Jona Rechnitz: Loan Shark? Diamond Dealer? Lucky Gambler? Real Estate Mogul? Shoshana by any other name…

 

jona rechnitz_crop_exact

NYPost: http://nypost.com/2017/04/26/key-witness-in-nypd-corruption-probe-was-an-alleged-loan-shark/

Key witness in NYPD corruption probe was an alleged ‘loan shark’’

The government’s key witness in multiple corruption probes was a part-time “loan shark” who made money doling out predatory loans, court documents alleged on Tuesday.

Jona Rechnitz — the government’s witness against two NYPD cops accused of taking bribes — “was nothing more than a loan shark” when it came to his business dealings with Hamlet Peralta, the former owner of a Harlem eatery that was popular with cops, Peralta’s lawyer said.

Peralta, the former owner of the Hudson River Cafe, stands accused of running a $12 million Ponzi scheme tied to an allegedly fictitious wholesale liquor business.

Peralta’s lawyer, Cesar de Castro, made the allegations against Rechnitz as part of a legal tug-of-war with feds about what evidence can be introduced at Peralta’s upcoming May trial.

The government wants to call as witnesses victims of Peralta’s alleged scheme who were recruited by Rechnitz — and who learned of the scheme through Rechnitz.

De Castro has objected, arguing that statements made by Rechnitz cannot be offered as the truth because he was engaged in his own loan-sharking scheme.

“Evidence at trial will show that (Rechnitz) was not Mr. Peralta’s agent but the architect of his own scheme in order to bleed Mr. Peralta dry,” de Castro said.

Rechnitz’s lawyer, Alan Levine, declined to comment.

Rechnitz, a real estate investor, is also the government’s key witness in the upcoming bribery trial of Norman Seabrook, former head of NYC’s correction officers’ union.

 

http://nypost.com/2017/04/26/key-witness-in-nypd-corruption-probe-was-an-alleged-loan-shark/

KARMA STRIKES BACK: In new suit, former BK DA Hynes alleged to have had “policy, custom and practice of deliberate indifference towards witness tampering and intimidation of victims of pedophiles and their families within the ultra-Orthodox community”

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Alleged pedophile protector, former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes

From the NY Daily News:

A Brooklyn dad claims the borough’s former district attorney Charles Hynes targeted him while cutting a sweetheart deal with a prominent rabbi accused of sexually abusing boys.

Samuel Kellner says in a federal civil rights lawsuit that Hynes falsely charged him with extortion after he led an effort to lock up Baruch Lebovits.

“The ‘investigation’ by Hynes into [Kellner] deviated so egregiously from acceptable law enforcement activity as to demonstrate an intentional or reckless disregard for proper procedures,” reads the lawsuit targeting Hynes and the city.

The sordid saga began in 2008 when Lebovits allegedly molested Kellner’s son.

A prosecutor told Kellner that the district attorney’s office wasn’t going to open an investigation because the alleged offense was a misdemeanor and there were no other known victims, the suit says.

But Kellner, working with a detective, found other boys who were preyed upon by Lebovits.

Hynes’ office launched a probe but Kellner claims the former DA did nothing when Lebovits’ supporters succeeded in convincing one of his victims to drop the case.

“Hynes’ deliberate indifference towards [the boy’s] plight and failure to protect him was part of a policy, custom and practice of deliberate indifference towards witness tampering and intimidation of victims of pedophiles and their families within the ultra-Orthodox community,” says the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Lebovits was ultimately convicted in March 2010 of multiple counts of sexual assault and sentenced to serve up to 32 years.

Kellner’s joy was short-lived.

He claims in the suit that Hynes quietly dismissed his son’s case against Lebovits in October 2010.

“The suffering and courage of a victim in coming forward to report his abuse meant nothing to Hynes,” Kellner’s attorney Niall Macgiollabhui wrote in the suit.

Things got worse for Kellner in April 2011 when he was charged with trying to blackmail Lebovits’ wealthy family and paying a man to falsely accuse the rabbi.

Hynes held a news conference trumpeting Kellner’s arrest.

Lebovits was sprung from jail the next day. His conviction was overturned in 2012.

“What is truly shocking is that instead of locking up pedophiles and protecting children, Hynes was instrumental in securing the release of a notorious predator from prison and dismissing the cases of two victims he and his office knew to have been abused,” Macgiollabhui told the Daily News.

“At some point Hynes will have to explain why he conspired in the shadows with the family of a convicted child rapist to undermine the conviction his own office had just secured.”

The criminal charges against Kellner were dropped in March 2014 after a prosecutor re-examining the case found inconsistencies in the accounts of two key witnesses.

Lebovits pleaded guilty to reduced charges in May 2014 and was sentenced to serve another year.

He was released after just 86 days.

Hynes’ lawyer did not return a request for comment.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said it will review the complaint.

Kellner filed a defamation suit against the Jewish Daily Forward newspaper in November 2014. That case was settled in January under a confidentiality agreement.

 

 

Jason Greenblatt and Berel Lazar – More Fake News?

Trump Team’s Links to Russia Crisscross in Washington

 

WASHINGTON — During the 2016 campaign, Donald J. Trump’s second campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, had regular communications with his longtime associate — a former Russian military translator in Kiev who has been investigated in Ukraine on suspicion of being a Russian intelligence agent.

At the Republican National Convention in July, J. D. Gordon, a former Pentagon official on Mr. Trump’s national security team, met with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, at a time when Mr. Gordon was helping keep hawkish language on Russia’s conflict with Ukraine out of the party’s platform.

And Jason Greenblatt, a former Trump Organization lawyer and now a special representative for international negotiations at the White House, met last summer with Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia and an ally of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.

In a Washington atmosphere supercharged by the finding of the intelligence agencies that Mr. Putin tried to steer the election to Mr. Trump, as well as continuing F.B.I. and congressional investigations, a growing list of Russian contacts with Mr. Trump’s associates is getting intense and skeptical scrutiny.

Democrats see suspicious connections and inaccurate denials as part of a pattern that belies Mr. Trump’s adamant insistence that he and his associates “have nothing to do with Russia.” The president’s supporters say innocuous encounters, routine for any incoming presidential team, are being treated for political reasons as somehow subversive.

Mr. Trump denounced the furor over Russian connections on Thursday as a “total witch hunt” — but it may not have helped his case that the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, echoed his words on Friday, saying, “This all looks like a witch hunt.”

On Friday, Mr. Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a meeting between Mr. Putin and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and wrote that “we should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin.”

The issue has already had momentous consequences for the new administration. Michael T. Flynn lasted less than a month as national security adviser before being forced out for mischaracterizing his conversations with Mr. Kislyak. This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions admitted to having meetings with Mr. Kislyak that he had not disclosed during his confirmation hearing.

Mr. Sessions fended off demands that he resign but agreed to recuse himself from what may be the most important investigation his Justice Department is conducting: of Russian meddling in the election and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates colluded in those efforts. And that did not end the issue; all nine Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee called on Friday for Mr. Sessions to testify about his inaccurate denials that he had met with Russian officials during the campaign.

Part of the problem underlying disputes over such contacts may be Mr. Trump’s pugnacious style, which usually leaves little room for nuance. At a news conference last month, he said that he had “nothing to do with Russia,” and that “to the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.”

In fact, vigorous reporting by multiple news media organizations is turning up multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Mr. Putin’s government. There have been courtesy calls, policy discussions and business contacts, though nothing has emerged publicly indicating anything more sinister. A dossier of allegations on Trump-Russia contacts, compiled by a former British intelligence agent for Mr. Trump’s political opponents, includes unproven claims that his aides collaborated in Russia’s hacking of Democratic targets.

To read the remainder of the article click, here.

Shaya Lichtenstein’s Secret Recordings

http://dusiznies.blogspot.com/2017/01/shaya-lichtenstein-secretly-recorded.html

Shaya Lichtenstein secretly recorded some 70,000 conversations, including many with cops. Singing like a Chazzan

 

A crooked gun broker secretly made thousands of recordings of conversations with corrupt NYPD cops, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The revelation likely will send shock waves through the department.
In a letter filed in Manhattan Federal Court, prosecutors said Alex (Shaya) Lichtenstein secretly recorded some 70,000 conversations, including many with cops.
In November, Lichtenstein pleaded guilty to bribing NYPD officers to obtain pistol licenses.
Lichtenstein saved the conversations to an e-mail account, “many of them contemporaneous memorialization of dealings of questionable legality with members of the NYPD,” according to the letter written by Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell.
“During our initial review of those recordings, we learned that some of these calls implicated at least one of the defendants in this case.”
The feds said they also got “material” from the phones of Jeremy Reichberg, a Brooklyn businessman who is accused of doling out gifts to senior cops, including trips to the Super Bowl, Brazil and China, sources said.
That material was not described in any more specifics.
Lichtenstein pleaded guilty on Nov. 10 to offering a cop $6,000 in exchange for an expedited gun permit.
“I had a good and friendly relationship with New York City police officers. During these years, I gave police officers in the Licensing Division things of value, including money, knowing that by giving them those things, the officers would do me favors, including expediting gun license applications,” Lichtenstein, 45, said.
Sgt. David Villanueva is accused of accepting gifts in exchange for helping speed up weapons permits.
Police Officer Richard Ochetal, formerly of the gun licensing unit, pleaded guilty to charges relating to the probe — and is cooperating with cops, the feds said in June.
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant were also arrested for allegedly acting as “cops on call” for Reichberg and another wealthy de Blasio donor, Jona Rechnitz.

For further reading:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-gun-broker-secretly-recorded-corrupt-nypd-cops-article-1.2956091

Brooklyn gun broker secretly recorded conversations with corrupt NYPD cops

Joel Landau -The Allure of Escaping Millions Richer – Sorry… No Pictures Please

rivington house

Dear Reader:

Joel Landau, through a series of demands and other bullying tactics sent in the form of threatening letters from Wordpress, claimed an array of Copyright violations. The poor little man did not like having his face on our pages. So he had his pictures forcibly removed from our pages and our archives with threat of shutting us down for Copyright Violations. While that makes us kinda want to put a Metadata link to his name and Allure Group on every single one of our pages, so that he and Allure will forever be synonymous with every ill, morally bankrupt and skewed activity referenced on these pages (particularly where healthcare facilities are concerned), we figured that would simply be unproductive. Instead, we are going to publish every article about Landau and Allure. We will publish every piece of information available. Just send it over. We hope that one day someone, more clever than him and his band of merry loophole-finders, figures out a way to make him pay for his reprehensible though remarkably clever behavior. He is another person who manipulates the lives of our most vulnerable citizens for ill-gotten gains. To Joel Landau and Shlomo Rechnitz – L’chaim…

http://therealdeal.com/2016/12/30/city-admits-it-doesnt-have-a-legal-case-against-allure-group-over-rivington-house/

City admits it doesn’t have a legal case against Allure Group over Rivington House

Mayor said law department can’t find “pathway” to seeking restitution from Joel Landau’s firm

The city’s hands may be tied when it comes to seeking restitution for the controversial sale of a Manhattan nursing home to a luxury condo developer.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who in April vowed to sue Allure Group for flipping the property at 45 Rivington Street, said Thursday that the city’s lawyers “cannot find an actual pathway” to restitution.

“I support anything that would get us further restitution for what happened,” the mayor said at a press conference, Politico reported. “I made very clear my anger at the way the private-sector firm handled things,” he said. However, “So far, our law department cannot find an actual pathway.”

Allure made $72 million when it sold 45 Rivington to Slate Property Group, after convincing the city to lift a deed restriction on the site. The de Blasio administration maintained that Allure did not tell the city it intended to sell the building to a developer while negotiations were taking place. But a report from the Department of Investigations found that reps for Allure told the city in March 2015 that if the deed weren’t lifted, it would consider a conversion of the property to luxury apartments.

Comptroller Scott Stringer also accused Allure of misleading City Hall, but mostly faulted the de Blasio administration for mishandling information at virtually every turn. Allure maintains it did nothing wrong.

The mayor has insisted he was not aware of the deal.

Allure, led by Joel Launda, has maintained it did not lie to the city, but earlier this month, the mayor signed a bill to increase oversight of deed restrictions.

Meanwhile, the city hired two law firms this year to represent it in the Rivington deal, and in campaign finance investigations. The contracts are for more than $10 million, Politico reported. [Politico]E.B. Solomont

The Satmar and de-Blasio…. A Match Made of?

 

 

FBI grills de Blasio’s Satmar pals in fundraising probe

Federal investigators are questioning leaders in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community in their expanding inquiry into Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising practices, multiple sources told The Post.

Rabbi and political fund-raiser Moishe Indig was questioned by FBI agents on Wednesday. Indig referred them to his attorney but agents seized one of his cellphones, the sources said.

“They told him, ‘It’s all about Bill,’ and they want more information from him,” said one source close to Indig, a de Blasio ally.

“They have an interest in Moishe because they’re digging into de Blasio’s fund-raising tactics and they want to know what favors they [Hasidic community members] are getting back from the mayor,” the source added.

Indig did not return calls seeking comment.

Agents visited Rabbi David Niederman on Thursday, but Niederman referred them to his lawyers, two sources said. Niederman told The Post federal agents did not visit him.

–– A

Federal authorities on Thursday arrested Williamsburg political operative Yitzchok “Isaac” Sofer on charges he lied about his income to obtain $30,000 in food stamps.

The FBI interviewed Sofer two weeks ago about mayoral fund-raising and influence peddling, but he refused to rat on his friends at City Hall, the sources said. The sources believe the FBI brought the food-stamp charge to squeeze information from him.

“They know Sofer is a progressive Hasidic Jew who is friendly with all these guys in the administration including [top de Blasio aides] Avi Fink and Emma Wolfe,” a City Hall source said. “People in the community come to him to fix their problems and he has amassed his influence.”

Indig, Niederman and Sofer are influential leaders in the Satmar community, one of the city’s largest Hasidic sects. De Blasio ­aggressively courted the Satmars in his 2013 mayoral campaign.

It was Indig who convinced leaders of the Satmars’ Aroni faction to shift their support from Christine Quinn to de Blasio two weeks before the contentious 2013 Democratic primary, sources said.

Sofer said at the time that de Blasio’s support for private religious schools was a main reason for the endorsement.

Sofer and Indig were the hosts of an Oct. 3, 2013, fund-raising event for de Blasio, according to the mayor’s campaign Web site.

Indig, who landed on de Blasio’s “Worst Landlords” list back when the mayor was public advocate, has attended at least two meetings at City Hall with Niederman and other religious leaders, according to the mayor’s official schedule.

But Indig has never registered as a lobbyist despite advocating on issues important to the Orthodox community, sources said.

“Developers go to Indig with issues with their properties, hoping to get permits expedited or rezonings approved by the city,” said one Williamsburg source. “People hire him privately to get things done.”

Sofer, 39, works in government relations for the Central United Talmudical Academy, which is tied to the Aroni faction. The yeshiva’s lobbyist, Capalino+Company, pressed Fink and other City Hall officials in early 2015 to open a universal-pre-K program at the site.

The FBI raided the academy’s offices in March, possibly as part of a probe into the use of federal school-lunch funds, reports said.

CUTA spokesman Michael Tobman called Sofer’s arrest a “personal matter having nothing to do with the larger community or its institutions.” Sofer did not return a message seeking comment.

 

To see the article in its entirety click here.

66th Precinct – What’s the Going Rate for a Corrupt Cop?

nypd_corruption

Lt. Michael Andreano Joins the Ranks of those Alleged to be in Bed with the Epidemic of Corruption within the Ultra Orthodox Community of Borough Park and Beyond…

 

NYPD lieutenant stripped of badge, gun over ties to bribery scheme

http://nypost.com/2016/10/24/nypd-lieutenant-stripped-of-badge-gun-over-ties-to-bribery-scheme/

A high-ranking Brooklyn cop has been stripped of his badge and gun over ties to a key figure in an alleged $1 million NYPD bribery scheme, The Post has learned.

Lt. Michael Andreano of the 66th Precinct in Boro Park was put on desk duty as part of the wide-ranging corruption probe that has already resulted in pending charges against three NYPD bosses, sources said.

Andreano is suspected of having improper dealings with Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, a leader of the Boro Park “Shomrim” patrol who in April was busted on bribery and conspiracy charges involving pistol permits, sources said.

“This guy was tight with Shaya and would go out of his way to accommodate him,” a source said.

Andreano served as a community-affairs sergeant in the 66th Precinct before getting promoted to lieutenant in 2015 and transferred to the 60 Precinct in West Brighton.

He was transferred back to the 66th after “a month or two,” sources said, and put in charge of Special Operations there.

Andreano’s return was announced at a Community Council meeting in September 2015, according to the KensingtonBK blog.

Lichtenstein was allegedly recorded offering a whistleblowing cop $6,000 a pop to “expedite” approval of pistol permits for members of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.

During that conversation, Lichtenstein used a calculator to show that 150 permits would be worth $900,000, according to the feds.

He also allegedly bragged that he had already scored 150 permits for clients who paid him up to $18,000 each for the service but said he had lost his connection in the NYPD’s License Division.

Earlier this month, a prosecutor revealed there had been “continuous discussions” for Lichtenstein to strike a plea deal, and a judge gave both sides until Nov. 3 to come to terms or proceed with the case.

The cop who secretly recorded Lichtenstein, former License Division member David Ochetal, secretly pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities after admitting that he had accepted “lunch money” from Lichtenstein.

To read the article in its entirety click here.