MAYOR DE BLASIO, TRADING MONEY FOR FAVORS?
LostMessiah, April 24, 2016
We have held to the position that Mayor de Blasio had a relationship with Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg for years and that a large part of his fundraising activities begin and end with R$R. He knew that they were lobbying for his causes and raising money for his various “slush funds” including One New York. And it is our opinion that it does not end there. Mayor de Blasio had other positions before he became Mayor and was fairly savvy, in our view, at running in political and financial circles that would yield the most return on his investment in time. We are hoping to show you our trail of crumbs in due time. In the meantime….
The New York Daily News reports:
“This is how the shell game is played, and now people who it’s a crime to tell a lie to are grabbing wrists and lifting up each shell. Which could take a while, what with how often de Blasio’s principles have lined up with his funding.
With the taxi industry. The helicopters. Developers — with Smith counting at least 40 checks from ones with business before the city, several of whom gave five or six figures just before or after requesting, and in some cases winning, favors from City Hall.
Like the hawker says: “Step right up — you can’t lose!” Which is true, so long as you’re in on the fix.
The feds are also looking at how the city helped turn a nursing home for AIDS patients into luxury condos and at a series of scandals involving hookers for top cops and diamonds for their wives, NYPD gun permits to members of city-approved and sometimes -funded vigilante groups and more — our own little Iran-Contra affair, which Commissioner Bill Bratton has conceded is the worst corruption scandal to hit the department since the 1970s.
The other main line of the feds’ probe we know about involves de Blasio’s personal efforts in 2014 to raise money in what turned out to be an unsuccessful and politically damaging bid to flip the state Senate, steering big contributions to local party committees that in turn directed them to specific candidates in what looks an awful lot like a scheme to evade limits on direct donations.
It’s all more than a little ironic coming from a mayor who likes to rail about how money corrupts politics, and vowed to have the “most transparent administration” in history.
Bharara, who took down former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, seemed to going for the trifecta in a probe of Andrew Cuomo. That was before he put out a letter, just ahead of the governor’s State of the State speech, saying he’d found no basis for criminal charges. I have no idea if Washington played a role in at least the timing of that announcement, which lent itself to speculation.
I know de Blasio’s on the hot seat now, and that his terse, lawyerly answers to questions about all this, when he’s answering them at all, haven’t given New Yorkers much reason to think that their mayor is concerned with what’s good for the city ahead of and distinct from what’s good for him.
De Blasio’s premise — the same defense offered at trial by Silver, whom the mayor called a “man of integrity” after Bharara charged him — is that there were no policy quids in exchange for the cash quos.
That’s what Bharara, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and, bizarrely, the city’s Department of Investigation are trying to find out now about de Blasio. Speaking of shell games, I call that bizarre because DOI is led by Mark Peters, who was the treasurer for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign. Peters finally recused himself from the probe last week, but, as The News editorial page wrote recently, he needs to step down.
De Blasio’s implicit argument, I think, is that he was playing the same sort of cash games that Cuomo and others were, to stay on an equal political footing. And that, as with the governor, it’s not a crime.”
The New York Daily News:
“Team de Blasio then funneled the cash through the Democratic County committees of Putnam and Ulster counties, which promptly turned over $970,000 to the three campaigns — much of it from developers and unions with business before the mayor. The suddenly interested givers made contributions ranging from $10,000 to the max $102,300.
Other donations went to the statewide Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and on to the campaigns.
Had the donors contributed directly to the candidates, they would have been limited to contributions of $10,300 to each.
Sugarman described the effort to evade the campaign contribution limits by de Blasio’s operatives as “coordinated at every level and down to minute detail” — including a meeting between Wagner, top de Blasio political aide Emma Wolfe and UFT president Michael Mulgrew.
Funneling donors’ dollars to campaigns through party committees is nothing new — as de Blasio is likely to feebly say.
But concocting a plot to evade the law, if that’s what prosecutors find de Blasio or his associates did, is far worse than merely odiferous conduct.
Credibly, Sugarman has, in effect, portrayed de Blasio as the head of a political crime family. Rest assured that no one ever made such a damning statement about de Blasio’s hero Fiorello LaGuardia or any other mayor between then and now.”
The New York Daily News:
“Authorities are trying to determine if de Blasio and his team funneled money through Democratic county committees to evade campaign contribution limits. Evading campaign donation limits is a felony.
It’s not clear who might be charged — if anyone.
Sources said the money was intended to help at least three upstate candidates win their elections, so the Democratic Party could have an upper hand in the Senate in 2014.
On Saturday, former Democratic state Sen. Terry Gipson, one of upstate pols who benefited from the scheme, avoided speaking with a Daily News reporter outside his Rhinebeck home.
DE BLASIO TEAM SKIRTED CAMPAIGN DONATION LIMITS; INVESTIGATORS FOUND ‘WILLFUL AND FLAGRANT’ VIOLATIONS ‘WARRANTING PROSECUTION’
A flurry of subpoenas have been issued in the wide-ranging probe, reportedly trying to determine whether election laws were circumvented and whether promises were made in exchange for the donations.
De Blasio, who has denied any wrongdoing, could not be reached on Saturday
Meanwhile developer Joseph Tahl, who donated $10,000 to the Democratic committee in upstate Putnam County, refused to speak to a reporter Saturday at his Harlem apartment.
“I’m not talking about that,” he said.
Authorities have also been investigating two businessmen, Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, who may have plied high-ranking NYPD officers with cash, gifts and trips in exchange for special treatment. Several NYPD officers have placed on modified duty as a result.”