State senator’s top aide resigns, ahead of new FBI mortgage fraud probe

John Sampson
John Sampson

Paul Rivera, a top aide to embattled Brooklyn State Senator John Sampson, has stepped down, following a new FBI probe into Sampson’s role in a $14 million mortgage fraud case. The New York Daily News reported that Paul Rivera, who worked on Al Gore’s 2000 White House campaign, left his position Tuesday “in the nick of time,” raising eyebrows in Albany.

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Rivera denied that his resignation had anything to do with Friday’s revelation that the FBI was conducting a new criminal investigation into Sampson alleged acceptance of improper payments from Guyanese broker and real estate magnate Edul Ahmad. In October, Ahmad pleaded guilty in the mortgage fraud case.

But political  insiders told the Daily News that Rivera had been talking privately about leaving his job for some time, and that his departure was spurred by Sampson’s loss of his position as head of the Senate Democratic conference in mid-December. Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers has since replaced Sampson as the head of the conference. [NYDN] —Christopher Cameron