A Platinum Schemer and a Jewelry Show, the Benefits of Privilege and the Opportunities that Await… in Hong Kong

Jona Rechnitz

A TRIP TO HONG KONG FOR A DIAMOND DEALER, WHO JUST HAPPENS TO ALSO BE AN ADMITTED FRAUDSTER AND CON-ARTIST. 

To Our Readers:

We saw this story and found it quite astonishing. Jona Rechnitz has admitted to guilt for numerous crimes, crimes of significant magnitude, for which at least one member of the Platinum family, just got sentenced to 30 months.

He has testified with a level of arrogance fit only for rich, entitled, unrepentant fraudsters, flippantly waiving around the word “truth” as if he knows the significance of its foundation in the English language and jurisprudence. He has been smug, lied, admitted to numerous infractions of morality, ethics and the law and now he asks to be allowed to Hong Kong to attend a jewelry show.

Have we lost our collective minds? Perhaps he wants to ask his friends and accomplices for a “bisel gelt” [a little bit of money] to buy something nice, or to grease the palms of someone who can? He is one of a group of white, privileged criminals running roughshod over the law.

Let’s not forget that his early career started with a position working for LevLeviev’s Africa Israel. Leviev, a diamond magnate in his own right, is unable to travel the world these days as a result of the criminal laws of multiple countries. It is unclear whether Rechnitz and his well-connected family has broken ties. And let’s be reminded that the Israeli justice system is trying to maneuver testimony from that same Leviev regarding a major diamond smuggling endeavor. 

And Judge Hellerstein is being asked by a begging Jona Rechnitz to attend a jewelry show in Hong Kong? And the prosecutor is agreeing on condition that Rechnitz’s wife surrender her passport? Has the prosecutor not thought this through?

The exchange for Rechnitz’s wife’s passport is but a joke, a circus stunt. Both Jona Rechnitz and his wife likely carry numerous passports and the surrender is thus insignificant. Moreover, the ideal guarantee that Rechnitz would return from the Hong Kong jewelry show without a new bank vault of difficult to trace assets would be to freeze all of his bank accounts while he is gone… and perhaps those of his family and all of their closest friends and associates. 

Judge Hellerstein, you got the Murray Huberfeld verdict right, please think about what is really going on here. You are being asked to help a very wealthy, entitled, dishonest and connected man get just a little bit wealthier. He has committed crimes. He should not be rewarded for his willingness to testify on behalf of the government when few can discern if his testimony was lies, truth or some combination of the two. 

Corrupt de Blasio donor begs judge to let him attend Hong Kong jewelry show

A Mayor de Blasio donor who is out on $500,000 bail pending his sentencing for bribing cops wants a judge to allow him to travel to Hong Kong for a jewelry show later this month, according to new court documents.

Jona Rechnitz — a government cooperator who testified at two corruption trials — is asking Manhattan federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein to allow him to travel for nine days starting Feb. 25 “to attend an international jewelry show” for business, lawyer Alan Levine wrote in a letter to Hellerstein.

During testimony, Rechnitz said he currently works in real estate and jewelry.

Prosecutors agreed to the request as long as Rechnitz’s wife turns over her passport.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

 

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The Platinum Ponzi – Seabrook, Huberfeld, Orthodox, Pre-Ordained Wealth versus Self-Made… Prison?

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Seabrook, a Relatively non-Savvy, non-Orthodox Jew up Against a System Rigged to Keep the Orthodox Out of Prison or in Ottisville

Dear Reader:

We believe that if anyone deserves a lengthy prison sentence for the COBA investment scheme and subsequent losses the members incurred, it is the person or people responsible for the sham investment strategy in which Seabrook invested. Norman Seabrook should not be standing alone. Seabrook was enticed to Platinum by Murray Huberfeld, Jona Rechnitz, Jeremy Reichberg and others connected past or present to Platinum Partners on promises of extraordinarily high returns. He was bated, hook, line and sinker.

We believe that while Seabrook may have sold out the people entrusted by him to maintain the safety of their investments, he was simply too lacking in savvy to know how artfully he was duped. He was drawn in by the glitz, glamour and ego- stroking of those who bribed him to invest in their fund. They knew he was going to lose his shirt and the investments of every one of the COBA members. Anyone who thinks differently simply does not know the dynamic. We would tend to believe that the entire affair has left him far from penniless and those for whose investments he was responsible should be outraged. But, he was not the person they should have trusted to do the investing. He had motive, opportunity and not enough smarts to run in the opposite direction.

Perhaps Norman Seabrook should have asked himself some more intelligent questions like why they were pushing such a hard sell. Why was he being brought to Israel and treated like a king? Why were Orthodox Jews, who really are generally quite “anti-schvartze” (racist, to put it kindly) spending so much time wooing him? The reality is, “tachlis” (in not so many words), the Orthodox men who were responsible for Platinum, its years of scheming and defrauding investors, likely had numerous laughs over all of the people they conned and continue to scam, Seabrook being the black man who worked his way to the top, an admirable quality but still a Shvartze. 

To our point, quoting from Too Good to Be True  about the rise and fall of Bernie Madoff and speaking on the subject of Ezra Merkin, one of Madoff’s earliest investors, Erin Arvedlund writes: “Wall Street is just twenty guys selling each other stuff, while some schwartzer in the basement does all the work,” Merkin would joke privately. Publicly, however, Merkin acted like a Wall Street sage.” Seabrook could be described as a step up from the guy in the basement; but likely there are those who are still finding his involvement a point of good humor, particularly those who are facing lighter sentences than Seabrook.

Sadly, he lavished in the lifestyle they were offering him. One can almost hardly blame him. The men who enticed him are practiced con artists, with a lifetime of experience, born into privilege and by no means altruistic or compassionate. They are responsible for duping the members of COBA who have lost millions and ultimately it is because of them that those members will likely NEVER recover all of their losses. Seabrook wanted his palms greased and in exchange thought he’d increase a portfolio of assets. Platinum knew they were taking money that would cover other losses and it is each and every one of those men for whom the Court’s contempt should be obvious, swift and harsh. The Platinum Partners’ partners were lacking in conscience and compassion when they destroyed the COBA investments and it is they in our view who should pay harshly. But will they? White, Jewish, privileged and politically well-connected, probably they will not. 

Norman Seabrook, in all of his arrogance as seen in photographs was as much a victim as he was a perpetrator. Sadly, if he had a true “in” with the Chabad/Orthodox community with whom he was fraternizing, he would be sitting with Murray Huberfeld, facing far less time. The color of his skin, the lack of privilege in multiple forms, and the lack of Orthodox providence says a lot in our view.

One must wonder if anyone not connected to the Orthodox community in Brooklyn or NYC can ever have an even remotely fair shake, and that includes Norman Seabrook. 

Investigation into Platinum Widens, The Direction it Should Take?

 

Our Take on Events –

PLATINUM PARTNERS AND THE NUMEROUS FRAUDS AND PONZI SCHEMES

Since 2016, LM has been reporting on Platinum Partners and the various partners and schemes. It is and has always been our position that Platinum Partners, as a firm, has been nothing more and nothing less than one giant Ponzi Scheme, with some pretty frightening tentacles. Platinum Partners’ establishment with the assistance of then Africa Israel employee Jona Rechnitz, along with other members of AFI is all the more unsettling because we believe the earlier Platinum Fund, itself, was partially financed by Lev Leviev and his connection to the Platinum and its partners cannot and should not be ignored, particularly not by law enforcement reviewing all angles.

We will provide continued information to our readers on investigations it becomes available. Having said that, we do not believe that Murray Huberfeld should be given anything but the harshest sentence and we further believe that if the Platinum Partners’ liquidators are looking for all Platinum’s assets they need begin to look at the personal family fortunes of Huberfeld, David Bodner and Huberfeld’s longtime friend and co-partner Mark Nordlicht.

The men involved in Platinum, Black Elk, Echo Therapeutics, and all of the associated businesses and investments, should be scrutinized, bar none. And Jona Rechnitz should not remain unpunished for his involvement. He knew what he was doing when he introduced Norman Seabrook to the Platinum investments that tanked COBA. He knew what he was doing when he elicited money from Hamilton Peralta.

As we mentioned in a previous post, Murray Huberfeld’s attorneys in their remarkable eloquence would have us believe that he is a great altruist, naive and burdened by a scheme he knew nothing about. That is pure and utter nonsense. The many men involved in years and years of frauds and schemes and their associates are savvy, creative and cunning businessmen. These are not men who should be permitted to walk a higher ground because they purport to believe in a “higher authority” [borrowed from an old advertisement]. We have little choice but to give credit where credit is due and these men, in all of their financially lucrative glory, deserve the lions’ share. On the flip side of that very valuable coin, their moral compasses do not necessarily all point in the same directions as their victims’.

There have been thousands of victims over the years. We should be focusing on them: compensation, investment returns, justice and retribution. The money was siphoned off into personal family funds and other investments. And it should be recovered. 

As to COBA and its heralding a $7M recovery for COBA members, that is a financial farce. Murray Huberfeld will be repaying $4M initially with the additional $3M over time. This is utterly reprehensible as he will have use of funds during that time. He will be generating income over the course of that time. Platinum Partners, the fund, the individuals, should all be repaying COBA and its members, plus interest, investment losses and other compensation. Only then should those currently in charge take pride in their recovery.

 

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Platinum Partners Hedge Fund Investigation Reportedly Widens

 

The Platinum Partners saga may have further twists in store.

The New York-based hedge fund has begun liquidating its funds, after the firm’s longtime associate Murray Huberfeld was accused last month of arranging for a $60,000 kickback to be delivered — in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag — to a correctional officers’ union official in exchange for directing the union’s retirement fund investments to Platinum.

Now, Platinum and its chief investment officer, Mark Nordlicht, may face scrutiny as the probe widens, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Platinum’s woes began with the June 8 announcement of bribery charges against Huberfeld and Norman Seabrook, president of the New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

Prosecutors say that Huberfeld, through an intermediary, arranged for the delivery of the kickback to Seabrook after the union official directed $20 million in union investments into the Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund. Huberfeld then arranged for the hedge fund to reimburse the intermediary for the kickback using a fraudulent invoice for the purchase of New York Knicks basketball tickets, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Both Seabrook and Huberfeld pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday.

The fund itself had not been implicated in the criminal case against Huberfeld, whom prosecutors describe as a co-founder and manager at Platinum, claiming he was not listed on the firm’s registration documents to avoid scrutiny. Huberfeld has been previously fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Federal agents raided Platinum’s office in late June, after the charges were announced, as part of an investigation that’s reportedly separate from the bribery case. And there are other rumblings of wider fallout.

Since its founding in 2003, Platinum Partners has appeared to be one of the world’s best-performing hedge funds, claiming a 17% annual return for its main fund as of last fall. But the firm has made investments in assets that are potentially hard to value or liquidate, such as private placements in a distressed company’s debt. These are known in accounting parlance as “Level 3” assets, which have significant “unobservable” value inputs. Nearly all of Platinum’s investments are Level 3, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the illiquid investments are several that have raised eyebrows. In 2007, according to SEC investigators, Platinum created a subsidiary called BDL Group for the purpose of investing in variable annuities for hospice patients, which paid out a bonus when the patient died. Several involved in the plan agreed to pay settlement fines to the SEC, but Platinum and Nordlicht were not accused of wrongdoing.

Other Platinum investments include financing for payday lenders, which offer short-term loans at the equivalent of a 400% annual rate or higher. The industry has long been the target of regulatory crackdowns.

Platinum’s payday borrowers include CashCall, according to Bloomberg. CashCall has been suedby the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for allegedly charging interest in excess of what state laws allow; the company contests those claims and the case is pending in federal court in Los Angeles.

All of this adds up to signals that, at best, it may take Platinum some time to liquidate its funds, a subject that was already making some investors antsy. Two prominent investors reported Platinum to the SEC in November for non-payment of redemptions, according to The Observer.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, now says that the investigation into Platinum is examining whether it overstated the value of its holdings, or paid out exiting investors from new investments or borrowings. A Platinum spokesperson rejected those claims in a statement to the Journal.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

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.