New York City lobbyist Richard Lipsky was sentenced to three months in prison Friday after he pleaded guilty to bribing former State Sen. Carl Kruger. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Lobbyist Richard Lipsky is best known in the city's political circles as a fierce advocate for the underdog: small mom-and-pop bodegas, businesses fighting the onslaught of big box retailers and groups trying to stop development projects like Willets Point and Columbia University's expansion.
But that work came to an abrupt end when Lipsky was charged in a high-profile bribery case last year. He pleaded guilty to giving former Democratic State Sen. Carl Kruger up to $200,000 in bribes.
Kruger was sentenced to seven years in prison. On Friday, a federal judge sentenced Lipsky to three months behind bars.
Lipsky apologized in court and said that throughout his career, he fought for people who didn't have the resources to fight City Hall. He said that at some point, though, "I simply forgot everything I had learned and lived by."
Dozens of friends, relatives, business associates and clients wrote the judge, asking that he be lenient when sentencing Lipsky. Businessman John Catsimatidis, who has considered running for mayor, was among them. Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf wrote in as well.
It seems Lipsky got off with a much lighter sentence because he has been cooperating with the government. The judge said he deserved substantial credit for opening up.
But the judge also said that he thought some prison time was necessary. He said that in some ways, official corruption has to be ranked among the most evil of crimes because it undermines the ideals of democracy.