By LAURA ITALIANO and LARRY CELONA, October 13, 2008
The winner of September's primary race for surrogate judge in Manhattan is under investigation for allegedly disguising $270,000 in 11th-hour contributions as a transfer from her own assets, The Post has learned.
Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau's office is scrutinizing one $100,000 payment Nora Anderson made to her campaign on Aug. 20 and two more, for $20,000 and $150,000, on Aug. 26, according to a source familiar with the probe.
"It's a violation of election law, at the least," said the source. "She devised a way to get hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Candidates may make unlimited donations to their campaigns from their own assets, but contributions from others are capped at $32,000. Investigators hope to finish their probe before Anderson, 56, takes office in January, the source said.
Anderson, a former Surrogate's Court chief clerk, declined to comment on her campaign finances. "I am looking forward to serving all who made it possible to win decisively," she said.
Her campaign manager, Michael Oliva, flatly denied that the money was from an improper source.
"It's absolutely her own money," he said.
Anderson won handily in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, collecting 48 percent of the vote boroughwide. She defeated John Reddy, the counsel to the public administrator - the office that disposes of the estates of those who die with no heirs - and Milton Tingling, a sitting Supreme Court justice.
She does not face a Republican challenger in the Nov. 4 general election.
The position pays $136,700 annually.
Anderson's finances first attracted negative attention in July, when she declared in a filing that she borrowed $225,000 loan from a colleague.
There is no limit on loans, but funds must be repaid before the election, or they're treated as contributions.