Another New York real estate developer admits to meddling with local elections

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A few weeks ago, Kenneth Nakdimen, a New York real estate developer admitted in court that he tried to interfere with a local election, including using fake voters, to try to advance stalled construction projects.

Nakdimen now faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process.

And Tuesday, one of Nakdimen’s co-conspirators, Shalom Lamm, pleaded guilty to similar charges for his role in trying to sway a mayoral election in Bloomingburg, New York.

As with Nakdimen, court documents related to Lamm’s case revealed that Lamm and Nakdimen began trying to develop real estate in the Bloomingburg area in 2006.

According to court documents, the developers hoped to make “hundreds of millions of dollars” from the developments. But, by 2013, the first of the real estate developments was slowed by local opposition, still remained under construction, and was “uninhabitable,” court documents said.

When faced with that local opposition, Lamm and Nakdimen decided not to try to advance their real estate development project through “legitimate means,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said.

Instead, Lamm and Nakdimen attempted to corrupt the electoral process in Bloomingburg in a March 2014 mayoral election by falsely registering voters and paying bribes to voters who would help elect public officials that were favorable to their project.

Specifically, Lamm and Nakdimen developed and worked on a plan to falsely register people to vote in Bloomingburg despite the fact that the people in questions were not eligible to vote in the local election because they actually lived somewhere else.

“Those people included some who never intended to live in Bloomingburg, some who had never kept a home in Bloomingburg, and indeed, some who had never set foot in Bloomingburg in their lives,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Additionally, Lamm and Nakdimen “took steps to cover up their scheme to register voters who did not actually live in Bloomingburg by, among other things, creating and back-dating false leases and placing items like toothbrushes and toothpaste in unoccupied apartments to make it seem as if the falsely registered voters lived there,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Court documents also showed that Lamm and Nakdimen bribed potential voters by offering payments, subsidies, and other items of value to get the non-residents of Bloomingburg to register unlawfully and vote there.

As Nakdimen did before him, Lamm pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“As he has now admitted, Shalom Lamm conspired to advance his real estate development project by corrupting the democratic process, specifically by falsely registering voters,” Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim said. “The integrity of our electoral process must be inviolate at every level; our democracy depends on it.”

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