Former restaurant operator charged with stealing thousands from Albany mayor’s campaign fund

ALBANY — A former campaign aide to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday and…

ALBANY — A former campaign aide to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday and charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her campaign accounts, including thefts that were made using credit cards and forged checks, according to court records.

Scott R. Solomon, 34, who last year leased the recently shuttered Siro’s Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, turned himself in to State Police at the Capitol on Tuesday and was released after his arraignment. Solomon had limited involvement with Siro’s this past summer but had held the establishment’s liquor license in his name.

Solomon’s attorney, Andrew Safranko, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sheehan and her chief of staff, David Galin, gave sworn statements to investigators outlining how Solomon had been enlisted as a fundraising consultant for the campaign in October 2017 and had allegedly systematically misused a campaign credit card to make nearly $22,000 in unauthorized personal expenses.

Sheehan told police that Solomon had convinced her to obtain a credit card for the campaign in 2017, which she did using her Social Security number. Earlier this year, Sheehan received an alert from the credit card company that the account was overdue. Galin reviewed the account, finding $21,949 in unauthorized expenditures, including interest and fees.

“Several of the unauthorized charges on the Capital One card include KeyBank cash advances, PayPal transfers, a cash withdrawal from Saratoga Federal Credit Union, MoneyGram payments, dry cleaning services and food from a variety of eateries,” Galin said in a deposition. “At no time was Scott authorized to use the credit card for personal expenses of any type, as doing so would be a violation of campaign finance law.”

Sheehan, in her deposition, said Solomon had only been authorized to pay campaign debts with the credit card. She said that in March 2018 — four months after her re-election — Solomon told her the credit card account had been closed.

“In January of 2020, I learned that Scott had not paid off the accounts and that he had charged thousands of dollars on the card without permission,” Sheehan said in a sworn statement. “I was personally liable for these charges because the card was in my name.”

In an interview Tuesday, Sheehan said she had considered Solomon a friend and had visited his father in hospice when he was sick.

“It was stunning to learn how far this went, and it’s very disappointing,” Sheehan said. “Some things started to come to light that caused us to start to take a closer look. This has been something that’s been going on for several months now.”

Galin, in his statement to investigators, said he also reviewed the Friends of Kathy Sheehan PayPal account dating to 2014 and discovered dozens of transfers — more than $15,200 — to three entities: Solomon and two limited liability corporations that list addresses at Solomon’s childhood home in Delmar.

“Based on the transactions in the PayPal account, I believe Scott fraudulently obtained at least an estimated $15,239.35 in campaign funds from the PayPal account,” Galin said. “At no time was Scott authorized to use the PayPal account for personal expenses, as doing such would be a violation of campaign finance law.”

Galin told investigators he believed Solomon had also “misappropriated” more than $28,200 from the Friends of Kathy Sheehan campaign.

The mayor and Galin also said Solomon also had cashed a $2,000 check that was made out to him by the campaign that he had claimed was a downpayment for a fundraiser at Wolfert’s Roost Country Club. He also had allegedly forged and tried to cash a $9,475 check that was made out to the private club.

Galin, in a deposition, said that he contacted Wolfert’s Roost in December and learned that the campaign still owed the club $11,901 for a golf tournament fundraiser the mayor’s campaign had held there.

Siro’s, the well-known Saratoga Springs restaurant was shut down by the city last month because a required insurance certificate submitted to the city was fake, officials said. The notice shuttering the business was addressed to Solomon.

Siro’s, which is only open during the Saratoga Race Course’s summer meet, is one of the most famed restaurants in the city. Jimmy Siro, maitre d’ at the Waldorf Astoria, purchased the Lincoln Avenue restaurant in 1945. The institution has drawn the city’s racing elite ever since.

In February, Solomon was arrested for allegedly writing $54,000 in bad checks. He was charged with grand larceny and possession of a forged instrument, both felonies, State Police said at the time.

On Tuesday, he was charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and grand larceny, all felonies.

Solomon and a silent partner started leasing Siro’s in 2019, though they no longer hold an interest in the business. He also co-owned the now-shuttered Pig N’ Whistle restaurant on Broadway. Solomon was politically active in the city as a member of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee.

He previously worked as a state Senate aide.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Solomon’s business involvement in Siro’s.

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