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.

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Seabrook – Fraud – Corruption – Platinum Funds – Valentin and Vindication

 

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907481babec91d43b20702262efcda25It might be about time for William Valentin to have his day in Court. 

We have reported on Valentin and his attempts at proving Seabrook’s improprieties with respect to irresponsible investments in Platinum and the potential that Seabrook was earning some form of compensation for for these investments. We had little doubt that Valentin was correct in his conclusions, despite having his case tossed out of court. It is our hope that he will finally be vindicated. We have posted an article below with some information on the Valentin case.  

LostMessiah, June 8, 2016

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Chief of New York Jail Officers’ Union Is Arrested on Fraud Charges

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/09/nyregion/norman-seabrook-jail-officers-union-arrest.html?_r=0

To read the entire article click here.

The 17-page complaint, sworn out by F.B.I. Special Agent Blaire Toleman, charges both men with one count of honest services fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

Lawyers for the two men could not be immediately reached for comment; a spokesman for Mr. Seabrook said the union president had no immediate comment. 

The relationship between the mayor and Mr. Seabrook has been close in the past. At a 2014 fund-raiser for a union charity, Mr. de Blasio referred to Mr. Seabrook as a “friend” and a “great leader.” But Mr. Seabrook has also been one of the fiercest critics of the mayor’s reform efforts at Rikers Island.

The accusations do not involve Mr. de Blasio or any of the possible improprieties that are under scrutiny in more than half a dozen inquiriesswirling around the mayor and his aides. However, the role in the case of Mr. Rechnitz, a donor who has given more than $150,000 to causes supported by the mayor, is notable. He served as an intermediary, introducing Mr. Seabrook to Mr. Huberfeld to facilitate the union’s investment in Platinum Partners.

Mr. Huberfeld, through Mr. Rechnitz, paid an initial kickback to Mr. Seabrook of $60,000, the complaint said, noting that “ultimately Huberfeld agreed to pay Seabrook bribes that were expected to total hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The complaint does not name Mr. Rechnitz, referring to him instead as cooperating witness No. 1. It says that the information he has provided has been “reliable and corroborated by independent evidence.”

A lawyer for Mr. Rechnitz, Alan Levine, declined to comment.

The government’s interest in Mr. Seabrook and his relationship with Platinum Partners dates back roughly two years and was reported by The New York Times last June.

William Valentin, a correction officer who was forced off the executive board when he mounted a challenge for the union presidency, alleged that Mr. Seabrook had invested millions of dollars in the hedge fund without consulting the board.

Mr. Seabrook acknowledged the investment in an affidavit for a lawsuit, but declined to identify the fund and gave contradictory statements about how much the union earned from it. At one point, he said the return was $475,000 in three months; but the union’s audited financial statements listed a $47,529 return.

Mr. Huberfeld was convicted of fraud in 1993 for arranging for another party to take a brokerage licensing exam under his name. He was fined $5,000 and sentenced to two years of probation. In a separate case, in 1998, Mr. Huberfeld and a partner paid $4.6 million to settle a civil action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that alleged bank fraud.

Mr. Rechnitz’s involvement was reported in April by The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Seabrook, who favors finely tailored suits and cigars and is chauffeured around the city in black S.U.V.s, has come to exert extraordinary control over the Correction Department.

Over the years, Mr. Seabrook has been sued by current and former union employees, who have leveled allegations ranging from corruption to sexual harassment. He has withstood them all.

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In Mayor’s Push to Turn Senate Tides to Dems, He May have Lost his Surfboard

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Did Mayor di Blasio Manipulate Laws Related to Campaign Finance Limits in Effort to Return State Senate to Democratic Control???

April 23, 2016

Crains New York Business:

The obscure law driving the federal probe into the mayor’s campaign activities

“Federal investigators are focusing on donations made to a state campaign committee in 2014 at the behest of Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor was attempting to shift control of the state Senate to Democrats, who would be more amenable to his progressive agenda in New York City.

At the heart of the investigation is a ban on contributions to a state campaign committee if they are earmarked for a particular candidate, according to a report in The New York Times. And in this case, the push by the mayor was focused on two Democratic hopefuls: Terry Gipson and Justin Wagner.

The probe by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is part of a multipronged investigation into campaign activities that also involve Campaign for One New York, a controversial nonprofit that advocated for causes close to the mayor and raised money. Many real estate interests gave to that campaign around the same time they had business before the city.”

 


See also:

The New York Times:

Obscure Ban Is Driving Inquiry Into de Blasio’s Fund-Raising

“During most election cycles, Putnam County, N.Y., is a sleepy backwater, with few donations of more than $1,000 coming into the local Democratic committee in the decade beginning in 2004.

But 2014 was different. Amid an aggressive push by Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City to wrangle donors to help secure Democratic control of the State Senate, a flood of large contributions started pouring into the Putnam committee and at least two other county committees.

Over two weeks in October that year, the Putnam committee received 16 donations, totaling $547,300, from labor unions, real estate interests and individuals including the grocery store magnate John A. Catsimatidis. The money then went to two Democratic candidates in tight Senate races, Terry Gipson and Justin Wagner, who would have been barred by state election law from collecting such large sums directly.

Now those donations, solicited in part by the mayor’s campaign apparatus, are under scrutiny as part of a multipronged criminal investigation being conducted by federal and state authorities, several people briefed on the matter have said.

The inquiry into the 2014 donations is based on a state ban on contributions to a party committee if they are given or solicited for a particular candidate, with an intent to evade individual contribution limits. Party committees can receive contributions of up to $102,300, far more than the $11,000 general-election maximum from individuals directly to for State Senate candidates. And the committees are not restricted in how much they can transfer to candidates.

It appears that prosecutors have never made a criminal case under this section of state election law, a violation of which would be a felony: Records going back to 1999 show no arrests or arraignments on the charge, according to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Nonetheless, what prosecutors investigating the State Senate fund-raising effort appear to be seeking, in subpoenas issued this week by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, is evidence of a scheme to use the county committees to illegally redistribute contributions to candidates favored by Mr. de Blasio.

There seemed to be little question where the money sent to county committees should ultimately end up, officials with the committees said.

“We were told, before we got it, how it was going to be used,” said Louis Epstein, the first vice chairman of the Democratic committee in Putnam County, a far-northern suburb of New York City. A similar message was received in Monroe County, where an incumbent state senator, Ted O’Brien, faced a tough re-election in Rochester.

“Generally what happened was somebody said we have a donor who would like to help Ted,” said Dave Garretson, chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee at the time. “They would like to make a contribution to the county committee where the contribution limit is higher.”

Mr. Garretson said that he had made it clear he could not promise how the money would be spent, and that there were never “any conversations with donors where there was a wink-wink arrangement.” He and Mr. Epstein also said that their committees sought advice to ensure that their handling of the money was proper, adding that they did not deal directly with donors.”

de Blasio and His R&R – He May be Getting it Soon

 

L’Chaim Mayor de Blasio –

R&R, di Blasio and Campaign for One New York

 

LostMessiah, April 20, 2016

Not only did Mayor de Blasio apparently elicit the help of Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz in his quest for political stature but he may also have used the money he received to assist in numerous senate races for the Democratic party candidates. The federal investigation has expanded.

We are willing to bet that later today Mayor de Blasio will be quoted as saying that he does not know of the existence of any federal probes. A little humor is intended with that morning cup-a-Jo, ummm, Jona.

The New York Times Reports:

Inquiry of Mayor de Blasio Fund-Raising Extends to ’14 State Senate Races

“Mr. de Blasio made retaking the chamber a priority in 2014 and personally solicited contributions for his fellow Democrats in Senate races as part of that effort. There is no indication that Mr. de Blasio is a target of the inquiry. Spokesmen for his re-election campaign and the city’s Law Department declined to say whether they had received subpoenas.

Prosecutors are focused on whether there was an effort to evade campaign contribution limits. They are trying to determine whether contributions solicited by the mayor went to smaller county committees with the intention that they then be passed on to candidates in the contested races, the two people said. Those county committees have no limits on campaign contributions from individuals, groups or companies, but candidates’ committees do.

In addition to the focus on the Senate campaign, federal authorities are continuing their investigation of the fund-raising of Mr. de Blasio’s mayoral campaign. On Monday, F.B.I. agents and state investigators made an early morning visit to the Brooklyn home of Mr. de Blasio’s former finance director, Ross A. Offinger, two other people said.

Mr. Offinger was not home, and it was unclear whether the agents had intended to serve him with a subpoena. He declined to comment through a spokesman.

The corruption investigation came to light two weeks ago. Initially a largely federal effort, it has centered on the activities of two businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg. Mr. Rechnitz raised money for the mayor’s election in 2013, and he and his wife also made personal donations. That inquiry is being conducted by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, the F.B.I., and the city’s Investigation Department. Those agencies, and the Manhattan district attorney’s office, all declined to comment.

The subpoenas issued this week, the people said, sought all communications with the mayor’s office and documents regarding solicitations, donors and donations to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit group that supported the mayor’s agenda. Mr. Offinger had served as the group’s finance director.

The group, which Mr. de Blasio shut down last month, has drawn the ire of government watchdog groups, which said it created “a shadow government” of lobbyists and businesses with interests before city government. Mr. Rechnitz donated $50,000 to the group through a company he controls, and Mr. Reichberg held a fund-raiser for the group. A spokesman for the Campaign for One New York also declined to say whether it had received a subpoena.”

For complete article click, here.