Media Runs With Kruger Gay Stories

BY PAUL SCHINDLER | Shortly after Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger joined seven other Democrats in voting against New York’s marriage equality bill in December 2009 –– dooming it to a 38-24 loss –– a busload of LGBT activists descended on two homes blocks apart where Kruger either claimed to live or in fact resided, with some picketers loudly decrying him for being closeted.

In the wake of Kruger’s indictment March 10 on federal charges of taking more than $1 million in bribes in exchange for political favors, the story of Kruger’s homosexuality –– indeed accounts that he is lovers with the son of a woman who was often his companion in public –– have made it into the mainstream press.

Activists' charge indicted anti-equality senator is closeted finally surface

A March 11 New York Times story recounts the gay rights protest at Kruger’s residences, noting that the senator has denied being gay. The newspaper also notes that while neighbors of 73-year-old Dorothy Turano's staggeringly gaudy house in Mill Basin described her and the senator as a couple, “it was the oldest son, Michael, to whom Mr. Kruger was closest, and they forged a relationship in which they ‘supported and relied on one another,’” according to the federal indictment.

Michael Turano, a 49-year-old gynecologist, was indicted for helping Kruger to launder his alleged illegal gains.

Both the Times and the New York Post make clear that Kruger was not living in his legal residence in Georgetown, where his sister lives, but with the two Turanos and “Dottie’s” other son, Gerard, who is 47.

The Post is more definitive in its characterization of the relationship between Kruger and Michael Turano, describing the senator as “closeted” and the younger man as his “beau” and “secret longtime companion.”

A press release from US Attorney Preet Bharara, who is responsible for the prosecutions, said, “Kruger was closest with Michael Turano. The two men were in nearly daily contact, Kruger picked Turano up from work, and people even called Kruger’s cellphone in order to reach Turano.”

The Post cited a “source close to the investigation” as saying that Kruger was “particularly ‘intimate’” with Michael Turano.

The gay angle on Kruger’s life had not previously played, for the most part, in the mainstream press.

As senators were leaving the chamber after rejecting the marriage equality bill in 2009, activists Allen Roskoff and Corey Johnson confronted Kruger, loudly calling him out for being closeted. Their actions were picked up by Elizabeth Benjamin, at the time the political blogger at the Daily News.

Other media ignored the incident, and the demonstration outside the Kruger residences later that month, which was reported in Gay City News. Roskoff also confronted Kruger at the senator’s own fundraiser.

The Times, meanwhile, profiled Kruger as a solitary figure who typically lunched alone, was uncomfortable in crowds, and was often spied whispering into pay telephones –– perhaps to keep his cell line open for calls to Turano. Perhaps for other reasons.