LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Elliott Broidy, a major philanthropist in the Los Angeles Jewish community, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of rewarding official misconduct.
Broidy, also a leading investor in the Israeli economy, admitted that he made nearly $1 million in payoffs to four senior New York state officials as he pursued an investment from the state public pension fund, according to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
He has agreed to forfeit $18 million in management fees and faces up to four years in prison, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The development is part of Cuomo’s wide-ranging pay-to-play probe on whether decisions about how to invest retirees’ money in the giant pension fund were wrongly influenced by money and politics.
Cuomo said that Broidy has acknowledged paying at least $75,000 for high-price luxury trips to Italy and Israel for a top official in the New York state comptroller’s office and his relatives. Several media sources quoted unnamed sources identifying the official as the former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi; his lawyer reportedly declined to comment.
By raising $800 million, Broidy turned his Markstone Capital Group into the largest private equity fund in Israel at a time when the intifada was at its height and most investors were shunning the Jewish state.
In Los Angeles, Broidy has been a major donor to the United Jewish Fund and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. He is a trustee of the University of Southern California and USC Hillel, as well as the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and has served on the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion board of governors.
He is credited with revitalizing the dormant California-Israel Chamber of Commerce in the mid-1990s, together with Stanley Gold and Stanley Chais. Gold is president and CEO of Shamrock Holdings and outgoing president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Chais, a large contributor to Israeli and Jewish causes, faces three legal actions as an alleged middleman for Bernard Madoff.
Broidy has also been a GOP heavy hitter, serving as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and a top fund-raiser for the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush in 2004 and Sen. John McCain in 2008.
Gold said that he has known Broidy for some 20 years and worked with him on behalf of the local Jewish federation and Wilshire Boulevard Temple, as well as the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
“Elliott has given freely of his time and energy to the community, of which he has been an outstanding member,” Gold said. “Our hearts go out to him and his family at this difficult time.”
Gold added that “Elliott is a decent and good man. It is not my style to desert a friend in his hour of need.”
Broidy’s New York attorney, Christopher Clark, issued a statement saying that his client “regrets the actions that brought about this course of events, but is pleased to have resolved this matter with the New York Attorney General and will be cooperating in the ongoing investigation.”
Clark also said that Broidy has "resigned from all operational, supervisory, and other roles at the firm of Markstone Partners in order to focus his attention on legal matters."