Sunday, July 3, 2016

Cuomo Uses Nation's Day Honoring Independence to His Hide State-Up NY Failures

Local Prosecutors Even the FBI Knew Vito Lopez Used His Charity to Help His Political Career
Vito Lopez’s charity aided his political career: FBI probe (NYP) Boosting serial sex groper Vito Lopez’s political career was a key job requirement at the government-funded nonprofit he founded and controlled, an FBI investigation found. Political work by employees of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council was rated under the euphemistic heading “community participation” in annual performance reviews, FBI probers learned. The feds’ investigation of the then-Brooklyn assemblyman and Democratic power broker stretched for more than five years from 2007, but resulted in no charges. Lopez died of cancer in November at age 74. A Ridgewood Bushwick employee told the feds that he believed some of the council’s executives were “sometimes more interested in campaigning for Lopez” than in the group’s social-services work. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

Even the Daily News Was Embarrised By Their Reporter Siegel's de Blasio Column of Blaming Others for His Campaign PACs
Bill and the bogeymen: Mayor de Blasio cries conspiracy to excuse his own conduct (NYDN) Wounded by a political money scandal wholly of his own making, Mayor de Blasio is working overtime to cast his injuries as the handiwork of wealthy and powerful enemies determined to keep the common man down. Hizzoner’s conspiracy-spinning, calculated to win sympathies in a reelection campaign, puts Bernie Sanders to shame. Speaking with Daily News columnist Harry Siegel in his City Hall office, de Blasio honed a saga of martyrdom that he first tested during a May rally at Rev. Al Sharpton’s Harlem headquarters. The mayor told Siegel: “When I came into office, I had every reason to believe, given what I talked about in the campaign and given the many, many voices that spoke up against my agenda that happened to have a lot of money and power, we would soon experience a lot of very strong opposition.”  Thus de Blasio rationalizes why he created a fundraising operation called the Campaign for One New York before his 2014 inauguration, although the stated purpose then was to fund a drive to win legislative approval for his universal pre-K program. And thus de Blasio defends raising millions of dollars from enterprises with big-money business before his administration, including labor unions, real estate developers, anti-carriage horse advocates and a garbage bag peddler. Whadya know, the open door to buy the mayor’s attentions attracted crooks as surely as moths to a stoop’s porch light, with one donor pleading guilty and a fundraiser criminally charged in separate schemes to buy off the NYPD and enrich the former president of the city’s corrections union. “Obviously immoral people,” de Blasio says, while defending the Campaign for One New York as both above reproach and as a necessary counterforce to a big bad billionaire establishment out to take him down. He spoke to Siegel, and previously to radio host Brian Lehrer, about mayoral phantasms. Bogeyman No. 1: “hedge-fund figures” who champion charter schools. Bogeyman No. 2: “the landlord lobby.” Bogeyman No. 3: “a major multi-national corporation,” aka Uber, the popular smartphone summon-a-ride service De Blasio said all three had run aggressive ad and organizing campaigns against him or his programs, proving his wisdom in marshaling money to fight back on the people’s behalf. “I don’t traffic in unilateral disarmament,” he declared. The mayor’s ready-for-reelection revisionism leaves out the crucial issue of who went after whom first. In fact, de Blasio provoked each of the fusillades, for wholly political reasons..He suffered a storm of charter-school ads only after he preposterously denied space to charters in public school buildings despite available classrooms, in order to placate the United Federation of Teachers — a Campaign for One New York donor. He faced the ire of landlords only because he promised a rent freeze even before his election — openly pre-rigging the judgment of a supposedly independent board to play tenant hero. Uber endured an outrageous mayoral effort to cap the number of its cars on the provably bogus pretense of needing a traffic study only because de Blasio wanted to mollify taxi industry donors. Finally, in Siegel’s interview, Blasio executed a piece de resistance of evasions and excuses to justify his unseemly fundraising escapades. THEY made me do it, he said, because THEY are out to destroy a righteous progressive. Which is worse: The mayor is in cynical damage-control mode, or he really believes his story?

Cuomo's Start-Up NY Report No Jobs 4th of July Bad News Dump
That brings the total number of jobs for Start-Up NY to 408. Taxpayers have spent $55 million marketing State claims 'success' as Start-Up NY created 332 jobs in 2015 (CapitalNY) Cuomo administration releases report three months lateit. (PolicioNY) * State tax-break program has drained $50M, created few jobs (NYP) A tax-break program promoted by Gov. Cuomo to boost the state’s economy cost more than $50 million but produced just 408 jobs in its first two years, according to a report released at the start of a holiday weekend, three months after it was due. That comes to $122,549 a job.

Start-Up NY Great Commercials 

Good Help for Cuomo Re-Election and Poll Numbers Not As Good At Creating Jobs 

 Start-Up New York gives tax breaks in exchange for jobs.* Cuomo’s Start-Up Program, Meant to ‘Supercharge’ Economy, Has Created 408 Jobs (NYT) With the Start-Up New York program, the focus of Friday’s report, the state has promised to create more than 4,100 new jobs by the end of 2020 by eliminating the tax burden for new or expanding businesses. A nationwide ad campaign put the pitch plainly: “Move here, expand here or start a new business here and pay no taxes for 10 years.” For his part, Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said it would “supercharge” the state economy.

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.* 

Rivington Lobbyist Capalino Deed Change Specialist At City Hall
Lobbyist Tied to Shady Hospice Sale Made $250K Pushing Other Deed Changes (DNAINFO)  The powerful lobbyist involved in a controversial deed switch that turned an AIDS hospice facility into a future luxury condo development made more than $250,000 in the past two years pushing for deed changes at three other properties in the city, records show. The lobbyist, James Capalino, pushed city agencies to either lift or modify deed restrictions at a landmarked skyscraper in Lower Manhattan, an industrial site in College Point and a transitional shelter in the East Village. And his efforts to modify the deed for the landmarked skyscraper were stalled after federal and state investigators opened probes into the lifting of a deed at the AIDS hospice Rivington House, which allowed the facility to be sold to luxury apartment developers and evoked negative headlines. In fact Fosun International, owners of the skyscraper at 28 Liberty St., stopped using Capalino's firm on the deed modification because of its connections to the Rivington House drama. Fosun had paid $120,000 to Capalino’s firm since January 2015 to lobby the city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services to modify its deed in order to change parts of its public plaza and to build ground-level storefronts. But Fosun asked Capalino to stop lobbying DCAS in the first week of April, shortly after the Rivington House sale began making news and being scrutinized by the city comptroller’s office and investigators.

City Council Drops Investigation of Rivington Nursing Home

New York City Council Delays Scrutiny of Deed Changes (NYT)When New York City agreed to remove a deed restriction on a nursing home on the Lower East Side in exchange for $16.15 million, it did not foresee all the complications that would follow. The property, known as Rivington House, was then sold at great profit to a condominium developer — leading to questions about the arrangement, a moratorium on new deed changes, and state and federal investigations. More scrutiny was to come from the City Council: Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Council speaker, suggested there would be a hearing specifically addressing the city’s handling of deed restrictions. “There’s room here to do some oversight,” Ms. Mark-Viverito, a Democrat, told reporters in early April. But the hearing, which was tentatively scheduled for this week, was postponed until the fall.  And several Council members said they were recently told by Ms. Mark-Viverito’s office that when the hearing does occur, the Council would not be delving into the events surrounding how the nursing home came to lose the deed restriction, which had prevented any use for it other than nonprofit residential health care. One said the speaker’s office was concerned that the hearing would give renewed attention to an issue that has been problematic for Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat whose administration approved the deed change that allowed the Allure Group, a nursing home operator, to sell the building to the condominium developer for $116 million. Each requested anonymity in order to discuss the private exchanges.

Hours After True News Wrote de Blasio's Rats Jumping Ship The NYP Copied Us

Why the rats are fleeing de Blasio’s City Hall (NYP) Rats didn’t desert the Titanic as quickly as Mayor de Blasio’s top aides have started fleeing City Hall. But they likely had the same reason. In just the past two days, de Blasio has lost his chief counsel, his social-media director (after just eight weeks) and now two of his top environmental officials, Emily Lloyd and Nilda Mesa.  Last month also saw the exit of his press secretary, Karen Hinton. Maya Willey, the mayor’s chief lawyer, reportedly had been looking to leave for months, despite heated denials from the mayor’s office.  She’s the one who came up with that notorious “agents of the city” designation to justify withholding de Blasio’s e-mails with certain key lobbyists and consultants. Now she’ll replace Richard Emery, who quit under pressure as head of the Civilian Complaint Review Board — raising new questions about the board’s independence and impartiality. ut she’s not the first mayoral aide to pull up stakes, only to land a cushy post elsewhere. Homeless Services chief Gilbert Taylor got the ax last December in the wake of the seen-on-every-street-corner failure of the mayor’s homeless policies — but got to keep his $220k salary as a “consultant” and later scored a job as a Family Court judge. Stacy Cumberbatch, whose agency OK’d the dubious deal that let a Lower East Side nursing home be flipped for luxury condos, escaped to a high-paying hospitals job. Maybe the mayor’s now-departed Web czar, Scott Kleinberg, was on to something when he quit with a Facebook rant about “political hacks” and “a boss who just didn’t get it.” Because what we’re seeing is an administration awash in mismanagement, micro-management and just plain chaos. So much so that even Bill de Blasio’s loyalists are throwing in the towel.

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) * De Blasio responds to ex-social media director’s parting shots (NYP) Spent 50 Million Promoting Job Creation in NY * De Blasio says mass exodus of City Hall’s top staffers is normal, has no correlation to probes (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 

Charges for

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, * When Eric Schneiderman and Steve Pigeon battled in Albany (CapitalNY) 'There has been bad blood'

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." * Cuomo pal pleads not guilty to offering judge $10K in bribes (NYP) 

Start-Up NY Report No Jobs 4th of July Dump 
That brings the total number of jobs for Start-Up NY to 408. Taxpayers have spent $55 million marketing State claims 'success' as Start-Up NY created 332 jobs in 2015 (CapitalNY) Cuomo administration releases report three months lateit. (PolicioNY)

After Black Harlem After It Loses Its Congressman 
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.* Wright Concedes to Espaillat in Primary for House Seat (NYT) In the contest to replace Charles B. Rangel of Harlem, Adriano D. Espaillat is likely to become the first Dominican immigrant elected to Congress.

If the Center of Black Politics is Now Brooklyn What About Gentrification?
 Four corners of Myrtle and Broadway evolves from horror show to hipster haven (NYDN)

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.”

 He also said it was “doubtful” he would wind up in Albany, noting: “I’m not sure I could get out of there alive.” A de Blasio spokesman said: “The US attorney is an aggressive prosecutor who’s smartly looking into all aspects of government. The Mayor’s Office supports that mission.”* .@PreetBharara: "To an extent, people are right about the system being rigged." (ABC)  * The state’s economic development authority is tripling the amount of money it’s spending to deal with a federal probe of the Cuomo administration’s Buffalo Billion initiative, with the Empire State Development board approving a change to the agreement with its lawyers, Politico New York reports.Corruption 'rife' in New York politics, top prosecutor warns (Washington Examiner) * @WSJ on our hardworking Mayor in recent weeks " he has shown up at City Hall after 11am".* Cuomo’s administration says no formal paperwork is required for the governor to grant private investigator Bart Schwartz the power to issue civil subpoenas according to Section 6 of state Executive Law, otherwise known as the Moreland Act, the Times Union writes.* Gov. Andrew Cuomo needs to lay out in writing the purpose of his independent investigation into possible wrongdoing surrounding money awarded for upstate economic development initiatives in order to guarantee transparency in the process, the Times Union writes.

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
We also examined dozens of state and local elections where dark money could be linked to a particular interest. We found that, on average, 38 times more dark money was spent in these states in 2014 than in 2006. That’s an even greater increase than at the federal level, where dark money rose 34 times over the same period, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Compounding the problem was the growth in “gray money,” spent by organizations that are legally required to disclose their donors but receive their funding through multiple layers of PACs that obscure its origin.In 2006, 76 percent of outside spending in these six states was fully transparent. In 2014, just 29 percent was, according to our analysis of data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics. This ability to dominate a race with high stakes at low cost and with no oversight can facilitate corruption.

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)

Checkers speech
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 City 

A 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.

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

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

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

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 
Airbnb Lobbyist's Firm Met 29 Times With Brooklyn Borough President, Staff (DNAINFO)  The city's top lobbyist met 29 times with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and his staff since he took office — and those chats made the politician a big believer in Airbnb. Adams became a cheerleader for the apartment-sharing website in 2015 after lobbyist James Capalino and his staff met with him and his staff, according to lobbying records. The borough president even lauded the tech firm in a June 4, 2015, keynote address he gave at the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute's Brooklyn's most prominent politicians, including Public Advocate Letitia James and councilmembers Jumaane Williams, Brad Lander and Carlos Menchaca, have all publicly opposed Airbnb because of its negative effect on affordable housing."Building Brooklyn" conference.A 2015 report from New York Communities for Change and Real Affordability for All found that Brooklyn has eight of the city's top 20 neighborhoods for Airbnb. While the city's average rent increased 32 percent from 2002 to 2014, the average increase in the top Brooklyn Airbnb neighborhoods was 45 percent.Adams' praise came at a time when Airbnb had already been investigated by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and was facing scrutiny from local elected officials about the service's users skirting rental laws and occupancy taxes. Airbnb, which paid $150,000 to Capalino's firm in 2015 to lobby Adams and City Council members, also made a hefty donation to the Brooklyn borough president's nonprofit, the One Brooklyn Fund, according to disclosures made to the city's Conflicts of Interest Board. Adams met personally five times with Capalino's firm and two of those meetings were about Airbnb and had Airbnb representatives present, according to the borough president's office. Adams' staff met with Capalino's firm an additional time regarding Airbnb. For comparison, Mayor Bill de Blasio met with Capalino twice since taking office. Airbnb gave One Brooklyn's general fund a check for $32,000 on Aug. 20, 2015.Tom Cayler of the West Side Neighborhood Alliance, which opposes Airbnb, said he was disappointed to hear about its donation to the Brooklyn Borough President's office. "I'm shocked that as the borough president of Brooklyn that his first concern and commitment isn't to affordable housing for his constituents," Cayler said. "It's very clear to anyone dealing with housing issues that illegal hotels remove valuable housing stock from the market." One Brooklyn has received more than $900,000 in donations from more than 30 donors since it formed in 2014. Adams’ office said One Brooklyn was set up to solicit donations to pay for things such as his “International Day of Friendship" and his New Year's Eve "ball drop" in Coney Island. An advisory letter Adams' office obtained from the Conflicts of Interest Board said that he and his staff must make it clear that the One Brooklyn donor "will receive no special access to the Borough President or to the Office or preferential treatment as a result of the donation." Good government groups said One Brooklyn has similarities with the Campaign for One New York, the nonprofit formed by de Blasio to push his political agenda. "They raise money from people who do business with the city and the borough, which is a problem," said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union. City records show Capalino has raised about $45,000 for de Blasio's re-election campaign. Capalino's firm also donated $10,000 to the Campaign for One New York. Other One Brooklyn donors were Brooklyn developer Two Trees Management's philanthropic arm the Walentas Foundation and film production firm Broadway Stages, which has drawn scrutiny over its donations to de Blasio's campaigns.* Judge stops short-term rentals in single-room occupancy hotel (NYP) * Upper West Side apartment building that rented rooms to tourists ordered to stop taking reservations (NYDN)

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 fundraisingThe 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 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
Rechnitz's attorney has declined to comment. The arrests Monday are believed to be linked to several former supervisors at the 66th precinct. Sources familiar with the case say the investigation in part focuses on whether former NYPD supervisors accepted gifts and even vacations in exchange for providing official services like police escorts, fixing tickets or shutting down streets for private events. Among those who have been under scrutiny is former NYPD Chief of Department Phil Banks who allegedly took vacations with Rechnitz along with former correction union boss Norman Seabrook. Seabrook was arrested on corruption charges earlier this month and pleaded not guilty. Banks, through defense lawyer Ben Brafman, has denied any wrongdoing.Several sources said among those being questioned as part of the probe include Deputy Inspector James Grant, former head of the Upper East Side’s 19th precinct; former Brooklyn South Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez; and former Deputy Housing Chief Michael Harrington. Several officers retired or were placed on modified duty since the criminal investigation began. Former 66th Precinct community affairs officer Michael Malici was fired after the NYPD said he refused to cooperate in the investigation. Inspector Michael Ameri shot and killed himself on Long Island after being questioned in connection with the investigation. The arrests of several NYPD supervisors comes as the feds also continue to look into the fundraising practices of Mayor de Blasio and some of his key staffers. They want to know if favors, contracts or positions were offered in exchange for campaign donations. Questions have swirled around the mayor's fundraising, including his efforts to try to help Democrats take over the state senate, his efforts to ban horse carriages and even a contract given to a donor who now sells the city rat-proof a donor who now sells the city’s so-called rat-proof garbage bags. The mayor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has said all campaign activities followed the law. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI officials are expected to detail the charges at a news conference. The NYPD officials arrested Monday are expected to appear in federal court on the corruption-related counts in the afternoon.* REAKING  Fifth person charged Sgt David Villanueva in gun licensing bureau.* 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.

True News Has Been A Service to Every New Yorker Exposing Wide Spread Corruption in A Time Newspapers Have Stopped Covering Real News Now It is Time For You to Help Us Continue and Do Better Donate Today

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.

With Legislature's ethics crisis, disappointing 's ethics bill equivalent to an aspirin for a broken arm

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

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

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

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


Airbnb is Being Stopped by the Hotel Lobby Not the Bigger Problem of Fueling Gentrification Pushing Blacks Out of Their Neighborhoods

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

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

Months Ago True News Said the Campaign for One NY PAC Sending Should Count to His 2017 Spending Limits
And the NYCLASS PAC is A Clear Case of Overspending By the Mayor in His 2013 Election
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
People familiar with the matter said federal and state investigators have received thousands of documents related to de Blasio’s fundraising activity and have begun interviewing 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)

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  
Based on a little-known exception, the state’s ethics watchdog panel told Joe Percoco, a top aide to Cuomo now at the center of a federal probe, that he did not need to file financial disclosure statements after returning to a state post in 2014, the 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 

De Blasio Shifts Away From His Re-election Message of ‘One City’ (NYT)

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.

After the Corruption is Exposed the AG Seeks to Halt the Sale of 2 Nursing Homes

After the Corruption is Exposed the Comptroller Looks into Buffalo Billions 

City Hall The Sound of Ordered Silence 
City Hall Orders Staffers To Keep Their Mouths Shut Or Else (Gothamist) On April 27th, a few hours before news broke that several of his top aides had been subpoenaed in joint federal and state investigations into his fundraising practices, Mayor Bill de Blasio summoned City Hall employees into the bullpen for what one staffer described as “the most depressing pep talk.”  “He said some of his closest aides have been unfairly targeted, and that it’s all political with no grounding in truth,” the source said, adding that de Blasio compared the investigations dogging his own administration to “how the Clinton administration was treated.”  “He told us that no one is going to thank him for ‘not being dead’ because the homicide rate is down and Vision Zero is working,” the source recounted. “He said we should put our heads down and focus on our good work. He told us that the media will never be on our side.”  To reinforce that final point, scores of City Hall staffers—some of whom have worked for Mayor de Blasio since he came into office—were recently asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Another source who received the document from their superiors last Thursday said that they were told that all City Hall staff were expected to sign it immediately. All of the sources Gothamist spoke to requested anonymity and asked that we not name the agencies they work for, for fear of being fired for speaking to reporters, something they say has happened recently after the administration began cracking down on leaks. The form itself references two subsections of the city charter that prohibit public servants from disclosing city business unless it involves “conduct which the public servant knows or reasonably believes to involve waste, inefficiency, corruption, criminal activity, or conflict of interest.” City employees sign a similar document when they are hired, but one former city official who has worked under multiple administrations told us that “there’s no precedent I’ve ever heard of for a second signing like this.”

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 

Cuomo has chosen the location for his costly new State Police headquarters in Manhattan just steps from City Hall, where about 150 state troopers will take over about four floors of office space, yet another clear jab at de Blasio, the Post writes.

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

Andrew Cuomo stood outside his Albany office recently to do one of those seemingly impromptu yet carefully orchestrated press conferences in the hallway. He wanted to talk about eight bills he was introducing — and a gaggle, as opposed to a formal Red Room briefing, let him end it in a flash, with nary a word about the scandals scorching his administration.  He had walked the state to beat the drums for an historic state budget that delivered $15 an hour and paid leave to low-wage workers, but he'd mostly muzzled himself on ethics for months, even as his two onetime legislative partners, the Senate's Dean Skelos and the Assembly's Shelly Silver, were sentenced to a combined 17 years in federal prison. LLCs are a particular form of private company that allows individuals to avoid risk and conceal their ownership. They were legalized in New York in 1994, two years before the loophole decision that let the owner of multiple LLCs make contributions virtually without a cap. They soon evolved into a way for a small pool of wealthy donors, especially many in real estate, to funnel huge amounts to politicians they seek to influence. LLC contributions hit the $20 million a year mark in 2014.   Just days before, Flanagan had consigned a bill killing the loophole introduced annually by Brooklyn Democrat Daniel Squadron to a committee whose chair is recovering from surgery, won't return this session and isn't running for re-election. The GOP's reflexive rejection could not have been a surprise to Cuomo. With the Assembly Democrats having already passed a reform bill, Cuomo's bold-sounding initiative appeared more performance than policy, targeting an audience of one, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the Don Quixote of LLC reform.   To make one of Bharara's earliest Albany corruption cases, the FBI created a shell called Bedrock Capital LLC, whose very name reflected the role these entities now play in our politics. The sham business was then used to contribute and pay bribes to longtime Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio. Bharara's twin-killing Skelos and Silver cases had a single chilling common thread: a mountain of LLC contributions to Skelos by a real estate behemoth, Glenwood Management, whose executives also created a consulting gig for Skelos' now-convicted son, and a hill or two in donations for Silver, who also banked $700,000 in secret legal fees Glenwood steered him for no work.  Bharara, who named Glenwood's owner an unindicted co-conspirator, even made a 54-page list of its $10 million in donations a trial exhibit, a laundering list of compromise that covered 2005 to 2015. Cuomo collected $1.2 million of it.Glenwood's top executive Charles Dorego testified that the company orchestrated this massive political operation to advance its primary interests, including "campaign-finance issues" and noting that the LLC contribution limit was "much higher than the corporate limit." Glenwood was dedicated to maintaining that special status though, as the judge in the Silver case, Valerie Caproni, put it: "I don't care what the Supreme Court says. Companies aren't people. They don't have states of mind."   Flanagan and new speaker Carl Heastie loomed awkwardly large on Bharara's Glenwood Gimme List, collecting sizable downpayments long before they had real power, with the Bronx Democratic Committee that Heastie controlled getting more than most local Democratic depositories, and a mere two-term Flanagan bankrolled in his only competitive race in 2006. Bharara's current corruption probes are also focused on LLC contributors, the one common thread that binds Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Cuomo's longtime top aide Joe Percoco is a Bharara target because he and his wife took consulting gigs involving three LLCs that did state business, funneled contributions to the governor's campaign and retained lobbyist Todd Howe, who was until his post-subpoena ban so wired into Cuomo, he simultaneously had offices inside a State University facility and the governor's re-election headquarters.* More than a month after Cuomo announced that Bart Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor, would head an “independent investigation” into the Buffalo Billion, it remains unclear whether Schwartz has begun his work, Gotham Gazette writes.

Nick Reisman ‏@NickReisman Republican state lawmakers Rob Ortt and 
Ray Walter are calling for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to investigate Buffalo Billion contracting.

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.
US Attorney Bharara ‏@PreetBharar8h 
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."  -- Muhammad Ali #RIP

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.

NYPD GiftGate Hang Out Restaurant Full of Evidence
Feds have trove of evidence from restaurant owner popular with NYPD bosses (NYP) The feds have collected months of wiretaps and as many as 30,000 ­e-mails in the case against a restaurant owner who was pals with high-ranking NYPD officers facing a corruption probe. “The discovery is fairly voluminous,” Manhattan Assistant US ­Attorney Russell Capone said Friday at Hamlet Peralta’s arraignment in an alleged Ponzi scheme.  Peralta, who owned the now-shuttered Hudson River Café, was arrested in April over the alleged $12 million Ponzi scheme. On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to soliciting other people’s money for a fictitious liquor-wholesale business. The Hudson River Café served as “a clubhouse for the bosses,” including former Chief of Department Philip Banks III and Deputy Chief David Colon, both of whom have been ensnared in an FBI probe into gifts in exchange for official favors. Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office declined to comment on whether any of the evidence collected in Peralta’s Ponzi case could implicate his NYPD pals in the gifts-for-favors probe. But prosecutors have said the failed restaurateur was so close with the cops he traveled to the Dominican Republic with “a very, very high-ranking officer for the NYPD” whom The Post has identified as Banks.

de Blasio's Blaming Reporters Again 
He played the role of press analyst and critic, offering clipped replies and a knowing smirk in response to questions about politics, motivation and Gov.Andrew M. Cuomo.  For a combative but contained 17 minutes, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday offered terse answers to an abundance of questions from reporters, mostly dealing with the fallout from overlapping federal and state investigations into his administration, in a performance that in recent weeks has become a kind of house style for his embattled mayoralty.  Seated at a blue table, the mayor restated the mantra that his administration would eventually be found to have done everything appropriately. He laid out dots but no names — referring to “a particular reporter” at one point, a state official with “a particular employment history” at another — and asked reporters to connect them, arguing by insinuation that they would lead back to Mr. Cuomo, a fellow Democrat. “A lot of good questions to follow up on there,” Mr. de Blasio said, suggesting as he has for weeks that an investigatory report from the State Board of Elections highly critical of his fund-raising on behalf of Democrats in the State Senate had been leaked by those close to the governor to damage him. The back and forth, at the tail end of an hourlong news conference on crime statistics at Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan, came on the second day of an increasingly open war of words between Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Cuomo, whose deepening feud has shown little sign of being repaired. On Wednesday, Mr. Cuomo told reporters that “the mayor was wrong” about the origin of the leak, which the state inspector general found to have come from a Republican spokesman for the bipartisan election board. (The governor had previously said the leak might have come from Republicans on the board.)  “He, in my opinion, falsely and recklessly accused public servants who are just doing their job of being unprofessional,” Mr. Cuomo said. “I think he should apologize.”  So, the mayor was asked the next day, would he apologize? “No,” Mr. de Blasio said, shaking his head. Later, he reiterated, “Not going to happen.”  Mr. de Blasio instead appeared to stick with the story of a state investigatory apparatus aimed unfairly at him, complaining of a “double standard” as he had in previous news conferences, and observing that party affiliation may not preclude the hand of the governor in the leak  “The lines between Democrats and Republicans often blur in Albany,” Mr. de Blasio said. Over the past two days, both men also took their swipes when asked about supporting the other for re-election. “I’m not a city resident,” Mr. Cuomo said on Wednesday.“I’m focused on 2016,” Mr. de Blasio replied on Thursday when asked about endorsing the governor.Flanked by top police officials, Mr. de Blasio spoke as much through facial expressions that, at times, revealed his frustration: a pinched smile, a smirk, the movement of his eyes upward to the ceiling as he batted back questions. As Mr. de Blasio spoke, two top aides to the governor posted their own thoughts on Twitter, seemingly emboldened by the inspector general’s report and Mr. Cuomo’s words a day before to attack the mayor more directly. “I’m sure saying ‘I was wrong’ is one of the hardest things to do in politics, but continuing this charade at this point is just silly,” wrote Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor. “Deflect is a lesser known river in Egypt as well,” he said in another post.Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s chief of staff, mocked “whatever planet that presser was held on” and observed that “the last time Mayor demand facts be brought to light, they were, he was wrong, and his lawyer went so far as to threaten a personal lawsuit.”But for all the political tumult, Mr. de Blasio appeared more at ease on Thursday than in recent news conferences, emphasizing at several points how he and his team were “very comfortable” that the inquiries would reveal no wrongdoing. “The truth is a very comforting thing,” he said, “and we’re comfortable with the truth.”As if to underscore that point, Mr. de Blasio remained seated at the blue tables — with paper nameplates in front of each official — that in recent weeks have become a hallmark of his news conferences. The blue tables have appeared at police events and at those related to housing; uptown in Washington Heights and downtown at City Hall.“These are long, long proceedings,” he said when asked about the tables. “It just makes more sense to sit down.”Another New York politician also, at times, favors the sit-behind-a-tableapproach: Mr. Cuomo.

A deBlasio Administration That Governs By Incompetence and Obstruction

de Blasio's Lawyers Say the State Senate $$ Laundry Was OK With Lobbyists 

De Blasio’s 2014 memo laid out rules for Senate fundraising 

(TU) In an Oct. 8, 2014 confidential memo, the campaign finance attorney for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out his interpretation of what was allowed and not allowed under state election law in the mayor’s efforts that year to swing the state Senate to Democratic control. The memo, obtained by the Times Union, could well be an important piece of evidence in the unfolding investigation of Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance into whether de Blasio’s team crossed the line and illegally circumvented campaign fundraising limits in the 2014 elections. Late in that campaign season, fundraisers for de Blasio raised copious dollars that were then transferred into several largely dormant upstate Democratic county committees that could accept six-figure checks from each donor.The committees then quickly transferred funds into the accounts of four Democratic state Senate candidates, which could take unlimited sums from the Democratic county committees. If the donors had given directly to the candidates, they would have been limited to gifts of about $10,000. Then, de Blasio’s own campaign consultants were often on the receiving end of the spending by the Senate committees. The Oct. 8 memo was written by Laurence Laufer, a top campaign finance lawyer in New York who once wrote the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s regulations. It went to Emma Wolfe, a top de Blasio political aide, and Josh Gold, then the head of the Hotel Trades Council, who were both involve in Team De Blasio’s 2014 efforts. The election law issue at hand is “Earmarking,” the memo’s title: Whether a donation has been passed through one campaign committee to another with the intent to circumvent campaign contribution limits. If so, that would be a violation of state election law resulting in up to a Class E felony charge. In essence, Laufer’s argument in 2014 was that earmarking cannot occur without the contributor itself making such an arrangement, and that under certain restrictions, political consultants can be involved in various steps along the way as the funds are passed.This January, the state Board of Elections enforcement counsel, Risa Sugarman, issued a confidential report finding reasonable cause exists to believe “a violation warranting criminal prosecution has taken place” up to a Class E felony in the course of de Blasio’s 2014 campaign efforts. As was revealed this week, the report was then leaked by a Republican state Board of Elections spokesman. Perhaps the most damning evidence in Sugarman’s report was an Oct. 16 email from Democratic state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk’s campaign manager to the treasurer of one of the upstate Democratic committees, the Ulster County Democratic Committee, asking if a $60,000 check from the committee to the candidate had cleared. According to Sugarman’s report, the email indicated that the Tzaczyk campaign was aware of a $60,000 donation that the Ulster Democrats had received from a de Blasio-friendly union, the New York State Nurses Association, which would then be passed along from the committee to the candidate. According to Laufer’s memo eight days before that email, however, that would not necessarily be earmarking. According to Laufer’s 2014 memo, “Earmarking occurs only when the contributor gives some kind of direction to an intermediate recipient regarding the ultimate use of the contributor’s contribution. For example, if the contributor, either directly or through his agent, places restrictions on how the intermediate recipient may use his contribution that may be seen as earmarking.” In other words, according to Laufer, NYSNA or its agent would have to have directed the Ulster Democrats to steer the contribution to Tzaczyk.Sugarman’s memo also cited the fact that Team de Blasio, which consisted of a number of political operatives, had coordinated its activities with county committees and candidates, while also raising the funds. Laufer added in the 2014 memo to Wolfe and Gold, however, that “There is no provision of the Election Law that would preclude a campaign consultant or volunteer from both raising funds and providing advice to the funds-recipient regarding the optimal campaign use of the funds raised. I daresay this happens in every political campaign.” Laufer added, “The only caveats are (i) the fundraiser/consultant/volunteer should not convey any direction from the contributor to the county committee regarding the use of that contributor’s contribution, and (ii) the person providing advice to the county committee should not be an agent of the contributor.” Here is Laufer’s 2014 memo, with Sugarman’s 2016 report critiquing de Blasio’s fundraising efforts below that. * @BilldeBlasio attorney memo offered narrow definition of 'earmarking'(PoliticoNY)

Sampson Who Took Money From the Courts to Pay for His DA Race Not As Bad AS Skelos?
Lawyers for John Sampson say the ex-state senator deserves a sentencing break — because he’s not as bad as Dean Skelos. In papers filed Thursday in Brooklyn federal court

Soviet Style History: Howe Lobbying Records Disappear on JCOPE's Online Records 
Firm's filing removed Howe's name from lobbying records (TU) Todd Howe is no longer listed in JCOPE online records New York's lobbying firms can somehow retroactively wipe the names of their employees from state records — an erasure that happened recently in the case of Todd Howe, a central figure in an ongoing federal investigation. On May 5 — days after Howe's name surfaced in the federal probe — the Albany law firm Whiteman, Osterman & Hannasubmitted an online "additional lobbyist termination" that appears to have resulted in the deletion of Howe's name from the firm's online filings for several clients, records show. The online process can be performed unilaterally by firms without JCOPE approval, according to two sources with knowledge of the watchdog entity's protocols. Howe's name disappeared from Whiteman Osterman's roster of lobbyists representing Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, COR Development in the Syracuse area, LPCiminelli in Buffalo, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, according to JCOPE records. The latter three are of interest in the federal investigation currently being conducted by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara. But Howe's name was not just deleted going forward, but also for records already posted online, taking from public view the limited record of Howe's past lobbying in New York.

Only Question Left is de Blasio A Cynical Liar or A Delusional Liar? 
Big bad bully boy Bill: De Blasio's deadwrong Board of Elections conspiracy theory (NYDN)On Apl 22, the Daily News reported that the state Board of Elections enforcement counsel had referred Mayor de Blasio’s aides for potential criminal prosecution based on “willful and flagrant” violations of campaign finance laws. In the ensuing conflagration, de Blasio first suggested, then as much as accused Gov. Cuomo of orchestrating an illfounded hit job, his conclusion being that enforcement counsel Risa Sugarman, a Cuomo appointee, had leaked her findings to News Albany Bureau Chief Ken Lovett.  Dead wrong.  Additionally, claiming to be the victim of a similarly Cuomoinspired witchhunt, the mayor has refused to reply to subpoenas issued by state ethics commission executive director Seth Agata.  Well, the state inspector general reported Tuesday that Board of Elections Director of Public Information John Conklin, a Republican appointee, had given the material to Lovett, as well as to a PR aide to state Senate Republicans.  While the inspector general did not say so directly, Conklin had access to Sugarman’s documents as a member of a small group of Board of Elections officials who participate in the panel’s confidential executive sessions. At one such meeting, the board voted on Sugarman’s plan to send her findings to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.So, quite fairly, Sugarman issued a statement:  “Allegations were made primarily by the New York City mayor that I leaked the report due to political motivations. Now that we know the facts, I hope the mayor will apologize for maligning my integrity and professionalism.” Continuing de Blasio’s disproven insinuations, spokeswoman Karen Hinton tweeted of Sugarman: “Looks like she ‘lost’ a copy to someone at her own agency.”  Cuomo on Wednesday more than fairly criticized de Blasio for “punching down” to groundlessly impugn the integrity of public servants. The mayor’s small-man gracelessness speaks for itself.

Even the Conviction of the Two Albany Leaders Does Not Stop Pots of Memeber Item Pork in Albany Budget 
New York’s latest pork push is shady, even by Albany standards(NYP) Call it pig in a blanket. Gov. Cuomo and state legislative leaders have brought pork back bigtime, wrapped in a dense layer of bureaucracy and with a side of alphabetsoup misdirection. Last week, the state Public Authorities Control Board approved nearly $500 million in taxpayerbacked borrowing for a solarpanel factory that’s at the heart of a federal probe into Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. It wasn’t the only dubious item rubberstamped by the board’s three members, who are standins for Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. At the same meeting, the board cleared $210 million in new state bonding for the State and Municipal Facilities Program, also known as SAM. The bonds will be issued by the state Dormitory Authority (an allpurpose, offbudget borrowing machine for which the financing of actual college dorms is now a minor sideline). SAM first appeared in the fiscal 2014 budget as a $385 million program to support local government and school capital needs, with no clear criteria for project selection. Since then, its lumpsum appropriation has been steadily increased to $1.5 billion — and the description of eligible purposes has been expanded to cover “economic development” projects that “create or retain jobs.” In Albany terms, just about anything.

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
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is ‘comfortable’ with federal probe, says it comes with the territory (NYDN)  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie Thursday downplayed a federal probe into him, saying it comes with the territory of holding a powerful position. "For me when I took on this job as speaker, I knew that anything that I've done or will do into the future will be scrutinized," Heastie told reporters. "I'm comfortable with it. I accept it." Heastie was responding to a Daily News story that Michael Benedetto, the treasurer of the Bronx Democratic Committee, was recently subpoenaed and interviewed by federal investigators looking into reimbursements paid to Heastie when he headed the organization before becoming speaker. "I am not concerned about any transaction that ever happened while I was county chair," Heastie said.  Records show Heastie spent tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash on repairs to his personal car while at the same time billing taxpayers $72,512 for mileage reimbursements, records show. He also rang up vehicle costs as Bronx Democratic leader. “Remember the per diem reimbursements only reimburses you for your travel from Albany back home,” he said. “You don't get per diems for travel in the city, while you’re doing your job or campaign purposes. So you are perfectly able to use campaign funds if you use your car for campaign purposes — and that's what I did.”

At Least Two de Blasio Spreadsheet Appointments Have Integrity Issues  
Donors got political positions from Mayor de Blasio despite red flags indicating integrity issues (NYDN) When Mayor de Blasio was doling out political appointments to big campaign donors, sometimes it was best to look the other way. Companies owned by two big contributors de Blasio appointed to VIP slots had serious integrity issues before the mayor rewarded them for their money-raising, a Daily News review has found. One coowned a company the city had declared lacked “good character, honesty and integrity,” while the other owed the city $1.2 million in lease payments and fees. Not a problem. The mayor appointed both to several advisory boards. Businesswoman Gina Argento made the list after raising $97,780 for the mayor through bundled checks from friends and employees of her firm, Broadway Stage. And in January 2014, she was first in line to write checks totaling $50,000 for the Campaign for One New York, the fund de Blasio set up to support his causes. Most of Argento’s checks to de Blasio started arriving Oct. 1, 2013 — a month before he was elected and not long after the city Business Integrity Commission found a firm she coowned, Luna Lighting Inc., “lacks good character, honesty and integrity.” In May 2013, the commission rejected Luna’s request for a waste hauling license on two grounds: Luna had paid an $18,000 fine after admitting it repeatedly illegally hauled construction debris and ignored city demands to pay off a $620,000 IRS tax lien. A little over a year later, de Blasio put Argento on his Fund for the Advancement of New York City, a nonprofit run by his wife, Chirlane McCray, that raises private funds for city programs.And he put her on his committee to try to lure the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, and the city’s Workforce Investment Board, which advises the city on workforce issues and oversaw a $65.5 million budget in 2014. It’s unclear whether Argento paid the back taxes. She did not return repeat calls seeking comment. Then there’s donor Harendra Singh, a restaurateur who raised $21,425 for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign from friends and family. Singh made the spreadsheet in early 2014 as a candidate for appointment to the Mayor’s Fund advisory board and the DNC committee. But the spreadsheet noted an unspecified “vetting issue” with the phrase “r/flags.” Perhaps the “issue” was this: A May 30, 2014, city audit found one of Singh’s restaurants, Water’s Edge on cityowned land in Queens, owed the city $1.2 million in back rent and late fees. A month later in June 2014, Singh was appointed to the Mayor’s Fund and the DNC committee. He stayed on the fund’s board even after the city sued him in February 2015. Then in September, Singh was indicted by the feds on a number of charges, including $1 million in Hurricane Sandy fraud related to Water’s Edge. Days later, he was removed from the board of the Mayor’s Fund. The mayor declined to discuss his appointment, and Singh’s lawyer, Anthony La Pinta, also declined comment. Singh did not return calls for comment. Singh is a restaurateur who’d bundled $10,425 for de Blasio and raised another $11,000 from his family for the mayor’s 2013 campaign.Michael Goodwin writing in The New York Post: “Corruption comes in all flavors, and size certainly matters. Yet de Blasio’s mayoralty stands apart from recent predecessors’ in that virtually everything he does leads back to personal politics. He has never stopped campaigning because he doesn’t know how, and doesn’t want to learn.”

DNAINFO: Mayor Returns $ 56,700 Possible Straw Donor $$$$
Mayor Bill deBlasio's campaign will return $56,700 in contributions to his 2013 electionafter a DNAinfo New York investigation showed that the money — all from a Queens businessman, his employees and his associates — raised concerns of possible straw donations. Campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said Friday that it had informed the city Campaign Finance Board that it would return the money to seven donors "as soon as feasible." Levitan would not provide a reason why donations were being returned.  READ MORE: How Everyone is Connected in the City Hall/NYPD Corruption Probe  However, DNAinfo New York reported on May 5 that federal investigators — who have opened a probe into the mayor's fundraising practices — are scrutinizing de Blasio's campaign for possible straw donations. The city’s campaign finance law prohibits individuals from contributing more than $4,950 to a candidate running for a citywide office during one election cycle. And it’s illegal to give someone else money to donate to a campaign. De Blasio's campaign — like others in the city — required all of its donors to sign a form affirming their contributions were made from their own personal funds. Levitan told DNAinfo New York that the donors getting money back were Sm-Ali Amanollahi, the owner of Primary One, a beauty product wholesaler in Glendale; three of his employees, Rafael Zepeda, Jose Zepeda and Angela Parra; and three Amanollahi associates, Ralph Scopo, Charalambos Anastassopoulos and Giulliano Bruschi. Amanollahi, who dates a top de Blasio fundraiser, made the maximum-allowed donation of $4,950 to the campaign and the maximum-allowed contribution of $4,500 to de Blasio's post-election transition team. Both Zepedas, who are commercial drivers at Primary One and live in modest apartments in Queens, each donated $4,950 to the campaign and $4,500 to the transition team in less than two months time. DNAinfo previously reported that when Rafael Zepeda was asked about the donations, he flip-flopped. Initially, he said he made the donations. Hours later, he said he didn't. Parra, an executive assistant at Primary One, contributed $4,500 to de Blasio's transition team. Scopo's wife works for Amanollahi. He made the maximum contribution to de Blasio's campaign on Oct. 21, 2013, and donated $4,500 to the transition team on Dec. 10, 2013. Amanollahi made the same contributions on those dates. Scopo, a vice president at a Manhattan recycling company, previously told DNAinfo that he made the donations on his own accord. “You’re more than welcome to look into me and my wife,” he said. “We have no problems.” Anastassopoulos, who works at a Ridgewood auto body shop, declined to comment on his $4,950 donation to the de Blasio campaign.  Bruschi, the head of an office equipment wholesale company in Fresh Meadows, donated a total of $9,450 to the campaign and the transition team. He did not respond to requests for comment. Amanollahi previously declined to comment and has not responded to subsequent interview requests.  DNAinfo reported earlier this month that Amanollahi dates Rud Morales, a nightlife fixture in upper Manhattan who has thrown fundraisers for de Blasio, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.  Morales co-hosted a fundraiser at the Negro Claro Lounge for de Blasio on Oct. 27, 2013. She also served on de Blasio's inaugural committee. De Blasio also appointed her to the board of the nonprofit The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.   Amanollahi is also a victim of a Ponzi scheme connected to the sweeping federal investigation into de Blasio's fundraising practices, his nonprofit Campaign for One New York, and high-ranking NYPD officials accepting payments in exchange for favors. * De Blasio to return $32K in sketchy donations amid probe (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s campaign plans to return $32,200 to seven contributors, just weeks after it was disclosed that state and federal investigators were looking into possibly illegal donations to his 2013 run for City Hall. De Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said the city’s Campaign Finance Board has been notified that the refunds would be made “as soon as feasible.” Sm-Ali Amanollahi, owner of the Queens based Primary One beauty products company; his drivers, Rafael Zepeda and José Zepeda; and his associates Charalambos Anastassopoulos, GiulianoBruschi and Ralph Scopo, each donated $5,000 to deBlasio, records show. All the donations except one were made on the same day: Oct. 21, 2013.It is illegal to make campaign contributions in someone else’s name, a practice known as “straw donations.” The timing of the Primary One donations, the fact that they all exceeded the limit by the same amount, and the workinclass jobs held by donors giving thousands of dollars have raised red flags. The generosity of the employees from the Queensbased company didn’t end with the campaign.  Six each chipped in another $4,500 to de Blasio’s transition committee, which picked up expenses after the mayoral election. Amanollahi told The Post earlier this month that he, like Rafael Zepeda, had retained a lawyer. Amanollahi dates Rud Morales, a member of the de Blasio inaugural committee and a board member of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which is headed by Hizzoner’s wife, Chirlane McCray.

Anthony Bonomo, a big BdB bundler on this list to get city appointment, played starring role in Skelos & son trial

How Does Berlin Rosen Dan Levitan Remain the Spokesman for the Mayor's Corruption PR When the his Firm is Under Federal Investigation?   Who is Paying Berlin Rosen Since the Campaign for One NY PAC Closed?  How Come the Reporters Have Not Asked Levitan About the Berlin Rosen Investigation? 
“The campaign holds itself to the highest legal and ethical standards, and in light of the questions raised about these contributions has elected to return them,” Levitan said. Rafael Zepeda referred calls to his attorney.

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

de Blasio Has A Payoff Spreadsheet of Big Donors Just Like Tammany Hall Did

De Blasio doled out city appointments from shady spreadsheet of big campaign donors (NYDN)
When Mayor de Blasio began handing out prestigious appointments to obscure boards and committees in his first months in City Hall, he turned to a system of cash for cachet.  His team assembled an elite spreadsheet of major campaign donors, powerful lobbyists and celebrities as candidates for the coveted slots doled out by de Blasio. This internal spreadsheet — obtained by the Daily News — reveals a blatant and highly choreographed effort to reward donors and New York power players with high-profile VIP appointments. The 2014 list even goes so far as to suggest that de Blasio appoint lobbyists who were and are actively lobbying his administration on behalf of their wealthy clients. At least 14 of the mayor’s top “bundlers” who used a legal loophole to collect big bucks far in excess of donation restrictions made the list. So did four early donors to de Blasio’s nowdefunct lobbying group, the Campaign for One New York. “Confidential notes” on the list reveal the candidate’s business ties, but do not highlight actual qualifications for specific appointments. They do, however, reference support for the mayor, sometimes in financial terms.  Candidates are described as “with us early on,” “did a lot,” “real deal” and “showed up early.” One states “decent amount,” an apparent reference to the candidate’s fundraising for the mayor. De Blasio, has for years criticized the effect of money on politics. When he ran in 2013, he railed against “the rich and powerful having their voices heard above the rest of us because of weak laws and loopholes that allow money to permeate our elections.” The appointee list harkens to his earlier life as a political operative and shows how the mayor uses the power of his office to reward those who had sent checks his way. The list might be of interest to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., both of whom are now investigating allegations that big donors received favorable treatment from City Hall. All told the elite list includes 97 names. It’s not clear how many were offered positions, but at least 43 accepted at least one appointment. Several got more than one.The list includes the wellknown such as actors Steve Buscemi, Cynthia Nixon and Anna Deavere Smith. Most are lesser knowns who regularly do business with the city.
 All told 28 candidates wound up on the board of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the nonprofit run by his wife, Chirlane McCray. Some also got slots on the mayor’s committee that unsuccessfully sought to bring the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn. Others won appointments to the city’s Economic Development Corp. board, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a mayoral Workforce Development Board and the boards of Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., the Fund for Public Schools and the Queens Library. 

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

New @SienaResearch poll out this AM. @NYGovCuomo: 54-40 favorable. @HillaryClinton: 46-51 unfavorable. @realDonaldTrump: 2768 unfavorable. 42% of  "excellent" or "good", 58% rate it "fair" or "poor". 42% of respondents to @SienaResearch poll rate @NYGovCuomo's job performance as "excellent" or "good", 58% rate it "fair" or "poor".* Siena Poll: Most Voters Believe Cuomo Is Ethical* Cuomo says fed investigation limited to Percoco/Howe, but given subpoenas, that seems unlikely * source tells Newsday federal investigators have sought communications from high ranking Cuomo officials, including Bill Mulrow, the governor’s secretary and top adviser; Jim Malatras, the director of state operations; and Gil Quinones, head of the New York Power Authority.

Sheinkopf and Other Lobbyists Blocking Child Sex Law Reforms

Catholic Church spent $2M on major N.Y. lobbying firms to block childsex law reform (NYDN) The Catholic Conference, headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, has used Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to lobby against the Child Victims Act as well as for or against other measures.  All told, the conference spent more than $2.1 million on lobbying from 2007 through the end of 2015, state records show. That does not include the conference’s own internal lobbying team. Wilson Elser has long been Albany’s biggest lobbying firm. The firm represented the Catholic Conference from at least 2007 through the end of 2015 and was paid more than $1 million during that time, according to online filings with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics. In its place, state records show, the Catholic Conference hired another prominent firm, Greenberg Traurig, which it is paying $6,000-amonth. The lobbyist from the firm representing the Church is Michael Murphy, who used to be an assistant counsel for the Senate Republicans. Another top firm, Patricia Lynch & Associates, whose namesake had close ties to now disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was hired by the Catholic Conference in 2009. Lynch’s firm for many years was ranked in the top 3 of wellpaid lobbyists.  Lynch’s hiring by the Catholic Conference came after the Assembly passed different versions of the Child Victims Act four times from 2006 to 2008. The measure never came up again for a vote after Lynch was hired. State lobbying records show the firm’s contract with the Catholic Conference was terminated earlier this year, not long after Lynch was outed in court papers as having had an affair with Silver. Hank Sheinkopf runs a firm hired by the church to lobby in Albany. Sheinkopf has close ties to Albany pols, including Gov. Cuomo.

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?
Parks head denies trash bags tied to de Blasio probe smelled bad (NYP)  The city’s parks commissioner, who was partly responsible for a federal probe by giving a no-bid trash-bag contract to one of Mayor de Blasio’s top fund-raisers, says he signed off on the deal unaware the liners failed the smell test years earlier.  In his first interview about his agency’s controversial purchase of Mint X rat-repellent trash bags, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver told The Post he had no idea when giving a $15,000 contract to JAD Corp. of America in spring 2015 that the city Housing Authority had canned the liners in January 2012 after its workers complained their pungent smell was making them nauseous. Silver also admitted the nontoxic liners have produced “mixed results” with his workforce, adding, “Some like the bags, but others don’t” because of the smell. He insisted the mayor “absolutely never” pressured him into awarding the no-bid contract to satisfy JAD owner Joseph Dussich, who donated $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York, the nonprofit formed by de Blasio to help promote his progressive agenda. Federal and state investigators probing the mayor’s fund-raising activities are scrutinizing the city’s purchases of Mint-X bags, according to sources. Jim Callaghan read the carefully chosen words... "the mayor never PRESSURED him.....can the reporter go back and ask if the mayor called or spoke to him in person or sent an email or sent an emissary?  can the reporter ask for the Commissioner's emails, calendar, phone records? now it appears that DiBlasio himself is fixing city contracts for his contributors.....

Bharara to Cuomo Investigator: Stay Away from Buffalo Billions
Is Cuomo's Investigator Bart Schwartz Trying to Mess Up Bharara's Investigation?
Bharara to Cuomo investigator: Stay away from Buffalo Billion (NYP) US Attorney Preet Bharara has warned Gov. Cuomo’s “independent’’ investigator not to interfere with the federal corruption probe involving the Buffalo Billion project, related state contracts and two longtime friends of the governor, The Post has learned. A source close to the criminal probe said the warning was blunt and direct and that Cuomo’s private-sector investigator, Bart Schwartz, conceded to several state officials that “he has been warned by federal authorities to stay away from anything’’ related to Bharara’s ongoing investigation. “In meetings with state lawyers Schwartz and his people let it be known that they’ve been told to stay away from anything that Bharara is looking at,’’ said the source. “Basically, what Schwartz is only doing is reviewing public documents and monitoring contracts and other things going forward, not investigating what went on in the past,’’ the source continued. The source’s contention contradicts a claim by Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor whose appointment was announced last month — just minutes after it was revealed that Bharara had served Cuomo’s office with a sweeping subpoena — that he would assist Bharara’s probe by reporting “any information I find to the US attorney.’’That claim was repeated last week by senior Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa, who said of scandal-related information turned up by Schwartz, “First and foremost it goes to the Southern District [Bharara’s office].’’  A second source said Schwartz, who will be paid a yet-to-be-determined fee by the state, was actually hired to deflect public attention from the seriousness of Bharara’s probe, which involves former top Cuomo aides Joseph Percoco, now executive vice president at Madison Square Garden, lobbyist and former Cuomo employee Todd Howe, and contractors connected to the $1 billion effort in Buffalo. “Basically, ‘independent investigator’ Schwartz is a high-priced lawyer who is providing political cover for Cuomo, trying to deflect the embarrassment of having Bharara putting the governor’s entire upstate economic-development program under the microscope of a criminal investigation,’’ the second source said. While Bharara — whose ongoing probes of state government corruption led to the convictions of the two former leaders of the Legislature, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos — has refused to say when his investigation of Cuomo’s office will wrap up, one source close to the probe predicted, “The public will be hearing something in July or August.’’* A raid of SUNY Polytechnic Institute by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office was done in coordination with U.S. Attorney Office Preet Bharara’s office, and they are in regular contact to not step on each other’s toes, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes. *  Todd Howe, a lobbyist whose activity in Albany is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s office, had an office at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, despite representing several clients that have major contracts with SUNY Poly, the Times Union reports.

Brennan Retires From Assembly After 32 Years Brooklyn Boss Trying to Picking Slate in Once Liberal Park Slope
Brooklyn Assemblyman James Brennan, first elected in1984, will retire (NYDN) Veteran Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman James Brennan has decided not to seek reelection, the Daily News has learned.  First elected to the Assembly in 1984, Brennan, 64, is expected to make a formal announcement Tuesday that he will not run again in a district that covers parts of Park Slope, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood and Windsor Terrace.  Brooklyn Democratic Leader Frank Seddio confirmed Sunday he's heard from those who have spoken to Brennan that he is not running. Robert Carroll, a young Central Brooklyn Democrat and lawyer, is expected to run for the seat with Brennan's backing.  Brennan is the chairman of the Assembly Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee.  In 2000, he backed an unsuccessful leadership coup against then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Brennan's decision not to seek reelection, according to insiders, could help stem what promised to be an ugly political battle within the borough. Carroll was set to mount a challenge for district leader against long-time incumbent Jacob Gold, who has served in the post since 1979. "It was shaping up to be the old progressives versus the new progressives," one insider said. But with Brennan deciding to retire, Carroll now gets to run for the Assembly instead.  Seddio said he will back Carroll as long as he supports Gold and another veteran district leader, Lori Citron Knipel.

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 
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have supported bills to close the so-called LLC loophole, state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has not and is likely not to support any of the bills the governor has introduced, the Daily News writes. Champion of corruption: John Flanagan won’t say yes to closing a gaping campaign finance loophole  (NYDN)  The truth and dare game thrown into the Legislature by Gov. Cuomo is clarifying who will support and who will fight a major anti-corruption reform. Cuomo filed bills to close the so-called LLC loophole that allows wealthy interests to donate unlimited amounts to politicians. He submitted eight measures, ranging from eliminating the loophole for all state political seats to targeting specific elected offices. Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie backs wiping the loophole off the books. So he is in sync there with Cuomo. That leaves the Senate, led by Republican John Flanagan. The dare has been put to him: Go for just one of the governor’s choices, even for gubernatorial races alone, and throw the challenge back at Cuomo and the Assembly. We’re not holding our breath. The truth is Flanagan is ready to keep the corruption font flowing.

Bratton Spins Low Crime On A Night of Gunfire Across 5 Boroughs

Teen killed, dozens wounded in a spate of #MemorialDay2016 gunfire across 5 boroughs (NYDN) *   Bratton hopes for ‘historic low’ in crime rates this summer  (NYP) * Man shot while playing basketball in playground (NYP) * Violent Nightin New York City; At Least 8 Shot: Police (WNBC)

My husband had to duck in a shooting two weeks ago, & yet I can still manage to trust statistics, not anecdote.
Michael Benjamin ‏@SquarePegDem  Teen killed, 13 hurt in spree of holiday weekend gunfire in NYC Memorial Day Weekend Shootings Leave One Dead, 16 Injured in New York * MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND MAYHEM: Teen killed, 13 hurt during spree of gunfire throughout New York City's five boroughs *   A teenager was killed and 16 others were injured in a dozen shooting incidents spanning all five New York City boroughs during the Memorial Day weekend. Massive corruption probe is sparking an exodus at the NYPD

More de Blasio Shady Changing Deed Restriction Deals Rivington Nursing Home Not the Only One 
Developers snatch lots after city lifts restrictions in shady deals (NYP) Rabbi Yaakov Bryski’s name was on a “Wall of Shame” of alleged child molesters, and he was publicly accused by at least two young men of sexual abuse — but that didn’t stop Mayor de Blasio’s administration from going forward with a deal to lift a deed restriction on his Crown Heights yeshiva. The city removed the restriction in exchange for $150,000 in 2015 and ignored $2,855 in fines owed to the Buildings Department for outstanding violations. Modal Trigger45 Rivington Street: Not-for-profit heath-care facility restriction lifted for $16.1 million; land then sold for $116 million.Photo: William C. Lopez  The rabbi then sold the Eastern Parkway building, which he bought for $21,000 in 1980, to a developer for $1.5 million. The deed lift was one of at least eight to take place under de Blasio’s watch, public records show. All eight properties wound up in the hands of developers. An agreement to remove a nonprofit restriction on a nursing home at 45 Rivington St. in exchange for the city getting $16 million has sparked outrage and four investigations. While the money brought in through the other seven sweetheart deals pales in comparison to the Rivington Street pact, they illustrate the city’s lack of due diligence in facilitating the sale of properties that were once designated for the wider public good.  And it remains unknown how many such deals the city has made under de Blasio, because it refuses to release information on them.  “The mayor has made clear that mistakes were made and that the city will be making changes. However, we are not commenting on the details until the investigations are completed,” said City Hall spokeswoman Karen Hinton.  In another deal, the city helped a doctor and his office-manager wife, later indicted for running a multimillion-dollar pill mill, secure a deed lift on their First Avenue lot. The property was sold for $900,000 after they paid $110,000 to get rid of a restriction confining its use to nonprofit community services.  In July 2014, the city accepted $200,000 from a small Williamsburg co-op building in exchange for lifting a restriction that the property be used just for housing. A retail shop had been operating on the first floor of the Bedford Avenue building since 2008. The co-op “failed to disclose” the deed restriction when it got a new certificate of occupancy in 2008, according to the Buildings Department. In the case of Yeshiva Chanoch Lenaar, allegations surrounding its rabbi have been circulating on the Internet for several years. One of his accusers, Schneur Borenstein, took the case to the Brooklyn district attorney, but was turned down because the statute of limitations had expired. Borenstein says he briefly lived with the rabbi in 2000 and claimed Bryski crept into his room at night and fondled him.  De Blasio rep Hinton said the city Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which processed the deed transaction, did not know about the alleged abuse.  Bryski did not return a call seeking comment.City lifted deed restriction for yeshiva run by accused child molester (Real Deal) De Blasio administration also ignored DOB fines on Crown Heights building: report

Daily News Agrees With Beth Israel Hospitals Plan to Kill People By Becoming Smaller
Another Hospital to Close for Condos In deBlassioVille
Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan Will Close to Rebuild Smaller (NYT) The hospital, which has served the downtown area for more than 125 years, is now on a growing list of city hospitals to either close or change its services significantly since 2000.De Blasio 'pleased' with Mount Sinai's initial plansfor Beth Israel (PoliticoNY) *Prescription forBill: What de Blasio must learn from Mount Sinai's reorganization plan for BethIsrael (NYDN Ed)  The leadership of Mount Sinai medical network, one of the city’s largest employers and private medical systems, has given Mayor de Blasio a master class on rescuing the public hospitals from failure. With its Beth Israel division in lower Manhattan bleeding $100 million annually and entire floors of its 825 beds closed for want of patients, Mount Sinai on Thursday unveiled a plan to bring patient services into line with modern practices and economics. Mount Sinai President Dr. Kenneth Davis said shortening hospital stays and radical changes in how insurers pay hospitals forced a redesign that will serve the area with a state-of the-art emergency facility and a hospital with 220 beds, the majority devoted to psychiatric patients.
Hospital After Hospital Close in de Blasio's NYC 

Manhattan Subpoenas DA Team de Blasio Monrow Campaign for 1 NY Senate $$ Laundry 
Monroe County Dems Receive Subpoena (YNN) The Monroe County Democratic Committee on Friday confirmed it had received a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office in the investigation surrounding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to boost Senate Democrats in 2014. “The Monroe County Democratic Committee has received a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney’s Office seeking records related to certain campaign contributions,” said the committee’s counsel, Chris Thomas. “MCDC has already provided documents in response and will continue to fully cooperate with that inquiry.” De Blasio is facing multiple investigations into his political fundraising, including an effort he backed on behalf of Democratic Senate candidates two years ago. Scrutiny is being placed on the method of fundraising used by de Blasio’s political allies in which county committees received large contributions, with money then being transferred to individual candidate campaigns.* Monroe CountyDemocratic Committee Gets Subpoena From Manhattan D-A  (WXXI) Monroe County Republican Chair Bill Reilich  issued a statement saying his committee had earlier filed  a complaint with the state board of elections about allegedly illegal donations to the Monroe County Democratic Committee. Reilich also says he trusts that the details of the investigation will eventually become public and those who were in violation  of the law will ultimately be held responsible. He also said he expects that any illegally obtained campaign funds would eventually be returned.*Manhattan DA Expands Probe Into Fundraising By TeamDe Blasio  (WCBS)  “It’s like an onion. The more you peel it back, the stinkier it gets,” Murphy said. “And Bill de Blasio stinks of corruption.” The Monroe County Democratic Committee is reportedly being asked about $225,000 it received from three New York City-based unions. Of that sum, $218,000 was reportedly then transferred to then-state Sen. Ted O’Brien.  De Blasio spokesman Andrew Friedman of Berlin Rosen said, “We are confident that at all times all of our efforts were appropriate and in accordance with the law.” This latest news came as City Hall insiders noticed the effects of the probes on the increasingly inaccessible mayor. “There’s a heaviness on the other side of City Hall,” said Queens city Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th). “I think anybody who is under this kind of intense pressure; scrutiny, would obviously not be feeling as good about getting up and going to work.” The mayor has had fewer public appearances and news conferences lately.* NY1 De Blasio Fundraising Probe *   City of “Agents” (City Journal)  Under investigation, Mayor de Blasio’s administration is acting like it has plenty to hide.

Friday Spin: de Blasio Special Agents Demoted to Just Advisors Still Keeping Their Emails Secret
Probe into Mayor deBlasio’s fund-raising operation expands, with subpoena delivered to MonroeCounty (NYDN) Vance’s office has been investigating whether de Blasio’s 2014 effort to elect a Democratic majority in the state Senate violated campaign finance laws by funneling money to the candidates via local party committees. The probe was sparked by a referral from state Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman, who found evidence of “willful and flagrant” violations of the law. The latest subpoena comes after Monroe County GOP Chairman Bill Reilich complained in an April letter to Sugarman that the same de Blasio-pattern of funneling big-dollar contributions to local party committees was evident in the 2014 re-election campaign of then Sen. Ted O’Brien, a Monroe County Democrat and one of the candidates backed by the mayor. Reilich cited three contributions from city-based unions: a $100,000 donation from CWA District 1's political action committee, a $100,000 donation from the United Federation of Teachers' PAC, and $25,000 from building workers union 32BJ's PAC. The US Attorney’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have launched overlapping probes into his fund-raising and other law enforcement agencies — including the state Attorney General — are looking at a city-approved land deal that netted a developer a $72 million profit to build luxury housing. The mayor has repeatedly said that his fund-raising was above board, and that the land deal — which was pushed by a lobbyist who has donated heavily to his campaigns —was handled poorly. Last week, the de Blasio administration revealed it had appointed five private citizens who are close with the mayor as “agents of the city” — and exempted them from transparency laws when they were giving advice to the mayor. Usually, correspondence between the mayor and members of the public are released if someone requests under Freedom of Information laws. Some of the agents, most of whom are private sector political consultants with long ties to de Blasio, have clients with city business. De Blasio said they don’t talk business, but if they did that correspondence would be available. He appears to be rethinking the term “agent of the city,” a widely derided designation coined by his top lawyer. “I call them advisors,” he said. “I think that’s the right phrase.”

Are New Yorkers Dumb Enough to Elect A Convicted Pol You Bet
Sources: PolInvolved in Major Corruption Bust Wants His Old Job Back (NYO) Former Assemblyman Nelson Castro—who ducked a prison sentence for perjury by wearing a wire on a colleague—is looking to take back the seat in the Bronx heresigned from in 2013, insiders tell the Observer. According to sources, Mr. Castro has begun appearing at community meetings in the district and making phone calls to organize a challenge to sitting Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, who won a special election to succeed him in 2013. Mr. Castro stepped down from the seat that year after assisting the Bronx district attorney’s office and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in toppling fellow Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson. Mr. Castro admitted upon his resignation that he had repeatedly lied under oath at during a Board of Elections procedure in 2008, which investigated apparent petition fraud by his campaign during his first election to the Assembly in 2008. That probe revealed Mr. Castro had 10 people registered to vote in his studio apartment. After secretly getting indicted for perjury in 2009, he agreed to become an informant for the government. He wore a wire at several private conversations between Mr. Stevenson and four adult daycare operators. Mr. Stevenson was ultimately convicted of taking some $22,000 in bribes from the businessmen for promoting legislation to limit their competition. Mr. Castro’s cooperation allowed him to avoid a prison sentence, and instead receive a 250 hours of community service and two years probation. Bronx sources told the Observer Mr. Castro had a reputation for strong constituent services in his district, and remains broadly popular at home. Mr. Pichardo, on the other hand, has struggled in both his campaigns—winning the seat by just 72 votes in 2013, and surviving a Democratic primary challenge in 2014 by only two ballots. * Disgraced NY assemblyman wants to run for his old seat (NYP)

de Blasio Distracted by the Investigation Ruling From the Bunker, Hanging By His City Agents Lawyers 
According to documents and people familiar with the matter, large gaps in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s schedule are now filled with private meetings and calls away from City Hall since multiple investigations into his fundraising and administration began
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Distracted by Investigations, Observers Suggest (WSJ) Attention has shifted from policy; more private meetings, time away from City Hall Large gaps in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s schedule are now filled with private meetings and calls away from City Hall since multiple investigations into his fundraising and administration began, according to documents and people familiar with the matter. Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, has curtailed his public appearances, sometimes going several days without appearing in public and sometimes leaving the events he attends through side doors and service elevators, as he did in Manhattan this week. One high-profile project—the plan to build apartment towers in Brooklyn Bridge Park—is facing roadblocks from the state because of the investigations. The mayor has repeatedly said he abided by all laws, and he and his top aides have sought toshow that his agenda is moving forward. But interviews with two dozen City Council members, lobbyists, aides and longtime political observers suggest the investigations have been a distraction and shifted attention away from policy. Mr. de Blasio has typically spent Fridays outside his office, making political calls from Gracie Mansion or a coffee shop or restaurant in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, these people said. But that work pattern now extends beyond Fridays, they said. A person familiar with the mayor’s thinking said Mr. de Blasio has chosen to limit news conferences because he expected he would be asked about the investigations and was frustrated by the attention paid to them. In the past two weeks, he has delivered five speeches closed to the media, more than in previous months, according to his schedules. A lobbyist who works closely with the mayor’s office said aides have discouraged people from sending emails, instead asking them to call or send text messages. The investigations have begun to take a toll on some issues facing the city. This spring, during a hearing in Albany, one lawmaker asked Mr. de Blasio why he should support the mayor’s request to maintain control of public schools, given all the investigations facing him and the administration. Mr. de Blasio said he shouldn’t be judged by allegations, but by facts and due process.  Legislators said they have heard less frequently in recent weeks from Emma Wolfe, the mayor’s top political aide who has been subpoenaed as part of the investigations. Sid Davidoff, a longtime lobbyist and close ally of Mr. de Blasio, said there is “no question” the investigations have slowed down government.* @BilldeBlasio says 'agents' don't discuss their clients with him  (PoliticoNY) * Mayor Says Decision Not to Release His Emails with Outside Advisers Is Appropriate

AG Raids Cuomo's Lobbyist Howe
AG’s staff raids office of ex-Cuomo aideunder probe (NYP) Investigators from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office raided SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Albany offices Thursday, focusing on space used by lobbyist and former Cuomo aide Todd Howe, sources close to the investigation told The Post. Gov. Cuomo said Howe was the focus of a federal investigation into improper lobbying and conflicts of interest that resulted in a wide-sweeping subpoena that Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara sent to the governor’s executive offices.  * The governor then distanced himself from Howe, who has worked under both Andrew Cuomo and his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo. * Sources said Schneiderman’s investigators Thursday hauled off boxes of documents and obtained electronic files after executing a search warrant at the Albany campus just ahead of the holiday weekend.* * New York state investigators who work for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman searched an office at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which had been used by Todd Howe, as part of a probe into the school’s contracting practices, the Journal reports.  * While federal investigators examine Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion, many companies already contracted by the Port Authority, and who stand to benefit from LaGuardia Airport's overhaul, are also big campaign contributors to the governor, NY1 reports.

de Blasio's Kitchen Cabinet Includes Lobbyists With Clients Who Do Business With the City
De Blasio insists his latest scheme is ‘appropriate’ (NYP)  Mayor de Blasio emerged from hiding Thursday — after ducking reporters for more than a week — to defend his much-maligned decision to withhold communications with five confidants outside the government. De Blasio used the word “appropriate” at least 10 times during a Washington Heights press conference to explain why his administration decided to exempt communications with the confidants from routine public disclosure. “The way it’s being handled based on legal guidance is appropriate,” the mayor said. “Everyone in the history of public life has had a kitchen cabinet, and we looked at this from the beginning, sought the appropriate legal guidance. We’re following that guidance.” He insisted that the advisers, who include lobbyists with clients who have business before the city, never cross ethical lines. “When they advise me, it has nothing to do with their clients. That’s the very clear standard I uphold,” said de Blasio Good-government groups scoffed at the mayor. “The whole idea is deeply destructive,” said John Kaehny, New York rep for the National Freedom of Information Coalition. “The mayor can say whatever he wants. That doesn’t make it lawful.”

Groundhog Bagdad Bob Wilhelm Blaming the Media On Ass Kisser WNYC's Lehrer  
Mayor de Blasio emerges from hiding — only to dodge again (NYP) New York’s duck-and-cover-up mayor finally braved reporters Thursday — but then … ducked key questions. After largely avoiding the press for more than a week, Mayor de Blasio held an open Q&A after a press conference on his anti-slumlord campaign. But when reporters started to focus on probes of City Hall corruption, he went to DefCon Evade. Asked, for example, to justify his decision to classify certain lobbyists as “agents of the city” as an excuse to keep his communications with them secret, he bobbed and weaved: “Their role as advisers was appropriate,” he said. “I think we’re handling it appropriately.” Asked, for example, to justify his decision to classify certain lobbyists as “agents of the city” as an excuse to keep his communications with them secret, he bobbed and weaved: “Their role as advisers was appropriate,” he said. “I think we’re handling it appropriately.” The public disagrees: This week’s Quinnipiac poll shows that voters disapprove by more than 2-1 of how he’s handling corruption. They also believe, by a similarly lopsided margin, that he “does favors for developers who make political contributions.” The poll also shows the mayor with his worst job-approval rating ever, with 52 percent of voters flashing a thumbs-down. And as the number of probes mushrooms (it’s at seven, and counting), confidence in de Blasio is headed further south. Thursday, Politico reported that the mayor “took an unusually personal role in raising money for a nonprofit group backing his political agenda, according to several people” hit up for donations. It also noted that “more than two-thirds” of donors who gave to the group — the Campaign for One New York — “were actively seeking approval for a project” when they made their donations. But de Blasio’s not explaining anything. He claims he got “legal guidance” and followed all the rules in his dealings. But he’s offered nothing concrete to back up those hopelessly vague assurances. Again: He’s refusing to release not just the names of folks he’s asked for donations, but also his communications with the slush-fund money men. He won’t even spell out the rules he says he followed. On Thursday, he again promised to release “information of various kinds” within “the coming weeks” — with no specifics on what or when. The kind way to put it is to say the mayor is flailing, but the truth is: He’s drowning.*   De Blasio blames news headlines for plummeting approval ratings (NYP) Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday blamed his plummeting approval ratings on “relentless negative headlines” — not the seven corruption and fundraising scandals swirling around his administration. “I think it is telling that those numbers were very, very strong for two full years, and then there’s relentless negative headlines,” de Blasio said in an interview with WNYC radio, referring to his latest Quinnipiac University poll that shows only 43 percent of voters believe he is honest and trustworthy. That’s down from the 60 percent in the same poll in January.

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

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

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

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

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

de Blasio Sinking Hoisted on His Own Petard 

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

NYT It Is Time to Stand Up for New Yorkers

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

State Corruption Investigation
Amid high-stakes court battles, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has hired two attorneys. * A report detailing how many jobs were created in 2015 under the START-UP NY program is nearly eight weeks late and some are questioning why. * Cuomo Admin: Up To Investigator To Release Buffalo Billion Report (Updated)  * Cuomo Plans To Unveil More Reform Measures * Challenging Legislature, Cuomo Unveils 8 LLC Closure Bills *Cuomo Offers 8 Bills to Cap Contributions From L.L.C.s (NYT)Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is seeking to close a loophole that allows almost unlimited amounts of money to flow to political candidates.* * Cuomo has pointed to his hiring of an internal investigator as evidence of taking a federal probe seriously, but former prosecutors said an internal probe amid a federal inquiry could be challenging and questions have been raised about Cuomo’s tolerance for an independent probe, The Wall Street Journal reports. * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has authorized the hiring of two new attorneys after several PR firms sued the state lobbying regulator over its plan to have PR professionals disclose dealings with editorial boards, Politico New York reports. * The Times Union writes that, faced with a lawsuit from public relations professionals, JCOPE is doubling down on its wrongheaded plan to have PR professionals report contact with editorial boards and hiring a law firm at a cost of up to $300,000 annually.* Sources: Federal (Bharara's) probe into (Cuomo-controlled) DPS, energy projects broadening * Cuomo throws Percoco,Howe, and Kaloyeros under the bus - but will he fool the feds? 
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
Scandal-plagued de Blasio begs City Council for public support (NYP)  With its back to the wall, the de Blasio administration is soliciting City Council members to issue public statements of support for the mayor. “I’ve heard from a couple of council members that [mayoral aides] reached out and asked them to amplify positive policy successes,” said a City Hall source. “The language is, ‘In moments like this we rely on.   Another source said de Blasio staffers are “obsessively following everyone’s Twitter feed” and are “suggesting helpful topics for social media.” “Every time someone retweets something positive they retweet it or favorite it,” the insider said. The initiative — which comes with the hashtag #Protect­Progress — started last week amid a slew of stories highlighting de Blasio’s alleged pay-to-play culture with donors. The push, which was first reported by Politico New York, also comes after The Post reported that Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) launched a blistering attack on the mayor, urging that he “man up” and accept responsibility for actions that led to the investigations, instead of blaming others.

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

The Interlocking-Directoriates of the NYPD GiftGate Scandal 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Federal Case Against Cuomo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing LICH Hospital
Hilltop Lobbyists Hyers and LICH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Two Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cuomo insisted he had no role in the probe. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Straw Fundraiser by Businessman Whose Staff Made Unusual Donations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily News Pushes Hard On Albany to End Child Abuse 

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

Yesterday True News

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

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

de Blasio campaign 2017

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

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

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

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

Subpoenas Fly At City Hall

Knight of the Long Knives As Cuomo Homeless Shelter Attacked



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Look At NY's Undemocratic Party System 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Why Does the Media Ignore That the de Blasio's Lobbyist Feeding Frenzy Fueled By An Controlled Cover-Up Conflict of Interested and CFB Boards 
A lobbyist feeding frenzy thanks to Mayor de Blasio (NYP Ed) Pay-to-play is the order of the day at Bill de Blasio’s City Hall. And the mayor’s lobbyist buddies are cashing in — big time.  The Wall Street Journal reports that overall lobbying receipts in New York have jumped 15 percent since de Blasio took office, to an all-time high of $71.9 million. Indeed, the e