De Blasio’s Donors Are Largely Big Money Interested Parties and their Law Firms, Where Will the Money Go, He Can’t Win.

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during an interview at Buzzfeed's Internet Live event at Webster Hall.

De Blasio begs for $1 donations to make September debates

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio resorted to begging for $1 donations during an interview Friday in a desperate attempt to meet the 130,000 contributor threshold to qualify for the third Democratic presidential debates in September.

“I want to make an appeal to your listeners,” de Blasio said on the Laura Coates Show on Sirius XM.

“If you believe in things like a bill of rights for workers please help me. Donate at least $1 online at BilldeBlasio.com. Help me stay on that debate stage,” he pleaded.

On Tuesday the term-limited pol unveiled his Workers Bill of Rights — a part of his 2020 platform that includes raising the national minimum wage to $15 and providing two paid vacation time.

De Blasio has just a few weeks to qualify for the September 12 and 13 debates in Houston. Candidates must attract 130,000 individual supporters and poll at 2 percent. De Blasio hit the 2 percent mark for the first time in a July 2019 Quinnipiac University poll.

As of July 1 he only had 6,700 unique donors. A campaign spokeswoman said she could not provide updated information.

At least seven contenders have met the requirements.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

The Washington Free Beacon

De Blasio Rakes in Cash From Donors With City Interests

New York Post:

De Blasio presidential campaign raises just $1.1M for 2020 bid

Actor Steve Buscemi among de Blasio’s top 2020 donors

Pete Buttigieg has raised more money from NYC residents than de Blasio got nationwide

 

WBBM NewsRadio

De Blasio Struggles to Gain Momentum Heading Into 2nd Round of Debates

 

 

One New York and the “un-” Fairness PAC – de Blasio’s Supporters, the Kingmakers and Hoteliers

PAC-MAN DE BLASIO GOBBLES UP DONATIONS FROM PEOPLE WITH CITY BUSINESS

Mayor Bill de Blasio is personally soliciting donations for his political action committee – reaping money from sources that include individuals seeking favorable treatment from his administration, an investigation by THE CITY found.

The revelations about de Blasio’s Fairness PAC – which he’s using, in part, to pay for travels exploring a presidential bid – followed the city Department of Investigation’s finding he broke city ethics rules in a previous fundraising campaign.

Mike Casca, a Fairness PAC spokesperson, confirmed the mayor is personally seeking donations for the group. Each donor’s name is run through the city’s database of entities doing business with City Hall, said Casca, adding the PAC won’t accept a check from anybody on the list.

But the so-called Doing Business database, which includes only top executives involved in certain transactions, is hardly complete.

A basic search of other databases – including the list of lobbyists – revealed multiple examples of donors who were pressing de Blasio’s team on active projects while writing checks to his PAC, THE CITY found.

Meanwhile, the mayor is working the phones.

His public schedule for August through December shows a total of 125 hours dedicated to fundraising phone calls. His “Call Time” included 38.5 hours in August, 25 hours in September and 38 hours in October. It’s unclear how much of this time was dedicated to Fairness PAC fundraising.

Casca said the “mayor voluntarily set out a strict standard” in declining donations from entities in the Doing Business database, and criticized the examples uncovered by THE CITY as overly broad.

But Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of the government reform group Citizens Union, said the mayor and his Fairness PAC need to be more vigilant in assessing potential donors.

“They should be extremely careful not to ask anybody – or to double-check to make sure people are not – doing business or trying to get business with the city,” said Gotbaum, a former city public advocate. “[The mayor] should not be asking them.”

Transparency Issues on Conflicts Guidance

A  DOI report filed in October concluded de Blasio had violated city conflict-of-interest rules by personally soliciting donations for his now-defunct non-profit Campaign for One New York from entities with business pending before the executive branch.

DOI found the mayor had twice been warned not to do that – and detailed his pursuit of checks from several developers who, at the time, were pursuing favorable treatment from City Hall.

With Campaign for One New York, the mayor released a letter he got from the city Conflicts of Interest Board spelling out the rules for his fundraising.

With Fairness PAC, the group’s lawyers sought unspecified “advice” from COIB, but Casca declined to provide details.

Casca said only that the PAC’s lawyers did not ask about fundraising because they believed that was covered by the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Federal Election Commission. They “did seek other advice,” which he wouldn’t describe, and dubbed COIB’s guidance to the Fairness PAC as “privileged communications.”

THE CITY reported last week that Campaign for One New York is the subject of an ongoing Joint Commission on Public Ethics probe.

Questions on Vetting Process

A key finding of DOI’s report on de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York fundraising was the group’s failure to adequately check potential donors to see whether they had business with City Hall. In the first three months, during which de Blasio raised $1.37 million, DOI found there was no vetting process.

The vetting procedures for Fairness PAC, which raised $470,000 through the end of 2018, appear far from comprehensive.

THE CITY easily found multiple Fairness PAC donors who – at the same time they were writing checks for the mayor – had lobbyists on retainer pressing City Hall for agency approvals related to their projects, including zoning changes and tax breaks.

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R&R are Racking up a Body Count – Wrack and Ruin

 

UPDATED : FBI, IAB arrest top NYPD brass, Jeremy Reichberg in latest developments of Federal corruption probe

http://www.progressqueens.com/news/2016/6/20/fbi-iab-arrest-top-nypd-brass-jeremy-reichberg-in-latest-developments-of-federal-corruption-probe

Four New York Police Department officers, including two who were formerly assigned to the gun Licensing Bureau, were arrested Monday morning, along with Jeremy Reichberg, a campaign contributor of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City).

The Licensing Bureau was previously implicated in the arrest of Brooklyn businessman Shaya (Alex) Lichtenstein. Two of the officers arrested or charged Monday were identified as NYPD Sgt. David Villanuevaand NYPD Officer Richard Ochetal, both of whom were formerly assigned to the gun licensing bureau. During a Monday press conference, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that NYPD Officer Ochetal had pleaded guilty and was coöperating with the Government.

Mr. Lichtenstein and NYPD Sgt. Villanueva were charged in a superseding grand jury indictment with crimes stemming from alleged bribes made by Mr. Lichtenstein to, amongst others, NYPD Sgt. Villanueva that related to the expedited processing of gun permits. Mr. Lichtenstein allegedly offered an unidentified undercover officer $6,000 in bribe money to process each gun permit that Mr. Lichtenstein was allegedly seeking. A separate, unnamed NYPD officer was identified in the superseding indictment as a coöperating witness in the Government’s case against Mr. Lichtenstein and NYPD Sgt. Villanueva, and that coöperating witness has pleaded guilty to bribery charges related to the charged conspiracy, according to the superseding indictment. Demands were made in the superseding indictment that each of Mr. Lichtenstein and NYPD Sgt. Villanueva forfeit the proceeds of their crimes.

NYPD Officer Ochetal was accused of soliciting, demanding, and accepting bribes in exchange for allegedly having expedited the processing of gun permits, and a demand was made that NYPD Officer Ochetal forfeit the proceeds of those alleged bribes, according to a charging document signed by U.S. Attorney Bharara, one of the nation’s top Federal prosecutors.

Two other officers arrested on Monday were identified as Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant. Deputy Chief Harrington and Deputy Inspector Grant were alleged to have received bribes from Mr. Reichberg in exchange for Mr. Reichberg and members of Mr. Reichberg’s community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, having received official police benefits, according to some of the allegations in the sealed complaint signed by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses. The charges of the alleged crimes filed against Deputy Chief Harrington, Deputy Inspector Grant, and Mr. Reichberg, which allegedly date back to 2012, were made in the same complaint.

Revelations about the arrests were previously noted in a report filed by Rocco Parascandola for The New York Daily News and a report filed by Jonathan Dienst and Joe Valiquette for WNBC Channel 4 News.

Early, disparate information about the arrests were first reported by selected news outlets prior to the public release of the charging documents, which were later received by Progress Queens from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s southern district. The charging documents were published online by Progress Queens.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau reportedly conducted the arrests.

Prior to Monday’s arrests, numerous NYPD officers had been reassigned or disciplined as a consequence of a reported wide-ranging, Federal corruption investigation examining whether NYPD officers were bestowing official acts in exchange for having received gifts. As reported by Progress Queens, the conduct of the Federal corruption investigation into the activities of NYPD officers has contrasted with past investigations of the troubled police department. In recent decades past, whenever corruption at the NYPD has been investigated, the mayor of New York City had formed a public commission to conduct public hearings, so that the proceedings could be transparent to the public. That precedent for transparency contrasts sharply with the conduct of private investigations being led by Federal prosecutors and other law enforcement agents.

The spectre of wide-ranging corruption allegedly running rampant at the NYPD has yet led to the removal of NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, despite calls for his resignation, made at various times by grass roots activists and police union officials. Commissioner Bratton’s on-going command of the NYPD is unique amongst other big-city police forces, where changes in leadership have been effected as a result of gross mismanagement or reports of wide-spread misconduct. Leadership changes have taken place at the Oakland Police Department, the San Francisco Police Department, and the Chicago Police Department, but not at the NYPD. This peculiarity is all the more inexplicable, because Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) invoked the language of police reform and accountability, in part, to win the Democratic Party primary in the 2013 mayoral race.

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De Blasio -Probe non-profit spending

Anti-de Blasio group ‘seeking clarification’ from NYC Campaign Finance Board to probe non-profit spending

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/anti-de-blasio-group-seeks-probe-campaign-fund-eligibility-article-1.2674776boats21n-6-web

The new anti-Mayor de Blasio group is asking the city’s Campaign Finance Board to probe whether he is eligible for public campaign funds because of his controversial political non-profit.

NYC Deserves Better — the brainchild of former top Bloomberg aide Bradley Tusk — wrote a letter to the board “seeking clarification” on whether de Blasio’s non-profit spending should count towards his 2017 re-election campaign.

That non-profit operated outside the CFB, and accepted donations from individuals larger than the $4,950 allowed under the law for election campaigns.

In his letter to the CFB, Tusk asks the board to consider whether the non-profit, which was called the Campaign for One New York, should count as campaign funds, since it was established “to promote his agenda” outside of government.

De Blasio ignores questions on campaign donations probe

Jonathan Rosen, Mayor de Blasio, Two Trees and Private Interests

 

rosen

Mayor Names Rosen – “agent of the city”…. Rosen’s advice exempt from public disclosure but can his lobbying efforts be “non-exempt” from the exemption?

When a firm lobbies, it must disclose it’s client lists and other information regarding its clients. BerlinRosen has strategically avoided that requirement despite clear indications that Jonathan Rosen lobbies for Mayor de-Blasio and others and still remains with his firm BerlinRosen,  often representing conflicting interests.

Jonathan Rosen has been described as “the most important man in [New York] politics outside of City Hall. Are we the only people out there who find this distinction a little if not a lot unsettling?

Arguably, when  Jonathan Rosen was acting on behalf of the city in 2013 he was also acting on behalf of one of his company’s clients Two Trees a residential and commercial property developer. While Mayor de Blasio was lobbying for affordable housing, Two Trees likely did not want the mayor to win that battle.

According to LinkedIn Two Trees is a privately held company, founded in 1968 with offices at 45 Main Street Suite 602 in Brooklyn. We are looking into other companies at that location. http://therealdeal.com/new-research/topics/property/45-main-street/ and so far have not been able to definitively determine the ownership interests of Two Trees, though it would not surprise us if at least one of the company’s owners has already come up on these pages.

Jonathan Rosen has become so important to the Mayor and apparently to New York that he was named an “agent of the city” which is an unofficial term that the de Blasio administration claims makes Rosen’s advice exempt from disclosure.

In one article, listed below, Councilman Brad Lander is quoted as saying, ““BerlinRosen are smart and strategic and they make their clients, their campaigns, both for public policy and for office, better”.” Better for whom? Which of his interests are getting protected? 

 

 We are wondering if there is an exemption to the exemption that might make it possible to obtain some form of disclosure regarding Rosen and his firm. At least one news source has tried with little success.

If every “agent of the city” is exempt could Mayor de Blasio not just appoint everyone with any information that could be detrimental to him an “agent of the city” and have everything he does simply be exempt from disclosure?

In an article in today’s New York Post:

deblasio11

De Blasio’s team tried to block block Bloomberg from event

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Political Action Committees – greasing palms – healthcare

Mission: LeadingAge is an association of 5,600 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. We advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that supports, enables and empowers people to live fully as they age. 

LeadingAge website 2011

As You Age SNFs and Nursing Homes

 

LeadingAge – Ensuring that the Palms of our Legislators are Properly Greased…

There is nothing illegal about PAC’s. There is something inherently distasteful, in our view of donating to an organization specifically for the purpose of greasing the palms of our legislators. LeadingAge – “Expanding the World of Possibilities for the Aging.” is an organization which was started, presumably, to assist the aged in dealing with issues related to nursing care, housing, assisted living, eldercare and many others by obtaining the attention of legislators. Whether or not they accomplish their mission remains to be seen. In our view, the state of nursing care, particularly in California where Shlomo Rechnitz and his various businesses hold title to 1 out of every 14 beds and complaints abound makes one wonder exactly what LeadingAge is doing.

More on this subject to follow…

 

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