Rechnitz and Reichberg & de Blasio, and One New York and Fairness PAC and Housing and … President and New York?

mayor9n-2-web

Bill de Blasio officially launches 2020 presidential campaign

 

He’s late — again.

After nearly half a year of hemming and hawing, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday entered the 2020 presidential race, becoming the 23rd Democrat to join the jam-packed field.

The termed-out politician, known for his habitual tardiness, finally decided to run after five months of toying with a White House bid.

“I’m Bill de Blasio and I’m running for president because it’s time we put working people first,” the mayor said in a three-minute YouTube videoannouncing his candidacy.

The opening shots include de Blasio zipping around the city in the back of an SUV — his gas-guzzling choice of transportation for the 11-mile jaunt from Gracie Mansion to the gym in Park Slope.

“Good thing about New Yorkers is they look the same whether they’re really pissed off at you or they like you,” the mayor quips.

He details his “Working People First” slogan by touting his policy initiatives including pre-K for all, paid sick leave and boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

First lady Chirlane McCray also makes an appearance to briefly plug her mental health agenda.

“Everything begins with being healthy and there is no health without mental health,” she says.

Then, as the White House flashes on the screen to dramatic music, de Blasio pivots to a national message.

“Don’t back down in the face of the bully — take him on,” he says. “As president, I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big corporations, I will not rest until this government serves working people.”

He also vows to fight President Trump head-on.

“Donald Trump must be stopped. I’ve beaten him before and I’ll do it again,” de Blasio says.

Insiders initially thought de Blasio would announce his national campaign the week of his 58th birthday on May 8, but he delayed.

“So you’re still deciding?” NY1’s Errol Louis asked the mayor on May 6.

“Yes indeed,” the dithering mayor said.

Local political experts can’t fathom what prompted the mayor to take the plunge.

“It’s really hard to understand what lane de Blasio plans to ride to the nomination,” said David Birdsell, dean of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at CUNY’s Baruch College.

What’s more, people just don’t like him, polls show.

De Blasio has the dubious distinction of being the only candidate or potential candidate out of 23 contenders to earn a negative rating among national Democrats in a March Monmouth University survey. A total of 24 percent gave him a thumbs down while just 18 percent had a favorable view of him.

At home, the numbers are even worse. A staggering 76 percent of Big Apple voters don’t think he should run, according to an April Quinnipiac University Poll.

To continue reading click here.

Jeremy Reichberg – 4 Year Sentence in Bribery Scandal -This was Not Hubris and Gluttony, it was Criminal

Image result for pics of jona rechnitz and jeremy reichberg

De Blasio donor Jeremy Reichberg sentenced to 4 years for bribery scandal

A former City Hall fundraiser who was convicted of taking part in a massive bribery scheme in which NYPD officers were bestowed with lavish gifts that included a private junket to Las Vegas was sentenced Monday to 48 months in prison.

Jeremy Reichberg, who was convicted in January of four counts, including conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and bribery, tearfully asked District Judge Gregory Woods for leniency moments earlier.

“I acted as an adolescent, wanting special attention, feeling that I was entitled to get special attention for my friends who were police officers,” Reichberg said in Manhattan federal court, struggling to read through prepared remarks and pausing often to wipe away tears and blow his nose.

His attorney, Susan Necheles, argued that her client committed crimes of “hubris … ego and gluttony,” saying he paid bribes to cops so he could pal around with them and look like a “big shot.”

She argued that the bribes didn’t get him any big favors or put the public in danger.

“What he got were things that made him look like a big shot,” she said. “He hung out them doing fancy things.”

But prosecutors said Reichberg’s bribes weren’t just to spruce up his image – arguing that he and his former pal Jona Rechnitz got police favors in exchange for their lavish gifts, including help with arrests and difficult-to-obtain gun licenses.

“This was not a crime that created an appearance of favoritism,” said Assistant US Attorney Martin Bell. “This was impropriety of the most basic sort. This was favoritism, bought and paid for.”

Reichberg also was sentenced for two years of supervised release.

“I believe the offenses were about more than dollars and cents. It’s about corruption of an important public institution,” the judge said.

To continue reading click here.

 

FOR ADDITIONAL READING:

Businessman gets 4 years prison for police corruption scam

Brooklyn businessman who bribed NYPD cops deserves 6 years: prosecutors

The Platinum Investors and the Ultimate Swindle, Blame it on the Victim? And More to Come

The Investors Knew the Risks? Nonsense… Another Platinum Colored Misrepresentation – To the Legal and Judicial Community – Follow the Money

 

Opinion and Analysis – LM – 30.4.19

The claim that investors in the litany of Platinum swindles [Echo Therapeutics, Black Elk, Seabrook’s COBA Fund , Glacial Energy Holdings and Agera Energy LLC, among many others] knew the risks is absurd, utterly absurd. Perhaps if one argues that they should have known that they were dealing with swindlers and therefore the Ponzi Scheme was foreseeable, there is some logic; but no. Such an argument does not hold water, particular in the environment of fiduciary duty and fair dealing. The entire premise is akin to blaming any victim for a crime perpetrated upon him or her. The major difference between the Platinum Ponzi Schemes and brutal, violent crimes is that the investors in Platinum Partners were disavowed of their finances with a measure of finesse, charm and savior faire.  These guys did a better job of conning their victims out of money than Madoff. Madoff’s reputation preceded him, the impossible-to-believe-he-could-do-it criminal. With the Platinum Partners, for those of us who did years of research, it was obvious. For investors, the elegance of the schemes was extraordinary, which makes these crimes almost worse than a violent serial robber, thief or rapist. These guys based their entire swindle on betraying the trust of others.

While Platinum Partners’ investor group was comprised of a fair share of “big-boys” people who were accredited investors or otherwise knew the rules of the investment road, many who were dragged in were friends and people who trusted Platinum’s partners. They “put a little faith in their friends,” far too much faith. Many still do. And those entrusted with the money were pathological scammers, godless characters who thought little of their victims. Friends were nothing more than income sources at the end of the day; or a name to drop for legitimacy purposes. 

Mark Nordlicht, Murray Huberfeld, Uri Landesman, David Levy are brilliant financiers, master manipulators, incredibly savvy and largely charming individuals. Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg were peddling the Platinum wares with their friends in high places offering up a glamorous life to anyone dumb enough to take the bait. Jona Rechnitz began his career working side-by-side with diamond magnate Lev Leviev, one of the initial investors in Platinum through Africa Israel, a class-A mentor and the basis for an unbeatable resume. That Jona Rechntiz has made lying into an art form was just another piece to the greater picture of how this entire scheme was orchestrated.

The whole Platinum Partners endeavor had an air of legitimacy that even most savvy and experienced investors would have had a hard time seeing through.  The Platinum Partners’ partners had friends and friends of friends and big names behind them. They painted a very rosy picture and very few high level newspapers covered the unrealistic nature of Platinum’s returns, one of the exceptions being Reuters (Reuters).   

And Platinum chose their investors wisely. People like Norman Seabrook, the head of COBA, were simply not savvy enough to understand that all of the wining and dining was a show of just how stupid Murray Huberfeld thought Seabrook was. We have opined on this before. Sadly, Seabrook was nothing more than a dumb “shvartze” in the eyes of Huberfeld and Nordlicht. It’s a horrible and racist comment, admittedly. But, when examining the nature of the Platinum swindle, it’s simply reality. Seabrook did not have the financial savvy to understand he was being completely steamrolled with the investment being offered to him. And, well… the wining and dining and show of wealth, the trips to Israel and greetings from the un-“pious ones” at the Western Wall was too much temptation when coupled with the returns he was likely being promised and the side money and items being gifted. And with his investment into Platinum, the partners could turn around and show the next guy that they had value. If the head of the COBA investments gave his blessing to the fund, it had to be legitimate. 

The NFL football players, and the payday loans offered to them by a link of Platinum associated entities, was another of the many schemes, a little more unsettling than the others. Investors who were inserting the flow of capital while being guaranteed returns of high interest and fees from NFL players who were on strike and would inevitably be paid. It was a “no-fail” cool trick. While the football players were paying interest rates and savage fees, the Platinum or associated investors were being showered with money. The Platinum associated fund that offered the loans and corresponding investment opportunities was allowing its investors a proverbial taste of fine wine, enticing as it was, and easy money. Little could those investors know that they were being hustled into other more dangerous financial waters.  

While the payday loan piece of the Platinum Partners story has not gotten much press coverage in the grand Platinum fraud, nor have the football players involved, neither the investors nor the players themselves were savvy enough to know that they were being disenfranchised. The players sadly were vulnerable to both the NFL on one side and the fund that was backing them while they were on strike on the other. And these guys did not have the financial savvy or upper-crust white wealthy background to grasp that the millions they were to receive from the NFL was all too easily spent. The Platinum Partners were sharp enough in this game to know, understand and manipulate the mentality, the vulnerabilities and the financial struggles of these players.  Many of those players lost thousands of dollars. All the while, a bunch of hedge fund guys and their investors sat in cushy Herman Miller chairs in their gilded offices and laughed all the way to the bank. The investors who were smart enough to get out might not have lost their shirts. Those who decided to try the next proverbial bottle of wine, were hooked both to the adrenaline and to the returns, little did they know, unless they did. 

And what of the religious investors who saw the Yeshiva connection as a sign of integrity? Torah Usemorah loaned money to a failing hedge fund while the partners donated money to a different yeshiva, or not. Of course if a Yeshiva is going to loan money to a hedge fund, the fund must be worth its weight in salt, yes? No. This was just another part of the swindle. It gave the entire venture a different level of credibility, that of the religious kind.  How were investors supposed to know that the Platinum Partners’ promised returns were a sham when the men in charge looked like G-d-faring philanthropists? 

They couldn’t. 

The picture that was painted was glorious and quite irresistible to investors and adrenaline junkies who sought high returns. Huberfeld’s friendships with Charlie Kushner (albeit a red flag for some) gave him some Wall Street cred. Few remembered that he had hired someone to take his SEC exams years earlier. And the forgiveness he got from the SEC was enough to show the world that if he was donned with his various SEC credentials, whatever he did was worth the forgiveness. And it was not. Someone who does ample due diligence would have stayed far away. But while Murray Huberfeld was convincing his Chabad friends to invest, Jona Rechnitz was peddling Platinum investments to people via his connections with seemingly credible organizations (Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Brooklyn Shomrim, his multiple connection to de Blasio and his Leviev history).

Mark Nordlicht was using his connections to the Westchester Torah Academy and a variety of his long-standing friendships with prominent Jewish families made him look like a reliable place to put some money. He wasn’t. He isn’t. He will never be. We will be surprised if Westchester Torah Academy doesn’t lose its shirt in the end also.

To blame the investors by stating that they knew the risks is a travesty, an affront to morality, ethics and the law. These men spent years and years cultivating and perfecting their ability to defraud the financial system, almost like a master fly fisherman does as sport. The difference is the the fly fisherman is an honest sportsman and doesn’t generally turn around and blame the fish for taking the bait. 

The outcome of this case with all of its many tentacles and the various webs woven will determine how the next aspiring fraudster views the investment climate. If the SEC, the judicial system, and the taxing authorities do not take this seriously and are somehow swayed by the argument that “they knew the risks” the next fraud will be worse and it will likely come from the same people who will either be directly guilty or guilty by mentoring.

Platinum’s partners knew the “friarim” (loose translation – “suckers”) in the system and they are playing those adjudicating these cases for absolute fools. Our financial system is based upon trust. The Investors, defrauded of millions should be able to trust in the system and get justice. The money that was filtered out of these funds can be traced to the personal accounts and trust of the partners, their friends, their shuls or their children. It is not gone and it should be recovered with whatever means are necessary. No one should be fooled here.

To the legal and judicial community, you now know the risks of letting this go without justice.

 

LAW360 – By subscription only

Ex-AG Mukasey Won’t Testify At Platinum Founder’s Trial

Law360 (April 26, 2019, 9:10 PM EDT) — A New York federal judge accused Platinum Partners co-founder Mark Nordlicht on Friday of trying to “dazzle” a jury by having former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey testify at his criminal trial, knocking down a subpoena targeting Mukasey and another attorney at Debevoise & Plimpton.

U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan granted Mukasey’s bid to quash a subpoena from Nordlicht, on trial for fraud related to the $1 billion hedge fund’s collapse, who’d said in a letter one day earlier that he wanted Mukasey, now of counsel for Debevoise, to testify about his representation of Platinum during a five-month period in 2013 that was “during the heart of the alleged conspiracy.”

Nordlicht said in his letter that “the mere fact of [Mukasey’s] representation is critical and of course has bearing.”
Read more at: https://www.law360.com/securities/articles/1154097/ex-ag-mukasey-won-t-testify-at-platinum-founder-s-trial?

Freebies as Friendship – Rechnitz and Reichberg – NYPD Confidential

NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department

Freebies As Friendship

January 7, 2019
The NYPD needs a new code of ethics, not just for cops but also for its top commanders and commissioners.
That’s the takeaway from the corruption trial that concluded last week with the acquittal of former NYPD Deputy Inspector Jimmy Grant and the conviction of a self-proclaimed Hasidic liaison with the department, Jeremy Reichberg.
The trial, which can best be described as “friendship and freebies,” has been an embarrassment for the NYPD. Guilty or not, how can anyone justify Grant’s private-plane junket to Las Vegas with a prostitute hired by Reichberg, the trip paid for by Reichberg’s pal, the feds’ singing canary Jona Rechnitz?
The feds charged that Grant accepted gifts from both Reichberg and Rechnitz; in exchange, the NYPD provided them with favors that included a helicopter flyover for a Reichberg boat party and help in obtaining gun permits. Defense attorneys argued those were merely favors among friends.
And if you naively believe such “friendships” were confined to the 66th Precinct in the heart of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community, remember that Rechnitz did some of his business out of the Chief of Department’s office and that a dozen chiefs and inspectors in different parts of the city were forced to retire after the feds alleged some of them had granted favors to corrupt individuals.
To be clear, this is not anything like the Knapp Commission scandal of the 1970s, when payoffs were systematically set up, right to the commissioner’s office. Rather, the Grant/Reichberg trial reveals lower-level corruption under the guise of “friendships.” Still, city rules prohibiting cops from accepting gifts of more than $50 seem simplistic. That’s why we need a new code of ethics.
Indeed, we only have to observe the behavior of the past four NYPD commissioners to see how the $50 rule was ignored.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD Confidential

 

 

 

In the 1990s, during his first tour as commissioner, Bill Bratton accepted free plane trips to the Dominican Republic and Aspen, Colorado, from Wall Street mogul Henry Kravis. Then-Mayor Rudy Giulinai used those trips as an excuse to fire him because Rudy felt Bratton was stealing the spotlight from him for the city’s crime reductions.

Bratton’s successor, Howard Safir, was comped by the Revlon corporation’s CEO to an all-expense-paid trip for him and his wife to the Oscars. Result: the Conflicts of Interest Board [under some pressure from this column] fined him $7,100, the cost of the trip.

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard Levitt

 

 

 

Safir’s successor, Bernie Kerik, accepted $165,000 in renovations to his Bronx apartment from people seeking a city contract. Kerik also received a luxury rental apartment from a realtor. He ended up in federal prison.

Ray Kelly received some $40,000 worth of dues and meals at the Harvard Club paid by the non-profit Police Foundation. When Bratton returned as commissioner under Mayor de Blasio, he demanded the same. Does anyone wonder why chiefs and inspectors saw nothing wrong with accepting freebies as friendship?

“The message has got to come from the top,” says Frank Serpico, who knows something about police corruption. “You can’t say, Do as I say, not as I do.”

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD Confidential

 

 

 

Yet neither Commissioner Jim O’Neill nor Mayor de Blasio has addressed those issues. The mayor, who doesn’t want to be reminded that Rechnitz donated $100,000 to his 2013 election campaign, said he had “no reaction” to the trial. “I tuned out, honestly, because it had nothing to do with me,” he told reporters. O’Neill, who takes his cues from the mayor, has said virtually nothing.

Grant Acquitted, Reichberg Convicted

Ex-Cop Acquitted, Businessman Convicted in NYPD Bribery Trial

 

A former NYPD deputy inspector was acquitted on all counts in a bribery scheme trial — but his businessman co-defendant didn’t get off so easily.

A jury on Wednesday acquitted former NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant of all of the charges he faced. Businessman Jeremy Reichberg was convicted on four of five counts he faced.

Grant and Reichberg were facing trial for honest services fraud, bribery and conspiracy charges.

The scheme allegedly involved “the receipt of tens of thousands of dollars in meals, trips, home renovations, and other benefits in exchange for an array of official NYPD actions, including private police escorts, ticket fixing, and assistance in settling private disputes,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said.

New Yorkers React to NYPD Probe Connected to Mayor’s Fundraising Investigation

[NY] New Yorkers React to NYPD Probe Connected to Mayor's Fundraising Investigation
New charges against the NYPD officers are connected to an investigation involving men who have raised money for Mayor De Blasio. It has put the city’s top cop on the defensive and has New Yorkers questioning the Mayor. The I-Team’s Melissa Russo has that part of the story for us. (Published Monday, June 20, 2016)

Grant, along with Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Sgt. David Villanueva, were accused of accepting gifts and favors from influential businessmen in exchange for favorable treatment and official services, including one instance in which the businessmen allegedly pulled strings to get the NYPD to shut down a lane of the Lincoln Tunnel so officers could escort an entrepreneur visiting from another country.

Reichberg and another businessman, Alex Lichtenstein, were also named in a trio of criminal complaints unsealed in 2016.

A fourth officer, Richard Ochetal, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in connection with the probe.

Prosecutors alleged that Harrington and Grant accepted expensive meals, game systems, hotel stays and other benefits in exchange for being “on call” for Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, another businessman who previously pleaded guilty to charges and has been cooperating with federal investigators.

Court papers also alleged that Reichberg and Rechnitz used their connections for a variety of purposes.

According to the criminal complaints, Reichberg and Rechnitz allegedly took Grant, another unnamed detective and others on a private jet to Las Vegas for Super Bowl XLVII. The two businessmen also allegedly arranged for a prostitute to join in on the trip, and the prostitute spent the weekend in Grant’s hotel room.

4 NYPD Officers, 2 Others Charged in Corruption Investigation

[NY] 4 NYPD Officers, 2 Others Charged in Corruption Investigation

Six people, including four NYPD officers, were charged Monday morning in connection with an ongoing federal corruption investigation, law enforcement officials told NBC 4 New York. (Published Monday, June 20, 2016)

Grant also allegedly let the businessmen pay for a hotel in Rome, several home projects and a $3,000 watch. On Christmas in 2014, the complaint alleges that Reichberg and Rechnitz showed up to Grant’s home wearing elf hats and gave his children and wife gifts.

The two businessmen also allegedly recommended that Grant, then the head of the 72nd Precinct, be promoted to the head of the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side in 2014 and were on the phone when Grant’s supervisor told him about the promotion.

In exchange for the gifts, the complaint alleges that Grant regularly provided the pair police escorts and allowed the businessmen and their friends around police barricades. He also helped Reichberg get a gun license in about a third of the time it normally takes.

The charges came amid a widening probe that focused on whether former NYPD supervisors accepted gifts and vacations in exchange for official services like police escorts, fixing tickets or shutting down streets for private events.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Rechnitz and Reichberg and their Police Pawns, Sadly So Many Others Should Have Been Indicted Too… – Grant

Feds: Former S.I. top cop delivered his part in ‘quid pro quo’ bribery scheme

James Grant, a former NYPD deputy inspector, walks into Manhattan federal court for his bribery trial Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018.
James Grant, a former NYPD deputy inspector, walks into Manhattan federal court for his bribery trial Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018.

MANHATTAN, N.Y. — Jimmy Grant, the former NYPD official on trial for bribery, was standing in his house with the new windows and railings when the feds came knocking two years ago to search his residence in connection to the police corruption probe.

The Staten Island resident curiously offered up that he never accepted anything of value from co-defendant Jeremy Reichberg, unless he paid for it, because he knew it would be trouble, authorities allege.

But the high-end home improvements, worth more than $13,000, were just part of the countless bribes Grant allegedly received from Reichberg, a Brooklyn businessman, in turn for official police action during the long-running conspiracy.

“Grant knew he owed, and he delivered,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Ravener during summations Thursday afternoon in Manhattan federal court. “He put his power for sale and Reichberg was his No. 1 customer.”

The now-retired Grant and Reichberg were busted in 2016 during an FBI probe into NYPD corruption. The defendants are accused of fraud and bribery in the scheme that began back in 2008, authorities said.

The government argues that the alleged conspiracy was a simple quid pro quo, this for that, between Reichberg and Grant. They weren’t simply friends helping one another out.

“Friends commit crimes together, with those who don’t give you up when the FBI comes to your door,” Ravener said.

Reichberg and his partner, Jona Rechnitz, the wealthy Mayor Bill de Blasio donor who made a deal with the feds and then testified in the trial, allegedly bought Grant gifts, expensive jewelry, trips and sports tickets. There was the fancy hotel in Rome, the trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl with the prostitute on the private plane and the Christmas presents delivered to Grant’s home in 2013.

“I never got free jewelry, travel or tickets,” Grant allegedly told the FBI agents, according to the feds.

“He lied because he was guilty,” Ravener told the jury.

Grant was a “cop on call,” and showed his appreciation by getting Reichberg’s gun license approved, trying to push Rechnitz’s gun application and interfering with certain arrests when Reichberg summoned, said the prosecution.

Ravener said Grant pressured officials in the NYPD’s gun licensing division and even tried to convince an arresting officer to give a Reichberg acquaintance a desk appearance ticket after he was arrested for driving with a suspended license.

“Call me. Call me. I’ll always pick up for you,” Grant said in a wiretap call. “I run around to take care of you.”

“You f—— break my balls about Jona’s f—— application,” the former cop said on the call.

“Jimmy Grant wouldn’t have done that for anybody, but went out of his way for Reichberg,” said Ravener. “He did it for the money, in part.”

The feds allege Reichberg was also responsible for getting Grant bumped up to deputy inspector at the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side. Reichberg and Rechnitz were allegedly bribing Philip Banks, former chief of the department, and former Staten Island cop Michael Harrington. Banks and Harrington, who previously pleaded guilty in the scheme, had some influence on the promotions, the feds argued.

“Hey, we got Jimmy promoted,” Reichberg is heard boasting in a wiretap call with Rechnitz.

When Reichberg realized the feds were coming to his house at 6 a.m., he allegedly ordered his brother in the middle of the night to hide certain evidence for him, like old cellphones and a rolodex of cop contacts. After searching the brother, the feds recovered Grant’s business card and NYPD cards identifying Reichberg and his wife as relatives of Banks, officials allege.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Reichberg and Grant – Jury Deliberations and “Bravo!” “No Golden Girls’ Friendship”

Juror moved by defense of former cop accused of taking bribes as deliberations begin in NYPD bribery trial

Ex-Deputy Inspector James (Jimmy) Grant (right) is being tried alongside Brooklyn police buff Jeremy Reichberg (left). (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

Juror moved by defense of former cop accused of taking bribes as deliberations begin in NYPD bribery trial

 

An attorney’s passionate defense of a former NYPD cop accused of accepting bribes on Friday moved a juror to exclaim, “bravo, bravo” hours before deliberations began in the closely watched trial.

The stunning moment came during closing remarks by John Meringolo, who is representing ex-Deputy Inspector James (Jimmy) Grant. The cop is being tried alongside Brooklyn police buff Jeremy Reichberg, who is accused of showering officers, including Grant, with gifts in exchange for official favors.

 

Meringolo said the government ruined Grant’s career on flimsy evidence.

“Jimmy Grant was a cop’s cop. A cop on the beat. We know a bad cop. That’s a good cop!” Meringolo said.

“You know who’s the most humble guy in the world? That guy is the most humble guy in the world!”

 

As he concluded, a male juror repeatedly said “bravo.”

 

Both Meringolo and Reichberg’s attorney, Susan Necheles, argued the cop and the Borough Park businessman were just friends who occasionally helped each other out.

“When you listen to Mr. Reichberg and Mr. Grant talk to each other, there’s joy. There’s love for each other,” Necheles said. “They’re friends. And friends do favors for friends. It’s not a crime. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell asked the jurors not to be distracted by Meringolo’s bombastic remarks. Instead, he told them to match wiretaps and receipts of gifts given to Grant with the testimony of Jona Rechnitz, the crooked Mayor de Blasio donor who is cooperating with the government in the hopes of a light sentence. Rechnitz testified he and Reichberg plotted to bribe cops to gain influence at 1 Police Plaza.

 

The prosecutor jokingly dismissed Reichberg and Grant’s claims of friendship, noting that wiretaps showed Grant becoming irritated when he didn’t get the gifts he expected.

Bell recalled the theme song of the sitcom “Golden Girls,” which features the lines “Thank you for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again.”

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, that wasn’t a ‘Golden Girls’ friendship. That was a bribery friendship,” he said.

 

Last month, Bell and Meringolo got into a shoving match in the courthouse.