Ex-mayor caught on camera agreeing to accept illegal campaign contributions

Former Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper faces 3 felony charges

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – An undercover FBI agent is heard in a newly-released recording telling Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper that illegal campaign cash has been given to criminally-convicted lobbyist Alan Koslow. 

But the agent, whom Cooper believes is a developer seeking to build a project in her city, isn't sure exactly how it's going to be transferred to her campaign. 

"The money was in Alan's hands before he left," said the agent. "I don’t even know how you're gonna know who it is or what it is." 

Cooper tells the agent during the 2012 meeting at the Flashback Diner that she may have already gotten the cash. 

"I mean, I got a bundle of stuff," she said, referring to campaign checks she'd received. 

The agent then indicates it was being laundered through Russian internationals. 

"A bunch of Russian names?" the agent asks her. 

Cooper begins to laugh. 

"A bunch of Russian names?" she asks. 

"A bunch of Russian checks," the agent replies. 

"I don't know," Cooper said with a Cheshire cat's grin.

It's some of the strongest evidence against Cooper that was released by the State Attorney's Office Friday in the felony criminal case that forced Cooper from the mayor's seat.

Cooper faces charges of money laundering, official misconduct and exceeding limits on campaign contributions, all of which are third-degree felonies. Prosecutors also charged her with soliciting contributions in a government building, which is a first-degree misdemeanor.

In another meeting with Koslow and two undercover agents, Koslow told the mayor the money is coming to her campaign. 

"First of all, we love you and we got the extra money, you know, lined up for you," he said. "It will go into a PAC -- whatever you tell us to do, no problem -- $5,000, OK?" 

Cooper, in that meeting, however, refused to provide a guarantee for the bogus project's success, even coming to tears as the trio of men apply the pressure.

That denial likely saved her even more serious federal charges.

Instead, the feds transferred the case for state prosecution.

Cooper didn't return a message for comment from Local 10 News, but she's made it clear she intends to fight the charges at trial. Her next court date is Aug. 30.