Rats Jumping Ship
Two more top aides quit de Blasio administration (NYP) More top aides to Mayor de Blasio headed for the exit doors Thursday — soon after his counsel disclosed that she was quitting and his social media director fled after just eight weeks on the job. Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced she was retiring, while Nilda Mesa, who heads the mayor’s Office of Sustainability, said she wanted to “spend time with her family and explore new opportunities,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office. The departures were the third and fourth over the past two days.
de Blasio's Top Media Guy Quits Too Many Political Hacks
De Blasio’s social media director quits, calls colleagues ‘political hacks’ (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s new social-media director couldn’t stomach the gig after only eight weeks — writing in a scathing Facebook post that he can’t work with “political hacks” and “a boss who just couldn’t get it.”Scott Kleinberg, hired from the Chicago Tribune on May 3 to give Hizzoner a p.r. boost, ran for the exit door over the weekend when he abruptly announced he had to go to maintain his “sanity.” “Well, that was fast. I moved to NYC for a dream job, and that’s not what I got. I tried to stick it out, but it was impossible. I don’t even know the word quit, but for the sake of my health and my sanity, I decided I needed to do just that,” he explained on the social-media site.“I ended up with political hacks, plus a boss who just couldn’t get. It was a bad combination for sure,” he wrote about life with Team de Blasio.And when someone offers you a job and then takes pieces of it away so it’s no longer the job that you were offered, it’s time to pack it in and find something else. I haven’t slept more than 3 hours a night — 4 if I’m lucky — in at least a month.” “I couldn’t post anything without getting it approved. Crazy but true,” he said. “Just one of the many things wrong with everything.”* JOB WASN’T SO TWEET: De Blasio’s social media director suddenly quits, takes to Facebook to slam 'political hacks plus a boss who just couldn’t get it' (NYDN)
More de Blasio Rats Jumping Ship
Mayor de Blasio’s Counsel to Leave Next Month to Lead Police Review Board (MYT) Maya Wiley, chief legal adviser to Mayor Bill de Blasio, will resign to become chairwoman of New York City’s independent oversight agency for the Police Department.
Why Does de Blasio Campaign Manger Lobby for Airbnb Which is Destroying Illegal Rentals in NYC?
Airbnb blasted for illegal rentals in NYC (NYP) More than half the Airbnb rentals in New York City last year were illegal, according to a report released Monday by two housing-advocacy groups. The report, commissioned by MFY Legal Service and Housing Conservation Coordinators, found that 28,765 of the short-term rental site’s 51,397 city listings for 2015 — or 56 percent — illegally offered to book an entire apartment or home for fewer than 30 days. The report singled out 8,058 units as “impact listings” where homes are rented out for brief periods for more than a third of a year, making them virtual hotels. The advocates argued that if the apartments were on the market instead, the city’s vacant rental stock would increase by 10 percent. State law prohibits renting apartments for less than 30 days if the lease holder isn’t present. The state Legislature this month passed a bill imposing fines for those who advertise their entire apartments on Airbnb and similar sites for less than 30 days. Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to sign the bill.Lobbyists for Airbnb Former de Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers joins Airbnbpayroll (NYDN)
Cuomo's Pigeon Operative Faces
Bribing A Judge and More . . .
Operative Tied to Cuomo Is Accused of Bribing Judge to Get Favorable Rulings (NYT) A political operative with ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to be charged on Thursday in connection with a bribery scheme that involved a State Supreme Court justice in Buffalo, who has already pleaded guilty in the case. The operative, G. Steven Pigeon, is accused in a criminal complaint of bribing the justice, John A. Michalek, with help for a promotion; favors for two close relatives; Buffalo Sabres hockey tickets; and a seat at one of Mr. Cuomo’s fund-raisers. In return, the complaint says, Mr. Pigeon received favorable treatment in court cases in which he and his acquaintances had an interest. Mr. Michalek, who had served as a justice since 1995, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court on Wednesday to a felony count of receiving a bribe. He also admitted to filing a public document with false information, also a felony. The case stemmed from a joint state and federal investigation led by the state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, into Mr. Pigeon’s fund-raising activities. As part of his plea agreement,
Mr. Michalek, who resigned from the bench, has agreed to cooperate with the investigation. Mr. Pigeon is expected to appear in court on Thursday on unspecified charges, according to Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for Mr. Schneiderman. According to the complaint, Mr. Michalek repeatedly asked for Mr. Pigeon’s assistance in moving up to the Appellate Division of the court, where there was a vacancy for an associate judgeship. “Normally I wouldn’t mention it to you,” the justice wrote in an email to Mr. Pigeon in December 2012, beginning what the complaint said was a quest for the appointment that lasted two and a half years. “Wonder if you could help.” * Siena Poll: NY voters unimpressed with Albany's ethics reforms * NY State legislature has adjourned without adopting anything resembling “ethics reform."
After Black Harlem
Latest Sign of Change in Harlem: Its Congressional Candidate (NYT) Upper Manhattan’s congressional seat has long been identified with Harlem and black political power. That has changed with the apparent victory of Adriano D. Espaillat in the Democratic primary.
FBI Visits Mateo's Illegal Straw
FBI questions woman involved in de Blasio fundraising scandal (NYP) A Brooklyn woman was questioned by a city corruption-busting FBI agent on Tuesday — just hours after high-profile cabby advocate Fernando Mateo admitted to The Post that he had used her as a front to funnel campaign contributions to Mayor de Blasio. At about 8:45 a.m., Ahlam Jaoui, 31, got a surprise visit from two federal agents at the Bay Ridge house she shares with her parents. One was FBI Special Agent Blaire Toleman, who’s currently working with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s public-corruption unit and recently swore out criminal complaints against two high-ranking NYPD officers and the since-ousted head of the correction-officers union, Norman Seabrook.
Mateo Admits He Did Illegal Straw Bundling for de Blasio
De Blasio fundraiser admits to pay-for-play bundling scheme (NYP) A high-profile cabby advocate whose wife needs the city’s OK for a women-only livery service admitted to The Post on Monday that he raised campaign cash for Mayor de Blasio and funneled it through an unemployed Brooklyn woman. Fernando Mateo, founder of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, came clean about the blatant violation of election law after The Post learned he had personally solicited a donation for Hizzoner and then had Ahlam Jaoui take credit for it. The 31-year-old Bay Ridge woman, who has no political or fund-raising experience, claims in campaign-finance records to have collected 15 donations totaling $18,800 that were given to the de Blasio campaign in January. One of those contributions came from Oscar Herasme, a Florida lawyer, who confirmed he gave $2,500 to the mayor’s 2017 re-election bid — but when asked about Jaoui said, “It wasn’t through her.” “I find it odd that the bundler for any donations is someone I never met,” said Herasme, who declined to say who solicited his contribution. Another $2,500 donor, Damian Rodriguez of First Class Car & Limo, noted he has no particular loyalty to de Blasio. “Fernando Mateo called me and asked me to give some money to that woman,” he said. “I’ve known him for a long time, since 1997, so I help him when I can.” The revelations come as de Blasio’s fund-raising operations are being probed by both New York US Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Mateo, a well-known Republican supporter, told The Post that he “called my people” to give money to Democrat de Blasio’s campaign and had Jaoui take credit for the donations. Mateo’s name does not appear on Jaoui’s January campaign-finance report. He claims that his motive was to help Jaoui land a city job. “That’s the way politics works,” Mateo said. “If Ahlam worked hard for his candidacy, you’d think [the mayor] would say, ‘I employ thousands of people, why not at least bring her in for an interview?’ * Fernando Mateo, founder of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, admitted that he raised campaign cash for Mayor Bill de Blasio and funneled it through an unemployed Brooklyn woman, the Post writes.
A Cover-Up of What City Hall Knew About the Rivington Nursing Home Sale Continues
HRA asked about Rivington House well before controverial sale, email shows (CapitalNY) The city's Human Resources Administration made inquiries about a Lower East Side nursing home more than a year before it was sold to a luxury condo developer, according to emails and interviews with sources. The HRA, which has become increasingly powerful under Mayor Bill de Blasio, asked in January 2015 what was to become of the Rivington House facility. At that time it was being run as an AIDS residence by the nonprofit VillageCare and was sold the following month to Allure, a for-profit nursing home operator, for $28 million. De Blasio has said he did not learn of the building's fate until this past March. Daniel Tietz, chief special services officer in the office of the HRA commissioner, wrote an email to Emma Devito of VillageCare, which was operating the AIDS residence at the site, on Jan. 15, 2015. The email read: "Emma: I hope all is well and happy New Year! I was wondering where things stood with Rivington House. I know that the nursing facility has closed, but do you have a plan for the building? If you wouldn't mind giving me a bit of an update that would be great. Thanks! Dan." It is unclear if Devito responded. HRA declined to comment and VillageCare did not return a call for comment. HRA also sat in on meetings about Rivington House as early as May of 2014, according to sources. One meeting involved the agency's "desire to take property for other uses without allowing for sale," according to one source with knowledge of the matter. HRA is responsible for social services, including care for AIDS patients. Under de Blasio, the agency, run by Steve Banks, has expanded its portfolio to take over homelessness. Several sources who would only speak on background said Tietz wanted to find out what the site could be used for and that Banks was interested in whether some type of low-income housing could be built there. One person with knowledge of the matter said DCAS raised the possibility with City Hall of using the site for affordable housing in 2014.The email from Tietz included an attached memo from VillageCare to HRA in November of 2013, during the administration of Michael Bloomberg. That memo makes clear that VillageCare was interested in selling the property and laid out prospects for the building, such as expanding services for chronic health problems and reconfiguring two adult day health centers to allow for more exam rooms and mental health treatment capacity.This email is the latest in a series of revelations about how City Hall officials seemed to be more informed about Rivington House than de Blasio was. As POLITICO New York has previously reported, top and mid-level officials were kept in the loop at certain points along the way about the prospect that the site would be sold. The New York Times recently reported on a memo sent to first deputy mayor Tony Shorris about the site.* City official asked about controversial nursing home well before sale (NYP_ A de Blasio administration official inquired about the fate of a Lower East Side nursing home more than a year before the mayor said he learned of a controversial deal to convert it to high-end housing.
Dream On, Shelly and Dean, Supreme Court Won't Save You From JAIL
Dream on, Shelly & Dean: Supreme Court won't save you (NYDN Ed) As if clutching a get-out-of-prison card for their corrupt and convicted client, lawyers for former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cheered the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision Monday to vacate the conviction of ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and make it tougher to prosecute government officials on the take. No, folks, nothing to see here in Silver’s proven acts of fraud and extortion, as found by a jury last November — just “conduct that is part of the everyday functioning of those in elected office,” Silver’s legal team crowed. Theirs is the delusion of the desperate and despicable. Silver, no more or less than former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, stands convicted of gross abuses of the public. Silver delivered state funds to a cancer doctor who in turn sent lucrative clients to Silver’s law firm. He also steered real estate developers to a law firm that paid him generous kickbacks, while advancing measures they backed. Skelos delivered votes and secured funds on behalf of a real estate lobbyist and a related company that paid his son Adam amply for a job he barely attended, and repeatedly leaned on officials in his Nassau County power base to assist. Facing utterly different circumstances, the Supreme Court tossed McDonnell’s conviction because while he and his wife greedily took gifts from a peddler of quasi-medical supplements, McDonnell did nothing more than hold meetings and make referrals in return.
The McDonnell decision says that in order to prove government corruption, federal prosecutors must first identify a matter in question, such as a bill or contract, and then show what “official act” that politician took on the matter in exchange for a thing of value. Showing that Silver and Skelos each performed such acts in exchange for personal benefit is exactly what Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara did when he secured the two men’s convictions, along with that of Adam Skelos. Under no circumstances can such vile actions in betrayal of public trust stand as tolerable under the law. In the unlikely event either man wrings a reprieve on appeal, it will fall to Congress to strengthen anti-corruption statutes and draw a blazingly bright line between right and wrong.* SCOTUS Decision on VA Governor Could Impact NYS Corruption Cases (NY1) * The Supreme Court won’t stop Preet Bharara’s campaign to clean up New York (NYP) And as Bharara noted, “the official actions that led” to the convictions of Skelos and Siver “fall squarely within the definition set forth by the Supreme Court.” What Skelos and Silver did went far beyond that. Silver provided state grants to a doctor who referred clients to Silver’s law firm, while Skelos steered lucrative contracts to a prolific campaign donor. So the Supreme Court’s ruling may protect dubious pork and other “legal graft” that is New York pols’ bread and butter. But it won’t shield the sort of quid-pro-quo deals that Bharara is still investigating. “Corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York,” Bharara said Sunday. And the high court has still left him plenty of room to do something about it.* Two of the most powerful New York politicians convicted of public corruption, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, received possible lifelines as the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell,The Wall Street Journal writes.* The Post writes that the Supreme Court’s decision to vacate McDonnell’s conviction won’t stop U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara from pursuing corruption convictions in New York, as the type of quid-pro-quo deals he has been investigating will stand up in court. * While Silver and Skelos may have hope that the Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision may lead to their own convictions being thrown out, the type of “gross abuses of the public” they engaged in will prevent them from being let off the hook, the Daily News writes * The Supreme Court’s decision in the McDonnell case also highlights the failure of the state Legislature to put in place stricter state corruption laws this session, even after its top two leaders were convicted on corruption charges, Newsday writes.
Berlin Rosen's Levitan de Blasio Flack Declined to Say If Other Straw Shady Cash Will Be Returned
De Blasio’s team in no rush to return shady cash (NYP) Three weeks after saying it was reviewing suspicious donations tied to one of its biggest supporters, Mayor de Blasio’s campaign said Monday it still hasn’t decided whether to return the money. The Post reported on June 8 that some contributors tied to production company Broadway Stages dodged questions when asked why they wrote checks to de Blasio’s 2013 campaign. After The Post’s story appeared, de Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said the campaign was “reviewing” donations. A week later, the mayor said the same thing. “We’re certainly looking at those donations,” he said. “I think we do a thorough job of identifying anything that, on its face, does not belong.” On Monday, Levitan declined to say whether any of the checks would be returned.
de Blasio Cuomo Bharara is Coming?
LOVETT: Hillary Clinton won’t commit to reappointing U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (NYDN)
Bharara on the lookout for NYC corruption (NYP)Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara used the bright spotlight of national TV to put Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo on notice Sunday that he expects to uncover proof of official wrongdoing in both of their administrations. “We have found that corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York and throughout New York,” Bharara said on ABC’s “This Week.” “That’s true in the Legislature,” he said. “It’s also the case that there’s corruption, we believe, in the executive branches as well. And we’ll ferret it out wherever we find it.” It was Bharara’s strongest warning yet to the leaders of the city and state and came amid his probes into fund-raising efforts by de Blasio and suspected bid-rigging in a slew of state-funded development projects, including Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. And it followed an interview in which Bharara bristled at the idea that Cuomo had been cleared of wrongdoing when Bharara declined to charge him for shutting down the anti-corruption Moreland Commission panel in 2014. “Nobody gave a clean bill of health to anybody. A non-indictment is not an endorsement of anyone’s conduct,” * Cuomo, De Blasio Downplaying US Attorney’s Assertions In Corruption Scandal (WCBS)
Bharara told the New Yorker last month in what the magazine described as “an uncharacteristically icy tone.” After subpoenaing records of the Moreland probe, Bharara used the information to help build cases against corrupt state pols, most notably ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Silver reports to prison on Aug. 31 to serve a 12-year sentence. Skelos, who got five years behind bars, is seeking bail pending appeal. History has shown that Bharara makes good on his predictions, with the charges against Skelos coming after he famously told New Yorkers to “stay tuned” following Silver’s arrest in January 2015.
And in April, Bharara told the good-government group Common Cause that his crusade to clean up New York wasn’t limited to just jailing crooked legislators. In addition to targeting political corruption, Bharara has been investigating an alleged gifts-for-favors scheme involving top NYPD brass. Last week, the feds busted three cops, including Deputy Inspector James Grant, who is accused of shacking up with a hooker during an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas in 2013. During his Sunday TV appearance, Bharara — who was once dubbed the “Sheriff of Wall Street” — deflected criticism that he had failed “to prosecute anyone for big financial fraud.” But he said, “To an extent, people are right about the system being rigged,” citing “the track record of this office and other offices of exposing fraud.” Asked if he expected to “go back to Washington someday,” Bharara — former chief counsel to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) — said: “No, I love New York . . . This is my home.”
Crown Heights Gentrifiers White Guilt on Changing A Black Neighborhood?
Gentrifiers’ plight — and responsibility: A young white woman in Crown Heights reflects on the changing neighborhood (NYDN) "They move into our neighborhood, and they don’t even say hello.” That’s what many of my neighbors think about people like me — and unfortunately, at least once, I gave them reason to do so. I was walking down the street, someone said hello, I didn’t register it until they’d walked past me, and by then it was too late. I was the white girl with a resting b---h face who didn’t even acknowledge her neighbor. I don’t apologize for being a gentrifier. In fact, I couldn’t afford to live in New York without gentrifying. Tight zoning and a fresh-out-of-college salary keep me from being able to afford somewhere I might technically “fit in” better. On the other hand, the community I’ve moved into, Crown Heights, has a rich history, and I don’t have an inalienable right to fundamentally change that social fabric just because the rent is cheap. It’s a struggle that those of us who move into parts of the city that might be changing faster than they want to — which are often morphing from predominantly black and brown to increasingly white — need to be honest about. Being a gentrifier means living in the tension between trying to contribute to the community you’re joining while realizing that, to some extent, you’re displacing the very people who form that community. This means, for me, oscillating between incapacitating guilt and exhausting friendliness. When I walk around Crown Heights, I see at least two Brooklyns. There are the families who have raised their children on my block, know the bodega owners and have gone to the church around the corner for years.Then there are the young, relatively high-income folks looking for a cup of ethically sourced pour-over coffee and a spot to plug in their MacBook.
Illegal Airbnb listings are hogging NYC's available apartments, report says
The fact that these groups generally don’t mix should worry those of us who care about the future of New York. Crown Heights has changed immensely in the hundred years since my great-grandfather was born steps away from what is now a yuppie haunt called Chavela’s on Franklin Ave. As various economic forces push gentrifiers into neighborhoods like Crown Heights, I hope it’s not too naive for us mostly young, mostly white folk to more actively consider how we can contribute to the communities we are changing. The answer isn’t holding hands in the park across economic and racial lines and singing “Kumbaya.” But all of us should look for opportunities to get off our laptops more and be less skittish about laying down roots.* Illegal Airbnb listings are hogging NYC's available apartments, report says (AMNY)* You can blame Airbnb for NYC's high rents and dwindling housing market, study says (NYDN)
de Blasio Dumps on Charters to Protect His 2017 Reelection Machine the UFT
The Post writes that de Blasio, who has said that he supports charter schools, could show that support by allowing them to use unoccupied space in public schools and questions whether he needs to keep adding an expense to the city budget out of ideological spite.
Daily News Shocking No Endorsement of Congressman Nadler
No to Nadler: Rep. Jerrold Nadler undermined global security by supporting President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, shouldn't be reelected (NYDN Ed)
The NYT Reports About Dark Money PAC In Other States But Not NYC Where There Guy de Blasio PACs are Under Federal Investigation
The Secret Power Behind Local Elections (NYT) The rise of dark money may matter less in the race for president or Congress than for, say, the utilities commission in Arizona. Voters probably know much less about the candidates in contests like that, which get little news coverage but whose winner will have enormous power to affect energy company profits and what homeowners pay for electricity. For a relative pittance — less than $100,000 — corporations and others can use dark money to shape the outcome of a low-level race in which they have a direct stake. Over the last year, the Brennan Center analyzed outside spending from before and after the 2010 Citizens United decision in six states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts — with almost 20 percent of the nation’s population.
Why is the NY Times Covering Up de Blasio's Corruption Investigation
NY Times Ignores That NY's Falling Voting Rates is Caused by Loss of Faith in NY's Political Process
The ultimate cost of elections overrun by hidden interests may be the loss of voters’ faith in the political process and governing institutions.
Get A Dog If You Are In the Middle of A Scandal CHECKERS BRATTON
Bratton celebrates Take Your Dog to Work Day (NYP)
Get the NYPD stats right, Mayor de Blasio (NYDN Ed)
No Real Ethics Reforms Despite Ethics Investigation Pay to Play Albany Lives On
The culture of New York politics is as ugly as ever (NYP) For some bills, Cuomo had to issue a “message of necessity” to skirt the state’s three-day “aging” requirement meant to give lawmakers a chance to read, digest and (ha!) debate legislation before voting on it. The “necessity”: Lawmakers wanted to go home for the summer. And some of what they passed just reeks. Like one bill that seems a direct giveaway to Reliant Bus Co., reportedly letting it reopen its low-bid contract with the city — at a much higher cost to taxpayers. Reliant’s owner, Alexis Lodde, is the focus of a Preet Bharara subpoena in the probe of Mayor de Blasio’s funny-money scandal, thanks to a $100,000 “per the mayor” donation to help Senate Democrats in the 2014 elections. Yet the bill’s Senate sponsor was Marty Golden — a Brooklyn Republican. Another outrage: $420 million a year for handouts to Hollywood moguls who make films and TV shows here. Lawmakers even expanded the giveaway — letting companies collect even larger checks in 12 counties. They also set aside $50 million for payments to music and “digital gaming” honchos. “The rest of the state’s taxpayers are left with a heavier load in a state that already has the highest taxes in the nation,” notes Assemblyman Kieran Lalor (R-Dutchess County). Then again, lawmakers (and the gov) love these deals because the fat cats turn around and donate handsomely. Maybe this was one bill they did read before passing. * Cuomo has signed fewer bills than any governor in century (NYP) * The frenzied manner in which the state Legislature rushes to pass bills at the end of the legislative session each year, during which many laws are passed without lawmakers having an opportunity to thoroughly read them, creates an environment that is ripe for corruption, The Buffalo News writes.
The Key Thing You Need to Know Nothing Happens in Govt in 30 Days Unless You Bribe the Mayor
A Pay to Play Rat Bag Caught Our Rat Mayor LOL de Blasio Federal Investigation
Why Trash Bags That Repel Rats Have the F.B.I. Sniffing Around in New York (NYT) Legal or not, an episode involving the parks department’s purchase of mint-scented garbage bags shows the collapse of the city’s carefully constructed defenses against “pay to play” government.You’d hardly expect the mayor of New York City, with its $82 billion budget and 300,000 employees, to get involved with buying garbage bags. For years, Joseph Dussich, the owner of a company in Queens that makes anti-rat garbage bags, could not get city officials to consider buying them. Last year, though, that changed after Mr. Dussich made the second of two donations of $50,000 apiece to a political advocacy group run by allies of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Ten days later, records show, Mr. de Blasio met with Mr. Dussich in City Hall to thank him for the contributions. The meeting was arranged by one of the mayor’s chief fund-raisers, Ross Offinger, according to two people familiar with the account that Mr. Dussich has given to federal authorities investigating City Hall fund-raising. Mr. Dussich, who brought one of his sons to the meeting, chatted briefly with Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, about their shared Italian heritage. As the visit with Mr. de Blasio was breaking up, Mr. Dussich was met at the mayor’s office by a City Hall aide, Peter Hatch, who then connected Mr. Dussich to purchasing officials at the parks department. Within a month, Mr. Dussich’s company, JAD Corporation of America, was given a $15,000 contract that allowed parks officials to try out his product, Mint-X, a heavy-duty scented bag that is advertised as repellent against the Norway rat. Later, the city sought bids for a five-year supply of bags registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as rodent repellent. Mr. Dussich’s website claims Mint-X is the only such bag on the market. He was not the low bidder, but the company that did get the city contract is buying about $3 million in bags from him, according to Mr. Dussich’s lawyer, Roland G. Riopelle.* Whether legal or not, de Blasio’s garbage bag episode illustrates the collapse of defenses built up in the city against “pay to play” practices in which people gave campaign contributions to gain access to or favors from powerful officials, the Times’ Jim Dwyer writes.* Mayor Bill de Blasio has introduced few large-scale policies this year that will drive his 2017 re-election bid, with his third year in office shaping up to be his slowest yet, raising concerns among some aides and Democratic allies, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Bratton Comments On Broken Windows and Defends Giving Pensions But No Comment On NYPD Corruption
Bratton defends letting disgraced cops retire with pension(NYP)Police Commissioner Bill Bratton defended the practice of giving out pensions to scandal-scarred NYPD officers on Thursday, insisting it would be unfair to their families to take them away. “A pension is also earned by the family, a family of that person who is at work and away from that family,” the top cop said during a press conference.
Bill Bratton still believes in ‘broken windows’ policing (NYP)* Cop, repeatedly accused of forcing minority cops to arrest more blacks and Hispanics, gets promotion (NYDN) *NYPD's Bill Bratton calls Department of Investigation’s ‘broken windows’ policing report ‘not necessary’ (NYDN)* De Blasio said he disagreed with a report that challenges “broken windows” policing, highlighting the fine line he has tried to walk between his popular police commissioner and a political base that elected him to reform the NYPD, The Wall Street Journal writes. * De Blasio said he “absolutely” supports a federal monitor to oversee the “broken” New York City Board of Elections in the upcoming congressional primaries and wishes he could “tear down” the board and start over, the Daily News writes. * After a series of corruption arrests and scandals, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton defended the practice of giving out pensions to scandal-scarred NYPD officers and insisted it would be unfair to their families to take them away, the Post reports.* The NYPD inspector general’s report that claims the “broken windows” style of policing does not work only serves de Blasio’s political agenda, as decreases in crime in New York City since the 1990s prove the controversial policing style works, the Post writes. * Businessman demanded kosher meals after mile-high hooker romp (NYP) * 'I HAD NO OTHER WAY TO PAY MY RENT': Former call girl 'embarrassed' about mile-high tryst with 2 NYPD cops on private jet * NYPD hooker: The cops I serviced should be fired (NYP) * Beyond NYPD corruption charges lie some troubling notions (crainsNY) The allegations suggest the police want businesses to pay for service* Gov. Cuomo asked to intervene in police union fight with Mayor de Blasio over disability benefits (NYDN)* Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch sent a letter to Cuomo asking that he intervene in a fight with de Blasio over a union push to provide newer cops the same disability benefits as older ones, the Daily News’ Lovett writes.
Bratton's Weak Answer to NYPD GiftGate Corruption is To Give Corrupt Cops Pensions?So much for Bratton’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to NYPD corruption (NYP Ed)So much for the idea that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton would take a “zero tolerance” approach to the NYPD corruption scandals. As The Post’s Shawn Cohen and Bruce Golding reported Wednesday, Bratton has opted to let two high-ranking cops ensnared in the scandal retire with full benefits. That makes sense if you accept that it was the only way to get tainted brass who’d been stripped of their guns and badges off the force with a minimum of public attention. The deal lets both Deputy Chief John Sprague and Inspector Peter DeBlasio keep their pensions and receive so-called “Good Guy” letters that enable them to easily obtain a full-carry pistol permit. And these two aren’t the only implicated top cops who have been allowed to leave quietly. This may help rid the NYPD of its bad apples, but it’s a weak answer to corruption. Especially corruption involving so many high-ranking officials — many of whom had been promoted by Bratton himself. Including Chief of Department Philip Banks, who was about to be named Bratton’s No. 2 until he abruptly quit the force. Remember, this investigation has been under way since shortly before Bratton took office. But according to the federal indictment unveiled this week, much of the cash-for-favors corruption occurred on his watch. Indeed, the indictment alleges that one of the two businessmen — and Bill de Blasio pals — who plied top cops with cash, free trips and prostitutes even was able to arrange for one of his buddies to be promoted to a top assignment. The commissioner has taken pains to claim that this scandal isn’t systemic. But no previous corruption scandals involved so many high-ranking brass. All New Yorkers want the NYPD cleaned up as quickly as possible. But quiet sweetheart deals aren’t the answer.
The IG de Blasio's Mini Me: Finds No Link Between Quality of Life and Enforcement But Cannot Find GiftGate Cops Taking
Inspector general’s dubious ‘study’ serves de Blasio’s agenda (NYP) Mayor de Blasio might want to give NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure a raise. After all, the IG could hardly do a better job of shilling for him. Eure this week produced a “study” that claims to refute what experts have known for years: Broken Windows policing works. By targeting low-level offenses, cops can head off more serious crimes. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton himself helped usher in the ’90s crackdown on quality-of-life offenses, from peeing in the streets to turnstile-jumping. He calls Eure’s report “useless” and “deeply flawed.” After all, under Broken Windows, murders dropped from 2,245 in 1990 to 333 in 2014. * NYPD’s wild and wacky IG Philip Eure (NYDN Ed) As the City Council’s holier-than-holies no doubt hoped in creating his post, NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure purported Wednesday to prove that quality-of-life enforcement is irrelevant to fighting crime. Eure didn’t come close to establishing the claim, despite a jabberwocky’s mouthful of statistical mumbo-jumbo. First, Eure’s report stated — and proved — the obvious: that the crime rate fell over the past few years even as cops made fewer so-called broken windows arrests and issued a declining number of summonses.*NYPD IG: No Link Between Quality of Life Enforcement and Lower Crime (NYO) * A watchdog agency tasked with monitoring the NYPD found cracking down on public urination, disorderly conduct and other low-level offenses doesn’t lead to a decline in more serious crimes, which runs counter to the “broken windows” approach, the Journal writes. * The outside monitor overseeing changes in the NYPD after the “stop-and-frisk” lawsuit has won court approval for several reforms, but a disciplinary system must be created and the public must have access to all videos from a body camera pilot project, the Times writes.
de Blasio's Contributor Said He Had to Power to Make An NYPD Commissioner
I have the power to make you police commissioner, businessman told NYPD pal: (DNAINFO) The two Brooklyn businessmen accused of bribing police officials for favors believed they wielded enough power at the NYPD and in City Hall to make one of their pals the next police commissioner, DNAinfo New York has learned. Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, who were also campaign fundraisers for Mayor Bill de Blasio, claimed they had the political muscle to not only help get their friends promotions and cozy assignments inside the NYPD, but to install them atop the nation’s largest police force, according to sources familiar with their secretly recorded conversations.
In Progressive NY A Serious Voting Right Issues Has Almost Disappeared
Velazquez Wants Justice Department to Step In After Thousands of NY Voters Were Denied Access to Polls (NY1) * Bungling NYC Board of Elections hopes to avoid another disaster with Tuesday’s federal primaries involving races in seven districts (NYDN)
Groundhog Day Cuomo Fights de Blasio and the AG
War of Words Erupts Again This Week Between Cuomo and de Blasio (NY1) * Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio continue to clash because ‘they don’t trust the other one’ (NYDN)* * Some eyebrows were raised that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has made cracking down on so-called zombie properties a top priority in recent years, was not invited to Cuomo events touting new legislation to combat the problem,the Daily News’ Lovett reports.
de Blasio Calls for Federal Monitor of the BOE And Nobody, Media and Pols, Notices the Threat to Our Democracy
Mayor de Blasio supports federal monitor to oversee ‘broken’ Board of Elections: ‘This is a non-functioning part of our democracy’ (NYDN)
de Blasio Dumps on Cuomo for Albany Disrespecting the CityA year after launching a blistering attack on Cuomo that brought their feud to new heights, de Blasio said he stands by every word - and doubled down on accusing Cuomo of disrespecting the city in this year’s legislative session, the Daily News reports.
Fear Not No Real Ethics Reforms, Albany Got It Member Item Pork
According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, in the final hours of their annual session, the Assembly and Senate last week quietly passed a handful of spending measures that steered $56 million to 1,675 pet projects across the state, the Daily News reports. * * Wayne Barrett in the Daily News explores the state Senate Republicans’ repeated failure to close the LLC loophole and describes lobbyist Richard Rune’s role in blocking the bill while working behind-the-scenes to maintain the current power structure in Albany.
de Blasio's Nightmare Corruption That Runs Thru A Boro Park NYPD Precinct, A Fed Rat to His Big Time Donors and OneNY PAC
Favors at Fort Surrender: New Twist in History of Police and Borough Park (NYT) A criminal complaint alleges gross bribery to Brooklyn police precinct commanders by two businessmen who became big donors to a group allied with Mayor Bill de Blasio. By that standard, prosecutors are hitting the motherlode in the ballooning New York corruption scandal. Among the seal-the-deal details are elves and hookers, garbage bags and fancy Italian bags, a private jet and a private lane in the Lincoln Tunnel. Prosecutors allege, for example, that a cash kickback was delivered in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag, and that businessmen wearing elves hats delivered expensive Christmas presents to police officers’ homes.Favors at Fort Surrender: New Twist in History of Police and Borough Park (NYT)
The Making History That NYP Goodwin Left Out Was de Blasio Would Be NYC's First Mayor Indicted!
NYC could be on verge of making the worst kind of history (NYP) The man who says he was the bag man, businessman Jona Rechnitz, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is cooperating–and the feds say they found the Ferragamo bag in Seabrook’s house. If the case goes to trial, Reichnitz’s testimony and the actual bag would be powerful evidence for any jury.All those things are easily documented, and with wiretapped conversations included, a jury likely would lean toward prosecutors. Who can forget elves hats and hookers? And what juror wouldn’t find something wrong with a cop getting a private jet ride and giving a rich businessman his own traffic lane? The mayor hasn’t been charged, but as one lawyer said to me yesterday, “he has to feel the noose tightening.” While Rechnitz was a big donor to the mayor, it’s not clear what, if anything, he got in return. However, other big donors got clear favors, and with many millions raised from people with matters before City Hall, prosecutors have tons of potential evidence. They’re gathering documents through subpoenas and interviewing individual donors.
NYPD Two NYPD Chiefs Fined For Dining On Former Queens Library Boss Galante
EATING AWAY AT ETHICS: Two NYPD chiefs face huge fines for dining on credit card tab of disgraced former Queens library boss Thomas Galante (NYP)
As Feds Investigate Buffalo Billion So Does Cuomo? To Find Out What the Feds Know?
Cuomo gives investigator Moreland Act powers (TU) But other questions remain about Bart Schwartz's probe into upstate deals
Corrupt Albany Rearranging Chairs On the Titanic
Not worth the wait: A pathetic end to Albany's legislative session (NYDN) Prudence demanded patience in evaluating the blowout of behind-the-scenes deal-making that closed the annual session of the New York Legislature. Having sorted through the detritus, we can only hope for far better performances by Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who took over for Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. They produced half-measures, foolish measures and measures that only lobbyists could love, while significantly repudiating the public interest. Gov. Cuomo went along for the ride. Despite convictions of Silver and Skelos, Flanagan refused to close the LLC loophole, which allows unlimited money in New York politics. But the leaders did agree on a Cuomo proposal to crack down on evasions of the campaign finance laws. All too conveniently, Flanagan and Heastie failed to agree on terms for stripping the pensions of convicted public officials. On education, Flanagan continued to make a plaything out of mayoral control of the city schools, out of anger at Bill de Blasio’s attempt to dethrone him — but both houses conspired with the mayor and well-connected union lobbyists to boost the cost of city school bus services. In January, Cuomo proposed a $2 billion investment to finance affordable and supportive housing. The governor, Flanagan and Heastie put the money in the budget, but couldn’t agree on how to spend the cash. So only $150 million was freed up, potentially slowing necessary construction. Meanwhile, the Legislature showed downright hostility toward the tech economy, enacting a law that would essentially kill the Airbnb home sharing service and blocking expansion of call-a-car services like Uber. To restore popular fantasy sports betting — after the attorney general shut it down as illegal gambling — the Legislature fatuously relabled the games as something else while placing them under the gambling commission, all but ensuring a legal challenge. And, notoriously, Cuomo, Heastie and Flanagan turned their backs on childhood victims of sexual abuse at the unfortunate behest of the Catholic Church.* De Blasio’s recently departed press secretary Karen Hinton in the Daily Newsoffers advice to the mayor about how to survive his love-hate relationship with the news media and emerge stronger by adjusting to new media without forgetting lessons from the old.
Brooklyn BP Lobbyists Capalino and Another Slush Fund PAC
|Capalino Buying Silence|
As Airbnb Warehouse Apts Driving Up
Prices Media and Pols Support them
A bill that would make advertising short-term rentals illegal is the latest example of New York officials trying to strangle the “sharing economy” when it should be embraced, since these companies satisfy a demand, the Cato Institute’s Matthew Feeney writes in the Post.* Airbnb and the Battle of Suitcase Alley (NYT) In New York and other cities with steep housing costs, a longstanding objection to home-sharing sites is that some listings remove units from the residential market.
Bratton's Weak Answer to NYPD GiftGate Corruption Give Them Pensions
So much for Bratton’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to NYPD corruption (NYP Ed)So much for the idea that Police Commissioner Bill Bratton would take a “zero tolerance” approach to the NYPD corruption scandals. As The Post’s Shawn Cohen and Bruce Golding reported Wednesday, Bratton has opted to let two high-ranking cops ensnared in the scandal retire with full benefits. That makes sense if you accept that it was the only way to get tainted brass who’d been stripped of their guns and badges off the force with a minimum of public attention. The deal lets both Deputy Chief John Sprague and Inspector Peter DeBlasio keep their pensions and receive so-called “Good Guy” letters that enable them to easily obtain a full-carry pistol permit. And these two aren’t the only implicated top cops who have been allowed to leave quietly. This may help rid the NYPD of its bad apples, but it’s a weak answer to corruption. Especially corruption involving so many high-ranking officials — many of whom had been promoted by Bratton himself. Including Chief of Department Philip Banks, who was about to be named Bratton’s No. 2 until he abruptly quit the force. Remember, this investigation has been under way since shortly before Bratton took office. But according to the federal indictment unveiled this week, much of the cash-for-favors corruption occurred on his watch. Indeed, the indictment alleges that one of the two businessmen — and Bill de Blasio pals — who plied top cops with cash, free trips and prostitutes even was able to arrange for one of his buddies to be promoted to a top assignment. The commissioner has taken pains to claim that this scandal isn’t systemic. But no previous corruption scandals involved so many high-ranking brass. All New Yorkers want the NYPD cleaned up as quickly as possible. But quiet sweetheart deals aren’t the answer.
Pay to Play Private Police Department
Shady businessman bribed cops to close Lincoln Tunnel lane: feds (NYP) Cops shut down a lane in the Lincoln Tunnel so a visiting businessman could be escorted through it at the behest of a major de Blasio fund-raiser, federal prosecutors charged Monday. The outrageous move was revealed as part of damning criminal indictments unveiled Monday against four NYPD officers and the shady “fixer’’ who allegedly arranged it. The stunning arrests marked the first time cops have been charged in the sweeping 3¹/₂-year corruption investigation rocking the department and Mayor de Blasio’s office, which is being probed for its fund-raising. Federal prosecutors allege that the civilian behind the closure, Borough Park businessman Jeremy Reichberg, and his real-estate-investor pal Jona Rechnitz, spent more than $100,000 on police bribes between 2012 and 2015. “They got, in effect, a private police force for themselves and their friends — effectively they got cops on call,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Cops shut down Lincoln Tunnel lane for ‘King of Diamonds’ (NYP)An Israeli billionaire known as the “King of Diamonds” is the bigshot businessman who allegedly got a police escort through the Lincoln Tunnel in a lane that was closed to other drivers, The Post has learned. Lev Leviev, who is also chairman of the international real-estate firm Africa Israel, received the extraordinary favor that’s part of the feds’ corruption case against two high-ranking cops, sources said Tuesday. Gov. Cuomo ordered that the inspectors general of the state and the Port Authority launch a probe into the allegations, saying: “If this is true, it is deeply troubling.” “The NYPD has no jurisdiction within the tunnels boundaries,” Cuomo said.
Dems vying for Rangel’s seat call on Bratton to resign over scandals (NYP) * More top NYPD officers under fire for corruption probe (NYP) Several high-ranking NYPD officers and a former chief of department are still in the cross hairs of the feds’ corruption probe. They include Philip Banks, who resigned in late 2014 as chief of department, Brooklyn South Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez, Deputy Chief David Colon and Deputy Chief John Sprague. Also under scrutiny are Deputy Chief Andrew Capul, who went from second-in-command of Patrol Borough Manhattan North to a desk job at the School Safety Division, and Deputy Chief James McCarthy, second-in-command of Patrol Bureau Manhattan. Former Community Affairs Detective Michael Milici is being eyed, too. He has already been fired for failing to cooperate in the corruption probe.* Another top NYPD official suspected in corruption scandal (NYP) * 3 N.Y.P.D. Commanders Are Arrested in Vast Corruption Case (NYT) The charges detail lavish gifts officials are accused of receiving and stem from one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fund-raising.* Three NYPD commanders have been arrested, along with a Brooklyn businessman, on federal corruption charges linked to one of several continuing investigations into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fundraising, The New York Times writes. * The hedge fund at the center of a scandal involving corruption charges against former Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook was able to convince a Manhattan judge that it has the cash to repay a $30 million loan, the Post writes.
Bratton reinstates cops tied to corruption probe so they can retire (NYP) Police Commissioner Bill Bratton quietly reinstated two NYPD bosses who had been stripped of their guns and badges over corruption allegations — in a secret deal to get them to retire, The Post has learned. The move — which ensures the high-ranking cops will get highly coveted, official references from the NYPD — came as Bratton is trying to oust all scandal-tainted brass by the end of the month, sources said Tuesday. Deputy Chief John Sprague, whom Bratton tapped last year to head a newly created, internal-investigations unit, was placed on “modified duty” June 1 for refusing to answer questions in front of a federal grand jury.
NYT Lawmakers Failed to Act On Ethics Refroms
The Old Albany Hustle (NYTED) After a lackluster legislative season, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared on Sunday that he and state lawmakers had managed to finish “probably the most successful session in modern history.” That is not only wrong, but ridiculous. The most urgent and important item on the Legislature’s to-do list this year should have been reforming a debased political culture that most recently resulted in the convictions of New York’s top two legislative leaders — the former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the former Senate leader Dean Skelos. Mr. Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison for receiving kickbacks, honest services fraud and extortion. Mr. Skelos earned five years in prison for bribery, extortion and conspiracy. Instead of seizing the moment to enact reforms, New York’s politicians left intact one of the state’s great campaign financing scams — the so-called L.L.C. loophole. Limited liability companies can allow donors, hidden behind several shell companies, to contribute almost unlimited amounts to campaigns. Mr. Cuomo gave lip service to eliminating this loophole, but little of his political muscle. Worse, he seemed willing to excuse the refusal of lawmakers to act, telling The Times that closing the loophole would be “tantamount to political suicide for the Republican Party in this state because they believe it ends corporate money.” Left unsaid was that Democrats, including Mr. Cuomo, have feasted on L.L.C. money as well.
BREAKING NEWS - .@jonathan4ny reporting several high ranking NYPD members just arrested as part of ongoing federal corruption probe. #NBC4NY
3 NYPD Personnel, 2 Others Charged in Corruption Investigation: Sources (WNBC) Among those charged are Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant, and a NYPD staffer in the gun licensing division, officials said. Also arrested is Jeremy Reichberg, the owner of a venture capital firm who allegedly gave gifts to officers, sources said. Alex Lichtenstein, a Brooklyn businessman charged earlier this year with allegedly bribing NYPD officers to expedite gun licenses for his associates, was also charged with additional crimes Monday, sources said. Source: 3 NYPD Personnel, 2 Others Charged in Corruption Investigation: Sources | NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/NYPD-Supervisors-Arrested-Federal-FBI-Corruption-Investigation-383599491.html? Sources familiar with the case said several of the officers are linked to two Brooklyn fundraisers who donated to Mayor de Blasio's election campaign. One of the fundraisers — Jona Rechnitz — has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office.* Who’s Who in the Federal NYPD/City Hall Corruption Probe (DNAINFO)
Someone Needs to Ask de Blasio Why His Fundraisers Are Getting Arrested
Three NYPD officials, including a deputy chief, were busted in connection with probes into de Blasio’s fundraising (NYP)
Brooklyn BP Has A Slush Fund Like the Mayor Funded By Developers Shady Donors
Eric Adams’ nonprofit has links to shady donors (NYP) Mayor de Blasio isn’t the only elected official who launched a nonprofit that has raised funds from questionable donors. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has his own group — the One Brooklyn Fund — which has raised as much as $964,000 over the past two years, according to records obtained by The Post. And, like de Blasio’s nonprofit, it has taken money from entities whose activities are under review by law enforcement or that have business interests before the government. One donor, Park Developers & Builders, was subpoenaed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office in recent weeks for its bid to raze a Bedford-Stuyvesant nursing home and replace it with a 241-unit residential building, according to a source. The group has given as much as $20,000 to Adams’ nonprofit since October. Its partner, the Allure Group, was also subpoenaed in that case — as well as in a Lower East Side real-estate deal involving the loss of a nursing home that was OK’d by the de Blasio administration. Another group that gave up to $20,000 to Adams’ group is Broadway Stages, a Brooklyn-based firm that is being questioned as part of the wide-ranging probe of de Blasio’s fund-raising. Other donors to Adams’ nonprofit include Airbnb, which gave as much as $60,000. Adams has been a vocal supporter of Airbnb. Other donors to Adams’ nonprofit include Airbnb, which gave as much as $60,000. Adams has been a vocal supporter of Airbnb. Dick Dadey, director of the watchdog group Citizens Union, said nonprofits run by elected officials are ripe for abuses. “It’s become a vehicle for self-promotion, as well as a vehicle for augmenting the services of the borough president’s office,” Dadey said.
“Entities within the borough may feel a certain responsibility to contribute.” While the mayor’s nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, only touted his agenda, the One Brooklyn Fund is a city-affiliated group and sponsors events for the public.* Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ nonprofit One Brooklyn Fund has raised as much as $964,000 over the past two years and has taken money from entities whose activities are under review by law enforcement or that have business interests before the government, the Post reports.
New Bid Rigging in DHCR Contracts
A new angle on New York’s corruption scandals (NYP) How about that: The Albany corruption probes may expose abuse of state affordable-housing funds. Two years ago, an audit by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that the state Division of Homes and Community Renewal had granted $10 million to six projects its own staff had deemed “infeasible” — meaning seriously impractical to pull off. Oops: DHCR’s rules banned the funding of “infeasible” applications. The audit also noted that, by failing to properly document why they opted to fund those projects anyway, agency managers put “the integrity of the program” at risk. Well, the managers found a creative way around this problem: They rewrote the evaluation criteria, dropping the system with too-accurate terms like “infeasible” for less-descriptive numerical rankings. Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reports that three of the developers behind the six suspiciously favored “infeasible” grants have been hit with federal subpoenas. All three are major donors to Gov. Cuomo and one was a client of Todd Howe — the lobbyist at the center of the Buffalo Billion probe. Naturally, Cuomo’s office insists donations have no impact on its official decisions. But the whole thing is a reminder that “apple pie” spending on items like affordable housing needs examining at least as closely as any other state outlays. And US Attorney Preet Bharara will have the last word on just how “infeasible” the awarding of state contracts has become.* De Blasio-Cuomo feud ignites mayor to KO bill to fix safety issues at day cares (NYDN) * The fact that state offices rewrote criteria for awarding affordable housing contracts after the Cuomo administration was criticized for not sticking to its own guidelines by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli shows the need for reform to those systems,the Post writes.
The Dying Media Has Stop Covering the Mayor's Corruption Story and Has Refused to Expose NYC's Corrupt Elections System
Putnam Money Laundry
No Albany Ethics Income Restrictions But A Shot At Team de Blasio's Lobbyists and PACs
Albany passes weak corruption reform bill (NYP) Government watchdogs slammed state lawmakers for passing watered-down ethics reforms during a legislative session that saw two of the three most powerful people in Albany sentenced to prison for corruption. Bleary-eyed legislators waited until 5 a.m. on the final day of the legislative year to push through a bill regulating political consultants, lobbyists, not-for-profits and fund-raising committees.
But the measure only stripped politicians of their pensions upon conviction of corruption charges. Stronger proposals to ban their ability to earn outside income and restrict contributions from limited liability corporations — actions that led to the downfall of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — went by the wayside. Government watchdogs slammed state lawmakers for passing watered-down ethics reforms during a legislative session that saw two of the three most powerful people in Albany sentenced to prison for corruption.
Cuomo Goes After de Blasio's Lobbyists PAC Run Shadow Govt
Bleary-eyed legislators waited until 5 a.m. on the final day of the legislative year to push through a bill regulating political consultants, lobbyists, not-for-profits and fund-raising committees. But the measure only stripped politicians of their pensions upon conviction of corruption charges. Stronger proposals to ban their ability to earn outside income and restrict contributions from limited liability corporations — actions that led to the downfall of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — went by the wayside.And Manhattan Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger called it “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
The new bill would force consulting firms that do business with the state and city to disclose their clients, make issue-advocacy groups and lobbyists reveal their funding sources and restrict how independent committees communicate with and give cash to candidates. Albany insiders said many of the measures were slipped in to curb Mayor de Blasio’s electioneering ability, and his reliance on outside consultants, including Berlin Rosen, as he seeks a second term in 2017.
Albany's Big Ugly: 1 Year Extension Mayor Control of Schools
While some have critiqued Gov. Andrew Cuomo for failing to get some of his key initiatives passed this legislative session, he argues that he has had a high rate of success, describing his office’s work this year as “the most successful session in modern history,” The New York Times writes.* Even for a place that has presented New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with plenty of political setbacks, the message from Albany as the legislative session wound down was clear, as the mayor was only able to secure a one-year extension on mayoral control of city schools after asking for seven, The Wall Street Journal reports. * De Blasio last week managed to kill a deal by state leaders that would have reformed day-care oversight in New York City, highlighting the tensions between him and Cuomo, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes.
* Unnamed lawmakers, lobbyists and journalists tell the Post’s Fred Dicker that state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have displayed weak leadership in their first full terms as legislative leaders.* The “little ugly” legislative package that passed at the end of this year’s legislative session did little to address the many issues that New York faces, but also avoided doing further damage and gave de Blasio little of what he wanted, the Post writes.
Tentative deal would renew mayoral control for one year(PoliticoNY)
Lawmakers agree to give de Blasio 1-year school control extension (NYP)
Albany "ethics deal" targets good gvt groups which receive support from c3s to their c4 accounts
In last-minute move, Albany whacks @Airbnb
New bill could crush Airbnb’s New York business (NYP) A bill that imposes hefty fines that start at $1,000 for apartment rentals of less than 30 days — which are illegal and which are a big part of the apartment-sharing site’s business.
Legislature Reaches Deal to Extend Mayoral Control of New York’s Schools for a Year (NYT) Agreements also emerged in Albany on a set of modest ethics reforms, required lead testing in schools and money for supportive housing for the homeless. Consensus on the ethics reform seemed to come quickly on Friday, the day after the last official day of the legislative session. The deal would, among other things, strip state pensions from public officials convicted of corruption and strengthen prohibitions on political campaigns’ ability to coordinate with independent expenditure committees.The state will also provide an additional $50 million in capital funding for SUNY and the City University of New York. But the governor’s announcement that the state would release $570 million in state resources to build and operate 1,200 units of supportive housing for the homeless was immediately dissected and dismissed by advocates for the program, who said it fell far short of Mr. Cuomo’s initial commitment to pay for 20,000 units. Blair Horner, the executive director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the deal was a “smorgasbord of elections, ethics and lobbying reforms” that nonetheless was “not focused at the heart of what’s wrong with Albany,” including the nearly unchecked flow of money through multiple limited liability companies. That said, Mr. Horner said the move to define coordination between independent expenditure committees and candidates was an improvement. “No one has defined what that means,” he said. “And this does.* Consensus says Heastie and Flanagan are weak leaders (NYP) * State lawmaker’s ‘little ugly’ is mostly a slap at de Blasio (NYP) * Some Call Legislative Session a Letdown. Cuomo Sees It Far Differently (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said “it was probably the most successful session in modern history,” despite falling short on proposals involving ethics and housing reform.*Cuomo: De Blasio Lucky to Get Even One-Year Extension of Mayoral Control of City Schools (NY1) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he understands Mayor Bill de Blasio’s frustration at a one-year extension of mayoral control of schools, but added he was lucky to get anything since many Assembly Democrats joined Senate Republicans in opposing an extension, the Daily News writes. * * Cuomo doesn't believe that holding a special legislative session later this year to close a notorious campaign finance loophole or restrict lawmakers' outside income would be productive, the Times Union reports.* * One of the bills passed in the last hours of the legislative session allows SUNY to waive current requirements that limit the number of uncertified teachers that charter schools can employ and gives charter schools teachers three years to get certified, the Times writes.
Daily News Says Albany Turned Their Backs On Child Abuse
THEY TURNED THEIR BACKS: New York Legislature, Gov. Cuomo abandon child sex abuse victims: ‘Our elected officials chose predators over victims’ (NYDN)”* New York’s Voice at the M.T.A. Gets Louder, as 2 Mayoral Board Picks Are Confirmed (NYT) Over the past year, Mayor Bill de Blasio has had just one representative at the transit agency. Two more were approved by the State Senate. As the legislative session wound down on Friday evening, the Senate confirmed several people to serve on the board, including David R. Jones, the president of the Community Service Society, whom Mr. de Blasio recommended. Another mayoral choice, Veronica Vanterpool, the executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, was confirmed on Thursday.* Lawmakers end session with last-minute deals on state ethics laws, illegal rentals (NYDN) * NEW: In Extended Session, Lawmakers Vote Through Variety of Bills with Little Public Review via @GothamGazette* It's About To Be Illegal To Advertise Entire Apartments On Airbnb (Gothamist) * State Senate Votes to Legalize, Tax Fantasy Sports Sites the Attorney General Says Encourage Illegal Gambling (NY1) * State Leaders Reach Deals on End-of-Session Priorities, Including Extension of Mayoral Control of NYC Schools (NY1) * Two of Mayor's Recommended Picks for MTA Board Finally Confirmed by State Senate (NY1) * De Blasio Keeps Control of City’s Schools, but Only for a Year (NYT) The one-year extension of control over New York schools follows a protracted battle in the Legislature, and is a much shorter term than what the mayor had * THEY TURNED THEIR BACKS: New York Legislature, Gov. Cuomo abandon child sex abuse victims: ‘Our elected officials chose predators over victims’ (NYDN)
Still the Albany Secret Sausage Factory
Airbnb is Being Stopped by the Hotel Lobby Not the Bigger Problem of Fueling Gentrification Pushing Blacks Out of Their NeighborhoodsAirbnb’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 * Let Airbnb be, governor: Permitting short-term rentals is good for all New Yorkers (NYDN Ed)
Manhattan landlord Steve Croman surrenders to face charges he threatened, sued rent-protected tenants to force them out for high-rent units (NYDN)
@HammerDaily NYC landlord Steve Croman arrested for threatening rent-stabilized tenants--"secret weapon" is former NYPD cop
Months Ago True News Said the Campaign for One NY PAC Sending Should Count to His 2017 Spending Limits
How Bill de Blasio tore the heart out of NYC’s campaign laws (NYP) Should nakedly political spending by Mayor de Blasio’s pocket nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, count against the legal limits on his re-election spending? The decision’s up to the city Campaign Finance Board — which is now dominated by appointees of the mayor and his hand-picked City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, so don’t expect a crackdown. After all, in off years, the campaign spending cap is $328,000. Yet CONY has spent more than $4 million since 2013 to tout de Blasio’s political agenda. Because Team de Blasio raised that cash from a host of developers and unions with business before the city, it faces multiple probes. But Tusk is right that the whole arrangement is also a challenge to the city’s system of public campaign finance. If a mayor can use his power to freely raise and spend millions to boost his public profile, no challenger can hope for anything remotely close to a level playing field. Under the campaign-finance laws, the mayor is limited to spending $7 million through the 2017 primary election; if CONY outlays count, he’s already run through half of it. But if they don’t, then he’s made a mockery of the limit. De Blasio admits he created CONY — and actively raised cash for it — to advance his agenda. So it certainly doesn’t qualify as “independent expenditures,” which aren’t subject to CFB limits. And the CONY scheme defeated another goal of the laws, namely to limit the time politicians spend grubbing for cash. Just last month, Common Cause New York complained that the mayor’s use of the nonprofit has led to nonstop political fund-raising. Maybe it was technically legal. De Blasio helped write the campaign-finance laws, so he’s got the expertise to end-run them. We’ve never liked these laws, not least because they’re slanted to boost the power of unions and stifle political spending by the business community. But if the loopholes are truly this big, then the taxpayer-funded campaign-finance program is even more rigged than we ever imagined.
Albany Legislature Avoids Important Issues, Pass Feel Good Bills, As They Leave Town
New York Legislature passed laws on boozy brunches, cremated cats and hunting for her — but squat for sex abuse victims (NYDN) While state leaders appear ready to turn their backs on child sex abuse victims again this year, they found time to shower love on female hunters, brunch-goers and pet lovers. But lawmakers this year did manage to pass an array of apparently more pressing legislation. Among them is a bill to allow the use of fluorescent pink, instead of just orange, hunting attire in order to attract more women and young people into the woods. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders, who couldn’t come to terms on a bill for sex abuse victims, did agree on legislation that would allow restaurants to begin serving alcohol on Sundays at 10 a.m., instead of the current noon requirement. The Legislature also passed a bill that would let the cremated remains of dogs and cats be buried with their owners. Another bill that passed both houses would allow college students under 21 enrolled in programs involving the agriculture, hospitality and beverage industries to partake in tastings at off-campus wineries, distilleries and breweries as long as they are supervised by an instructor.* State lawmakers assembled a deal on many issues Thursday evening, including a one-year extension of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control over the school system and a measure that would strip convicted electeds of their pensions, The New York Times reports. * * New York’s Legislature couldn’t leave town without approving up to $50 million a year in tax subsidies for music and video game producers, modeled after the state’s existing (and outrageous) giveaway to film and TV producers, the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon writes.
Feds Interviewing de Blasio Donors
The Wall Street Journal reports.
Groundhog Day NYCHA Spins Another Clean Up Lead Paint As Feds Investigate
The Daily News writes that child lead poisoning is a “serious issue” in public housing and that it fully merits federal investigators’ probe into how the New York City Housing Authority responded to the toxin’s presence in apartments. Failing to lead on lead: The trouble with NYCHA's lead remediation strategy (NYDN) Since 2010, city Department of Health tests have found dangerously high lead levels in 202 children living in 133 apartments. Still, Olatoye assured the City Council in March that just 18 of the apartments contained elevated levels of lead in paint, which becomes hazardous to children when it flakes or peels.What she failed to say, and what Greg Smith found in a Daily News special report, was that, using reliable X-ray technology that can detect lead through layers of paint, the Health Department had identified lead in 63 of the kids’ apartments. Rather than send in repair and repainting crews, NYCHA elected to challenge the Health Department’s results in all but a small number of cases. Running its own test, using paint chips pried from surfaces flagged as containing lead, NYCHA persuaded health inspectors that lead levels were safe in all but 17 (not 18) of the units. Because the lead typically lurks beneath more recently applied layers of paint, NYCHA insists it usually isn’t harmful. But chronically leaky housing projects, where sudden water damage frequently cracks walls and ceilings, demand far greater precaution. In all, NYCHA estimates that as many as 10,000 apartments home to tots contain untreated lead paint. Yet except in rare instances , the authority conducts remediation only after occupants move out, in order, the authority says, to work more safely in vacant apartments. Bubble Mayor No Town Hall de Blasio Spins and the NYC Press Defining Journalism Down
Is Spin Doctor de Blasio Telling Us He is Open to the Press? What Crap
De Blasio commends himself for giving the Post press credentials (NYP)
THE MAYOR WHO WANTS TO TELL REPORTERS WHAT QUESTIONS HE’LL PERMIT THEM TO ASK By Gabe Pressman
Mayor DeBlasio has tangled with a reporter, Marcia Kramer, over whether she had a right to ask him a question. The Mayor who promised to run a “transparent” administration has done the opposite. He insists on setting the agenda for his press conferences. He gives us the topic and then assesses each question. If it’s something he doesn’t want to discuss, he admonishes the reporter to stay “on topic.” I’ve been covering press conferences at City Hall for 60 years---and never has a Mayor had the temerity to enforce an agenda on journalists. This Mayor who proclaims he is a “progressive” is anything but. The word “retrogressive” might be a better fit. He needs a lesson in the history of freedom of the press in NY John Peter Zenger went to jail for criticizing the English governor of New York. That happened 300 years ago and, if it were not for Zenger, the principle of freedom of the press might never have been embedded in our constitution. Zenger, a half-literate German-born printer, was a true progressive.
de Blasio Bad Story About His Administration - ATTACK THE PRESS
Media "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism"
Spiro Agnew and de Blasio
De Blasio thinks homeless crisis is a case of ‘fear-mongering’ (NYP) Mayor de Blasio on Monday ripped The Post’s coverage of the homelessness crisis — and touted an estimated drop in the vagrant population based on a single-day census conducted in sub-freezing temperatures. * The Agnew de Blame the Press "Fear-Mongering" Edition * De Blasio 12/3/14: I had 2 “train” son "how 2 takespecial care w police." Today: “media...likes 2 look backwards” (Capital)
Bubble Mayor No Town Hall de Blasio Spins and the NYC Press Defining Journalism Down
Council $655,000 Member Items Slush Fund Went to Federal Rat Rechunitz
De Blasio donor funneled $655K from City Council to fund law-enforcement seminar (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 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. But Rechnitz’s primary role was recruiting scores of high-ranking cops and corrections officers to attend the center’s sensitivity-training program, called “Perspectives in Profiling.” “Jona helped introduce us to people at Corrections and the Police Department,” the museum source said. “He helped bring people to events and helped raise money for [the museum].” Two attendees included correction-union president Norman Seabrook and then-NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks, sources said. The top cops are under federal investigation for receiving gifts and travel fees from Rechnitz, sources have told The Post. Rechnitz allegedly funded several other jaunts for top brass to the Super Bowl, China, London, Brazil and Rome and golfing trips to the Dominican Republic, sources told The Post. He also bundled $41,650 for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign and wrote $50,000 in checks to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit promoting the mayor’s agenda, state campaign-finance records show. But Rechnitz needed help getting the City Council to fund his pet project, so he turned to the museum’s director, Rabbi Steven Burg, and its politically connected lobbyist then, Michael Cohen, a source said. “Cohen arranged for tours of the Wiesenthal Center for different lawmakers and arranged for funding as well,” the source said. “He introduced Rechnitz to other elected officials.” Burg declined comment. Cohen, hired as the museum’s director in October, did not return a call seeking comment. * Judge doubts hedge fund tied to kickback probe can pay debt (NYDN) A New York judge cast doubt Wednesday on whether Platinum Partners, the hedge fund holding $20 million in NYC corrections officers’ retirement funds, has enough money to pay back a measly $30 million debt. “Are they financially sound and capable of paying this debt?” Judge Salinann Scarpulla asked at a Manhattan state court hearing on Wednesday. “I haven’t seen evidence that the fund is worth a billion dollars. For all I know the fund is worth five cents,” an exacerbated Scarpulla said after failing to get satisfactory answers to her questions about the hedge fund’s financial status.Platinum claims to have $1.3 billion in assets on its web site. But it was in court Wednesday over $30 million owed to private equity firm New Mountain Finance, which claims the hedge fund has defaulted on its loan.
Last week, Platinum hedge fund manager Murray Huberfeld was arrested and accused of paying $60,000 in bribes to Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, in return for a $20 million investment in Platinum in 2014.
Daily News Supports Gentrification Caused by Airbnb
Let Airbnb be: Keep alive an in-demand lodging service (NYDN)Attention Airbnb users: The New York Legislature is poised to drive the hugely popular internet-based home-share service out of business in New York. Under pressure from the hotel industry and presenting exaggerated claims that Airbnb is killing affordable housing, lawmakers are moving to bar most advertising on the site and others like it. Airbnb connects would-be short-term renters (say, tourists from Omaha) with house and apartment dwellers seeking to make a few extra bucks by leasing out their premises. Technically, this is unlawful in most cases in New York City because the housing laws prohibit sublets of apartments for less that 30 days unless the tenant remains on site. Otherwise, an apartment becomes an illegal hotel. Regardless, tens of thousands of mini-landlords (for example, someone is going on vacation for a week) are connecting with people looking places to stay. Amid a tourist boom, it’s obvious why the politically powerful hotel industry and even more potent hotel union oppose Airbnb and similar services. Last year, they persuaded Upper West Side Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal to call for hitting apartment dwellers with fines of up to $50,000 for short-term rentals. The bill died. Now, the same forces are attacking from another angle in Albany. Upper West Side Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (no relation to the councilmember) and Staten Island Sen. Andy Lanza are pushing a bill that would impose a $7,500 fine for advertising an apartment’s availability. Occasional short-term rentals help New Yorkers afford the city’s otherwise unaffordable cost of living. They should be left alone to commit victimless offenses that also make tourism more economical and thus more popular. True enough, some Airbnb users have made a business of taking control of numerous apartments and renting them out constantly, making tidy sums while in fact running illegal hotels. Airbnb insists that it drops such business from its site. Because the claim is not altogether credible — thanks to the company’s excessive, self-destructive secrecy — New Yorkers are on the verge of losing a business that is providing wanted services to potentially hundreds of thousands of people annually. Mayor de Blasio set up a unit designed to ferret out de facto illegal hotels. That’s a far better approach than taken by Rosenthal and Lanza. Punish the true violators, not the little folks.
More About Airbnb
Groundhog Day NY Peeing In the Street, Buffalo Billion Corruption Probe, School Control
De Blasio approves bills making it easier to pee and drink in the street (NYP)
Investors are pulling out of the Buffalo Billion project amid corruption probe (NYP)
Getting de Blasio school control isn’t on Cuomo’s to-do list (NYP)
Mark-Viverito Member Item Slush Fund Goes to Her Lobbyists Clients
Groups tied to Mark-Viverito to get nice chunk of city’s discretionary funds (NYP) ity Council spending on pet causes will spike to nearly $60 million in the coming fiscal year – about $3 million more than this year’s outlay, records show. The five percent increase is part of an $82.1 billion budget deal hammered out by Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito last week. Some of the biggest winners in the discretionary cash dole-out include the Hispanic Federation, Communilife Inc. and the Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation, all of which are represented by lobbying firms tied to the Mark-Viverito, who controls much of that spending. Hispanic Federation and Communilife are both represented by the MirRam Group, which consulted on Mark-Viverito’s 2013 campaign. Communilife will take in $308,500 to provide “academic support and creative arts therapy” to at-risk Latina teens. The Hispanic Federation got $600,000 to “continue strengthening New York City’s growing Latino community.” Brooklyn Legal Services, which retains the lobbying firm Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin, raked in $300,000 to provide legal support for tenant organizers. Mark-Viverito paid Pitta Bishop $61,000 in consulting fees to help her become Council Speaker. The Bronx non-profit Regional Aid for Interim Needs also made out well, getting an earmark of $171,000, despite Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s finding last year that the group’s management used taxpayer dollars as a personal “piggy bank.” His office found the group diverted $800,000 in taxpayer funds for elderly services to pay off a mortgage on a vacant building and that its former director charged thousands of dollars of personal expenses to a company credit card.
Senate Dems Keep Fed Rat Rechnitz $$$ They Say They Do Not Have the Money Lobbyist Parkside Who Got Paid Over $6 Million By DSCC Should Folk Over the Hundred Thousand Rechnitz Donated
N.Y. Senate Dems won’t give back donation money from bigwig linked to NYPD scandal (NYDN)State Senate Democrats, who received a massive donation from a businessman at the center of a federal probe into the NYPD, won't refund the cash — even as others have said they'll give back similar contributions. Developer Jona Rechnitz, through a limited liability company he created, had donated the maximum $102,300 to the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee in October 2014 at a time when Mayor de Blasio was helping the Dems raise money in their unsuccessful quest to win control of the chamber. "It's from the previous election cycle," a Senate Democratic official said. "It's been spent. We can't return the money because we don't have it." But De Blasio has said he is returning the $9,000 he received for his mayoral run in 2013 from Rechnitz and his wife. And Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who received $15,000 from Rechnitz's company in 2013, reportedly decided to make a donation from his campaign account in that amount to charity after it became public last week that the developer had pleaded guilty and is a cooperating witness in a case against Norman Seabrook, the now former head of the New York City corrections officers union. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who is running in a congressional primary this month, has already returned the $13,000 he received for his Senate reelection campaign from Rechnitz and his wife in 2014, a spokesman said. A spokesman for Assemblyman Walter Mosley, who received $4,100 from Rechnitz's company in 2014, could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Cuomo Who Used the Committee to Save NY PAC and Other PACs to Win Elections Is Now During A Federal Investigation of de Blasio Campaign for One NY PAC is Cracking Down on Citizen United PACs
Squeezing cash out of campaigns: How we're combating Citizens United (NYDN)In 2014, outside groups in New York spent $12 million on just five state Senate races. In the most expensive race, the 40th District, total spending was $7.5 million — with half of that coming from independent expenditures. That’s more than what was spent in 91% of U.S. House races that year. My counsel has issued an opinion that spells out permissible conduct for these groups — to remove some of the ambiguities in state law. Together with my legislation, these protections institute the strictest anti-coordination measures in the country. A candidate wants to form his or her own PAC? Family members want to create an independent expenditure to support their relative’s run for office? A candidate’s advisors suggest that the group run an advertisement? Not in New York. This state is taking decisive action to ensure the independence of these entities is not a myth, but a reality. While Citizens United must be reversed, we must also act now to stop the damage. We cannot let our elections be manipulated and scandalized. The Senate and Assembly can either reform or perpetuate the status quo. They should rise to the occasion. Because in New York, elections must not be bought and sold. Cuomo is governor of New York.* While their relationship had been built up over decades of unswerving loyalty and constant interaction, it only took a few days for the relationship between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Joseph Percoco, one of his most trusted aides, to unravel, the Times writes. * * In the hours after Percoco’s home was searched, concurrent with searches of the Maryland home and Washington, D.C., offices of Cuomo ally and lobbyist Todd Howe, the Cuomo administration began developing a plan to deal with the fallout, The Wall Street Journal reports.* * While the goals of Cuomo’s Start-Up NY tax incentive program are laudable, they may also be too lofty, as the program has yielded little in terms of tangible results nearly three years into its run, the Watertown Daily Times writes. * Cuomo's Worried About The Corruption Probes: That's the takeaway I get from the two pieces out in the Wall St...
NYPD More Arrests Coming
NYPD official: More arrests coming in corruption scandal (NYP) More people will be arrested as a result of the wide-ranging federal probe into police corruption, an NYPD official said Friday — two days after the city correction-union boss was busted as part of the investigation. “There will be charges in the future, but we’re not going to get into the time frame today,” Lawrence Byrne, the Police Department’s deputy commissioner for legal matters, said during a press conference at 1 Police Plaza. The feds and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau are “aggressively pursuing a number of leads,” he said.
Up to Feds to Go After de Blasio's Straw Donors CFB Whick Low Fined the Speaker and Advance is a Puppet Joke
Will de Blasio pay for his straw-donor scandals? (NYP) The city Campaign Finance Board this week finished its audit of Joe Lhota’s 2013 campaign for mayor, imposing a small $2,800 fine for various minor irregularities. Here’s betting the fine for the de Blasio campaign winds up a lot larger.
Of course, the CFB may have to wait for the various federal and state criminal probes of de Blasio’s fund-raising to wind up first. But Post reporting has already tracked down some major areas of concern — including at least two straw-donor scandals. Straw donations are a classic (and illegal) way to end-run donation limits: Once you’ve maxed out under your own name, you pay third parties to “donate” under theirs. This week, The Post uncovered signs that this explains 2013 giving from some two dozen donors employed or affiliated with the Brooklyn-based Broadway Stages. Gina Argento, president of Broadway Stages, bundled $111,805 for de Blasio’s campaign and transition team in 2013. But many of the donors of record didn’t seem to recall making the contribution. One referred a reporter to his lawyer. Last month, The Post pointed to similar issues with gifts to de Blasio from drivers in the beauty-supply business, several of whom were seemingly so appreciative of his politics (and so well compensated) that they forked over thousands of dollars. All but one of the donations occurred on the same date in October 2013. Sm-Ali Amanollahi, owner of Queens-based Primary One, gave $5,000, as did two of his drivers and three of his associates. Days later, another Primary One worker added $2,500 more. All this, of course, is separate from the larger scandal: Too many of the mayor’s top donors do business with the city, and too many have received favorable treatment for their clients or their projects. What of the Campaign Finance Board? Because members’ terms are staggered, the mayor and his close ally, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, haven’t yet chosen the entire board, just a majority. We can hope that the holdovers from the Bloomberg-Quinn era will ensure an honest audit of de Blasio’s fund-raising — but it’s nice to have Preet Bharara and Cy Vance on the case, too.
Team de Blasio Knew About the Rivington Nursing Home from the Begining Shorris Lied
Memos Suggest City Hall Knew of Nursing Home’s Sale Early (NYT) In a pair of memos obtained by The New York Times, a top official in the de Blasio administration was apprised on the progress in removing the restrictions at Rivington House twice in the middle of 2015 — suggesting involvement and coordination by close advisers to Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, months earlier than the administration has acknowledged. In the memos the Department of Citywide Administrative Services informed the first deputy mayor, Anthony Shorris, that it was working to remove the restrictions after Allure Group, a for-profit nursing-home company, had agreed to pay the city $16.15 million to do so. The transactions that resulted in the lifting of the restrictions and the sale of the nursing home to condominium developers are the subject of parallel investigations by the state attorney general, the city comptroller and the city’s Investigation Department. “Landau seeks to remove the restrictions but intends to use the property as a for-profit nursing home,” the department’s then-commissioner, Stacey Cumberbatch, wrote to Mr. Shorris in a memo dated May 6, 2015, referring to an owner of the company, Joel Landau. “The next step is a public hearing,” she added, “prior to requesting a mayoral authorization document.” After the city removed the restrictions on the property, which barred any use other than as a nonprofit health care center, Allure Group sold the home to the developers in February for $116 million. Officials at City Hall have said that Mr. Shorris did not know until after the sale that the city had lifted all deed restrictions on the property. The first deputy mayor “learned of the transaction and the lifting of the full deed restriction in late February,” according to background on the deal provided by City Hall in April, after the transactions became public. “He did not know D.C.A.S. had lifted the deed restriction for Allure.” But in the May memo — and in another on July 8, 2015 — Ms. Cumberbatch updated Mr. Shorris as part of a weekly report on “items of interest.” “D.C.A.S. is proceeding to remove two use restrictions that were imposed when the Rivington House property was sold by the city in 1992,” the July memo explained, one limiting use to nonprofits, the other to health care providers. The department “expects to have a formalized deed modification approved by the Law Department in July,” according to the memo, copied to two members of Mr. Shorris’s staff.Mr. de Blasio has said he did not find out about the questionable deals surrounding Rivington House until he heard about it from the media. City Hall officials have said that Mr. Shorris and others, who were scrambling to address the issue in early March, did not bring it to the mayor’s attention because they were still gathering facts. The subject also did not come up, City Hall officials have said, during a meeting between Mr. de Blasio and Mark G. Peters, the commissioner of the Investigation Department, at City Hall on March 1, the same day that officials have said the agency began its inquiry. The city also halted all new deed changes that day. “It looks like there is movement on the Rivington House issue,” wrote Ms. Cumberbatch’s chief of staff, Sally Renfro, in an email on Sept. 2, 2014, to the general counsel for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. She added that a staff member “from DM Shorris’s office called to ask if there are any other steps required to remove the deed restriction on Rivington House, assuming Village Care pays the appraisal amount,” referring to the original nonprofit owner of the home. de Blasio Build Baby Build Bigger DeBlasio trying hard to pass real estate friendly legislation in Albany * Brooklyn is officially the most unaffordable housing market in America (Business Insider)
Nobody Knew What Seabrook Was Doing With City Money Not Even His Own Union?
Seabrook made $20M investment behind union’s back, ex-official says (NYP) * Top correction officers union members so feared the wrath of their former boss, Norman Seabrook, who was arrested last week on corruption charges, that they dared not challenge his investment of $20 million in a risky hedge fund, the New York Post writes.* Ex-correction officer boss Norman Seabrook will hire high-priced lawyer in corruption probe (NYDN) The boss of the correction officers union, Norman Seabrook, is getting a high-priced lawyer in his corruption case, courtesy of the union he's charged with ripping off. The Correction Officers Benevolent Association is footing the bill for Paul Shechtman, who sources say typically charges at least $1,000 an hour.
Union boss drunkenly claimed it was time he ‘got paid’: feds (NYP) The longtime head of the city correction officers union steered $20 million in funds into a risky hedge fund in exchange for a $60,000 cash kickback that was stuffed into a brand-new Salvatore Ferragamo bag, the feds charged on Wednesday. Norman Seabrook — who drunkenly declared it was time he “got paid” for investing his union’s funds — and Platinum Partners founder Murray Huberfeld were charged with conspiracy and honest-services fraud for what Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara called “a very simple and straightforward quid pro quo.” Both men face a maximum 40 years if convicted on both counts.The feds say the scam was cooked up in late 2013 during a trip to the Dominican Republic paid for by a cooperating witness — identified by sources as real-estate investor and Mayor de Blasio donor Jona c During a night of heavy drinking, Seabrook — who’s run the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association for the past 21 years — complained to Rechnitz that he worked hard to invest his union’s money. He said it was time that “Norman Seabrook got paid,” according to the court papers. Rechnitz then allegedly worked out an arrangement in which Seabrook would hand over a huge chunk of COBA’s cash funds to Platinum for 10 percent of its profit share, or an estimated $100,000 to $150,000 a year. Seabrook and Huberfeld later sealed the deal and COBA made an initial investment of $10 million worth of pension funds in March 2014 — the same month that Rechnitz paid for Seabrook to join him on a trip to Israel, according to the feds. Also on that trip was then-NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks — who had introduced Seabrook to Rechnitz — and Rechnitz pal Jeremy Reichberg, who sources said is identified in court papers as an uncharged co-conspirator in the case. * Union boss accused of spending members’ money on Jay Z tickets (NYP) * Disgraced union boss yanked from local radio spots (NYP) * Norman Seabrook’s Ouster as Union Chief May Complicate Overhaul at Rikers (NYT) The absence of the longtime president of New York City’s correction officers’ union, who is facing corruption charges, may pose headaches to advocates of jail reform.* Norman Seabrook ousted as correction officers union president following corruption charges (NYDN)
Feds Real Target de Blasio Gets A Road Map
Cooperating Witness in Corruption Case May Assist in de Blasio Inquiries (NYR) An individual, referred to in a criminal complaint as “CW-1,” for Cooperating Witness 1, has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.Of all the charges and the allegations in a 17-page criminal complaint accusing a powerful New York City union leader of corruption, perhaps the most far-reaching development was woven into the legal boilerplate, essentially hiding in plain sight. A person, referred to as “CW-1,” for Cooperating Witness 1, had agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.Mr. Rechnitz, who has generously supported several of Mr. de Blasio’s interests and served on the mayor’s inaugural committee, has pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy charges in connection with the corruption case against Norman Seabrook, the influential leader of the union that represents the city’s correction officers, and another defendant, according to the complaint. But the significance of his decision to join the roster of government witnesses could go far beyond the case against the union leader, and have wide-ranging consequences for Mr. de Blasio. The complaint in the corruption case, along with statements by Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York (whose office brought it), and interviews with people with knowledge of the fund-raising inquiries, strongly suggest that Mr. Rechnitz could serve as an important witness in at least one of the fund-raising matters.At a news conference on Wednesday announcing the charges against Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Bharara declined to answer questions about the identity of CW-1 and the degree to which the witness could be helpful in other cases. But he noted that “the complaint does say that he is assisting other investigations as well; that’s all I’ll say.”
The Feds Have A Rat Rechnitz Spilling the Beans on the Putnam Senate Laundry
Correction Union Head Arrested on Fraud Charges in Federal Corruption Probe (DNAINFO) "I feel like a million dollars" after his arraignment Wednesday afternoon * Seabrook arrest has city and police officials terrified (NYP) * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s biggest prosecuting successes (NYDN) The Norman conquest: Kickbacks bring down Rikers union chief (NYDN Ed) Rechnitz produced $200,000 for the mayor and his causes, despite campaign finance rules limiting donors to just $4,950 a candidate. De Blasio made it easy for him. During his mayoral campaign, disclosure documents say that Rechnitz collected nearly $42,000 from nine associates to deposit in de Blasio’s political pot. He and his wife gave their maximum $9,900. The mayor-elect rewarded Rechnitz with a spot on his ceremonial inaugural committee — and then kept looking for even greater sums of money by creating a non-profit called the Campaign for One New York. There being no limits on donations to such an organization, Rechnitz promptly gave $50,000. Later in 2014, he heeded the mayor’s call to fund the Democratic takeover of the state Senate, contributing the maximum $102,300 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.* * The criminal complaint against Norman Seabrook, the head of the New York City corrections officers union, alleges that he steered $20 million of union funds to a risky hedge fund in exchange for $60,000 for himself, The New York Times reports. * The Times writes that the city’s corrections union has long wielded “an unhealthy” level of control, and the arrest of its leader has brought on a new phase in efforts to root out corruption and violence at Rikers Island. * The Daily News writes that the complaint against Seabrook and an investment manager highlight the “corrosiveness” of de Blasio’s invitation to pour cash into his campaign and causes beyond previously adhered to limits.* New York mayor strives to stay the course as probe queries persist
Cuomo Sticks It To de Blasio With New Campaign Finance Rules That Go After Campaign for OneNY
Cuomo unveils strict campaign finance rules amid de Blasio probe (NYP) Cuomo issued stricter guidelines Wednesday for campaign spending by independent committees — which would include those used by Mayor de Blasio.
In a speech at Fordham Law School, Cuomo unveiled the rules state agencies will follow to determine if committees like de Blasio’s the Campaign for One New York are truly independent. They’re not, he said, if “they share an office space, the candidate is appearing at their events.”Cuomo also proposed spending limits on such groups.* With the state legislative session wrapping up without movement on state ethics laws, Cuomo is attempting, via a legal memo and new legislation, to tighten restrictions on money given to candidates through independent expenditure committees, the Times reports. * * Cuomo’s multibillion-dollar upstate economic-development plans, including the massive Buffalo Billion project, may be derailed by growing nervousness from IBM and other companies over the continuing corruption probes, the Post’s Fred Dicker writes.
The Post Uncovers More 2013 de Blasio Straw Donors and Berlin Rosen Flack Levitan Flacks for Mayor Capalino Lobbyies
Questions surround film company’s massive de Blasio donations (NYP) Donors affiliated with a major TV and film production company who never gave more than $250 to any city office donated thousands to Mayor de Blasio in 2013 — and are now dodging questions about the big-money contributions. Of some two dozen donors employed or affiliated with Brooklyn-based Broadway Stages who were contacted by The Post, only the husband of company President Gina Argento said the $4,000 he gave came from his own pocket. Argento rounded up $111,805 for Mayor de Blasio’s campaign and transition committee in 2013, making her one of his biggest financial backers. Most of the generous donors didn’t respond to calls, but four told The Post they either couldn’t recall giving, had no knowledge of the donations or referred questions to their lawyers. “I don’t know anything about it,” said Bianca Netto, listed as giving $9,450 to de Blasio’s campaign and transition committee in October and December 2013. Two other donors listed as part of Argento’s bundling efforts weren’t able to confirm the accuracy of donation records. Monica Holowacz gave $4,000 through Argento while working as an office assistant at Lights on Brooklyn, records show. But when asked about the donation, she said: “I don’t know what you’re talking about” before hanging up. Joshua Huffman, a production coordinator for Woodridge Productions who gave $3,050 according to records, said he couldn’t remember the donation. “I don’t recall, but I’d have to talk to my lawyer about it,” he said. Last month, de Blasio’s campaign returned $32,200 to seven donors tied to a Queens beauty-supply company when questions were raised if the money they gave was their own. It is illegal to make a donation with someone else’s money. Dan Levitan, a spokesman for the mayor’s campaign, said it is “reviewing these donations and will take any appropriate action.” * Film company behind de Blasio donations also spent over $230K on lobbyists (NYP) Gina Argento, president of the film and TV production company that rounded up $111,805 for the mayor’s 2013 campaign and transition, has also spent $233,214 on lobbyists over the last two years. Argento, president of Brooklyn-based Broadway Stages, paid lobbyist James Capalino $53,214 in 2014 alone for an “introduction” to the mayor’s office, records show. Capalino, the city’s highest-earning lobbyist, has separately raised nearly $30,000 for de Blasio’s re-election.
SeaBrook Arrested: NYPD's GiftGate Rechinitz Interconnected
Chief of New York Jail Officers’ Union Is Arrested on Fraud Charges Tied to de Blasio Inquiry (NYT) The powerful leader of the union that represents New York City correction officers, whose alliances with mayors and governors have afforded him broad influence, was arrested on federal fraud charges on Wednesday, people with knowledge of the matter said. The charges against the union leader, Norman Seabrook, and a second defendant, Murray Huberfeld, a hedge-fund financier, stem from the first major criminal case linked to one of several corruption investigations focused on the campaign fund-raising of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat. The relationship between the mayor and Mr. Seabrook has been close in the past. At a 2014 fund-raiser for a union charity; Mr. de Blasio referred to Mr. Seabrook as a “friend” and a “great leader.” Mr. Seabrook, the longtime president of the 9,000-member Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, was taken into custody (at his Bronx home) around 6 a.m. by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the people with knowledge of the matter said. Mr. Huberfeld, the founder or Centurion Credit Management, which was later subsumed by the top-performing Platinum Partners, was taken into custody at his home at about the same time. The charges, brought by prosecutors in the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, involve Mr. Seabrook’s investment of roughly $10 million from his union’s pension fund in Platinum Partners through Mr. Huberfeld, and Mr. Huberfeld’s payment of a kickback to the union leader, one of the people said. The accusations do not involve Mr. de Blasio or any of the possible improprieties that are under scrutiny in more than half a dozen inquiries swirling around the mayor and his aides. However, a central figure in one of those inquiries, Jona S. Rechnitz, was involved, having referred Mr. Seabrook to Mr. Huberfeld, two of the people said. While his role was described in the complaint, Mr. Huberfeld was not named in it.*
Bill to Force de Blasio to Release Agent of the City Emails
Proposed bill would force Mayor de Blasio to release correspondences with his designated ‘agents of the city’ (NYT) Mayor de Blasio would be forced to publicly release correspondences with his designated "agents of the city" under a bill quietly introduced by Senate Republicans. The bill by Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Westchester) would clarify who would be exempted from the state Freedom of Information Law. The bill is the latest shot from the Senate GOP at de Blasio. De Blasio recently created the term “agents of the city” to keep correspondence between five outside political advisers and City Hall exempt from being made publicly available.
Howe Law Firm Directed Payment to Him
People familiar with matter said federal investigators are examining whether Todd Howe, a longtime associate of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, defrauded his former employer, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, by diverting client payments to himself, The Wall Street Journal reports.
JCOPE Told Percoco Not to File Financial Disclosure Statement
Times Union reports.
Talk About Lessons Unlearned: Uber Lobbyists Tusk Wants to Pick de Blasio's Challenger
Ex-Bloomberg campaign aide on hunt for de Blasio challenger (NYP) Mike Bloomberg’s former campaign manager is so hellbent on dumping Mayor de Blasio that he launched a site Monday to recruit a challenger. “It’s an embarrassment that we have a mayor under massive federal investigation,” said Bradley Tusk, who helped orchestrate former Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 third-term victory. “I’m going to put together an effort to find the best possible opponent. I’ll do whatever I can to help them,” he said.
NYP Pours On the Mayor Troubles While the Daily News Attacks GOP Senate
Scandals hurt de Blasio’s bid for extended school control(NYP) *
Our kids, mayor and control: State senate Republicans use kids for payback against de BlasioNYDN
As investigations have swamped City Hall, the notion that Mayor Bill de Blasio has brought about a unified New York appears to have all but vanished as an argument for his winning a second term.
No Lobbyists Firewall Inside Team Cuomo
Probed lobbyist was a member of Cuomo’s ‘inner circle’ (NYP) Cuomo’s renewed effort to distance himself from lobbyist and longtime associate Todd Howe flies in the face of Howe’s continuous role as a member of Cuomo’s “inner circle,” a source close to US Attorney Preet Bharara’s corruption probe told The Post. “From the start, when Cuomo took office, Todd was part of the inner circle of decision makers. He was basically part of the Cuomo administration,” said the source, who has first-hand knowledge of Bharara’s investigation. “Todd was a coequal to Joe Percoco and Howard Glaser and absolutely seen as the governor’s guy, even though he wasn’t on the state payroll and officially part of the government. “For Cuomo to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.” Percoco, Cuomo’s once-powerful deputy secretary and one of his closest friends, is being investigated by Bharara over money he received from state contractors while running the governor’s re-election campaign in 2014. Glaser is Cuomo’s former state operations director.* The Post’s Fred Dicker writes that Cuomo’s renewed effort to distance himself from lobbyist and longtime associate Todd Howe flies in the face of Howe’s continuous role as a member of Cuomo’s “inner circle.” * Trying to divert attention from probes into his administration, Cuomo’s state agencies have been asked to put together lists of successes that can be touted publicly and a top official convened staff to urge them to stay focused on their work, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.
The de Blasio Years When Developers Ran the City
The people have spoken on Mayor de Blasio’s creative political fund-raising, now under the microscope of federal and state investigations. More than half of voters in a recent Quinnipiac poll say yes to the proposition “Do you think Mayor de Blasio does favors for developers who make political contributions to campaigns in which he is involved or don’t you think so?” Of those, all but a handful deem that conduct either unethical or outright illegal. Between the probes and the frequency with which his generous political donors also end up with blessings from the city for real estate projects, it’s no wonder New Yorkers turn a withering gaze on what sure looks like dirty business. Where de Blasio’s theory of civic transformation fell apart was on his own administration’s competence to swim with the real estate sharks who own New York . One donor gobbled the Lower East Side nursing home where apparently clueless city administrators lifted a deed restriction based on the buyer’s pinky promise to keep it a health facility — then flipped it for condominiums. Another blotted out the Upper East Side sky with a luxury tower many stories taller than zoning allows because the Department of Buildings got outfoxed by a wily developer who bent the rules. Another clue that de Blasio’s real estate bureaucracy is no match for the sharks: The stunning cancellation last week of Flushing West, one of seven much-heralded new housing development zones. And developers privately say that in outer-borough neighborhoods, de Blasio’s updated version of the 421-a tax break, which went belly-up in Albany, would have padded their profits far more than under the expired program — while counting as affordable apartments units renting for at or close to market rate. We can call all of these bargains with the sharks win-wins — and de Blasio does. We can call them giveaways to wealthy developers. Perhaps the corruption label will ultimately stick — but far likelier we’ll remember the de Blasio years as the era when real estate ran the city.
What About the Super Talls Building That Are killing New York City's Neighborhoods?A de Blasio-backed bill aimed at boosting the city’s affordable-housing stock by lifting a state cap on the size of residential projects has suddenly gained steam in Albany and could be approved later this month, the Post writes.
Both Came to Light Because of A Federal Investigation Not Pols Who Look the Other Way
Both of those fails came to light only because community boards and City Council members Margaret Chin and Ben Kallos sprang into action at the behest of constituents who had gotten the cold shoulder from the mayor’s side of City Hall.
Cuomo Moves State Police Into NYC
Control of City Schools Up In the Air
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has continued to torment Mayor Bill de Blasio as the mayor lobbies to have mayoral control of schools extended, introducing a one-year extension with new oversight that drew swift criticism, the Times writes. * The fate of mayoral control over New York City schools could come down to a political game of chicken, with the Assembly Democrats in the position to force the Senate GOP into a take it-or-leave it three-year extension of the expiring law, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.
The multimilliondollar payoff: How New York’s most powerful politicians use the LLC loophole to rake in money hand over fist from many of the state’s most powerful business interests
How Did the JCOPE and the Press Miss the Corruption?
New Concerns at JCOPE
One moment someone is working for a state agency, the next he’s lobbying that agency on behalf of a client. One day his name is on public records as a lobbyist, the next it’s gone. One day another person is working for the governor, the next he’s working for the governor’s campaign, and for people doing business with the state. A few months later he’s back in state service, where that private work is banned. These are some of the odd scenarios that are emerging amid a federal investigation that’s raised questions about possible corruption in the Cuomo administration, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and the Buffalo Billion project. What may be just as disturbing is that all this is being looked into by the U.S. Justice Department, not by the state entity that is supposed to be on top of these sorts of things, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. JCOPE says that it’s constrained from discussing matters that reflect its own shortcomings, lapses, and failures. Of course.THE OBSERVATION DECK New concerns at JCOPE. It’s a short trip deep into the weeds of these scandals, in which two longtime aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe, are central figures. But to put it simply: Mr. Percoco, the governor’s former executive deputy secretary, collected tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from firms doing business with the state while he was briefly on leave from state service to head up the governor’s campaign. Mr. Howe, who worked for Mr. Cuomo when he was U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, worked for SUNY Poly, and had an office on the campus, even while he was representing clients doing business with SUNY Poly. These apparent conflicts, blurred ethical lines, and revolving doors so active it’s a wonder the Capitol needs air conditioning, have been there for JCOPE to see in black and white in its own records.Or, at least, they were. Recently, Mr. Howe’s name was scrubbed from JCOPE’s website as if his lobbying work never happened. Now we learn lobbying firms can alter their own state records. JCOPE’s explanation? No comment. Not commenting seems to be what JCOPE – an agency that is supposed to bring more transparency to state government – does best. We understand that an investigative body like JCOPE needs a certain degree of confidentiality to protect the integrity of investigations. But JCOPE has all too often used secrecy as an excuse to avoid being transparent and accountable about its own operations and performance. And so the questions mount: How did JCOPE miss possible corruption that the U.S. Attorney is now looking into? How was potential evidence scrubbed from its site? This isn’t just about blame, but about whether JCOPE is up to its watchdog mission, or whether the Legislature needs to revisit this watchdog’s structure and funding. The whole point of JCOPE is to help keep government open, honest and accountable. That’s got to start with JCOPE embodying what the rest of state government needs to be.
De Blasio says investigations are just part of the job (NYP) He’s the only city elected official known to be under investigation — but Mayor de Blasio insists probes of those in public office are a dime a dozen. “I think investigations are unfortunately, in modern American public life, they are part of the woodwork now,” the mayor (left) said Friday on NY1.
With Not Real Follow Up Questions WNYC's Lehrer Allow de Blasio to Groundhog Day Answer "I Know Nothing"
During an appearance on WNYC radio, he also said the public shouldn’t make too much out of the investigations. “People who have done nothing wrong still get investigated,” de Blasio said. The mayor’s fund-raising efforts on behalf of several entities are being probed by the US attorney and the Manhattan DA, while a suspicious real- estate move by the city is being looked at by four investigative bodies. Asked about his recent public squabbles with Gov. Cuomo, de Blasio didn’t sound overly optimistic the pair would be singing “Kumbaya” any time soon. “Hope springs eternal, and you know, there’s always a chance that things in any relationship can be worked out,” he said. The mayor also again declined to apologize to state workers for saying they were out to get him because of their ties to the Governor’s Office — which Cuomo said they deserve. “In this case he has been proven definitively wrong,” Cuomo said at an event in Melville, LI.* De Blasio won’t ‘get into the weeds’ on questionable appointments (NYDN) “I don’t get into the weeds of every appointment to every board,” he said on WNYC radio. “A lot of what you just said there is news to me. And again, I haven’t seen the article.”
Bill goes way over the line with charge against Daily News reporter (NYDN ED) New Yorkers have learned much about Mayor de Blasio since Daily News Albany Bureau Chief Ken Lovett revealed that the state Board of Elections’ enforcement counsel had accused the mayor of heading a criminal scheme to evade campaign spending limits. Among the traits discovered: When cornered, de Blasio becomes willing to engage in character assassination. The mayor’s initial response to Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman’s report included accusing her of producing and leaking a legally unfounded hit job orchestrated by Gov. Cuomo. After a Republican-appointed Board of Elections PR aide admitted to the state inspector general that he had given Lovett the document, the mayor refused Cuomo’s demand that he apologize for falsely accusing Sugarman of violating her oath of office. Instead, the mayor spun ever wilder conspiracy theories portraying Democrat Cuomo as an almighty bipartisan puppet master. And he alleged that Lovett is among the governor’s puppets. Lacking the nerve to smear Lovett by name, de Blasio posed this question on WNYC radio: “How does a reporter know to ask for that report who happens to be a reporter with a very special relationship? Let’s dissect: The mayor there states that Lovett has “a very special relationship” with Cuomo. While serving as The News’ Albany bureau chief. In doing so, the mayor asserted that Lovett lacked a journalist’s most essential qualities: integrity and independence. There will be no stooping to issue a denial. Suffice it to say that New Yorkers would be lucky to have a mayor with a fraction of Ken Lovett’s character.
de Blasio's Blaming Reporters Again
A deBlasio Administration That Governs By Incompetence and Obstruction
Comptroller report blasts ACS’ juvenile delinquents program (NYP)
Only Question Left is de Blasio A Cynical Liar or A Delusional Liar?
Even the Conviction of the Two Albany Leaders Does Not Stop Pots of Memeber Item Pork in Albany Budget
Editor's Note: True News Will Soon Be Up to Full Speed Showing How the Media is Covering Up New York's Corrupt Election System
Heastie Cool With Federal Prob
At Least Two de Blasio Spreadsheet Appointments Have Integrity Issues
DNAINFO: Mayor Returns $ 56,700 Possible Straw Donor $$$$
de Blasio Has A Payoff Spreadsheet of Big Donors Just Like Tammany Hall Did
Sometimes City Hall consulted with de Blasio’s campaign on candidates. With one of de Blasio’s biggest bundlers, businessman Anthony Bonomo, the list states City Hall was to “ask Elana Leopold before we go any further.” Leopold is a longtime de Blasio campaign worker. Bonomo — who bundled $44,550 for de Blasio — was put on the Mayor’s Fund and got a personal sitdown with the mayor at City Hall on April 23, 2015. He could not be reached for comment. The list also reveals coordination between the mayor's lobbying fund, Campaign for One New York, and his administration. The mayor, who formed the group to support his causes, has been criticized for using it to evade the $4,950 donation limit. Campaign for One New York donors gave unlimited amounts as high as $350,000. The list obtained by The News shows that Campaign for One New York Director Ross Offinger recommended several candidates for appointments, including philanthropist Lorna Brett Howard, who’d just given the organization a $10,000 check. De Blasio then put her on the Mayor’s Fund board. Offinger has received a subpoena from investigators looking into de Blasio’s fundraising. Nearly all the candidates appeared to need approval from Emma Wolfe, a top de Blasio deputy who deals with lobbyists. Wolfe has also received a subpoena in the ongoing fundraising probes. Twice Wolfe gave her approval — “EW approves” — for the mayor to appoint lobbyists who records show were actively lobbying her on behalf of their clients. Lobbyist James Capalino and another lobbyist in his firm, George Fontas, got an “EW approves” while both were seeking her support for a client’s proposed condo tower at the former Long Island College Hospital site in Brooklyn. Neither got appointments, but Capalino and Fontas’ lobbying of Wolfe apparently paid off. The Campaign for One New York sent out a mailer in support of the apartment tower Capalino’s client was pushing for the hospital site. Veteran lobbyist Sid Davidoff made it on the list with the caveat “look up client list.” The mayor gave him a position on the Wildlife Conservation Commission. The list also notes public relations rep Steve Aiello was recommended for a slot on the Jazz at Lincoln Center board “per Sid Davidoff.” Aiello, a big jazz fan, got it.* An internal spreadsheet created by the de Blasio administration and obtained by the New York Daily News reveals a blatant and highly choreographed effort to reward donors and power players with highprofile VIP appointments. The list even goes so far as to suggest that the mayor appoint lobbyists who were and are actively lobbying his administration on behalf of their wealthy clients.
What Scandal? Cuomo Job Performance Unchanged
Park Commissioner de Blasio Did Not Tell Him About the Rat Bags NYP Reporter Never Asked Silver Who Did? Can We See Park Commissioner and Team de Blasio's Emails on the Bags?
Bharara to Cuomo Investigator: Stay Away from Buffalo Billions
Brennan Retires From Assembly After 32 Years Brooklyn Boss Trying to Picking Slate in Once Liberal Park Slope
Does the Daily News Think Getting Rid of LLCs is Going to Clean Up Albany? The Same Real Estate LLCs Created the Jobs for NY PAC to Buy he City Council
Bratton Spins Low Crime On A Night of Gunfire Across 5 Boroughs
More de Blasio Shady Changing Deed Restriction Deals Rivington Nursing Home Not the Only One
Daily News Agrees With Beth Israel Hospitals Plan to Kill People By Becoming Smaller
Another Hospital to Close for Condos In deBlassioVille
Hospital After Hospital Close in de Blasio's NYC
Manhattan Subpoenas DA Team de Blasio Monrow Campaign for 1 NY Senate $$ Laundry
Friday Spin: de Blasio Special Agents Demoted to Just Advisors Still Keeping Their Emails Secret
Are New Yorkers Dumb Enough to Elect A Convicted Pol You Bet
Howe' Law Firm Cuomo's Pay to Play Partner A Mortgage Firm in the Middle Percoco Get A Free House
U.S. attorney sheds light on relationship between a lobbyist at the center of an investigation and Albany law firm
de Blasio Distracted by the Investigation Ruling From the Bunker, Hanging By His City Agents Lawyers
AG Raids Cuomo's Lobbyist Howe
de Blasio's Kitchen Cabinet Includes Lobbyists With Clients Who Do Business With the City
Groundhog Bagdad Bob Wilhelm Blaming the Media On Ass Kisser WNYC's Lehrer
de Blasio Hiding From the Weak City Hall Press
de Blasio's Tammany Hall
Pols Want New Restrictions On Deed Changes Where Were These Pols When de Blasio Changed the Deed on the Rivington Nursing Home?
Scandal de Blasio Poll Numbers Drop 19 Point in 3 Months
Brewer and Chin Who Allowed Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change, Blame de Blasio and Want More Govt Cross-Checks
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.
NYT It Is Time to Stand Up for New Yorkers
State Corruption Investigation
* Cuomo says he had no input into his top CNY contributorgetting state contracts * AG Investigators Searches SUNY Poly Office (YNN) * Cuomo: Closing Loopholes In Election Law ‘Top’ Issue (YNN) * CLOSE THE ALBANY BROTHEL: Heastie and Flanagan must join Cuomo to shut the LLC loophole (NYDN Ed)
The Post Copies Political NY Story On de Blasio Asking For His Council Friends to Support the Mayor
Even de Blasio's NYCHA is Lawyering Up
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
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)
@RaviBatra Silly Frivolous. Imagine City Agents Who Seek Favors. Worse Than Nepotism. This is Criminally Deranged
Loophole Bill and His Gang of Lobbyists Top Guy Capalino
Was Berlin Rosen Dirty Money Mailing Designed to Help Capalino and Team de Blasio?
* Alarm raised about 'dark money' in de Blasio's LICH - Fortis letter ..(Brooklyn Eagle).
Team de Blasio No More Email New Communication System Cone of Silence
de Blasio's Shadow Govt Lobbyists Secret Agent Men
King Wilhelm de Blasio: I am the Law Because I Rule by Divine Right
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
For Months True News Has Said de Blasio is WaterGate Nixon Today Our Official Stenographer Agrees
de Blasio Claims Lobbyists are Part of His Government - Admits to A Shadow Govt
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)
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
de Blasio Defense: "I Did Not Steal From Everyone" HE IS NUTS
Team de Blasio Putnam Spending Records Disappeared From Nassau 4 Days Before BOE Issued Criminal Referral
What is Good de Blasio is Good for the Public Interests
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
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
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.
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 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 .” 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 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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 DonationsDe 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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
NYT Putnam de Blasio's Protect Cuomo Lundered Senate $$$ Also Gray Lady Says Percoco Was Involved
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday True News
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?
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"
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.”
Team de Blasio Creating A NYS Constitutional Crisis As They Defy Subpoenas By the JCOPE Which Regulates Election and Lobbyists
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)
-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
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.
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)
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
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
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.
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
How True News For the Last Two Years Exposed How Shadow Govt Lobbyists Took Over NY's Govt and Election System
Lobbyists Berlin Rosen Takes Over NYC Government
The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine
Red Horse Campaign Consultants
de Blasio One NY PAC Interlocking-directorates Slush Fund, Berlin Rosen, Bill Hyers, Red Horse
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.
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 Great NYP Robbery of True News Part 1 On How de Blasio Learned to Go Around the Election Law
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.
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
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)
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"
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
Kellner Who Supported Sending de Blasio's Campaign Contributions to the Prosecutors Turns Against Ms. Sugarman to Protect the Mayor
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
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
The Daily News Which Investigated the Advance Group Ducks Comment the CFB AG Parking Ticket Fine
The Daily News and Good Govt Groups Who Said UFT PAC Illegally Funding Advance Now are Silent
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
Media Cover-Up of NYCLASS, Other Citizens United PACs, Mayor One NY PAC
More About Pitta Bishop and the Other Shadow Government Lobbyists
More about Lobbyists Mercury
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election
de Blasio Lawyer;s Up With A Lobby Law Firm That Does Business With the City
Goo Goo de Blasio Must Step Down During Investigation
"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 Mayor's Other Two PACs
Why Was the Campaign for One NY Closed Before the CFB and Conflict Board Was Able to Vote? Will They Still Rule?
How the Lobbyists Shadow Govt Runs NY
Bharara 3rd Anniversary of Smith's Arrest and Standing By for Silver and Skelos Sentences While Albany Ducks Ethics Bill
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
Everyone Saw the Conflict of Interests In the Mayor Slush PAC Taking $$$ From Lobbyists and People Doing Business With the City, But the Mayor's Conflict of Interests Board
Port Authority Yes $$$ Airport, Bus Terminal No Penn Station
NYP Goo Goos Ignore Slush PAC NYCLASS and UFT's United for the Future That Elected the Mayor and Council
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
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: