Thursday, May 26, 2016

de Blasio Claims That the Lobbyists in the Library Deal Berlin Rosen, Hilltop are Special City Agents and Mayor Will Not Release Their Emails - Feds Will Get the Emails

de Blasio Hiding From the Weak City Hall Press
De Blasio playing hide-and-seek from press amid probes (NYP) Mayor de Blasio has been ducking for cover while getting battered by probes and negative polls. Hizzoner hasn’t answered questions from the City Hall press corps in more than a week and he wasn’t even in town over a three-day weekend while visiting his brother in Seattle. Even when he’s in the city, de Blasio’s schedule has been made up largely of radio appearances and three events that were closed to the media, including a reception on the USS Bataan Wednesday to launch Fleet Week. After one of his few recent speeches downtown Tuesday, the mayor scurried out using a service elevator to avoid reporters. “When you go out and you’re trying to do anything and all the members of the media want to talk about is the investigation, it’s a little hard getting things done publicly while that happens,” said Sid Davidoff, a lobbyist and lawyer at Davidoff Hutcher and Citron who is close with de Blasio.

de Blasio's Tammany Hall 
Bill de Blasio's badold days: The return of City Hall for sale (NYDN Ed)  Then came de Blasio and a return to the bad old days.  As public advocate he backed a suit to halt green taxi medallions, and then in his mayoral run collected at least $300,000 from investors in rival yellow medallions. Meanwhile, though de Blasio abided by campaign finance limits, donors to supposedly independent committees — including a union that had been run by his cousin and the animal rights group NYCLASS — hit rival Christine Quinn with costly attack ads. A sudden convert to the NYCLASS dream of eliminating horse carriages, de Blasio vowed to ban carriages “on day one,” swore he knew nothing of the funding scheme that torpedoed Quinn, and then fought like hell to make the ban happen.  After Election Day, de Blasio’s campaign manager established the Campaign for One New York to promote the mayor’s causes, and the city’s pliant ethics board permitted the new mayor to raise funds — except from those with matters that were pending before the city or about to be pending. An early check, for $175,000, came from the hotel workers union (affiliated with de Blasio’s cousin), whose political director served as the Campaign for One New York’s lobbyist. Jona Rechnitz, now a hub of an FBI investigation into possible NYPD bribery, sent his $50,000 contribution the same day.  Followed by $350,000 from the teachers union, poised to cash in on a contract deal and the universal pre-K program sought by the Campaign for One New York.  Followed by $125,000 combined from Wendy Neu and Stephen Nislick of NYCLASS, coinciding with de Blasio’s relentless, failed anti-carriage horse drive. Followed by $500,000 from a health care union on whose behalf de Blasio and the Campaign for One New York lobbied to salvage a failed hospital.  Followed by $100,000 from a peddler of rodent-repellent garbage bags, who secured a mayoral meeting and then a piece of a $6 million city contract. All along, de Blasio pitched for donations from individuals whose real estate and other interests rely on City Hall decisions. Come the fall of 2014, de Blasio urged contributions to his effort to gain Democratic control of the Senate. In came more checks:  From a Houston school bus magnate, who contributed $100,000 to the Senate effort after de Blasio granted an unusual $42 million wage supplement to drivers for private firms. From former Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis, a $50,000 donor who could make a windfall from the city’s push for biofuels — for which he runs the city’s largest refining facility. From developers competing for projects, unions with stakes in development and health care, and many more. While saying he did everything legally, de Blasio refuses to make public emails to and from consultants who drew paydays from that money. He has called them “agents of the city.” The mayor has also said he will release the names of donors who gave and did not get, meaningless in proving innocence but evidence that people believe that you have to pay to have a shot at playing in de Blasio’s New York.

Another Hospital to Close for Condos In deBlassioVille
Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan Will Close to Rebuild Smaller (NYT) The hospital, which has served the downtown area for more than 125 years, is now on a growing list of city hospitals to either close or change its services significantly since 2000.

GiftGate Kid-Glove Treatment of Bribery Suspect's Brother From Pct Where Commanding Officer Killed Himself
NYPD probing ‘kid-glove’ treatment of bribery suspect’s brother (NYP)  NYPD investigators involved with the police-corruption probe are eyeing alleged kid-glove treatment given to the brother of one man at the heart of the scandal, law-enforcement sources said. Shimon “Sammy” Lichtenstein, the sibling of bribery suspect Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein, was cuffed for felony assault in May 2013 after getting into a tussle with a bicyclist, Michael Haddad, in Prospect Park. But instead of Sammy being processed through Central Booking, arraigned and possibly kept overnight, a supervisor released him on a desk-appearance ticket that allowed him to leave that night, police sources said. His case was eventually adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and sealed, sources said. The commanding officer of the precinct at the time was Michael Ameri, the cop who killed himself this month amid the probe. Cops seized Sammy’s gun that night, and his permit was suspended, according to police sources.* NYPD deputy chief in corruption probe files for retirement; is second to do so (NYDN)

Pols Want New Restrictions On Deed Changes Where Were These Pols When de Blasio Changed the Deed on the Rivington Nursing Home?
Officials press de Blasio to release records on pending deed restrictions (NYP) Elected officials are demanding Mayor de Blasio cough up records on pending deed restrictions, such as one that resulted in four investigations into the sale of a Lower East Side nursing home. “We’re all frustrated,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said at a press conference on Wednesday. Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo testified at a City Council hearing two weeks ago that she would share records on more than a dozen properties with pending restriction changes, but according to Brewer and Councilman Ben Kallos, she still hasn’t. The requests come several months after the city lifted deed restrictions on the Rivington House nursing home, paving the way for the property to be sold to a developer that plans to convert it to luxury housing — a deal now being investigated by the US Attorney’s Office.

Of Talking Horses And Rats NYCLASS Nislick and New Lawyer Up and Cooperating
GOP pol says Senate unlikely to vote on Child Victims Act in 2016 (NYDN) More bad news for Mayor de Blasio. The animal-rights activists who gave him hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars have lawyered up and become cooperating witnesses. Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu, co-founders of NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets), have hired well-connected Randy Mastro, who was Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s chief of staff. No details have emerged linking NYCLASS or its founders to any wrongdoing. But sources say Nislick and Neu feel used by the mayor, since he failed to deliver on his promise to ban horse-drawn carriages. They are said to be playing ball with the various prosecutors looking into allegations of the mayor’s shady fund-raising.

Scandal de Blasio Poll Numbers Drop 19 Point in 3 Months
Mayor de Blasio’s approval hits record low (NYP) Battered by numerous investigations of his campaign and administration, Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday saw his job-approval rating sink to its lowest point since he took office. Only 41 percent of voters in the latest Quinnipiac University survey said the mayor was doing a good job, while 52 percent said he wasn’t. That’s a 19-point swing from the previous Q poll, in January, when he de Blasio had a positive, 50-42, rating. Perhaps most troubling for the mayor were the numbers among blacks and Hispanics, who form his base and whose support showed significant signs of erosion for the first time. Four months ago, black voters gave de Blasio an approval rating of 77 percent. This time, it’s only 58 percent. In a similar but smaller drop, Hizzoner’s approval among Hispanic voters fell from 66 to 55. The latest poll also shows that a majority of voters does not believe de Blasio deserves to be re-elected next year, while he finishes in a dead heat with two potential rivals. City Comptroller Scott Stringer would get 36 percent to de Blasio’s 37 in a hypothetical 2017 race, while Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams would grab 34 percent to de Blasio’s 35. The outcomes assume his challengers run as independents in the general election. Voters’ views of de Blasio’s honesty also reached historic lows, with 45 percent saying he’s not trustworthy and 43 percent saying he is. “The overall favorability switching in a couple of months is rather astounding,” said Baruch College Professor Doug Muzzio. * D'Amato says BDB will lose in court his effort to keep"agents of the city" emails private  (NY1)

As Stringer Runs for Mayor Lancman Runs for His Job
Comptroller race heats up as Stringer eyesGracie Mansion (NYP) * NYC faces $3.8B budget gap by 2019, bigger than mayor's claim (NYDN) * Queens Democratic Councilman Rory Lancman is blasting the mayor, telling him to “man up” and “own up to the mess he created.” But de Blasio & Co. continue to cast the blame elsewhere (at Gov. Cuomo, in particular), citing a supposed conspiracy to undo his “progressive” agenda. Rory Lancman — and, it seems, the public — is right: The buck stops at the top. De Blasio has no one to blame for his sorry state of affairs but himself.* New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city will face a $3.8 billion budget gap by 2019, which is bigger than the gap de Blasio is predicting, because the city will have to pay more to rescue public hospitals, for shelters and for overtime, the Daily News reports.

Brewer and Chin Who Allowed Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change, Blame de Blasio and Want More Govt Cross-Checks
Lawmakers want to cross-check de Blasio after bungled land deal (NYP) The bungled Lower East Side land deal that has led to at least four investigations has prompted legislators to look for ways to cross-check the de Blasio administration. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan) plan to propose a bill Wednesday that would change the City Charter and require the city to maintain a public database when deed restrictions on properties are lifted.

de Blasio Sinking Hoisted on His Own Petard 

De Blasio should blame himself for the sorry mess he’s in (NYP Ed) Facing seven (yep, seven) pay-to-play probes, Mayor de Blasio can’t find a whole lot of love these days. Not from his erstwhile allies on the City Council — and especially not from everyday New Yorkers. A devastating Quinnipiac poll Tuesday showed city voters give his performance a big thumbs-down, 52-41 percent. That’s a stunning 20-point flip since January, when they approved of it 50-42 percent, and the worst ratings since he took office. Plus, a majority say he doesn’t deserve reelection. Council members, too, are resisting a behind-the-scenes push from Team de Blasio begging them to publicly support the beleaguered mayor — even supplying them with helpful talking points. Lawmakers, for the most part, are in “a holding pattern,” as one puts it, watching as the shoes drop. Here’s the latest shoe: As The Post reported, US Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan DA Cy Vance are now looking into a $52 million deal to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights public library as a luxury condo tower. The bid was awarded to a de Blasio donor and fund-raiser, even though two other developers made higher offers. The deal also requires the Department of Education to lease the basement and build a huge science lab — even though DOE never asked for the space.

An Ambassador City Agent OK State Department  
State Department Sanctions South African Ambassador'sStatus as de Blasio's 'Agent of the City' (NY1) The State Department says it has no problem with its Ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, serving as an outside advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Five days after NY1 asked the State Department about Gaspard's role as a "agent of the city," a spokesman for the department said Gaspard's relationship with the Mayor was already addressed in 2014. Questions arose that year about whether Gaspard’s close ties to de Blasio crossed any legal or ethical lines.  At the time, the department said it was not surprising that the good friends kept in touch.

de Blasio's Homeless Motel Terrorizing Bronx Mayor's Office Lied to the Community
De Blasio’s homeless motel is terrorizing The Bronx (NYP) Residents in the Riverdale section of The Bronx were outraged when they learned that Mayor de Blasio had been housing homeless people in a local motel. They were even more upset when they found out that a man who allegedly robbed two banks in the neighborhood had been calling the place home. “He was arrested right in front of the homeless shelter,” said state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, who represents the neighborhood. “We traced it back to this gentleman who is a resident at the shelter,” Klein said, adding that this was the third time the de Blasio administration had left Bronx residents in the dark about makeshift homeless shelters. Now, elected officials say they’re going to try to enact legislation that would force the city to get community-board approval before placing the homeless in local hotels. A similar bill failed in 2014. “We got lied to by the mayor’s office,” fumed Tara Master, a Riverdale homeowner and member of the Board of Broadway community alliance. “We need to know what’s going on.” After learning of the local outrage, officials said they would stop using the facility within 120 days. The city made a similar arrangement in a Brooklyn hotel, The Post reported last week.*  NYC’s putting bums and junkies up at this swanky boutique hotel

NYT It Is Time to Stand Up for New Yorkers

Transparency Bill 
De Blasio Pushed for More Transparency in GovernmentBefore He Became Mayor, but is Now Changing His Tune (NY1) 2010 de Blasio used transparency as a political cudgel. 2016 de Blasio creates FOIL exemptions out of thin air:
How the NYT Suck Up to de Blasio 

State Corruption Investigation
Amid high-stakes court battles, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has hired two attorneys. * A report detailing how many jobs were created in 2015 under the START-UP NY program is nearly eight weeks late and some are questioning why. * Cuomo Admin: Up To Investigator To Release Buffalo Billion Report (Updated)  * Cuomo Plans To Unveil More Reform Measures * Challenging Legislature, Cuomo Unveils 8 LLC Closure Bills *Cuomo Offers 8 Bills to Cap Contributions From L.L.C.s (NYT)Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is seeking to close a loophole that allows almost unlimited amounts of money to flow to political candidates.* * Cuomo has pointed to his hiring of an internal investigator as evidence of taking a federal probe seriously, but former prosecutors said an internal probe amid a federal inquiry could be challenging and questions have been raised about Cuomo’s tolerance for an independent probe, The Wall Street Journal reports. * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has authorized the hiring of two new attorneys after several PR firms sued the state lobbying regulator over its plan to have PR professionals disclose dealings with editorial boards, Politico New York reports. * The Times Union writes that, faced with a lawsuit from public relations professionals, JCOPE is doubling down on its wrongheaded plan to have PR professionals report contact with editorial boards and hiring a law firm at a cost of up to $300,000 annually.

Even the Puppet Council is Hiding From the Mayor Mini Me Ydanis Still Loyal 
Asked to defend de Blasio, Council responds cautiously (PoliticoNY) When Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez sent an unsolicited statement to reporters on Thursday afternoon, urging progressives to “stand behind” Mayor Bill de Blasio, he became one of the first members of the City Council to publicly support the mayor amid a swirl of overlapping investigations. But several members of the Council told POLITICO New York that top officials in the mayor’s intergovernmental relations division had asked members to issue statements of support. Those officials went as far as distributing talking points to close allies “in case they wanted to write op-eds,” one source said.  The talking points included a list of the mayor’s signature achievements over the last two years, including several that were mentioned by Rodriguez in his statement: universal pre-kindergarten, improved policing tactics and increased safety, and thousands of new units of affordable housing. The mayor’s aides ramped up their efforts last week following comments by Councilman Rory Lancman, a frequent critic of the mayor, who told the New York Post that the mayor needed to “man up,” and questioned whether there were any Council members defending de Blasio. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who received de Blasio's backing in the 2013 speaker's race and has been criticized for her closeness to the mayor, has had little to say about the investigations. Asked about the probes last week, Mark-Viverito said she took the mayor “at his word” about the legality of his fundraising, but declined to say if she believed the mayor’s fundraising was appropriate. Some offered praise for the mayor’s agenda, while admitting that the current situation “did not look good.” “There is a holding pattern now, everyone is watching now because it’s not clear how much of this will take wind,” one member said. On Thursday, a few hours before Rodriguez's statement went out, Council members Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso, who co-chair the Progressive Caucus, published the first — and so far only — op-ed in support of the mayor. The op-ed included a hashtag — #ProtectProgress — and a request for retweets. The hashtag generated dozens of tweets and retweets from progressive allies of the mayor, but those included just six from members of the Council. * Council approval of Brooklyn library sale now subject of investigation raises questions about Van Bramer’s judgment (Progress Queens)

The Post Copies Political NY Story On de Blasio Asking For His Council Friends to Support the Mayor
Scandal-plagued de Blasio begs City Council for public support (NYP)  With its back to the wall, the de Blasio administration is soliciting City Council members to issue public statements of support for the mayor. “I’ve heard from a couple of council members that [mayoral aides] reached out and asked them to amplify positive policy successes,” said a City Hall source. “The language is, ‘In moments like this we rely on.   Another source said de Blasio staffers are “obsessively following everyone’s Twitter feed” and are “suggesting helpful topics for social media.” “Every time someone retweets something positive they retweet it or favorite it,” the insider said. The initiative — which comes with the hashtag #Protect­Progress — started last week amid a slew of stories highlighting de Blasio’s alleged pay-to-play culture with donors. The push, which was first reported by Politico New York, also comes after The Post reported that Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) launched a blistering attack on the mayor, urging that he “man up” and accept responsibility for actions that led to the investigations, instead of blaming others.

Both Governing By Corruption Investigations or By Pay to Play Cuts Out New Yorkers  
Our very costlyseason of scandal: De Blasio, Cuomo and missed opportunities to govern (NYDN) It’s early in this season of scandal, but we’re already paying the price of folly, greed and secrecy. Every hour that leaders spend huddling with lawyers and publicists to concoct explanations, double-check alibis and gather records for investigators is time not doing the work for which we pay them. The mayor, governor and their staffs should be spending every waking minute investing our tax dollars wisely to stimulate the economy, protect the environment, educate the kids and keep our citizens safe. But they’re not. “If someone violated the rules and the policies, then they have to pay the price,” Cuomo told reporters this month, promising no special mercy for his longtime friends. But during the months it will take to sort things out, projects in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and other economically struggling regions will be stalled and perhaps die on the vine. That’s the cost of slippery ethical dealing. Here in the city, Mayor de Blasio’s frenetic fund-raising for several failed state Senate campaigns and for the now-defunct Campaign for One New York has triggered multiple investigations of whether election laws were broken and whether some of the corporations, unions and wealthy donors who funded the mayor’s political projects did so in exchange for favorable government decisions.  Unlike Cuomo, who has adopted a go-where-the-facts-take-us attitude, de Blasio has unwisely chosen to stall and stonewall. Hizzoner is refusing to cooperate with state ethics investigators and has concocted a fictional legal status of “agent of the city” that supposedly exempts him from Freedom of Information laws that require an explanation of how, when and why some of his outside consultants communicated with the mayor about city business.  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has deemed several of his unpaid, outside consultants – Jonathan Rosen, Nicholas Baldick, Bill Hyers, John Del Cecato and Patrick Gaspard – “agents of the city,” defending his decision not to release his email exchanges with them in response to a FOIL request.  New York City Mayor Averts Disclosure by Naming Special Advisers (WSJ) Bill de Blasio gives title ‘agent of the city’ to five longtime allies

The Interlocking-Directoriates of the NYPD GiftGate Scandal 

The federal investigation into alleged corruption in the NYPD and possible improper fundraising practices in City Hall has led to 11 police officers being stripped of their guns and badges and placed on modified duty. Mayoral aides have also been hit with subpoenas.In the interactive below, we've mapped out the major names in the probe and shown how they are linked. City Hall officials are represented by blue circles, NYPD officials are red circles, and other individuals are yellow. Click on any circle to read details about the individuals and see their direct connections.

Has de Blasio Blown Mayoral Control of the School?
Replacing Bloomberg’s school standards with de Blasio’s hasn’t gone well (NYP) *  De Blasio wants to keep control of the schools — but he’s still fighting tostop the best ones: charters (NYP Ed)  * vTHANKS, DE BLASIO! Struggling schools stop making gains after Blaz did away with letter grades(NYDN) We aren’t talking about why high schools like Curtis on Staten Island and Hillcrest in Queens are graduating 76% of their students, only to discover that two-thirds of them can’t do freshman-level work at the City University without remedial instruction.* The Post writes that de Blasio’s “war” against charter schools provides state lawmakers with a reason to vote against his request for three more years of control over the New York City public school system.

Even de Blasio's NYCHA is Lawyering Up
The New York City Housing Authority plans to seek proposals from law firms to represent the authority in an ongoing federal Justice Department probe into whether NYCHA lied about its claims regarding toxic mold and lead paint, the Daily News reports.

The NYT Knew About Shadow Lobbyists Wroking Inside de Blasio Government  
The Press By Using Lobbyists Inside Mayor Office As Lobbyists Has Enabled de Blasio's Corruption

True News Reported Months Ago That de Blasio's Brooklyn Library Deal With Corrupt Not the Feds Start An Investigation

The Fed Investigation
Feds, DA probe de Blasio’s $52M deal to turn library into condo (NYP) The $52 million deal to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights library into a luxury condo tower, which City Hall awarded to a de Blasio pal who offered less money for the city-owned land than two other bidders, has attracted the attention of federal and city prosecutors, The Post has learned. Mayor de Blasio’s latest imbroglio has investigators questioning why the city chose Hudson Cos. to buy the Brooklyn Public Library branch on Clinton Street and build a 36-story condo on top of it despite submitting a bid that was $6 million less than a competitor’s. The offices of US Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance sent subpoenas to several of the 14 developers that bid on the project, sources familiar with the investigation said. 

The NYP Left Out the Role the Mayor's Protected Special City Agent Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Played in the Corrupt Library Deal True News
One of the subpoenas went to Toll Brothers President David Von Spreckelsen, a source said. Toll Brothers offered $1 million more than Hudson, the sources said. Hudson President David Kramer is “one of many people being looked at” but has not been subpoenaed, the sources said. Federal and city prosecutors, and Von Spreckelsen and Kramer all declined to comment. Kramer proposed a 30-story residential skyscraper — with 114 units of affordable housing sited two miles away. The plan included space for the library on the ground floor and $40 million of the $52 million bid to spruce up other branches. He also planned to relocate the library to a space on Remsen Street in July 2016 for the four-year construction period. At least two competing developers not only offered to pay the library more money, but several proposed to build affordable units on the site. Brooklyn-based Second Development Services offered the library $6 million more than did Hudson and 117 affordable units.  One competing bidder described the process as rigged to benefit de Blasio’s friends.  “It’s going to be hard to explain to a federal prosecutor why Toll Brothers, a large firm, was outbid by a smaller bidder,” the source said. Kramer not only lavished cash into the mayor’s campaign coffers, he pressed his case in meetings with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glenn in early 2014. “Kramer was telling people at the time, ‘Whatever we need to do, we’re going to win this,’ ” said one real-estate source familiar with the bid process. A friend of the mayor for more than a decade, Kramer and his wife have given $9,125 to de Blasio’s political campaigns since 2007. De Blasio has refunded $6,325 of that money without giving an explanation on city campaign filings. De Blasio kept another $4,850 that came from Hudson employees, records show. Kramer and his project architect, Jonathan Marvel, also hosted fund-raisers for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign, including an October 2013 soirée for which Marvel invited the city’s biggest developers. Six weeks after de Blasio was sworn in, Hudson coughed up $5,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a charity promoting the mayor’s agenda. Marvel Architects added $2,000 in June 2015. Toll Brothers also has given CONY two $25,000 donations. The city picked Hudson and Toll Brothers as the two finalists in the summer of 2014 before choosing Hudson in September of that year. Demolition and construction is slated to begin this fall. * New York City MayorAverts Disclosure by Naming Special Advisers (WSJ) Bill de Blasio gives title‘agent of the city’ to five longtime allies (WSJ)* De Blasio pal’s library deal gets even fishier (NYP) The Brooklyn Heights library redevelopment deal under investigation for being awarded to a de Blasio pal who was outbid for the site includes a provision requiring the Department of Education to lease the basement and build a huge science lab there, The Post has learned. But the DOE — which has to foot the unspecified costs of leasing the basement and building the lab — never asked for it, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. “This was not their idea. They didn’t want it,” the source said. “If they were going to be forced to take space like this, they wanted a gym.” Steve Levin, a city councilman aligned with Mayor Bill de Blasio, pushed for inclusion of the 9,000-square-foot teaching lab as part of a rezoning that will let developer Hudson Companies build a 36-story condo tower atop a new, $9 million branch of the Brooklyn Public

Another Pay to Play de Blasio Building That Changed Zoning
4-Foot-WideLot, Carved Out by Developers, Causes Big Stir in Manhattan (NYDN) the fast-rising 521-foot tower, known as 180 East 88th Street and approved by the city’s Buildings Department, now faces a challenge from residents and elected officials arguing that the developers, who donated at least $19,900 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign and causes, used a novel tactic to circumvent zoning regulations and build taller than would ordinarily be allowed.the fast-rising 521-foot tower, known as 180 East 88th Street and approved by the city’s Buildings Department, now faces a challenge from residents and elected officials arguing that the developers, who donated at least $19,900 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign and causes, used a novel tactic to circumvent zoning regulations and build taller than would ordinarily be allowed."the fast-rising 521-foot tower, known as 180 East 88th Street and approved by the city’s Buildings Department, now faces a challenge from residents and elected officials arguing that the developers, who donated at least $19,900 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign and causes, used a novel tactic to circumvent zoning regulations and build taller than would ordinarily be allowed."In 2014, a developer sought approval for an odd alteration to a lot on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Instead of a 30-foot-deep lot, abutting East 88th Street, the developer sliced off a narrow sliver only four feet wide. The change, approved by New York City, became part of the official map of taxable lots that November. But the motivation behind it became clearer only in recent months.

Cuomo Picks New Dem Party Leaders Big Deal
Cuomo is taking control of New York’s Democratic Party (NYP) Gov. Cuomo, hobbled by US Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe of longtime political operative Joseph Percoco, will take personal control of the state Democratic Party on Monday — even as he names Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as its new “figurehead” chairman, sources told The Post. Brown’s selection — to be rubber-stamped at a meeting of the state Democratic Committee — is worrying many city and suburban Democrats, who say the Buffalo mayor, unlike Percoco, won’t have direct access to the governor when important decisions have to be made. “Joe was also Andrew’s eyes and ears, letting him know how party people were feeling, but Byron’s a six-hour drive from [Albany] and he can’t do that,’’ a senior Democrat said. A second prominent Democrat called Percoco “the ‘go to’ person,’’ and asked, “Who will we go to now?” Cuomo is also expected to name former New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn as the state party’s No. 2 official, but her selection was described by party insiders as more a rebuke to Mayor de Blasio, the governor’s nemesis, and not an effort to find a replacement for Percoco. Brown was described by a well-known Democratic official as “always a gentleman and never temperamental,’’ but also as someone out for personal or political gain. “He’s the most transactional person I ever met in politics,’’ said the source. Party activists said Brown’s selection was meant in part as a gesture to economically distressed Buffalo, where many leaders fear that Bharara’s investigation has put the governor’s Buffalo Billion project in danger. * Gov. Cuomo Nominates Mayor Brown to Serve on NYS DemocraticCommittee (NY1) * Former City Council speaker Christine Quinn tapped for position with N.Y. state Democratic Committee (NYDN)  * Some NYC and suburban Democrats aren’t thrilled with the selection by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown to run the state Democratic Party. Brown, who was officially nominated for the party post by the governor yesterday, would be the first Western New Yorker to serve as chair since former Erie County Democratic Chairman Joseph F. Crangle held the post from 1971 to 1974.*  Cuomo Doubles Down On Buffalo (YNN)

As the NYCLASS Fed Investigation of Him Continues de Blasio Raises Carriage Rate to Look Fair Now?
NOT HORSING AROUND: Carriage rate hike quietly approved by Mayor de Blasio — and drivers are getting raises, too (NYDN) Not only is Mayor de Blasio failing to ban the horse and carriage industry — he’s giving the drivers raises. The city Department of Consumer Affairs quietly hiked the price of a carriage ride last week, part of a Michael Bloomberg administration deal that had been on hold while de Blasio duked it out with the drivers over the possible ban. Drivers can now charge $54.08 for the first 20 minutes of a ride, and $21.63 for every 10 minutes after. Before the rate hike, the drivers were allowed to charge $50 for the first 20 minutes, and $20 for every 10 minutes after. Drivers who are medallion owners currently get to keep the whole fare, and those who lease keep about $20. Their new amount has yet to be worked out.

The Federal Case Against Cuomo

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Buffalo Billion independent investigator Bart Schwartz insists he’ll be independent, but others remain skeptical.

Feds, others looking at public-private partnerships (TU) Investigations examine complex interactions across New York The lobbyist who did work for the state university while representing the companies vying for tens of millions of dollars in business with its development arm. The manager of the governor's re-election campaign who took consulting fees from two of the same companies.  Those are just a few of the connections in the tangled skein of personal and business relationships now under the gaze of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara. In late April, Bharara served Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration with a wide-ranging subpoena seeking information about actions taken by six administration officials for the potential benefit of almost two dozen companies. The list ranges from large developers to a previously invisible consulting firm, stretching across the map from Buffalo to Washington, D.C.* Some worry new NY big-projects agency is Cuomo power grab (Post Star) *   East Syracuse-based Pyramid Network Services, the general contractor for the Mesonet Initiative, a $23.6 million UAlbany project supported by Cuomo to enable better planning for extreme weather events, is one of the nearly two-dozen companies mentioned in the federal subpoena issued to the Cuomo administration in late April. As part of a probe into former top Cuomo aide and friend Joseph Percoco and others close to the governor, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a subpoena to the administration for records and communications pertaining to various economic development and nano-tech projects. But in some cases, material being sought might have already been deleted — or never been retained in the first place.*   Company in Cuomosubpoena is contractor on UAlbany initiative (TU) Pyramid Network Services was contractor for $23.6M weather system supported by governor Company in Cuomo subpoena is contractor on UAlbany initiative Pyramid Network Services was contractor for $23.6M weather system supported by governor Deleted Emails  Cuomo email-deletion policy could hinder federal probeinto former top aide Joseph Percoco (NYDN) * Another Monday, Three More Cuomo Corruption Stories: The"Never Leave A Trail" Cuomo administration strikes a...  (RBE)

The Percoco-Howe Investigation  The office of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara has spent much of the past year investigating Upstate New York economic development projects, including those that fall under the umbrella of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative.  A federal subpoena given to New York's Executive Chamber in late April made it clear that federal investigators are now seeking information about companies and transactions connected to lobbyist Todd Howe and former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco.  In response, the governor has ordered a separate investigation of these issues, to be conducted by outside investigator Bart Schwartz, who worked for the same U.S. Attorney's office under Rudy Giuliani.

TODD HOWE The lobbyist was fired in early May by the large Capital Region law firm Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, where he ran a Washington, D.C.-based subsidiary called WOH Government Solutions. Howe also ran the consulting firm called Potomac Strategies — one of the companies of interest in the federal subpoena given to the Cuomo administration — out of his suburban Washington home, though its clients remain unknown. An advance man for the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, Howe went on to work with Andrew Cuomo at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development during the 1990s. More recently, Howe did much work for SUNY Poly as well as several companies that have secured work on its projects.  Politico New York reported that Howe served as a prodigious fundraiser for the governor's 2014 re-election effort. The New York Times has reported that Howe's personal finances have been in disarray for years.

COR DEVELOPMENT This development company based outside of Syracuse secured contracts for several large projects, including SUNY Poly's Central New York Hub for Emerging Nano Industries in DeWitt. The company also develops affordable housing. Joe Percoco's 2014 financial disclosure form shows consulting fees of between $50,000 and $75,000 from COR, though the company insists it never paid him. The firm, its leaders and their family members have donated at least $250,000 to Cuomo's campaign since the beginning of 2010. COR is currently listed as a lobbying client of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna. COR and several of its project-specific subsidiaries are mentioned in the federal subpoena received by the administration.

CHA  An Albany-based engineering firm, formerly known as Clough Harbour & Associates, that has secured work on upstate development projects. Joe Percoco's 2014 financial disclosure form shows between $20,000 and $50,000 in income from CHA Consulting, a subsidiary. The company donated at least $200,000 to Cuomo's campaign between 2013 and 2015. It has offices in the former Union Station in downtown Albany, a SUNY Poly facility, as well as at the school's main campus. Mentioned in the subpoena.

LPCIMINELLI A Buffalo-based construction firm that has also done considerable state development business, including work on the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the RiverBend solar panel manufacturing facility. A 2015 federal subpoena reportedly sought information about a 2013 request for proposals issued for the RiverBend project by Fort Schuyler Management, a development arm of SUNY Poly, that seemed to be tailored to LPCiminelli's specifications — including the requirement that the winning firm have "over 50 years of proven experience." Fort Schuyler later said that detail was a typo, and changed the requirement to 15 years. The company is currently listed as a lobbying client of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna. Mentioned in the subpoena.

COLUMBIA DEVELOPMENT  Albany-based company that has handled projects for SUNY Poly. The company's initially winning 2015 bid to build a dorm adjacent to the Albany campus is now the subject of a probe by state attorney general's office. Columbia's various entities have given the governor's campaign at least $200,000 since the beginning of 2012. The wife of founder and CEO Joe Nicolla used her maiden name and a Muncie, Ind., address to donate $50,000 to Cuomo in June 2014. Mentioned in the subpoena.

STV GROUP  A Manhattan-based engineering and architectural consulting and design firm, and a Howe client. In July 2013, Milo Riverso, an official from the company, met with Gil Quiniones, the president and CEO of the New York Power Authority — one of the six Cuomo administration officials on whose actions the Bharara subpoena sought information. Howe was also present at the meeting, though he did not register STV as his lobbying client. A spokesman for NYPA would not discuss the topic of the meeting. The company has given Cuomo's campaign at least $32,000 since the beginning of 2010. Mentioned in the subpoena.

COMPETITIVE POWER VENTURES  The Maryland-based power generation and asset management firm is constructing a controversial natural gas-fired plant in Orange County through a subsidiary, CPV Valley. In early May, the Cuomo administration ordered a host of state agencies to cease communications with both entities and temporarily halt all regulatory proceedings involving them.

CPV, which has donated at least $80,000 to Cuomo's campaign, has been linked to Chris Pitts LLC, a Connecticut business that according to disclosure forms paid salary to Joe Percoco's wife, Lisa Toscano-Percoco, in 2012 and 2014. CPV, another Howe client, is mentioned in the subpoena sent to the Cuomo administration. Whiteman Osterman & Hanna currently lists CPV as a lobbying client.

3GI TERMINALS Syracuse intermodal infrastructure company that sought to create an "inland port" in the area. 3Gi principal Eckhard Beck said Howe pulled a "bait-and-switch" in his work for 3GI after last year's budget negotiations, when a rival project offered by the Port of Oswego Authority ended up receiving $40 million in state funding. Mentioned in the subpoena.

CENTER ARMORY  Another Syracuse-based Howe client, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Howe was hired at least in part to lobby the Empire State Development Corp., the state economic development office, concerning the end of the Empire Zone tax credit program, a change that hurt Center Armory's finances, according to the person with knowledge of the matter. The result of the lobbying is not clear. Mentioned in the subpoena.

PEMCO GROUP and CARNEGIE MANAGEMENT Howe represented both of these companies as they battled for control of the long-vacant, 10-story Nynex office building in Syracuse. Howe initially represented Pemco, which landed $2.5 million from Empire State Development during the 2013 Regional Economic Development Council competition round. But when it became clear that the company had lost the battle to acquire the building, Howe began representing a Brooklyn investor who runs Carnegie, which has now secured access to the $2.5 million grant and owns the building. Both firms are mentioned in the subpoena.

NORSTAR A Canadian-based development company with extensive U.S. operations, including a significant presence in Buffalo. Norstar and its related entities have given Cuomo's campaign at least $157,000 since January 2010 — the bulk of it donated by companies based in Texas. Norstar has also worked on affordable housing projects that have received tax credits and other benefits from executive agencies. Norstar was the developer of an Albany affordable housing development tied to Swan Street Lofts LP. Both are mentioned in the subpoena.

ALSO MENTIONED The federal subpoena also seeks information on actions taken for the possible benefit of Conifer Realty, a Rochester-based developer of affordable housing; Pyramid Network Services, a Syracuse company that builds cell towers; and Hueber-Breuer Construction of Syracuse. It remains unclear what connection these firms have to other individuals or companies of interest in the probe.

Another Flack Drop of A 2018 Candidate Against Cuomo If Cuomo Makes It to 2018

GOPer ready to spend$10M of own money on 2018 gov race (NYDN) Harry Wilson, a business turnaround expert considering a 2018 run for governor, is saying he’s set to spend up to $10 million of his own money should he go for it. State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said Wilson, who in 2010 ran an unsuccessful campaign for state controller, made the statement a recent party function when asked how he can be a credible candidate if he faces someone like Cuomo, who as of January had $16 million left in his campaign account. "He said if he ran he'd be willing to start off by reaching into his own pocket and putting up $10 million, " Long said. "That in itself is pretty significant."

Last week, Councilman Stephen Levin backed a new deal for the library's $52 million sale the sale of the business library in his district of Brooklyn Heights to a developer to build a 36 story building. According to lawyer urban planer Michael White who with members of Citizens Defending Libraries has been trying to block the sale the last minute deals that Levin and Economic Development. Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen took credit for was in the works for months, and sold out the community. White group had it work cut out for them. Berlin Rosen not only help elected Councilman Levin, but also represent or was connect to every major party in the library theft from the Brooklyn Heights’ community.* A Brooklyn Heights library redevelopment deal being investigated by authorities included a provision requiring the New York City Department of Education to lease the basement and build a science lab there, despite the department never asking for it, the Post reports.

1. Councilman Steven Levin paid Berlin Rosen over $100,000 to run his re-elected campaign in 2013.  Levin ties to the unregistered lobbyist Berlin Rosen go back to his 2009 campaign when he spent $8,000 on WFP's Data and Field, that former county leader the late Vito Lopez ran. 2. Berlin Rosen also represents the Brooklyn Public Library that is selling the library with almost no community support to developers, Hudson Companies, in partnership with Marvel Architects.  3.  Berlin Rosen also represents Hudson and has many connections to Marvel Architects. It is impossible to tell who are the Berlin Clients are since the firm does not registered as a lobbyist. 4. Hudson Companies and Marvel Architects are putting up the strongly opposed Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park, the hotel and condominium complex that the same Brooklyn Heights community failed in court to stop 

de Blasio and Berlin Rosen Joined At the Hip Their Interlocking-Directorates of Unregistered Lobbyists and PACs Are A Cancer to Our Democracy
 5. That is not the end of Berlin Rosen Interlocking-Directorates with the sell of the library. Citizens Defending Libraries White pointed out that Forest City Ratner owned zoning rights connected to the library, Noticing New York  Berlin Rosen is also work for Ratner. White called Forest City Ratner, as it's a gatekeeper to the transaction. Mayor To Back Library Sale Because of Ties to Condo Developer, Critics Say (DNAINFO) "Mayor de Blasio has been taking money from the developer and his team while their application to acquire and shrink the library was pending," White's group said in a press release issued early Tuesday. David Kramer, a principal of Hudson, donated $4,725 to the mayor in 2011. Berlin Rosen work for the de Blasio's 2013 campaign for mayor and now work for his slush fund PAC Campaign for One NY   6. (All Blue) In the space of 6 years Berlin Rosen has taken the lead in electing puppets to mostly the city council that follow the needs of their clients over the needs of the voters who elected them.   7. (All Black) Besides working for de Blasio campaign Berlin Rosen the councilman Steve Levin who had the power in the council to stop the deal. True News has reported that lobbyists have taken over most of the old Tammany Hall to run a shadow govt that cuts out the public. Citizens Defending Libraries in their press release after the sale of the library said it has been clear that with this library sale we have been witness to the exercise of an enormous amount of power.  What we did not see today was the exercise by the City Council of the power that it has to protect the public.

The New Tammany Hall Bosses are The City Real Estate Robber Barons and Their Mini Me Lobbyists 
More on Dark Pool Corrupt Consultant Who Will Have to Register As Lobbyists

@RaviBatra  Silly Frivolous. Imagine City Agents Who Seek Favors. Worse Than Nepotism. This is Criminally Deranged
De Blasio’s secret agents are so secret, even they didn’t know (NYP) Even Richard Nixon was never this contemptuous of the people’s right to know. Or as two-faced a hypocrite, either. Turns out that Mayor de Blasio’s “agents of the city” were secret agents: Secret from the public, and even from themselves. The Wall Street Journal reports several had no idea they’d been so designated as a way to keep their communications with the mayor from the public. Moreover, they don’t want it.  Some of de Blasio’s own aides reportedly pressed him to release e-mails he exchanged with one of those “agents,” Jonathan Rosen — whose lobbying business has boomed since the mayor took office— but he overruled them. So it comes as no surprise that de Blasio and his lawyer are the only people who think he has any legal basis whatsoever for keeping those exchanges private. Four of the five “agents” are political consultants whose firms have raked in big bucks from de Blasio’s main slush fund, the Campaign for One New York. Rosen’s firm has been subpoenaed by prosecutors probing de Blasio’s political fundraising. And most also represent clients who do substantial business with the city.De Blasio’s secret agents are so secret, even they didn’t know (NYP) Even Richard Nixon was never this contemptuous of the people’s right to know. Or as two-faced a hypocrite, either. Turns out that Mayor de Blasio’s “agents of the city” were secret agents: Secret from the public, and even from themselves.

Loophole Bill and His Gang of Lobbyists Top Guy Capalino
Lobbyists takeadvantage of loopholes in donating to Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising efforts,skirting conflict of interest laws  (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio's Campaign for One New York fund hit a trifecta on May 27, 2015 — courtesy of lobbyist extraordinaire James Capalino. The group first received a $10,000 check from Capalino. That same day, identical checks arrived from two of the lobbyist’s deep-pocketed clients, RAL Development and Cipriani USA, for a total of $30,000. And the very next day, Capalino was on the phone with the man himself — Mayor de Blasio. Not bad for a guy who, as a lobbyist doing business with the city, is barred from giving more than $400 to a candidate per election. The mayor’s website and Capalino insist the phone chat concerned a proposed (and ultimately failed) helicopter ban, and Capalino says donations to the mayor’s cause never came up.  Whether anything else came up remains a mystery as City Hall refuses to say whether notes of these lobbying chats exist.  The well-connected Capalino, a Koch administration official and longtime City Hall insider, declined to identify the Campaign for One New York contact who was seeking the donations.  Capalino makes a point of showing appreciation in every possible way. While a proposal by his client, RAL, for towers in Brooklyn Bridge Park was under consideration by the city, he first made a $5,000 donation to the mayor’s Fund To Advance New York, another nonprofit that supports City Hall initiatives.  Then in May 2015, he and RAL made the $10,000 donations to Campaign for One New York — the mayor’s controversial political nonprofit, which raised millions for his pet projects.  A month later, the city selected RAL for the Brooklyn job. Last week, the project was frozen by the Cuomo administration over conflict of interest concerns related to Capalino and the donations. Like any insider, Capalino drives through two basic loopholes to get around the restriction on individual donations to $4,950 per candidate per election. Donations to Campaign for One New York, a so-called “independent spender” formed by de Blasio to support his causes, are unrestricted. Although most donors give in the $10,000 to $25,000 range, the United Federation of Teachers forked over a whopping $350,000. Many of these donors need City Hall to sign off on their projects. Besides RAL’s pursuit of the Brooklyn Bridge Park towers, there’s Cipriani, for whom Capalino has lobbied City Hall about a proposed event space on the far West Side. The other key loophole Capalino has tapped into is bundling. Though individuals can’t give more than $4,950, they can collect piles of checks from others and present them to a candidate in a bundle. Between October and December, Capalino bundled $44,940 for the mayor’s 2017 reelection bid. Donors included some of his clients. An executive of Bauhouse Group, which needs City Hall support for a huge Upper East Side tower the neighborhood opposes, gave $4,950. Michael Stern, CEO of JDS Development, wrote five checks in one day totaling $4,950. Capalino has lobbied for city approval of a JDS residential tower that would be the tallest in Brooklyn at 1,066 feet. Evidence of his influence at City Hall abounds. Records show Capalino’s calendar is filled with sit-downs or phone calls with virtually all of the mayor’s top deputies. In those meetings, he seeks and often gets zoning changes, tax breaks and various approvals for big developments that reap big profits for his clients. In several cases, his clients’ projects are at odds with taxpaying citizens opposed to huge towers springing up in traditional neighborhoods. Capalino client Fortis Property Group, for instance, has a highly contested plan to erect massive towers on the site of the former Long Island City Hospital in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The neighborhood loudly protested the hospital’s closing and reacted with fury at FPG’s “compromise” to put up hundreds of apartments along with a tiny “stand-alone” emergency room at the site. Enter Capalino. In May 2014, FPG hired him and he began lobbying top de Blasio aides: Emma Wolfe, director of intergovernmental affairs, Dom Williams, chief of staff to Shorris, and then-Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, records show. The plan required state approval, but de Blasio was intervening, at first pushing to keep LICH open. As a candidate for mayor, he was even arrested at a protest, during which he vowed LICH would never close. Ultimately, it appears, de Blasio embraced a compromise plan that benefited Capalino’s client, FPG. A month after Capalino showed up, a letter was sent out by the mayor’s fund, Campaign for One New York, in which the local Community Board Chairman Gary Reilly wrote, “I was asked by Mayor de Blasio to share my views on what this (project) means for families of” the surrounding neighborhoods. Reilly went on to champion Fortis’ plan, without actually mentioning Fortis. Jerry Armer, a community board member, recalls, “It was a surprise where the letter came from. It didn’t seem to be from an individual. It seemed to be part of a larger operation.” Capalino said he didn’t draft the letter and didn’t have contact with Campaign for One New York, although he did have contact with the mayor’s aides.* Probes of de Blasio, Cuomo could shake up New Yorkpolitics (CrainsNY) Four scenarios possible as federal investigations put mayor, governor at risk * A Brief (Recent) History of Mayoral Email Secrecy (DNAINFO)  Bill de Blasio wants to keep some of his email private.  Michael Bloomberg did that, too.

Was Berlin Rosen Dirty Money Mailing Designed to Help Capalino and Team de Blasio?
Berlin Rosen who worked for 52AD candidate Sikora and the PAC One NY, use to the PAC to send out to the voters of the district a misleading letter that a developers ER would be a good substitute for the closed LICH.  Rosen's assembly candidate was arrested during the 2013 mayor's race along with de Blasio protesting the closing of the LICH Hospital.  The Brooklyn Eagle called Berlin Rosen PAC mailing the dark money mailing, claiming the closed LICH hospital developer would build an emergency room that would meet the community’s health care needs.  Doctors and community leader have called that claim an outright lie. Carroll Gardens Association - Cover-Up of Members' Dark Money LICH Mailing * Hamill: Long Island College Hospital merged to death - NY Daily News(2013)
Alarm raised about 'dark money' in de Blasio's LICH - Fortis letter ..(Brooklyn Eagle).

Closing LICH Hospital
Hilltop Lobbyists Hyers and LICH

de Blasio Campaign Manager Bill Hires' Hilltop Now Works for Developer on the Hospital Site - Hyers is a Special Agent Whose Emails are Protected
1. Hires: de Blasio Campaign Manager Who Uses Candidate Fake Arrest to Protest A Closing Hospital As A Prop 

2. Once the Hospital is Closed Hires Who Works for the Mayor Slush Fund PAC One NY Uses It to Tell the Community That the Band Aid ER the Developer Agreed to Build is As Good As the Closed Hospital

3. Hires: Sell A Large Development to Replace te Closed to A Community Who Opposes It* 

Airbnb Accuses NYC Lawmakers Of "An Attack On TheMiddle Class": At a contentious City Council hearing earlier…  *   Airbnb is not happy with the NYC Council, which today will hear legislation that would further penalize hosts for renting out their homes illegally. In advance of the hearing, the apartment-rental platform delivered a letter to Council members signed by Airbnb hosts imploring them to back off. * Airbnb agrees to discuss sharing data with officials to crack down on illegal operators (NYDN) * City Council Members Clash with Airbnb Officials at Hearing (NY1) *  Councilman threatens $100K fines onAirbnb’s ‘illegal hotels’ (NYP)

Team de Blasio No More Email New Communication System Cone of Silence
The Wall Street Journal reports several had no idea they’d been so designated as a way to keep their communications with the mayor from the public. Moreover, they don’t want it.  Some of de Blasio’s own aides reportedly pressed him to release e-mails he exchanged with one of those “agents,” Jonathan Rosen — whose lobbying business has boomed since the mayor took office— but he overruled them. So it comes as no surprise that de Blasio and his lawyer are the only people who think he has any legal basis whatsoever for keeping those exchanges private. Four of the five “agents” are political consultants whose firms have raked in big bucks from de Blasio’s main slush fund, the Campaign for One New York. Rosen’s firm has been subpoenaed by prosecutors probing de Blasio’s political fundraising. And most also represent clients who do substantial business with the city. What exactly is an “agent of the city”? No city political veterans have heard of it, and the mayor’s aides won’t say how someone earns the title and what — if any — rules they have to follow. Odds are, there are no rules — after all, de Blasio himself doesn’t follow any. He defies a subpoena from JCOPE, the state ethics agency, saying it’s out to get him. He refuses to show up at a state Senate hearing on mayoral control of the schools, insisting he’s already answered all possible questions. This from the self-righteous mayor who campaigned for the job by blasting everyone else in city government for “blocking information that belongs to the public.”

de Blasio's Shadow Govt Lobbyists Secret Agent Men
De Blasio defies his own call to make City Hall more transparent (NYP) Mayor de Blasio has turned his back on his own call for open public records — defying recommendations he made as public advocate, when he harshly graded agencies in the Bloomberg administration for their slow responses to disclosure requests. “The city is inviting waste and corruption by blocking information that belongs to the public,” concluded a report released in April 2013 by then-Public Advocate de Blasio. “We have to start holding government accountable when it refuses to turn over public records to citizens and taxpayers.” But that was then.This week, the mayor invoked an unheard-of confidentiality privilege to shield his communications with a handful of longtime advisers, saying their input is exempt from public disclosure. Those deemed “agents of the city” by de Blasio’s counsel include BerlinRosen co-founder Jonathan Rosen, Hilltop Public Relations partners Nick Baldick and Bill Hyers, AKPD Media partner Jon Del Cecato and US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard.   As public advocate, de Blasio recommended agencies be fined for ignoring Freedom of Information Law requests and be required file monthly reports to the public advocate and City Council.

King Wilhelm de Blasio: I am the Law Because I Rule by Divine Right
He also called for the mayor’s annual report on city services to reveal how many FOIL requests each city agency has answered. De Blasio’s public schedule shows he got a considerable amount of unpaid input. Del Cecato took part in 95 meetings or calls with the mayor through March 2016; Rosen in 48; and Baldick in 26. While officials say the advisers’ firms weren’t paid by the city, they have been paid for work on de Blasio’s campaigns, his political fund-raising and his nonprofit Campaign for One New York. Those efforts are now the subject of state and federal probes. Hilltop was getting paid tens of thousands of dollars by de Blasio’s 2013 campaign well into 2015.* Chill, People: De Blasio Just Needs To Have Secret TalksWith Lobbyists (Gothamist)   We’ve all been there: you’re the mayor of the biggest city in America and you need to have secret conversations with lobbyists and public relations specialists who you also really trust. Basic mayor stuff! But there’s this dumb law that says you’re supposed to disclose these emails and whatever. Do you release the communications? Or do you brandish the hundreds of lawyers and near-limitless resources at your disposal to show everyone who’s boss? For Mayor de Blasio, the choice is simple.

The Weakness of the de Blasio Cover-Up
Stonewall deBlasio shields big-money secrets (NYDN Ed) Never in memory has a mayor engaged in a coverup as blatant as the legal stonewall Bill de Blasio has built to keep secret the details of his money-in and money-and-favors-out deal-making. Hoping to prevent release of his communications with five political advisers, de Blasio deems each of them to be an “agent of the city,” a made-up status that, he claims, puts emails to and from them beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Law. First crack in the stonewall: A mayor can disseminate almost any document . Second crack in the stonewall: FOIL allows — but does not require — officials to keep confidential some communications with staff and with some hired consultants. De Blasio’s five advisers were never hired. So he concocted a term that does not appear in the law and has never been used by any court to claim he can hide public records. Third crack in the stonewall: Four of the five were enmeshed in de Blasio’s big-money Campaign for One New York or his big-money, failed attempt to pour money into upstate campaigns in hope of tipping the state Senate Democratic. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance are conducting criminal investigations, with Bharara reportedly looking for quid-pro-quos and Vance studying possible election law violations. Fourth crack in the stonewall: The firms of four of de Blasio’s so-called city agents reaped sizeable fees out of the money raised for the Campaign for One New York and the Senate races. Fifth crack in the stonewall: City Hall took actions that aided donors to the Campaign for One New York, and the state Board of Election’s enforcement counsel concluded de Blasio’s team criminally broke the law in the upstate races. Sixth stone in the wall: A judge and de Blasio himself once deemed his position absurd.  When Michael Bloomberg claimed similar protection for Cathie Black’s emails as he tried to make her schools chancellor, Justice Alice Schlesinger called Bloomberg’s argument “particularly specious.” The judge noted that then-Public Advocate de Blasio was probing Bloomberg’s failure to comply with FOIL. The city ethics board greenlighted the fundraising, preposterously finding that it would advance the city’s interests, rather than de Blasio’s political standing. The board forbid him from fundraising from anyone with pending city business. Contributions poured in from donors seeking benefits — including real estate developers with looming projects, animal rights advocates and a vendor peddling supposedly rodent-repellent trash bags. Some scored. De Blasio tried to ban carriage horses. The teachers union got a generous contract. The trash bag vendor got a meeting with the mayor and ultimately a piece of a city contract. In the Senate drive, de Blasio’s cadre secured outsized contributions and poured roughly $1 million into upstate Democratic county committees — giving potentially illegal instructions on spending the money, with large sums going to de Blasio’s agents. After Hyers went to work for Hilltop , the firm billed the Campaign for One New York $150,000 for their services. Rosen’s firm billed more than $200,000 between the Campaign for One New York and de Blasio’s Senate push. Del Cecato, creator of de Blasio’s “Dante” campaign ad, reaped for his firm upwards of $300,000 from the Senate races, pre-K and more. Only Gaspard merely advises de Blasio as a friend. With de Blasio at the top — at least once stepping out of a room so someone else could put the arm on donors — the mayor’s team was engaged in soliciting money from interests that coveted, and got, the mayor’s favor. No wonder he’s stonewalling their emails.

Who Leaked the State BOE Report of de Blasio's Putnam Laundry
Leak of Board ofElections criminal referral of Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising operation beingprobed (NYDN)  The state Inspector General’s office has launched a probe into who leaked the bombshell Board of Elections criminal referral involving Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising operation, the Daily News has learned. A source close to the inspector general’s office confirmed the probe. The News on April 22 reported that Board of Elections Chief Investigations Counsel Risa Sugarman in January had found enough “willful and flagrant” violations to warrant a criminal referral to the Manhattan DA’s office pertaining to de Blasio and his allies’ efforts to raise money for state Senate Democrats in 2014. De Blasio and his campaign lawyer, Laurence Laufer, charged the report and its leak were politically-motivated, noting that Sugarman is an appointee of Gov. Cuomo, who has been warring with the mayor.

For Months True News Has Said de Blasio is WaterGate Nixon Today Our Official Stenographer Agrees 
De Blasio shields cronies in ‘corruption’ coverup (NYP) Besieged by federal and state investigators, Mayor de Blasio turned Nixonian Thursday and declared five of his closest outside confidants exempt from public-disclosure laws when they advise him on running the city. His administration extended the stunning “agents of the city” privilege to BerlinRosen co-founder Jonathan Rosen; Hilltop Public Solutions partners Nicholas Baldick and Bill Hyers; and AKPD partner John Del Cecato.  All four worked on de Blasio’s political campaigns.  Also included was Patrick Gaspard, US ambassador to South Africa and a former political operative at SEIU Local 1199.  BerlinRosen, AKPD and Hilltop were collectively paid nearly $2 million for work on the mayor’s Campaign for One New York, a privately funded non-profit cheerleading outfit that’s under investigation by the US Attorney and Manhattan District Attorney’s offices. 

de Blasio Claims Lobbyists are Part of His Government - Admits to A Shadow Govt
They also worked on the mayor’s fund-raising efforts on behalf of state Senate Democrats in late 2014. That, too, is being probed. “Their communications to the Mayor’s Office, along with those of their support staff working at the principal’s direction on those particular matters, are exempt from disclosure when related solely to city business and not on behalf of any client,” said de Blasio counsel Maya Wiley. Hilltop and BerlinRosen communications with the mayor on behalf of their clients are subject to public disclosure, officials added. None of the five advisers has been paid by the city. The list of exemptions was announced after the administration rejected Freedom of Information requests for the mayor’s e-mail exchanges with Rosen on the grounds that he was an “agent of the city.” Elected officials and advocates condemned the mayor’s move. “[If the mayor] really has nothing to hide as he says, just lay it all out for everyone to see,” said City Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn).  Robert Freeman, director of the state Committee on Open Government, questioned the city’s legal analysis, given that e-mails between the government and private citizens are almost always subject to disclosure.

“Anyone whose advice is sought could be characterized as an agent or a consultant, and the communication could be withheld,” he said. “I believe that it is an unjustifiable stretch that is inconsistent with the law.” *   De Blasio Pressed to Clarify New Adviser Role: ‘Agent of the City’ (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio described the designation amid mounting scrutiny over City Hall’s shielding of communications with one of his closest advisers.* With the exception of Gaspard, a former 1199 political director who is now the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, each man on that list represents a firm that got large payments from de Blasio’s political nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, now at the center of several inquiries into the mayor’s fund-raising efforts. * “Their communications to the Mayor’s Office, along with those of their support staff working at the principal’s direction on those particular matters, are exempt from disclosure when related solely to city business and not on behalf of any client,” said de Blasio counsel Maya Wiley.* 'Agents of The City' Mayor de Blasio's LAWYERED-UP Presser:Defends Fundraising 5/18/16 (Video)
Michael Benjamin ‏@SquarePegDem   Not surprisingly @unitedNYblogs NYT omits it was Bloomberg's money, not developers & others w/ pending city business

de Blasio Says Lobbyists Are Part of His Govt and Their Emails are Protected
City Hall Releases Names of Outside Advisers BeingTreated Like City Employees When it Comes to Email Exchanges with Mayor (NY1)  Mayor Bill de Blasio's inner circle at City Hall is bigger than you might expect. In addition to his top government aides, he relies on the help of five outside advisers. They aren't paid by your tax dollars, they are said to have no formal relationship with the city, yet the mayor wants them treated like city employees when it comes to his email exchanges with them. Emails between government officials and people outside government are supposed to be accessible under open-records law. But in the case of his outside advisers, de Blasio is saying no way. The advisers on the mayor's protected list are former campaign aides Jonathan Rosen of the communications firm BerlinRosen, Nicholas Baldick and Bill Hyers of the firm Hilltop Public Solutions, and John Del Cecato of AKPD Message and Media. Patrick Gaspard, a longtime de Blasio friend, is also included in the group. He is the U.S. ambassador to South Africa. In a statement, the counsel to the mayor, Maya Wiley, said, 

From Two Years Ago

"As personal advisors to the Mayor, their communications to the Mayor’s Office, along with those of their support staff working at the principal’s direction on those particular matters, are exempt from disclosure when related solely to City business and not on behalf of any client.” Some elected officials and government insiders are privately saying they are shocked by the arrangement and by the legal argument the city is making.  Most of the mayor's outside advisers also work for clients who have business before the city, companies like AirBNB and real estate developers like Forest City Ratner. The email issue was first reported by NY1 earlier this week after the city refused to turn over emails from Chill,People: De Blasio Just Needs To Have Secret Talks With Lobbyists (Gothamist)

True News Asked the Howard Backer WaterGate Questions About de Blasio Two Months Before the NYP
When Did de Blasio Know About the Riverington Nursing Home Deal and When Did He Know?
What did City Hall know about the nursing home flip — and when? (NYP)It’s starting to look like Mayor de Blasio was the only person hanging around City Hall who had absolutely no hint as to what was happening in that rancid Lower East Side nursing-home deal.  A Brooklyn group turned a $72 million profit on the property — after the city lifted all deed restrictions for just a $16 million fee. De Blasio claims he first learned about it from The Wall Street Journal in March. But several top advisers and allies were involved early on in the talks: People like senior aide Avi Fink; Dom Williams, the chief of staff to First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris — and Kevin Finegan, the political rep of health-care union 1199, a key de Blasio ally.  Now The Post’s Michael Gartland reports there’s evidence the mayor’s top political lieutenant, Emma Wolfe, was in discussions with City Councilwoman Margaret Chin about the sale as early as January 2015. And The Post earlier reported that weeks before the Journal broke the story, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen’s chief of staff tried desperately to undo the deal. Lifting the deed restriction was a huge favor for the Allure Group, which sold the nursing home to be turned into luxury condos — robbing the locals of a health-care facility. We still don’t know what the mayor’s office knew of the plans to flip the property. Maybe his staff got snookered and didn’t dare tell the boss. If so, that’s a huge problem. Or maybe a massive cover-up is under way at City Hall — a much bigger problem. Either way, de Blasio still hasn’t come clean about who in his inner circle knew what when. Or delivered on any of the “consequences” he’s promised, beyond the coming “reforms” he announced Wednesday. If the mayor won’t hold anyone accountable, prosecutors will have to — as usual.* De Blasio’s top political lieutenant Emma Wolfe was made aware of discussions about the controversial sale of the Rivington House nursing home as early as January 2015, sources and documents show. In fact, the mayor is one of the few members of his inner circle who claims NOT to have known about the project.* Mayor de Blasio’s team raised conflict-of-interest questions about the state awarding two big contracts to a firm owned by a top campaign donor to Cuomo one a day after the state put on hold a Brooklyn construction project because Cuomo ESDC appointees expressed similar concerns about the developer who made donations to a fund supporting the mayor.* De Blasio gets an earful from talk radio caller over nursing home fiasco (NYP) Investigators from four separate agencies are looking into why city officials agreed to lift a deed restriction on the nursing home property at 45 Rivington St. that limited its use to non-profit purposes. “My neighbors and I are completely dismayed by your administration’s failure to protect the public good,” said the caller to WNYC radio, identified only as Tessa.  Asked whether the city had any chance of reinstating the facility as a community healthcare site, the mayor said he was trying to find out. The former head of the agency that lifted the deed last year, Stacey Cumberbatch, was named VP of New York Health + Hospitals in March — retaining her $219,000 salary. Her replacement at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Lisette Camilo, formerly ran the contracts agency that was also involved in approving the controversial deal. The mayor has claimed he knew nothing about the property flip until media reports in late March — even though two of his deputy mayors knew about it at least weeks earlier. He also claimed the city was lied to by the Allure Group, but provided no proof, and threatened to file a lawsuit weeks ago. To date, no lawsuits have been filed.

de Blasio Defense: "I Did Not Steal From Everyone"  HE IS NUTS
Mayor de Blasio promises to release list of donors denied favors (NYDN) “A stunning number of donors and supporters not only did not get things they hoped they would get, they got a rejection of things they hoped they would get,” Mayor de Blasio insisted Wednesday. He said a list of disappointed donors would be provided “in the coming weeks.” The bizarre promise came in the midst of a rambling, more than two-hour news conference in which a defensive de Blasio refused to answer point-blank if he solicited donations from people with business before the city, and insisted he was more transparent than other elected officials — while at the same time defending his refusal to release emails from outside consultants with his administration. “We followed legal guidance,” de Blasio said when asked if he could say yes or no on whether he solicited donations from people who were doing business with the city. He said there were different rules for different types of fund-raising — including his now-disbanded Campaign for One New York — but that he always stuck to the law. The mayor, who is grappling with several intertwined law enforcement investigations into his fund-raising, said critics miss that the money was being raised for a good cause. Speaking slowly and enunciating every word, he said: “We are trying to change things.” He added sarcastically, “If I thought the status quo was just dandy, I wouldn’t have been trying to put together resources to change it.” Although he repeatedly said his administration was more transparent than others when disclosing donations, the transparency ends when it comes to his emails. De Blasio said he won’t release emails from Jonathan Rosen — an outside campaign consultant who has clients with business before the city — because as an informal adviser he is not subject to Freedom of Information Laws.*   De Blasio Taking Responsibility for Lifting of City's Deed Restrictions (NY1) *

Team de Blasio Putnam Spending Records Disappeared From Nassau 4 Days Before BOE Issued Criminal Referral 
Four days before the state Board of Elections issued a criminal referral over the role of county parties in fundraising for Senate Democratic candidates in 2014, forms detailing spending on those very candidates appear to have disappeared from the Nassau County Democrats’ online filings.

What is Good de Blasio is Good for the Public Interests
Bridge over theriver deny: Mayor de Blasio just can't justify his money deals (NYDN Ed)  Delivering an infomercial for a product that no one is buying, Mayor de Blasio held himself aghast that anyone might question his habit of raising big money from firms with business before the city. “There will be in a democratic process people who give donations. The question is . . . were decisions made in the public interest?” he declared Wednesday in an hour-long attempt to dispel the notion that he has put City Hall up for rent.Actually, the question driving investigations by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and District Attorney Cy Vance is whether anyone in de Blasio’s circle broke the law. Regardless, de Blasio haughtily lectured on, in the end cluelessly confirming why he faces suspicions. Unwilling to give a straight answer about whether he had personally requested funds from executives with pending business before city government, far in excess of allowable campaign contributions, he said that lawyers had approved whatever he had done. He relied on lawyers also to refuse a Freedom of Information request to release emails to and from Jonathan Rosen, a media adviser who represents numerous firms with major city business. De Blasio said previous mayors had similarly close advisers, ignoring the part about Rosen’s clients. Mayoral counsel Maya Wiley amazingly said that Rosen, who was on the payroll of de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York fundraising operation, was an “agent of the city.” * On Monday, the state economic development agency told City Hall that it would not approve their plan for Brooklyn Bridge Park because of potential conflicts of interest — regardless of de Blasio aides’ assertions that Levine won the development rights fair and square with the best bid.  For the moment, then, a development project crucial to the survival of Brooklyn Bridge Park is on hold — which actually may not be so bad.

de Blasio: My Berlin Rosen Emails Are Shadow Govt Protected
Mayor Keeps Emails with Outside Consultants Secret,Fueling Accusations of a 'Shadow Government' (NY1) Critics accuse Mayor de Blasio of setting up a shadow government — comprised of consultants who are not paid by City Hall, but pocket cash from clients, many of whom have business before the city. The arrangement has long drawn complaints but it is generating a new wave of condemnation, because City Hall is refusing to release emails the consultants exchanged with the mayor and his top aides.  "It's disappointing to see the mayor, whose whole persona in government is about doing it for the people and being transparent about it, and to be relying on a legal analysis from some lawyer about whether this consultant's communications are protected is ridiculous," said Dick Dadey with good government group, Citizens Union. "Just disclose." In a letter to NY1, a city lawyer referred to Rosen as a consultant to the Mayoralty. He argued the emails were protected by the same exemption that keeps us from seeing many of the e-mails the mayor sends to his City Hall staff only. A spokesman for de Blasio says: "The Mayor has worked with a number of people over the years who he continues to seek advice on a variety of political and communications issues. When these advisors consult with the Mayor in the interest of the Mayor’s Office and not on behalf of clients, those communications are not subject to disclosure." Rosen declined to comment. The open-records denial comes as federal and state investigators are examining the mayor's fundraising and political activities. The investigations have put a spotlight on the mayor and his consultants. However, when it comes to their emails, de Blasio seems determined to keep New Yorkers in the dark.

In the NYT Effort To Save Their Guy de Blasio the Former Paper of Record Says Bloomberg Laundered $$$ Too
Times Story Left Off that Lobbyist Campaign Worked for Both Riverington and Dance Housing Deals
De Blasio’s Elections Strategy, Under Scrutiny, Recalls Predecessor’s (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to channel donations to Democrats in 2014 State Senate races is similar to events that played out in a 2007 race, when Michael R. Bloomberg played a crucial role.*NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising strategy to assist the Senate Democrats in their 2014 attempt to retake the majority, which has drawn scrutiny from investigators, is similar to a method employed by his predecessor, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, to help the Senate Republicans in a key 2007 special election on Long Island.  *De Blasio,Facing New Questions, Promises Public Input on Deed Changes (NYT) de Blasio, faced with new questions about deed restrictions lifted by the city with little public input, said on Wednesday that he would personally sign off on all such decisions going forward. In an unusual scene at City Hall, Mr. de Blasio addressed the subject while seated with top city lawyers — the corporation counsel, Zachary W. Carter, and the mayor’s counsel, Maya Wiley — as well as top officials from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which handles changes to deed restrictions.According to a memo, BRP Companies had been in talks for “the last few years” about creating a 30-unit residential building on the lot with space for the nonprofit. According to documents, the nonprofit approached the city about lifting the restriction in April 2014. It was not clear if that plan would go forward. Months before BRP Companies entered into contract to buy the lot in May 2015, a company controlled by the developer donated $10,000 to the Putnam County Democratic Committee, coinciding with a fund-raising effort by Mr. de Blasio to help Senate Democrats in the 2014 campaign. Mr. de Blasio said decisions surrounding the Harlem lot were made to help the Dance Theater of Harlem pay off debt. “Clearly, in this case, public benefit was achieved,” he said. He contrasted it with the removal of a protective deed on Rivington House, a nursing home on the Lower East Side that was sold for $116 million after a deed change. The city received $16 million — far less than a quarter of the sale price. Those transactions remain the subject of investigations. *The Rivington and St. Nicholas negotiations have significant parallels. Lobbyist James Capalino, who works for 45 Rivington purchaser Slate Group, has bundled $50,000 in donations to Mayor de Blasio (a spokeswoman for Capalino has since stated that he did not represent Slate Group in the deal); BRP Companies in 2014 contributed $10,000 to the Putnam County Democratic Committee—coinciding with the Mayor's push to support Democratic Senate candidates through New York county committees. The Mayor's campaign donation habits are currently under federal scrutiny. * City taps BRP to build 166 affordable units in Flatbush * BRP moves forward with plans for 580 units in Jamaica 

NYPD GiftGate Arrests Coming Bratton
Bratton predicts arrests for cops involved in corruption probe (NYP) High-ranking cops will likely end up in handcuffs for corruption that includes having freebie sex with prostitutes, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Thursday. Bratton said during a radio interview that a two-year joint probe conducted by the feds and NYPD left authorities with “a very good idea of who’s involved and to what degree.”Bratton said authorities had uncovered two corruption schemes, one of which involved NYPD brass allegedly receiving illegal gifts in exchange for providing official favors. “Certainly, some of which has been reported in the press, plane trips and hotel rooms and unfortunately in one circumstance providing prostitutes, clearly that goes beyond anything that’s permissible,” he said. The other scam involves bribery at the NYPD’s Licensing Division, where two cops were implicated in the arrest last month of Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein. The feds say he was secretly recorded bragging about making payoffs to secure pistol permits for clients who paid him up to $18,000 a pop to legally pack heat.*  High-ranking cops will likely end up in handcuffs for corruption that includes having freebie sex with prostitutes, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said. * Hero’ NYPD Inspector Michael Ameri laid to rest at tearful funeral service after suicide, 'I'm sorry I couldn't stop the pain' (NYDN)

FBI Investigating Secret Recording Showed How Leaders of NYCLASS Bought de Blasio and Others
FBI Examining Secret Recording Of NYCLASS Meeting As Part Of Probe Into Bill de Blasio’s Fundraising (WCBS TV) The FBI is examining a secret recording as part of its investigation of an animal rights group’s relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio.  The recording is being used by the FBI to determine whether the group was able to influence the mayor’s decisions by donating money to his campaign.  Back on May 19, 2011, horse carriage driver Christina Hansen infiltrated – and recorded – a meeting of New Yorkers for Clean, Liveable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) at Stitch bar on West 37th Street “I was stunned,” Hansen said. “I was worried.”  NYCLASS has been trying to eliminate horse-drawn carriages in New York City and replace them with electric cars. What Hansen saw and heard astonished her, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“Buying politicians is the name of the game,” NYCLASS member David Karopkin is heard to say on the recording. “That’s right.” There were about 20 NYCLASS members at the intimate meeting as the group plotted to use its money and clout to get the city to ban horse carriages, Kramer reported.  The tapes have been turned over to the FBI, which recently issued subpoenas to two NYCLASS executives as part of a wide-ranging probe into the fundraising activities of Mayor de Blasio and whether promises were made in exchange for donations. The strategy discussed by the anti-horse carriage group at the meeting was simple: Convince then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to support a ban, or they would run a big bucks campaign against her when she ran for mayor in 2013, and then support someone else. “If this doesn’t happen within the next year, we are in total and absolute war with her. It’s a war,” Steve Nislick of NYCLASS said on the recording. “Remember, we have de Blasio on our side, we have [then-Manhattan Borough President Scott] Stringer on our side, we have [former New York City Comptroller] Bill Thompson.  Quinn refused to shut down the industry. The group spent close to $1 million on “Anybody but Quinn” campaign. They ran ads and infiltrated some of her rallies. George Capsis, a de Blasio supporter, slapped State Senator Brad Hoylman at a Quinn rally weeks before the primary. Also present at the time: NYCLASS members. At the meeting that Hansen recorded, the NYCLASS people foreshadowed their tactics if Quinn didn’t fall in line. “If not, we’ll start a food fight,” Nislick said on the recording. At an earlier meeting, NYCLASS members also talked about the advantages of getting the 211 horse carriage operators to vacate their West Side stables “They occupy thousands and thousands of square feet of space,” Nislick says on the recording. “We need 68 cars. We need far less space. They free up a lot of real estate.” Hansen said she couldn’t believe what she heard. nsen said she couldn’t believe what she heard. “The fact that anyone would go around talking blatantly about that, pretty much, in so many words, buy the next mayor,” Hansen told Kramer. “I didn’t think that politics worked that way. It’s not supposed to work that way.” At an earlier meeting, NYCLASS members also talked about the advantages of getting the 211 horse carriage operators to vacate their West Side stables  “They occupy thousands and thousands of square feet of space,” Nislick says on the recording. “We need 68 cars. We need far less space. They free up a lot of real estate.” The Mayor’s office said de Blasio has never changed his position on horse carriages  “The mayor’s position on the issue has been consistent and clear,” said Peter Kadushin, a spokesman for de Blasio. “Carriage horses don’t belong on busy city streets   Kadushin pointed out that de Blasio called for a horse carriage ban while still public advocate.

Cuomo: I Did Not Start the Investigation Fire Ask the Feds No Conflict of Interests
Gov. Cuomo denies being involved in probes of Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising efforts (NYDN) Cuomo shot back hard Tuesday at Mayor de Blasio's contentions that the governor and his allies are behind some of the investigations hanging over City Hall.  The mayor has said the trail behind some of the probes leads to the state executive branch."I thought it led to (Manhattan U.S. Attorney) Preet Bharara and to (Manhattan District Attorney) Cy Vance and to (state Attorney General) Eric Schneiderman," Cuomo responded to reporters in the city. Cuomo, who has been at war with the mayor, denied being behind any of the probes.   "The only thing I know about the investigations on the mayor is what I read about in the newspaper," he said. "It may all be a grand conspiracy against him, but then the U.S. attorney, the attorney general of the state of New York, the Manhattan district attorney are all part of a conspiracy. * The governor also mocked de Blasio’s claim that the state’s “executive branch” — in other words, the governor — was behind the investigations of the mayor’s administration and fund-raising activities.

"It's either that or they genuinely believe there's an issue and they're going forward with an investigation based on the facts." After the Daily News first reported in April that state Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman, a Cuomo appointee, made a criminal referral to Vance's office regarding de Blasio's fund-raising operation on behalf of the Senate Democrats in 2014, the mayor and his campaign lawyer, Laurence Laufer cried politics.* Cuomo mocks de Blasio’s corruption probe conspiracy theory (NYP)Cuomo on Tuesday mocked Mayor de Blasio‘s claim that the state’s “executive branch” — meaning Cuomo — was behind the investigations of the mayor’s administration and fund-raising activities“It may all be a grand conspiracy against him. But then the US attorney, the attorney general of the state of New York, the Manhattan district attorney are all part of a conspiracy,” Cuomo said following a press conference in Manhattan.“It’s either that or they genuinely believe there’s an issue and they’re going forward with an investigation based on the facts.” “The only thing I know about the investigation of the mayor is what I read about in the newspaper,” the governor said. * Cuomo said that some ethics reforms may be agreed to by the end of the legislative session, though any deal that is struck likely won’t include everything he wanted, emphasizing there is plenty of time left in the session, the Times Union reports. * Cuomo's Two Takes on Corruption Probes: His and deBlasio's (WNYC) Man Up Councilman calls on de Blasio to ‘man up’ (NYP) A city Councilman from Queens has launched a blistering attack against Mayor de Blasio, saying he should “man up” for actions that led to investigations of his administration instead of trying to shift the blame to others. “The mayor has got to get a hold of himself. The mayor needs to address the mess he created and not besmirch other Democratic leaders, whether it be the governor, county leaders who have their own constituency or District Attorney Cy Vance,” said Councilman Rory Lancman, who represents eastern Queens. “The mayor is acting irresponsibly for the problems he created. He’s opening the door to a 2017 challenger who can work well with other elected officials to deliver for New York. He should man up. He has to own up to the mess he created.” Lancman said he has “not committed” to supporting de Blasio’s re-election and doesn’t “ know anyone who has.”

Not All The Names That Contributed to Campaign for One NY Were Released Peebles Name Not On the List 
De Blasio Didn't— And Won't — Disclose All Who Donated to His Nonprofit (DNAINFO) de Blasio's nonprofit, launched to advance his political agenda and currently under a federal probe, did not disclose all of its donors, DNAinfo New York has learned.  For example, a $20,000 donation to the Campaign of One New York's predecessor that developer and potential mayoral candidate Don Peebles gave in March 2014 at the personal request of the mayor is not listed on the voluntary disclosures or expenditures that the nonprofit has handed out upon request. Under city Campaign Finance Board rules, any contribution that a campaign or campaign committee receives must be "accepted and deposited, or rejected and returned to a contributor" within 10 or 20 days depending on whether it is an election year. Campaign donations that are rejected and not deposited do not have to be reported to the Campaign Finance Board. But "any contribution" that is accepted and deposited—as Peebles' $20,000 check was— must be reported. But as a nonprofit, those rules did not apply to the Campaign for One New York. "We believe no elected official, whether it's the governor or the mayor or someone else, should be setting up an organization that functions like a shadow government," Lerner said. "This is one of the reasons why we are happy that the mayor has closed the Campaign for One New York." Peebles' donation was also not listed on the group's 2014 filings with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The Campaign for One New York registered as a lobbyist for 2014. The designation required the group to submit details about its donors and expenditures. JCOPE is now investigating whether the Campaign for One New York should have registered as a lobbyist in 2015, which it did not. JCOPE officials declined to comment on whether Peebles' donation should have been reported, citing the ongoing investigation.But state rules require "lobbyists who lobby on their own behalf and clients, who devote substantial resources to lobbying activity in New York State, to make publicly available each source of funding over $5,000 for such lobbying." The rule states the requirement is designed to "provide the public with more information regarding the actual entities and individuals that support lobbying campaigns in New York State." Levitan said the Campaign for One New York felt disclosure of Peebles' donation was not require

What is Next de Blasio the Rat Did It At Least He Would Be Right About the Rat
 Only fitting de Blasio could be taken down by trash bags (NYP) *  As The Post first reported, the seller, Joseph Dussich, tried for nearly a decade to get the city to buy his Mint-X bags, which he says deter rats and squirrels. But he got the brush-off — until he contributed $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a slush fund de Blasio created. Presto, Dussich got a meeting with the mayor, a trial contract for $15,000, and then, through a middleman, a deal worth nearly $6 million. The sequence is shocking — and consistent with that of so many large donations under scrutiny. Even the names of his slush funds — the Campaign for One New York, The Progressive Agenda Committee and United for Affordable Housing — reflect a profound cynicism. Their names suggest the exact opposite of what they actually do.The affront is compounded by de Blasio’s sinister claim that he is the victim of political investigations. “How convenient that when we’re doing a lot of work to help everyday people, there’s all sorts of efforts being made to obscure that work,” he insisted.

Probes Kill Housing Deal in the Park de Blasio Say He Go It Alone

Cuomo insisted he had no role in the probe. 

Connection to Riverington Nursing Home Deal Lobbyist Capalino and Developer China Vanke
Pier 6 affordable housing deal collapses amid de Blasio probes (NYP An agreement cut between the feuding de Blasio and Cuomo administrations to bring affordable housing to Brooklyn Bridge Park is now dead after state officials raised concerns over possible conflicts over it related to ongoing investigations surrounding the mayor. Following nearly a year of inaction, the Cuomo-backed Empire State Development Corp. was set to modify a project plan it approved in 2006 so the city could include 117 units of affordable housing in the 339 units slated for two high-end condo towers eyed for Pier 6 at the waterfront park. However, the deal collapsed after ESDC officials opted to cancel a vote scheduled for this week and seek more time to weigh their concerns.  Among these concerns were that the project’s developer Robert Levine had been picked by the city last year only weeks after donating to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, which is under investigation by the feds, sources said    Other concerns include the involvement of the city’s top lobbyist James Capalino in pushing the plan and Levine’s equity partner, developer China Vanke, being linked to the Rivington House project on the Lower East Side that being probed by state and federal investigators.  "We can’t keep putting off the vital issue of funding this incredible park, or of building the affordable housing this community needs,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “We intend to move ahead with this project, with or without the State.” * An agreement cut between the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations to bring affordable housing to Brooklyn Bridge Park is now dead after state officials raised concerns over possible conflicts related to ongoing investigations surrounding the mayor, the Post writes. * State officials, citing potential conflicts linked to various investigations of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, blocked a deal on a long-delayed plan to put up two apartment towers inside Brooklyn Bridge Park.

SHOCKING NYT Focuses On de Blasio Moving Ahead With Park Buildings
Despite the state’s sudden reversal, the de Blasio administration is pushing ahead with the Brooklyn project, which would include market-rate and subsidized apartments as well as a school.

de Blasio Bad Homeless Budget Math Spend to Keep the Homeless Off the Headlines
Another budget from de Blasio, another massive underestimate of the gargantuan cost of sheltering the 58,000 homeless people, with the IBO projecting the administration will have to spend $106 million more than the administration claims, the Daily News writes.  *  Billion-dollar Bill spends and spends on homeless shelters (NYDN Ed) A nother budget from Mayor de Blasio, another massive underestimate of the gargantuan cost of sheltering New York’s city within a city of 58,000 homeless people. The Independent Budget Office projects that the administration will have to spend a mind-blowing $1 billion on shelters in 2018 — including $106 million more in city tax dollars than the mayor’s budget experts claim. Lowballing shelter spending comes as addictive habit for a mayor intoxicated by confidence that his own white-knight policy prescriptions will reduce the swollen ranks of the homeless. Last year, the Department of Homeless Services had to add $120 million in city funds to the 2016 budget just to keep up. Lesson learned? You kidding? While awaiting results from a soup-to-nuts review of homeless programs, for 2017 the mayor astoundingly at first proposed spending less than in 2016 — only to add $169 million in city funds after a scolding from the IBO and state controller. “We’re owning this issue 110%,” de Blasio trumpeted at the turn of the year, in committing to a turnaround in fortunes for the homeless. Actually he’s lowballing even there.* New York City is investigating allegations that Covenant House, the largest local provider of shelter to homeless teenagers and young adults, has been inflating the number of people it serves and has not been complying with the terms of its contracts with the city.

How WNYC Controlled By Ratner Spins the End of NYCHA
BUILDING A COZY RELATIONSHIP WITH NYCHA: Developers teaming with government to renovate Section 8 housing triggers fears of 'Trojan horse,' price hikes (NYDN) Section 8 renovation project in Alphabet City spurs debate over injection of private money into public housing The buzz of the saws and the clang of scaffolding around two towers at the Campos Plaza in Alphabet City are the sounds of the future of public housing.  It's a renovation of the Campos I complex on Avenue C, funded by a multi-million deal that uses a program called Section 8 to bring private developers and private money to public housing after years of government neglect.  Supporters say it's a smart way to raise money that the government can't, or won't, provide. Critics worry using Section 8 to spur privatization is a pricey Band-Aid that merely kicks the funding problems down the road. Tenant Association President Dereese Huff, who lives in Campos I, says the influx of private money is progress.  The only advocates for (public housing) funding are low-income tenants — who have no independent expenditures, no political action committees and no particularly high standing in Washington," said City Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx), who heads the public housing committee. Federal support for public housing has withered since the 1970s, when vouchers were just beginning to be Washington's tool of choice to house the poor. In Section 8, tenants find a private apartment and pay 30% of their income in rent, and the voucher pays the rest. In order to attract a private developer and private capital, NYCHA and the federal government worked out a deal. The Department of Housing and Urban Development signed off on a 15-year contract that pays market-rate rents — $23.5 million a year for 874 apartments in six Section 8 complexes, including Campos Plaza I.  NYCHA then formed a company with two developers — L + M Development and BFC Partners — which got a 50% stake in the six complexes. The company used that hefty long-term contract to raise $235 million in tax-free bonds, plus more in tax credits and other financing. The deal also includes six buildings in other complexes across the city. That's why skeptics worry that the safety net could disappear. "Is this simply a Trojan horse to further privatize the public housing stock?" asked Edward Goetz, who studies urban affairs at the University of Minnesota. "We're being asked to believe it's not." HUD and the city say they have put in stopgaps to keep these buildings affordable. NYCHA says it retains ownership of the land, a 50% stake in the buildings, and has the right to buy back the other half when the deal ends in 30 years. Whether there will be the political will, or the money to do so, is an open question.

This article was produced by WNYC Radio with support from a grant by the Urban Reporting Program of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Lawyer Mastro Fought Against WFP' Data and Field, Son of NYCLASS. Data is Where Team de Blasio Learned to Go Around Election Laws

Mastro Journey From Data and Field to NYCLASS
Errol Louis discussed the investigation into Mayor de Blasio, and his dealings with the horse carriage industry, with former Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro, who is counsel to the controversial anti-horse carriage industry group NYCLASS.
The WFP and Berlin Rosen Has Played Fast and Lose With the Election Law, Data and Field Arrests 
Today the Media Protect the Corrupt Political Bosses, Ignoring the Unfair Advantage Data and Field Gave Candidates in 2009, or PACs in 2013 
WFP the New Progressive Machine, Is it Corrupt At Its Core?
de Blasio's Campaign Lobbyists Control A Secret Shadow Government 
Horse Carriage Politics and the Central Park Stables
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
Who Watchers the Watchman, Lobbyists, Grand Jury, AG - DAsConflict of Interests With NYPD and Elected Officials
Campaign 2013 Media Failure And Broken Political Promises

de Blasio Funded Another Slush Fund From Campaign For One NY Slush Fund Under Investigation
De Blasio funded nonprofit from campaign currently under investigation (NYP) A nonprofit launched by Mayor de Blasio to push his progressive agenda nationally got all of its money from one source last year: another of the mayor’s nonprofits, records show. Tax filings submitted by The Progressive Agenda Committee for 2015 show revenues of $480,100, all from the Campaign for One New York. The mayor’s fund-raising on behalf of CONY — which touted his progressive agenda locally — is currently under investigation by the feds and the Manhattan DA.The Progressive Agenda’s payouts show $160,000 going to Hizzoner’s preferred media consultants — AKPD, which was founded by former White House senior adviser David Axelrod.Other payouts included $188,000 on “program service” expenses and $7,500 for fund-raising.TPAC, which was founded in May 2015, has raised more funds in 2016, which will be disclosed in July. But it hasn’t said what its plans are following de Blasio’s botched attempt to hold a presidential forum on income inequality, which was scrapped after none of the presidential candidates agreed to attend the December 2015 event in Iowa.* A Look at Tax Forms for Mayor's Nonprofit Group Called the 'ProgressiveAgenda'(NY1)That organization was de Blasio's initial nonprofit group, set up to support his push for universal pre-kindergarten. Earlier this year, that group shut down and is now the subject of a federal investigation. The Progressive Agenda is now its own separate entity, which a spokesperson described as "in transition."So far, the group has seen mixed results. It was supposed to host a presidential forum in Iowa last year, but that never got off the ground. According to the filing, its accomplishments for 2015 include creating a 14-point agenda to combat income inequality and a website. It champions its effort to get people to sign on to its platform. And it also "built a following on social media to gain supporters." The agenda has slightly more than 3,200 followers on Twitter.  Last year, its biggest check went to one of de Blasio's favorite consultants, AKPD Media, for $160,000. The cash was for media consulting.At the end of the year, the group spent nearly all of its seed funding. Its ending balance was a little more than $32,000. Nonetheless, NY1 is told it is not shutting down and that it has been fundraising. However, it no longer employs its executive director. She is returning to private consulting.* The Progressive Agenda, which de Blasio and his allies formed last year, raised no other money in 2014 and has just lost its sole full-time employee, Executive Director Geri Prado.* National group discloses lone donor

AKPD Message and Media is an American political and media consulting firm catering to Democratic candidates and related causes. Formerly Axelrod and Associates, it is named after its four original partners: David Axelrod, John Kupper, David Plouffe, and John Del Cecato. All four were members of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, with Plouffe serving as campaign manager, Axelrod as senior strategist, and Del Cecato as media advisor. Axelrod, who is personally close to Obama, left AKPD to serve as Senior Advisor to the President in the Obama Administration and sold the firm to Kupper, Del Cecato and Larry Grisolano. AKPD's advertising and strategy have been widely credited for significantly altering elections in their clients favor.TIME has praised one of their most talked about ads, "Dante," as "The Ad that Won the New York Mayor's Race.". AKPD's offices are located in Chicago, Washington DC, and New York where it has recently expanded its presence by partnering with Bully Pulpit Interactive and Analytics Media Group.

Daily News' Owner Zuckerman Dumps His Pay to Play Toll Booth Ticket to City Hall After Navy Yard Development  Deal Finalized  
 Bill de Blasio's price of admission to City Hall (NYDN) There should be a sign outside City Hall listing a price of admission — because it’s steep. For WeWork, a start-up that rents out short-term shared working and living spaces, entry started at $68,000.That’s how much a company executive rounded up and delivered to Mayor de Blasio’s reelection campaign on Jan. 8 and 11 — after the firm’s $25,000-a-month lobbyist wangled a Jan. 6 phone call to discuss future business with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. For years, janitorial services magnate Joseph Dussich fruitlessly pressed city officials to buy his Mint-X trash bags, his big claim being that they repel rodents.In late 2014 and early 2015, Dussich gave $100,000 to the mayor’s Campaign for One New York. Soon, the mayor welcomed him to a City Hall meeting.Within weeks, the Parks Department tested the bags. The city then issued a request for bids that specified “Mint-X MX3345STB or equal,” as much as guaranteeing the city would buy Dussich bags in bulk, even after he failed to submit the lowest bid. Now, get this: Vermin-control experts tell the Daily News that the bags don’t even really ward off rats. But . . . but . . . protests de Blasio: He serves the greater good of advancing a progressive agenda against an oppressive status quo! And all transactions are fully vetted by his lawyers!What a delusional statement the mayor makes: that access and operations are essentially chits up for bid to burnish de Blasio’s image as the people’s champion.

de Blasio Set Up A Campaign for 1NY PAC Toll Booth to Do Business With City Hall 
The price of admission to de Blasio’s ‘One New York’ (NYP Ed) Time was when you had to wait until a mayor’s third term before his administration found itself mired in criminal probes and political disarray. But Bill de Blasio is already there in the third year of his first — and perhaps only — term as mayor. De Blasio insists he has “no information” about the federal grand-jury investigation into his fund-raising that everyone in town — except him — seems to know about. But the recent news suggests that corruption-busting US Attorney Preet Bharara has been probing de Blasio’s money-raising since his earliest months in City Hall. It also confirms pretty much everything we’ve written about the mayor’s slush fund, the Campaign For One New York, and growing signs that his is a pay-to-play mayoralty. And the fact that, as we’ve long noted, CONY’s contributors consisted largely of people and groups with business before the city or a special interest in getting something done — like the developers behind the drive to kill the horse-carriage industry. The federal investigation has now led to other scandals: a growing probe into alleged corruption involving top police officials as well as a $12 million Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile, City Hall remains mired in unanswered questions about the special deal that let another donor sell a nursing home for luxury condos over community objections, netting a $72 million profit. Time will tell whether any of this involves criminal behavior. But it’s already all too clear that you need to pay admission for a seat at the table in Bill de Blasio’s “one New York.”* Ex-NYPD Chief of Department was paid big bucks by businessman being investigated by feds (NYDN)

Another Pay to Play Developer Exposed Lobbyists Global Strategy
Firm pays $68G to pitch future projects to Mayor de Blasio(NYDN) How much does a phone call to pitch your product to the top reaches of Mayor de Blasio’s administration cost? $68,750, apparently.
That’s how much a company that’s been accused of ignoring workers’ rights sent to de Blasio’s campaign just five days after their paid lobbyist snagged a coveted phone chat with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.WeWork, a company that provides office space across the city, paid lobbyist Global Strategy Group Jan. 1 to press the mayor on unspecified “procurement” issues, records show. Global’s Jon Calvan got right to work, and on Jan. 6 he was able to get the extremely busy Glen, who is running de Blasio’s much-touted affordable housing program, to take his call, the mayor’s office confirmed Saturday. During the call, Calvan pitched “future projects” WeWork wants to do with the city.  Two days later, on Jan. 8, WeWork Vice President Arana Hankin began collecting 19 checks totaling $68,750 for de Blasio’s 2017 reelection bid. The checks were delivered Jan. 11, making WeWork the biggest “bundler” so far for de Blasio.  Long before the checks and the meeting, the District Council of Carpenters targeted WeWork for what the union saw as “unfair labor practice.” The union says WeWork regularly hires contractors to build its offices who routinely pay workers $15 to $20 an hour without benefits. Union scale for the same work would be $48 an hour in a paycheck and $98 with full benefits.* How much does a phone call to pitch your product to the top reaches of the de Blasio’s administration cost? $68,750, apparently. That’s how much a company that’s been accused of ignoring workers’ rights sent to the mayor’s campaign just five days after their paid lobbyist snagged a coveted phone chat with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.
NY Times Failed Kingdom Last Mission Protect Real Estate Developers

Yes the Daily News Zuckerman Did Not Bundle Any Money for the Mayor On Its Navy Yard Project But He Uses the Paper to Kiss the Mayor's Ass Every Chance He Gets
WeWork is a key player in a big project City Hall touted in a groundbreaking ceremony featuring Glen on May 5.  The project — a 675,000-square-foot commercial building, Dock 72, in the city-owned Brooklyn Navy Yard — is being built by Rudin Management and Boston Properties. Rudin also bundled checks for de Blasio in January, although a much smaller amount: $25,150. Boston Properties, owned by the chairman and publisher of The News, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, did not bundle anything for the mayor.

Daily News Double Talk: 2003 Residences of Atlantic Yards Priced Out by Gentrification - Daily News de Blasio Was Right to Back the Project
Atlantic becomes pacific as buildings rise at Brookyn rail yard (NYDN Ed)  Eventually, the entire Pacific Park complex will contain 2,200 affordable housing units — albeit ones that will draw half their tenants from surrounding neighborhoods demographically unrecognizable from their 2003 state, with former residents since priced out. Although confronted with intense community opposition, then-City Councilman (and, later) Public Advocate Bill de Blasio backed the development, citing among other things its potential for producing affordable housing. As it turns out, he was right.

As the Daily News Editorials Praise Ratner's Atlantic Yards the News Section Shows His Abuse to Prospect Heights Neighborhood
 Dissecting the Daily News's dopey, suck-up Atlantic Yards editorial (complicated by its own reporting) (AYR)
The Atlantic Yards Report critique the text below (Daily News in italics), paragraph by paragraph, but, actually, the strongest critique comes from the Daily News itself, since the newspaper's own recommendation algorithm suggests some critical, investigatory articles about the project, which suggests that Pacific Park is not at all "pacific" (meaning peaceful). See the graphic at left, and the links to the following articles:
But the Daily News editorial board has always supported this project, so much so it once gushed, A super design for a great project.

"The loss of liberty in general would soon follow the suppression of the liberty of the press; for it is an essential branch of liberty, so perhaps it is the best preservative of the whole."
John Peter Zenger (1697 - 1746)

Dr Ben Carson Calls on Young Journalists to Reject How the Media Bosses are Teaching Them to Be Dishonest And Tell the Truth

Straw Fundraiser by Businessman Whose Staff Made Unusual Donations

De Blasio Fundraiser Tied to Businessman Whose Staff Made Unusual Donations (DNAINFO) The owner of a beauty supply business whose employees made suspicious donations to Bill de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign dates a top de Blasio fundraiser who is a fixture in the Upper Manhattan nightlife scene. The owner, Sm-Ali (Alex) Amanollahi, and workers at his company, Primary One LLC, donated to de Blasio’s 2013 campaign at the encouragement of his girlfriend, Rud Morales, a bar maven who served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee and as a board member of a city nonprofit, sources said. Amanollahi was also a victim of an alleged Ponzi scheme connected to the federal probe of NYPD brass and the mayor’s fundraising practices, DNAinfo New York has learned.Morales and Amanollahi's relationship connects several aspects of the ongoing federal investigation into de Blasio's campaign, corruption in the NYPD and the Ponzi scheme allegedly orchestrated by West Harlem restaurateur Hamlet Peralta.  DNAinfo reported last week that federal investigators were scrutinizing de Blasio’s campaign for straw donations. And a DNAinfo review of de Blasio donations showed unusual contributions made by two drivers for Amanollahi’s business. Amanollahi, his family, his employees and his associates contributed more than $55,000 combined to de Blasio between October and December 2013, Campaign Finance Board records show. The Primary One drivers, who live in modest Queens apartments, each gave nearly $10,000 during that time. And one of them flip-flopped about making the donations. Driver Rafael Zepeda initially told DNAinfo that he contributed $9,450 to de Blasio’s campaign, but hours later said that he didn’t. Records show Zepeda gave two donations to de Blasio, including a $5,000 contribution he made via an Oct. 27, 2013, fundraiser at the Inwood nightclub Negro Claro Lounge. The hour-and-a-half event — which was attended by well-heeled businessmen — raised more than $213,000, according to records that the de Blasio campaign submitted to the Campaign Finance Board. Morales told DNAinfo New York that she believes the reported fundraising amount is inaccurate and said that her event only took in roughly $65,000. Morales is a go-to fundraiser in Upper Manhattan who has also hosted events at Negro Claro for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

Team Cuomo Fear and Panic
The NY Post’s Fred Dicker reports Team Cuomo is on “lockdown,” with tight-lipped aides fearful that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s ongoing investigation of the governor’s former top aide Joseph Percoco and lobbyist Todd Howe may snare other officials.
 Buffalo Billions Part of  Larger Investigation of State Economic Projects Beyond Two of Gov Men

Governor Continues to Defend 'Buffalo Billion' Program Amid Investigation (NY1)
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie signaled support for Buffalo’s SolarCity project at RiverBend but cautioned that his house is still doing its “due diligence” on the Cuomo administration’s request for $485 million to complete the solar panel factory in South Buffalo.* Asked if he is comfortable with SUNY Polytechnic Institute founding president and CEO Alain Kaloyeros continuing to oversee upstate nanotech economic development as SUNY Poly is investigated by federal and state authorities, Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged reportersnot to rush to judgement.* The guest list at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fundraiser six months ago at a private club in Albany reads like a who’s who in U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation of the governor’s upstate economic development projects.
Cuomo’s team on ‘lockdown’ as Preet Bharara digs deeper(NYP) * Forms asked Percoco about 'conflicts' when he rejoined in 2014 *De Blasio, Cuomo Probes Prompt Varied Responses (WSJ) The two work from different blueprints while facing investigations into their administrations *
Regardless of whether federal prosecutors uncover any evidence of wrongdoing, a culture of secrecy, nurtured by the governor, may have helped spark the current investigation. * Hours after legislative leaders refused to commit to approving $485 million in additional funding for Buffalo’s SolarCity project, Cuomo administration officials said a key funding vote by a state oversight panel scheduled for today has been postponed. *While original agreements with the state required SolarCity to hire at least 1,460 workers for its Buffalo factory — including 900 within the first 24 months of operation — the number was dropped to just 500 workers, according to an amended agreement filed with the SEC. Both SolarCity and SUNY Polytechnic Institute officials deny the job reductions are a setback. * State officials hope to try again next Wednesday to approve $485 million for the SolarCity project in Buffalo, but legislators still want the Cuomo administration to provide more specifics about the funding before that meeting, The Buffalo News writes.* State officials hope to try again next Wednesday to approve $485 million to complete the SolarCity project at Buffalo’s RiverBend complex, though legislators say they still want the Cuomo administration to provide more specifics about the funding before that meeting.*

Buffalo Billion probe is part of a larger investigation of state projects (Buffalo News) New subpoenas show that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is looking for official corruption far beyond Western New York The first subpoenas from federal prosecutors arrived 11 months ago, demanding information about a couple of Buffalo Billion-funded projects, including the sprawling RiverBend project. ¶ But a single federal subpoena to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office two weeks ago showed that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe has expanded significantly, and extends far beyond Buffalo. The subpoena wants information about individuals and companies from Brooklyn, Albany, the Hudson Valley, Syracuse, Westchester County, Rochester, Manhattan and Maryland. ¶ And though Cuomo last week said prosecutors are focusing on the actions of just two individuals the governor counted as among his longest and most trusted advisers – Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe – investigators appear to be headed in several directions that could take them well beyond just those two men.  The Buffalo News obtained a portion of the federal subpoena to the Cuomo administration, and it demands: • All documents relating to the October 2013 request for proposals for the Buffalo Billion program as well as a development project by the same state university-created corporation – Fort Schuyler Management Corp. – in Syracuse, along with a March 2015 RFP by a sister entity for a since-stalled dormitory project at SUNY Polytechnic in Albany; • Details about certain actions taken by Percoco, Howe, several top current Cuomo advisers and the head of the state Power Authority, as well as Peter Cutler, a longtime Democratic operative from Buffalo who recently left Cuomo’s economic development field office in Western New York. The New York Post first reported that last week. Cutler last week confirmed he, too, had received a subpoena from Bharara’s office, though he declined to say what he is being asked to provide; • Any actions by those individuals “for the benefit of” nearly two dozen companies, including LPCiminelli, the Buffalo construction company handling construction of the RiverBend complex, and Norstar Development USA, a Buffalo-based company headed by the former top housing czar in the administration of the late Gov. Mario Cuomo, the current governor’s father; • Phone logs, visitor logs and calendar entries going back to January 2012 that might show meetings or contacts between administration officials and two dozen people or entities, including Ciminelli, Norstar, several Syracuse firms, a Brooklyn real estate developer, a Rochester real estate company, and two firms that, according to Percoco, paid him up to $120,000 in consulting fees sometime in 2014. Also on the list: Alain Kaloyeros, the SUNY Polytechnic president and Cuomo point person on the Buffalo Billion, as well as Howe.* Prosecutor who put away Silver now defends Buffalo judge in probe (Buffalo News) Carrie Cohen replaces local attorney in ongoing probe * Column: Joe Percoco's current employers have 18 billion reasons to stay in favor with state government:(TU)Probes of de Blasio, Cuomo could shake up New York politics  via *Cuomo’s friends ready to cash in on La Guardia renovation(NYP) New York’s next billion-dollar boondoggle could be taking off in Queens. Buffalo Billion, the state’s $1.7 billion plan to revitalize Buffalo, has attracted the attention of federal investigators who have subpoenaed records relating to bid-rigging and improper lobbying. At the other end of the state, the Port Authority is pouring at least $4.1 billion into the renovation of La Guardia Airport’s main terminal. With other infrastructure improvements, consultants, concessions, and staffing costs, the airport plan’s price could climb, but cost overruns would be covered by the developer.* De Blasio and Cuomo have taken opposite approaches on everything from tax increases to tackling the Ebola virus. In the face of high-stakes investigations into their administrations over the past several weeks, the two Democrats accordingly have worked off two wholly different blueprints. The mayor is defensive and indignant, while the governor has sought to appear in control. * Bharara’s investigation into the 2014 campaign for state Senate may intensify as a new complaint has been lodged against the Erie County Democratic Committee charging illegal coordination with a statewide union, CWA, on retiring Sen. Marc Panepinto’s campaign.* E.J. McMahon: “Quite apart from whether Bharara uncovers any criminal wrongdoing, the Buffalo Billion project is highly questionable both as a matter of public policy and as a business proposition.”*Buffalo Billion Money On Line, Leaders Take Wait-And-See Approach * Should Everything Silver and Skelos Touched Be Reviewed? (Gothamist)

And More Albany Probes + Cuomo + de Blasio
Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos head to prison, but state corruption probes aren’t over (Daily Freedman)

Now de Blasio Slams Silver As A Bad Apple in 2015 "Man of Integrity"
De Blasio slams ‘bad apples’ Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos (NYP)  * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio trashed crooked ex-pols Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos as “bad apples” who got what they deserved in a WABC radio interview, while downplaying the multiple probes facing him and predicting he’ll be re-elected next year.* Dean Skelos Sports Complex removes references to disgraced politician's name (NYDN) A Long Island sports complex named after Skelos has quietly removed the signs bearing his name. Though the park is still named after Skelos, who last week was sentenced to five years in prison on federal corruption charges, the village of Rockville Centre removed any signs referencing the Dean Skelos Sports Complex.* Sheldon Silver's Surrender Date Pushed Back to August 31 (NY1)

 In 16 Months and One Trial Silver When From "Man of Integrity" To "Bad Apple"

Senate Democratic Aide Who Ask if Team de Blasio Check Cleared Subpoenaed 
A state Senate Democratic aide who was a campaign manager referenced in a state Board of Elections criminal referral involving Team de Blasio’s 2014 fundraising operation on behalf of the Senate Democrats has been subpoenaed by investigators, a source said. In her referral, Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman cited a 2014 email from Matthew Lerch, then Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk’s campaign manager, to Ulster County Democratic Committee Treasurer Hayes Clement asking if a $60,000 check from the state Nurse’s Association had cleared and if it could be transferred to Tkaczyk’s campaign committee “ASAP.” Sugarman called the email proof of improper coordination and earmarking. Mayor de Blasio and his camp have insisted everything was done legally.

Albany Ethics Pension Rerorm Still Going Nowhere
Negotiations over a proposal to strip pensions from corrupt lawmakers continue in Albany — though broader ethics reforms appear to be going nowhere despite two recent scandals involving their leaders.* Gridlock Creeps Up On Ethics Bills(YNN)

Silver and Skelos Will Not Go to Jail Until After Supreme Court Rules On Corruption Case
Manhattan federal prosecutors told the judge who sentenced Dean and Adam Skelos last week that the government won’t push for them to go to prison until at least three-plus months after the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a pending case on anti-corruption laws.

 The NYP Sends Queens Boss Crowley's Bank the Queens Surrogate Judge A Message
Lots of Judges Don't Live Where They Say They Do . . .  Jack Newfield, True News and the NYT Have All Pointed Out How the Queens Machine Bosses Have Made Millions By Controlling the Queens Surrogate Judge . . .  Is the NYP (Lobbyist Artz) Trying to Pull Crowley Away From de Blasio?
Grade-fixing ex-principal lands $157K job as DOE administrator (NYP) Queens Surrogate Judge Peter Kelly, who is supposed to live in the borough, claims a Westchester County home as his primary residence, records show. Kelly, 58, who took the surrogate’s bench in 2011, has a state STAR exemption on his Eastchester abode, a property-tax break designed only for a primary residence. The married Kelly has owned the home since 1991, raised his children there and was registered to vote there in 2009, records show. He ran for the surrogate’s post in 2010 using his mother’s Astoria address. Kelly registered to vote at the two-family Astoria residence, which Kelly’s sister, Anne Anzalone, and brother-in-law also call home. Anzalone is the district chief of staff for Queens Rep. Joseph Crowley, who is also the party boss in the borough.Surrogate’s Court handles estates, adoptions and matters that require guardians. The court has long been known as a patronage mill with politically connected lawyers raking in millions in fees.Kelly, whose salary is $193,000, was previously a state Supreme Court judge in Queens, a position that does not have a residency requirement.A courts spokesman insisted that the judge lives in Astoria.

In 2004 Jack Newfield Wrote How Queens Pols Rip Off Their Surrogate Court
In 1998 Newfield reported that Frank Bolz    III, chairman of the Queens Democratic Party's law committee, is the single biggest recipient of assignments from Nahman - collecting $178,050 for 47 paid guardianship appointments since 1992.  Bolz is the law partner of Queens Assemblyman Joseph Crowley's father and brother. Gerard Sweeney, Manton's former law partner and campaign treasurer, is the current counsel to the public administrator - appointed by Nahman. Sweeney's law partner, Michael Reich, is executive secretary of the Queens Democ-ratic organization and has received 27 real-estate receiverships from nine differ-ent Queens judges. In 2000 Newfield wrote "The law firm of Queens Democratic Party leader Tom Manton has received more than $400,000 in court patronage since 1997. One partner -- Frank Bolz -- heads the party's law committee. Another, Gerard Sweeney, is counsel to the public adminis-trator. A third, Mike Reich, is executive secretary of the Queens party organiza-tion. They should apply antitrust laws to Manton's Monopoly." The rule is that a lawyer can get only one assignment of more than $5,000 during any 12-month period. Records show that lawyers like Batra, Bolz and Harvey Green-berg get a lot of assignments for $4,800 each.   Not since the death or old school investigative report Jack Newfield in 2004 has any reporter in New York covered how the corrupt Queens Democratic Machine use the courts as there personal bank.  Today over a decade later nothing has changed.  The new Queens Surrogate Kelly was like Nahman elected without a primary.  Today's Queens Democratic machines still use the Surrogate Court as their personal bank.  All that has happen has Crowley has replaced Manton.  Crowley Bolz and Reich all receive most of the loot from the Queens Surrogate Court.  The only difference is Newfield is long gone and the clueless, inexperienced and none caring corporate journalist of today report political gossip, don't do investigative pieces and only write about corruption when the U.S. Attorney indicts a pol.QUEENS COURT DOLES LEGAL BUSINESS TO DEM INSIDERS * DIRTY DOZEN' GRAB PATRONAGE $$$ A PATRONAGE DIRTY DOZEN' * Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News) * TrueNews: Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (2011)

The Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute From Widows and Orphans - Robert Kennedy
Queens  A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (NYT, 11/28/11) *Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (True News, 7/14/11)) Not since the death or old school investigative  report Jack Newfield in 2004 has any reporter in New York covered how the corrupt Queens Democratic Machine use the courts as there personal bank.Estates official resigns after office mishandles $2.2M inassets(NYP) * Former Bookkeeper for Brooklyn Public Administrator Convicted of Stealing more than $2.6 Million from Estates of Deceased Individuals

Bronx  Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline (NYT)  Judge Holzman, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned from estates that it was handling. Judge Holzman could lose his job as a result of the hearing. 

 In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world." He believed it was control of the Surrogate's Court of New York County, more than any other factor, that kept the Tammany Hall political machine alive through the lean years when he deprived it of city jobs and President Franklin Roosevelt denied it federal jobs

Another Hospital Closing Staff Beth Israel
Beth Israel Hospital set to close soon: Staff The Villager Nurses from Mount Sinai Beth Israel made emergency calls to The Villager on Tuesday. It wasn’t to provide medical care — but rather to let the newspaper know what they say is already a done deal: that the historic hospital will close, and “sooner rather than later.” Official word may come extremely soon, the nurses said. “They are going to make a big announcement before the end of the month,” one of them said. “We anticipate this is coming next week.” *Mount Sinai denies reports it's preparing to close Beth Israel Capital New YorkMount Sinai Health System on Friday evening acknowledged that it was still looking to overhaul Beth Israel Medical Center but denied reports that it was about to close the money-losing East Side facility, saying it was "100% committed to serving the community." Nurses and physicians have been worried for some time that Beth Israel would be closed or dramatically reduced in size, shifting jobs to other parts of the health system. A spokeswoman for Mount Sinai told POLITICO New York that leadership “was working on a plan [to] develop new facilities,” but declined to provide any further comment. Ken Davis, Mount Sinai’s CEO, has previously stated he is looking to rebuild Beth Israel, replacing its aging infrastructure with what could be a smaller facility with fewer in-patient beds.* Lower Manhattan's Last Large Hospital Could Be Shrinking, Despite Denials (Gothamist)  De Blasio was openly critical of the fact that so many hospitals closed when Michael Bloomberg was mayor, and was arrested in 2013, during his mayoral campaign, for protesting the closing of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn.

How Does This Guy Still Have His Job Running the BOE? 20% Poll Workers Don't Show Up

State Attorney General Eric Scheiderman is looking into other voting issues across the state, after 120,000 Brooklyn voters were purged from the voter rolls for last month's presidential primaries.

Board of Elections chief says there's 'no explanation' for Brooklyn election blunder (NYDN)Poll workers have one job to do — and 20 percent don’t do it(NYP)
The head of the city’s embattled Board of Elections disclosed Friday that 20 percent of the poll workers trained by his agency don’t show up on Election Day.  When asked to clarify the startling statistic he provided at a City Council budget hearing, board ­Executive Director Michael Ryan had few answers. “We train them and then they don’t show up,” he said. Bronx poll worker Diana Finch, who attended the hearing, told The Post she believes the percentage of no-shows is much higher.*NY Lawyer Brings Court Case Over Primary Chaos – Jonathan Clarke Talks with Lee Camp [12]

Still No Answers From BOE About the 120,000 Purged Voters?
Ryan’s remarks preceded an admission from Dawn Sandow, the board’s deputy director, that poll workers couldn’t find — or ran out of — paper ballots during the primary. But she and Ryan both insisted no voter was disenfranchised. Meanwhile, city Comptroller Scott Stringer called on the board to take immediate corrective action as a result of the botched primary, when his office was flooded with more than 600 complaints. Stringer said roughly 300 of the complaints came from voters claiming they were wrongly purged from the rolls, while 78 said they had significant issues with poll workers — including claims that they were told for whom to vote in some cases. Citywide, more than 121,000 residents voted by affidavit ballot because their names were improperly removed from the voter rolls.\  While an audit is ongoing, Stringer said the board should restore the purged voters, reach out to affidavit ballot voters to settle their registration status, and extend its hour of operations ahead of a June 3 voter-registration deadline for next month’s congressional primary.

City Council BOE Takeover
10 Areas Where DOI Can Investigate the BOE

What Happens After Golden Pick Rudiano is Accused of Wiping Out 120,000 Brooklyn Voters ? Her Court Testimony May Help Him Take Over the Brooklyn GOP
Before he heard any testimony or saw any evidence, the judge announced he was going to rule Golden's proxies back in, which would knock out current Brooklyn party Boss Arnaldo Ferraro and put Senator Golden in charge.  And he repeatedly prevented any talk of the Golden-Rudiano alliance from being put on the record. The judge stymied our lawyer left and right, and spoon-fed points to the opposing lawyer.  When the Board of Elections Suspended Brooklyn office chief  Diana Rudiano testified on Friday, she repeatedly answered "I don't remember" when our the anti-Golden lawyer asked something, but had answers to all her lawyer's questions. The anti-Golden forces Brooklyn Courts are fixed and they will win on appeal. "Yeah, Marty had this judge in his pocket from the opening remarks on"*  Brooklyn GOP factions submit competing leadership bids (City and State

The Bottom Feeders Running the NYC GOP Still Fighting Each Other
Golden ally issued deceptive robocalls in county chairman race (Booklyn Daily)  A top advisor to state Sen. Martin Golden (R–Bay Ridge) admitted in court on May 9 to sending out deceptive robocalls during last year’s contentious Republican party county chairman contest in an attempt to tip the scales for his boss’s preferred winner. James McClelland, a political adviser to the Brooklyn pol, sent calls to party members ahead of a Sept. 30 convention implying ballots they had previously filled out were not valid and instructing them to toss their votes — called “proxies” in political lingo — and wait for party leaders to send them the “official” ballots. “Please do not sign and return the postcard proxy you recently received in the mail,” McClelland told party members without identifying himself during a Sept. 23 round of robocalls. “Over the next few days, your district leader or representative will contact you personally to have you sign the official proxy. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and service to the Republican party.” It’s the latest revelation in an ongoing power struggle between former party chairman Craig Eaton and Golden that is playing out in court. Eaton-backed former Assemblyman Arnaldo Ferraro beat Golden-backed Ted Ghorra in the Sept. 30 contest after party officials invalidated more than 400 votes for Ghorra.

Both sides claimed victory — going so far as to hold competing meetings where Ferraro and Ghorra both acted as chairman. And Ghorra took Ferraro to court over the 400 tossed votes. But the litigative gambit backfired when McClelland admitted he helped Ghorra obtain the votes through deception. Ferraro attorney Ezra Glaser asked McClelland if the robocall — specifically with the use of the word “official” — was orchestrated to confuse people into believing they had signed an incorrect ballot and should re-sign their names on the “official” one for Ghorra. An erstwhile Golden ally who received three of McClelland’s robocalls believes they were designed to manipulate people, he said. “The whole purpose of that robocall was to convince people that there was something wrong with that proxy,” said former Golden political consultant Gerry O’Brien. “There are no ‘official’ or ‘unofficial proxies.’ There are valid and or invalid — but when you say, ‘Don’t sign that proxy, because there’s something wrong with it — this is the official proxy,’ it’s misleading and it’s fraudulent.” Testimony ended May 10, and now Supreme Court judge Edgar Walker will decide the party’s next boss.
GOP Bottom Feeders And Why the Party is Dying in NY, Tabone Trial

Justice for Sale in Manhattan What About the Silver Court?
Prosecutors rip lawyer and paralegal accused of bribing court worker (NYP) Prosecutors Friday blasted a criminal defense lawyer and a paralegal for corrupting justice by allegedly bribing a court staffer to steer them wealthy clients. “It was a complete scam carried out by these defendants to exploit and corrupt this system for their own gain,” said ADA Samuel Levy at the Manhattan Supreme Court bribery trial of attorney Benjamin Yu and paralegal Jose Nunez. The defendants allegedly paid a New York Criminal Justice Agency employee more than $30,000 for funneling them potential clients from August 2013 to September 2014. CJA staffer Luis Veras Rodriguez was tasked with interviewing defendants prior to their arraignments so he could make bail condition recommendations. He would allegedly target “people with money, people with good paying jobs” and would hand them Yu’s business card *  De Blasio finally admits Sheldon Silver is a criminal (NYP) 
* Former Assembly Speaker Silver asks to stay free pending appeal (CrainsNY)  Lawyers said the U.S. Supreme Court is considering changing the limits of a law used to convict the 72-year-old Manhattan De

 Did Silver Corrupt the Manhattan Court?
Moreland Investigation Ends, Media Cover-Up

The Go Around Election Law Deed Restriction Mayor (ENDLESS LOOP)
Why Bill’s in trouble: A mayor's fingerprints all over fundraising earmarks (NYDN Ed)  While Mayor de Blasio grows ever bolder in suggesting that Gov. Cuomo has snared him in double-standard investigations, the mayor grows ever weaker in failing to confront increasingly ugly facts. First stop on the money trail: the mayor’s unsuccessful effort to elect Democrats to the state Senate in 2014.
While campaign finance laws strictly limit donations to individual senatorial candidates, they allow very generous contributions to state and county party committees. In order to pour money into the key races, de Blasio’s team hit up large givers to funnel enormous amounts to upstate county Democratic committees. Here things get dicey. When political aides of both the mayor and governor sat down to discuss strategy, the question of legalities came up. Eventually, the mayor’s election lawyer, Laurence Laufer, drafted a memo that was dated July 16, 2014. It stated: “Notes: No earmarking. Contributions raised into political party committees should not be earmarked for the benefit of particular candidates. Earmarking would result in double counting the contributions against both the limit applicable to the original contributor as well as the limit applicable to the conduit contributor.”  So-called earmarking is the practice of directing political committees to use contributions for specific purposes. If a donor can give, say, $100,000 to a committee with instructions to apply it in particular ways for a candidate, the donor has, in effect, circumvented the much lower limit on contributions to campaigns. After an extensive investigation, state Board of Elections enforcement counsel Risa Sugarman detailed how aides and associates of the mayor directed some $1 million in big donations to upstate committees — and then had the money flow to the campaigns, and then out to consultants and others to, in effect, commandeer the candidates’ campaigns. Sugarman referred the matter to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, with the finding, “I have determined that reasonable cause exists to believe a violations warranting criminal prosecution has taken place.” Although Laufer had written, “No earmarking,” he wrote an extensive rebuttal to Sugarman, asserting that she fundamentally misunderstands the election law. The mayor has adopted that position, along with claiming he is being unfairly targeted. “As the July 2014 memo makes clear, there is no prohibition on party committees raising funds and transferring those funds to political candidates. The 2014 fundraising in question followed the advice of the memo and was legal and appropriate at all times.” Cuomo also used funds donated to the Democratic state committee to aid the candidates in the same races with roughly the same amount of money, the difference being that the committee spent it directly on TV commercials, consultants and mailings. True enough, there can be many a fine distinction between what is illegal earmarking and what is legal campaign support. What’s clear is that funding commercials is squarely within the rules while running money-in, money-out, do-as-I-say campaigns has all the earmarks of criminal earmarking. * Mayor, money and mouth: De Blasio can't talk away serious investigations (NYDN Ed) * De Blasio Not Ruling Out Accepting Support from a Super PAC for Re-Election Bid * De Blasio and his operatives made the decision — now under investigation — to heavily use upstate county party committees to raise money in 2014 for Senate Democrats only after they feared the governor was not prepared to spend what he promised, sources on all sides of the matter said.

Stringer de Blasio Goes About Deed Restrictions For Friends With Campaign Contribution Benefits
Contributions to Campaign for One NY PAC and de Blasio's Putnam Laundry
City Controller Scott Stringer blasted the de Blasio administration over the secretive lifting of deed restrictions on lucrative properties. “This is an outrage,” Stringer said at City Hall. “It’s just mind boggling. The public should be outraged. Government has failed every which way.” Stringer is probing the case of Rivington House on the Lower East Side, where the city took $16 million to remove a restriction requiring the property to be used as a nonprofit health care facility — shortly before a luxury condo developer bought the land for $116 million. The state attorney general and city Department of Investigation are also investigating the deal.  “It’s wrong that the people of Harlem and the people of the Lower East Side wake up to ... find their community is being sold right out from under them,” Stringer said. “The public deserves better than deed restrictions that are lifted in the middle of the night with no oversight.”“It’s wrong that the people of Harlem and the people of the Lower East Side wake up to ... find their community is being sold right out from under them,” Stringer said. “The public deserves better than deed restrictions that are lifted in the middle of the night with no oversight.”* As Officials Investigate Lifting of Deed Restriction on Lower East Side, Similar Case Makes Headlines in Harlem (NY1) * Developer Snags Harlem Lot After Paying City $875K to Lift Deed: Report  (DNAINFO) A plot of land in Harlem had its deed restrictions lifted by a city agency.

Team Cuomo Blasts de Blasio Blame Game Smokescreen 
Democratic leader slams de Blasio for ‘political smokescreen’(NYP) The executive director of the state Democratic Party slammed Mayor de Blasio in an interview Friday for creating a “political smokescreen” to distract from probes of his fund-raising.  Basil Smikle disputed efforts by the mayor and his allies to pin the leaks about the investigations on political rivals including Gov. Cuomo, The New York Times reported. “To the extent that the mayor is asserting that the current investigation is politically motivated, that would imply that actions of the Manhattan DA and the US attorney are politically motivated,” Smikle Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara are looking into whether de Blasio’s aides played fast and loose with campaign finance rules.

De Blasio’s Accusations Over Inquiry Draw Retort From Cuomo’s Side (NYT)The State Democratic Party swatted back after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he believed details of a fund-raising investigation were leaked in an effort to undercut him. In the first statements from the New York State Democratic Party since Mr. de Blasio began describing the episode as politically motivated, the state party’s head, Basil A. Smikle Jr., suggested that Mr. de Blasio’s allegations were “nothing more than a political smoke screen created by the mayor,” arguing that there was good reason for various agencies to investigate the mayor’s fund-raising without an extra prod from state officials. “To the extent that the mayor is asserting that the current investigation is politically motivated, that would imply that actions of the Manhattan D.A. and the U.S. attorney are politically motivated,” said Mr. Smikle, the executive director of the state party, which was involved in the 2014 election effort and which Mr. Cuomo controls. “It would also imply that the newspapers, editorial boards and good government groups that raised these very issues prior to any investigations are all politically motivated.”Mr. Vance opened his investigation after receiving a report from the State Board of Elections that questioned Mr. de Blasio’s activities. The board had made its own inquiries and voted to refer the matter to Mr. Vance. The official who wrote the report, Risa S. Sugarman, the board’s chief enforcement counsel, was appointed by Mr. Cuomo. In addition to questioning the leak of the board’s inquiry, Mr. de Blasio has also suggested that the inquiry itself, as well as another investigation by the State Joint Commission on Public Ethics, are politically motivated. * New York energy project faces scrutiny in federal probe involving former Cuomo aide (Percoco) via

de Blasio's Lawyer Interconnected With the State Dem Party Lawyers
De Blasio lawyer did event for group with ties to state Dem party (NYDN) At the same time allies to Gov. Cuomo hammer Mayor de Blasio and his campaign lawyer Laurence Laufer for branding probes by state entities into the mayor and his associates as politically motivated, Laufer last week helped lead an event by a group aligned with the state party designed to teach lawyers about state and city campaign finance laws. “The (state party) seems happy to rely on Mr. Laufer's expertise when it suits them but questions it when politically expedient,” said one Democratic aide. Laufer, a former counsel to the city Campaign Finance Board, and Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the state Board of Elections, led the May 12 event sponsored by the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, which is a joint voting rights project of the state and national Democratic committees  Laufer last week released a scathing letter saying that the Committee For One New York, a non-profit created to push de Blasio’s agenda, would no longer cooperate with a probe by the state ethics commission. Laufer claimed called the probe a political witch hunt undertaken by allies of the governor. He also recently released a letter trashing as political criminal referral made by Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman, a Cuomo appointee, regarding the de Blasio fundraising operation's help for Senate Democrats in 2014. In that letter, he said the legal points Sugarman made in her referral letter were not accurate and also raised the issue of possible political hijinks. Former state Sen. Martin Connor, a lawyer who does campaign work, attended the May 12 event as part of a requirement in New York that attorneys every two years get a certain amount of continuing legal education. He said Laufer focused on the rules pertaining to the city Campaign Finance Board and did not bring up any of the investigations or hostilities between the governor and mayor.

de Blasio May Not Understand But He Just Called DOI, CFB and Conflict of Interest Board That Picks Is Under His Thumb
Asked for comment, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio referred a reporter to the mayor’s interview on WNYC on Friday morning, in which he was asked why a political nonprofit tied to his administration had refused to comply with a subpoena from the state ethics panel, which Mr. de Blasio has argued is under Mr. Cuomo’s thumb. “It’s one thing to participate with an investigation that’s appropriate and within appropriate boundaries, but when an investigation may be motivated by politics, when an investigation may be going beyond its legal mandate — and obviously be, in a sense, a partisan act — that’s a whole different matter,” the mayor said.

NYT Putnam de Blasio's Protect Cuomo Lundered Senate $$$ Also Gray Lady Says Percoco Was Involved 
Cuomo Campaign’s Role in Scrutinized Senate Races Comes Into Focus (NYT)  It began with great fanfare in the spring of 2014. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio joined forces to help elect a Democratic majority in the New York State Senate, a goal to which Mr. Cuomo had paid lip service but had done little to achieve.  It did not, however, end well.  The Republicans prevailed on Election Day, weeks after the unusual alliance between the governor and the mayor ruptured amid accusations that Mr. Cuomo was sabotaging the effort. The Democratic Senate candidates were not the only losers: Eighteen months later, Mr. de Blasio and several aides, along with a number of consultants and labor union operatives, find themselves caught up in a criminal investigation focused on how they directed money into some of the contested races. But the Cuomo campaign was nonetheless involved in the overall effort to help the Democrats retake the Senate, at least behind the scenes, according to documents and correspondence reviewed by The New York Times, and to people briefed on the effort. Meetings were held, plans drawn up and lawyers consulted. And perhaps most important, money was raised — in the end, well over $1 million.  A senior aide to the governor, Joseph Percoco, took part in some of the earliest organizational and planning sessions with a top de Blasio administration official and campaign lawyers for the mayor and the governor, the materials reviewed by The Times show. Mr. Percoco also received central legal and operational documents on how the fund-raising effort would be carried out. Three weeks before the election, he corresponded with Emma Wolfe, one of the mayor’s closest advisers, about the procedures for paying for hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign advertisements and mailings for Democratic candidates in targeted races, according to the materials.  Basil A. Smikle Jr., the executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, which took part in the effort and is controlled by Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said that neither the state party nor the governor’s campaign took part in the fund-raising activities that are now under scrutiny. Mr. Smikle said that Mr. Percoco, Ms. Wolfe and others were “clearly advised” by legal counsel “that fund-raising earmarking was a circumvention of the state’s campaign finance limits.” He added that once the “coordinated effort became divided” after “internal strategic and operational disagreements,” the mayor’s group began using earmarked funds through the Democratic county committees of Ulster and Putnam Counties.  An election lawyer for the mayor, Laurence D. Laufer, who advised on the Senate effort, dismissed Mr. Smikle’s version of events.  “There was clear legal guidance provided to all parties that was rigorously adhered to,” he said in a statement provided by Mr. de Blasio’s campaign. “The notion that the state party had concerns about any legal issue, or backed away from the effort because of that, is patently ridiculous.” The state party, according to correspondence reviewed by The Times, continued to pay roughly $1 million for television commercials, mailings and consultants as part of the effort up until the final weeks before the election, with most of that money raised by Mr. de Blasio.  The criminal investigation, by the office of the Manhattan district attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is focused on allegations that the mayor, his aides and a team of consultants and labor union representatives whom he assembled sought to use county committees and the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to evade the $10,300 limit on donations to individual candidates. County committees can receive contributions of $102,300.  It is a felony for donors to earmark contributions to the committees to be passed on to certain candidates. Prosecutors involved in the investigation interpret the statute, which has never been tested in court, to mean that it is also a felony under state election law to solicit donations in order to avoid contribution limits, people briefed on the matter have said, an interpretation that Mr. de Blasio’s campaign lawyers dispute. Among the materials The Times reviewed was a July 16, 2014, document prepared as part of that year’s Senate campaign effort that summarized the fund-raising and spending rules that would apply to the coordinated effort. It listed the contribution limits and restrictions on funds for five “recipient committees” that could be used in the undertaking. They included the county committees, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and the New York State Democratic Committee, which is controlled by Mr. Cuomo.  The 2014 Senate materials reviewed by The Times also show that Mr. Percoco was involved until at least mid-October, when correspondence with Ms. Wolfe shows that the two were negotiating over how to track and pay some of the roughly $1 million in television advertising and mailings. Mr. Percoco’s role in helping the Senate Democrats, elements of which were reported by Politico New York, ran counter to Mr. Cuomo’s actions in the past; despite his promises of support, he did little that year to publicly assist the Democratic candidates. Other questions about the investigation, including whether it may expand beyond violations of election law or remain narrowly focused on those allegations, remain. Prosecutors have subpoenaed several of the mayor’s senior aides and the finance chairman of his campaign, as well as a number of consultants who worked on the effort who are very close to the mayor, according to City Hall officials and others briefed on the inquiry. Democratic candidates from the 2014 race have also received subpoenas, as have some of the county committees.

NYT in the Tank for the Mayor 
Albany Plays the Schoolyard Bully (NYT) State lawmakers need to stop playing games and let Mayor Bill de Blasio keep control over city schools.
Subpoenas Fly At City Hall Laundering $$$

Next: Bharara's Premature Closing of the Moreland Commission Warning
Preet Bharara says he’s not done — and Cuomo might be next (NYP)  Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara watched with smug satisfaction Thursday as a judge slapped the second of Albany’s “three men in a room” with prison time. But the sure-shot lawman made it clear that Gov. Cuomo remains on his mind — taking time from his victory lap to fire a salvo straight toward the state’s chief executive. “In the span of just 16 months, we have seen the arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing of both leaders of the New York State Legislature,” Bharara said in a statement minutes after former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was given five years in prison. “These cases show — and history teaches — that the most effective corruption investigations are those that are truly independent and not in danger of either interference or premature shutdown,” Bharara added — a clear jab at Cuomo. Cuomo created a Moreland Commission panel in 2013 to fight against corruption in state politics, but abruptly shut it down less than a year later amid pressure from lawmakers.  Bharara launched a probe into the panel’s closure but said earlier this year that there was “insufficient evidence” to prove the Cuomo administration had committed any federal crime.  But with his statement Thursday, Bharara made it clear that the battle against corruption in Albany continues. “The only thing that is truly bipartisan in Albany right now is the corruption.” Bharara sat in the back of the courtroom as Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood sentenced Skelos.  Bharara kept his head down as Skelos’s wife, Gail, sneered, “You can go to hell,” as she walked past him, Politico reported. * Despite Perennial Reform, Scandals In NY Swell (YNN) * Following the Skelos sentencing, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement that took a clear jab at Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the early shutdown of the corruption busting Moreland Commission, which Bharara looked into, but ultimately declined to bring any charges.* An inquiry by Bharara’s office focuses on de Blasio’s fundraising efforts to help the state Senate Democrats in their failed 2014 effort to re-take the majority. But the Cuomo campaign, which was run by ex-Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who is also now under investigation, was nonetheless involved in the overall effort and may have been aware of the mayor’s actions.* Preet Bharara looking into Percoco's wife, the ex-teacher, and her education gig
 Moreland Investigation Ends, Media Cover-Up

Where Will de Blasio Next Birthday Party Be Held?
People actually paid $250 to go to de Blasio’s birthday party (NYP)  After having trouble selling tickets to his birthday bash, Mayor de Blasio eventually was able to sell enough $100-to-$250 tickets to fill Brooklyn Bowl, where he was roasted by comedian Louis C.K. Thursday evening. More than 600 people attended the event, including Emma Wolfe, a top political aide to the mayor who was subpoenaed in the federal probe looking into money funneled to Democratic candidates for state Senate. * Mayor de Blasio’s Birthday Party Serves as Re-election Rally (NYT)  To a room of actors, taxi drivers and public-relations experts, Mayor Bill de Blasio pitched for a second term, urging participants to stand with him.* After initially having trouble selling tickets to his birthday bash fundraiser, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio eventually was able to convince enough people to pay $100-to-$250 to fill Brooklyn Bowl, where he was roasted by comedian Louis C.K. last night. *De Blasio pitched his re-election run in 2017 to the crowd of his supporters, urging them to stand with him against “powerful forces” arrayed against the “progressive change” brought by his administration.
de Blasio campaign 2017

Skelos 5 Years His Son Adam 61/2  
Judge“ Deterrence”
Ex-state Senate majority leader Dean Skelos was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for using his political power to line the pockets of his do-nothing son, Adam.  Adam Skelos — who once threatened to “smash” in the head of a supervisor at a job his dad got for him — also was set to be sentenced to the slammer by Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood. The father-son duo were convicted in December of bribery, corruption and conspiracy after prosecutors with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office played tapes showing that the Long Island Republican strong-armed companies into paying his 33-year-old son more than $330,000. “You sentYikes, statement on Skelos pulls no punches. "self-serving, greedy...more like an organized crime TV drama than government."

A nephew of Dean Skelos, Basil “Billy” Skelos, was arrested for grabbing a Daily News reporter’s phone, throwing it across the street and grabbing her wrist following the disgraced pol’s sentencing alongside his son. *   Nephew of Dean Skelos arrested for wrenching Daily News reporter’s wrist following uncle's sentencing (NYDN)  * Dean Skelos Is Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison in Corruption Case (NYT) -&Adam 61/2. Unelected son's abuse of pwr; tragic *Ex-State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos sentenced to 5 years, son Adam gets 6 1/2 in prison for bribery, extortion and conspiracy (NYDN) * Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ nephew Basil Skelos was detained by the NYPD after he grabbed the wrist of a Daily News reporter in the post-sentencing scrum and threw her cellphone. He was charged with third degree assault.* While the crimes and the 12-year prison term of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver exceeded those of Skelos and his son, the Skeloses’ trial stood out for the gritty, unvarnished look it offered of the personal and political dealings of a family immersed in Albany’s back channels.

No Mrs. Skelos Clarence Bharara Will Get His Wings and Your Husband is Going to Jail
As Gail Skelos, the ex-senator’s wife and Adam’s mother, passed Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was sitting in the back of the courtroom throughout the trial, she told the federal prosecutor: “You can go to hell.” * Judge Kimba Wood did not set a date by which the Skeloses had to surrender to prison authorities, saying she would first rule on a request by their lawyers that they be allowed to remain free pending their appeals.* Dean Skelos is all son Adam has left (NYP) * Dean Skelos Is Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison in Corruption Case (NYT)  The sentencing of Mr. Skelos, the second in 10 days of a former senior New York lawmaker, closes an extraordinary chapter during which two trials exposed the seamy side of Albany politics.* Judge Calls Out Skelos Son’s ‘Appalling’ Ways (WSJ) Adam Skelos was sentenced to 6½ years in prison, more time than his father, Dean Skelos, received * As Skelos heads to prison, Albany’s corruption story never ends(Buffalo News) * Adam Skelos’ personal life has been destroyed by the corruption scandal, which prompted his wife, Anne Marie, to file for divorce, his lawyer said at Adam’s sentencing. Adam’s ex is now planning to move in with Adam’s mom, Gail, along with their two autistic sons. * Ken Lovett: “Even for New York, which has almost become numb to the procession of public officials in recent years who left office in handcuffs or shame, having two top legislative leaders given substantial prison time a little more than a week apart is a new low.”

Compared to careful lawman who used smarts to cover up corrupted soul, is almost a dad you can love, EvenWrong!

IDC GOP Senate Coalition and Skelos  Flanagan
Skelos Trial and How Real Estate $$$ Corruption Government

The Affordable Housing Fake Promise
The odds of landing affordable housing in NYC are 1,000 to 1 (NYP)  The odds of landing an affordable apartment through the city’s Housing Connect Web site have gotten so long that they’re now at about 1,000 to 1, officials said Wednesday. Housing Commissioner Vicki Been testified at a City Council budget hearing that 2,628 affordable apartments have become available online so far this year — drawing 2.54 million applications. The lottery excludes affordable units that are reserved directly for seniors, the formerly homeless and for supportive housing. Rents vary, but are almost always well below market rates. A project in downtown Brooklyn at 461 Dean St., near Barclays Center, has a one-bedroom currently available for as little as $600 for a couple earning no more than $29,000 a year.The number of applications represents a dramatic increase from fiscal 2013, when some 364,000 applications were submitted for just over 2,300 units. The odds of landing affordable digs that year — the first year of the online lottery — were about 150 to 1.* The woman with a federal Sec. 8 rent voucher who must use her car as her living room.  via


Daily News Pushes Hard On Albany to End Child Abuse 

'I HAVE NO COMMENT': New York State’s big three politicians don’t have time to discuss reforms to child abuse law(NYDN)
'SHAME ON YOU': Former DA Jeanine Pirro 'disappointed' in pols for protecting pervs rather than seeking justice for victims
‘AN ABSOLUTE MONSTER’: ‘SNL’ star Pete Davidson — a Staten Island native — slams school priest accused of sexist, racist rants
Always behind closed doors: Albany won't speak up on sex abuse(NYDN Ed)
Cuomo has dodged repeated entreaties from advocates against child sexual abuse to support legislation that would enable many victims of this crime to seek justice from their abusers. A spokesman said the governor supports changes to current law, but wouldn’t say what those changes are.* N.Y. bizman wants to spend $100G against senators to help child sex-abuse victims: 'kids are still getting abused every day' (NYDN) * Kathryn Robb, a sex abuse survivor-turned-attorney and advocate for victims, has a meeting in Albany today Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco to discuss a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for pursuing criminal charges or filing lawsuits in child sex abuse cases.Top Democrats in Albany still won’t tell survivors where they can stand on the decade-old effort to reform the state’s statute of limitations law on child sex abuse claims. * A coalition of nearly three dozen organizations is looking to jumpstart the push for Lavern’s Law before the legislative session ends in June. * GIVING PREDATORS A PASS: The case of Father James Williams underscores the urgency of statute-of-limitations reforms (NYDN) After being called out by victims, Cuomo said – through a spokesman – that he wanted to pass a bill in the next few weeks that would make it easier for adults who were sexually abused as kids to seek justice.
Albany Not Protecting Children Against Sex Abuse

From Koch, Silver and Percoco MSG Pays No Local Taxes 
NY1 ItCH: A Hat Trick in the State Capitol (NY1)  MSG is still reaping the benefits from a 1982 deal with then-Mayor Ed Koch that prevented the Rangers and Knicks from moving to New Jersey – or other parts unknown -- for at least ten years. As The New York Times' Joyce Purnick pointed out in 2002, Koch at the time portrayed the tax break as temporary – although the fine print said otherwise. Since the deal was struck – which required state approval -- MSG may have saved a cumulative total of about $450 million in taxes. With New York City's mascot morphing from Travis Bickle to Mickey Mouse, it's unclear why the Garden is still getting an annual tax break. Are the teams seriously looking to leave midtown Manhattan for somewhere in South Carolina? And should big businesses get the same kind of tax breaks that are typically reserved for churches and educational institutions? While the mayor and the City Council want to put the Garden back on the tax rolls, it's a different story in Albany.  For years, James Dolan, the CEO of Cablevision, which owns the Garden, smartly curried favor with former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was a big Rangers fan and the driving force behind killing a rival West Side stadium for the New York Jets. And earlier this year, Dolan picked a big card from Governor Cuomo's deck, hiring longtime Cuomo confidante Joe Percoco last December to be a senior vice president. Percoco has since become a familiar name in the news, facing a federal probe for his role in Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" program. If state lawmakers and the governor wanted to distance themselves from both corporate power and the pay-to-play culture, they could have allowed the city to send a tax bill to the Garden that thousands of small businesses pay each year.

Yesterday True News

" And How Dumb AS Feds and Manhattan DA Zero In ON Same Crimes as JCOPE?"
 If You Want to Know What's In the NYP The Next Day Read True News Today
Sorry, Mayor de Blasio: Your problem’s not Andrew Cuomo, it’s Preet Bharara(NYP Ed)
A good offense may often be the best defense in sports, but Mayor de Blasio is whistling in the dark if he really thinks it’s his way out of one of the biggest political scandals in New York City history.
The mayor is desperately trying to deflect attention any way he can from the myriad criminal probes now under way of his administration on five different fronts.  That’s why he’s now blasting the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, refusing to cooperate with its probe of his slush fund, the Campaign for One New York. It’s a political hit job clearly directed by the governor, de Blasio suggests.
 Not that he’s mentioning Cuomo by name. He just urges reporters to “look into these fascinating interconnections and potential motivations and the cast of characters” involved in JCOPE’s operation. Yes, JCOPE was a Cuomo creation. But all that guilt-by-association insinuation cuts both ways: Similar “interconnections and potential motivations” — and an odd cast of characters — have de Blasio squirming on the investigative hot seat. Like possible quid pro quos: favors given to donors to his slush funds and campaigns. But JCOPE is trying to subpoena CONY, not de Blasio. By aggressively declaring non-cooperation, the mayor only underscores just how tightly connected he and his slush fund actually are. Besides, the mayor’s public bluster ignores the fact that US Attorney Preet Bharara has had criminal probes of City Hall shenanigans under way for some time. The investigations even predate the state Board of Elections criminal referral to Manhattan DA Cy Vance — a move that de Blasio also tried to write off as the work of a Cuomo ally. Fact is, the two prosecutors remain much bigger potential threats than anything the relatively toothless JCOPE might do. De Blasio brought this whole mess on himself. And all the tough talk in the world won’t change that.

Yesterday True News Wrote:
Does the Press Understand How Unconstitutional It is When the Mayor Says He Does Not Want His Lobbyists to Follow the State Law? And How Dumb
AS Feds and Manhattan DA Zero In ON Same Crimes as JCOPE?
Bill de Blasio Has Had ‘Enough’ of JCOPE (NYO)  Mayor Bill de Blasio said again today he intends to cooperate with investigations into his fundraising and his administration—except for a state inquest he’s decided has gone too far. “When an entity goes beyond its legal purview—possibly for, you know, the wrong motivations—there’s a point at which you say enough is enough,” Mr. de Blasio said about an investigation by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, at a City Hall press conference today. But the mayor doesn’t get to pick and choose which regulatory board he deems worthy of dealing with, a JCOPE spokesman told the Observer. “Nobody gets a right to decide who is going to regulate them,” commission spokesman Walter McClure said. “We regulate lobbying in New York State.” * Bring it On': Scandal Plagued Mayor Welcomes Primary Challenge as Rivals Court the Press at His Doorstep (NY1)* The list of New York’s ten largest lobby clients in 2015, released by JCOPE last month, showed that spending was dominated by some relatively new players on the political scene. But names start to get far more familiar past the top ten.

de Blasio campaign 2017

FBI Had Their Own Investigation Into the Mayor's Fund Raising During the 2014 Election Before Before JCOPE Made It Criminal Referral
FBI Probed Mayor's Fundraising Before DA Got State's 'Criminal Referral' (DNAINFO) Federal authorities were already investigating Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2014 fundraising efforts to unseat state Senate Republicans months before the Manhattan District Attorney received a "criminal referral" from a state elections official about "Team de Blasio," DNAinfo New York has learned. A team of FBI agents from the bureau’s Public Corruption Unit started eyeing the mayor’s 2014 election efforts for upstate Democratic candidates as many as five months before Risa Sugarman, the state Board of Elections' Chief Enforcement Officer, wrote the DA that her team discovered "willful and flagrant" violations by the mayor and his associates, sources said. The timing is significant because the mayor and his supporters maintain that the investigation into the upstate activities stemmed from Sugarman's referral, and that it was politically motivated by foes of de Blasio and his progressive agenda.   

 In the detailed referral, which was leaked to the media, Sugarman, a former top Bronx prosecutor appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said her investigators determined “that reasonable cause exists to believe a violation warranting criminal prosecution has taken place.” She claimed the fundraising apparatus used by “Team de Blasio” deliberately circumvented campaign donation limits in three races, channeling funds to candidates through county committees that could accept up to $103,000 from a single donor — well above the $10,300 allowed if a direct contribution was made to the candidate. At the time of the Sugarman referral, the Manhattan DA's office had its own investigation going into aspects of the mayor's fundraising in his 2013 mayoral election, and questionable money transactions tied to his campaign to rid the city of carriage horses, the sources say. The Sugarman issues, however, were not on their radar and opened yet another avenue to examine.  But sources say it was not long before the DA realized the feds had a "parallel" probe well underway, and they teamed up.* DNAinfo New York reported last week that the federal probe is now eyeing the mayor's entire fundraising apparatus as a potential criminal enterprise — with many of the same advisers, campaign officials or lobbyists acting in a "conspiracy" to circumvent election laws. Such a federal charge would likely be accompanied by other offenses such as mail fraud, wire fraud, extortion and even money laundering, sources said. For example, DNAinfo New York reported that real estate developer Don Peebles said he felt he could not say "no" to de Blasio's request for $20,000 to support universal Pre-K. Peebles later requested his money be returned when some of it went to other initiatives, including one that was working against Peebles' own interest to develop Long Island College Hospital.Supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis, meanwhile, has told federal investigators that de Blasio buttonholed him at a charity event in 2014 and asked him to give $50,000 for the Putnam County Democratic Party. He said he later was angry to learn the money almost immediately went to an upstate candidate’s campaign coffers.DNAinfo New York has reported that the FBI probe began more than two years ago with a corruption tip about Philip Banks, the NYPD's former Chief of Department. Sources say violations of state law that do not rise to the federal levels will be ultimately be prosecuted by the Manhattan DA, whose office declined comment, as did the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. * Mayor de Blasio brushes off ethics commission’s motion to bring his defunct Campaign for One New York to court (NYDN)

JCOPE Asks Judge to Order Team de Blasio to Heed Subpoena on CONY Investigation Preferential Treatment Being Looked At 
Court Is Asked to Compel de Blasio Nonprofit to Heed Subpoena(NYT) A state ethics panel asked a court on Monday to compel the Campaign for One New York, a political nonprofit connected to Mayor Bill de Blasio, to hand over documents related to its lobbying and fund-raising activities after the group’s lawyer declared last week that he would not comply with the panel’s subpoena. The panel, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, known as Jcope, filed papers in State Supreme Court in Albany seeking to have a judge enforce the subpoena, arguing that the nonprofit had no basis for refusing to provide the documents, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Campaign for One New York now has several days to respond, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the papers were filed under seal. The group’s lawyer, Laurence D. Laufer, said in a letter on Friday that the group would no longer cooperate with the panel’s investigation into the nonprofit’s lobbying activities, saying the inquiry had become “blatantly political.”*  Disclosure forms filed by the Campaign For One New York show it accepted numerous contributions from companies that did business with the city or wanted something from his administration. Investigators want to know if donors received preferential treatment from the city in exchange for contributions to the group, which was created to promote the mayor’s policy agenda.

The Speaker Found Guility of Using An Illegal NYCLASS Lobbyists Says de Blasio Follow "Letter of the Law"
Despite the mayor’s claims to the contrary, City & State found some details of his nonprofit groups and their interactions with City Hall remain private or virtually inaccessible to the public, and oversight of them appears muddled with largely voluntary compliance.* A Long Island Republican wants the state Board of Elections to expand an investigation into the use of county party committees by de Blasio and his team to help Senate Democratic candidates in 2014.* De Blasio: State Commission Subpoena Is Part Of Witch Hunt By Cuomo (WCBS) Meanwhile, Others Hint About Running Against De Blasio Next Year
Kramer: “They claim that they have seven Democrats and seven Republicans and it’s bipartisan. I wonder if you believe what they’re saying.”  De Blasio: “No, I don’t. I think it’s quite clear a double standard is being held. I think it’s quite clear there are other motivations, and if they want to go to court, they can go to court. We think it’s quite clear that they are beyond their purview.”

Subpoenas Fly At City Hall

Boyland Chief of Staff Does Not Want to Go to Jail Corruption Hot
The ex-lover and former chief of staff of convicted former Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. is asking for a sentence of just probation for her involvement in his bribery schemes. *
Ex-lover of disgraced politician pleas for no jail time (NYP) The ex-lover of convicted former Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. is asking for a sentence of just probation for her involvement in his bribery schemes. Ry-Ann Hermon, who served as Boyland’s chief of staff and was also romantically involved with the pol, is asking Judge Sandra Townes for no jail time ahead of sentencing in Brooklyn federal court Friday. Hermon — who notably told an undercover agent that a $1,000 payoff made her “so hot” — cooperated with the feds.

While Hermon faces up to 87 months, her defense attorney, Douglas Byrne, asked the judge in a letter to consider that “the only financial gain Ms. Hermon received from her conduct was $2,100.”
Albany and City Hall Corruption

 Still Not Juice For An Albany Ethic Bill
Expectations low for ethics reform package in Albany (PoliticoNY)  Pension forfeiture is the only area of agreement in Albany * Senate committee advances bills targeting LLC campaign money and de Blasio(PoliticoNY)  A bill to close the so-called LLC loophole has stalled in the state Senate – again.
Albany Budget, Ethics, Pay Raise, Three Men in the Room, Pork, Campaign $$$

You Want to Bet the Feds Are Forcing IDC's Klein to Return Nursing Home Pay to Play Contribution

Amid questions about nursing home favored in budget, Klein returns contributions (PoliticoNY) 
The head of the state Senate's Independent Democratic Conference says he has returned thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a nursing home operator whose facility received a carve-out in the state budget. State Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx returned the contributions on May 2, a spokeswoman told POLITICO New York. She wouldn't specify exactly how much was returned.  Klein's actions come a month after the Legislature passed a budget that included a provision entitling the Citadel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at Kingsbridge to receive an extra $1 million a year in Medicaid reimbursement funds until March 2046. The nursing home's chief executive, Leopold Friedman, along with companies in which he claims an ownership stake, have given at least $71,000 to state campaign committees since 2013. Half of this money went to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but a sizable chunk — $22,000 — went to Klein. An additional $13,000 went to top Republican senators.*  Amid questions about nursing home favored in budget, Klein returns contributions  Facility received a $30M carve-out in state budget * Nursing home with ties to senator awarded $30M grant (NYP)
A $30 million grant to a troubled Bronx nursing home in the state budget has raised the hackles of government watchdogs. The earmark of $1 million a year until 2046 goes to the 385-bed Citadel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at Kingsbridge, whose owners have contributed thousands of dollars to Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein’s campaigns. “A little-noticed provision of this year’s budget directs $30 million to a single nursing home in The Bronx — which is unusual even by the standards of New York state government,” noted the Empire Center for Public Policy.  Klein has received at least $10,000 in contributions from owners of the nursing home, which is in his district and also is in the turf of Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz. Klein pushed the funding in the Senate spending proposal, and it was later included in the state budget, with the support of Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly.
Owner Leopold Friedman gave money to both Klein and Cuomo. Senator is returning campaign contributions from nursing-home interests as part of a regular internal audit of “monies that present the appearance of a potential conflict.” * A $30 million grant to a troubled Bronx nursing home in the state budget has raised the hackles of government watchdogs. The owners of the 385-bed Citadel Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at Kingsbridge have contributed thousands of dollars to Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein’s campaigns.
From Skelos to Flanagan, GOP Control of the Senate and IDC Coalition
A Fight for the State Senate


Parkside Which Owns the State Senate Now Target by GOP

Senate GOP Knocks Dems For Consulting Firm Ties (YNN)   Senate Republicans are attacking a suburban Democratic lawmaker who has used the Parkside Group in his campaigns. In a statement from Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif, Westchester County Sen. George Latimer is criticized for retaining the consulting firm in his 2012 and 2014 campaigns, giving the firm more than $330,000. The consulting firm is one of several that were issued subpoenas by Board of Elections enforcement counsel Risa Sugarman, who recommended criminal prosecution for the fundraising activities of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose efforts two years ago aiding Senate Democrats in key battleground races has fallen under scrutiny. George Latimer needs to rid himself of his tainted consulting team right now,” said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif. “If he truly believed in ethics reform, he would have done so already. What Latimer does here will tell Westchester voters everything they need to know.” The push from Senate Republicans comes after Democrats successfully flipped the district on Long Island once held by former Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was ousted in December following his conviction on corruption charges.  “This is comical coming from the Conference of Dean Skelos that has continuously blocked ethics reforms and has multiple members under investigation,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy. “The Senate GOP are getting desperate and know that their days in the majority are over. Also this fake attack ignores the fact that The Parkside Group is a voter contact firm not a fundraising firm but facts never seem to matter to the flailing Republican Conference.” The victory by Todd Kamsinky, who had retained Parskide as one of several consulting firms, 

All About the Corrupt Parkside Group



Airbnb Has A Bigger Race Problem Fueling Gentrification Pushing Blacks Out of Minority Neighborhoods

Airbnb’s burden to end any racial bias in its rentals (NYDN Ed) The online lodging service Airbnb has a race problem that the tech giant has a moral, if not legal, duty to expunge from its self-described “trusted community marketplace.” But, in a striking commentary on the true level of hidden racism in America, there is substantial evidence that the Airbnb “community” is less inclusive to African-Americans than to others.  The Twitter hashtag #airbnbwhileblack, posted alongside screenshots of curt rejections by prospective hosts, sums up the experiences of users who suspect that their race played a role in denying them accommodations.  They’re not paranoid. Harvard Business School researchers ran tests in Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. They found that potential renters with black-sounding first names were 16% more likely to be rejected than those with white-sounding names, for that reason alone * Airbnb fights bill to ban advertising of illegal units (NYP) *   * A political organization funded by a top hotel-trades union has helped develop the Share Better campaign – a multifaceted lobbying effort to persuade New York City politicians to curtail Airbnb, according to emails and records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.* Airbnb moved in, and there went my neighborhood

Manhattan landlord Steve Croman surrenders to face charges he threatened, sued rent-protected tenants to force them out for high-rent units (NYDN)
  NYC landlord Steve Croman arrested for threatening rent-stabilized tenants--"secret weapon" is former NYPD cop

Airbnb Bad Neighbors, Warehouses Apartments -- Rising Rents and Increasing Gentrificatio

Knight of the Long Knives As Cuomo Homeless Shelter Attacked



Team de Blasio Creating A NYS Constitutional Crisis As They Defy Subpoenas By the JCOPE Which Regulates Election and Lobbyists
Mayor’s Nonprofit Will Stop Cooperating with State Ethics Investigation (WSJ)  Group’s lawyer accuses state agency of engaging in a ‘blatantly political exercise’ Mayor Bill de Blasio will no longer cooperate with a state ethics investigation, the group’s lawyer wrote in a letter Friday that questioned whether the agency was doing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bidding. The Campaign for One New York, a now defunct group run by the mayor’s allies to advance his policy and political agenda, has also been under investigation by federal and state authorities who are looking into whether donors received special treatment from Mr. de Blasio’s administration in exchange for contributions. In a letter dated Friday, the group’s lawyer, Laurence Laufer, wrote the Campaign for One New York would continue to cooperate with the offices of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.But the group won’t cooperate with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which has been investigating why the group hadn’t registered as a lobbyist in 2015.* The Campaign For One New York, the 501(c)(4) group de Blasio started to advance his political agenda at the start of his mayoralty, is refusing to comply with a subpoena sent in recent weeks by JCOPE seeking information about the group’s donors.* We Won't Comply With 'Blatantly Political' Subpoena, Mayor's Lawyer Says (DNAINFO) * De Blasio blames 'voices of status quo' at Sharpton rally (PoliticoNY)

Campaign for One New York won’t cooperate further with JCOPE investigation (PolicicoNY)   Agata, responding to the letter, told POLITICO New York Friday afternoon that the letter "is in the context of Mr. Laufer’s client refusing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena. Typically this is resolved in court, not by a letter.

When Lawyer Ravi Batra A JCOPE Commissioner Tried to Expose the Illegality of the None Profit CSNY Campaign-Lobbying Coordinating in 2012 He Had No Idea That He Would Also Be On Point for A Tax Exempt None Proft de Blasio Would Form A Year Latter the Campaign for One NY 

RaviBatra@RaviBatra  C41NY, as CSNY, is tax-exempt issue-advocacy. No tax-exempt body can Candidate-Coordinate OR lobby & remain such. JCOPE is Lobbyists'Cop * I protested in7/12 as JCOPE Commissioner when #JCOPE, w/o Pwr, alteredDisclosure Date to cloak #CSNY & Cuomo-admitted 2Coordinating-CSNY * AsJCOPE Commish I notified Feds in 8/12 & resigned 9/7/12 from JCOPE. Now, C41NY has BdB-Coordination, lobbying, QuidProQuo Donor-BdB?  JCOPEsubpoena must be complied w/ by C41NY, Donors disclosed, Tax-Exempt lost, look4QPQs, conspiracy & state & federal (tax)crimes nailed. * Goodbye, Committee to Save New York! (Met Council on Housing) * "A guide to political corruption probes in New York State" (Because there are a lot of them and it's confusing)
Ravi Batra ‏@RaviBatra
-Thx to Cuomo feeling bitten by @PreetBharara, he cut de Blasio to distract; but Preet & Cy can take both out

Both Nixon and Now de Blasio Refused to Answer Subpoenas From Investigates
When the NY Times wrote on March 17th That the dissolution of the Campaign for One NY signaled the beginning of a shift for Mr. de Blasio away from policy fights and toward his re-election campaign in 2017; the CONY, which closely coordinated its efforts with City Hall, would have been prohibited from raising money to advocate his re-election. Since this Times article was written we know that according to the mayor the CONY raise money for the Putnam committees in 2014 for the state senate. We also know despite his denials the mayor according to a number of reports was involved in that fundraising. We also know that the Board of Ethics told the that his involvement would be in violation of pay to play laws.  John Catsimatidis said he made the 50,000 contribution at the request of the mayor, after they spoke at the Al Smith Foundation dinner Oct. 1.  Alexis Lodde was not known to contribute to New York political campaigns, but shortly after his school-bus company's workers got a chunk of $42 million from the de Blasio administration, he sent $100,000 to aid one of the mayor's pet causes: state Senate Democrats.*  We Won't Comply With 'Blatantly Political' Subpoena, Mayor's Lawyer Says (DNAINFO)  JCOPE does have the power to go to court to try to compel the mayor's nonprofit to respond to the subpoena. The group announced in March that it was closing after good government groups called for an investigation. “We want the documents and we want them now," Seth Agata, JCOPE's executive director, told The New York Times. According to Laufer's letter, JCOPE is investigating whether the Campaign for One New York was required to register as a lobbyist in 2015 as it did in 2014 when the group was known as UPKNYC and focused on lobbying activities to bring universal pre-K to New York City, a successful campaign that is one of de Blasio's signature achievements. But in 2015, the Campaign for One New York decided not to register as a lobbyist because the group was mainly focused on launching The Progressive Agenda, de Blasio's somewhat failed effort to make income inequality a central issue in the 2016 presidential elections. The Progressive Agenda became a separate entity in July 2015 and the Campaign for One New York's work "did not trigger the statutory threshold for registration as a lobbyist," Laufer wrote.

Acorn's Bertha Lewis sold out Atlantic Yards to developers. She'll do it w/Scott Stringer 
Bertha Lewis, a black activist with deep ties to de Blasio, is giving a civic award to NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, raising eyebrows in political circles because Stringer is being mentioned as a possible challenger to the mayor’s 2017 re-election.
More on Bertha Lewis

This is What JCOPE Said Team de Blasio, CONY and the Consultants Did
De Blasio, aides accused of ‘criminal’ fundraising activity (NYP) “There is considerable evidence in this case that New York City mayor William de Blasio organized a team dedicated to getting a sufficient number of Democratic New York State senators elected in 2014 to achieve a Democratic majority in the senate. The evidence indicates that de Blasio established a structure, both within and outside City Hall, and entered into an agreement with powerful unions… and political consultants… to raise and spend money to influence senate races,” wrote Sugarman, who was nominated to the post by Gov. Cuomo. “The evidence demonstrates that the de Blasio team coordinated its fundraising activities with and intentionally solicited contributions for these candidates … in order to evade contribution limits and to disguise the true names of the contributors, conduct which may violate [two election laws],” she wrote.  One of those alleged violations is a felony. The memo targets de Blasio, his legislative director.  When the Putnam Party Committee Hired Team de Blasio Political Consultants It Showed An Ilegal Quid Pro Quo Arrangement with the Campaign for One NY Radio De Blasio begins weekly radio appearance amid talk of investigations (Politico)

Board of Ed Bullies Incompetent Contracts  Bronx PEP Member Quits Shades of BP Diaz Campaign 2017

School spending panel: DOE bullies us to side with de Blasio (NYP)  The Panel for Educational Policy, a 13-person body that votes on billions of dollars in school spending, is under-trained in financial oversight and pressured to do whatever Mayor de Blasio asks, members say. “We shouldn’t be made a rubber stamp,” said Bronx appointee Robert Powell, who quit in frustration in January. “We need to be able to make the right decision.” Powell was the only PEP member courageous enough to vote down a problem-plagued $1.1 billion computer contract supported by City Hall and was later iced out by Chancellor Carmen Fariña, he told The Post. The revelations come as de Blasio pleads with state lawmakers to extend his control of city schools, which expires June 30. When mayoral control began in 2002, the PEP was formed to replace the old Board of Education — and to provide some checks and balances on the mayor’s power. The mayor gets to appoint eight of the unpaid members, and the five borough presidents one each. Powell, appointed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said he got the “cold shoulder” from Department of Education brass in February 2015 after casting the lone no vote against a five-year, $1.1 billion contract for computer hardware and software services. The vendor was previously cited for looking the other way while a consultant used a kickback scheme to steal millions in school funds. After the 10-1 vote, Fariña “wouldn’t speak to me,” Powell said. “She wouldn’t look at me. Before, she would say hello. After that, she would walk into a room and speak to other people one-on-one but never said a word to me. His stance on the contract, along with whistleblowers, helped save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The DOE bargained the contract down to $635 million, but later yanked it — a first in history. Leonie Haimson, a watchdog who first raised a red flag about the suspect pact, said the PEP routinely approves deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars without a peep. “They have never rejected a contract,” she said. “Often there are no questions or comments in public before contracts are unanimously approved.” Powell said he felt “micro-managed.” For instance, he faced heat for balking at a DOE plan to co-locate a charter school with a Bronx school that Fariña had just tapped to become a “community school” with lots of new services. Norman Fruchter, a former director of NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy who served two years on the PEP, believes he got adequate training from procurement officials, but still “felt a bit foolish” that he voted for the $1.1 billion computer contract at the DOE’s urging.  Teacher who allegedly raped student landed job at DOE: probe (NYP)  * Standardized testing can be "abusive" to certain students, Regents chief says   * 6 out of 10 NYC students leave HS unprepared -- and they're literally paying the price.  

De Blasio’s failures justify an end to mayoral control of NYC schools (NYP)

  •  The city teachers union got a $9 billion, no-concessions contract — and days later the United Federation of Teachers wrote a $350,000 check to one of the mayor’s pet nonprofits.
  • Violent incidents at city schools have risen 23 percent — with forcible sex offenses up 90 percent since 2014 and assault with serious physical injury up 48 percent. And the most violent schools are disproportionately black and Hispanic.
  • Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and her cronies have only pretended to address the scandalous grade- and test-fixing scams that produce countless “worthless diplomas.”
  • Plus, the UFT is neck-deep in the fund-raising shenanigans that have Team de Blasio under federal investigation.
  • And that’s not even mentioning de Blasio’s ongoing cold war on charter schools, or the vacuity of his plans for the regular public schools to all be great a decade or so down the line. In the past, we’ve supported mayoral control even under this mayor. But we never imagined he would sell out the interests of the city’s children to help fund his statewide and national political ambitions.
3.0 de Blasio Details of UFT Pact 5

Who Is Watching the Lobbyists? The City’s Top Law Enforcement Officials Must Recuse Themselves Because They Depend on the Same Consultants Under Investigation for Their Own Re-Elections
It is now clear that the DAs count on the same campaign consultant lobbyists for re-election. Red Horse consultants worked in 4 or the 5 New York City DA campaigns. Berlin Rosen started out working for Eric Schneiderman when he 

Federal Authorities Interview John Catsimatidis as Partof De Blasio Probe (WSJ) Supermarket mogul donated $50,000 to upstate Senate campaign* De Blasio: I’m being attacked for being such a great guy(NYP) * De Blasio flip-flops controversial stance on BlackRock (NYP) Mayor de Blasio accepted a $100,000 donation to his official City Hall charity from a financial firm he once blasted for investing in the gun industry — then gave the company a pass when he called on the city’s pension funds to unload their own firearms-related assets. While serving as the city’s public advocate and eyeing the Mayor’s Office in 2013, de Blasio loudly condemned BlackRock Inc. as No. 2 on a list of “Dirty Dozen” investment firms for holding a $345 million stake in various weapons manufacturers.* Mayor Defends Fundraising on Hot 97, Says Federal and State Probes Apply a 'Double Standard' Against Him (NY1) * Two Companies Under Scrutiny Increased Donations to Cuomo (WSJ) Former gubernatorial aide Joseph Percoco reported receiving payments from firms
Who Watchers the Watchman, Lobbyists, Grand Jury, AG - DAs Conflict of Interests With NYPD and Elected Officials
Horse-Carriage Fight Politics 
Media Cover-Up of NYCLASS,  Other Citizens United PACs,  Mayor One NY PAC

Developer Trying to Another Senior Housing Program While the Park Slope Pols Sleep

5 Senior Citizens Fighting To Keep Park Slope Assisted Living Center Open (Gothamist)

Five elderly women are all that stand between a Brooklyn developer and his shiny condo dreams for Park Slope. The women, all between 91 and 101 years old, have decided to hold on to their rooms at Prospect Park Residence, a senior home positioned atop a succulent piece of real estate less than a block from Brooklyn's largest public green space. An in-depth story from the Associate Press this weekend describes the plight of Annemarie Mogil, Alice Singer, Lillian Guide, and two others who are standing up to Haysha Deitsch, who purchased Prospect Park Residence in 2006 for $40 million, then proceeded to sell it in 2013 for $76.5 million. Deitsch kept the sale a secret until Spring 2014, when staff told the Residence's 125 seniors that their care facility would soon become condos.* 'THIS USED TO BE A BIG, HAPPY, WARM VILLAGE': Five elderly holdouts at Brooklyn assisted-living facility fight to keep their home from real estate developer (NYDN) Relatives of several elderly holdouts at a Brooklyn assisted-living facility said they refuse to back down in their battle for a decent place to live. The stubborn tenants of Prospect Park Residence in Park Slope have already been to court and to Albany to block a pending sale of the once-flourishing long-term care facility they call home. Now they face another hurdle — foreclosure. The residents — women between 91 and 101 years old — are all that stand between developer Haysha Deitsch and his plan for a new condo development. Two years after the sale of Prospect Park Residence was announced, nearly all of the assisted-living facility’s 125 residents have long since heeded management’s orders to leave. But five holdouts have refused, challenging the handling of the $76.5 million sale and sparking a web of litigation. Their fight is shining a spotlight on the plight of the elderly and their desire to live in dignity. The newest twist involves

Ethics is Dead In Albany

   Political machine provides cover for even the corrupt among themPolitical machine provides cover for even the corrupt among them(Post Star)Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan described Thomas Libous as a “good man” this week.A man of character. Someone who was universally admired.  And one of the finest senators the state has ever known. Libous, who died Tuesday at the age of 63, spent the last six months of his life under house arrest after lying to FBI agents about plans to steer government business to a law firm in exchange for a $150,000-a-year job for his son. Libous was the second-ranked member of the state Senate at the time. * In corrupt Albany, silence becomes betrayal (democratandchronicle)

Albany Budget, Ethics, Pay Raise, Three Men in the Room, Pork, Campaign $$$ 


Sampson Asks for One Years Judge Could Give Him 20 Year
Sampson asks judge for just a year in prison (NYP) He faces up to 20 years behind bars, but former state Sen. John Sampson has asked a federal judge to go easy on him by sentencing him to just a year and a day in prison. Lawyers for the Brooklyn Democrat, who was found guilty last year of obstruction of justice and lying to the feds, made the request in lengthy court docs filed ahead of his May 19 sentencing. They also suggested an alternate sentence of 18 months — with half to be served in prison and the remainder in home detention, “which would effectuate the same purposes in a different manner.” “In either event, Mr. Sampson believes that an appropriate sentence would include a substantial community-service component,” the lawyers wrote. *  He faces up to 20 years behind bars, but former state Sen. John Sampson has asked a federal judge to go easy on him by sentencing him to just a year and a day in prison. Also, Sampson wants to be sent upstate to Otisville camp — the same minimum-security prison where ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has asked to serve his time.
State Senator Sampson Arrested and Elected

NYP Says de Blasio's Press Secretary Left Because She Was Thrown Under the Bus and Had No Influence 
Outgoing press secretary got tired of putting up with de Blasio (NYP) Mayor de Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton is leaving City Hall because she is sick of being undermined — and publicly humiliated — by her boss, sources told The Post  Hinton felt she was unfairly thrown under the bus when de Blasio blamed a New York Times story about the administration stalling construction of a third water tunnel on his team not doing “a good job of explaining something.” “Being press secretary to de Blasio is a thankless job in the best of situations, without your boss undermining you and your team,” a source said.  In 2015, senior mayoral adviser Phil Walzak publicly recanted a statement Hinton made about Gov. Cuomo’s handling of the Legionnaire’s outbreak, saying her comments didn’t reflect de Blasio’s views. “De Blasio had authorized Karen’s remarks, then Gov. Cuomo called up and was furious about it, so Phil threw Karen under the bus,” another source said.  Hinton’s ideas were often overruled, sources said.

Shakedown Bill Crisis Deepens City Hall Panic As Press Secretary Jumps Ship  

Howard Glaser, ex-Cuomo aide, got paid by Columbia program whose founder's linked to probe

De Blasio’s Press Secretary Says She Will Quit (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary will leave her post next month, the latest sign that the administration is continuing its long struggle to control and disseminate its own message. The administration’s inability to define itself has been highlighted by the weeks of unforgiving headlines that have accompanied news in at least five investigations, including inquiries by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Ms. Hinton’s letter to the mayor, dated April 6, came before the revelation of most of those investigations. Her influence as the top spokeswoman appeared to diminish after a senior de Blasio aide, Phil Walzak, who was the former press secretary, issued a rare rebuke over comments by Ms. Hinton critical of Albany last August, saying they did not reflect the views of the administration.

At one point last month, Mr. de Blasio said he would no longer take questions on the investigations. Two days later he decided to address the inquiries again. Since then he has spoken on a number of occasions, repeating that he holds himself and the administration “to the highest ethical standards.” After he delivered a brief statement last week, television cameras followedand reporters lobbed questions as he walked to his sport-utility vehicle, infusing a routine mayoral appearance about immigration with the high drama of a media frenzy. Throughout his more than two-year tenure as mayor, de Blasio has repeatedly criticized his own ability to communicate a clear message to the public – a not so subtle dig at his press operations.
He also publicly threw Hinton and his communications team under the bus several times – including on April 6, after a damning story accused him of pulling funds from a vital water tunnel project. “There are times when my team does not do a good job of explaining something,” the mayor said that day. “This just was not explained properly.” The press office has also seen a host of transfers and departures under de Blasio.* De Blasio press secretary to leave administration (PoliicoNY) Hinton, who is married to former Cuomo aide Howard Glaser, was believed to be the start of a concerted effort by de Blasio to take a more aggressive tack with the governor and a more collegial tone with the media, after the administration had struggled with both.* De Blasio’s chief spokeswoman, Karen Hinton, abruptly announced that she would quitafter a year on the job. Hinton said in a statement she wants to spend more time with her teenage daughter, and that she would stay with the administration through the end of budget negotiations for the upcoming the fiscal year, which begins July 1.

NYP Officials Lobbyist Spokesperson George Arzt Who Has Been Cut Out By Team de Blasio Kicking the Mayor on the Ground
De Blasio’s press secretary resigns amid probes into City Hall (NYP) Public relations veteran George Arzt said the timing of Hinton’s departure was sure to raise eyebrows. “It comes at a difficult time when you have all these investigations swirling around the administration and Karen was seen, at least from the outside, as someone who can handle the storm,” he told The Post. “I think it has an immediate impact because Karen is a professional and highly respected in the field. And people are going to ask why she left.”
More About Lobbyists George Arzt

Removing the Homeless Train Lady in March Not Only Did Nothing to Solve the Problem, it Was A Waste of Time
Homeless hoarder’s junk train is back with a vengeance (NYP) The homeless hoarder whose block-long junk train of carts and suitcases was destroyed by city officials in March is rebuilding her caravan. Sonia Gonzalez is up to seven shopping carts, three laundry bins, some suitcases and a few boxes, all stacked to the brim with bottles, cans and other items. She was spotted Friday at her old stomping grounds along 10th Avenue, between 39th and 40th streets, standing beside her trash train as people stopped and stared.

de Blasio Losing Support in His Orthodox Base 
Analysis: Investigations Strain De Blasio’s CarefullyCultivated Ties to Orthodox (Forward)  de Blasio’s persistent courting of New York City’s Orthodox community has reached a crossroads, two years into his mayoral administration.  The mayor has lavished favors on the Orthodox, restoring key political goodies that his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, eliminated, and creating major new programs with the Orthodox in mind.   Yet for all those gestures, it’s now far from clear that the mayor will be able to count on the powerful Orthodox vote during his reelection run, just over a year away. Revelations about federal corruption investigations involving Orthodox donors and the mayor’s fundraising apparatus have cast a pall over the Orthodox community, with names and photos of Orthodox Jews showing up daily in city tabloids in connection with the probes. “He’s tried harder on the cultural issues than Bloomberg ever did,” said Michael Tobman, a Brooklyn-based political consultant who works frequently in the Hasidic community. “It’s a little messier, that’s all. There are Orthodox bundlers wrapped up in a scandal. Who likes that?”  The city’s Orthodox population is large and growing, and tends to vote in a well-organized set of blocs, making it a plum prize for citywide elected officials.
de Blasio campaign 2017 and His National Campaign 

Civic Groups Ask Bharara to Create A panel to Probe "Pay-to-Play" Culture 
Civic groups ask Bharara to create panel to probe ‘pay-to-play’ culture (NYP) “We have put the dots together, and we ask . . . the US Attorney for the Southern District to connect those dots,” Lynn Ellsworth of the Tribeca Trust said outside City Hall. “While we appreciate the current investigations going on with campaign finance, we ask the US attorney to create a federal version of the Moreland Commission against corruption — and to specifically focus on the pay-to-play party atmosphere on land use here in New York City.” Demonstrators cited several shady deals exposed by The Post, including allegations that the Toll Brothers development company — which gave $50,000 to Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York — was allowed to build above height limits in Brooklyn Bridge Park.* Community Group Call for End to Backdoor Deals Between Real Estate Developers, City Leaders (NY1) * "We've come here because our ideas for zoning reform never get a hearing, while the ideas of big real estate appear to rule the day and are the only ideas our government seems to consider," said Lynn Ellsworth, chair of the Tribeca Trust. "It is disheartening for the citizens of this city to see government entities under the control of the mayor, granting special favors to developers at the public's defense," said Steve Guterman, founder of Save the View Now.* Nearly 100 civic and community groups called for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to create a blue-ribbon panel akin to the shuttered Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption and clean up the “pay-to-play” culture they said rules real-estate development in New York City. *Yesterday's City Hall "pay to play" pressconference.
Moreland Investigation Ends, Media Cover-Up

Waterdown Times Square Crack Down
City Council weakens bill against TimesSquare panhandlers (NYP) City Council members have watered down a bill to regulate the costumed characters besieging Times Square, in an effort to get it passed after languishing for 18 months. The latest plan cuts licensing fees from $170 to $30 and drops a fingerprint requirement for cartoon characters (like Elmo, above). Critics faulted the bill’s lack of provisions to revoke licenses over shady behavior or to slap violators with criminal penalties. “The lack of any criminal penalty provides a significant challenge to enforcing the registration framework,” NYPD’s Manhattan South Chief William Morris testified at a Wednesday hearing.* Revamped Bill Calls for Costumed Characters to RemoveMasks, Pay for IDs (DNAINFO)
More On Times Square Topless

Now the Plastic Bag Tax From the City Council 
 Pretty ironic that u can urinate anywhere in NYC but @NYCCouncil passes this law for a cleaner environment #‎bagitnyc
The New York City Council voted 28-20 to require certain retailers to collect a fee on each carryout bag, paper or plastic, with some exceptions, with Mayor Bill de Blasio expressing support for the measure.* 5¢ Fee on Plastic Bags Is Approved by New York City Council * 5¢ Fee on Plastic Bags Is Approved by New York City Council (NYT)  The measure, which also covers paper bags, is intended to reduce their use; Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed his support for it. * How New York Can Put an End to the Plastic Bag (NYT) Measures that discourage the use of disposable bags, like a fee being considered by the New York City Council, are needed.* New York City Council Narrowly Passes Five Cent Plastic Bag Fee (Gothamist) *   City Council might lose senior voteafter passing bag ‘tax’ (NYP)  These women want to bag the city’s new bag “tax.” Hours after the City Council on Thursday passed a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags at grocery, convenience and other stores, an elderly Upper East Side woman and her daughter joined a chorus of complaints about the new law. “It’s like they can’t find enough to charge us for, it really is. There’s a lot of people who can’t afford their basic groceries,” said C-Town shopper Ann Wren, 63, who lives with her 96-year-old mother, Joan.* After two years of debate, the NYC Council voted 28 to 20 to require certain retailers to collect a fee on each carryout bag, paper or plastic, with some exceptions. De Blasio has expressed support for the measure.
City Council Fake Progressives, Puppets
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

Second BOE Member Suspended But What Was the Board's MIS Doing? Where Was the Back-UP
Second Brooklyn Elex Official To Be Suspended AfterPrimary Foul Up (WNYC) A second official at the Brooklyn office of the Board of Elections is expected to be suspended Thursday in the latest fallout stemming from a massive voter purge before New York State’s presidential primary. Betty Ann Canizio, the Deputy Clerk at the Brooklyn borough office, will be suspended without pay during an ongoing investigation into problems at poll sites on Primary day, according to sources at the board. She’s a protégé of Brooklyn Democratic party leader Frank Seddio.*  Top Democrat will be suspended for mysterious voter purge (NYP) The city’s Board of Elections is expected Thursday to suspend its Brooklyn office’s top Democrat – the second official to get bounced due to a mysterious purge of 126,000 voters that wreaked havoc on last month’s New York presidential primaries. BOE commissioners are expected to suspend Betty Ann Canizio-Aqil, the deputy clerk at the board’s Brooklyn office, without pay from her $120,000-a-year patronage post pending an ongoing investigation into widespread citywide problems at polling sites. A vast majority of the purged voters were Brooklyn Democrats, causing outcry from Bernie Sanders supporters following his primary loss to Hillary Clinton. Republican Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the office’s chief clerk, was suspended without pay only two days after the primary – causing both Democratic and Republican elected officials to question whether Canizio-Aqil was being protected for being an ally of Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Frank Seddio, a Clinton supporter. Canizio-Aqil, 68, previously received a warning letter from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board for accepting free carpool rides from a subordinate. The warning was made public only after The Post reported she was at the center of an illegal parking-placard scandal that rocked her office.*  Board of Elections will suspend second clerk amid primary debacle (NYDN)
2014 True News Has Pointed Out the Problem with the Board of Elections Against and Again  
BOE History of Corruption and Incompetence Timeline
BOE History of Corruption and Incompetence Timeline Part 2

10 Areas Where DOI Can Investigate the BOE

de Blasio Asks Senate GOP for Continued Mayoral Control in the Middle of His Funding Scandal Against Them
Mayor de Blasio wound up speaking to reporters after his testimony to the Senate Education Committee, reacting to tough questioning from Sen. Terrence Murphy.* De Blasio begs to keep mayoral control of schools (NYP) * De Blasio Asks State Senate for 7 More Years of Control Over Schools(NYT) * Mayor Goes to Albany, Hat in Hand, to Ask Senate Republicans for Control of City Schools (NY1)

Continued Mayoral Control of the Schools Setback 
Flanagan, issued a statement harshly criticizing the mayor’s performance at a hearing on the issue
State Senate Leader Says He Won’t Sign Off on Mayoral Control of Schools (Yet) “Our Education Committee will hold a second public hearing in New York City on May 19 to further examine this issue, giving Mayor de Blasio and his administration another chance to make their case in a more thorough and more convincing way,” Mr. Flanagan said. * Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan wasn’t impressed by de Blasio’s appearance at the mayoral control hearing at the state Capitol this week. * Flanagan “No Closer To Signing Off” on Mayoral Control Extension (YNN) * Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan wasn’t impressed by de Blasio’s appearance at the mayoral control hearing at the state Capitol this week.* Top State Senator Attacks de Blasio on School Control Push (NYT) John J. Flanagan, a Senate majority leader, criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio for “a disturbing lack of personal knowledge” about the city’s education system. *  De Blasio’s case for school control mayhave been too weak (NYP) Republican Senate leader John Flanagan said de Blasio was too light on specifics during his appearance in front of state lawmakers on Tuesday.

Sheldon Silver was also ordered to fork over nearly $5.2 in ill-gotten gains and another $1.75 million in fines  ordered to report to prison on July 1

Silver is the New Orange Hopes He Gets Lockup in A Nice Prison  
Heastie: Silver Sentencing End To A ‘Dark Chapter’ (YNN) * Sheldon Silver gets 12 years in prison for corruption (NYP) *   Sheldon Silver, Ex-New York Assembly Speaker, Gets 12-Year Prison Sentence (NYT) Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side, was for decades one of Albany’s most powerful legislators before being convicted of multiple counts of corruption. * Sheldon Silver’s hoping he gets locked up at the ‘nice’ prison (NYP) *  LONG-GONE SILVER! Ex-State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption schemes (NYDN) * Sheldon Silver’s successor, Alice Cancel, takes office in Assembly (NYDN) *  Silver’s accomplices: his corruption allowed by fellow lawmakers (NYDN Ed) * In sentencing Silver, U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni told him the severity of the penalty will make the next politician think twice about “taking a bribe or a kickback.” * The moment Silver was being sentenced in federal court for fraud and extortion, his successor for his lower Manhattan Assembly district, Alice Cancel, was being sworn in. *  “It’s a feeling of sorrow,” Assemblyman Peter Abbate told The Buffalo News. “That’s what I feel. It tarnishes the institution, but the institution will go on.”* It was largely business as usual for the Assembly as lawmakers returned to Albany while Silver learned his fate in lower Manhattan. * Pending appeal, Silver reports on July 1, and wants to sent to a federal prison camp in Orange County.* Crain’s wonders how Silver could ever have gotten away with the scheme to receive $5.3 million in kickbacks that will ultimately land him in prison in the first place. * Silver, who spoke briefly at the sentencing, must also pay a $1.75 million and return the $5 million in forfeiture funds, based on the judge’s sentence. * The man who replaced Silver as speaker, Bronx Democrat Carl Heastie, called the sentencing an end to a “dark chapter” for the chamber. Silver’s prison term, along with the pending sentencing of former Majority Leader Dean Skelos later this month, sparked talk of ethics reform at the Capitol (though what actually gets done is anyone’s guess). * The New York Times editorial board cheers Caproni for not accepting Silver’s “noxious request” for community service.Sheldon Silver’s eternal resting place: The supposedlypious Jew violated much more than the law of the land (NYDN) * Dean Skelos: $95,000. Sheldon Silver: $79,222.68. The pensions convicted pols got to keep  (Newsday)
 Ex-aide in fed probe made lots of cash staying with Gov. Cuomo - Folks are going to sing. Q. What if Cuomo sang 1st?

As Albany Stonewalls Ethics Reforms Only In A Bubble NYT Could Say That the Silver Sentence is Moving Albany Towards Reforms? 

Who Leaked the BOE Report to the Mayor and Common Cause?
But it sure seems like it had a pay-to-play system in place — whether technically in violation of the Conflict Board’s directive or not. And, by the way, it’d be pretty hard for City Hall to anger the five-member board; the mayor, after all, picked its chairman and another member, Fernando Bohorquez Jr. — a de Blasio donor and fund-raiser. On Hot 97 radio this week, de Blasio tried to justify his shady practices. He really, really wants “private money, in general, out of politics,” you see. But “until we get there,” he shouldn’t be attacked for playing by the same rules as others. (And just ignore the fact that “others” never stooped to selling City Hall.) The mayor has no qualms, in short, about operating in ways he himself finds sleazy. No wonder he’s facing five separate probes by federal, state and local authorities.* Mayor de Blasioinsists campaign lawyers serve him well throughout fund-raising probe (NYDN) The mayor said he doesn’t want to “conjecture” why City Hall has been on the receiving end of a federal subpoena — along with his top aide and a fund-raiser — but again stated he was unfairly singled out as a target by the state Board of Elections. De Blasio also defended his now-disbanded Campaign for One New York after NY1 reported that the Conflicts of Interest Board warned him to avoid soliciting “anyone with a matter pending or about to be pending.” He insisted he hadn’t, despite the fact that many union, real estate and lobbyist donors had business before the city.* De Blasio Asked Mefor $20K And it Was Hard to Say No, Developer Says )DNAINFO) — A real estate developer said Bill de Blasio personally called him him to donate $20,000 to a nonprofit to promote universal pre-K while he had business before the city — and that it was hard "to tell the mayor no." Don Peebles, whose real estate company owned a building they later got city approval to turn into condos, told DNAinfo New York that in March 2014 he received a call from the mayor asking him to contribute the money to the nonprofit, now called the Campaign for One New York.  Federal and state investigators are probing whether the nonprofit illegally raised funds and if contributors got favors from the city in exchange for their donation

Team de Blasio Wanted Its Money to Pay Its Consultants
Team de Blasio is accused of campaigncrimes far beyond ordinary politics (NYP) One huge difference is the state Board of Elections charge that Team de Blasio’s involvement stretched all the way to telling campaigns how to spend the money — namely, to hire the mayor’s favored consultants, such as BerlinRosen and AKPD Message and Media. If that holds up, then Team de Blasio wasn’t just using upstate Democratic committees as cutouts to fund its favored candidates’ campaigns. It was also using the campaigns as cutouts to pay its own cronies. Such micro-management is light years beyond what state law envisions in letting party committees help fund local campaigns. Of course, the allegations also run to crossing the line in dumping funds on those party committees. The Board of Elex memo notes, “Team de Blasio held discussions with the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee concerning who would be paying for what aspect of the campaign” and how to identify the de Blasio-raised money. Having the cash from “independent” donors flagged as really coming from you isn’t “usual,” either. Beyond all that is the question of what if any favors were promised to the city-based donors for their upstate donations. *NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York was accepting thousands of dollars in donations from people who do business with the city, potentially violating a directive from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.

In An Era When Super Talls Are Destroying NYC's Neighbors the Daily News Honors Jane Jacobs for Saving the City 
The woman who madeN.Y.: Jane Jacobs and the rebirth of a great American city (NYDN Ed) A century ago this coming Wednesday there was born in Scranton, Pa., a woman who has exerted outsized influence on urban life in America and around the globe for decades. Jane Jacobs grew to become the intellectual godmother of a movement that imagined the rebirth of U.S. cities in an era in which the prevailing belief was that great metropolises were doomed. Stop and look around your neighborhood. While you will find no statue to Jacobs, her spirit lives in lively sidewalks, streets and storefronts that make for a zesty quality of life.*  Report: Catsimatidis, Dussich subpoenaed in de Blasio inquiries (PoliticoNY)
Suck Power Out of Neighborhoods  . . .  Where is This Generations Jane Jacobs
Voter's Protest: New York's Decreasing Voter Turnout

Daily News Stenographers True News Two Year Investigation of the Lobbyists Take Over of NY Govt and Politics and Call it EXCLUSIVE Media A Bunch Of Low Life Press Bullies Thugs 
N.Y. campaign consultants made $115M since 2011 to get politicians elected (NYDN) Showing how New York campaigns are such big business, the state’s seven top political consulting firms — including five that have been subpoenaed in financing probes — were paid a whopping $115.5 million combined over the past five years, a Daily News analysis shows. Five of the seven firms were subpoenaed last year by state Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman as part of an investigation into whether an unsuccessful coordinated fund-raising effort led by Mayor de Blasio and his team to help the Democrats win control of the Senate in 2014 sought to intentionally evade state campaign finance laws. The lucrative haul doesn’t even include the tens of millions of dollars the firms made during the same period serving as either high-powered lobbyists, public relations consultants or both. The setup has long upset critics who decry that the consultants work to get people elected and then use their access to appear before those same public officials on behalf of clients with business before the state or city.

How True News For the Last Two Years Exposed How Shadow Govt Lobbyists Took Over NY's Govt and Election System

‏@CharmianNeary  A modern Diogenes, Gary Tilzer @unitedNYblogs has been sounding the alarm on this seemingly forever
AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by President Obama’s former adviser David Axelrod and whose New York clients include Gov. Cuomo, de Blasio and the state Democratic Party, was paid the most of any firm since 2011 — $37.9 million.  Red Horse Strategies was next with $20.1 million, followed by the Parkside Group ($15.8 million), SKDKnickerbocker ($15.3 million), Mark Guma Communications ($11.6 million), BerlinRosen ($9.6 million) and The Advance Group ($5.2 million).

BerlinRosen, AKPD, the Parkside Group, Mark Guma Communications and Red Horse Strategies were all subpoenaed by Sugarman last year as part of her investigation into de Blasio’s fund-raising practices for the Senate Dems. BerlinRosen has strong ties to de Blasio and was close to disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The firm also worked on Schneiderman’s two attorney general campaigns. Mark Guma Communications’ clients have included Senate and Assembly Democrats as well as Vance, who is investigating the fund-raising tied to the 2014 Senate races. Vance has paid the firm more than $61,480 since 2011 for consulting and ad services. Red Horse has business with the Senate Democrats, state Controller Thomas DiNapoli, Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson and the liberal Working Families Party.

The Advance Group, meanwhile, was fined by the city and state more than $25,000 in October for illegally helping New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets — an anti-horse carriage group that gave to City Council candidates in 2013 — evade contribution limits. The Advance Group has represented a range of elected officials ranging from former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to a number of state legislators and Council members. SKDKnickerbocker is the only top firm that has not been tied to any of the recent scandals involving de Blasio's fund-raising operation. In 2013, when de Blasio was elected, the firm worked for his primary opponent then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. It has also represented city Controller Scott Stringer, who is considered a potential de Blasio challenger.

Rather Than Investigate Corruption the Daily News Tells de Blasio Corruption in A Children Book
Mayor de Blasio reads bizarre book to Queens schoolkids — the plot of 'stealing,' 'special secrets' mirrors the fund-raising probe he’s caught up in (NYDN)   When you make something secret, you make it special. That was the bizarre lesson Mayor de Blasio — whose questionable fund-raising tactics are at the center of an ongoing criminal probe — delivered Saturday to a group of children at a Queens library. Hizzoner read from the illustrated children’s book “Secret Pizza Party” at the Woodside branch of the Queens Library alongside library boss Dennis Walcott and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. The poorly chosen yarn follows the exploits of a wily raincoat-clad raccoon who is overly enthusiastic about keeping secrets and stealing pizza. “When you make something secret, you make it special,” the immoral masked mammal says. “Regular handshake: Boring. Secret handshake: Booyah!”  “If the raccoon was stealing pizza for a cause he believed in, do you think he was still breaking the law, necessarily?” one reporter asked as the mayor exited the library. Another used the raccoon’s tale as a jumping off point to grill de Blasio about a Gov. Cuomo ally being probed for potential improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interest involving an upstate power plant. “What do you think of Joe Percoco’s secret pizza party?” the reporter asked. De Blasio cracked a smile, but declined to address any pizza or raccoon-related inquiries.* Probe of NYC mayor casts harsh light on lax campaign laws (AP)

Albany Won't Cut Off Pension for Corrupt Pols Up to Bharara to Garnish With Court Fines
Pensions for felonious pols: An outrage NY lawmakers refuse to fix (NYP) Dean Skelos’ lawyers last week protested the prosecutors’ move to make the loss of his taxpayer-paid pension part of the penalty for his crimes. Their excuse: He was only corrupt at the end of his career. Give them points for chutzpah — and for the reminder that felonious New York pols still get such pensions.  State lawmakers promised more than a year ago to move to end that outrage, but still haven’t gotten it done. The state Senate passed the agreed-upon bill to strip pensions from any state employee convicted of abuse of office; the Assembly passed one that targets only legislators. The only fellow who seems serious on this front is US Attorney Preet Bharara — who’s looking to garnish the pensions of ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver as well as Skelos, after winning convictions of both men this year.

Lockup: NY Lawmakers Behind Bars
From Albany to Prison: Ex-Lawmakers on Life Behind Bars (NYT)  Coping in isolation. Sleeping when there is no silence. Getting enough protein. As three lawmakers face sentencing, former politicians who have served offer their advice. Down the hall came Inmate No. 78764-053, a fist of a man diminished by the loss of the $2,500 suit and the $800 shoes he had just been forced to exchange for a jumpsuit, following a guard to his cell. First night in federal prison, and he was already headed to solitary confinement, his case too notorious for him to mingle safely with the others. He remembers the cell being clammy and dark. It made him think of Rikers Island, where his father had been held after being arrested when Pedro was 11. But this was a few grades higher: the Metropolitan Detention Center, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a windowless cage looming over the East River. From the next cell came a voice, pricking him out of his numbness: “Hey, Espada! Hang in there. You’re the senator, right?” the voice said. “My mother voted for you.” Senator, he was: Pedro Espada Jr., once the third-most powerful man in New York State. And “senator” he remains — even today, three years into a five-year sentence for stealing money from a nonprofit. There are a lot of “senators” in America’s federal prisons these days. In May, three more corrupt New York State lawmakers are expected to join the jumpsuited ranks, three more cautionary tales from a State Legislature with no apparent shortage of them.
Albany and City Hall Corruption

NYP Copies True News On How de Blasio Learned to Go Around the Election Law Limits and Just About Everything Else 
True News Posted in 2015
The mastermind behind de Blasio’s shady finances (NYP) An influential labor-union lawyer has guided Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to raise abundant political cash amid the labyrinth of city and state campaign-finance laws. Longtime de Blasio pal Kevin Finnegan — a former political director of the powerful SEIU 1199 hospital-workers union — found ways for labor groups to funnel cash to de Blasio’s campaigns and causes in amounts above legal spending limits, said a source familiar with the mayor’s campaign practices. It’s an open question whether Finnegan’s ideas led de Blasio afoul of the law. The mayor and some aides are now at the center of investigations into their fund-raising practices. “Finnegan knew what de Blasio wanted to do, and he came up with the structure to do it,” one source said. “He was, in effect, de Blasio’s lawyer, architect and banker.” “Their goal was to win elections. They knew where they wanted to get the money from, and they figured out a way to get labor-union money to his campaigns.”  As general counsel of the Working Families Party, Finnegan oversaw the creation of the consulting firm Data Field Services in February 2007, according to state corporation records and court fillings.  When de Blasio ran in 2009 as a WFP-backed candidate for public advocate, his campaign paid $68,000 for Data Field Services’ canvassing and phone-banking services. Investigators suspected that the firm’s work for de Blasio cost more than $68,000, and that it was indirectly funded by WFP and labor largesse.  WFP pumped $560,000 into the firm’s coffers, state campaign records show. That money may have allowed the firm to reduce its consulting rates to de Blasio.

The Great NYP Robbery of True News Part 1 On How de Blasio Learned to Go Around the Election Law
The city Campaign Finance Board and a special prosecutor, who subpoenaed Finnegan, investigated but brought no charges.* But the alleged funneling of funds with Finnegan’s guidance appears to have set a pattern for other de Blasio campaigns.  After his election as public advocate, de Blasio turned the Fund for the Public Advocacy, a nonprofit set up to address constituent issues, into a group that boosted his political bona fides. He installed another mentor, Harold Ickes, as its president, ramped up its coffers, increasing contributions from $39,200 in 2009 to $457,839 in 2010 and hauled in $1.6 million over four years, federal tax filings show. When de Blasio ran for mayor, he turned again to Finnegan. SEIU 1199, where Finnegan was then political director, was the only major labor groupto back de Blasio in the 2013 mayoral primary. Finnegan helped coordinate members’ voter-outreach efforts in support of de Blasio. Finnegan’s law firm represented another union group, UNITE HERE!, run by de Blasio’s cousin. UNITE HERE! funneled $175,000 on June 1, 2013, to the animal-rights group NYCLASS, which has fought for a ban on horse carriages. Two days later, NYCLASS gave the money to a political action committee that bought TV ads attacking rival Christine Quinn for opposing the ban. After becoming mayor, de Blasio and campaign advisers founded the nonprofit Campaign for One New York. Like the Fund for Public Advocacy, it was used to raise unlimited amounts of money to push his agenda. Finnegan’s union gave $500,000 to the campaign. UNITE HERE! added $400,000. Finnegan, who left SEIU 1199 in November, did not return messages. A union spokesman did not answer questions about its relationship with the mayor. Now prosecutors are examining several of the charities and fund-raising practices de Blasio and his brain trust set up.
The WFP and BerlinRosen Has Played Fast and Lose With the Election Law, Data and Field Arrests(True News)

NYP Rips Off True News's Story On de Blasio on Data and Field And Leaves Out Two Players Being Investigated By the FBI DUMB 
Emma Wolfe Refused to Speak to A Special Prosecutor About Data and Fields
Two Charged in Campaign Finance Case(WSJ) De Blasio Aide Backs Out of Speaking With Special Prosecutor. Emma Wolfe, director of intergovernmental affairs in the de Blasio administration, was tentatively scheduled to speak with the special prosecutor on the case, Robert Bennet Adler, next week, the person said.  Emma Wolfe, director of intergovernmental affairs in the de Blasio administration, was tentatively scheduled to speak with the special prosecutor on the case, Robert Bennet Adler, next week, the person said. But in recent days, Ms. Wolfe’s attorney informed Mr. Adler’s office that she wouldn’t voluntarily speak with the prosecutor, the person said. The session was to be part of an agreement in which Ms. Wolfe would speak to the special prosecutor with the assurance that the information couldn’t be used against her, the person said. 

Berlin Rosen Ran All the Campaigns in 2009 That Received Funding from the WFP's Data and Field
Mayor de Blasio's 2009 campaign for public advocate campaign paid WFP's Data and Field $225,000 and Berlin Rosen $6,000.  Councilman Lander's campaign paid Data and Field $55,000 and paid Berlin Rosen $85,000.  Speaker Mark-Viverito's campaign paid Data and Field $1000 and Berlin Rosen $75,000.  Councilman Dromm's campaign paid Data and Field $55,000 and Berlin Rosen $20,000. Councilman Van Bramer's campaign  paid Data and Field $35,000 and Berlin Rosen $80,000.  Councilman Williams' campaign paid Data and Field $55,000 and Berlin Rosen $125,000. Securing the WFP nomination comes with important perks. The candidates that Berlin Rosen worked for in 2009 received $466,000 from Data and Field.   Perhaps chief among them is a formidable ground game, courtesy of the party’s political-consulting arm, Data and Field Services (DFS), created in 2007. DFS works only for candidates whom the WFP endorses. The two entities are supposed to be legally separate to comply with election and campaign-finance laws, but they share office space on the third floor of the building at 2-4 Nevins Street in Brooklyn.   In 2013 Berlin Rosen work with the Advance Group for two council candidates Mark Levine and Laurie Cumbo fined for receiving mailings controlled by the NYCLASS PAC under investigation controlled by the Advance Group. Berlin Rosen's candidate Corey Johnson also received funding from another PAC the Advance Group was working for the UFT's United for the Future PAC.  The Advance PAC funded Johnson despite the fact that Advance Was working for his opponent Yetta Krukland.

How the NYT Tried to Stop the Investigation of Data and Fields  For One Staten IslandCampaign, a Special Prosecutor Instead of an Auditor (Dwyer NYT)

Rangel Endorse Wright

de Blasio Spin Of Innocent and His Mini Me Media Friends Backing Him Up Mean Nothing: Its Up the the Jury "The People Who Are Getting Screw By Govt to Decide If the Mayor Broke"
Team de Blasio expanded the corrupt games it promised to end (NYP Ed) A remarkably subdued Mayor de Blasio on Thursday had little of substance to say about the blizzard of subpoenas just dropped on City Hall and his closest political associates.  Just days earlier, his lawyer was angrily denouncing a leaked criminal referral from a Board of Elections official with close ties to Gov. Cuomo as proof of a conspiracy. But news of the grand-jury summonses — and that they reach to the top rungs at City Hall — shows this is no mere vendetta. It’s a sign that US Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan DA Cy Vance are taking a long, hard and very serious look at this administration’s pay-to-play culture. The mayor has no one but himself to blame. After all, he won the job while denouncing these very practices — then embraced them the moment he took office. Those subpoenaed include de Blasio’s top political aide, Emma Wolfe, and his chief fundraiser, Ross Offinger. Documents are also being sought from BerlinRosen, the PR/lobbying firm that ran his campaign — and also his slush fund, the Campaign for One New York — and has become a virtual wing of City Hall. investigation seems to turn on more direct possible “sales” of favors to generous donors — dubious dealings The Post has been documenting for years now. Favors like his bizarre obsession with ridding the city of horse carriages —despite no popular or political support, other than two key campaign donors. (The group pushing the ban has also been subpoenaed.) We’ve known since Day One that Bill de Blasio is a hypocrite. His “progressive” City Hall is a place where lobbyists, consultants and fat-cat donors all hold sway, and transparency is just a cruel joke.* As soon as he took office, de Blasio embraced the pay-to-play practices he once denounced, and his “progressive” City Hall is a place where lobbyists, consultants and fat-cat donors =hold sway, while transparency is a cruel joke, the Post writes: * Is de Blasio the nextto go? Op-Ed (Red Hook Star) De Blasio Expands on His Defense of His Fundraising Activities (NY1) * Jillian Jorgensen ‏@Jill_Jorgensen   His argument is basically the laws might suck but everyone else is using their loopholes, so I will too. It's not wrong, but it sounds bad.  Jillian Jorgensen ‏@Jill_Jorgensen    It's very hard for me to imagine de Blasio's argument on WNYC right now is resonating with listeners at home. * De Blasio Expands on His Defense of His Fundraising Activities (NY1)

WNYC's Lehrer is Not Tim Russet Allows de Blasio to Fill Interview With Talking Points
De Blasio says corruption probe won't deter him from runningfor mayor a second term (CrainsNY)  On Friday, the mayor also reiterated to WNYC that there was no wrongdoing Mayor Bill de Blasio says a widening corruption probe won't have an impact on his decision to run for re-election. De Blasio told WNYC radio in an interview Friday that he will "absolutely" run for a second term next year. The Democrat steadfastly insists that he and his team did nothing wrong while federal and state investigators look into his campaign fundraising apparatus. While several of his aides and political groups have been subpoenaed by prosecutors, de Blasio hasn't been accused of wrongdoing. "We are following the law," the mayor reiterated Friday. The probe began after a criminal referral from the lead investigator at the state Board of Elections. De Blasio has accused the board of conducting a politically motivated witch hunt. The investigator was appointed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a frequent de Blasio rival. "I think there has to be a single standard in this discussion: adherence to the law," de Blasio said. *

De Blasio denies corruption on pair of radio shows (NYP) Mayor de Blasio threw some of his closest associates under the bus Friday — denying any hands-on role in a shady fund-raising operation that got a top aide and others slapped with subpoenas by federal and city investigators. “I was certainly not involved in any of the specifics of the day-to-day of different efforts,” de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer. De Blasio got grilled by callers to the public-radio show, on which he frequently appears to tout his political agenda.One woman, who identified herself as Debbie from Chelsea, accused Hizzoner of “bold-faced corruption” for trying to shut down the carriage-horse industry in exchange for hefty donations from animal-rights activists. De Blasio scolded the caller for being “wrong on a lot of your facts,” but was unable to tell to Lehrer when he decided the Central Park buggies were an issue he needed to address. “I don’t want to give you timelines and specifics on the air that I can’t exactly pinpoint,” he said. During another, pre-recorded appearance on AM 970’s “The John Gambling Show,” de Blasio tried to downplay the widening scandal besieging his administration. “People don’t want to talk about investigations, they want to talk about quality of life,” de Blasio insisted. “They want to talk about safety, schools.”

Progressives and Their Goo Goos Friends Attack LLCs Which Mostly Help GOP What About Party Committee Loop-Holes That Help the Dems?
Contributions to housekeeping accounts for both parties have hit record levels in recent years, according to a report, as de Blasio’s team is being investigated for allegedly using such accounts to subvert contribution limits, the Times Union reports:

Rangel Pulls Stringers to Move Seabrook to A Better Jail
Charles Rangel pulls strings for his disgraced politician pal (NYP) Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel helped win a prison transfer for a convicted pol famously accused of billing taxpayers $177 for a bagel and a soda, from a squalid Brooklyn jail to a “Club Fed”-style lockup. Now Larry Seabrook, a former state assemblyman, senator and city councilman from The Bronx, is enjoying a Big House experience free of all those pesky fences and bars — with a commissary that sells his favorite doughy food. Seabrook, 64, complained about being stuck at the “high security” Metropolitan Detention Center after he unsuccessfully appealed to get his conviction overturned. And while Rangel thought it was odd he wanted to move to a jail further from home — he happily decided to assist the disgraced Democrat. Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel helped win a prison transfer for convicted Assemblyman Larry Seabrook from a squalid Brooklyn jail to a minimum security prison in Pennsylvania

Silver and Stringer Future Jail House Lawyers
Perhaps former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos looks forward to a career as a jailhouse lawyer, as an Appellate Division unit has taken no action to disbar Skelos, despite his Dec. 11 extortion conviction, the Daily News writes:  * Sheldon Silver disbarred as corrupt pol awaits sentencing (NYDN) *  Lawyers for Dean Skelos claim he wasn’t always corrupt, shouldn’t have to pay big fine (NYDN)

Judge Tell Halloran Your Going to Get Lock Up  
Pagan ‘prince’ politician won’t have his prison term tossed (NYP) Disgraced ex-City Councilman Dan Halloran just lost his bid to get his 10-year prison sentence tossed. And the New York federal-appeals court didn’t just deny the disgraced Queens pol’s appeal — it smacked him down in the process. Halloran was one of several politicians busted in a $200,000 bribery scheme to rig the 2013 mayoral election. At trial, he tried to claim insanity as a defense. “We conclude that there was sufficient evidence” to convict Halloran, the court ruled. “We have considered all of Halloran’s remaining arguments, and find them without merit.” Halloran also holds the title of “prince” in a pagan order that includes public floggings.

Baning Carriage Horse Efforts Good for the Campaign for One NY Fund Raising Efforts
Documents Shed Light on How de Blasio Administration Angled to End Horse Carriage Industry (NY1) The mayor's bid to ban drawn horse carriages is being probed by law enforcement. Now, new documents NY1 obtained under the Freedom of Information Law are shedding light on how the administration angled to end the industry. Supporters of the proposed ban cast it as a moral mission for the animals, not real estate. However,  a presentation from the anti-carriage group NYCLASS argues if electric cars replace carriage horses, the "business structure would generate higher revenues for both owners and the city." Emails also show the executive director of NYCLASS emailed top de Blasio officials, trying to influence legislation. Around this time, the mayor and his group Campaign for One New York received tens of thousands of dollars from those aiming to ban carriages. NYCLASS now says it didn't want to buy the stables, but rather didn't want stable owners or drivers to lose money. City Hall adds, "Mayor de Blasio's commitment to removing horse carriages from city streets is well-documented, far predating the start of this administration." NY1 didn't get clarity on everything. Several pages have information blacked out.

Hey Blaz NYT Was FDR Appointing the Seabury Commission To Go After Corrupt Mayor Walker Political?
Bill de Blasio reapswhat he sows with fundraising probe (NYDN) So much for Mayor de Blasio’s short-lived attempt to cast an investigation into his fundraising operations as a political witchhunt by an overzealous prober connected to Gov. Cuomo. Subpoenas issued by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance make clear that the mayor is in hot water of his own boiling — regardless of whether criminal charges are forthcoming. The subpoenas seek records connected to both the mayoral favor-currying fund the Campaign for One New York and also to de Blasio’s 2014 scheme to engineer a Democratic takeover of the Republican-controlled state Senate. Remember when de Blasio dismissed a state Board of Elections criminal referral as mere political vendetta, all the way back on Monday? When he said, parroting an obtuse memo by his lawyer, that the board has no clue about the election law it enforces? Safe to say that the feds on the beat, and Vance, harbor no bias against de Blasio nor are ignorant of criminal statutes. The broad reach of their subpoenas clarifies that the promiscuous range of the mayor’s fundraising operation is under microscopic scrutiny, no part separable from the others. De Blasio had better stop pointing fingers, and start preparing his defense.

The FBI Investigations Makes de Blasio More Like Jimmy Walker That Laguardia He Like to Compare Himself too
The Spin de Blasio Laguardia "In 1934, “thegreatest mayor we ever had, Fiorello LaGuardia,” created the New York City Housing Authority, de Blasio said. LaGuardia “believed that something bold and ambitious and transcendent had to happen to protect the interests of working New Yorkers,” said the mayor, and his administration is, “humbly, humbly presenting Next Generation NYCHA in that same spirit.” 

The Real de Blasio is Jimmy Walker  Increasing corruption within his administration, forced Walker to testify before the investigative committee of Judge Samuel Seabury, the Seabury Commission (also known as the Hofstadter Committee). Walker caused his own downfall by accepting large sums of money from businessmen looking for municipal contracts. Facing pressure from Governor Roosevelt, Walker eluded questions about his personal bank accounts, stating instead that the money he received were “beneficences” and not bribes.  He delayed any personal appearances until after Roosevelt’s nomination for President of the U.S. was secured. It was at that time that the embattled mayor could fight no longer. Months from his national election, Roosevelt decided that he must remove Walker from office. Walker agreed and resigned on September 1, 1932, and went on a grand tour of Europe with Betty Compton, his Ziegfeld girl. *  Cuomo screws w/ de Blasio because he can't screw w/ Bharara- 

We Did Not Know Our Law Department Was Pushing For Toxic School Dep Mayor Shorris
Dep Mayor Shorris We are Just Incompetent Not Trying to Kill Kids With Toxins
Deputy mayor sayscity’s lawyers backed nursing home deal, not de Blasio (NYDN) The city’s lawyers jumped to defend the developer of an Upper West Side nursing home in court independently from City Hall — and not because of the mayor’s ties to the law firm of the controversial project, officials said Wednesday. First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, the number two official at City Hall, said the mayor’s office was completely unaware that the law department was filing papers to support the developer of Jewish Home Lifecare in its bid to construct a 20-story nursing home on W. 97th St. The nursing home — which is being sued by parents who claim the construction will harm kids in neighboring P.S. 163 — is repped by Kramer Levin, the law firm where Mayor de Blasio’s lawyer Barry Berke is a partner. Berke is defending de Blasio in the federal investigation into his fund-raising. Although Kramer Levin reps the nursing home, it is also represented in court by Greenberg Traurig, and that’s who the city lawyers dealt with, he said. Shorris said at the same time, City Hall staffers were trying to broker a deal between the students’ parents and the developers. The de Blasio administration’s decision to wade into the fraught battle over the nursing home construction outraged many community members, who had been hoping City Hall would help stop the construction. Critics say the construction will severely impact the quality of life for the students, many of whom come from low-income families. City Councilman Mark Levine, an Upper West Side Democrat who is fighting the construction, has sponsored a bill that would limit noise impact from construction on students in classrooms. Shorris said he understands why some would question City Hall’s ties to the law firm, but insisted it was handled appropriately. The idea that “every single decision ever made in government is based on some kind of quid pro quo is equally wrong and equally slanderous to a lot of people trying to do good work,” he said.* First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris said the mayor’s office was unaware that the law department was filing papers to support the developer of a controversial 20-story nursing home on the Upper West Side, the Daily News reports:
Deputy mayor says city backed nursing home deal, not de Blasio  - NYC trying very hard to become Casablanca.

Blaz Chose Cronies Over Kids
Mayor de Blasiobacks law firm in fight over lead-tainted project near Upper West Side school(NYDN) The moms and dads of P.S. 163 were shocked when Mayor de Blasio recently sided with a developer who wants to dig up a lead-tainted parking lot next to their Upper West Side elementary school. Then they learned that the owner of the toxic lot and the developer who wants to put a 20-story nursing home there were represented by Kramer Levin, the same law firm that’s now representing the mayor in a growing federal probe over possible campaign financing violations. In fact, a Kramer Levin partner, Barry Berke, tasked with helping de Blasio fend off Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is also one of de Blasio’s former campaign treasurers. And Kramer Levin has regularly lobbied the Office of the Mayor and many city agencies on behalf of builders seeking favors from the de Blasio administration since the mayor took office in 2014. In a way, some parents reasoned, de Blasio siding with Kramer Levin against parents worrying about lead dust wasn’t such a big surprise. "I thought it was a pretty cynical moment,” said parent Avery Brandon, who decided to pull her 8-year-old daughter Skyler out of P.S. 163 after deciding the fight to stop the development was a lost cause. She now attends P.S. 166 blocks away. “It made me feel really bad about voting for the mayor,” she said. “He was my candidate. One of the things I was looking forward to with de Blasio versus Bloomberg was that he wasn't pro-developer. It turns out he's pro-developer.” On Tuesday, de Blasio’s press secretary, Karen Hinton, defended the “friend of the court” brief filed March 22 that sided with the developers. "The city filed its brief solely to vindicate an important legal principle affecting how courts evaluate potential environmental impacts and was not intended to support the specific construction project at issue in this case. We take the concerns of the parents and community very seriously," she said. She declined to say whether anyone from the mayor’s office discussed the brief before the law department filed it. That puts the mayor in an unusual position: going to bat for the big client of a law firm that he desperately needs to get him out of a tight spot. The Kramer Levin/de Blasio relationship goes back to his 2013 mayoral run when the firm collected 60 checks totaling $32,975 for him. In January 2014, Berke became de Blasio’s campaign treasurer. de Blasio Fund Raising By Berke The mayor said last week that he had hired criminal lawyer Barry Berke to represent his campaign during the investigation. Berke was also a major fundraiser for de Blasio, hosting or co-hosting at least six events between Dec. 13, 2010, and October 2013. Four of the events were at Berke's West Village home. He also co-hosted an Oct. 22, 2013, fundraiser at the office of white-shoe law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where “Gone Baby Gone” and “The Wire” actress Amy Ryan made a guest appearance.
De Blasio backs law firm in fight over tainted land near school  WHEN DOES IT STOP

Hey @MonaDavids good thing @NYGovCuomo signed on as the "lobbyist" for schoolchildren. PS 163 needs 800lbs gorilla.

NUTS Daily News Lets Blagojevich Consultant and Uber Lobbyist Game de Blasio Investigation   
 Bradley Tusk, who served as campaign manager for former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, games out in the Daily News the different political possibilities amid the investigations into the de Blasio administration, in order from most to least likely: 

de Blasio Campaign Fund Raiser Get Jobs and Appointments  
De Blasio Gave PlumAdministration Jobs to Nearly Two Dozen Fundraisers(DNAINFO) At least three agency commissioners hosted campaign events for the mayor, including Mark Peters, the head of the Department of Investigation who recently recused himself from a federal pay-to-play probe of the mayor’s fundraising practices. Peters, who served as treasurer of de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, either hosted or co-hosted at least seven events dating back to Nov. 9, 2010, records show. Two of the events were parties in Peters' Park Slope apartment. Peters, a former assistant state attorney general, also held two fundraisers at his Midtown law office Jan. 5, 2012 and Jan. 10, 2013. Feniosky Pena-Mora, an ousted Columbia University dean with strong ties to Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, also hosted a fundraiser at his Morningside Heights home Oct. 7, 2013. Mayor de Blasio appointed him the city Department of Design and Construction commissioner in April 2014 with an annual salary of $199,000. Julie Menin — whom de Blasio picked as his Department of Consumer Affairs commissioner and more recently as the city’s film czar — co-hosted a fundraiser with lawyer Richard Emery on Oct. 23, 2013, at the $15 million West Village home of banker Ciaran O’Kelly. De Blasio later chose Emery to chair the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Almost 40,000 a-Ballots in Brooklyn 121,056 City Widewide

Friday Update Manhattan lawyer Mark Warren Moody, in a class action suit, wants the current voter eligibility regulations for primaries tossed out after he lost a chance to pull the lever in New York's April 19 presidential primary, the Daily News writes:

BOE boss finally apologizes for 126,000vanished voters (NYP) The head of the city’s Board of Elections issued an apology Tuesday for the mysterious purge of 126,000 voters from the rolls that wreaked havoc on last week’s presidential primaries. “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the public for any actions that might have been taken by our staff that may have caused any amount of the public trust in New York City to erode,” executive director Michael Ryan told a crowd of nearly 100 who packed the board’s weekly meeting. That was a reversal from his position last week, when he told Fox 5’s “Good Day New York” he was “proud” of his staff. Ryan claimed his remarks were taken out of context and that he was specifically praising workers for tallying the results in an “unprecedented” short time. There were 121,056 affidavit tallies citywide, 37,214 of which were in Brooklyn. Board commissioners later ratified Ryan’s recent suspension without pay of Republican Diane Haslett-Rudiano as chief clerk of the Brooklyn office. When asked why the Brooklyn office’s deputy clerk, Democrat Betty Ann Canizio-Aqil, wasn’t disciplined, considering most of the purged voters were Democrats, Ryan said, “Perhaps when more information becomes available to the commissioners, they’ll take appropriate action.” * There was no purge at the Board of Election of those responsible for purging 125,000 eligible voters, the Daily News writes, because it’s a patronage fiefdom dedicated to protecting nincompoops who have the right political connections:* Class-action suit takes on New York’s closed primaries (NYP)

Kellner Who Supported Sending de Blasio's Campaign Contributions to the Prosecutors Turns Against Ms. Sugarman to Protect the Mayor 
Douglas Kellner, one of the board’s four commissioners, said on Sunday that he could not comment on or acknowledge investigations or criminal referrals. But he agreed with some of Mr. Laufer’s concerns about the impact of the leak and about “how prejudicial the public comments have been” in its wake. Mr. Kellner, a Democrat, added that he and other commissioners had consistently criticized Ms. Sugarman for “what appears to be arbitrary selection of those who she determines to investigate.” “We have repeatedly expressed concerns that the independent enforcement counsel has not explained how she chooses which investigations to pursue,” he said. Ms. Sugarman has denied any influence from Mr. Cuomo — who nominated her to the board post and had previously employed her during his time as attorney general — or any other entity.-NYT

To de Blasio's the Budget is A Distraction 
$82.2B budget, warns of financial threats (NYDN) * De Blasio’s budget boosts Beacon center services in city schools (NYDN) * De Blasio’s $82.2 billion executive budget focused on savings extracted from city agencies, and a few new programs addressing recent problems like snarled snowplows and voting woes in the presidential primary, The New York Timesreports:  * De Blasio said he would earmark additional money for the city’s third water tunnel to ensure that clean drinking water could be delivered within 48 hours of an emergency shutdown of City Water Tunnel No. 2, the Times reports:  * De Blasio unveiled his $82.2 billion executive budget with a presentation focused on savings extracted from city agencies, and a few new programs intended to address problems that arose over the past year, from snarled snowplows in Queens to voting woes in the presidential primary last week. * De Blasio’s budget increases spending on the troubled public-health system and other initiatives while adding to reserves in what he said was an increasingly uncertain economy. * The mayor said that he would earmark additional money for New York City’s third water tunnel to ensure that clean drinking water could be delivered to Brooklyn and Queens within 48 hours of an emergency shutdown of City Water Tunnel No. 2.

If You Want to Know What is In the Daily News Days Before They Write It
 The Daily News writes that de Blasio’s claim that he is a victim of a politically motivated attack in the federal probe into his campaign funds – instead of just dealing with the problem head on – is an insult to New Yorkers * The Post writes that de Blasio’s assertions that he isbeing targeted by political enemies are the ultimate cop-out and sound like the defense put forth by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is awaiting sentencing for his public corruption conviction * The Post’s Bob McManus writes that since the early days in office, de Blasio and his team have proven time and again that they can’t handle the high-pressure world of New York politics:*  As the political upheaval from several investigations into possible wrongdoing swirled around him, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to focus on his policy agenda.

While the CFB and Conflict of Interests Board Were Investigating the Advance Group for Illegal Campaign Work (NYCLASS) The Firms Lobbyists Client Got A Play to Play Deal From de Blasio and Nislick Almost Got His Westside Horse Barns
Firm lobbying for permits donated $68K tode Blasio (NYP) A top exec at an “incubator” office-space firm bundled the largest contribution to Mayor de Blasio’s re-election bid from her bosses and others — while the company was lobbying the city over a Financial District conversion project, The Post has learned. De Blasio took in $68,750 collected by Arana Hankin, senior vice president of WeWork, which is adding residences to a building at 110 Wall St., where it rents communal and private offices, records show. The campaign cash that Hankin handed over to the mayor’s campaign Jan. 11 included the maximum $4,950 each from WeWork co-founders Adam Neumann and Miquel McKelvey, and both of their wives. Meanwhile, WeWork spent $150,000 lobbying the de Blasio administration between April 2015 and February 2016, records show.  Scott Levenson of the Advance Group said he was paid $100,000 by WeWork to lobby officials over 110 Wall St., where permits were issued in July to begin turning it into a mixed-use space. In addition to WeWork, Levenson’s clients have included the NYCLASS anti-carriage horse group, which last week was slapped with subpoenas by both the feds and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as part of the ever-widening corruption scandal swirling around de Blasio. The 27-story building at 110 Wall St. is owned by Rudin Management, whose chief executive, Bill Rudin, is No. 5 on the list of de Blasio’s big-money bundlers, having collected $25,150 for the mayor’s planned 2017 re-election campaign.*  A top executive at an office-space firm bundled the largest contribution to de Blasio’s re-election bid from her bosses and others while the company was lobbying the city over a Financial District conversion project

Before Bharara Move Daily News Covered Up de Blasio's CFB Conflict of Ethics Board Cover Up of His Illegal PAC Activity 
The Daily News Which Investigated the Advance Group Ducks Comment the CFB AG Parking Ticket Fine 
In 2014 the Daily News repored that the FBI was investigating donations to NYCLASS from men closeto Mayor de Blasio that may have been used toward anti-Christine Quinncampaigners    On May 21, lawyer Jay Eisenhofer gave $50,000 to NYCLASS, the animal rights group leading the crusade to ban carriage horses. Ten days later, on May 31, NYCLASS gave an equal amount — $50,000, to the anti-Quinn group. On June 1, NYCLASS received another large donation, this time for $175,000. It came from UNITE HERE! — a labor union headed by John Wilhelm. Two days after that, on June 3, NYCLASS sent the same amount, $175,000, to the anti-Quinn campaign. The issue? Both Wilhelm and Eisenhofer have long-standing ties to Bill de Blasio, one of Quinn’s Democratic rivals in the mayoral campaign. Wilhelm is de Blasio’s cousin — and a prolific fund-raiser for him. Wilhelm raised $6,950 for de Blasio’s 2009 race for public advocate and $80,000 for de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor. * EXCLUSIVE: FBI investigating claim Christine Quinn was threatened for refusing to support carriage horse ban during the mayoral race (NYDN) *Consulting firm head hired by de Blasio for Central Parkcarriage industry review was early supporter of NYCLASS (NYDN)

Is Stringer the Only Pol Who is Speaking Out About Voting Rights in NYC?
City ControllerScott Stringer says break up Board of Elections in wake of voter purge (NYDN) City Controller Scott Stringer said Sunday the city needs to take a “sledgehammer” to the bumbling Board of Elections after it mistakenly stripped over 126,000 New Yorkers of their right to vote. Speaking on NY1, Stringer slammed the board responsible for the purge of voters that left so many fuming at the polls on primary day last week. “We’ve got to take a sledgehammer to this. We have to recognize the cornerstone of our democracy is voting. We have to stop pretending this is a democracy, when such few people end up going to the polls,” said Stringer, whose office will audit the agency.*  In the wake of the fallout over the purging of voters from the tax rolls, the New York City Council now plans to examine board of election practices, joining other government entities looking into the matter, Gotham Gazette reports:  * NYPIRG: Reinstate Purged Voters (YNN) * De Blasio Calls for Election Changes After Voting Problems (NYT) The mayor announced a $20 million plan to improve the city’s Board of Elections after complaints about its handling of last week’s presidential primary.

It Took A Federal Investigation for the Daily News to Come Closer to the Truth But Still Covering Up 
Follow de Blasio’smoney: Too many favors for too many donors (NYDN Ed) Bill de Blasio put up the for-sale sign on City Hall before it was even his to occupy — and now state and federal investigators are hard at work following the money.

True News Reported for Two Years How Team de Blasio Was Using PACs and Other Entities to Go Around the Election Law 
New York City provides politicians with America’s most generous, tightly regulated public campaign financing. By strictly limiting how much anyone may give to a candidate, as well as how much a candidate may spend, the system is designed to banish legalized bribery. 

From the Daily News After Bharara MovesTo maintain his image as Mr. Pure Progressive, de Blasio professes full dedication to taxpayer-financed campaigns. To maintain power, he has played a cynical big-money game by benefiting from largely unregulated political committees that had everything to do with achieving his goals, including his election. As surely as money follows power, the committees attracted outsized contributions from players who wanted one blessing or another from the mayor — and then de Blasio signaled that very generous givers could get their money’s worth by getting his maximum attention and effort.

The Daily News and Good Govt Groups Who Said UFT PAC Illegally Funding Advance Now are Silent
Getting Away With Fixing Elections
UFT under fire for apparently trying to hide identity of consulting firm(NYDN)The city’s powerful teachers union is under fire from good-government groups for apparently trying to hide the identity of a consulting firm it was using to boost union-backed candidates.  "The listing of the phony firm, 'Strategic Consultants, Inc.,' in campaign filings, obscured that Advance Group was being paid both to promote candidates for the United Federation of Teachers' independent political action committee, and working as the main campaign consultant for several of those same candidates."

The Daily News is Ducking the Low Advance Fine and No Criminal Investigation Means Nobody is Watching the Watchmen
The Daily News Reported That People Close to de Basio Sent Cash to Advance Run NYCLASS
Bill at the trough (NYDN Ed) De Blasio's conversion on horse carriages coincided with a rush of campaign cash. This is the curious story of how a self-described skeptic of the ban in 2007 became, by March 2013, a man who pledged to “ban the horse carriages in Central Park within the first week on the job.” In 2007, then-City Councilman de Blasio declared himself “skeptical” of a bill seeking to ban the carriages. In January 2008, the checks began arriving — and, presumably, the reeducation of the politician got underway. Wendy Neu, a longtime animal rights advocate who would later become a NYCLASS board member, gave $1,000 to de Blasio’s campaign for public advocate.Before long, more checks from Neu, NYCLASS co-founder Stephen Nislick and others started rolling in.Conversion complete? Not quite.

The Daily News Broke the Story That Advance Illegally Worked On Mark-Viverito Speakers Race Says Nothing Today
EXCLUSIVE: City Council Speaker candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito may have violated city ethics rules(NYDN)  Mark-Viverito, an East Harlem councilwoman, accepted unpaid assistance from the Advance Group, a prominent lobbying firm working to further her candidacy (Daily News 11/27/2013) * New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito’s ties to the consulting firm Advance Group may be hurting her candidacy for speaker

From the Daily News After Bharara Moves: "And never could the city’s top ethics watchdog and anti-corruption cop, Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, say boo because Peters had served as de Blasio’s campaign treasurer." On Friday, Peters announced that he would play no role in the burgeoning probes, which is to say that Peters is disqualified from fulfilling the highest responsibility of the job. Letter of resignation to follow. 

What About Red Horse?
Red Horse Consultant works for the mayor’s PAC Campaign for One NY and for 4 of the 5 Das Election Campaigns Including the Manhattan DA Now Investigating the Putnam slush fund that Red Horse that was interconnected with DSCC that Red Horse was paid from. Another consultant that got funds from DSCC and worked for both the Manhattan DAs campaign and Quinn's mayoral election Mark Guma also forgave a bill to the DA which then became other unenforced illegal inkind campaign contribution. 

What About Berlin Rosen?
Berlin Rosen Worked for all the recent campaigns of AG Eric Schneiderman

NYCLASS, a key deBlasio donor, hit with subpoena in mayor fund-raising probe (NYDN)  A key donor to Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising was subpoenaed Thursday, as it became clear the growing investigation is zeroing in on whether his campaign broke rules pursuing checks from powerful interests seeking favors from City Hall, the Daily News has learned. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney and the Manhattan District Attorney both demanded documents from an anti-horse carriage group that has steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to de Blasio in its effort to ban carriages from Central Park, according to a source familiar with the probe. Supporters of that group, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, NYCLASS, have written checks totaling $125,000 to Campaign for One New York, a so-called “independent spending” organization de Blasio formed to support his pet causes. Late Thursday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. demanded documents from the group, which steered $100,000 to Campaign for One New York in March 2015. By then, de Blasio’s promise to end the carriages “on day one” of his administration was a distant memory, and the effort has since been resolved to the satisfaction of no one. In May and June 2013, a union run by de Blasio’s cousin, John Wilhelm, and a top de Blasio donor, attorney Jay Eisenhoffer, wrote two checks totaling $225,000 to NYCLASS. Within days, NYCLASS wrote duplicate checks to New York City Not for Sale, a rabidly anti-Quinn group. At the time, the anti-Quinn group had to disclose its contributions, but NYCLASS didn’t. The two donations weren’t revealed until days after de Blasio won the primary. Key tools in the de Blasio woodshed include raising unrestricted donations via so-called “independent spending” groups and relying on donors who bundle multiple individual checks. Records show de Blasio has been a consistent beneficiary of bundling — for example, pocketing $1.4 million this way in 2013 and $467,370 more for his reelection bid through mid-January.

The Daily News Says DOI Commissioner Peters Should Resign "Compromised" 

Both tactics are legal, but candidates are strictly barred from coordinating with independent spenders or promising contributors anything in return for their checks. Sources familiar with the campaign finance aspect of the probe say agencies involved include the Manhattan U.S. attorney, the city Department of Investigation and the Manhattan DA. All three declined comment. A key focus is the Campaign for One New York, set up by de Blasio a month before he took office. Since he’s become mayor, the group has collected $4 million to support his pet causes such as universal pre-K and affordable housing. Much of that has come from big developers and lobbyists writing big checks at the same time they’re seeking zoning changes or tax breaks* Elections Board Official in Brooklyn Removed Amid Investigation (NYT) Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the board’s chief clerk in Brooklyn, has been suspended amid an internal inquiry into the handling of the voting rolls as city and state officials begin their own investigations.* The anti-horse carriage group NYCLASS, a key donor to de Blasio, was subpoenaed as an investigation zeroes in on whether his campaign broke rules by pursuing checks from powerful interests seeking favors, theDaily News writes: * The federal inquiry into de Blasio’s fundraising efforts in 2014 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, the Times reports: * The city Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters’ involvement in de Blasio’s fundraising efforts show he is a compromised team player, and he should resign so that someone independent can serve, theDaily News writes:

de Blasio's Won the Mayor's Office and Governs By Going Around the Election Law
Is Bharara investigating every dollar de Blasio ever raised? (NYP) What we last week called the steady drip-drip-drip of disclosures from the widening probes into Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising has now erupted into an enormous gushing stream.Indeed, you have to go back decades to find a mayor so deeply mired in allegations of corruption and pay-to-play deals this early in his term. US Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan DA Cy Vance are now reportedly looking into the suspicious financial dealings behind de Blasio’s bizarre obsession with shutting down the tiny horse-carriage industry. Also now under investigation is the mayor’s 2014 effort to raise money for Democrats trying to win control of the state Senate, plus fund-raising for his own 2013 campaign. This on top of all the earlier disclosures about ongoing probes into his many political slush funds, particularly the Campaign For One New York. And a suspicious deal that allowed a Lower East Side nursing home to be flipped to a luxury condo developer, netting the seller a $72 million profit. So much for de Blasio’s insistent claim just a couple of weeks ago that there’s “nothing to see here” in the investigations.He’s also singing a very different tune these days about whether he’s been contacted by Bharara’s office. What was once a denial that “any federal agency in any way, shape or form” had done so has given way to silence. The big picture: Team de Blasio has been a money vacuum since he took office. Bharara’s doubtless looking into whether the flows of cash were illicitly structured to seem to comply with the law. People with business before the city gave huge and unlimited sums to CONY, which wasn’t bound by campaign-finance laws. The mayor’s team also arranged for huge sums to go to upstate Democratic county committees — sums then diverted to candidates who couldn’t legally receive them directly. That looks very much like an end-run around the campaign laws. Bill de Blasio is fond of bemoaning the role of money in politics, even as he’s directed tons of it for his own political ends. In trying to outsmart the big-money players at the game, did he wind up breaking all the rules?Numerous real-estate executives contributed to the non-profit supporting de Blasio while they also had business before the city government.

Here Comes the FBI NYCASS Investigation By the FBI That True News Has Been Investigating for Two Years
Coordinated federal and state investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising operations are examining efforts by a politically connected group to ban horse carriages in New York City, sources tell The Wall Street Journal: * De Blasio fundraising probe increases scrutiny of campaignfinance tactic 

NYC’s campaign cops hand down champ-change fines (NYP) Stop the presses: The City Campaign Finance Board slapped a consultant with a $15,000 fine for breaking the rules. Finally, the world is safe for democracy. Or so you might think from Thursday’s big-noise announcement. If only. In fact, the fine — plus a $10,800 one from state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — merely highlights the lunacy of the city’s campaign-finance scheme. In 2013, the consultants at The Advance Group repped four Democratic candidates while also working with two “independent” groups: the teachers union and the anti-horse-carriage folks, NYCLASS. The two special interests shelled out tens of thousands to promote TAG’s candidates, but failed to build a “firewall” between themselves and the campaigns. The board says TAG’s dual roles amounted to “coordination” — a no-no under the rules. “Today’s agreement sends a clear message that campaign coordination is unacceptable in New York,” huffed the AG.* Mayor de Blasio said he behaved 'legally' in dealings with animal rights group NYCLASS and will 'cooperate with any investigation' (NYDN)
Gary Tilzer (@unitedNYblogs) warned that BdB circle of friends, lobbyists & PACs were up to no good. Like #Cassandra, he was ignored.

Cancel Wins in the 65AD 
LI Kaminsky Victory - Dems More Senate Members But GOP to Stay in Control of the Chamber  
Kaminsky clinches winto take Skelos’ seat (NYP) Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky has defeated Republican Chris McGrath by just 780 votes out of 68,004 cast in Tuesday’s special election to replace Dean Skelos, according to unofficial data. There are about 3,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted in the ninth senatorial district covering towns in south Nassau, but Nassau Republican Chairman Joe Mondello all but conceded the race Wednesday, saying it’s unlikely that the outcome will change.*Democrats will outnumber GOP in N.Y. Senate, but won’t control chamber (NYDN) * Who Controls the New York State Senate? It’s Complicated. (NYT) Even if the results of the election to replace Dean G. Skelos give state Democrats a majority, little, if anything, could change between now and November.*  Silver crony Alice Cancel wins his state Assembly seat (NYP) With 87 of 98 precincts reporting, Alice Cancel had 41 percent to 35 percent for Working Families Party candidate Yuh-Line Niou. Republican candidate Lester Chang came in third with 20 percent and Green Party candidate Dennis Levy trailed with 4 percent.* Democrat ClaimsVictory in Race for Skelos Senate Seat  (NYO) Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat, has claimed victory over Republican Chris McGrath in the race to fill the vacant Senate slot representing parts of Nassau County tonight. According to the county’s Board of Elections, with about 70 percent of the vote in, Mr. Kaminsky leads with 50.2 percent to Mr. McGrath’s 38.7 percent. Mr. McGrath has not conceded in the race; his campaign said in a statement it will be too close to call tonight.* Congrats to Alice Cancel, who was supposed to be gangbanged into death by bongo bongo by a Queens/WFP/DACC NY Post (ARZT) Clusterfuck * Silver crony Alice Cancel wins his state Assembly seat (NYP) * Mixed Results Seen in Special Races to Replace Silver and Skelos (NYT)* Kaminsky held a narrow lead Tuesday night over McGrath in the special election to replace former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos – with control of the Senate potentially in the balance, Newsday reports: *  Alice Cancel clinched former Assembly Speaker SheldonSilver’s district with what she called a $5,000, community-centric campaign that triumphed over a $140,000 bid by the Working Families Party’s Yuh-Line Niou and two other candidates:* Democrat Todd Kaminsky declares victory in N.Y. Senate race (NYDN)* A spokesman for Sen. Simcha Felder, the Brooklyn Democrat, said that the senator “plans on continuing to caucus with the Republicans,” so the GOP retains control of the Senate chamber, despite Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky’s apparent win on Long Island.* Newsday writes that the votes are not there for Republicans to make up Kaminsky’s 780-ballot lead, saying there should be no needless delay in swearing him in for the job the people of Nassau County elected him to do

Does the Daily News Think That the Nassau GOP Boss is the Only One Running Unqualified Puppets for Public Office?
The Problems is When the Dem Bosses Do It in the City the Puppets Win
Joe Schmo must go: Nassau boss Mondello does disservice to Republican Party (NYDN Ed) Todd Kaminsky’s special election defeat of Chris McGrath on Long Island puts Democrats thisclose to controlling the state Senate, the last bastion of Republican power in New York.  Blame one man for relegating the Empire State GOP to near-total irrelevance: dunderheaded would-be puppetmaster Joe Mondello, Nassau County party chairman. Mondello’s m.o.: elevate people of questionable qualifications whom he can control into positions of trust. Boost the machine; fail the people. Last year’s plans to anoint the utterly unqualified Kate Murray as county district attorney almost worked — until her grade-school knowledge of how prosecutions work was exposed.* Selling out on $15 just bought NY Republicans … nothing (NYP Ed)
Lobbyists Al D'Amato and the Long Island Investigation

The Keys to the Intelocking Directorates of the Mayor’s Fund Raising Pay to Play Governing Campaigning Scam Bharara & FBI Investigating Chart
1.  Reichberg raised money for the mayor in 2013, held a fund raiser for his Campaign for One NY PAC $9,900 to the in addition, Rechnitz was one of the biggest bundlers for de Blasio’s campaign, raking in more than $40,000 from contributors. ***  2.  Reichberg donated $50,000 to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York — Hizzoner made his first visit to Borough Park after taking office in 2014 to Reichberg’s million-dollar-plus home for a Campaign for One New York fund-raiser  Hizzoner also does not plan to return the $50,000 that went to the Campaign for One New York.  ***  3.  Election lawyer Lawrence Mandelker works for the mayor;s Campaign for One NY PAC  4.  Mandelker works for the mayor campaign committee 5.  Mandelker represented the Advance Group on its Illegal work in the race that made Mark-Viverito the council speaker before the AG, CFB and Conflict Board  

6. The the CFB, AG and Conflict of Interest Board made the Council Speaker and Advance paid a small fine for the illegal work done by Advance Group  7,8.9,10  The mayor and Council Speaker pick all the members on the CFB and Conflict of Interest Board  11. Nislick & Neu had meeting w/ mayor 3 days after $100K donation to CONY #CarriageGate   12. Neu and Nislick donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to NYCLASS PAC that destroyed Quinns mayoral campaign Anti-horse-carriage lobbyists Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu have donated $125,000 combined to de Blasio’s nonprofit CONY — which doesn’t fall under campaign-finance law restrictions — and landed three meetings with Hizzoner through August. The huddles included a March 2 meeting that occurred three days after the lobbyists gave the nonprofit $50,000 each.  

13. The Advance Group Scott Levinson ran the NYCLASS PAC. Levinson took a Job with Nislick company Edison Parking 6 days after de Blasio was elected as mayor  14.  The leaders Berlin Rosen state off working for AG Schneiderman and have worked as political consultants for all of his recent campaigns  These public affairs firms, such as BerlinRosen, are not obligated to register as lobbyists — even though critics say they could be perceived as doing lobbying work because they have clients with business before City Hall while also having easy access to deBlasio. BerlinRosen, for instance, has overseen communications strategies for One New York, while also counting real estate developers — Forest City Ratner Companies, SL Green Realty and Two Trees Management — among its clients. Two Trees Management, the developer behind the Domino Sugar redevelopment project, donated $100,000 to One New York  

15. Red Horse works for the Campaign for One NY  16. Red Horse Works for the follow DAs Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan  17. John Wilhelm, labor leader and cousin of Mayor de Blasio, avoids questions about role in $175K donation to NYCLASS that funded anti-Christine Quinn campaigners  18.    de Blasio Appointed His Campaign Treasure Mark Peters Commission of DOI  19.    GiftGate’s Jona Rechnitz, was a bundler for the mayor’s 2013 election campaign, collecting checks from others that totaled $41,650 and, with his wife, personally contributing another $9,900 in October 2013. At the time, Peters was de Blasio’s treasurer. 

 20.    Lobbyists James Capalino is a target of an federal investigation of the sale of Riverington Nursing Home that had its deed changes by City Hall. Capalino – who records show had at least two other private meetings with the mayor through May of last year – led all city lobbyists in 2014, collecting $8.2 million in client fees. City records for the first nine months of last year show he’s on pace to topple that number, amassing nearly $8.3 million in fees — or nearly double the $4.6 million his firm amassed all of 2013 during the last year of the Bloomberg administration. His dozens of new clients include Uber, which wants to avoid further city-imposed regulations as it competes with the yellow-cab industry. It paid Capalino $150,000 the past two years to push its agenda. 

21. Capalino’s firm gave de Blasio’s nonprofit Campaign for One New York $10,000 in May — and the next day was granted face-time with the mayor at City Hall to discuss a City Council bill to eliminate chopper tours at the Downtown Manhattan heliport. Lobbyist who steered$50,000 to Mayor de Blasio turned Lower East Sidenursing home into luxury condos (NYDN) A powerful lobbyist steered $50,000 in donations to Mayor de Blasio after pressing the city for a deed change that allows one of his clients to turn a building restricted for use as a nursing home into luxury condos. Since October lobbyist James Capalino has collected $40,000 in checks for de Blasio's 2017 re-election bid and personally wrote a $10,000 check in May to Campaign for One New York, the non-profit de Blasio uses to promote his causes. 22. Allure's Landau Contributed $5000 to de Blasio's 2013 Campaign Allure Group official Joel Landau reportedly donated nearly $5,000 to de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign; the Mayor says he’ll return the donation. [AMNY] Jona Reichberg donated $50,000 to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York — and he and his wife shelled out the maximum of $9,900 to the mayor’s 2013 campaign, records show.  Rechnitz handed $102,000 to the Dems, records show. The party’s effort ultimately failed.  

23    Capalino has rounded up $29,260 for the mayor’s re-election in 2017 and donated $10,000 to the Campaign for One New York, the non-profit that’s raised more than $4.3 million to back de Blasio’s agenda.”  24 Capalino clients Two Trees, Toll Brothers, Asphalt Green, Brookfield Properties and Douglaston Development also contributed to the Campaign for One New York. 25. Jona Rechnitz, who sources said was “always bragging” about his political connections, attended the Gracie Gala Dinner, a fund-raiser, last October. He donated $50,000 to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York — and he and his wife shelled out the maximum of $9,900 to the mayor’s 2013 campaign, records show. The duo served together on the mayor’s inauguration committee. Hizzoner made his first visit to Borough Park after taking office in 2014 to Reichberg’s million-dollar-plus home. There, Reichberg hosted a Campaign for One New York fund-raiser. Filings show the group took in $35,000 that day.

 26..  Bill Hyer HillTop de Blasio;s Campaign Consultant in 2013 Represents Fortis the Developer of the LICH Hospital Site that de Blasio got arrested for as a campaign prop promising to keep the hospital open during the 2013 campaign. Hyers also worked for Campaign for One NY  27    Red Horse work for the Campaign for One NY and 4 Out of 5 of the City’s Das  28.    Berlin Rosen who worked for Campaign for One NY Stated Out Working for the AG and has run all of his recent campaigns  29.    Sid Davidoff, another longtime de Blasio pal and fundraiser, got a face-to-face meeting with deBlasio in September 2014 to discuss his client, Hunts Point Terminal Market. Six months later, the mayor announced plans for a $150 million infrastructure upgrade there. Besides seeing his company’s City Hall work jump from $2.1 million during the last two years of the Bloomberg administration to $4.2 million 1 ¾ years into the de Blasio administration, Davidoff scored another private business session last May with de Blasio to discuss a “civil rights museum,” records show. He even convinced Hizzoner in April 2014 to perform his first City Hall wedding and marry him and his bride, Daily News columnist Linda Stasi  \

30. On Jan.11, de Blasio’s longtime mentor, Ickes, helped client AEG Live score a controversial permit to host a Coachella-style major music festival on Randall’s Island — on the same day he bundled $13,000 in donations for the mayor’s re-election campaign. Besides AEG Live, which shelled out $150,000 in fees, Ickes’ other clients include Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181-1061, which spent $42,000 before Ickes delivered $42 million in taxpayer funds to boost private bus driver salaries.  31    Teachers union paid $370K to fake consultant The United Federation of Teachers' payments to an apparently fictitious consulting firm raises new questions about the Advance Group's actions in the 2013 elections.  32. The Advance Group was Fined by the CFB for working for Councilmembers Levine and Cumbo at the same time they were working for the UFT PAC United for the Future  33.    All the council candidate that Red Horse worked for got mailing from the UFT’s United for the Future PAC that Red Horse Also Worked for  34    Berlin Rosen worked for the UFT the same time that they ran several candidates funding by the UFT’s PAC United for the Future.  In 2009 Berlin Rosen worked for several candidates that got campaign help from Data and Field that the CFB ruled was a illegal campaign arm of the WFP not a private company.  de Blasio also got funded by Data and Field.  

 35.  de Blasio after he was elected mayor work to elect Mark-Viverito as speaker of the City Counci   36  Rechnitz and his wife each donated the maximum $4,950 to de Blasio’s campaign, which the mayor has said he would return.  37  De Blasio’S Astoria Cove Deal Looks ALot Like Bloomberg  38.  de Blasio campaign treasurer Richard Offinger was also once treasurer of Campaign for One New York  39.  Two Trees gave $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York

More on Dark Pool Corrupt Consultant Who Will Have to Register As Lobbyists

Yup Another Federal Investigaion of an Albany Leader?
Heastie Federal Probe Heats Up
Next up in NYC’s corruption probe: Carl Heastie (NYP) Federal prosecutors are probing Democratic Party records related to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, The Post has learned. A former Bronx Democratic Party official was subpoenaed last week to appear before a grand jury with all of the books and records of the party pertaining to Heastie, a law-enforcement source told The Post. The stunning revelation that one of the three most powerful men in Albany is caught up in yet another federal probe comes months after the corruption convictions of the state Assembly and Senate leaders, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. Ischia Bravo, a former executive director of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, would neither confirm nor deny that she had received the subpoena issued by an Albany grand jury. But she suggested she had been contacted by authorities. “I think they were just unaware that I was not there anymore so I no longer have records or have retained records,” Bravo said. She left the party job last year and is now running for the Assembly herself, challenging incumbent Democrat José Rivera. County committees choose and fund candidates, aid campaigns and can pay for political expenses like travel. They must document their finances to the state Board of Elections. The board is based in Albany, the jurisdiction of the US attorney for the Northern District of New York, where the subpoena was issued. The Bronx committee had $80,000 in its coffers as of July 2015, state records show.

DOI's Peters Walks the Plank Out of de Blasio Campaign Probe 
DOI commissioner exits de Blasio’s campaign probe (NYP)After resisting calls to step aside, Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters announced late Friday that he’s removing himself from the agency’s probe of the mayor’s 2013 campaign — on which he served as treasurer. The mounting pressure included calls from Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito that Peters keep his word from two years ago to step away from any DOI probes of de Blasio’s campaign. “A potential conflict may exist here and we believe a recusal is appropriate at this time,” her spokesman Eric Koch told The Post just hours before DOI issued a two-sentence statement saying Peters was out.*  Ted Hamm ‏@HammerDaily 
In '13, BdB told UWS donors that he was 'most progressive' candidate b/c he wasn't corrupt. Should those supporters get $ back?  * New York EthicsRules Quiet on Lawmaker-Lobbyist Relationships (WSJ) Peters, who heads the Department of Investigation and served as the mayor's 2013 campaign treasurer, issued a brief statement Friday afternoon. "As has been reported, the Department of Investigation, in conjunction with its law enforcement partners, is investigating allegations related to certain campaign donors. In order to avoid the appearance of a conflict, the commissioner has recused himself from these matters," according to a statement his press office emailed. His spokeswoman, Nicole Turso, confirmed the recusal relates to two separate investigations: a wide-ranging probe into the mayor's campaign donors and an examination of the city's decision to lift a deed restriction, which allowed a non-profit health care facility to be sold to a luxury condo developer.* De Blasio’s Investigations Chief Recuses Himself From Fund-Raising Inquiry (NYT) The move by Commissioner Mark G. Peters, who served as campaign treasurer for Mayor Bill de Blasio in the 2013 race, was an abrupt turnaround.*Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters recuses himself from probe of Mayor de Blasio’s fundraising  (NYDN) UPDATE DOI Commissioner Peters after being shamed by editorial boards recuses himself from DEB fundraising investigations* De Blasio can’t escape corruption probe questions in first ‘Ask the Mayor’ (NYP) Mayor de Blasio kicked off his first “Ask the Mayor” TV appearance under a dark cloud Sunday, fielding questions on low approval ratings and probes into donors who allegedly bartered gifts for NYPD favors. Days after instructing his lawyer to contact US Attorney Preet Bharara to offer “help” with the investigation, de Blasio said he still hasn’t heard back from the feds. “It’s a straightforward situation. We haven’t been contacted in any way shape or form from any federal agency,” he said. “We’re happy to help in any way we can. We still have not been asked any questions.” Monday Update Mayor Bill de Blasio during his new TV show was peppered with questions about a federal investigation into donors to his campaign, his affordable housing plan and a rise in stabbings in the city and his falling approval ratings, the Post reports

DOI Commissioner Peters Blind to de Blasio's Administration Conflict
of Interests and His Own
The Nursing Home and NYPD Giftgate Federal Investigations has Shown Us the Conflict of Interests In Mayoral Picked Controlled DOI
Mark Peters: A ‘watchdog’ blind even to his own conflicts of interest (NYP Ed) Why did it take so long for city Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters to accept that his playing any role in the investigations into Mayor de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising is a blatant conflict of interest? Blatant — because he was the treasurer of that very campaign. Peters on Friday finally bowed to the inevitable — to everyone but him, anyway — and recused himself from any involvement. ut he only did so after a close mayoral ally, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, joined the chorus calling on him to step aside. She reminded him that he’d specifically promised the City Council he’d recuse himself from anything involving the campaign. Until now, Peters kept offering tortured excuses as to how he could be impartial. And never mind that he’d also told the council it was unthinkable to him that de Blasio would ever do anything unethical. Now the mayor’s campaign is the subject of an ever-widening influence-peddling probe — one Peters at first claimed would be hindered if he stepped aside. Conflict of interest seems to be the name of the game at City Hall these days. Richard Emery just left the Civilian Complaint Review Board over as-blatant conflicts involving his law firm, plus harassment allegations. Truth be told, Peters’ DOI seems incapable of finding conflicts of interest anywhere in this administration. That Mark Peters failed for so long to see his own conflict here suggests that recusal isn’t enough: He’s just wrong for the job.

de Blasio Lawyer;s Up With A Lobby Law Firm That Does Business With the City 
Meanwhile, de Blasio brought in attorney Barry Berke of Kramer Levin on Tuesday to offer legal representation for issues surrounding his 2013 mayoral campaign. Berke will be paid with funds from that campaign. De Blasio said Berke will provide assistance to Bharara’s office in its campaign finance inquiry. Kramer Levin is a law firm that’s currently lobbying the mayor’s office on behalf of several clients, records show.* De Blasio Hires White Collar Crime Lawyer For FederalProbe (DNAINFO)* The mayor has lawyered up, instructing and attorney representing his 2013 mayoral campaign, Barry Berke, to call federal prosecutors on his behalf. Berke is a white-collar lawyer who once represented former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik in a federal corruption case in which he was convicted.

Despite Warning From Aide Team de Blasio Show Me the Money
De Blasio aide warned about shady businessmen in NYPD probe (NYP) A top aide to Mayor de Blasio had warned against putting the businessmen now at the center of the NYPD corruption scandal onto Hizzoner’s 2014 inaugural committee, The Post has learned.  But Avi Fink was blown off by de Blasio’s chief fund-raiser — whose campaign-finance work is under investigation — and also by the committee’s chairwoman. Fink, a mayoral adviser on Jewish issues who is on leave working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, told Ross Offinger and Gabrielle Fialkoff that he had concerns about Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, sources said Thursday. Offinger and Fialkoff, a jewelry heiress who now holds a $203,000-a-year City Hall job, let them join the committee anyway. 1 inauguration ceremony and a spot on a receiving line to congratulate the mayor, as well as an invitation to a Gracie Mansion breakfast the next Sunday. Perks of a committee appointment included seating at the Jan. Rechnitz and his wife each donated the maximum $4,950 to de Blasio’s campaign, which the mayor has said he would return. After de Blasio’s election, Reichberg hosted a fund-raiser at his Borough Park home that raked in $35,000 for the Campaign for One New York, the mayor’s now-defunct nonprofit. Fink, Offinger and Fialkoff — who runs the de Blasio-created Office of Strategic Partnerships — did not return calls for comment.* A top aide to de Blasio warned against putting Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, the businessmen at the center of the NYPD corruption scandal, on his 2014 inaugural committee, but was ignored, the Postreports: *  What’s the Biggest Scandal in de Blasio’s Administration?That He Belongs to the Developers Destroying New York City (Huff Post)

Union Boss Seabrook Caught In Rechnitz Hedge Fund
Center of NYPD probe steered union cash to hedge fund: report (NYP) A businessman at the heart of the NYPD corruption scandal steered the president of the city correction-officers union — who is also under federal investigation — to a hedge fund where he invested $10 million in membership money, according to a report Thursday. Jona Rechnitz helped Norman Seabrook, head of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, put the union’s cash into the Platinum Partners hedge fund, The Wall Street Journal reported. Seabrook was among the first law-enforcement officials scrutinized by the FBI in the suspected gifts-for-favors scheme involving Rechnitz, Jeremy Reichberg and top NYPD brass, sources have told The Post. Rechnitz has ties to the Platinum Partners hedge fund through one of its initial investors, Murray Huberfeld. Huberfeld has a shady past that includes pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in 1992 for having a stand-in take his brokerage-licensing exam and, with a business partner, getting fined $4.7 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1998 for illegally selling restricted stock.* A businessman who is a focus of a federal corruption probe into the NYPD and de Blasio’s fundraising helped arrange an investment of at least $10 million in a hedge-fund firm by the city’s correction officers’ union, the Journal writes: *De Blasio donor spent $655K of City funds on museum program (NYP) A Mayor de Blasio donor under federal investigation for lavishing cops with gifts also helped pry taxpayer money from the City Council for a police training program he supported, The Post has learned. Real-estate investor Jona Rechnitz used his connections to siphon $655,000 over the past two years from the City Council to fund a law-enforcement sensitivity seminar at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance, a source familiar with Rechnitz said. “Rechnitz was able to secure funding from the council for a program he had an affinity for, based on his status as a heavy political contributor,” the source said. The Wiesenthal Center established a program in 2004 to teach cops to be more tolerant to religious and cultural minorities. A museum spokesman called the seminar “universally acclaimed and respected” and said it trained 13,555 officers over the years. The spokesman said Rechnitz has been a benefactor and volunteer at the Midtown museum since 2012. The Upper West Side macher gave the museum thousands of dollars in 2014 after winning $25,000 on a $500 Super Bowl prop bet.

Last Thursday's True News
Time for the Mayor to Hire A Lawyer 
The corruption probe by the FBI and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is looking into whether polices officers accepted lavish gifts and vacations in exchange for police escorts and security. But the investigation also involves businessmen Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, who both served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee in 2013 and contributed to his campaign. Now, sources told Kramer the feds are questioning people in the real estate industry about how the mayor raises money. Sources said the questions from the U.S. Attorney’s office have focused on how donations are solicited by team de Blasio – including former campaign treasurer Ross Offinger. Reichberg and Rechnitz’s phones were tapped as investigators looked at their ties to former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks. Rechnitz and his wife gave $9,000 to de Blasio’s 2013 campaign. He also gave $50,000 to de Blasio’s controversial nonprofit Campaign for One New York, which was used to raise money for his initiatives, Kramer reported. Rechnitz further ponied up $102,000 when de Blasio asked for help to get Democrats to take control of the New York State Senate, Kramer reported. Reichberg hosted a Campaign for one New York fundraiser that netted $35,000, Kramer reported.

Daily News Says de Blasio Admits Campaign for 1NY PAC is Political 
de Blasio defends his extracurricular fundraising as made necessary by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which, he says, enabled “$10 million of advertising against me and my agenda.” By citing Citizens United, which held that corporations may spend unlimited sums on elections if donors are disclosed, the mayor tacitly admits that the purpose of the Campaign for One New York was political.
Which raises more of the questions that the mayor refuses to answer: Why did his people tell the conflicts board, in seeking clearance for de Blasio to fundraise for the Campaignfor One New York, that the organization would merely be “informing the public and policymakers about legislative and public policy options”? And how can de Blasio boast that he’s better than the wealthy conservative Koch brothers, when he follows their playbook in doing a do-gooder end run around campaign finance rules to boost his political fortunes? His silence speaks volumes. NY Times Ignores the Bharara Investigation Today As It Tries to Distract  
 The Times writes that de Blasio, who often talks about the gap between rich and poor in New York City and beyond, should take a hard look at a nonprofit’s proposal for a universal summer jobs program, which would help kids get a full-time job later:    * The Daily News writes that de Blasio’s refusal to take continuing questions from journalists on several reported probes into his campaign finance dealings speaks volumes, especially for a politician who has criticized others on political money: * De Blasio Continues to FaceQuestions About Federal Probe, Controversial Joke (NY1)

What Do the Mayor's Friend Get by Joining (Contributing) to Campaign for 1NY?
Answer this, Mr.Mayor, on the Campaign for One New York (NYDN Ed) Questions with potentially severe consequences will linger for the mayor at least long as Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara keeps asking them. Then, too, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board has much to discuss with the mayor, assuming that the see-no-evil panel finally recognizes that it’s supposed to enforce the law. Presciently, in February the good government group Common Cause asked the board, as well as campaign finance regulators, to check out the mayor’s money maneuvering through the Campaign for One New York. Hmmm . . . What, if anything, did benefactors Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz expect in return for their sizeable fundraising? What exactly did the mayor’s aides discuss with Reichberg and Rechnitz before and after their money came through? What did de Blasio say as he rattled the tin cup at a dinner in Reichberg’s Brooklyn home? Did he declare that donors would receive no special access to city officials or preferential treatment — as city conflicts rules say he must? Did the mayor or anyone from his administration solicit Campaign for One New York funding from the taxi industry, animal rights activists or the teachers union, knowing each had business before the city — a big conflicts no-no? Stepping back from transactional details to the big picture: De Blasio ran for office under a public financing system that gave his campaign $4 million and capped his spending so that all candidates would compete on a level playing field. Exempt from the spending limits, supporters spent lavishly on attack ads that demolished rival Christine Quinn. The mayor has insisted he had nothing to do with the hit job.* De Blasio Donor Lost$1.9M in Ponzi Scheme Linked to Corruption Probe (DNAINFO)  A landlord who donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transition team was one of the biggest losers in an alleged Ponzi scheme that’s connected to a federal probe of the NYPD and the mayor’s campaign fundraising practices, records show. Gerald Leibman, 74, who has owned Bronx properties that have landed on the public advocate’s bad landlord list, lost $1.9 million to accused fraudster Hamlet Peralta, according to court documents.  Last week Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Peralta, a 36-year-old Bronx restaurateur, with running a pyramid scheme that bilked investors out of $12 million.The criminal case grew out of a public corruption investigation by the FBI and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

PoliticoNY: Bharara Looking into the Rivington Deal Is He Taking Over AG Investigation?  
Bharara looking into Rivington deal, sources say (CapitalNY) U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara is looking into the de Blasio administration's lifting of a deed restriction on a Manhattan nursing home that is now slated to become luxury condos, several sources confirmed to POLITICO New York.  The matter is already under investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the city Department of Investigation and City Comptroller Scott Stringer. ttorneys working for Bharara, who is also probing two of Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign donors in an unrelated case, attended a recent meeting about the deed restriction change with staff from other investigating agencies, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting and confirmed by two other sources.Attorneys working for Bharara, who is also probing two of Mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign donors in an unrelated case, attended a recent meeting about the deed restriction change with staff from other investigating agencies, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting and confirmed by two other sources.* Preet Bharara IsComing After the Executive Branch Next (NYO) Look out, mayors and governors: After toppling both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos with public corruption last year, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said tonight he has his eye on the executive branch, too. “We will keep looking hard at corruption in our legislative branch, as we have been. But not just there: in the executive branch too, both in city and in state government,” Mr. Bharara said tonight. “Executive offices in government are far from immune from a creeping show-me-the-money culture that has been pervading New York for some time now.”*   Preet Bharara probing city’s sketchy nursing home deal (NYP)* Preet Bharara says de Blasio, Cuomo should 'stay tuned' (NYDN)* U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office is examining the de Blasio administration’s lifting of deed restrictions on a health facility, which was sold for what appears to be a $72 million profit, as well as treatment of donors to the mayor’s nonprofit, The Wall Street Journal reports: * Bharara is reportedly looking into the de Blasio administration’s lifting of a deed restriction on a Manhattan nursing home that is now slated to become luxury condos. The matter is already under investigation by AG Eric Schneiderman’s office, the NYC Department of Investigation and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. * FBI Corruption Probe Could Complicate de Blasio’s Job (NY Mag) * @PreetBharara: "We will keeplooking hard at corruption... both in city & state government"(PoliticoNY) * City Appraisal In Rivington Deed Deal Fell Far Short(WSJ) Value of $65 million was about half the sale price for 45 Rivington St.

Bharara to Albany: Sign Ethic Contract or Else
Bharara issued an executive warning that his push to clean up corruption isn’t limited to the state Legislature and that he would continue to look into the executive branch at the city and state levels, the Daily Newswrites: * Two commissioners on the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics, appointees of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, have tendered their resignations, the Times Union writes:  * After toppling both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Leader Dean Skelos with public corruption last year, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he has his eye on the executive branch, too.* “Executive offices in government are far from immune from the creeping show-me-the-money culture that has been pervading New York for some time now,” Bharara said.

City Ticket Fines Incresed 7.5%
HIGH COST OF LIVING Forcing Middle Class Out and Pounding the Poor 
Speeding drivers helped city rake in$957M in fines last year (NYP) New York City collected a record $957 million in fines last year, including payments from a million speeding tickets handed out to drivers near schools, according to a report Thursday.  The haul represented a 7.5 percent increase over the $890 million taken in the previous year. Lead-foot drivers in school zones proved to be a growing source of revenue for the city, which took in more than $31 million from those violations in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2015. In the previous fiscal year, school-zone speeders paid out just $2 million.* New York City collected a record $957 million in fines last year, including payments from a million speeding tickets handed out to drivers near schools. That’s a 7.5 percent increase over the $890 million taken in the previous year.

de Blasio Has No Comment On Federal Probe Is Done Answering Questions About the FBI Investigation 
Bill de Blasio Is Done Answering Questions About Federal Probe of His Fundraising (NYO) Mayor Bill de Blasio informed reporters today that he would no longer respond to inquiries about U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s reported investigation into his cash-gathering apparatus. Mr. de Blasio made the announcement at an unrelated press conference in the BronxCBS and the New York Post reported last week that the corruption-busting Mr. Bharara is sniffing around the mayor’s money as part of a probe of two Brooklyn men who gave and bundled cash for Mr. de Blasio’s campaign, contributed to one of his political nonprofits and sat on his transition team after the 2013 election. The feds suspect the two men of bribing cops with gifts in exchange for an array of favors.* I'm Done AnsweringQuestions About Federal Probe, De Blasio Says (DNAINFO) Mayor Bill de Blasio said he's done talking about the federal probe into his fundraising practices. "I'm not going to be speaking about this after today," de Blasio said Monday in The Bronx in response to a series of questions about a growing federal corruption probe that has ensnared high-ranking NYPD officials and raised questions about a nonprofit the mayor used to raise money to promote his political agenda.* The two de Blasio donors at the fulcrum of a sprawling federal corruption investigation into the mayor’s fund-raising activities and the actions of police commanders took pride in their connections with top NYPD officials. The mayor is refusing to answer any more questions about the probe.

de Blasio Blames the Criminal Investigation of His Need to Fund Raise . . .  Despite the Fact His All His Campaigns Have Been Public Financed and the Sanders Successful Model of Internet Contributions 
De Blasio dodges probe questions, whines about campaign funding (NYP) Mayor de Blasio claims it’s not his fault he tookshady donations from a Brooklyn businessmanembroiled in a federal probe — instead blaming the system requiring politicians to raise money in US elections. Hizzoner dodged discussing any details about his connections to the ongoing federal investigation into NYPD corruption during the Yahoo! interview with Katie Couric, and instead went on a rant that called for the public financing of elections. De Blasio went back to the blame game when he was pressed by Couric about the$50,000 donation Jona Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real estate investor that is at the center of the probe, made to de Blasio’s nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York. Until we get the money entirely out of the political system, of course we are going to turn to people for donations — big and small,” he said. De Blasio went back to the blame game when he was pressed by Couric about the$50,000 donation Jona Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real estate investor that is at the center of the probe, made to de Blasio’s nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York. “Until we get the money entirely out of the political system, of course we are going to turn to people for donations — big and small,” he said.

Today's Question is Who's On the FBI Tapes?

"100s of hours of FBI wiretaps" 
The FBI investigation, which includes hundreds of hours of wiretaps and several cooperating witnesses, has moved to broader political corruption issues involving mayoral fund raising, sources say.(DNAINFO) 

The Mayor's Berlin Rosen Flack Said the Mayor's Fund Raising Which Included the PACs Was Legal and Part of the Campaign
De Blasio has no one to blame but himself for what happens next (NYP ED) So now Preet Bharara has cast a gimlet eye on Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising.  Which comes as no surprise. If de Blasio isn’t running one of the gamiest administrations since Tammany’s sachems were pulling the strings at City Hall, it isn’t for lack of trying. But not to worry. As mayoral operative Dan Levitan says: “We are fully confident that the campaign has conducted itself legally and appropriately at all times.”

The mayor's PACs “has created a perpetual campaign, confusing the role of government and politics, to the detriment of the public interest,” the letter said. It was sent to the Campaign Finance Board and the Conflicts of Interest Board. Both are stuffed with mayoral appointees, and neither responded. In fact the CFB and Conflict Board both gave small fines to the Council Speaker from getting illegal help form the Advance Group who ran the NYCLASS PAC that was so helpful to electing de Blasio by blasting Quinn. The lawyer for the Advance Group in the illegal help for the speaker investigation was Lawrence Mandelker.  Mandelker is also the lawyer for the de Blasio's campaign fund and for the PAC Campaign for One NY  

The Campaign for One NY is the Epicenter of the Mayor's Campaign Fund Raising
De Blasio’s lust for power will be his final downfall (NYP)  Every multimillion-dollar sleazy deal you’ve read about since de Blasio took office is tied to his Campaign for One NY PAC. It is the dirty doorway to all the other schemes and players. de Blasio's three PACs raised at least $4.36 million from developers, unions, taxi medallion owners, carriage-horse opponents and wealthy liberal activists like George Soros. In short, all those who wanted something big and valuable from de Blasio found their way to the back-room boiler operation and wrote a fat check. The first of PAC after the campaign was such a hit that the mayor created two more. All three nonprofits have an innocent-sounding name and, because they are incorporated separately from his official campaign, are not bound by the limits and disclosures required under the city’s campaign finance law. It’s a safe bet that avoiding those rules is why the groups were created. Two PACS NYCLASS and the UFT's United for the Future that helped the de Blasio become mayor and control the city council will soon be on the radar of the FBI. The question that will be answered was were these PACs designed by team de Blasio to go around the election law Ultimately, the issue is what, if any, favors the donors got in exchange for their cash. Were there illegal quid pro quos?

de Blasio Berlin Rosen Spokesperson About the FBI Investigation Is At the Center of the Mayor's Contributions From Real Estate

The Mayor's Other Two PACs
Politico reported that the group used “at least $727,937 to seed the newer nonprofit Progressive Agenda Committee” that de Blasio created. That group, formed last May, helped the mayor raise his national profile and reportedly funded his many trips out of town. So far, he has not disclosed any of its donors or how the money was spent.   He formed the third group, United for AffordableNYC, early this year and focused it on getting his controversial rezoning measure through community boards and the City Council. Tenant organizations denounced the group, calling it an “unconscionable” front for developers who would benefit from the zoning changes. Like the Progressive Agenda group, United for AffordableNYC was seeded with money transferred from the Campaign for One New York, most of which came from developers and others with business before the city. It remains a mystery how much money the new group got and who its other donors are.  Already the probes are forcing sunlight into the shadowy world de Blasio created and exposing his sham defense. Even as he condemned others for using nonprofits for political aims, he insisted his were different because he provided some disclosure and because he was using the money for noble purposes.  Hypocrisy is now the least of his problems.

Why Was the Campaign for One NY Closed Before the CFB and Conflict Board Was Able to Vote? Will They Still Rule?
When he closed the Campaign for One New York, de Blasio claimed it had finished its work, citing the universal pre-K program he started. That seemed a fishy answer at the time for two reasons. First, the group’s existence had never been tied to a single issue, and second, the fact that it came so soon after the Common Cause complaint suggested de Blasio was concerned about an ethical or legal issue.
looking forward 2 court date challenging @NYCCFB fine 4 lending my mayoralty campaign $ despite receiving 0 public $ & O $ from lobbyists

Lobbyists Capalino Clients Closing Nursing Homes and Hospitals Forcing People to Become Homeless and Leaving Mental Ill Untreated 

Vagrant Who Heckles de Blasio At Homeless Event Thrown Out 
Drunk vagrant booted from de Blasio event on homelessness (NYP) A boozed-up bum was escorted out of Tompkins Square Park shortly before Mayor Bill de Blasio was set to announce two new initiatives — on homelessness in the city.“Politicians suck!” shouted Jerry Foust, 41, who had grabbed one of the blue folding seats in the East Village park set up for the mayor’s Tuesday afternoon press conference in hopes of hearing how he planned to improve life on the streets. “I want to see what the mayor had to say about homelessness because I’m homeless and I want to f–king help homeless people,” he said.  But around 1 p.m., two cops approached Foust and booted him from the park, where he regularly hangs out and which is a haven for homeless encampments. Foust said he was told to leave because he was taking swigs out of a bottle of gin, but was not issued a summons for an open container.  When de Blasio was asked why Foust was removed, the mayor claimed he didn’t know anything about it. De Blasio touted an outreach program called HOME-STAT to help street vagrants get to shelters as well as the addition of three new measures for counting the city’s homeless population. Foust said there’s no chance the program is going to work. “Homeless outreach — what are they going to do? Send me to a shelter in f–king East New York? I like the East Village,” he said.

Capalino and His Fellow Lobbyists Criminals Raking $$$ In At Record Levels 
New York lobbyingspending reaches record high of $243 million, with education groups shellingout the most cash (NYDN) Lobbying was a booming business in New York last year, with a record $243 million spent to influence state and local governments, a new report revealed. Spending on lobbying activities jumped 17% from 2014 and included a record $206 million spent on lobbyists, according to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics’ annual report. Lobbying was a booming business in New York last year, with a record $243 million spent to influence state and local governments, a new report revealed. BILL CALLS FOR MORE REGULATIONS FOR GROUPS WHO LOBBY IN NY  Another $17.9 million was spent on advertising expenses associated with lobbying, up from $15.4 million the year before, the report found. “It’s the golden rule of politics — those with the gold rule,” quipped Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group. Education groups, as usual, were among the biggest spenders. Invest in Education Coalition, Inc., which supports enactment of a tax credit for those who give money to private school scholarship funds or public schools, topped the list, spending $5.1 million on lobbying. A close second was the state’s powerful teachers union, New York State United Teachers, which spent $4.6 million. The 10 highest-spending lobbying groups spent more than $26 million, accounting for about 11% of all such spending in the state last year.

How the Lobbyists Shadow Govt Runs NY 
The high price ofinfluence: The lobbyists are taking New York'slax ethics rules to the bank (NYDN Ed) Oh to be a New York lobbyist in 2015, a record-busting year for the influence industry — raining down an eye-popping $243 million in fees. Whether their clients are hospitals or charter schools, casinos or environmentalists, lobbyists trade on the promise of special access from little burgs to the Big Apple to Albany . Leadership of the state Assembly and Senate very much included — which, shockingly, continues to operate under the same broken ethics regime that gave corrupt former leaders free rein to wring cash from those seeking funds and favors. At the start of that banner year, Speaker Sheldon Silver still held the Assembly and the keys to state grants he doled out in exchange for business leads. Majority Leader Dean Skelos used his Senate control to turn a real estate lobbyist into a jobs program for his son. Their subsequent arrests and convictions changed little but the nameplates on the doors the lobbyists knock — now bearing Carl Heastie in the Assembly and John Flanagan in the Senate. Among the throngs who come calling is Silver’s former counsel, who now counts among his clients a pro-pesticide group by the name of NY Alliance for Environmental Concerns. With the state budget now put to bed and two months ticking before the close of Albany’s legislative session, these two leaders must act swiftly and surely on substantial ethics reforms that wall off lawmakers from conflicts of interest embedded too often embedded in cozy relationships with lobbyists.

Senate to Remain GOP Democrat Felder
Democratic senator to vote Republican for Skelos’ replacement (NYP) Republicans appear set to remain in charge of the fractured state Senate no matter what happens in the April 19 special election to replace convicted crook Dean Skelos.  Renegade Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder said Thursday that he will continue to vote with the GOP even if a Democrat replaces Skelos, who was the Republican majority leader before his corruption conviction.* Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder said that he will continue to vote with the GOP even if a Democrat replaces former state Sen. Dean Skelos, who was the Republican majority leader before his corruption conviction, the Post writes:  * Renegade Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder said that he will continue to vote with the GOP even if a Democrat replaces former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was the Republican majority leader before his corruption conviction.

Still the Albany Secret Sausage Factory  
State budget process plagued by‘secrecy and dysfunction’: critics (NYP) Democrats hailed this year’s state budget as a dream come true, but critics said it marked a historic low for lack of transparency. “Nothing that happened this week can be remotely classified as democracy,” said Steve McLaughlin, an upstate Republican.  Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat, complained about the process. Some budget bills were delivered to lawmakers in the wee hours on Friday, still warm from the copiers. “The details of the budget came together late in the process and outside the public’s view, so more analysis is needed to examine the long-term impact of these spending decisions,” he said. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb blasted the three Albany leaders — Gov. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie — for hashing out the $156 billion spending plan at unknown times and locations, “establishing a new level of secrecy and dysfunction.” “New Yorkers didn’t get ethics reform in the final 2016-2017 state budget but they got the most secretive negotiation in history and a job-crushing minimum- wage hike,” he said. “Lawmakers were asked to vote on spending bills that omitted spending details, a new low for the budget process.” Cuomo aides said Kolb and other members were hypocritical because they voted for former Gov. George Pataki’s late budgets without knowing what was in them. Tales from the Sausage Factory - SUNY Press

The Silver Skelos Replacement Races Controlled By Corrupt Albany 
Seat races promise little end to political business as usual (NYP) The races are for the seats vacated by ex-Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos after their felony convictions. But — with one longshot exception — the wannabes offer little hope for fresh, independent new blood in the Legislature. In the duel for Skelos’ Nassau County seat, Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky says he wants “to make system-wide changes that will make our government more honest.” Ha! If he’d been effective on that front, he might’ve gotten at least his own chamber to pass some, uh . . . “system-wide changes.” Or spoken up about Silver (or others) before prosecutors got involved. Why expect better from him in the Senate? Republicans, meanwhile, are fielding ambulance-chaser — er, personal-injury lawyer — Chris McGrath for the Skelos seat. Their chief argument for him: If he loses, the GOP might (horrors!) lose control of the Senate, where the two parties now each hold 31 seats. Not exactly compelling. Indeed, so unimpressive are both of these contenders that the battle between them has focused on two other men instead: Skelos and Mayor de Blasio. Dems paint McGrath as Skelos 2.0; Republicans say a Kaminsky win would hand the Senate to de Blasio. (To be fair, both are scary prospects.) The fight for Silver’s lower Manhattan seat is equally depressing. For starters, Silver’s wife, Rosa, and his former chief-of-staff, Judy Rapfogel (whose husband, Willie, is himself a convicted thief — from a state-funded charity, no less) made sure loyal district leader Alice Cancel became the Democratic candidate. Yet Cancel’s been mostly MIA in the race, citing health woes. That may hand the win to the Working Families Party’s Yuh-Line Niou. And she’s as beholden to the unions as they come — taxpayers be damned. And perhaps the rules be damned, too: She’d originally intended to try for the Democratic nomination, but pulled out amid questions over whether she truly lives in the district. The WFP proved less picky. Which brings us to the longshot — the one guy with the most to offer in either race, businessman Lester Chang. He’s a solid citizen clean of ties to the special interests that dominate the state — but a Republican running in a heavily Democratic district.
None of this should surprise, of course. After all, the fall of Silver and Skelos has sparked no real change in how Albany works. If corruption convictions won’t shake things up, why should elections?

Everyone Attacking Silver in the Replacement Race
Potential Silver replacements don’t want to be associated with him (NYP) The four candidates vying for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s old lower Manhattan seat tried to outdo each other in distancing themselves from the crooked politician during a forum Thursday night. Even Silver’s would-be successor on the Democratic line, Alice Cancel — who was selected to run in the April 19 special election with the backing of Silver’s allies — insisted “I’m not a Silver stooge.” “I was one of the people to fight against Silver,” Cancel said, referring to an acrimonious dispute over housing in Seward Park on the Lower East Side. Cancel admitted she took some heat for referring to Silver as a “hero” when Democratic Party leaders from the district nominated her in February. Yuh-Line Niou, the Working Families Party candidate, said Silver “betrayed the community . . . We have to hold legislators to a higher standard.” Republican candidate Lester Chang said, “Mr. Silver is going to jail. Let’s move forward.” Green Party candidate Dennis Levy called Silver a “wheeler dealer” and said public corruption by legislators has turned the Empire State into the “criminal state.” Silver, 72, is scheduled to be sentenced April 13 in Manhattan federal court in a pay-to-play corruption scandal. * The four candidates vying for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s old lower Manhattan seat tried to outdo each other in distancing themselves from the convicted politician during a forum Thursday night, the Post reports:  Sen Dan Squadron and Assembly member Brian Kavanagh for your endorsement of Yuh-Line Niou for Assembly in the 65th AD! "* Judge sentencing Silver wants info. on other convicted pols (NYDN)

WFP Attacks Democratic Candidate On Ties to Silver When the WFP Have the Same Ties to Silver and Other Corrupt Pols 
True News Tips - Why don't you write about the WFP supporting candidate for Silver's seat by attacking Democrat for being a Silver supporter when the WFP supported Silver in every election. You could even make a rogue gallery of  I WFP endorsed candidates who were convicted of corruption. In 5 minutes I came up with - Silver, Vito Lopez, Nick Spano, Monserratte, Eric Stevenson, Boyland Jr., Sampson, Nelson Castro.  Miguel Martinez  I'm sure there are others

NYS BOE Campaign Filings A Joke
Campaign Filing Incomplete For Every Major Candidate in the Special
Cancel  Only Has $3,815.00
Chang Has Nothing in His BOE Filings
Niou Has  $144,872.19 in Her Filing, Has Spent $24,000 - $13,000 on John Liu Consultant CHUNG SETO and Election Lawyer Connors $5000
* The New York City Board of Elections made two mistakes last month, one that cost the city more than $200,000, and another that may have inadvertently confused 60,000 newly registered voters about the date of the April 19 presidential primary, the Times writes

How A Developer Killed A Nursing Home In Park Slope
Judge nixes sale ofunlicensed Park Slope nursing home which faces $45M in liens from multiplelawsuits (NYDN) The owner of an unlicensed Park Slope nursing home who’s hoping to sell it for a massive profit may wind up on the hook for $45 million. When John O’Hara, the attorney who represents nine families with pending lawsuits against Prospect Park Residence Home Health Care Inc., learned its owner Haysha Deitsch received an $84 million bid to sell the building, he filed motions to put $5 million liens on the building. After O’Hara was successful with two of the liens, Deitsch, who bought 1 Prospect Park West in 2006 under his limited liability company for $40 million, appealed the lower court’s decision and lost unanimously, according to the March 23 decision. PROSPECT PARK WEST NURSING HOME A DEATHTRAP: SUIT “This is an example of our judicial system working. Crime does not pay,” said O’Hara. O’Hara has a third $5 million lien pending approval in Brooklyn Supreme Court and will continue to submit $5 million motions against Deitsch’s property, one at a time, until money is set aside for all nine of the victims’ families. Seven of the lawsuits are wrongful death claims. “We are unhappy with the Appellate Court’s decision, we feel they got it incorrect,” said Deitsch’s attorney Joel Drucker who denies his client is an owner and does not run the facility. Dietsch used his company Prospect Park ALF, LLC to convert the residence into a nursing home, records show. Drucker disputes that the 139-bed property is a nursing home despite entering into insurance contracts as such and hiring healthcare staff, court records show. FAMILIES TRY TO STOP BROOKLYN NURSING HOME OWNER'S PLANS Dietsch also testified that he’s “not in the healthcare business,” according to court documents. After obtaining a license in 2014, Deitsch relocated over 100 elderly residents and unlawfully tried to push out the last five when he received the multi-million dollar bid. A judge assigned a temporary receiver to take over the facility in December after Deitsch defied orders to give the bare necessities like heat and hot water.

de Blasio Spends to Fix Problems Manages and Saves Little  
De Blasio will spend way more money than Bloomberg ever did (NYP) Mayor de Blasio hasn’t found a problem he can’t throw money at, planning to shell out $1.4 billion for new initiatives over the next two years. According to the city’s January 2016 financial plan, that sum includes $562 million the city budgeted for the current fiscal year — $349 million more than he set aside for new spending in FY 2015. He originally had planned to spend only $484 million this year. And de Blasio wants to splurge, with $819 million set for new programs next year — $361 million more than he originally intended, budget documents show. By comparison, predecessor Michael Bloomberg was downright miserly, allocating only $68 million and $81 million in new spending during the first two years of his administration. “What is different is that Mayor de Blasio has thus far been reluctant to ask agency heads to find internal savings to offset new needs,” said Citizens Budget Commission Director Carol Kellermann. “It’s kind of hard to expect agency heads to volunteer to cut their own budgets.” Meanwhile, the mayor’s spending continues to grow. He unveiled ThriveNYC, an overhaul of mental-health services spearheaded by wife Chirlane McCray, in November at a cost of $850 million over the next four years. He sought to insert himself in the national immigration debate when he launched a $7.9 million effort, ActionNYC, in December to provide more legal services for immigrants. A spike in graffiti last year led the mayor in February to disburse $6.7 million in FY 2017 for his CleaNYC program targeting street art and litter. He responded to criticism over EMS response times by announcing $70 million for new ambulance shifts and dispatchers through FY 2019. City spending rose 7.9 percent to $81.7 billion in FY 2016 from $75.7 billion in FY 2015.

Even Habitat for Humanity is Pushing Poor Long Time Tenants Out of Bed Stuy 
How Habitat for Humanity Went to Brooklynand Poor Families Lost Their Homes (PropublicaNY) The charity paid millions in federal stimulus funds to developers shortly after longtime tenants were pushed out. “We are spending federal money to throw low-income New Yorkers out of buildings,” wrote a Habitat whistleblower How Habitat for Humanity Went to Brooklyn and Poor Families Lost Their Homes The charity paid millions in federal stimulus funds to developers shortly after longtime tenants were pushed out. “We are spending federal money to throw low-income New Yorkers out of buildings,” wrote a Habitat whistleblower.“Habitat-NYC’s Director [of] Real Estate and Construction speaks openly about making deals with developers, saying that we can not buy buildings from them until they get rid of all their tenants,” one of the employees wrote in a May 2012 email, which was provided to ProPublica. “We are spending federal money to throw low-income New Yorkers out of buildings.”* ON GENTRIFICATION FRONTLINE, EAST NEW YORK PUSHES DE BLASIO FOR ZONING PROMISES(City and State) * NEW: Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for RapidChange v @GothamGazette *

Bharara 3rd Anniversary of Smith's Arrest and Standing By for Silver and Skelos Sentences While Albany Ducks Ethics Bill
Bharara celebrates anniversary of Malcolm Smith arrest (NYP) Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara gave himself a hand on Twitter Friday for successfully prosecuting disgraced state Sen. Malcolm Smith and his crooked cronies three years ago.  “Tomorrow is the 3rd anniversary of arrest of Sen. Malcom [sic] Smith and 5 others on corruption charges. All convicted,” the prosecutor wrote. Smith, ex-Queens City Councilman Dan Halloran and Republican county leaders Joseph Savino and Vincent Tabone were busted in a $200,000 bribery scheme to rig the 2013 mayoral election. Noramie Jasmin and Joseph Desmaret, the former mayor and deputy mayor of Spring Valley in Rockland County, were also nabbed. Smith is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence while Halloran got 10 years. And all but Savino, who hasn’t been sentenced yet, received prison time. Bharara followed up by quoting himself from a press conference announcing the arrests. “ ‘Putting dirty politicians in prison may be necessary but it is not sufficient.’ Still true,” he added.

Another Mismanaged Real Estate Deal By the City 
‘Drug dealing’ docs scored $1M real estate deal from city (NYP) The de Blasio administration approved a deal that netted an Upper West Side couple nearly $1 million for a vacant lot last summer — even as they were under investigation by city drug prosecutors, records show. Two months after the city waived restrictions on the property owned by Dr. Rogelio and Lydia Lucas and their family, the couple as busted for allegedly running a massive oxycodone “pill mill” out of their medical practice. Two weeks before the arrests were announced by the city’s special narcotics prosecutor, the NYPD and the US Drug Enforcement Agency last July 9, the family sold the land for $900,000. They had paid $75,000 for the property in 1985, and gave the city $100,000 on April 2, 2015, for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to lift a restriction limiting the land’s use to nonprofit community services. City officials said they had no way of knowing the duo was under investigation at the time — the second instance uncovered in as many weeks of a case that benefited a property owner while robbing a community of guaranteed nonprofit services.  The city Department of Investigation and Comptroller Scott Stringer are probing a separate deal that netted Brooklyn health- care operator Allure Group $72 million by turning a nursing home into luxury condos — with the city’s help.* Feds eye rabbi who tried to sell synagogue for $13 million (NYP) A Queens rabbi who is being sued by the congregants of a Lower East Side synagogue for trying to sell their $13 million building out from under them and allegedly make off with the profits, is now under investigation by federal as well as state officials, The Post has learned. Rabbi Samuel Aschkenazi, leader of the right-wing Hasidic sect, Ger, was served with papers by two FBI agents as soon as he stepped off the witness stand in Manhattan Supreme Court in the civil case Monday. Aschkenazi was set to sell the House of Sages of Israel at 25 Bialystoker Place to developer Todd Fine before the state attorney general stepped in last fall and put hold on the transaction. Aschkenazi’s attorney, Michael Bachner, confirmed to The Post that the rabbi is being probed by US Attorney Preet Bharara.

NY Potamkin Political Parties Only Serve the Political Class Disconnected From the Voters

Time to Look At NY's Undemocratic Party System 

Political Parties Survive Despite Much of Its Power Being Eaten Away By NY Lobbyists Class Because of New York's Falling Political and Voting Participation

NY's Political Class in Both Parties Which Using the Election Law to Control Judgeship, Special Elections and Run An Incumbent Protection for Elected Officials and Party Leaders Not is Trying to Influence the Voters Who They Disconnected A Generation Ago 

If Bernie Sanderswins the New YorkDemocratic primary, some superdelegates vow to back Hillary Clinton anyway(NYDN) Maybe the system really is rigged. At least a half-dozen Democratic superdelegates in New York State who have already decided to support Hillary Clinton said Tuesday they would maintain their allegiance to her — regardless of the results of the Empire State’s primary. Even if Sanders were to win the April 19 New York presidential contest, when a whopping 247 delegates are at stake, every single New York superdelegate reached by the Daily News said they would never support the Vermont senator.  Among New York’s superdelegates this year are Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, and most of the state’s House members. n spite of Sanders winning 15 states — including some by an 80%-20% margin — over 94% of the 498 superdelegates have said they are backing Clinton. *  Hillary, Bernie ready to kick off for battle for New York (NYP)
The Walmartization Centralization of NY's Politics

The City's Public Hospitals Are Out of Money 
City hospitals chief says money problems are out of his control (NYP) The city municipal hospital system’s finances are getting worse — and its president said Monday that much of the problem is out of his hands.  NYC Health + Hospitals, formerly the Health and Hospitals Corp., expects to face a $1.2 billion deficit next year, which will be exacerbated by federal cuts of $300 million in 2017 and $460 million per year through 2025, hospitals chief Dr. Ramanathan Raju said at a City Council hearing. “Some of the things are beyond our control,” Raju said. The city bailed out the system last month, injecting $337 million to keep it afloat this year.* NYC hospitals plea for help as they struggle to survive (NYDN) * New York City Health and Hospitals President Ram Raju told the City Council the public hospital system faces “unprecedented threats to our survival” and it “too important to fail,” the Daily News reports: *   NYC Health + Hospitals, formerly the Health and Hospitals Corp., expects to face a $1.2 billion deficit next year, which will be exacerbated by federal cuts of $300 million in 2017 and $460 million per year through 2025.* City hospitals missed 15 deadlines to install new records system (NYP)

Albany Pigs Cannot Sing ETHICS After Silver and Skelos' Convictions 
Same old Albany (NYP) Albany is being Albany again. Despite the conviction on federal corruption charges of two of the three men in a room, the notorious practice of leaders making all the state’s major decisions in secrecy continues. Democratic former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos are headed to the pokey, but Gov. Cuomo, who emerged unindicted from a separate probe, is carving up the budget and other items with their replacements. Like made men finally getting a seat at the table, Democrat Carl Heastie and Republican John Flanagan slipped comfortably into the habits of their felonious predecessors. It is a measure of public numbness that there is little objection. Perhaps silence is wise and efficient, as Mark Twain advised in a similar situation. “Never try to teach a pig to sing,” he said. “It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”* "Heastie and Flanagan slipped comfortably into thehabits of their felonious predecessors.  * Albany’s ethics watchmice get a new Big Cheese (NYP) New York’s anti-corruption watchmice — the members of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics — are remarkably consistent. Consistently servile, that is. After a nine-month nationwide search, the commission has finally tapped a new executive director, its third since its 2011 founding. By a remarkable coincidence, for the third straight time, it’s a top aide to Gov. Cuomo. The same Cuomo who’s notorious for exerting tight personal control over every investigative effort into state corruption — even as ineffective a body as JCOPE. The choice of another ethics pointman firmly in the governor’s pocket comes despite last year’s public warning from four of the 14 commissioners that unless the next executive director came from outside state government, “the public trust will be inexorably destroyed.”Well, destruction complete. The new executive director, Seth Agata, may be up to the job. But as a longtime deputy counsel to Cuomo, he’s bound to inspire deep doubts about JCOPE’s independence.  Especially when the Legislature refuses to take any kind of substantive ethics-reform action after the Silver-Skelos convictions.  JCOPE says it received 200 resumes from job applicants. Remarkable that, of all those, it couldn’t find a single qualified person who hasn’t worked for Andrew Cuomo. * Leaders of prominent good government groups gathered at the state Capitol to decry not only the inability of Cuomo and legislative leaders to achieve ethics reform in the budget process, but also the lack of transparency in the ongoing three-men-in-a-room negotiations.* Prominent good-government group leaders have decried the inability of Cuomo and legislative leaders to achieve ethics reform in the budget process and the lack of transparency in the negotiations, the TimesUnion reports: * Good-government watchdogs on Monday continued to criticize Cuomo and the top legislative leaders for keeping ethics reforms out of the state budget this month.

Albany's ethics watchmice get a new Big Cheese @nypost - Preet, not Jcope, already found 2of3 in room were criminals

After Council Passes 32% Pay Increase and Become Full Time They Duck Hearings    

A Tale of Two CFBs: Albanese vs Campaigh PACs NYCLASS, UFT's United for the Future and Campaign for One NY PAC
Former mayoral candidate suing to get his own money back (NYP) A mayoral candidate smacked with a $10,000 fine for using his own money to keep his campaign afloat is suing to recoup the cash, calling the penalty “shocking.” Sal Albanese spent 16 years as a city councilman and originally sponsored the campaign-finance law he was accused of violating in 2013, when he bowed out of the mayoral race after a lackluster campaign. He kicked off his mayoral bid by loaning his campaign $100,000 of his own dough, intending to pay the money back once he qualified for public matching funds.  But the matching funds never came and Albanese struggled to raise cash and qualify for public funding, he says in Manhattan Supreme Court papers. The Brooklyn Democrat found himself in a pickle, he says: pay his staff and creditors out of his own pocket, or stiff those who worked on his campaign. He ultimately shelled out $170,000 to his campaign. Since the money was never paid back, it didn’t count as a loan, but an illegally high contribution.“It is shocking that the Campaign ­Finance Board assessed any penalty…let alone the severest one possible,” he says in the legal filing. He wants a judge to vacate the CFB’s September 2015 decision and the $10,000 refunded. “If this isn’t mitigating circumstances I don’t know what is,” said his lawyer, David Berger.
A Tale of Two CFBs: Albanese vs Campaign PAC NYCLASS, UFT's United for the Future 

Everyone Saw the Conflict of Interests In the Mayor Slush PAC Taking $$$ From Lobbyists and People Doing Business With the City, But the Mayor's Conflict of Interests Board  
Meanwhile, the same conflicts board blessed Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, a non-profit group he set up to promote his policy agenda and now moves to disband as an escalating political liability.  Everyone saw the screaming conflicts of interest posed by the campaign’s fundraising — everyone but the board that was supposed to prevent them.  The campaign, led by de Blasio confidantes, collected nearly $5 million from unions and business interests to advance all things de Blasio.  No, sir-ree, no conflicts here — just a string of questionable actions on horse carriages, public schools, Uber and more coinciding with contributions to the fund by interested parties.  High time has come for the chronic enablers at the conflicts board to survey the gaping loopholes that let mayors hazardously mix private and public business while in office .

Port Authority Yes $$$ Airport, Bus Terminal No Penn Station 
Port Authority Pledges Billions for Airport Upgrades and New Bus Terminal (NYDN) * The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted to require a construction company overseeing La Guardia Airport’s redevelopment to pay for an outside “integrity monitor” after it admitted to overbilling at the World Trade Center site.  Port Authority Board members also advanced several major projects—including renovations at two area airports – as the agency’s mounting tensions burst into the public spotlight at raucous meetings. * The Authority backed out of a lease in the James A. Farley Post Office, temporarily throwing a wrench into part of Cuomo’s plans to pay for the project. * The Port Authority voted to spend tens of billions of dollars revamping La Guardia Airport, improving Newark Liberty International Airport and building a new bus terminal in midtown Manhattan, The New York Times reports: * The Port Authority voted to require Tishman Construction Corp. to pay for an outside integrity monitor as the firm oversees the La Guardia Airport redevelopment because Tishman admitted to overbilling at the World Trade Center site, The Wall Street Journal reports: * Govs. Cuomoand Chris Christie will leave the Port Authority in worse shape than during Bridgegate – and leave commuters in worse condition than when the two men took office – because of the tick-for-tack nature of the agency’s funding strategy, Nicole Gelinas writes in the Post: h

Distraction:  How Do You Stop Press Stories On the $4 Billion PATH Station and Leaky News Subway Stations Get On the Wifi Bus 
$2.75 MetroCard fare actually costs MTA $4.11, according to Moody's (NYP) The firm said the per-ride operating cost to the MTA was higher than its transit counterparts in London and Paris. The price behind the fare reflects the high labor costs — it makes up 66% of the MTA’s operations spending — and its round-the-clock staffing needs, according to Moody’s. The London and Paris systems, however, don’t have to pay workers’ pensions and benefits, unlike the MTA, the Moody’s analysis noted.* Documents Reveal Early Concerns About Leaks at Hudson Yards Subway Station (NYT)
As the Metropolitan Transportation Authority investigates what went wrong at the $2.4 billion station, a contractor’s lawsuit faults a type of concrete that lines the waterproofing system.

JCOPE Run By Cuomo Ex-Aide Again
Once Again, JCOPE Turns To An Ex-Cuomo Aide (YNN) * New York’s top ethics watchdog in Albany will once again be led by a former aide to Gov. Cuomo, selecting Seth Agata to become its next executive director.* * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics named Seth Agata, a former counsel to Cuomo and the governor’s pick to serve as chairman of the Public Employment Relations Board, as its new director, The Associated Press reports: * In his capacity as first assistant counsel to the governor, incoming JCOPE Executive director Seth Agata wrote a letter in December 2012 to JCOPE’s then-executive director (and another former Cuomo aide) Ellen Biben, seeking approval for Cuomo to write a memoir, “All Things Possible.”* Seth Agata, a former Cuomo aide who was announced Tuesday as the new executive director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, was selected by a narrow vote of 8-4, according to a source with direct knowledge of the deliberations. *  The governor’s longreach (TU) Cuomo may honestly believe he’s the most ethical governor in New York history, with the most ethical administration ever, and surrounded by the most ethical aides and advisers anywhere in America. That doesn’t make his apparent manipulation of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics any less disturbing. * Despite last year’s warning from four of JCOPE’s commissioners that unless the next executive director came from outside state government, “the public trust will be inexorably destroyed,” Cuomo for the third time appointed one of his top aides, ensuring deep doubts about the panel’s independence, the Post writes: "If I hear 'sweeping reform' again, I think I’m goingto be sick" 
JJOKE resignations coming in after Seth Agata's selection  Heastie wants his lobbyist Patrick Jenkins to be on JJOKE

The Already Controlled CFB Just Got Fixed More by the Mayor's Union Friends 
The Post writes that de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are “stacking the deck” at the New York City Campaign Finance Board, which may make city elections irrelevant
Campaign Finance Board might make voting irrelevant (NYP Ed) Tired of voting? Here’s good news: The city’s Campaign Finance Board might soon do the choosing for you. It’s headed that way, anyhow. And when it does, expect city government to be even more left-wing, and more beholden to unions, than it is now. Consider: Last week, Mayor de Blasio announced his first appointment to the board: Naomi Zauderer, whose labor-heavy resumé could shame Joe Hill. A CFB press release boasts she has “more than 19 years of experience in union organzing, collective bargaining and contract administration.” She’s been a leader at CUNY’s left-wing faculty union and director of the local nurses union. She’s also worked with UAW Locals 1981 and 2165. Nothing wrong with one union stooge on the board, of course — in theory. But the CFB has huge say over elections. It arguably tipped the scales for de Blasio in the 2013 Democratic primary by freezing the matching funds of a key rival on the left, John Liu. It cited a federal fund-raising probe, but Liu was never charged. CFB members serve staggered terms, with the mayor naming three, including the chairman, and the City Council speaker two. Come November, de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will have appointed a majority of the board. Yet de Blasio engineered Mark-Viverito’s speakership. Both are thisclose with labor and its political organ, the Working Families Party. De Blasio is a WFP co-founder, and Zauderer’s from the WFP. Even now, the CFB’s independence is in doubt, as current members may curry favor to win reappointment. Why hasn’t the board even responded to the recent complaint filed by Common Cause New York over de Blasio’s seamy pocket nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York?  We’ve never been fans of the CFB, which pretends to boost democracy but operates as an unelected barrier to campaigns and political speech. In fact, the city’s entire campaign-finance system, which costs taxpayers millions, has proven itself a sham that’s only invited abuse and corruption. With de Blasio and Mark-Viverito now stacking the deck, the board may soon make fair city elections a matter of history.

This Time the Mayor Caters to The Teamsters (Re-Election Resource) Over NYCHA Tenants Needs
The Daily News writes that de Blasio secured no “meaningful reforms” in a deal with Teamsters Local 237, but NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye is still fighting “the good fight” to be able to schedule workers after 4:30 p.m. without paying overtime: 
The NYCHA fixesshould be in: Olatoye steps up after de Blasio drops housing ball (NYDN Ed) Confronted by mammoth backlogs in repair requests, the New York City Housing Authority’s chief executive called more than a year ago for greater flexibility in assigning maintenance workers. Shola Olatoye noted that, unlike major private landlords, she was barred from putting plumbers, painters and others on shifts that ended after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Unless she paid overtime.  Thanks to NYCHA’s contract with Teamsters Local 237, 400,000 public housing residents often had to take off from work to get repairs done or fixes were left hanging for long periods. Garbage isn’t collected after 4:30 or on weekends.  The consequences on the quality of life have been corrosive. In 2014, the toll proved disastrous when the lighting failed — and went unrepaired — in the Brooklyn stairwell where former NYPD Officer Peter Liang fatally shot Akai Gurley.  Despite Olatoye’s plea, Mayor de Blasio secured no meaningful reforms in a deal that afforded Local 237 the wage hikes accepted by other city unions. Teamsters boss Greg Floyd said he’d be happy to expand work hours — provided his members got overtime for each minute past 4:30 p.m. She’s fighting the good fight. Too bad de Blasio failed to win the war by successfully negotiating contract language certifying that Olatoye in fact has the legal authority to get the job done.

NYP Goo Goos Ignore Slush PAC NYCLASS and UFT's United for the Future That Elected the Mayor and Council  
One de Blasio slush fund down — more to come? (NYP) Mayor de Blasio isn’t quite declaring “mission accomplished” as he finally pulls the plug on his personal pay-to-play slush fund, the Campaign for One New York — but that’s basically his excuse. Unofficially, The Post reports, de Blasio & Co. want to avoid any “distractions” as he gears up for re-election. What CONY really did was let unions, real-estate execs, lobbyists and others doing city business kick in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the mayor’s machine that they couldn’t legally give to his campaign fund.Distractions like the call from Common Cause New York for an official investigation of the whole seamy arrangement — or, as the watchdog kindly put it, “troubling questions about the legality of his conduct.”   The mayor says the nonprofit — essentially a vacuum for outsize donations from people and groups seeking special favors from City Hall — achieved its goals on universal Pre-K and affordable housing.People like Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu — key figures behind the drive to kill the horse-carriage industry — who gave $100,000 after a top-level meeting on the issue.  All in all, the group raised $4.3 million — more than 75 percent of it from just 30 individuals or entitles, a Post analysis showed.But closing the Campaign for One New York hardly takes de Blasio out of the slush-fund business.He’s got two other entities — United for Affordable Housing and the Progressive Agenda Committee. Both are said to be more independent of City Hall, but the latter — formed to push the mayor’s national profile — was seeded with more than $700,000 gifted by the Campaign for One New York. * De Blasio's nonprofit, Campaign for One New York, to disband (NYDN) Those donations were not subject to the $4,950 limit the city Campaign Finance Board places on election fund-raising — and in many cases were much larger. Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu — the two anti-horse-carriage lobbyists prohibited from donating large amounts to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign because of their efforts to enact a ban — each gave $50,000 to the group in 2015. That donation came three days after a meeting on horse carriages. The two have given a total of $125,000 to the group since its inception. Other noteworthy donations included a whopping $350,000 from the American Federation of Teachers — the umbrella union for the city’s teachers — and $100,000 from Two Trees Management, a real estate developer that does business with the city.* De Blasio's 'Dark Money' Nonprofit to Close, Officials Say (DNAINFO)
Good government, tenant and labor groups said the mayor was violating campaign finance laws.

Where is the Criminal Investigations of the de Blasio PACs?
CM Leffler. Liu Treasurer Liu, District Leader Baldeo and Silver Pal Rapfogel, All Found Guilty of Campaign Fraud Scheme With the CFB
Sheldon Leffler, Former Councilman, Is Convicted in CampaignFraud Scheme(NYT) Sheldon S. Leffler, the former city councilman who represented Queens for nearly a quarter-century, was found guilty yesterday of scheming to defraud the government in his unsuccessful run for borough president two years ago.  Two Former Liu Associates Are Found Guilty inCampaign-Finance Scheme (NYT) Prosecutors had charged that the defendants, Jia Hou, a former Liu campaign treasurer, and Xing Wu Pan, a fund-raiser, relied on so-called straw donors — people whose contributions are reimbursed by others — to raise money and use some of it to obtain city matching funds. Mr. Pan was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempted wire fraud in relation to a straw-donor scheme. *  Democratic Party Official in QueensFaces Corruption Charges(NYT)A Queens district leader and two-time candidate for the City Council surrendered to federal authorities on Wednesday to face corruption charges, including mail-fraud conspiracy and obstruction of justice, stemming from what prosecutors said were campaign-finance improprieties. The district leader, Albert J. Baldeo, a Democrat, was accused of using phantom donors to funnel illegal campaign contributions to his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the Council as part of a fraudulent effort to increase the amount of matching funds he would have been eligible for from city, federal prosecutors said  * Rapfogel to Plead Guilty in Scheme to Steal Millions From Charity(NYT) Rapfogel was accused of colluding with Mr. Cohen and others to steal millions through a scheme that involved overcharging the council for insurance policies and then skimming off the margin in cash. He was also accused of manipulating the city’s matching-fund formula to fraudulently increase campaign contributions to politicians who gave government grants to his organization.

NYP: Mahattan DA Or U.S. Attorney Bharara Should Investigate de Blasio Horse Deals

De Blasio’s suspicious obsession with killing the carriage trade (NYP Ed) Mayor de Blasio says the transit union’s demand for an investigation into his secretive deals to kill the city’s horse-carriage trade is “just foolish.”Sorry, Bill — the union has a good idea. Well, basically: Transport Workers Union President John Samuelson wants Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to head the probe. Likely better choices? Manhattan DA Cy Vance, who has no apparent political ambition at the moment, or US Attorney Preet Bharara, a proven corruption-fighter. But someone should be looking into the mayor’s obsession with ridding the city of horse carriages — and whether some special obligation to reward special-interest donors is behind it.Granted, the mayor and Samuelson have had their differences on other issues. * The Growing Call for An Investigation of de Blasio HorseGate Corruption All the Way Back to the 2013 NYCLASS Election
And the union has been cozying up to de Blasio’s rival, Gov. Cuomo. But the TWU’s charges have plain merit. After all, this was never about animal rights, for all the claims to the contrary. Those who sank money into de Blasio’s 2013 campaign — and worked to sink his chief rival, Christine Quinn — were real-estate developers with eyes on the West Side parcels that house the horse stables. Asked about that link Monday, the mayor insisted he doesn’t “think it’s an issue.”Sorry: Lots of New Yorkers don’t buy it. Why is he so reluctant to say he just can’t deliver on this promise? De Blasio also claims the press is making too much of his anti-horse-carriage crusade, telling reporters to “really think about what’s important.”But it was Bill de Blasio who called the issue so urgent that he vowed to ban the horse carriages on “Day One” of his mayoralty. And it’s de Blasio who won’t take no for an answer — coming back this year to a fight that humiliated him last year. And then, the moment his latest “deal” collapsed in flames, immediately setting out to find an alternative. Something strange is going on here — so strange the issue deserves a closer look.
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election

More Winds of A Corrupt Bomb Going Off On LI Inside the GOP Base of Leader Flanagan
A high-ranked source in Rockland County with inside knowledge of two far-reaching corruption probes by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office says the investigations will impact some of the most recognizable faces in the county – as many as 50 people are involved, most of whom are elected officials.*  Former U.S. Sen. Al D’Amato, who has endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich, is going afterMitt Romney for trying to take down GOP presidential front-runner Trump, claiming Romney’s acting like a “spoiled rich kid” who is trying to revive his political career at the expense of Republican Party.* Federal investigators subpoenaed the Suffolk DA’s office, seeking all records related to its 2008 prosecution of criminal defense attorney Robert Macedonio, whose drug possession case remains shrouded in secrecy and involved unusual legal maneuvering.

Now Corrupt Albany Lawmakers Have Found A Way to Raise Their Pay With No Fingerprints
The Daily News writes that state legislators are “chickens all the way” after no lawmaker registered to testify before a commission convened to consider giving raises to state legislators
Bawk bawk (NYDN) The poor dears of the New York State Legislature have gone without a raise since 1999 because they have been too chicken to vote themselves a pay hike. But now they have outsourced the job to a commission, giving the panel the authority to determine how much to boost their $79,500 salaries. The commission’s recommendations will be binding unless lawmakers vote to overrule them. Clearly, the Legislature’s 213 members have a lot at stake. Perhaps the commission will index raises to inflation and evenly divide the stipends called lulus, which would bring pay to $125,000. Or perhaps the panel will look toward the City Council, which has just overridden another panel’s recommendations and spiked salaries to $148,500. My, wouldn’t that be nice in Albany? On Thursday, the commission begins taking testimony. Not a single lawmaker has registered to testify. They’re chickens all the way.

Berlin Rosen and Other Flacks Lobbyists Who Don't Want to Be Regulated Join Forces With Citizen United Law Firm 
PR firms file suit over ‘hopelessly vague’ JCOPE lobbying definition (Politico NY) On Tuesday, the November Team, Anat Gerstein, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, Risa Heller Communications and Mercury filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York district court that was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. They are being represented by Manhattan law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP and the Center for Competitive Politics, a Virginia not-for-profit that generally opposes the regulation of money in politics and brought the federal case that led to the creation of “Super PACs.”  JCOPE’s opinion, which sought to clarify the types of grassroots activity that should be considered lobbying, identified activities such as setting up meetings with legislators and urging editorial boards to back government actions. The commission argued that people who are paid over $5,000 a year to engage in these activities should be considered lobbyists under existing state law and need to disclose information such as how much they’re paid and which bills they advocate for or against. They argue that JCOPE’s definition of what constitutes lobbying goes beyond the types of activities that have been narrowed by First Amendment case law. While courts have permitted regulations of grassroots lobbying in the past, this has typically been limited to efforts to get third parties to influence lawmakers, such as by paying for a letter-writing campaign. Paying somebody to seek favorable editorials from a third party, they argue, is fundamentally different than paying for television advertisements that seek to encourage the public to act on an issue. “It’s really a pretty breathtaking expansion in terms of indirect political activity,” said Center for Competitive Politics lawyer Allen Dickerson, “and also, this effort to dragoon the press as part of the lobbying apparatus I think is very dangerous.”*PR people fight requirement to disclose communications with reporters (NYP) Claiming their free speech rights are being violated, liberal and conservative political consultants asked a Manhattan federal court Tuesday to toss out a state regulation requiring them to report their communications with reporters as a form of lobbying.  The PR people — who include the conservative November Team and the liberal Berlin Rosen — said the edict approved by the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics in January violates their free speech rights by “unlawfully subjecting public relations firms like the plaintiffs to a disclosure and punishment regime designed for true lobbyists, when all that they are doing is speaking to the press about public issues.” Lobbying is typically defined as trying to persuade elected officials — the governor and mayor or lawmakers — to support a client’s position on legislation. Under the new regulation, JCOPE said “any attempt by a consultant to induce a third party — whether the public or press — to deliver the client’s lobbying message to a public official would constitute lobbying.” The activity would have to be reported under the threat of civil fines or criminal prosecution, the firms said in their lawsuit. “With these sweeping statements, the Commission’s opinion converts the entire public relations industry in New York State into `lobbyists’ subject to Commission’s disclosure and regulatory regime,” the complaint says. “And virtually all PR consultants contact media outlets in an attempt to get the media outlet to advance the client’s message.” The plaintiffs include Bill O’ Riley and Jessica Proud of the November Team, Anat Gerstein, Berlin Rosen Public Affairs (Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin), Risa Heller Communications and Mercury LLC.   Mercury LLC does lobby elected officials as well as perform PR work, the suit acknowledges. Berlin Rosen is considered the most influential political PR firm in the city. It helped run Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign and manages his political advocacy group, Campaign for One New York.
JACOPE power CORRUPTS;City's campaign finance rule favors entrenched pols & special interests = CORRUPTION. 

Assembly Dems Try to Protect the Lobbyists
Assembly Dem bill requires more disclosure by groups wholobby in NY; exempts talks with edit brds as lobbying  The bill, according to officials, would also specifically exempt from the definition of lobbying any communications with news outlets, including editorial boards. The bill, officials said, would require organizations registered to lobby in New York and that spend more than $5,000 to disclose the names of all donors who gave them more than $1,000. They would also have to disclose the exact amount donated and how the funding was used. Under federal law, donations to nonprofits cannot be tax deductible if the money is used for lobbying, Assembly officials said. The bill would make it easier to figure that out. The legislation would not only impact groups like the National Rifle Association or environmental organizations, but also some of the leading groups that have been pushing for ethics reforms, such as the New York Public Interest Research Group, the League of Women Voters, and Common Cause/New York. Some of those reform groups have come under fire from Gov. Cuomo and others for taking money from organizations with interests before the state.  While saying his group would comply with any law, NYPIRG’s Blair Horner said requiring more disclosure by nonprofits “doesn’t seem to get to the root of the problem at hand, and that’s unethical behavior by elected officials.” “I think that’s where the problem solving should start,” Horner said. “For a house whose leader was convicted of corruption, to want more disclosure from not-for-profits doesn’t seem to solve the problem.” Cuomo in January proposed a wide-ranging ethics package that includes banning most outside income for lawmakers, increasing disclosure requirements, campaign finance reform, and a provision allowing for the forfeiture of pensions of public officials convicted of felony crimes related to their office. While saying his group would comply with any law, NYPIRG’s Blair Horner said requiring more disclosure by nonprofits “doesn’t seem to get to the root of the problem at hand, and that’s unethical behavior by elected officials.” “I think that’s where the problem solving should start,” Horner said. “For a house whose leader was convicted of corruption, to want more disclosure from not-for-profits doesn’t seem to solve the problem.” Cuomo in January proposed a wide-ranging ethics package that includes banning most outside income for lawmakers, increasing disclosure requirements, campaign finance reform, and a provision allowing for the forfeiture of pensions of public officials convicted of felony crimes related to their office. While saying his group would comply with any law, Ethics reform is expected to be tied up with the upcoming state budget negotiations.

Daily News and NYP Protect the Lobbyists As Usually 
Oust the JCOPE bureaucrats for their speech-suppressing power grab (NYP) * N.Y.’s free-speech impediment (NYDN)* * A group of public relations firms filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop the state’s top ethics panel from implementing a rule that would require the firms to disclose their efforts to influence editorial boards, The New York Times reports: *  * The Daily News writes that it looks forward to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics’ day in court because the body displayed ignorance while attempting to classify PR professionals’ communications with editorial boards as lobbying:  * The Post writes that it hopes the courts “slap” the Joint Commission on Public Ethics “fast and hard” for trying to treat public relations firms as lobbyists and that the commission’s members lose their jobs:


How de Blasio Operates His Pay to Play Slush PAC Campaign for One NY Designed to Go Around the Election Law
The perks of donating to de Blasio’s nonprofit (NYP) Some $3.2 million of the $4.3 million donated to the Campaign for One New York came from just 30 people or entities, and 16 of them gave $50,000 or more, records show.  In one case, Joseph Dussich, CEO of Manhattan-based janitor-supply company JAD Corporation, forked over $100,000 to the mayor’s pet charity, and was granted a one-hour sit-down with him in February 2015. A month later, the city bought $15,000 worth of rodent-repelling trash bags from him — a product Dussich had previously tried to peddle to the city without success for nearly a decade. De Blasio participated in at least 31 work meetings or phone calls through September with 16 of these 30 major CONY donors — or those directly linked to these donors, records show. He also attended 23 conferences and other gatherings with CONY contributors – plenty of whom shelled out six-figure donations and regularly do business with the city – and many times publicly showered them with compliments at events. De Blasio also featured these top CONY donors – which include developers, entrepreneurs and labor unions – in at least 17 of his office’s press releases, often praising them and providing them a free platform to gain positive media attention.
de Blasio One NY PAC Interlocking-directorates Slush Fund, Berlin Rosen, Bill Hyers, Red Horse 

Why Did the  NYP Leave Out the Fact That Berlin Rosen Work for the Mayor the Developer and for the Campaign for One NY?
Meanwhile, father-and-son developers David and Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management also gave CONY $100,000.  A mayoral press release cheered affordable housing in the developers’ $2 billion project at the former Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg, and they are now potential benefactors of de Blasio’s streetcar plan connecting the Queens and Brooklyn waterfronts.

A City Union and Soros Are the Biggest Contributors to the Mayor Slush PAC
SEIU 1199, the powerful health-care-workers union, gave $500,000 to CONY, and in 2014, it received a nine-year contract with raises retroactive to 2009, records show. Leading the donor pack were 1199 SEIU, and left-leaning hedge fund tycoon George Soros’s nonprofit Fund for Policy Reform Inc., which gave $500,000 each.  De Blasio met with Soros’ son, Alexander, for lunch in Southhampton in August 2015, even taking time to pose for photos the scion later posted on social media websites. He also met with Soros’ son, Jonathan, six months earlier, and the Soros family helped arrange for de Blasio to be keynote speaker at the April 2014 Democratic Alliance Conference in Chicago. George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU, met privately with De Blasio at Gracie Mansion in December 2014, attended three events with him and was also featured on two press releases. During a June 2015 union event, de Blasio praised Gresham before a crowd of supporters, saying, “God bless you and thank you” for his leadership.

Daily News Says Holding 3 Primaries Cost $25 Million Extra But Leaves Out the Reason Protecting Incumbents 
How to buy anelection: Albany should earn its pay raise bykilling a wasteful primary (NYDN) While gearing up to hike their own salaries by $10 million a year, New York lawmakers are headed toward throwing $25 million more down the drain.  They would waste the money on staging an utterly unnecessary primary election. The Republican-led Senate has voted to hold combined congressional and state primaries in August. The Democratic-run Assembly has voted to hold those same combined primaries in June. If the two houses fail to agree, as happened in 2012 and 2014, New York will be stuck with two primaries. There would be one in June for Congress and one in September for all other offices. Each would cost $25 million. As we have previously urged, if the divided Legislature can’t agree on a date to unify the primaries (like July?) then they should just alternate the schedule — August this year and June in 2018 and see what works best. For reasons that are too ridiculous to explain, a change this year would need the okay of Albany Federal Judge Gary Sharpe. On a personal level, the judge, a registered Republican shouldn’t care. In 2012, election records show, he skipped voting in either of the $25 million split primaries that he ordered because of the Legislature’s misfeasance. New Yorkers have plenty of reasons to oppose raises for members of their corruption-riddled Legislature. Here come 25 million more.* According to New York election law, registered voters missed the last chance to change their party affiliation for the entire 2016 primary season — presidential on April 19, congressional on June 28, state and local on Sept. 13 — more than five months ago.

Why Does the Media Ignore That the de Blasio's Lobbyist Feeding Frenzy Fueled By An Controlled Cover-Up Conflict of Interested and CFB Boards 
A lobbyist feeding frenzy thanks to Mayor de Blasio (NYP Ed) Pay-to-play is the order of the day at Bill de Blasio’s City Hall. And the mayor’s lobbyist buddies are cashing in — big time.  The Wall Street Journal reports that overall lobbying receipts in New York have jumped 15 percent since de Blasio took office, to an all-time high of $71.9 million. Indeed, the ease with which lobbyists access the mayor is so notorious that the top 10 firms’ client list has grown by more than 40 percent since de Blasio took office. Let’s face it: Under the mayor who vowed to drive the special interests from power, lobbyists have not only taken up residence at City Hall, they’re running the place.  That’s especially true for three of de Blasio’s closest lobbyist pals — James Capalino, Harold Ickes and Sid Davidoff — and his PR buddy, Jonathan Rosen. Ickes hadn’t even been a lobbyist here in the 12 years before de Blasio became mayor, save for one client. Since then, he’s collected almost $1 million in City Hall lobbying fees. Capalino, New York’s top lobbyist, has boasted to clients of his frequent access to the mayor and City Hall, the Journal reported. And the access he and others enjoy also appear closely linked to donations to the mayor’s re-election campaign or his slush fund, the Campaign for One New York. Ickes, for example, won a major music festival contract deal for AEG Live on the same day he forked over $13,000 in bundled gifts to the mayor’s re-election campaign. They’re not alone — other fat cats with a special-interest agenda also make it a point to kick in to CONY or the campaign. Looks like there are still “two New Yorks” under Bill de Blasio: a profitable one for those who pay and another for everyone else.