Brooklyn Democratic Party pays Steve Richman as consultant

Brooklyn Democratic Party pays Steve Richman as consultant

An attorney who recently pleaded guilty to abusing his office by sexually harassing two subordinates serves as a paid election consultant for the Brooklyn Democratic Party — and even spoke on behalf of party leaders during their botched organizational meeting this week, the Daily News has learned.

Steve Richman, who resigned as the city Board of Elections’ top lawyer last year while under investigation over the harassment accusations, can be seen in a photo obtained by The News at the party’s bi-annual committee meeting in Coney Island on Wednesday night.

Due to technical glitches and other mishaps, the chaotic meeting ran so late that the venue cut the power, prompting party leaders to call it a night before any formal business got done. Richman, two sources in attendance said, stood up several times to defend party brass when frustrated members voiced displeasure about how the meeting was playing out.

One of the sources recalled to The News that he had no clue who Richman was, thinking to himself: “Who is this guy?”

State Board of Elections filings show Richman has been doing work for the Brooklyn Democratic Party for months, though.

The party paid Richman $2,395 for “professional services” on June 2 — the same day that the city Department of Investigation announced he had pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor official misconduct over allegations that he sexually harassed an intern and another subordinate while serving as the Board of Elections’ chief counsel. He resigned as chief counsel in January 2021 after it became known that he was under investigation.

According to prosecutors, Richman convinced the two subordinates to let him perform “physical fitness assessments” on them, claiming it was a necessary part of screening them for security guard jobs.

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DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber said in a statement in June that Richman performed the assessments for his own pleasure. “This conduct is not only outrageous and shameful — it is criminal,” Strauber said.

Still, the Brooklyn Democratic Party paid Richman another $1,000 on July 11, again for “professional services,” state records show. In March and April, the party also paid him $1,532 in three separate installments for the same services, according to the records.

Reached by phone Friday afternoon, Richman declined to disclose what type of work he’s doing for the party, telling The News ”I have nothing to say” before hanging up.

Bob Liff, a spokesman for Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s chairwoman, said Richman is hired to do “consulting on election procedures” for the party. Liff also said Richman was at the party’s Coney Island meeting in a “volunteer capacity.”

The Richman revelations come as the Brooklyn Democratic Party remains in disarray in the wake of Wednesday night’s fiasco.

Since the meeting got cut short, the most consequential business of the evening — selecting the party’s next chair — did not happen.

Bichotte Hermelyn, who plans to seek another term as chair despite concerns over a series of internal scandals under her leadership, said in a statement Friday that the party will reconvene a meeting to finish up outstanding matters at some point before Oct. 6. She also offered a mea culpa.

“We are deeply apologetic that the meeting could not be conducted as intended,” Bichotte Hermelyn’s statement said.

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