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Thomas Fleming Quoted as Usury Expert in Politico Article Regarding Campaign Finances of New NYC Sheriff

June 21, 2022

Olshan Litigation partner Thomas Fleming  was quoted in the Politico article, “Adams’ Pick For Sheriff Faces Questions Over Campaign Finance Irregularities”.  The article examines certain loans which Anthony Miranda, who Mayor Adams recently appointed New York City sheriff, made to his own campaign when he was running for New York City Council last year.  The article notes potential issues involved when a candidate lends money to their own campaign, and discusses whether the interest Miranda earned on these loans rises to the level of civil or even criminal usury.  While the 12 percent interest rate he was paid would not in itself necessarily raise alarm if it were repaid over a whole year, the problem arises because the amounts were repaid in only a few weeks.  As Tom explained, to evaluate whether the interest is acceptable under the law, the loan repayments must be annualized, or converted to an annual rate.  Under state law, annual interest rates over 25 percent can be considered criminal usury.  Politico’s calculations find that the interest paid to Miranda on the two loans would translate to a significantly higher annual interest rate.  “Based on what our laws state,” Tom said, “the interest rates you’re describing would be usurious.”


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