006, Brooklyn DA Charlie Hynes, after indicting former Brooklyn Democratic boss Clarence Norman, indicted Feldman, then executive director of the Kings County Democratic County Committee, on multiple counts of extortion, grand larceny, attempted grand larceny and conspiracy in the alleged shakedown of three Civil Court primary candidates in 2002.

According to the indictment, Feldman and Norman brought the candidates to the offices of the Kings County Democratic County Committee that summer to talk campaigns. During the meeting, Norman threatened that any candidate who refused to accept his choice of campaign mailers would be dumped by the party.

Two of the candidates accused Norman and Feldman of trying to bully and threaten them into handing over $16,000 for Norman’s assembly district and districts nearby. One candidate, threatened with the withdrawal of the party's support on the eve of the primary, gave a $9,000 check to a Norman agent.

Hynes reportedly only indicted Feldman under pressure from black elected officials in Brooklyn who accused Hynes of racism for singling out Norman for prosecution.

Feldman, represented by high-profile defense attorney Ben Brafman, turned down Hynes's offer to nolle prosse the charges in exchange for his testimony against Norman, then testified anyway.

Before Norman was convicted of extortion, Hynes, perhaps fearing Brafman would hurt his chances of convicting Norman, dropped all charges against Feldman.

With Norman sentenced to jail, Feldman went to work for new Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez. 

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