Outrageous: Shelly Silver, one of the worst abusers of the public trust in recent New York history, just got his 2015 conviction tossed on technical grounds.
Prosecutors promise a new trial, but justice has already been delayed far too long here.
A federal appeals court Thursday tossed the former Assembly speaker’s 2015 corruption conviction because a later Supreme Court ruling tweaked the rules for what counts as political corruption.
Yet the same 2nd Circuit of Appeals had just affirmed the bribery conviction of ex-Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. despite similar issues.
And the evidence against Silver proves corruption under the new rules as well as the old.
- The then-speaker funneled some $500,000 in state grants to a doctor who, in turn, sent patients to Silver’s law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg — which then paid Silver for the referrals.
- In another scheme, Silver voted to OK tax-exempt financing for a real-estate developer, Glenwood Management, and for favorable rent- and tax-abatement laws. In exchange, Glenwood took some work to the firm of another Silver pal, which in turn paid “fees” to the speaker.
Silver pocketed at least $4 million from these kickbacks.
At trial, his defense boiled down to “everybody does it.” But while the Legislature is indeed profoundly corrupt, that doesn’t make any of it legal.
And certainly not these abuses of power by a man who ruled as speaker for more than two decades.
Yes, the Supreme Court last year tossed the corruption conviction of ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell over too-broad instructions to the jury about what defines “official acts.” But Silver’s case involved far more clear-cut bribes — and more clear-cut abuse of power — than McDonnell’s.
Yet somehow the 2nd Circuit thinks a “rational jury” might not have found Silver guilty if it had been “properly instructed.”
Let’s hope prosecutors move quickly to a new trial. The best medicine for New York’s rampant corruption is swift, harsh punishment for the abusers. And Silver, 73, has already been free for far too long.
THE SYSTEMATIC DESTRUCTION OF MOISES GERTNER AND HIS BROTHER BY DAN GERTLER, HIS LAW FIRMS, HIS PR FIRMS HIS RELATIONSHIPS AND A SERIES OF COMPANIES, TRUSTS AND PARTNERS
LostMessiah – 23 June 2017
Earlier this week we published an article regarding Dan Gertler which made reference to a series of other articles, including to a blog post of paramount importance entitled: “Exposing African Mafia and Corruption” in a Blogspot – Purifying Africa. Interestingly the information published by Purifying Africa, though a series of what appears to be leaked emails from a law firm, seems to have been largely ignored by mainstream media. We believe it speaks volumes to the extent to which the Gertler empire will go to destroy its perceived adversaries.
The emails include correspondence written by an attorney by the name of Dory (Avigdor) Klagsbald of a law firm in Israel. The parties who are cc’d or otherwise mentioned in those emails include attorneys with Mishcon de Reya LLP, a series of consulting firms (namely public relations firms), and attorneys from Millbank, Tweed, another law firm.
The sole purpose of those emails appear to be outlining a strategy to unwind an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) which was a negotiated agreement between Islandic Bank Haupthing and the Gertner brothers for repayment of a loan at what was to have been an undisclosed amount. That effort continues and has all but destroyed Moises Gertner.
It should be noted that much of the alleged payments of that loan and corresponding guarantees are in the form of interest and fees. We believe the current claims by CFL are tantamount to extortionery at this juncture, particularly since these events have dragged on for years and there were agreements in place to settle many of those loans. CFL Limited has sought and continues to seek systematically to undo formerly agreed upon settlements (Case No. 3482 of 2015 / BR-2015-02338).
The emails between Dori Klagsbald in our analysis refer in no uncertain terms to a methodology for undoing the IVA and dragging the Gertner brothers’ names through the silt, with what can only be deemed to be a carefully constructed PR campaign (steps to be taken “if necessary”). The party in whose interest this carefully crafted scheme has been devised, is an Israeli owned company CFL Finance (a Dan Gertler company). CFL was in 2015 allegedly owed only 12Million Pounds, a paltry amount in comparison to the 557M pounds that was the subject of the IVA and the agreed repayment to Haupthing. Again, to reiterate much of the currently disputed money is comprised of interest and penalties. The fact that it is still ungoing and leaves the Gertner brothers in a constant stated of disquiet is likely of greater value to Gertler.
We reiterate the articles and the historical context should not be taken in a vacuum. In fact, we contend that the death of Katumba , the information regarding the Fleurette Group, Glencore Plc, Ellesmere Global (BVI) can similarly not be read exclusive of the other articles and the timeframe involved. When read in context with an earlier published Ha’Aretz article and dozens of other articles and publications, it is abundantly clear that Dan Gertler, along with his attorneys and public relations firms, has since at least 2013 made concerted and systematic efforts in no uncertain terms to destroy anyone or anything that stands in the way of his constantly increasing wealth.
In the case of the death of Katumba, we can only speculate. In the ongoing legal battles against Moises Gertner and his brother who were at one time business partners of Dan Gertler, we maintain that Gertler was and continues to be intent upon decimation and they continue to be his victims.
We begin describing this saga by re-posting the 42 screenshots taken from the Purifying Africa Blogspot.
We will continue by slowly introducing the cast of questionable figures including another character in this case of Gertler v. Gertner, an Israeli lawyer named Yaakov Weinrot. We note Mr. Weinrot claims to have been owed many millions of dollars by the Gertner brothers, was apparently hired by them in the context of their dealings in the Congo; but also apparently participated in the smear campaign against them on behalf of Dan Gertler. We leave that piece for another day.
Our sources are publicly available. As many of the articles state, the Congo is one of the worlds most mineral-rich countries. And yet, it is the poorest and least developed. The Congolese people are the victims of extraordinary greed, the greed of their government, the greed of so-called “investors” like Dan Gertler and the corresponding corruption and fraud.
Finally, we note in the interest of full disclosure that we have not independently investigated the Gertner brothers on their other dealings, most of which appear to have been real estate investments. We have found significant evidence of charitable giving but make no judgment one way or the other. We firmly believe them to be victims of Dan Gertler and his ‘mafia’ of attorneys, PR firms, and co-conspirators. We write the series of exposés in the hopes that perhaps the Gertner brothers and numerous other victims of Dan Gertler and his associates’ greed will find justice.
Creative Kushner mapping underscores holes in visa program
NEW YORK (AP) – The Kushner Cos. engaged in a bit of creative mapmaking to qualify one of its buildings in a booming New Jersey waterfront neighborhood across from Manhattan for a federal visa-for-investment program targeting struggling areas.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press show that the family of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner placed its 65 Bay Street building in Jersey City in a map stringing together two dozen other areas, some with high unemployment.
The map was included in a 2015 application to the EB-5 visa program that allows overseas investors to obtain U.S. residency in exchange for investments of $500,000 or more in rural areas or those with high unemployment.
The maps are legal, and many other developers engage in the practice. But the practice is one of the reasons the EB-5 visa program has come under criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
James Yolles, a spokesman for the Kushner Cos., declined to comment. The Kushner property is co-owned with developer KABR Group. KABR has not responded to voicemail and email requests for comment.
The special maps were reported earlier by The Washington Post.
The building at 65 Bay Street has licensed the Trump name from the president’s company, and is better known as “Trump Bay Street.” It received millions from wealthy overseas investors through the EB-5 program.
The Kushner Cos. was recently pitching to potential EB-5 investors in China for another Jersey City property. Called One Journal Square, it is a planned 79-story two tower complex in a struggling area of the city. The company is seeking 300 wealthy Chinese to invest a total of $150 million.
Jared Kushner’s sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, created a stir in March after reports she had mentioned her brother, a senior adviser to Trump, in a presentation in China. Marketing materials for the event also cited the Kushner family’s “celebrity” status.
The Kushner Cos. said Meyer’s intention was not to use the connection to the White House to lure investors. Jared Kushner stepped down as CEO of the Kushner Cos. when he joined the White House. His lawyer has said that he has sold his stake in One Journal Square.
To handle the mapmaking for Trump Bay Street, the Kushner Cos. turned to Evans, Carroll & Associates, an economic consultancy in Boca Raton, Florida.
On May 6, 2015, Evans emailed the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development requesting that it review a proposed map stretching over two dozen census tracts. The map formed an odd shape, with some relatively low unemployment areas separated by a few miles to high unemployment ones.
By the end of the month, came New Jersey’s reply: The areas included in the map, called a Targeted Employment Area, had an overall unemployment rate of 9.8 percent – high enough to qualify for the EB-5 program.
The unemployment rate for the single census tract that includes 65 Bay Street was not mentioned in the emails, but has typically been much lower, according to Dave Evans of Evans, Carroll & Associates. Evans said the unemployment rate last year for the census tract that includes 65 Bay Street averaged 1.3 percent.
In order to qualify for EB-5 financing, a building needs to be in a Targeted Employment Area with unemployment 150 percent above the average U.S. rate.
Critics have faulted the EB-5 program for failing to bring investment into poor communities as intended. By gerrymandering together rich geographic areas with poor ones, developers have managed to win approval from economic development authorities for luxury projects in Manhattan, California’s Beverly Hills and Miami’s South Beach.
Earlier this year, Evans, Carroll & Associates emailed New Jersey state officials for Kushner’s One Journal Square project, too.
To read the article in its entirety click here.
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.
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 secretly recorded some 70,000 conversations, including many with cops. Singing like a Chazzan
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:
Brooklyn gun broker secretly recorded conversations with corrupt NYPD cops
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…
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