Rep. Meeks Has Phantom Campaign Office

Will Breddeman reports in the Observer that Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY) maintains a nonexistent office in the same building as his taxpayer-paid district Congressional office. From the story:

In 2010, the New York Post reported that Meeks’s Build America Political Action Committee paid $350 a month for Suite 535 at 153-01 Jamaica Avenue, in Jamaica, Queens. The problem, the tabloid noted, is that 153-01 Jamaica Avenue contains no Suite 535, and is in fact only three stories tall.

What the Post neglected to mention was that Meeks has reported the same phantom space as the headquarters of his two campaign committees, Friends for Gregory Meeks and Meeks for Congress, to the Federal Election Commission since late 2006. To this day, his periodic financial filings, his fundraiser invitations and his official campaign website all list this nonexistent office as the nexus and nerve-center of his political operations.

The Observer visited the location, and discovered the Meeks campaign and the Build America PAC are in fact lodged in Suite 205 of the building—directly adjacent to Suite 204, which serves as the congressman’s taxpayer-financed district office.

Meanwhile, a Meeks associate named Edul Ahmad was sentenced to two years in prison on April 21 for a multimillion-dollar mortgage-fraud scheme. Ahmad is a Guyanese-American “businessman” who preyed on unsophisticated Guyanese immigrants in New York City. He could have received six to seven years but was given a break because he testified against former New York State Senator John Sampson, who is himself on his way to prison for five years.

Between 1998 and 2008, Sampson allegedly embezzled approximately $440,000 from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties on which he was a court-appointed referee. The embezzlement charges were thrown out because the statute of limitations expired. The charges on which he was convicted relate to the cover-up.

Sampson tried to replace some of the stolen funds with the proceeds of an unsecured $188,500 “loan” from Ahmad.

Reportedly, the Sampson investigation was an extension of the investigation of Meeks prompted by newspaper headlines based on information provided by the National Legal and Policy Center. Beginning in 2010, we reviewed public documents connected to Meeks and his political network. Meeks was involved with a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation.

Among other irregularities, the group raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never received the money. Newspaper headlines about New Direction, starting with a New York Post exposé on January 31, 2010, apparently prompted a series of overlapping investigations.

Ahmad also “loaned” money to Meeks, who has extensive ties to Guyana. After the FBI started to scrutinize Meeks’ finances in 2010 after the New Direction stories, Meeks amended his Financial Disclosure Reports to show a $40,000 payment from Ahmad in 2007. Meeks claimed it was a loan, but there were no notes or payments until several years after the payment was made.

So why is Sampson on his way to prison and Meeks is still in the House? It’s very simple. Sampson held a state office. Meeks’ office is federal.

As we have noted before, the indictment of a sitting Congressman requires the approval of the Attorney General. Meeks has been extraordinary lucky that for the last eight years the two Attorney Generals have been Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. Both have strong ties to the Queens political machine and neither would ever allow the prosecution of Meeks.

Ethics watchdogs generally consider Meeks the most corrupt member of Congress. For his part, Meeks has been busy comparing President Trump to Vladimir Putin and demanding an independent counsel be appointed to investigate Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. During the campaign, Meeks called Trump a “con man” and a “fraud.”