BUFFALO - For the third time in ten-months, political operative Steve Pigeon today was in a court being charged with a crime.
This time is was in a federal courtroom. Before Magistrate Michael Roemer, a criminal complaint was opened and read to Pigeon. In it, the long-time Democratic power-broker Pigeon is accused of facilitating an illegal campaign donation and conspiracy.
Pigeon entered a not-guilty plea. The case is now added to two other criminal cases lodged against him.
Pigeon pleaded not guilty to unrelated bribery charges in a case that is headed to trial this fall, and last month he pled not guilty, along with his co-defendants Kristy Mazurek and David Pfaff, to allegedly violating state election laws.
But today's federal charges feature something the others don't: a connection to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Acting US Attorney J.P. Kennedy says the case centers on a consulting/lobbying client of Pigeon's.
"One of his clients was a Canadian online gaming company was based in Montreal and was founded and operated by a Canadian national. That Canadian national company paid Mr. Pigeon $388,000 between 2010 and 2015,” says Kennedy.
The federal criminal complaint lays out how Pigeon allegedly assisted this CEO in making a campaign donation of $25,000 to a "public official" running for re-election to a statewide office in 2014.
The Canadian CEO and the public official were not names in the complaint and Kennedy declined to identify them.
But Pigeon's attorney, Paul Cambria did shed some light on their identities. Speaking to reporters after the arraignment, Cambria said, "There's a charge basically saying that a contribution was made by a Canadian to one of the Cuomo events. A lawyer from Florida actually made the donation.”
In the complaint, the fed say the illegal donation was made on a specific date: February 25th, 2014.
According to state records, the only $25,000 the Cuomo campaign received on that date came from attorney Marlon Goldstein of Hollywood, Florida.
Multiple on-line business directories and news stories identify a Marlon D. Goldstein, of Florida, as the general counsel and executive vice president of Amaya, an internet gaming company based in Montreal.
On the company website, Amaya identifies multiple online gambling sites including Poker Stars, Full Tilt and BetStars.
In 2014, the CEO of Amaya was David Baazov. But stepped-away from, the post after reports Canadian authorities were investigating Baazov for possible insider trading violations.
Neither Amaya or Goldstein returned message to discuss today's announced federal charges against Pigeon.
2 On-Your-Side also reached out to the office of Governor Cuomo. A spokesman indicted a statement would be released by the governor's campaign staff, but as of this writing, we have not received it.