Accused orchestrator of illegal straw donor scheme for Adams 2021 campaign pleads guilty

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By Dan Sears

Retired NYPD inspector Dwayne Montgomery pleaded guilty Monday to one count of fifth-degree conspiracy for his role in an alleged straw donor scheme to boost Mayor Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign.

Montgomery will be barred from organizing any political fundraisers and soliciting campaign donations for at least one year. He will also be required to pay a $500 fine and complete 200 hours of community service at the nonprofit Brooklyn Combine, which supports young people in underserved communities.

Montgomery is not expected to serve jail time for the class A misdemeanor, provided he is not rearrested, Judge Althea Drysdale said at Manhattan Criminal Court.

Formal sentencing for Montgomery is anticipated in April. He was one of six men charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office last July in the alleged straw donor scheme. Two of the other men pleaded guilty last fall.

Montgomery’s attorneys declined to comment to a Gothamist reporter after his court appearance Monday morning.

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Straw donors are people who receive money to contribute to a political campaign in their own names to circumvent official limits on donations. In New York City, such schemes can exploit the city’s longstanding public matching program, which provides qualifying campaigns with taxpayer money based on how many small-dollar donations they bring in.

Federal officials are also investigating Adams’ campaign and seized his phone last year. Neither the mayor nor his campaign have been accused of wrongdoing and both have said they are cooperating with authorities.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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