Del. Developer Pleads to Illegal Campaign Contributions - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Developer Pleads to Illegal Campaign Contributions

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: CBS) (Photo: CBS)

DOVER, Del. (AP)- A prominent Delaware developer pleaded guilty Tuesday to making illegal campaign contributions to Gov. Jack Markell in 2008.
 
Michael Zimmerman, 56, was immediately sentenced to one year probation as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.
 
"This agreement closes the criminal investigation," deputy attorney general Sean Lugg told Superior Court Judge Robert Young.
 
Zimmerman pleaded guilty to making campaign contributions without divulging their true source.
 
Campaign finance records show contributions to Markell in 2008 from Zimmerman, his family members and business partners.
 
"I understand I was wrong," Zimmerman told the judge. "It was my fault and no one else's."
 
"I'm embarrassed for my family, my family name," added Zimmerman, whose father was a state senator.
 
Zimmerman was ordered to pay a fine of $21,600 and perform 50 hours of community service.
 
Dan Lyons, Zimmerman's attorney, said the $21,600 represents three times the amount of illegal campaign donations Zimmerman made, which would amount to $7,200, or six of the maximum $1,200 individual contributions allowed under state law.
 
But Martin Lessner, an attorney for the Markell for Delaware campaign, said Tuesday that a special prosecutor appointed by Attorney General Beau Biden to investigate campaign finances in Delaware had identified 13 improper contributions from Zimmerman to Markell of $1,200 each, or a total of $15,600.
 
Lessner also said special prosecutor E. Norman Veasey had told the Markell campaign that making charitable donations in an amount equal to the illegal campaign contributions would be an appropriate remedy.
 
In an email, Lessner said the campaign "has been in touch with Mr. Veasey about the unlawful contributions he alleges involve Mr. Zimmerman ... and has donated to charity the contributions he identified."
 
Last week, another politically connected businessman, Kemal Erkan, admitted making a total of $1,500 in illegal campaign contributions to Markell.  In return, Veasey, a retired chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, agreed not to seek criminal charges against Erkan, the CEO of United Medical LLC, a Newark, N.J.-based health care management firm.
 
Erkan acknowledged making six contributions of $250 each in the names of other individuals, then reimbursing six United Medical employees for contributions they purportedly made. In a deal with Veasey, Erkan and his company were ordered to pay $7,500 each, and Erkan must perform 100 hours of community service. According to a United Medical website, Erkan served on finance committees for Markell, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John Carney.
 
No charges have been brought against any political candidates or office holders in Delaware as the result of state and federal campaign finance investigations.
 
Beau Biden appointed Veasey as an independent counsel and special prosecutor in 2011 amid a campaign finance probe that involved Biden's father, Vice President Joe Biden. The probe centered on a federal investigation of Christopher Tigani, who pleaded guilty to using his family's alcoholic beverage distributorship to make illegal campaign contributions to state and federal candidates, including Joe Biden.
 
Beau Biden, who also received campaign contributions from Tigani, recused himself from the investigation.
 
Tigani was sentenced last year to two years in prison on federal charges of illegal campaign contributions and income tax fraud. In May, he was sentenced in state court to probation after pleading guilty in a related state case, which included illegal contributions to Markell.
 
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors charged Zimmerman earlier this year with conspiracy, money laundering and making false statements to a financial institution amid an investigation of the lending practices of the failed Wilmington Trust bank.
 
Prosecutors allege that Zimmerman obtained more than $37 million in financing from Wilmington Trust for three construction projects, then diverted construction loans for unauthorized purposes.
 
In a court filing Monday, federal prosecutors charged one of Zimmerman's business partners, Salvatore Leone, with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
 
Joseph Terranova, a former Wilmington Trust executive who worked closely with Zimmerman, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
 
Wilmington Trust also is the subject of a securities class-action lawsuit alleging that senior officers and executives played fast and loose with the company's real estate loan portfolio, perpetrating a fraud that led to the demise of the 107-year-old bank.

 

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Aquariums Oppose New Rules on Ocean Sound Blasting

    Aquariums Oppose New Rules on Ocean Sound Blasting

    Tuesday, December 11 2018 3:41 AM EST2018-12-11 08:41:58 GMT
    Tuesday, December 11 2018 3:41 AM EST2018-12-11 08:41:58 GMT
    Shot of seagull overlooking Lewes Beach (Source: Amber Muehlemann, WBOC)Shot of seagull overlooking Lewes Beach (Source: Amber Muehlemann, WBOC)
    Shot of seagull overlooking Lewes Beach (Source: Amber Muehlemann, WBOC)Shot of seagull overlooking Lewes Beach (Source: Amber Muehlemann, WBOC)
    A group of aquariums says it's opposed to seismic blasting along the East Coast as part of efforts to extract offshore oil and gas.More
    A group of aquariums says it's opposed to seismic blasting along the East Coast as part of efforts to extract offshore oil and gas.More
  • Firefly Music Festival Releases 2019 Lineup

    Firefly Music Festival Releases 2019 Lineup

    Monday, December 10 2018 9:47 PM EST2018-12-11 02:47:25 GMT
    Monday, December 10 2018 11:54 PM EST2018-12-11 04:54:40 GMT
    (Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)(Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)
    (Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)(Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)
    The Firefly Music Festival is one again returning to the Woodlands for it's eighth festival-- and Monday, event organizers released the lineup of performers.More
    The Firefly Music Festival is one again returning to the Woodlands for it's eighth festival-- and Monday, event organizers released the lineup of performers. More
  • New Exhibit in Delaware Focuses on WWI Illustrations

    New Exhibit in Delaware Focuses on WWI Illustrations

    Monday, December 10 2018 11:35 PM EST2018-12-11 04:35:39 GMT
    Monday, December 10 2018 11:35 PM EST2018-12-11 04:35:39 GMT
    DOVER, Del. -- A new exhibit in features illustrations painted by Delaware artists that were commissioned during World War I. The Delaware National Guard’s American Illustration Collection opened Monday at the Delaware Public Archives in Dover. The More
    DOVER, Del. -- A new exhibit in features illustrations painted by Delaware artists that were commissioned during World War I. The Delaware National Guard’s American Illustration Collection opened Monday at the Delaware Public Archives in Dover. The More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • After Nativity Scene Removal, Rehoboth Beach Considers New Policy

    After Nativity Scene Removal, Rehoboth Beach Considers New Policy

    Monday, December 10 2018 5:26 PM EST2018-12-10 22:26:21 GMT
    Monday, December 10 2018 5:26 PM EST2018-12-10 22:26:21 GMT
    Photo courtesy: Patty DerrickPhoto courtesy: Patty Derrick
    Photo courtesy: Patty DerrickPhoto courtesy: Patty Derrick
    REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- After the removal of a nativity scene on city property, the city of Rehoboth Beach is already looking towards next year. "The city will work with the local council of religious organizations to presenta plan for the possibilities ofMore
    REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- After the removal of a nativity scene on city property, the city of Rehoboth Beach is already looking towards next year. "The city will work with the local council of religious organizations to present a plan for the possibilities ofMore
  • Firefly Music Festival Releases 2019 Lineup

    Firefly Music Festival Releases 2019 Lineup

    Monday, December 10 2018 9:47 PM EST2018-12-11 02:47:25 GMT
    Monday, December 10 2018 11:54 PM EST2018-12-11 04:54:40 GMT
    (Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)(Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)
    (Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)(Photo credit: Firefly Music Festival)
    The Firefly Music Festival is one again returning to the Woodlands for it's eighth festival-- and Monday, event organizers released the lineup of performers.More
    The Firefly Music Festival is one again returning to the Woodlands for it's eighth festival-- and Monday, event organizers released the lineup of performers. More
  • "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Receives Backlash

    "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Receives Backlash

    Monday, December 10 2018 4:49 PM EST2018-12-10 21:49:21 GMT
    Monday, December 10 2018 4:49 PM EST2018-12-10 21:49:54 GMT
    A Christmas song that has warmed people's hearts for decades is now giving some people chills.More
    A Christmas song that has warmed people's hearts for decades is now giving some people chills.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • After Nativity Scene Removal, Rehoboth Beach Considers New Policy

    After Nativity Scene Removal, Rehoboth Beach Considers New Policy

    After the removal of a nativity scene on city property, the city of Rehoboth Beach is already looking towards next year.

    "The city will work with the local council of religious organizations to present
    a plan for the possibilities of an all inclusive display within city limits," Mayor Paul Kuhns announced at Monday morning's Commissioner Workshop.

    More

    After the removal of a nativity scene on city property, the city of Rehoboth Beach is already looking towards next year.

    "The city will work with the local council of religious organizations to present
    a plan for the possibilities of an all inclusive display within city limits," Mayor Paul Kuhns announced at Monday morning's Commissioner Workshop.

    More
  • "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Receives Backlash

    "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Receives Backlash

    A Christmas song that has warmed people's hearts for decades is now giving some people chills. WBOC's Caroline Coles reports.

    More

    A Christmas song that has warmed people's hearts for decades is now giving some people chills. WBOC's Caroline Coles reports.

    More
  • First Snow of Season Reaches Delmarva

    First Snow of Season Reaches Delmarva

    Sunday's snowfall caught many people on Delmarva by surprise. But many spent their Monday clearing away what's left of the early-season storm, including waterman Norman Schuyler.

    Despite two inches of ice and snow as well as freezing temperatures, Schuyler spent time in the cold fixing his boat.

    More

    Sunday's snowfall caught many people on Delmarva by surprise. But many spent their Monday clearing away what's left of the early-season storm, including waterman Norman Schuyler.

    Despite two inches of ice and snow as well as freezing temperatures, Schuyler spent time in the cold fixing his boat.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices