NO SURPRISES HERE, 23 WALLS STREET CONNECTED??? HAVEN’T WE SAID THAT BEFORE? AND THE QUEENSWAY GROUP???
Lost Messiah, July 5, 2016
We have been reporting on the 23 Wall Street property since the scandal with Jona Rechnitz broke. That property was and continues to be in our view, one of many at the core of a tightly woven web of Rechnitz and JSR Capital, Sam Pa, Africa Israel, Lev Leviev, China Sanongol, the Queensway Group (a/k/a 88 Queensway), the 5 Madison Avenue (a/k/a the World Diamond Center) and… DIAMONDS….
What we have maintained, and stand by our position that every piece of this sordid tale including Platinum Partners, Murray Huberfeld, the NYPD officers, Hamlet Peralta, Mayor de Blasio, tunnel journeys for Lev Leviev, property ventures and the list is endless, revolves around diamonds. Each name and piece of the puzzle has some connection whether direct or indirect to diamonds:
We posit that the importance of the trips to Israel and the private planes, the transport of bodies for burial in the “Land of Milk and Honey” was to transport diamonds mined through one of the many companies of Leviev or Sam Pa which were either uncertified or illegally certified, likely non-conflict free and likely coming from fields that mined both diamonds and oil, to which each of Leviev and Sam Pa have connections.
We hold to the theory that there are millions upon millions of uncertified or illegally certified diamonds floating in the pockets of people involved in this scandal or on the fingers of many officers’ wives. We believe that the key to Seabrook’s deeply intimate relationship with Rechnitz and Reichberg, his trips to Israel, luxury journeys and boundless adventures is payment predicated upon the transfer of untraceable money or currency, DIAMONDS.
Unlike the author of the Post article to follow, we don’t see Rechnitz’s tale as so far-fetched except the pieces of that tale that attribute stupidity, naivete or ignorance to any of the parties involved. Each of the players (except perhaps Rechnitz and Reichberg) are brilliant, savvy and extremely controlling in their particular business ventures, able to skirt the edges of the law, politically connected in multiple countries and political regimes and adept an maneuvering people and situations to their advantage. Rechntiz and Reichberg have and will always be just two corrupt individuals who got themselves in over their heads.
All of the players bar none, are in our view morally and ethically challenged but holding an interest rooted in diamonds, diamond mining and the diamond trade.
We introduce you, in an abridged version, to the players:
THE MERCHANTS OF NEW YORK, CHINA, AFRICA –
Sam Pa – Owner of Sonongol China a major Chinese company with business interests worldwide; listed as owner of 23 Wall Street (along with Sam Pa). Sam Pa is not permitted to do business in the US but still manages to own a number of properties and hold business interests through connected companies including Sonangol; Sam Pa is also connected to a conglomerate of companies known as 88 Queensway. Sam Pa has a shady past and a dark history, is extremely savvy and also has prior connections (allegedly) to Africa Israel and Lev Leviev
Lev Leviev – One of the world’s foremost diamond merchants; Russian by birth, an Israeli citizen; Cash flow problems are a non-sequitur in his world. His daughter, named throughout our blogs is also a diamond dealer and also has ties to Jona Rechnitz
Africa Israel – Lev Leviev’s company – diamond exporters, among many of its ventures and off-book/on-book endeavors
Jona Rechnitz – a former Africa-Israel employee with several companies many of which share offices at 580 Fifth Avenue in the World Diamond Center along with companies owned by Jeremy Reichberg. Rechnitz is at the center of the police corruption scandal in New York and we posit at the center of far more nefarious dealings.
Jeremy Reichberg – NYPD/Precinct 66 connection with close ties to NYPD officers who allegedly let his nephew walk numerous times despite brutal beatings and other crimes – Reichberg also owns an assortment of LLC’s with offices in the World Diamond Center
88 Queensway – an elucive organization known for its address; deeply connected to Sam Pa, diamond mining, and Sonangol among many other companies with ties to Oil and other mining ventures beyond diamonds
Ownership of 23 Wall St. tied to NYPD corruption scandal | New York Post
There’s a creepy link between the tangle of scandals swirling around City Hall and one of lower Manhattan’s longest-running real estate mysteries — and his name is Jona Rechnitz.
Rechnitz, the “developer” who’s at the center of the scandals, was long involved with 23 Wall St. — the triangular marble landmark at the corner of Broad Street that has sat vacant for 13 years, an embarrassing black hole amid teeming apartment and office towers.
Rechnitz was the head of acquisitions and dispositions for real estate giant Africa-Israel USA, owned then as now by diamond king Lev Leviev, when it sold in 2008 the 103-year-old former home of JPMorgan & Co. to an octopus-like combine of companies called China Sonangol.
After I wrote about 23 Wall St.’s curious condition in November 2014, Rechnitz, whom I did not know, called me to share “the story of your career” — namely, the “explosive truth” about the 2008 sale.
I was skeptical. For starters, Rechnitz reportedly won $75,000 on two Super Bowl bets that involved not merely picking the winner but predicting actual plays — such as a safety on the first play from scrimmage in Super Bowl XLVIII earlier that year.
And then there was JSR, the so-called development firm Rechnitz founded after leaving A-I that didn’t seem to have developed anything.
My alarm bells rang loudest when Rechnitz warned that “another New York paper” was ready to run the story he was hot to share with me. That’s an old trick to stampede novice journos into writing a story before it’s sufficiently nailed down.
I agreed to meet Rechnitz nonetheless. I was surprised to find his real estate office at 580 Fifth Ave., a second-class diamond-industry tower with elevators that took me 20 minutes to reach his eighth-floor suite.
The rooms were filled with sports memorabilia — plus photos of Rechnitz with Mayor de Blasio, with athletes and with high-ranking NYPD officials, including former Chief of Department Philip Banks.
When I mentioned that Banks had recently unexpectedly resigned, Rechnitz cryptically said, “You’ll be hearing more on him soon.”
Yup — the same Banks who’s being probed for allegedly accepting money from Rechnitz in exchange for favors and travel fees.
Rechnitz proceeded to spin a cloak-and-dagger tale. He said Sam Pa, a shadowy mega-billionaire believed to control Sonangol, directed Sonangol to buy 23 Wall St. plus a chunk of an adjoining building for $150 million as a favor to his then-friend Leviev, who needed cash.
Yup — the same Leviev who supposedly enjoyed a police escort through the Lincoln Tunnel via a closed lane as part of the current scandal, and from whom cash was swindled and funneled to de Blasio’s election campaign in a scheme allegedly controlled by Rechnitz.
But, Rechnitz told me 18 months ago, Sonangol was somehow tricked into thinking it was actually buying, not the five-story 23 Wall St., but the 50-story Madison Square Park Clocktower — another landmark that is today the Edition by Marriott Hotel. The hocus-pocus was successful because Pa never saw the title papers until years later.
But wait, there’s more.
To make the story stick, Rechnitz staged a carefully choreographed floor show for me — wheeling in a parade of characters to corroborate various strands of the yarn. He next made a series of speaker-phone calls to guys who weren’t supposed to know I was listening.
For further corroboration, he urged me to call some well-known New York dealmakers with unblemished records. Among them: Richard Marin, a former Bear Stearns investment banker who was for a time the CEO of A-I USA and is today the developer of the New York Wheel on Staten Island.
I tried to confirm this bizarre yarn but almost nothing Rechnitz told me held water.
Investment-sale brokers said it was impossible for Sonangol not to know which building it was buying. Marin did not even join Africa-Israel until after it had sold 23 Wall to Sonangol.
To read the article in its entirety click here.