Jona Rechnitz – Diamonds, a Taly, a Nissen, $80K/month and a Ponzi Scheme…

 

Star witness vs. NYPD cops in new ‘Ponzi’ link

The government’s star witness in public corruption cases involving two NYPD cops and a city union official may have been involved in criminal activity — including extortion — while he was cooperating with the feds, The Post has learned.

Explosive new court documents accuse Jona Rechnitz — a Bill de Blasio donor and the fed’s key witness against two NYPD cops and ex-union official Norman Seabrook — of threatening “to go to the feds” over a scheme he was wrapped up in unless one of his wealthy friends got paid.

If proven true, “the game is over,” said a lawyer involved in one of Rechnitz’s bribery probes.

“Even if it’s legitimate monies owed — if you make a threat then that’s extortion,” this person said.

It could also force the government to rip up Rechnitz’s cooperation agreement, putting their cases in jeopardy, sources said.

According to recently unsealed NY state court documents, Rechnitz was a recruiter for a $70 million Ponzi scheme involving Jason Nissen, a former math teacher busted last week and charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors with duping investors of his wholesale ticket business.

It’s unclear whether Rechnitz knew Nissen’s ticket selling business was an alleged sham. But the court documents, filed by Diamond wholesaler Taly USA Holdings, show that he may have kept his concerns hidden from the government in hopes that one of his pals would get paid.

“Jona’s the one who told me he would go to the Feds if Weinberger doesn’t get paid,” Nissen told Taly executive Yaron Turgeman in a secretly recorded conversation from May 7th, referring to hedge fund manager Michael Weinberger.

Nissen doesn’t say when the threat was made, but sources said Nissen only started having trouble paying Rechnitz’s investor pals after Rechnitz pleaded guilty last June to conspiring to bribe public officials.

A spokeswoman for the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

A lawyer for Rechnitz also declined to comment.

Meanwhile, lawyers for defendants in the bribery probes — who include ex-NYPD cops James Grant and Michael Harrington — are gearing up to demand evidence from the Nissen case be turned to help them vet whether Rechnitz broke any laws or violated the terms of his cooperation agreement.

According to Nissen, Rechnitz was a paid recruiter for the alleged scheme, earning him up to $8 million in recent years, including payments of roughly $80,000 a month on Rechnitz’s credit card bills.

“We are confident that most, if not all of the misappropriated monies will be recovered,” said Christopher Milito, lawyer for Taly USA Holdings.

To see the article in its entirety click here.

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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/

A Platinum Story -de Blasio Unscathed

 

The Real Deal

De Blasio won’t face federal, state charges in fundraising probe

News comes just days after Preet Bharara was fired

Mayor Bill de Blasio won’t be facing federal or state criminal charges for fundraising activities tied to his now defunct Campaign for One New York, officials announced on Thursday.

“After careful deliberation, given the totality of the circumstances here and absent additional evidence, we do not intend to bring federal criminal charges against the Mayor or those acting on his behalf relating to the fundraising efforts in question,” acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim announced on Thursday.

The investigations hinged on whether de Blasio solicited donations from developers and others who had business before the city in exchange for political favors. In October, the New York Time’s reported that Jona Rechnitz, the real estate developer at the center of the NYPD corruption scandal, was cooperating with authorities. The mayor was accused of giving a retired police official a high-level position in his administration after Rechnitz called him and requested the appointment as a “personal favor.” The federal investigation was conducted by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office led the state probe.

In his announcement, District Attorney Cyrus Vance stated that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the mayor violated state election laws in his efforts to help Democrats take over the Republican-controlled state Senate. The investigation focused on whether he wrongfully sidestepped contribution limits to individual candidates by directing donations to upstate county committees. Vance said, however, that the actions “appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits.”

Kim noted the unusual nature of announcing that his office wouldn’t pursue criminal charges, saying that, in this case, it was appropriate to not “unduly influence the upcoming campaign and Mayoral election.” The announcement comes just a few days after President Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara from his post as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The decision not to prosecute clears what was a black cloud over the mayor’s re-election campaign. It remains to be seen if potential Democratic challengers who were waiting on the sidelines as the investigation dragged on will now step aside. Meanwhile, Republican mayoral candidate and Cushman & Wakefield executive Paul Massey announced Wednesday that he raised twice as much as de Blasio since Jan. 12.

Continue Reading here.

Our Estimation? Follow the Money… Platinum Files Bankruptcy

Platinum.3

EMERGENCY TRIAGE?  We say, “FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!”:

Detractors are calling it “emergency triage” and we could not agree more. We only hope that the Federal authorities get it right on this one and start checking private accounts for Platinum principles and major investors past and present, Murray Huberfled, Mark Nordlicht, Brian Jedwab, etc., their respective families, trusts, associates and friends.

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTS:

Platinum Partners’ Flagship Hedge Fund Files for Bankruptcy – WSJ
http://s.wsj.net/javascript/ie8-vendor-libs.js

Platinum Partners’ Flagship Hedge Fund Files for Bankruptcy

The fund, which is facing a federal fraud investigation, files for chapter 15 protection

 
http://s.wsj.net/javascript/ie8-vendor-libs.js

Platinum Partners’ flagship hedge fund, which faces a federal fraud investigation, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

The filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan notes that Platinum “is experiencing severe and substantial liquidity problems that threaten to result in the devaluation of the funds’ assets.”

Platinum filed for chapter 15 protection, the section of the U.S. code that deals with international insolvency. Platinum’s flagship fund, like many of its peers, has operations in the Cayman Islands.


http://s.wsj.net/javascript/ie8-vendor-libs.js

Platinum recorded one of the most impressive performance records in the hedge-fund world until this summer, when it announced it would liquidate. It said at the time it had $1.25 billion under management. It hasn’t yet handed back the money.

The fund’s liquidators said in the filing they are conducting “emergency triage” to protect the fund amid concurrent investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice.

 

To read the article in its entirety click, here.

 

For Further Reading:

Platinum Partners’ Flagship Hedge Fund Files for Bankruptcy – WSJ
http://s.wsj.net/javascript/ie8-vendor-libs.js

Famed J.P. Morgan Building at 23 Wall Street in Play – and Urinating Bosses…

project_rs_23wall

23 Wall Street – Our Theories

We have written on the famed J.P. Morgan piece of property more times than perhaps any other Blog. We have written on the various Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg properties/investments/shady dealings. We have written about Chetrit and Bistricer, China Sonangol, Queensway, Angola. The story below from “The Real Deal” almost feels like something we could have written. But, of course, we didn’t.

The new buyer, as you will see below from the article on the bottom of the page, Jack Terzi, lacks certain social graces (or did in 2012). He apparently was an abusive boss who, according to reports in the NY Daily News from 2012, engaged in bizarre behavior. In the interest of full disclosure, his employees at his yogurt shops felt that he was “strictly business” and “humble.” Hard to tell.

We can say this:

It would not surprise us if nestled within the many companies listed on the Africa-Israel website with reference to the Israel Stock Exchange we were to find the new J.P. Morgan buyer’s name, his company or some financial/management synergy with Africa Israel and perhaps concurrently with China Sonangol. It will take a while to find and some might write this one off as a leap. We don’t think so.

It is a Buyer’s market not a Seller’s market in Manhattan right now (if the comment about the losses below by The Real Deal is any indication). China Sonangol/Africa-Israel/Sam Pa/ want out of New York but we doubt they would take a financial loss. We think that it will prove to be anything but a loss.

AFI Group

The company is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
For more information, please press on the image below.

Click here for more information

Subsidiaries:

Africa Israel Properties
Click here for more information
Africa Israel Residences
Click here for more information
 Danya Cebus
 Click here for more information
 Africa Israel Industries
 Click here for more information
 Negev Ceramics
 Click here for more information
Dor Alon
Click here for more information
Blue Square
Click here for more information

 

 

Paydirt: The Compass unicorn, a more modest buyer pool, 23 Wall in play … & more

Billionaires hiding? We’ll take the millionaires: Compass’ valuation comes at a time when Manhattan’s high-end residential market is taking body blows. Developers finally seem willing to accept things aren’t where they were in 2014. They’re either offering fat discounts (Extell at One Manhattan Square, World Wide Group and Rose Associates at 252 East 57th Street), pushing sales back (JDS & PMG at 111 West 57th Street) or abandoning ship (Witkoff at Park Lane, Chetrit & Bistricer at the Sony Building).  “The next two years will be the year of the deal,” PMG’s Kevin Maloney told Bloomberg.

Developers who set their sights a little more main street have been faring better: Condos priced between $500,000 and $999,000 have sold five times as fast as their $10 million-and-up counterparts, according to a Miller Samuel analysis of a decade of residential sales.

You don’t know Jack: JTRE’s Jack Terzi is in contract to buy 23 Wall Street, a landmarked property that was once the headquarters of J.P. Morgan & Co. – it was dubbed the “House of Morgan” — but of late has been a pox on Lower Manhattan. The long-vacant building is owned by the shadowy China Sonangol, a joint venture between Sam Pa’s Queensway Group and the nation of Angola — go figure. Sources told the New York Post that Terzi will be buying the property at a discount to the $150 million Sonangol paid for it in 2008. That’s hard to fathom, except for the fact that Pa is under investigation for allegations of financial crimes, according to the FT.

Terzi, who grew up in Gravesend and cut his teeth at Hidrock Realty, has made a number of splashy acquisitions of late, including a number of $20 million-plus buys in Midtown East. But this deal, if he does close on it, elevates him to a different level — giving him control of more than 130,000 square feet in the heart of Lower Manhattan.

 

Sam-Pa-23-Wall-Street (1)

 

THE NEW YORK POST:

http://nypost.com/2016/08/30/long-vacant-wall-street-landmark-sold-to-retail-developer/

 

For a tall tale about how China Sonangol may or may not have come to its original purchase through individuals mixed up in the NYPD scandals, read The Post’s Steve Cuozzo’s story from July 4.

The 160,000 square feet stretches from the landmarked 23 Wall St. where banker Morgan once had his private offices, around the sloped corner to portions of the base floors of 33 Wall and 15 Broad St.

The stone fortress has been touted as a retail play for years, but it’s stood mostly dark — due to absentee ownership and landmark-related restrictions.

Prospective deals to lease it to Brooks Brothers and a multi-media event company fell through but Hermes has been a tenant since 2007.

The upper stories of 15 Broad next door were converted into apartments.

JACK TERZI – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ex-worker-suing-real-estate-boss-jack-terzi-5-million-abuse-fines-urinating-article-1.1134148

 

Ex-worker suing real estate boss, Jack Terzi, for $5 million for abuse, fines, and urinating

A foul-mouthed boss from hell unzipped more than his lip in torturing his young assistant.

Brash real estate broker Jack Terzi urinated on the underling’s clothes during a three-year reign of terror in their Manhattan office, according to a astonishing new lawsuit.

The allegedly abusive broker was accused by ex-employee Albert Sultan of abuse that included cutting four-letter insults, sharp flying objects and bizarre fines.

Sultan, hired shortly after Terzi launched his company in 2009, “became emotionally distraught, was humiliated and embarrassed … by the systematic and continuous unlawful harassment,” charged the 15-page suit filed Wednesday.

Court papers contain a cruel recital of Terzi’s perverse management style, including the time he “urinated on a garment” belonging to Sultan as others watched.

Terzi was accused of throwing a shoe and a pair of scissors at his young assistant, hurling insults like “f—— idiot” and “piece of s—“ — and repeatedly “sneezing in (Sultan’s) face in a contemptuous fashion.”

Terzi, in a countersuit, charged Sultan was a conniving backstabber who launched his own business with confidential information stolen from Jack Terzi Real Estate.

Sultan, of Eatontown, N.J., declined further discussion about his ex-boss.

 

 

Here Comes the Bride, Shomrim, Really?

Cops stage fake traffic stop to help man’s marriage proposal

Three NYPD cops staged a fake traffic stop to help a man propose to his girlfriend in Queens after a friend connected to the scandal-plagued Shomrim patrol group asked for a favor, the future bride said Friday.

The officers from the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway performed the stunt Wednesday when they pulled over Yehuda Coriat, 22, and his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sorah Oppen.

The cops made a bogus accusation that they were transporting weapons and drugs in the car.

After “questioning” Oppen about her boyfriend, the cops asked her to pop open the trunk — and out came the balloons.

Coriat then got down on his knee and proposed.

Oppen told The Post that a friend named Yoel Tyrnauer is a volunteer with the Shomrim patrol in Brooklyn’s Borough Park and asked the cops for the favor.

But Tyrnauer distanced himself from Shomrim — which is ensnared in a bribery scheme involving NYPD pistol permits — saying he simply walked into the precinct as just another citizen and convinced them to play along.

“I just went into the precinct and tried my luck,” Tyrnauer said. “I don’t know the cops. This whole thing has nothing to do with Shomrim.”

Oppen said the cops “weren’t on duty at the time. They did him a favor. They came in dressed up [in uniform], got the car and did the whole getup just as a favor.”

Tyrnauer said he “doesn’t know” whether the police officers were on or off duty.
Police would not immediately say whether the cops had been on duty.

In April, a Borough Park Shomrim leader was arrested for allegedly giving cash bribes to “expedite” pistol permits for members of the patrol, which operates in Orthodox Jewish communities.

Platinum Partners Under Investigation… It’s About Time…

 

Fraud Probe Ricochets Through Platinum Partners, a Hedge Fund With Ties to Jewish Community

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

http://www.wsj.com/articles/fraud-investigation-ricochets-through-hedge-fund-known-for-ties-to-jewish-community-1469439181

For his son’s bar mitzvah in 2008, hedge-fund manager Murray Huberfeld chartered a JetBlue plane and invited hundreds to an oceanfront party in Palm Beach, Fla. An Orthodox pop star known as the “Jewish Elvis” entertained the guests, who Mr. Huberfeld says included investors in his fund.
Intimate ties and fundraising inside a close-knit world of observant Jewish businesspeople in New York, Florida and Israel are central to the $1.25 billion hedge-fund firm Mr. Huberfeld has helped lead, Platinum Partners. Now those ties are being tested as two sets of federal prosecutors as well as securities regulators delve into Platinum’s operations.
In early June, Mr. Huberfeld was arrested in connection with an alleged scheme to bribe a union leader to funnel $20 million to Platinum. Later in June, federal agents raided Platinum’s New York offices.
An issue for investigators now, according to those familiar with their probe, isn’t just alleged bribery but the integrity of Platinum itself: It is also a fraud investigation.
Platinum has recorded some of the most impressive numbers in the hedge-fund world, double-digit average annual returns for over a decade.
Beginning around 2012, however, with some investors wanting their money back, Platinum began borrowing heavily. According to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the firm, Platinum borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars, some of it at double-digit interest rates.
In one instance, it paid interest to a lender part-owned by family-member trusts of Mr. Huberfeld and Mark Nordlicht, Platinum’s founder and chief investment officer.
In June, Platinum suspended redemptions from its flagship fund and stopped giving performance updates. It moved to liquidate the fund and discussed plans to repay investors but didn’t commit to giving to them cash matching the full investment gains the firm has reported. Last week, Platinum said it would also liquidate the rest of the firm.
Investigators now are looking into whether, before the suspension, Platinum had been paying some reported investment gains to exiting investors with money from incoming ones, according to people familiar with the probe.
They also are scrutinizing the firm’s service providers, including auditors who certified its figures.
Platinum has invested in exotic assets that can be hard to value, such as loans to struggling companies and annuities linked to ill patients’ lives. Among questions investigators seek to answer is whether Platinum misstated values of some holdings, the people familiar with the probe said.
Platinum spokesman Montieth Illingworth defended the firm’s auditing and valuation methods and said it stands behind its performance record.
On specific investigative points, he said, “It is incorrect to imply that past payouts to investors were specifically made with new allocations.”
He also said money wasn’t borrowed to meet redemptions. “Past redemptions were paid out of cash gains from the positions we invested in,” Mr. Illingworth said.
Platinum said it expects to begin repaying investors in 2017. A person close to the firm said it hopes eventually to pay back all $1.25 billion, or more, with further investment gains.
Under investigation in addition to the firm is Mr. Nordlicht, said people familiar with the probe. The spokesman said they are cooperating with investigations. No one other than Mr. Huberfeld has been accused of wrongdoing.
To read the article in its entirety click here.