A PLATINUM TESTIMONY – Pay-to-Play – Jona Rechnitz and Mayor de Blasio

 

THE DAILY NEWS

Major de Blasio donor brags about closeness with mayor, says he expected influence for funds at Seabrook trial

 

One of Mayor de Blasio’s biggest donors took the witness stand Thursday to boast about his closeness to the mayor and make clear he had expected “lots of access” to Hizzoner.

The embarrassing testimony came from Jona Rechnitz, who’s pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is the star witness in the trial of disgraced jail union boss Norman Seabrook.

“I was giving money `to the Mayor of New York in exchange for favors,” he said to describe one element of the criminal offense to which he pleaded guilty.

Rechnitz described a meeting he and another donor, Jeremy Reichberg, had with de Blasio’s key fund-raiser, Ross Offinger.

Embattled de Blasio donor to testify against Norman Seabrook

“We expect a lot of access and influence,” Rechnitz said the group told Offinger. “We’re going to become significant contributors.

He said Offinger, a longtime de Blasio aide and the chief rainmaker for the mayor’s non-profit, Campaign for One New York, replied, “Okay. How much do you think you guys can get together?”

Norman Seabrook says $20G was casino prize money, not bribes

Rechnitz, who is cooperating with prosecutors in the hopes of winning lighter jail time, raised $41,000 for the mayor before his 2013 election, donated $50,000 to Campaign for One New York, and wrote a $102,300 check as part of the mayor’s 2014 failed effort to flip the state Senate to Democratic control.

Offinger, Rechnitz testified, returned with his hand out after de Blasio was elected mayor.

“He would call when they needed money,” he said. In return, “I would call whenever I had an issue.”

“I would be a ‘yes’ man,” he added. “I always gave money.”

Witness in Norman Seabrook bribery case is ‘serial liar’: defense

In court he revealed that de Blasio — who has strained to distance himself from Rechnitz — even came to his office before the election.

The then-candidate “told me to call if there’s anything I need. Always be in touch.”

Rechnitz was one of several donors who got tremendous access to the mayor. De Blasio routinely ordered his minions to intervene on donors’ behalf.

Emails show de Blasio responding, “I’m all ears” when Rechnitz suggested a candidate for buildings commissioner, and City Hall intervened when he was cited for running an illegal hotel.

Norman Seabrook says $20G was casino prize money, not bribes

In response late Thursday, de Blasio’s press secretary, Eric Phillips, mocked the credibility of the mayor’s major donor.

“These are nothing but re-heated, re-packaged accusations that have been extensively reviewed and passed on by authorities at multiple levels,” he said. “The administration has never and will never make government decisions based on campaign contributions.”

Rechnitz was cooperating with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s probe of de Blasio that result in no charges but the finding that the mayor had intervened on behalf of big donors.

Rechnitz also admitted he “straw donors” — an illegal scheme to avoid laws limiting how much contributors can give to politicians.

Ex-correction union head Seabrook must face corruption charges

The law prohibits donors from masking their identity by giving to campaigns through other donors. Rechnitz said he did just that by having people in his office write checks for which he would reimburse them.

He described Offinger as a kind of bag man, dropping by his office to pick up checks.

“I told him to hold on and I’d walk out, get a few checks from people and then bring them in,” he said.

Please click here for the original article.

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Inspectors Accepting Bribes to Speed up Developments, Shocking? Nope.

The Daily News

Fourteen people charged with bribing inspectors to speed up Brooklyn development projects

With new buildings popping up across Brooklyn, some corrupt property owners put a pair of city inspectors on retainer to avoid code violations, the Department of Investigation charged Wednesday.

The two Department of Buildings inspectors were among 14 individuals hit with charges in the latest crackdown on the resilient corruption that’s plagued the building sector in this city for decades.

The two inspectors were paid off by property owners and contractors to overlook code violations such as inoperable exit signs on residential and commercial buildings going up across Brooklyn, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said.

“Fabricating documents, lying about conducting inspections or about who is doing the work has serious consequences,” said Peters. “For the defendants it’s about expediting the construction timeline. It’s about making an extra buck.”

Financier gets probation for bribing state pension official

In all, 10 property owners, developers and contractors were charged in the scheme, along with a private sector asbestos inspector who took fees to fudge inspections and a master plumber who sold the use of his license.

Thirteen of the 14 were arrested in a pre-dawn sweep. All will be prosecuted by Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and were to be presented in court later Wednesday.

The two city inspectors were paid off with cash but also got free kitchen renovations and driveway upgrades to their private homes, the complaints allege.

Kushner Partner Conflicts – Bribery Cases

THE NEW YORK TIMES: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/us/politics/jared-kushner-beny-steinmetz.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

Bribe Cases, a Secret Jared Kushner
Partner and Potential Conflicts

President Trump’s son-in-law, a top adviser, had help building a real estate empire from a member of one of Israel’s wealthiest families.

It was the summer of 2012, and Jared Kushner was headed downtown.

His family’s real estate firm, the Kushner Companies, would spend about $190 million over the next few months on dozens of apartment buildings in tony Lower Manhattan neighborhoods including the East Village, the West Village and SoHo.

For much of the roughly $50 million in down payments, Mr. Kushner turned to an undisclosed overseas partner. Public records and shell companies shield the investor’s identity. But, it turns out, the money came from a member of Israel’s Steinmetz family, which built a fortune as one of the world’s leading diamond traders.

A Kushner Companies spokeswoman and several Steinmetz representatives say Raz Steinmetz, 53, was behind the deals. His uncle, and the family’s most prominent figure, is the billionaire Beny Steinmetz, who is under scrutiny by law enforcement authorities in four countries. In the United States, federal prosecutors are investigating whether representatives of his firm bribed government officials in Guinea to secure a multibillion dollar mining concession. In Israel, Mr. Steinmetz was detained in December and questioned in a bribery and money laundering investigation. In Switzerland and Guinea, prosecutors have conducted similar inquiries.

The Steinmetz partnership with Mr. Kushner underscores the mystery behind his family’s multibillion-dollar business and its potential for conflicts with his role as perhaps the second-most powerful man in the White House, behind only his father-in-law, President Trump.

Although Mr. Kushner resigned in January from his chief executive role at Kushner Companies, he remains the beneficiary of trusts that own the sprawling real estate business. The firm has taken part in roughly $7 billion in acquisitions over the last decade, many of them backed by foreign partners whose identities he will not reveal. Last month, his company announced that it had ended talks with the Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese financial firm linked to leading members of the ruling Communist Party. The potential agreement, first disclosed by The New York Times, had raised questions because of its favorable terms for the Kushners.

Photo

Beny Steinmetz (center, with gray tie) and his brother, Daniel, (gold tie) at a Vanity Fair party at the Natural History Museum in London in 2005. Credit Dafydd Jones

Dealings with the Steinmetz family could create complications for Mr. Kushner. The Justice Department, led by Trump appointees, oversees the investigation into Beny Steinmetz. Even as Mr. Kushner’s company maintains extensive business ties to Israel, as a top White House adviser, he has been charged with leading American efforts to broker peace in the Middle East as part of his broad global portfolio. A White House spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

‘A Terrific Partner’

Representatives for Mr. Kushner and the Steinmetzes put distance between Raz Steinmetz and his uncle, Beny. Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for the Kushner Companies, called Raz “a terrific partner,” and added: “He is the only Steinmetz that we have done business with.”

In a statement provided by his attorney, Raz Steinmetz said: “None of my investment entities has invested in any transactions with Beny Steinmetz or any of his interests.” Louis Solomon, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig LLP, who represents one of Beny Steinmetz’s companies, said any business relationships between Raz and Beny were two decades old, and said the two men had not had contact since 2013.

The two men, as well as Daniel Steinmetz, who is Beny’s brother and Raz’s father, have controlled their own companies. But some of their financial interests — ranging from diamonds to real estate — have been entwined over the years. Records reviewed by The Times show that they have shared offshore investment vehicles, employed the same company director and were once connected to the same Swiss bank accounts.

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Lichtenstein Pleads GUILTY!

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Alex Lichtenstein of Pomona, a volunteer for the Brooklyn Borough Park Shomrim, sold the licenses for up to $18,000 each, prosecutors said.

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20161110/civic-center/brooklyn-businessman-guilty-bribing-police-gun-licenses

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Sheldon Silver to Start Prison Term – Now we Need to Find all of the People who were Complicit in his Crimes

Hamaspik.4

CAN ANYONE IDENTIFY THE MEN WITH SILVER IN THIS PICTURE????

Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sheldon-silver-start-12-year-prison-term-schedule-feds-article-1.2740506

 

In a letter Friday, Federal prosecutors urged a judge to stick to her guns and order former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to start serving his 12-year prison sentence as scheduled on August 31.

The letter came hours after Silver’s lawyers asked U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni to treat their client just as Dean Skelos was treated in an entirely separate case and allow Silver to remain free pending appeal.

Skelos is the former state Senate majority leader also convicted on corruption charges.

Silver’s lawyers are hoping that Caproni will echo Judge Kimba Wood, who ruled that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision raised “a substantial question” about whether Skelos’ corruption conviction should be overturned.

Court’s ruling in Virginia bribery case is bad news for N.Y.

The top court decision, which came shortly after the Skelos and Silver verdicts, clarified what constitutes an “official act” of corruption and defense lawyers in both cases contend that the ruling invalidates legal instructions given to their Manhattan juries.

U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni may follow Judge Kimba Wood, who noted that “a substantial question” was raised about the Skelos case.

In their letter to Caproni about Silver, the prosecutors said “contrary to the defendant’s assertion … the jury instructions given by the court in this case were in full accord with the requirements” of the recent Supreme Court decision and if there was any error, “it was harmless in view of the overwhelming and undisputed proof presented at (Silver’s) trial.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sheldon-silver-start-12-year-prison-term-schedule-feds-article-1.2740506

 

Lakewood Builders – Greed over Safety, Children most at Risk

Attorney General Chris S. Porrino
Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino

 

Lakewood builders putting their own selfish greed in front of the safety of thousands of Jewish families:

Contributor, July 3, 2016

Former Lakewood Electrical Code Inspector Indicted for Allegedly Accepting Bribes from Contractors

Acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a former electrical code inspector for Lakewood was indicted today for allegedly accepting bribes from contractors in exchange for preferential treatment in the form of scheduling and conducting inspections more quickly or, in at least one instance, approving work that was not actually inspected.

The Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau obtained a state grand jury indictment today charging Mitchell B. Perkins, 67, of Stafford Township, N.J., with one count of bribery (2nd degree), two counts of official misconduct (2nd degree), two counts of acceptance or receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior (2nd degree), and one count of pattern of official misconduct (2nd degree). The indictment is the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau South Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
Perkins formerly was employed as an electrical sub-code official/electrical inspector for Lakewood Township. He was arrested in this case on Sept. 25, 2015, and subsequently retired from that position.

The investigation began after the New Jersey State Police received information that Perkins allegedly had been accepting bribes from contractors. It is alleged that, between May 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2015, Perkins accepted four separate payments of $300 from an electrical contractor as consideration for preferential treatment. The contractor was working as a cooperating witness for the State Police at the time and requested that Perkins inspect his work more quickly. Perkins returned the first payment, but he allegedly kept the three later payments. It is alleged that, after the first payment, Perkins, who previously had inordinately delayed inspections of the contractor’s works sites, began to conduct timely inspections of his work sites. On one occasion, Perkins allegedly approved electrical work performed by the contractor without first inspecting the work. Afterwards, Perkins allegedly accepted the fourth $300 payment.

In connection with those four alleged payments, Perkins is charged with bribery, official misconduct, and acceptance or receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior. He is charged with a second count of official misconduct and a second count of acceptance or receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior based on multiple instances dating back to 1997 when he allegedly accepted other payments from contractors to influence the performance of his work as an electrical sub-code official and inspector for Lakewood Township. The charge of pattern of official misconduct relates to that conduct as well as the conduct involving the cooperating witness in 2015.

“Government inspectors are supposed to safeguard the public from improper work and potential fire hazards, not line their own pockets,” said Acting Attorney General Porrino. “When inspectors like Perkins allegedly take bribes, large or small, from contractors for preferential treatment, trust in government is undermined and public safety can be compromised.”

“Bribes, at any level of government, undermine public confidence in government,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute any officials who corruptly use their public positions for personal gain.”

“There are few assets more valuable than a person’s home, and homeowners have a right to expect that government inspectors will focus exclusively on ensuring that homes are safe, not on satisfying contractors who pay bribes,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The arrest and indictment of Perkins will send a message that the state will not tolerate any illegal behavior that could endanger its citizens.”

Deputy Attorney General Pearl Minato presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Acting Attorney General Porrino commended the detectives who conducted the investigation for the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau South Unit.

Each of the charges in the indictment carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory five-year period of parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Ocean County, where Perkins will be ordered to appear in court for arraignment at a later date.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Lakewood code inspector indicted for bribe-taking

LAKEWOOD — The township’s former electrical code inspector faces bribery, misconduct and other charges for allegedly taking cash from contractors in exchange for preferential treatment, Acting Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in a statement Wednesday.

Mitchell B. Perkins, 67, of Stafford, was indicted on charges that also included two counts of receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant and one count of pattern of official misconduct. The charges stem from an investigation by the State Police and the state Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.

Perkins retired from his job as an electrical sub-code official and inspector for Lakewood after his arrest on Sept. 25, 2015. Authorities say that Perkins accepted four cash bribes of $300 each between May and September 2015 from a contractor who wanted his work inspected more quickly. The contractor, who was a cooperating witness for the state, received more timely inspections after the first bribe was paid, authorities said. Perkins returned the first bribe but kept the other three, authorities also said. Perkins also allegedly approved work without inspecting it in exchange for one of the bribes.

The state said Perkins has been accepting payments from contractors since 1997.

Perkins faces 5 to 10 years in prison on each charge as well as a $150,000 fine.

Was the Fire at Mordechai Thaler’s Home Payback?

 

 

Was the fire Payback?

According to our sources, Mordechai Thaler who is an electrical contractor,  is the person responsible for setting up Former Lakewood Electrical Code Inspector, indicted for allegedly accepting bribes from contractors . We find it beyond mere coincidence that  Mordechai Thaler had his house burned down last week in an electrical fire. Payback? 

 

Former Lakewood Electrical Code Inspector Indicted for Allegedly Accepting Bribes from Contractors

http://www.thelakewoodscoop.com/news/2016/06/former-lakewood-electrical-code-inspector-indicted-for-allegedly-accepting-bribes-from-contractors.html

The investigation began after the New Jersey State Police received information that Perkins allegedly had been accepting bribes from contractors. It is alleged that, between May 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2015, Perkins accepted four separate payments of $300 from an electrical contractor as consideration for preferential treatment. The contractor was working as a cooperating witness for the State Police at the time and requested that Perkins inspect his work more quickly. Perkins returned the first payment, but he allegedly kept the three later payments. It is alleged that, after the first payment, Perkins, who previously had inordinately delayed inspections of the contractor’s works sites, began to conduct timely inspections of his work sites. On one occasion, Perkins allegedly approved electrical work performed by the contractor without first inspecting the work. Afterwards, Perkins allegedly accepted the fourth $300 payment.

In connection with those four alleged payments, Perkins is charged with bribery, official misconduct, and acceptance or receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior. He is charged with a second count of official misconduct and a second count of acceptance or receipt of an unlawful benefit by a public servant for official behavior based on multiple instances dating back to 1997 when he allegedly accepted other payments from contractors to influence the performance of his work as an electrical sub-code official and inspector for Lakewood Township. The charge of pattern of official misconduct relates to that conduct as well as the conduct involving the cooperating witness in 2015.

“Government inspectors are supposed to safeguard the public from improper work and potential fire hazards, not line their own pockets,” said Acting Attorney General Porrino. “When inspectors like Perkins allegedly take bribes, large or small, from contractors for preferential treatment, trust in government is undermined and public safety can be compromised.”

“Bribes, at any level of government, undermine public confidence in government,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute any officials who corruptly use their public positions for personal gain.”

“There are few assets more valuable than a person’s home, and homeowners have a right to expect that government inspectors will focus exclusively on ensuring that homes are safe, not on satisfying contractors who pay bribes,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The arrest and indictment of Perkins will send a message that the state will not tolerate any illegal behavior that could endanger its citizens.”

Deputy Attorney General Pearl Minato presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Acting Attorney General Porrino commended the detectives who conducted the investigation for the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau South Unit.

Each of the charges in the indictment carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory five-year period of parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Ocean County, where Perkins will be ordered to appear in court for arraignment at a later date.

thaler-fire-768x576

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO & PHOTOS: Lakewood Resident Thanks Community after fire Destroys his Home

http://www.thelakewoodscoop.com/news/2016/06/exclusive-video-photos-lakewood-resident-thanks-community-after-fire-destroys-his-home.html

Touring what’s left of his home after a devastating fire, Lakewood resident Reb Mordechai Thaler kept saying one thing – “Baruch Hashem nobody was injured – a home can be replaced.”

The fire on Erev Shabbos completely destroyed his home, and nearly all of its contents, and this morning he was still rummaging through the ashes to see what he could salvage – which wasn’t much. Clothing, furniture, books, a Talis and Tefillin – everything was burned or destroyed by water.

Among the ashes, he found some family pictures, though most were destroyed.

“We’ll be like the couple who married in the 50s and 60s who just have a couple of photos,” he said.

Nearly every inch of the recently-renovated home was covered in ashes, including the bedroom a family member was sleeping in at the time the fire started.

“This is where he was sleeping,” Reb Mordechai pointed out to us. “There used to be a cabinet here – there’s nothing left of it.”

Luckily, a fire safe containing valuables were saved, and other documents which he removed for use, were also saved.

This morning Reb Mordechai came out publicly to thank the Ribono Shel Olam, and the entire community for the tremendous amount of support he and his family received following the fire.

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