How the Rivington Nursing Home Owners Played the State's Economic Development Corp for Another Development
City urged to scuttle project over developer’s ties to nursing home scandal (NYP) The city should scuttle a project on publicly owned land in Crown Heights because one of the developers was involved in the Lower East Side nursing-home fiasco, community advocates said Monday Groups including New York Communities for Change and the Crown Heights Tenant Union plan a protest Wednesday to try to block the Slate Property Group. Slate bought the Rivington House nursing home for $116 million in February with plans to turn it into luxury housing — but only after the seller got the city to remove a deed restriction in place for decades. The deal has embroiled Mayor de Blasio in a storm of criticism. Slate founder Matt Nussbaum warned company officials in a May 2015 e-mail to keep silent until the restriction was removed and then “we can do whatever we want. Seven months later, the city’s Economic Development Corp. awarded Slate and BFC Partners a lease to develop the building. “Slate has proven they cannot be trusted — they’re a deceitful developer,” said Renata Pumerol, a spokeswoman for NYCC, whose protest was first reported by Crain’s.
When Will the Media and Pols Blame Airbnb and Gentrification for Loss of Affordable Housing and Increase In Homelessness?
Bill’s losing battle: Accounting for record numbers of homeless families (NYDN) On Sunday, a record 12,750 families, including 23,207 children, spent the night in a city-sponsored hotel or shelter. So did an additional 2,378 couples, also an all-time-high number. “The usual summer increase,” a Department of Homeless Services spokesperson shrugged, alluding to an annual rush of parents to seek shelter in between school years to minimize further disrupting their children’s lives. Mayor de Blasio is spending an astounding $1.7 billion this year to house and aid the homeless, filling what he describes as an economic gulf between how much money poor New Yorkers make and rent they must pay to stay housed. Some of that money pays for legal services designed to forestall evictions; by the city’s reckoning this has prevented a still worse surge into shelter.
We Will Have to Wait for the Indictments to Find Out About the Real Deal to Close LICH
Schumer Not Clear on Political Corruption Fighter Bharara's Future
Groundhog Day: Rivington Nursing Home, Special Agent Cover-Up At City Hall Continues
Piercing the fog of de Blasio’s cover ups (NYP)Mayor de Blasio’s damage-control efforts in two separate scandals took heavy hits last week. What’s next? Start with the removal of deed restrictions on that Rivington Street property — a mess de Blasio insists he first learned of when the scandal hit the headlines in March. Oops: Politico reports that a trove of e-mails and documents showing the push to lift the restrictions started in early 2014. The pressure came from powerhouse union 1199, and all the mayor’s top aides were involved. Documents show that throughout 2014 and 2015, top City Hall aides — Deputy Mayors Alicia Glen and Anthony Shorris, plus de Blasio chief of staff Emma Wolfe — were involved in talks on lifting the requirement that a nonprofit run the site. That much high-level attention — and 1199’s role — sure should’ve put the issue on the mayor’s radar. Meanwhile, the “agents of the city” gambit is falling apart. This, recall, is the excuse for shrouding Team de Blasio’s communications with key political consultants who also lobby city government: The mayor insists that when he’s asking these folks to help with his business, he has a right to keep the public in the dark about what’s said. Not so, says the Commission on Open Government — the state’s official transparency monitor. Its advisory opinion argues that, since the consultants got no city pay for this work, they’re not like agency staff whose communications are shielded. That finding will carry weight in court , so it’s likely that a judge will soon be forcing de Blasio to cough up the goods. Recent filings show payments of more than $2 million to the “agents of the city” from de Blasio’s pet nonprofits. And their ties to him also let the lobbyists earn big from private interests seeking favors from the city — lifting deed restrictions, for example. De Blasio World is one giant web of favors, cash and political cronyism — hidden by a fog of double-talk and lame excuses. Here’s hoping the army of prosecutors now on the case can pierce the fog and map it all out.
One Brooklyn PAC is Brooklyn BP Adams One NY Slush Fund
Feds probe Eric Adams’ non-profit over donor favor claims (NYP)A nonprofit created by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to advance his pet projects is being probed by both federal authorities and the city’s Department of Investigation, The Post has learned. The feds are scrutinizing the fund-raising of Adams’ One Brooklyn Fund, to see if it is being used to dish out pay-to-play favors, sources briefed on the matter said. One source said the investigation is “similar” to a probe by Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara into Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York nonprofit. Like CONY, One Brooklyn has solicited cash from entities under review by authorities and that have business before the city. The DOI is investigating whether Adams violated any city laws by routinely asking outside groups to cut checks directly to his nonprofit to rent space at Borough Hall, rather than have payments go into the city coffers, sources said. Those payments slip under the radar because city-affiliated organizations like One Brooklyn aren’t required to report donations and other types of revenue under $5,000 with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board. Since its formation two years ago, One Brooklyn has reported $315,000 to $860,000 in donations, disclosure forms show. It has pulled in another $344,000 in City Council funds.
Brooklyn BP Lobbyists Capalino and Another Slush Fund PAC
|Capalino Buying Silence|
As Airbnb Warehouse Apts Driving Up
Prices Media and Pols Support them
A bill that would make advertising short-term rentals illegal is the latest example of New York officials trying to strangle the “sharing economy” when it should be embraced, since these companies satisfy a demand, the Cato Institute’s Matthew Feeney writes in the Post.* Airbnb and the Battle of Suitcase Alley (NYT) In New York and other cities with steep housing costs, a longstanding objection to home-sharing sites is that some listings remove units from the residential market.
Lobbyist Howe Turns Federal Rat On Percoco and Cuomo
Cuomo cronie spills for leniency deal in corruption probe (NYP) The corruption probe of Gov. Cuomo’s two longtime associates has taken a critical turn with Todd Howe, onetime lobbyist and longtime Cuomo family confidant, signing a “cooperation agreement’’ with US Attorney Preet Bharara, a source close to the investigation told The Post. The agreement promises Howe, whose ties to Cuomo go back three decades, “favorable treatment’’ and “leniency’’ in the event that he’s criminally charged, in exchange for full details of his lobbying activities on behalf of several major state contractors with senior Cuomo administration officials. Those officials include Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s closest friend and top aide who is currently senior vice president at Madison Square Garden, the source said.
Howe, who as a lobbyist had access to the highest levels of the Cuomo administration, and Percoco, who Cuomo has described as being like “my father’s third son,’’ were cut off from access to the administration after Bharara served a sweeping subpoena related to the activities of both men on the governor’s office in late April. The subpoena, which was followed by a state attorney general’s raid on Howe’s Albany office — located at the SUNY’s Polytechnic Institute, which he once represented — and a federal raid on Percoco’s Westchester home, was part of Bharara’s ongoing probe of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion project, contractors for which hired Howe and at various times paid Percoco and Percoco’s wife “consulting” fees.*Comptroller rips Cuomo’s jobs program for its ‘lowered goals’(NYP)
A New President Could End the Era of Bharara Corruption Fighting in NY
There's a reason Preet Bharara may feel pressure to finish politician investigations (NYDN)With time possibly running out on crusading U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's term, many in New York's political and legal circles are bracing for a frenzy of activity as his office works to finish up ongoing cases into the Cuomo and de Blasio administrations before the next President takes office. "When a U.S. Attorney is about to leave office, there's a lot of pressure on the assistants to finalize cases and indictments and bring them to fruition," former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon said. "In this case, he's concerned about his legacy and he's going to want all unfinished business completed." Simon said there's always a concern the next U.S. attorney may not place the same emphasis on particular cases. "The existing U.S. attorney doesn't want to take chances or see all their hard work going out the window," he said. "Once there is an indictment, a new US attorney can't go and pull it."
More SUNY Hospital Wasted $$$
Struggling hospital spends thousands on lavish travel, dinners(NYP) Struggling SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn allowed a top “restructuring” consultant to bill the state for $83,000 in lavish travel, lodging and dining expenses, a scathing audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reveals. The expenditures included pricey rooms at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side, a booze-infused “team dinner” at the Docks Oyster Bar in Midtown, and sticker-shock limo bills, the audit found. Baton Rouge, La.-based Pitts Management Associates was hired in 2011 to find ways to cut costs at the financially ailing state university-run hospital. But the consultants themselves were living large, with SUNY Downstate staffers approving eye-popping reimbursements for expenses, according to the audit of expenses from March through August 2014.
So, Again Rivington Deed Change Whodunit? Shorris?, Capalino", Wolfe? and Why? Politico $upport For Reelection
Silver Thinks Skelos McDonnell Will Keep Him Out of Jail Also
Silver cites Skelos ruling in bid to remain free on bail (NYP) Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue (NYDN) * Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue (NYDN)
Skelos to Stay Out of Jail Until Appeal Ruling Thanks to SC's McDonnell Ruling
Dean Skelos will be able to stay out of prison pending his appeal (NYP) Disgraced former state Sen. Dean Skelos will be able to stay out of prison pending an appeal of his corruption convictions, a Manhattan judge ruled on Thursday. Skelos and son his son, Adam, are seeking a new trial thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s conviction, also on corruption charges. Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood wrote that she’ll let the Long Island father and son stay out on bail because they’ve “shown that their appeals present a substantial questioning regarding whether this court’s jury instructions were erroneous in light of the United States Supreme Court’s holding in McDonnell v. United States.”
Not One Elected Officials Has Demanded That de Blasio Release Lobbyists "Agents of the City" Emails
Get the message, Bill? 'Agents of the city' emails must go public (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio can call his email buddies friends, he can call them advisers, he can call them Ishmael — but “agents of the city” exempt from public revelation of their correspondence, he can’t. So concludes Bob Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government and New York’s top authority on the Freedom of Information Law. Responding to a request for his opinion from lawyer Norman Siegel on behalf of the Village Voice, Freeman wrote Wednesday that de Blasio cannot “deny access to the communications” by claiming that unpaid outside advisers are the equivalent of City Hall aides. De Blasio’s former counsel concocted the “agents” fiction to block disclosure of emails to and from political consultants enmeshed in investigations of the mayor’s fundraising maneuvers. Which is why agents, going by the letters F-B-I, are rifling through City Hall emails and much more.
A City Where Its Leaders Ignore Health Care at Its Hospitals and Ignoring Closing Hospitals for Developers
An NYPD Banks Shot?
Bratton Turn Over the NYPD to Outsiders Not Touched By the GiftGate Scandal
A state commission on compensation said it was considering raising state lawmakers annual salary from $79,500 to $116,900, and this $37,400 hike mirrors the roughly 48 percent rise PEF union members have received in the 17 years since lawmakers got a raise, the Times Union reports.* Five Democratic candidates for state Senate are urging a special commission not to grant state lawmakers a pay raise until they pass stricter ethics reforms.* Cuomo challenges pols to step out of the 'shadows' if they want a pay raise (NYDN) * Cuomo criticized lawmakers for failing to show up to testify before a commission considering whether the Legislature and executive branch deserve raises for the first time since 1999, the Daily News writes.
NYS' Jobless Economic Development? New York’s chief economic development official, Howard Zemsky, faced sharp questioning from lawmakers who pressed him on the wisdom and effectiveness of Start-Up New York, a Cuomo’s economic development initiative that has created just 408 jobs, The New York Times writes.* The personal and professional ties connecting Cuomo and the two men at the center of an ongoing federal investigation of upstate development projects, Joe Percoco and Todd Howe, reach back over many years, the Times Union writes.
E.J. McMahon @EjmEj
Lots of agita over START-UP NY, but don't overlook bigger costs & risks in other NY economic development programs.
de Blasio Victory Lap Cheat Sheets Charter Schools
Although de Blasio is taking a victory lap over new student test scores, there are reasons to doubt the gains, and while district schools aren't improving, charter schools are, Success Academies' Eva Moskowitz writes in the Daily News.
De Blasio backtracks on ‘historic’ rescue of probed hospital (NYP) Now that the deal is under investigation, Mayor de Blasio is changing his tune on his “historic” rescue of Long Island College Hospital. The mayor said Monday he did the best he could with the shuttered Brooklyn hospital in face of “economic realities.” “The more we looked into what could be achieved and how would the actual economic realities work and the financing work — the specific health care site that’s there now is the thing that we came to believe was realistic and viable and sustainable for the long term,” de Blasio said Monday. But in February 2014, de Blasio was effusive in his praise for a court decision that paved the way for medical services to be a priority at the site — but that didn’t guarantee them — calling it “a truly historic moment, a transcendent moment for health care in New York City.” Meanwhile, Comptroller Scott Stringer issued a report on the scandalous Rivington House nursing home deal, reporting that 40 administration officials were involved in disposing of the property — but somehow the mayor never knew the property might become luxury condos.
Why Was LICH Losing Money? Why Did SUNY Buy A Money Losing Hospital?
Why Was LICH Drained of Money? And By Who? Was It Done to Clear the Land for the Developer?
From the Brooklyn Eagle “The closing of LICH, which was indefensible on public health grounds, was Cuomo's decision,” says Jeff Strabone, former spokesperson for the Cobble Hill Association (CHA). “The US Attorney ought to focus his attention on Cuomo and on SUNY's pilfering of the $140 million Othmer fund,” Strabone said. Brooklyn Heights resident Barbara Gartner has been actively looking into the disappearance of the $140 million endowment donated to LICH by Brooklyn Heights residents Donald and Mildred Othmer. The entire principal of the permanently restricted endowment was "borrowed" in 2011 to effect the no-cash transfer of LICH from Continuum Health Partners to SUNY. SUNY assumed the liability to repay the entire endowment, but now says it cannot. According to court papers and documents obtained via FOIL, the transfer of LICH to SUNY would preserve a full-service hospital at LICH. Just 20 months later, however, SUNY announced it was closing LICH. “I was happy to read that the U.S. attorney is looking into the sale of LICH,” Gartner said. “I know that he has been focusing on Mayor de Blasio's various deals, but I hope that the investigation will prove to be just the first step in a wider probe into the web of NYS corruption that brought about the demise of LICH.” Gartner listed the no-cash sale to SUNY by Continuum as one of the areas needing to be investigated, along with SUNY's 2013 creeping closure of LICH, which appeared to violate court orders. Gartner and other advocates also want the state’s RFPs for the sale investigated, along with the mechanism by which the sale to Fortis was pushed through by SUNY. They also want an investigation into SUNY’s failure to bill patients and insurance companies for treatment at LICH. SUNY has repeatedly claimed it was forced to shut down LICH and sell the property to a developer because the hospital was losing millions of dollars a month. An August 2014 investigation by the Eagle showed, however, that after taking over LICH in May 2011, SUNY Downstate’s failure to file standard paperwork with insurance companies cost LICH at least $106 million -- and likely more. (See “Shocker: How SUNY lost more than $100M mismanaging LICH” at brooklyneagle.com.)
Progress de Blasio Channels Reagan Plausible Deniability His Staff Knew and He Did Not?
Scott Stringer report shows de Blasio aides did nothing to stop deal to turn Rivington nursing home into luxury condos (NYDN) At least 40 de Blasio administration officials — including three deputy mayors and three agency heads — failed to stop a Lower East Side nursing home from being flipped for luxury condos, a new report released Monday found. City Controller Scott Stringer’s probe backed Mayor de Blasio’s claim that he was not personally informed about the pending deal. “What went down here was a failure of management at multiple levels of government,” said Stringer, whose probe led to the report. “The job of elected officials is to make sure that the bad actors don’t game the system, and unfortunately there was a failure of that.” City Hall officials were informed in January 2014 that the Department of Citywide Administrative Services was about to lift a deed restriction on Rivington House, which had been an AIDS nursing home — but failed to tell the agency they wanted to make sure the site stayed a healthcare facility. Nearly a year later, the mayor’s aides found out that the deed restriction had been lifted and that the property’s owner, Joel Landau of the Allure Group, might sell it for private luxury housing — but failed to do anything in the 72 days before the sale actually closed. “They get frozen, frozen in time, they don’t react, they don’t intervene,” Stringer said. “Once they knew for sure that the deed restriction had been lifted, they had one more Hail Mary opportunity to get in the game...They just sat on this until it was absolutely too late, until it was signed sealed and delivered, and they didn’t go to the mayor in those 72 days.” “Joel Landau was plotting his payday from the beginning,” he said — but added his claims “were taken at face value” and the mayor’s aides should have been more skeptical. “There were a lot of warning signs both at City Hall and at DCAS that should have triggered a more in depth look at what Landau was doing.”Landau claimed to the city that he needed the restriction lifted to get financing to buy the property — but revealed in an email that he actually had five financing offers. And his lawyer emailed that he could “come up with the purchase price in cash next week if push comes to shove.” Landau ended up paying just $16.15 million to get the restriction lifted — then selling the property for $116 million, at a $72 million profit. And the fee he paid was based on a botched approval by DCAS that “grossly underestimated” the building’s value by using two-year-old real estate values, Stringer said. DCAS estimated the property was worth $64.6 million, but a private appraisal put it at $90 million — and Landau ended up cashing in for much more. De Blasio’s deputy mayors Tony Shorris, Alicia Glen, and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, then-DCAS commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch, Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioner Vicki Been, and Human Resources Administration commissioner Steve Banks were all involved at different phases of the deal — but never told the mayor what was going on, investigators found. Shorris got two memos from DCAS updating him on the process of lifting the Rivington deed restriction, but never read them — admitting he had stopped regularly reading the weekly memos he ordered his commissioners to submit six months after making the order. Stringer contradicted de Blasio’s claim that it was the bureaucratic process in place for dealing with deed restrictions that allowed the lapse, calling the mayor’s contention “just not accurate.” “Rivington House was allowed to slip away not because of poor city processes, but because of poor execution,” Stringer said. “This could have been prevented easily under the existing deed restriction protocols...City Hall and DCAS missed crucial opportunities.” The investigators also found that among a host of other people Landau reached out to for assistance buying the property and getting the restriction removed was businessman Jeremy Reichberg, a de Blasio donor tied up in multiple pay to play investigations. But there was no indication Reichberg responded or had further involvement. * Comptroller’s Report on Nursing Home Deal Cites Breakdowns in Communication (NYT) * The Post writes that it’s astonishing how de Blasio refuses to hold anyone responsible in the wake of the Rivington House flip, especially now that the comptroller found the error was due to bad execution, not poor city processes.
Campaign Manager de Blasio Would be Negligent If He Did Not Do the Rivington Deal - Real Estate $$$ and Support From Leaders of A Powerful Voting Block
De Blasio should stop blaming others for his incompetence (NYP ED) Consider this a “teachable moment,” Mr. Mayor: City Comptroller Scott Stringer has just put the lie to your claim that your administration’s indefensible OK of the Rivington nursing-home flip was just an innocent “mistake.” Not to mention your equally lame insistence that the real problem was procedures inherited from the Bloomberg team — not incompetence, or worse.
NYT Covers the Closing of A Bridge for A Couple of Hours and A Nursing Home For Ever A Little Different
The Times writes that the New York City comptroller’s report on how the city allowed a nursing home to be bought by a luxury condo developer found appalling breakdowns in procedures, which suggests the administration must energetically repair them.
Poll No Leadership to Replace de Blasio or His Corruption Fighting
A Quinnipiac poll found most New York City voters say de Blasio does not deserve to be re-elected in 2017, but that they also do not believe two potential challengers would be any better, The Wall Street Journal reports. * For de Blasio, Another Grim Poll Offers Better News About 2017 Race (NYT) Voters’ perceptions of New York’s mayor are split on racial lines and on his handling of contentious issues, but the survey also found he would defeat two potential Democratic primary rivals. * New Yorkers say de Blasio stinks at handling corruption: poll (NYP) Fighting corruption is not Mayor de Blasio’s strong suit, according to more than half of the New Yorkers who responded to a recent poll on the subject. By a 2-to-1 margin, voters said they don’t like how de Blasio is dealing with the issue. The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found 56 percent said they disapproved of his handling of political corruption, while 28 percent approved.* * A Quinnipiac University poll found 56 percent of voters disapproved of how de Blasio is handling political corruption while 28 percent approved, and a vast majority said corruption is a very or somewhat serious problem, the Post reports.
The Election System Controlled by Lobbyists and PACs No Long Elected Leaders Who Will Fight for the People's Interests
Daily News Calls de Blasio Ridiculous Over His Administration's Cover-Up of the Rivington Nursing Home Cover-Up Why Not Just Call Him a Liar
Absolutely absurd, Bill: De Blasio's ridiculous excuses for City Hall coverup (NYDN Ed) Before speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Mayor de Blasio dismissed the investigation into how a developer made a $100 million killing on land formerly owned by the city this way: “This is probably bigger than Watergate. It’s ridiculous.” While no one suggests wrongdoing of such historic proportions, de Blasio is right that the affair, including an attempted cover-up, is absurd governmental misfeasance of his making.It’s ridiculous that, as the mayor was delivering a speech important only to him, his investigation commissioner and the city’s top lawyer were warring publicly, each calling the other a liar. It’s ridiculous that Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter refused to provide the Department of Investigation complete access to City Hall records and computers until DOI threatened to haul him into court. It’s ridiculous that de Blasio described unprecedented, out-of-control battling between Carter and DOI — over stonewalling an investigation — as the expected course of city business.It’s ridiculous that Carter released a statement suggesting that, under his guidance, City Hall had provided full access when, in fact, he had turned over a key memo only after probers found out about it from independent sources. It’s ridiculous that de Blasio echoed Carter’s line on Friday, suggesting that a story in a newspaper, presumably the Daily News, had gotten the facts wrong even though DOI had presented proof of stonewalling. It is ridiculous that de Blasio essentially joined in calling Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters a liar.
de Blasio Who is in Trouble for Going Around the Election Law Also Goes Around the Intent of the Law to Pay His lawyers
Mayor de Blasio finds loophole to spend campaign money on lawyers as he faces criminal probe into fund-raising methods (NYDN) City politicians aren't allowed to use their campaign cash to pay lawyers representing them in criminal matters, but Mayor de Blasio has found a way around this problem. The mayor — now facing multiple investigations of his campaign fund-raising tactics — is using an obscure loophole in campaign finance laws to pay the lawyers defending him. He’s taking advantage of the fact that while city law mandates donations for primary and general elections can only be used for lawyers handling non-criminal matters related to a campaign, funds raised for run-off elections face no such restriction. That’s because run-offs fall under state law, not city law, and the state allows campaign funds to pay for criminal defense lawyers. Convicted Albany leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos both took advantage of that this year. "City law has more thorough regulations on the proper use of campaign funds than the state does,” said Amy Loprest, executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board. In the last two weeks de Blasio began writing checks to his lawyers from $427,000 in donations he has left over from a run-off in 2013 that never even happened. To make matters worse, the man de Blasio has tasked with overseeing these payments will also be the recipient of the checks. In March, de Blasio announced he was hiring criminal defense lawyer Barry Berke to respond to inquiries from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. Berke is also treasurer of de Blasio's 2013 campaign — the same fund that’s paying the mayor's legal bills to Berke and his firm.Berke has authorization to sign the campaign’s checks, but a de Blasio campaign spokesman noted, “All expenditures, including legal fees, are approved by multiple people.” De Blasio announced he was bringing in Berke to deal with the investigations March 13. Payments to Berke’s firm only began within the last two weeks — after the July 11 deadline for disclosing campaign spending. That means the payments — and any funds raised for this purpose — won’t show up publicly until the next required disclosure — in January 2017.
Bharara Asks For de Blasio Public Advocate Records: How Long Has This Plot to Kill LICH Been Going On? and By Who?
Bklyn Hospital’s Sale, Backed by de Blasio & Cuomo, Is Drawing Federal Scrutiny - #Preet 🇺🇸 goes 4Greedy sweet spot!
Who Closed LICH? 'T Was All of Them and More for A Pay to Play Luxury Real Estate Developer
What the Daily News Left Out the Brooklyn Eagle Included
The investigation may also be looking into whether the mayor was involved in a large payment delivered to health care workers’ union 1199 SEIU in return for the union dropping a lawsuit against SUNY, a source told the Eagle. “Once they got that [payment], they pushed the other parties to settle,” a person present during the negotiations told the Eagle. Other parties to the lawsuit included SUNY, LICH Holding Company, seven community organizations, the New York State Nurses Association and others. Or perhaps the U.S. attorney is interested in investigating how City Hall came to favor the Fortis-NYU proposal when they had previously opposed Fortis. De Blasio appointed Anthony Shorris — vice dean, senior VP and chief of staff of NYU Langone Medical Center from 2010 to 2013 — as his deputy. After that, NYU became Fortis's health partner (providing a “standalone” ER on site). That’s when City Hall began lobbying community people to support Fortis, says a former advocate and member of the Cobble Hill Association.
The Daily News Left Out That Cuomo Has Also Been Subpoenaed by Bharara On the LICH Closing
Not long after taking office as mayor in 2014, de Blasio changed his tune and struck a deal with SUNY and Gov. Cuomo that guaranteed health-care services at the site — but stopped short of meeting community demands for a full-service hospital. The property was ultimately sold to the Fortis Property Group, which was going to develop it into housing with a freestanding emergency department, but the project has stalled.
de Blasio Subpoenaed: Did He Murder LICH Hospital for A Developer?
The subpoena names Mr. de Blasio; Anthony E. Shorris, the first deputy mayor; four top mayoral aides; and Ross Offinger, who had been finance director of the mayor’s 2013 campaign, according to the official, who requested anonymity citing the continuing federal investigation. On Thursday, the union also received a federal subpoena related to its own involvement in the hospital deal, according to an official there who declined to describe its contents. The inquiry into Long Island College Hospital, known as LICH, opened a new front in an investigation of Mr. de Blasio that has already focused on fund-raising for the Campaign for One New York and by the mayor’s aides for Democrats in tight State Senate races in 2014. Mr. Cuomo’s administration, too, is the subject of federal scrutiny related to state spending on projects in Buffalo, referred to as the Buffalo Billion. A spokesman for the Campaign for One New York declined to comment on whether it had received a subpoena. The precise focus of the federal subpoenas related to the hospital and Mr. de Blasio’s involvement was unclear, but prosecutors’ attention to 1199 S.E.I.U. could shed light on the overlapping interests at play in the hospital’s closing and eventual sale to the developer.The impending shutdown of the hospital brought a year of loud wrangling, with public demonstrations, overlapping court cases and the on-camera arrest of Mr. de Blasio, then the New York City public advocate and a candidate for mayor, at a protest in July 2013. The subpoena also seeks communications between SUNY and the public advocate’s office that year, the official said.
The Daily News Says de Blasio Lies Again and Again About Info Kept From DOI Investigators by His Own Corp Council
A document obtained by The News Friday shows the memo provided to investigators on April 11 was almost entirely whited out. arter gave DOI probers two blank sheets of paper showing only the memo’s date and the letters “DP” for “deliberative process” — the rationale for withholding the memo. The document states the memo was “Subject to a confidentiality agreement with the comptroller’s office,” though on Friday Eric Sumberg, a spokesman for Controller Scott Stringer, said, “There is no confidentiality agreement.” Late Friday de Blasio press secretary Eric Phillips admitted the document was, indeed, turned over to DOI in redacted form. He said a “privilege log” also turned over notified DOI that the July 29 memo was “being withheld.” Sources familiar with the matter say after DOI received the whited-out version, investigators realized immediately what it was because they’d obtained an unredacted version from another source. “The Law Department produced the documents in question in redacted form,” DOI said in a statement. “DOI then obtained the contents of those documents from alternate sources and made follow-up demands of the Law Department. Only then did the Law Department meet its legal obligation to produce those specific documents.” The unredacted memo, written by the staff of a city agency overseeing deed restrictions specifically lists one option for the nursing home was to “allow (a) private sale” and states, “Many nonprofits would want to sell high-value deed-restricted property.” The home is on the Lower East Side, where property values have skyrocketed in a gentrification gold rush. The memo goes on to recommend denying the sale and turning the property into affordable housing or transferring it to another nonprofit. Instead the nonprofit went on to sell it for $28 million. The buyer then paid the city $16 million to drop the deed restriction, and sold it for $116 million to a condo developer. The unredacted memo specifically mentions briefing deputy mayors, including Anthony Shorris, about the proposals. Shorris has claimed he knew nothing about the nursing home transaction until this year, after the property was sold for an enormous profit. He claims he believed the sellers always intended to keep it as a nursing home, but DOI found numerous emails and memos sent to and by Shorris about the Rivington St. deal specifically noting that the sellers were considering selling the property for development. De Blasio also says he was completely out of the loop on the transaction until it surfaced as an issue in March. DOI found notes of a meeting about Rivington that Shorris had forwarded to the mayor in August 2014. The mayor told DOI he didn’t recall that email. When DOI began looking into the deal, investigators say Carter took the unprecedented step of appointing himself gatekeeper for all documents, and blocked access to the computer hard drives serving the mayor, Shorris and two other top deputies. Carter also redacted as “Not Relevant” another memo that detailed a second deed restriction waiver request regarding property owned by the Harlem Dance Theater. Last week DOI wrote to Carter threatening to go to court to force the release of all the documents in unredacted form, and demanding total access to the mayor’s computers. On Tuesday Carter agreed to their demands. On the Lehrer show, the mayor made a point of defending Shorris, saying he had “total confidence” in the top aide, who, he pointed out, is extremely busy. When Lehrer asked how Shorris could have missed that the city was paid $16 million to ditch the deed limits, the mayor declared the amount wasn’t big enough to notice.DOI is the city’s independent watchdog. By executive order, the agency has unlimited access to city agency internal communications, including emails. In this case, DOI Commissioner Mark Peters has had to recuse himself from the investigation of Rivington and an unrelated probe into the mayor’s campaign fund-raising. Peters was, for a time, the mayor’s campaign treasurer. But his staff has pressed forward with both investigations, and have characterized Carter’s intervention as “unprecedented.” Multiple officials familiar with how the DOI conducts business say the involvement of the Department of Law in vetting documents requests by DOI is, in fact, unprecedented in modern history. No DOI commissioner has been forced to threaten a lawsuit to get documents from a city agency during the administrations of David Dinkins (1990-1993), Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2002-2013). Both Carter and the mayor have called the dispute between the Law Department and DOI “normal.”
Feds Probe SUNY Relationship With de Blasio and A Pay to Play Developer in the Closing of LICH Hospital
Brezenoff the Mayor's Labor Advisor, Continuum Health Partners Gets Rid of A Failing LICH Hospital With Not Blame
Hamill: Long Island College Hospital merged to death - NY Daily News(2013) SUNY Downstate Medical Center deal with LICH absorbed $300 million in LICH red ink run up by a hospital consortium called Continuum Health Partners. Continuum is run by a ruthless powerbroker named Stanley Brezenoff whose nickname at LICH is Darth Vader. Brezenoff is a quintessential member of what muckraker Jack Newfield called The Permanent Government of New York. This professional politico was appointed by Mayor Ed Koch to run the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp., the feudal lord of a medical fiefdom within the city’s patronage-larded permanent government. While in that post, Brezenoff compiled a Rolodex listing all the shadowy players in the city, state and federal medical rackets swimming in Medicaid and Medicare dollars* Brooklyn residents react to investigation into de Blasio’s role in LICH closure (Brooklyn Eagle)
A Developer Who Wanted to Keep LICH Hospital Open Lost Out in A Bidding Proscess Controlled by the Mayor
Feds investigating Mayor de Blasio's involvement in sale of Long Island College Hospital (NYDN) Bharara's office recently issued a subpoena to the State University of New York, which had owned the hospital, seeking all communications between the university system and City Hall regarding the sale of LICH dating to Jan. 2, 2014, the day after de Blasio took office, said two sources familiar with the matter. One source close to SUNY confirmed the subpoena and said “the clear target seems to be de Blasio.” But the specifics of what Bharara is looking into were unclear. The subpoena specifically seeks emails and other communication from de Blasio and top aides Tony Shorris, Emma Wolf, Dominick Williams, Avi Fink and Henry Berger, the two sources said. It also seeks all communication regarding the hospital dating to 2013 between SUNY and de Blasio’s campaign and his fundraiser Ross Offinger, as well as various groups tied to the mayor such as the Campaign For One New York, UPKNYC, and United for Affordable NYC, the sources said. The subpoena demands emails and other communication between SUNY and de Blasio from 2013, when he was the city’s public advocate, they said. The property was ultimately sold to the Fortis Property Group, which was going to develop it into housing. A freestanding emergency department was also maintained. DNA Info previously reported that developer Donald Peebles said he was contacted in January 2014 by Offinger, who was soliciting money for UPKNYC.
The two connected a month later as Peebles was finalizing what turned out to be a losing bid for LICH. De Blasio then called him a month later and Peebles instructed his staff to send a check on March 6, DNA Info had reported. De Blasio called a month later, Peebles said. He instructed his staff to send a check on March 6. The subpoena involving LICH is the latest in a series of investigations into de Blasio and his team.Fortis was represented since May 2014 by powerful lobbyist James Capalino, who records show lobbied Wolfe, Williams and then-Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. Around the same time, de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York sent out a letter from local community board chairman Gary Reilly supporting the Fortis plan, though he never mentioned Fortis by name.
Two Years Ago the Media Knew How de Blasio's Campaign for One NY PAC Help Closed LICH Hospital And Covered It Up
The Media Cover-Up Started At A debate That Almost Never Happened
* Alarm raised about 'dark money' in de Blasio's LICH - Fortis letter ..(Brooklyn Eagle).
Team de Blasio No More Email New Communication System Cone of Silence
de Blasio's Shadow Govt Lobbyists Secret Agent Men
King Wilhelm de Blasio: I am the Law Because I Rule by Divine Right
Chill, People: De Blasio Just Needs To Have Secret TalksWith Lobbyists (Gothamist) We’ve all been there: you’re the mayor of the biggest city in America and you need to have secret conversations with lobbyists and public relations specialists who you also really trust. Basic mayor stuff! But there’s this dumb law that says you’re supposed to disclose these emails and whatever. Do you release the communications? Or do you brandish the hundreds of lawyers and near-limitless resources at your disposal to show everyone who’s boss? For Mayor de Blasio, the choice is simple.
AG 180 On Rivington Nursing Home Owners and Allure's Lawyers Go After Schneiderman
Not One Councilmember has Called for Corp Council Commissioner Carter to Be Fired for Covering Up Evidence
The AG is now demanding that the Harlem nursing home hand over thousands of pages of e-mails and other documents related to its own pending sale, suspicious that Allure may be pulling an alleged dirty trick again. But a lawyer for the Harlem home argues that the AG hasn’t given them “any indication whatsoever that any violation or any statute actionable or prosecutable has occurred” and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to block the sale. A spokesman for the AG counters that there’s plenty of evidence to freeze the transaction. “As our office has documented in great and troubling detail, Allure made clear and repeated promises to continue the operation of nursing homes for the benefit of a vulnerable population — promises that proved to be false,” said Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for Schneiderman. Mittenthal was referring to the Harlem home, the Rivington Street property and a third nursing home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, that Allure bought in June and plans to turn into luxury apartments, according to reports. “We will … vigorously oppose any effort to obstruct our legitimate law-enforcement investigation into Allure’s transactions and representations,” Mittenthal said. A lawyer for Allure has said that the company plans to turn the Harlem facility into a “five-star financially viable nursing home.” But the Harlem home’s own court papers raise questions about whether Allure would actually continue housing the elderly at the facility or would turn it into luxury housing. While the nursing home’s assets including its real estate were assessed at $21.8 million in 2014, Allure had offered to buy the company at a huge $10.2 million markup.
The Cuomo GOP Senate Contradiction Hide and Dance From Weak Press and Public
New Yorkers up and down the line have used this week’s convention to emphasize the importance of re-taking control of the state Senate in November, but Cuomo continues to keep quiet on the issue, Politico New York writes.
The NY Times Wants to Make Voting In NY Easier But Does Not Look At the State's Corrupt Election System
With just over one quarter of New York voters turning out for elections in the fall of 2014, the state needs to take measures to make the process easier, the Times writes, offering a list of suggestions on moves they might make to boost participation.
For Weeks True News Has Been Calling the Rivington Nursing Home Scandal de Blasio's Watergate Now the Post Copies Us Again
Bill de Blasio’s own Watergate (NYP) It may be too early to say how many City Hall staffers should lose their jobs — or perhaps go to jail — over the rancid Rivington House scandal. But it can start with Zachary Carter, the Law Department chief. Carter purposely withheld relevant information from a city probe into just how City Hall OK’d turning a Lower East Side hospice into condos. Despite a request five months ago by the Department of Investigation, Carter failed to provide “all relevant documents,” says Inspector General Jodi Franzese. Instead, the Law Department sent in pages that whited-out “highly relevant” information. On Wednesday, Carter’s folks denied that. But the redacted pages suggest he was plainly hiding evidence. DOI says Carter has now finally turned over all the material and agreed to let it access the relevant hard drives. But he only gave in after Franzese’s unprecedented threat to sue the Law Department. When does one agency have to threaten lawsuits against another? Executive Order 16 requires city officials to “cooperate fully” with probes and says any “obstruction” is “cause for removal from office” or other “appropriate penalty.” If DOI’s charges against Carter are true, he needs to go. Others may deserve similar consequences, or worse. But that won’t be clear until DOI, the state attorney general and the US attorney complete their probes. Ultimately, of course, the buck stops with de Blasio. At the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, he called the whole scandal “ridiculous,” sarcastically joking that it was “bigger than Watergate.” If the mayor can’t smell the reek rising from the city’s chief lawyer obstructing a probe (not to mention the hospice deal itself), he’s more clueless than we ever imagined.
Man in Charge
Richard Nixon, 37th president. Only US president to quit the job (Aug. 9, 1974), which he did to avoid impeachment over the Watergate scandal. Later received a full pardon from successor, Gerald Ford. Tag line: “I am not a crook.” Died in 1994.
Bill de Blasio, 109th New York City mayor. Facing several corruption investigations by US Attorney Preet Bharara and other authorities over his fund-raising operations and suspected “pay to play” practices. Tag line: “We are very, very careful about doing things in a legal and appropriate manner.”
John Mitchell, attorney general. Former Nixon law partner who resigned from the Justice Department to run the Committee to Re-Elect the President. Imprisoned for 19 months for approving the Watergate break-in and payoffs to keep it quiet. Died in 1988.
Zachary Carter, corporation counsel. Accused of stonewalling a Department of Investigation probe into the Rivington House deal and of turning over records only after being threatened with a DOI lawsuit.
H.R. “Bob” Halderman, White House chief of staff. Fearsome former ad exec-turned-White House gatekeeper who once boasted that he was “the president’s son-of-a-bitch.” Imprisoned for 18 months for conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Died in 1993.
Anthony Shorris, first deputy mayor. De Blasio’s second-in-command. Leaked memos revealed that Shorris knew about the lifting of the Rivington House deed restriction in May 2015, despite City Hall claims that officials didn’t find out until the building was sold in February.
John Ehrlichman, president’s assistant for domestic affairs. Oversaw the “plumbers” who broke into DNC office at the Watergate. Also approved burglary of the office of “Pentagon Papers” leaker Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Got 18-month prison term. Died in 1999.
Emma Wolfe, director of intergovernmental affairs. Former student activist and political organizer who was de Blasio’s chief of staff when he was public advocate and helped run his campaign for mayor. Slapped with subpoenas tied to the mayor’s fund-raising operation.
G. Gordon Liddy, general counsel to CREEP. Ex-FBI agent-turned-political dirty trickster who paid the gang of “plumbers” and conspired in the Ellsberg case. Served about 4 ¹/₂ years in the slammer.
Ross Offinger, ex-finance director of New Yorkers for de Blasio and treasurer of Hizzoner’s since-shuttered Campaign for One New York, at the center of his probe. Subpoenaed over de Blasio’s fund-raising operations, including an alleged scheme to evade contribution limits in a failed bid to have Democrats seize control of the state Senate.
Mark Peters, city Dept. of Investigation commissioner. Named the city’s official corruption watchdog after serving as de Blasio’s campaign treasurer. Recused himself from corruption probes involving the mayor to avoid a conflict of interest, but authorized a suit against the Law Department if it failed to assist in the Rivington House probe.
The NY Times At Last Reports on the Email Scandal But No Editorial On Withholding Evidence
City Agencies Engage in Public Feud Over de Blasio Investigation (NYT) A behind-the-scenes dispute between New York City lawyers and investigators over documents in a Manhattan nursing home deal burst into public view on Wednesday, as two agencies in the de Blasio administration traded barbed statements and questioned each other’s good faith and truthfulness.The dispute erupted last week after the Investigation Department, which is conducting an inquiry into the deal, released its report and chided the Law Department for withholding or redacting reams of documents potentially related to the Rivington House. The report found fault but no wrongdoing in City Hall’s handling of the deed restriction removal, but suggested that the full scope of the city’s involvement in the deal could not be known because of the redacted documents. But investigators threatened to take the city lawyers to court to force the disclosure and, in a letter released on Thursday, they highlighted two documents that had initially been redacted by the Law Department, but that were later obtained no longer redacted by investigators, and contained information pertinent to the inquiry. They included a chart, shared with City Hall officials, detailing the pros and cons for various approaches to Rivington House. “I am pleased that the Law Department decided to comply with the law,” Mark G. Peters, the department’s commissioner, said in a statement. (Mr. Peters recused himself from personal involvement in the inquiry because of his former role as the mayor’s 2013 campaign treasurer.) But on Wednesday, the two agencies exchanged bitterly worded statements and appeared to be at odds over what they had agreed to the day before regarding access to City Hall computers. The Law Department accused the Investigation Department of making “false” statements about the documents it described in the letter, and of pushing for “unprecedented access” to City Hall computers. Hours later, the Investigation Department fired back saying that the statement by the Law Department “asserting an alternate agreement is not true and in variance with its written commitment to D.O.I.” “I’ve been very clear; I take responsibility; I’m very unhappy with the outcome,” Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said at a breakfast in Philadelphia. “But in terms of the flow of information and how we’ve handled investigations, I’m perfectly comfortable.” Mr. de Blasio, who said earlier in the week that the back-and-forth between the city’s Investigation Department and its Law Department was “totally normal,” scoffed at any notion on Wednesday that city lawyers were hiding evidence of wrongdoing. “This is probably bigger than Watergate,” he said sarcastically during the breakfast at the convention. “It’s ridiculous.”
Dean Skelos formally disbarred after corruption conviction (NYP)
When DOI Followed the Trail to Top Aides, de Blasio Took Unprecedented Step of Denying Investigators Access to City Hall Records
Is DOI's Mark Peters the New Watergate John Dean?
What Did the Mayor Know About the Rivington City Hall Cover-Up and When Did He Know It?
Update: de Blasio Defends Carter
The mayor defended Carter and backed up his decision. (NYP) “I have tremendous respect for him,” de Blasio said of Carter. “He made a set of decisions [on] what was the right way to handle that. And I thought he was right. I didn’t get into the weeds of it. But I thought his essential approach was right.”
Covered Up Memo Released Reveals de Blasio Oficials Weighed Pros and Cons of Selling Rivington Nursing Home for Condos
Covered-up memo reveals de Blasio officials weighed pros and cons of selling Rivington House for condos (NYDN) The Department of Investigation released evidence Tuesday that the de Blasio administration deliberately covered up crucial information regarding the city's handling of a deed restriction on a Lower East Side nursing home. Behind the scenes on Thursday DOI notified Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter by letter it would sue him to gain access to the mayor’s computer and thousands of pages of documents it had requested that Carter censored. Late Friday Carter agreed to turn over the requested documents unredacted, and on Tuesday he reversed course and granted DOI access to the computer that serves the mayor and several of his top aides. In the back-and-forth with Carter, DOI spelled out for the first time some of the important information Carter withheld that was clearly relevant to DOI’s investigation. Carter specifically held back an internal memo describing in detail the city's analysis of the pros and cons of the sale of a Lower East Side nursing home on Rivington St., according to DOI’s letter to Carter.
The NY Times is Covering Up the Nursing Home Email Story Have You Lost Your Sense of Decency
How Can City Hall or Not One Elected Official Not Demand Corp Council Head Carter Not Be Fired . . . .Why Did SUNY Buy LICH That Was Losing 20 Million A Month and Close It Down In 6 Months?ed for Withholding Evidence ?
Nursing home probe pits city agencies against each other (NYP) In another bombshell development in the scandalous case, the Department of Investigation said Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter finally agreed to turn over the documents after the threat of a lawsuit. Both agencies are under the aegis of Mayor de Blasio, and veteran government observers said they couldn’t recall a similar instance where one mayoral agency threatened to sue another. The Law Department turned over some documents but withheld thousands of others claiming they weren’t “relevant.” The department also denied DOI access to City Hall computers. “Law and City Hall have taken the position that DOI was provided with all relevant documents,” Inspector General Jodi Franzese wrote in a July 21 letter to Carter. “However the productions provided by Law failed to include all relevant documents.” It turned out there was a good reason for the Law Department’s reluctance.Despite de Blasio’s claim he knew nothing of the nursing-home transaction, two key documents showed his top aides were deeply involved and were notified that condos were under discussion.
The PACS and Lobbyists Who Elected the Council and Lawmakers in Albany Have Elected A Political Class Who Are Afraid to Speak Out Against A Corrupt Mayor
A July 23, 2014, e-mail to Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch specifically stated that condos were on the table. The e-mail included a reference to briefing First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris about the deal. DOI had to find out about another redacted document by obtaining the unobscured version from an unnamed source. That memo focused on the lifting of another deed restriction on a property owned by the Dance Theater of Harlem. De Blasio on Monday defended the Law Department’s decision to withhold information, describing it as “totally normal,” and then doubled down on Tuesday. “If Mr. Carter refuses to step down, Mayor de Blasio must remove him,” said Bradley Tusk, who recently launched NYC Deserves Better to unseat de Blasio.
The critical memo was attached to a July 23, 2014, email from a lower level official in the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to DCAS Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch. The document revealed early on the possibility that the nursing home could be sold for condos, including a reference to briefing First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris about the deal. Carter held it back, instead providing DOI with two totally whited out pages stamped "DP” or confidential as part of the city’s internal "deliberative process.”
Carter whited out sections of a November 18, 2015 internal memo detailing aspects of the Rivington St. deed waiver request, stamping it “NR” for "Not Relevant." DOI later discovered from another source that the section Carter had whited out described another deed restriction waiver, this one involving the Dance Theater of Harlem. In that case, a de Blasio donor buying the building needed the waiver so it could be turned into apartments.The coverup occurred after de Blasio in March asked DOI to investigate how the city handles deed restrictions after questions emerged about potential fraud in the Rivington St. sale. By executive order of the mayor, DOI — the city’s internal watchdog — is supposed to have total access to city documents, emails and computers. But Carter decided he was the gatekeeper and denied DOI investigators access to the mayor's computer. After DOI released its Rivington St. report July 14, de Blasio publicly backed Carter’s decision to withhold the requested documents. Carter’s position was that he would be the one to determine what was relevant. Carter ordered city agencies to route all DOI document requests through the Department of Law. In the July 21 letter to Carter, DOI demanded Carter release all documents requested in unredacted form, and immediately provide unrestricted access to “all digital information stored on City-owned computer hard drives assigned to or otherwise used by” the mayor, First Deputy Mayor Shorris, Shorris’ Chief of Staff Dominic Williams and Emma Wolfe, the mayor’s director of intergovernmental affairs.
Feds McDonnell Case Does Not Apply Send Silver and Skelos to Jail Now
Skelos, Silver should be sent straight to prison: prosecutors (NYP) Disgraced pols Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver will not get their corruption convictions overturned and should be sent straight to prison as they go through the appeal process, prosecutors with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said Monday. In separate memos, Bharara’s prosecutors blasted arguments by former state Senator Skelos and ex-Assembly speaker Silver that their convictions will be tossed — thanks to ex-Virginia gover Bob McDonnell — and therefore they should remain free on bail as they seek appeal.
The NYPD GiftGate Connects From de Blasio to Westchester's Astorino Driving Matero
Preet Bharara expands corruption probe to Westchester (NYP) US Attorney Preet Bharara’s corruption probe into the dealings of two shady businessmen and donors to Mayor de Blasio has expanded to Westchester County, The Post has learned. Bharara has subpoenaed the offices of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino about dealings with de Blasio financial backers Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who have been linked to recent city pay-to-play scandals. FBI agents also recently quizzed politically wired cabby advocate Fernando Mateo, who introduced Rechnitz and Reichberg to Astorino, according to a source familiar with the inquiry. Reichberg, a Brooklyn resident who had no known previous ties to Westchester County, was named a volunteer county police chaplain in June 2013. A few days later, entities tied to his pal Rechnitz donated $25,000 to Astorino’s re-election campaign. * Bill Bratton will ditch de Blasio in 2017 (NYP)
Pinocchio Lying de Blasio Claims His Legal Team didn't Cooperate With Nursing Home Probe
De Blasio denies claims legal team didn’t cooperate with nursing home probe (NYP)Mayor de Blasio on Monday dismissed complaints that his legal team stymied a Department of Investigation probe into a shady land deal that was approved by his administration last year. Asked about a DOI report that highlighted a lack of cooperation by the city’s Law Department, Hizzoner did little more than shrug. “I think it’s totally normal — two different institutions with two different jobs to do,” he said about the probe into the Rivington House nursing-home deal. “I’m sure they’ll work that out.”
Cook Still Tops In the Travel Expenses and Getting Away With It Even After the Speakers Reforms to the Assembly's Travel Policy
Queens assemblywoman tops all N.Y. state pols by collecting over $20G in travel expense reimbursements (NYDN) A Queens state assemblywoman was the travel expense queen of the Legislature during the recently concluded six-month legislative session. Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, a Democrat, was the only lawmaker in the Legislature whose travel expense reimbursements topped $20,000 during the first six months of the year, new records released Thursday by the state Controller’s office show. Cook, who did not return a call for comment, was reimbursed $20,246, including $16,938 for overnight stays and meals in Albany and $3,308 for mileage and tolls.
2015: Speaker Carl Heastie Announces Reforms to Assembly's Travel Policy
Albany's Vouchers Corruption and Work Load
Speaker Mark-Viverito Trying to Have It Both Ways Canceled Council Hearing On the Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change As She Squawks Over City Hall Cover Up
@Sal Albanese Fascinating on how DEB & his top deputies when confronted with indisputable evidence on Rivington nursing home scandal developed amnesia
heChiefLeader @RichardSteier usually fans of DEB have done best reporting on the ineptitude & possible corruption of administration
Why Where the City Council Hearing On the Rivington Nursing Home Canceled?
@unitedNYblogs @TheChiefLeader ask chair of "investigations" committee, @VGentile43
Seabrook Hedge Fund Liquidating As He Pleas Not Guilty
The hedge fund caught up in a New York City municipal union kickback scandal is now liquidating two of its funds (NYP). Up to now it was believed that Platinum Partners, which allegedly paid the union president $60,000 in return for getting a $20 million investment, was liquidating just one of its funds.* Ex-head of corrections union pleads not guilty to corruption charges (NYP)
Puppet Speaker Attacks de Blasio on Nursing Home Emails
City council speaker blasts mayor’s office for impeding nursing home probe (NYP) City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a close ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Wednesday it’s “very troubling” that the mayor’s office impeded a city investigation of a botched Lower East Side real estate deal. The city Department of Investigation issued a scathing report last week on the administration’s handling of the deal — which allowed for the conversion of a formerly protected nursing home into luxury apartments — and highlighted a lack of access to requested documents and computer terminals. “It’s very clear what the authority of DOI is. The Department of Investigation is to have full access to documents — so that is a concern,” Mark-Viverito said at a press conference calling for similar deals to become part of the more transparent land use review process.
New Q poll: Gov. Cuomo part of NY corruption problem: 48%. Part of solution: 36%
2nd Cuomo Aid Caught Up in Mortgate Scandal With Percoco
Former Cuomo aide caught up in mortgage scandal (NYP) A former aide to Gov. Cuomo received a home loan from the same businessman who gave a near-100 percent mortgage to Joseph Percoco, a second Cuomo aide who’s now the subject of a federal probe, according to a new report. The Albany Times Union reported Thursday that Howard Glaser, a former Cuomo senior policy advisor and director of state operations, received a $200,000 mortgage on a $1.2 million home in Bedford, N.Y., from a company run by Abe Eisner, Cuomo’s unofficial liaison to the Jewish community. Percoco was the governor’s closest aide before he left late last year to become an executive at Madison Square Garden. He was later named in a federal subpoena seeking records from Cuomo’s executive chamber about potential “improper lobbying” and “conflicts of interest” in the Buffalo Billion economic development program.
Why is a Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Being Attacked? By NYP and Brooklyn Democratic Party Judicial Screening Committee? Is There A Bigger Game Being Played Here?
City judge deemed incompetent in ‘unheard of’ move (NYP) This is a precedent no judge wants to set. In a first-of-its-kind rebuke, a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge with 25 years experience on the bench has been found unqualified by a Democratic Party screening panel — a move that will likely doom her chances for re-election this fall. “She’s not the brightest bulb in the courthouse to begin with,” said one party source, explaining the Brooklyn Democratic Party Judicial Screening Committee’s decision last month to find Justice Laura Jacobson unqualified to run on the party line. “They looked at her track record, and they found an abnormal percentage of cases were overturned by higher courts,” said the party source. “And when also factoring in she has a poor reputation, she was found unqualified.” Said another party official, who like the others asked not to be named, “As far as we know, this is the first time in Brooklyn’s history the committee did not reappoint a sitting Supreme Court judge — it’s unheard of.” Approval by the 25-member committee, comprising members of the county Bar Association and other lawyers, is usually a routine a rubber stamp for sitting judges such as Jacobson, who has spent the past 13 years handling civil cases.
Will the NY Times Attack Brooklyn Boss Seddio Like They Attacked Friedman in 1983 for Doing the Same
Brooklyn judge blows off work amid being deemed 'unqualified' (NYP)* Nurses’ court order throws wrench into NYU’s LICH plans in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Eagle)The nurses' union has delayed SUNY’s transfer of the walk-in emergency department at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) to NYU-Langone Medical Center.State Supreme Court Justice Laura L. Jacobson on Wednesday granted nurses at LICH a temporary restraining order to “maintain the status quo” there for two weeks, stalling SUNY’s attempts to wash its hands of the Cobble Hill hospital for a while longer. The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) says that Fortis Property Group and its partner NYU-Langone Medical Center violated a promise to rehire LICH nurses after SUNY shut down the hospital. Nurses called the TRO a victory.* Frank Seddio picks up George Arzt for his push for Brooklyn Democratic leader (POLITICONY)*Judge Rejects Long Island College Hospital’s Ownership Deal (NYT) * 2 JUDGES FACE POLITICAL OUSTER (NYT 1983) In a break with tradition, two State Supreme Court justices with 20 years on the bench were denied renomination last night at a Bronx Democratic judicial district convention controlled by Stanley M. Friedman, the Bronx Democratic chairman. The justices, William Kapelman and Donald J. Sullivan, were overwhelmingly rejected for renomination to 14- year terms despite their pleas to the 82 judicial district delegates for support. In New York City, the party's county leader usually has the power to decide who will be a judge because he controls the choice of delegates to the convention that nominates them.
Lobbyists Arzt Has Made The NYP Part of Brooklyn Dems Attack Machine
Team de Blasio Owned by Developers Shocking That A Developer and House Lobbyists Capalino Won With the Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change
The AG Joins the Probe of the Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change
Schneiderman probes building sale linked to de Blasio nonprofit (NYP) State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is examining Mayor de Blasio’s controversial Campaign for One New York nonprofit in connection with its ongoing probe of a nursing-home deal on the Lower East Side, The Post has learned. On July 6, the same day the city Campaign Finance Board cleared de Blasio and the group of wrongdoing, Schneiderman’s office sent a subpoena seeking information about the nonprofit, a source close to the investigation told The Post. The Campaign for One New York, which de Blasio set up in 2013 to push his policy agenda, is linked to many of the scandals surrounding the mayor. And it raised millions of dollars.
Two Mayor's Leave Town During Corruption Scandals That Can Lead to Their Arrests
One of those scandals involves the de Blasio administration’s removal of deed restrictions on the nonprofit Rivington House nursing home. Another involves two businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg. They are at the center of an NYPD corruption probe and were donors to the nonprofit. Reichberg held a 2014 fund-raiser at his home for the group, raising $35,000. Rechnitz gave $50,000 through one of his companies. The mayor helped raise cash for the group, and contributors weren’t bound by campaign finance restrictions. The board earlier this month concluded that the organization’s fund-raising “raises serious policy and perception issues.”“The organization was established by the mayor to support and promote his policy agenda,” chairwoman Rose Gill Hearn said. “It is run by the mayor’s closest advisers and staffed by personnel and consultants that ran his campaign in 2013.” But Gill Hearn said there was no evidence the nonprofit was working to re-elect de Blasio at the time, primarily because its spending occurred three years ahead of his probable re-election campaign next year. The board earlier this month concluded that the organization’s fund-raising “raises serious policy and perception issues.” “The organization was established by the mayor to support and promote his policy agenda,” chairwoman Rose Gill Hearn said. “It is run by the mayor’s closest advisers and staffed by personnel and consultants that ran his campaign in 2013.” But Gill Hearn said there was no evidence the nonprofit was working to re-elect de Blasio at the time, primarily because its spending occurred three years ahead of his probable re-election campaign next year.
The Buck Does Not Stop Nowhere for Team de Blasio Anyone Responsible for Nursing Home Deed Change
When will someone be held responsible for city’s botched nursing-home flip? (NYP) Modal Trigger When will someone be held responsible for city’s botched nursing-home flip? Rivington House Photo: William Farrington Mayor de Blasio says no heads will roll over City Hall’s incomprehensible OK of that Rivington Street nursing-home flip, which he now calls merely “a mistake.” Forgive us if this strikes us as just the finale of a damage-control strategy that was cynical from the start. After all, when the scandal broke three months ago, the mayor promised, “We will hold people responsible” for the approval of converting a health-care facility to condos, netting a politically connected developer a fat $72 million profit. This, under a mayor who even as he was campaigning for the job got arrested for protesting the closure of a hospital, a mayor who vows to make affordable housing a part of any new city-approved project. And a mayor whose Law Department refused to cooperate with the Department of Investigation probe of the scandalous flip.
Even so, the DOI probe found that City Hall hadn’t told the truth about the affair. De Blasio insisted he hadn’t heard of the transaction before it hit the press, too late for it to be reversed. DOI found an e-mail showing the mayor was indeed briefed on the matter. And even if he zoned out in that meeting, ample evidence shows his top people were in the loop — with some trying to reverse the decision weeks before the news broke. Indeed, for all the mayor’s efforts to blame a “process” set up by his predecessors for this “mistake,” DOI also showed that Team de Blasio was far more involved in this decision than prior administrations had been in similar requests to lift deed restrictions. It’s worth noting, too, that city documents arguing for approval of the flip lifted language almost verbatim from memos filed previously by mega-lobbyist James Capalino, a close ally of the mayor (though Capalino was no longer involved by the time the request was granted.)
True News for Over Two Years Has Exposed de Blasio Shadow Govt
True News: de Blasio's Campaign Lobbyists Control A Secret Shadow Government
Why is Wills Investigation by the AG Taking So Long? Is It Connected to Another Investigation?
Now Cuomo Won't Release Emails Related to Bufflao Billion Bidding Process
Cuomo aide refuses to release emails related to economic development contracts (Buffalo News) Buffalo News sought records on bidding process
The Daily News Yesterday Called for de Blasio to Fire Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris and Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters for Covering-Up Rivington Nursing Home Scandal Today de Blasio Says No
Daily News Joins True News In Calling Rivington Nursing Home A de Blasio City Hall Cover-Up
Big Bill’s big coverup on Rivington nursing home sale (NYDN) A stunning first in the annals of City Hall: Mayor de Blasio sanctioned stonewalling a Department of Investigation probe into maneuverings that enabled a real estate developer to make a nearly $100 million killing on land formerly owned by the city. Releasing a report on the affair (damning especially for First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris), DOI revealed that city lawyers refused to turn over a substantial number of documents in City Hall files and denied access to City Hall computers. De Blasio top attorney Zachary Carter shut down the information flow despite a City Charter provision authorizing the DOI commissioner to conduct “any study or investigation which in his opinion may be in the best interests of the city.” Carter’s order also ran counter to a mayoral executive order, endorsed by de Blasio, stating that the city investigation commissioner “shall have authority to examine, copy or remove any document prepared, maintained or held by any agency,” except specifically barred by law. Carter said DOI — led after a fashion by Commissioner Mark Peters — could not be allowed to rummage indiscriminately in City Hall files and computers. Carter also said City Hall provided DOI with all relevant documents. Apparently backed by the mayor, Carter’s stance has ended DOI’s unfettered access to City Hall records.
Peters should resign in principled protest, having already stepped aside from probes into de Blasio fundraising because he had served as the mayor’s campaign treasurer. d on favoritism and misfeasance, Shorris should be next out the door. The property at issue had long been the site of a not-for-profit, AIDS-related nursing facility under a deed that limited the land to such a use. Early in 2014, the operator sought to transfer the land because demand for its services had fallen. That required lifting the deed restriction, at least in part.Into City Hall walked lobbyist James Capalino, an early Shorris mentor who had contributed thousands to the mayor’s Campaign for One New York. With the involvement of other top officials, City Hall explored using the building for housing — until health care workers’ union Local 1199,Blasio’s most generous backer, protested a loss of jobs. At that, Shorris told DOI that he had ordered staff to maintain the property as a nursing home, but staff told DOI that Shorris never issued such an order.
Still worse, with Capalino out of the picture, Shorris abandoned interest, claiming he never even read memos from Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch updating him on the process of the lifting of the deed restrictions he had initiated. With no further serious consideration, the bureaucracy lifted those for $16 million. A nursing home operator then sold the property to an upscale housing developer for $116 million. DOI’s based its findings on interviews and records obtained from city agencies, where it has the technological ability to delve into computer files.
Winds of Larger Scandal As Two Former
NYPD Commanders Pleaded Not Guilty
At an arraignment Wednesday, two former NYPD commanders and a Brooklyn businessman pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges stemming from allegations of illegal gifts made in return for police favors, The New York Times reports. * 3 Plead Not Guilty in New York Police Corruption Case (NYT) Two former police leaders and a businessman were arrested last month on charges prosecutors say stem from gifts made in return for favors.
Good Govt Fakes Meet Team de Blasio Fakes on Secret Agents Lobbyists Email Cover Up
Groups talk with de Blasio staffers on outside advisers e-mail block (NYP) Good-government groups went to City Hall on Tuesday to protest Mayor de Blasio’s refusal to release e-mails between his office and outside advisers he calls “agents of the city.” Hizzoner’s legal adviser Maya Wiley and a contingent of de Blasio staffers met for about an hour with Citizens Union director Dick Dadey, NYPIRG’s Blair Horner, Common Cause director Susan Lerner and others. “Nothing was resolved except we agreed to keep talking,” Dadey told The Post. The advocates asked for the meeting because they believe that the correspondence between the administration and the so-called agents should be public under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. The agents — key de Blasio advisers who are not city employees — are AKPD Media’s John Del Cecato; BerlinRosen principal Jonathan Rosen; US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard and Hilltop’s Bill Hyers and Nicholas Baldick. The mayor argues that their e-mails are exempt from the law because they are not city employees, a position disputed by Bob Freeman, chair of the NYS Committee on Open Government.
Who is Who in de Blasio Corruption Probe
Here's What We Know About the Probe Into Mayor Bill de Blasio's Fundraising (DNAINFO) UPDATE: Who’s Who in the Federal NYPD/City Hall Corruption Probe
de Blasio Distracted by the Investigation Ruling From the Bunker, Hanging By His City Agents Lawyers
de Blasio's Kitchen Cabinet Includes Lobbyists With Clients Who Do Business With the City
Vito Lopez's Judge Dawn Jiminez-Salta Kills A Library in Brooklyn
Judge tosses bid to block controversial sale of Brooklyn public library (NYP) A Brooklyn judge has ruled against petitioners who sought to block the controversial sale and redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. Marsha Rimler, head of Love Brooklyn Libraries Inc., had contested the venture’s environmental review — but state Supreme Court Justice Dawn Jiminez-Salta tossed the case late last week, saying the group’s claims lacked merit. Love Brooklyn Libraries had asserted the city’s environmental review did not account for certain environmental risks such as increased traffic, air pollution, noise and long shadows cast on a nearby park. The decision comes amid an ongoing probe by both federal and city prosecutors into the sale of the city-owned land — which was awarded to a crony of Mayor de Blasio who offered less cash than two other bidders. Hudson Companies purchased the land for $52 million, despite offering $6 million less than competitors Toll Brothers and Second Development Services. The Post has previously reported that the president of Hudson Co., David Kramer, committed funding into the Mayor’s campaign coffers–donating $9,125 to the politician since 2007. He later refunded $6,32f of the sum without explanation on campaign filings.Hudson has announced plans to construct a 36-story luxury building with a renovated, smaller library branch on the ground floor and in the basement of the current site.
The saga of the city's proposed sale and redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights Library has had plenty of twists and turns, from contentious public meetings to closed door negotiations to aninvestigation of how the developer was picked to do the redevelopment, and of course, a lawsuit. Now the lawsuit portion of the public fight is over (for now), with a State Supreme Court judgetossing a suit brought to stop the sale of the property to developer Hudson Companies.The lawsuit seeking to stop the conversion of the library into a high rise apartment building with a library on the bottom floor was brought by Love Brooklyn Libraries, Inc. and claimed the city's environmental review process before approving the project hadn't been thorough enough. However, State Supreme Court Justice Dawn Jimenez-Salta rejected that claim, and accepted the city's case that they had studied the impact of the library redevelopment carefully enough so that "was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or affected by error of law." Judge Jimenez-Salta also noted that Love Brooklyn Libraries' lawsuit came in more than 15 days after the deadline to sue a government agency, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Both camps issued dueling statements in the wake of the ruling. City spokesman Austin Finian told DNAinfo, "We are pleased that the court recognized that this suit had no merit," while Love Brooklyn Libraries president Marsha Rimler told the site that, "We're disappointed, but we move forward with confidence," promising an appeal.
Local Prosecutors, Even the FBI Knew Vito Lopez Used His Govt Funded 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.
NYT Putnam de Blasio's Protect Cuomo Lundered Senate $$$ Also Gray Lady Says Percoco Was Involved
After the Silver and Skelos Conviction the Times Down Played Bharara the Prosecutor That is Cleaning Up NY
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.
The Dying Media Has Stop Covering the Mayor's Corruption Story and Has Refused to Expose NYC's Corrupt Elections System
Putnam Money Laundry
NYC Is Still For Sale II the Remake All News Cast of Elected Crooks Who Created A Fixed Election System
Like Hillary, de Blasio gets a pass on sleazy behavior (NYP Ed) New Yorkers got yet more proof this week that their political system is rigged. A day after FBI Director James Comey slammed Clinton for breaking the law but gave her a pass anyway, the city Campaign Finance Board on Wednesday similarly bashed Mayor de Blasio and his pet nonprofit — but then let them skate. No wonder average Joes think laws apply to them, but not the politically powerful. At issue in the mayor’s case were his ties to the Campaign for One New York, its spending to promote his agenda (and indirectly, him) and the donations it received. Candidates’ campaigns are subject to tight limits on donations and spending. Individual gifts are capped at $4,950; spending in off years can’t top $328,000. CONY donations dwarfed those limits. And the group spent $4 million since 2013. The CFB found CONY wasn’t “independent” of de Blasio but failed to find enough evidence of coordination. It also said CONY shut down well before the 2017 elections. For those reasons, it opted not to penalize de Blasio’s 2017 campaign. OK, maybe the board was stymied by technicalities. But that doesn’t make Hizzoner’s behavior — or the system that lets him get away with it — any less despicable. That’s the trouble with the city’s campaign laws: They invite pols to find loopholes and leave it to unelected bureaucrats to arbitrarily rule on violations. Powerful pols or those who can game the system (think: de Blasio) win. Heck, Hizzoner practically owes his job to the CFB, which cut off funds to a 2013 rival, John Liu, ending Liu’s bid for mayor. And get this: The board now wants more power, specifically limits on nonprofits linked to pols, to close the loophole de Blasio just got away with. But rest assured: Smart pols will game those limits, too. Meanwhile, de Blasio’s biggest crime may be granting favors to donors. Prosecutors are in the midst of probing that question (among other investigations involving him). Looks like it’ll now fall to them to prove New York City isn’t for sale.* Court documents filed by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration in a case to keep certain correspondences with non-city employees shielded added to the list of “agents of the city,” including employees of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research,The New York Times reports. * * New York City Controller Scott Stringer slammed de Blasio’s political non-profit Campaign for One New York as a “slush fund,” with the mayor shooting back that his sometime rival “doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” the Daily News reports. * Several New York City Council members are drafting legislation that would close the legal loopholes that allowed de Blasio to collect huge donations from people who are doing business before the city, the Daily News writes. * The fundraising scandals faced by de Blasio present an opportunity for the mayor to step up and embrace a better way of running for office by cutting off lobbyists and telling his own consultants that it’s time to get off the gravy train, the Times’ Jim Dwyer writes.
The Daily News is on Crack if They Think the Council Will Go After the Mayor's Slush Fund PAC Paper Quiet Abou the CFB Giving de Blasio A Pass On His Campaign for One NY Slush PAC
A tale of two campaigns: Political money board raps De Blasio dodge (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio galloped through a gaping loophole in New York City’s political fundraising rules when he pulled in $4 million via a non-profit group, much of it from donors seeking favors from his administration. Although the mayor used the funds for political advantage, his money hunt fell beyond the reach of the Campaign Finance Board because the City Council never imagined a mayor would do business so transactionally. With withering words for de Blasio’s end run and “the possibility and perception that favor-seeking wealthy interests may influence government decision-makers,” the board last week called on the Council to bring such fundraising under close watch. Candidates for mayor are limited to $4,950 from each contributor, and just $400 from those doing business with the city — caps crafted to blunt influence peddling. De Blasio left those standards in tatters . Most Campaign for One New York donors — ranging from the teachers and health care unions to developers — gave far higher amounts than they could donate to an election committee. The money then enabled de Blasio to blow through spending limits while remaining eligible for public campaign financing in 2017. The good-government group Citizens Union urges the Council to bring such non-profit committees under the campaign finance system’s restrictions and public disclosures. Were that to happen, a mayor like de Blasio would surely stop spending excessive time fundraising and repaying favors, and start doing the job for which the taxpayers foot the bill.
How the CFB Empowers de Blasio Shadow Govt Control Over Elections
Stringer: De Blasio’s ‘slush fund’ never should’ve been created (NYP) “This slush fund should never have been constituted. I think it does not work for this city, and I think we need to enact strong rules [to prevent] a slush fund like this that allows people to contribute $250,000 to $350,000,” Stringer said.* Controller Scott Stringer blasts de Blasio ‘slush fund,’ mayor shrugs off criticism (NYDN) City Controller Scott Stringer slammed Mayor de Blasio’s political non-profit as a “slush fund” Thursday — but Hizzoner shot back that his sometime rival “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” de Blasio retorted when asked about Stringer’s comments, defending the group on the grounds that the identities of its donors were publicly disclosed.“He’s missing the point...As to the controller’s personal or political motivations, I’m not going to conjecture. He just has his facts wrong.” De Blasio said he agreed with CFB’s ruling, in response to a complaint filed by good government group Common Cause, that no laws were broken — but Stringer insisted he shouldn’t be proud of getting off with a warning. “The standard should not be whether you broke the law. The standard should be what’s the best practice for conducting political campaigns,” Stringer said. “I commend the Campaign Finance Board for making it very clear that this type of practice should not be tolerated.”
de Blasio's Tammany Hall
Pay to Play Campaign for One NY's Invade Brooklyn Bridge Park
De Blasio donor didn't follow rules to build Pier 6 towers (NYDN) The city’s selection of a big donor to Mayor de Blasio to build huge towers in Brooklyn Bridge Park had a “taint” from the start, a new lawsuit alleges. The Brooklyn Heights Association sued to stop two towers set to be built in the park by RAL Development Group. The suit notes that RAL and its lobbyist, James Capalino, each wrote $10,000 checks to de Blasio’s fund, Campaign for One New York in May 2015. That was shortly before the public announcement that RAL had been picked by a de Blasio-controlled panel to construct two towers totaling more than 400,000 square feet at Pier 6. At the time, the panel, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp., had said developers vying to build the towers must be registered as doing business with the city. Records show RAL didn’t register until March 1, 2016, nearly a year after being picked and long after making the donation to de Blasio’s cause. “The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp.’s failure to abide by its own ... procedures and the city’s procedures has created the appearance of impropriety for the Pier 6 Project," the suit states. The suit noted that in May, “the taint created by RAL’s contribution” led the Empire State Development Corp., a state panel, to decline to approve the towers.
Team de Blasio's Campaign for One NY Refuses JCOPE Ethics Subpoena
Nonprofit Linked to de Blasio Seeks to Deflect Ethics Panel’s Subpoena (NYT) As part of the panel’s inquiry, state investigators twice interviewed Bill Hyers, Mr. de Blasio’s former campaign manager who headed the nonprofit, as well as Hayley Prim, described as one of its employees. Both are now at Hilltop Public Solutions, a public relations firm. The question at the heart of the case is whether the nonprofit engaged in lobbying without registering as a lobbyist. “Lobbying is different from advocacy,” Lawrence A. Mandelker, a lawyer for the nonprofit and a partner at Kantor, Davidoff, Mandelker, Twomey, Gallanty & Kesten, said during the 58-minute proceeding. “It sounds like everybody else is investigating the mayor and they don’t want to be left behind. That’s what it sounds like to me.” He said, borrowing a line from a United States Supreme Court opinion on pornography, that the panel appeared to believe that only it could decide what lobbying is, and that the panel knows it when it sees it.After providing information to the state panel for months, the nonprofit decided in May that a new subpoena — seeking expenses; agendas; meetings that the nonprofit had in conjunction with the mayor, the City Council and the State Legislature; and correspondence related to fund-raising and other information — had gone beyond the original aims of the investigation and the panel’s jurisdiction. The nonprofit refused to comply, citing a political motivation on the part of the state panel, in part, because no communications with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, had been sought. In response, the panel asked the court to compel the group’s compliance. Wednesday’s proceeding, originally to be closed to the public, was opened after The New York Times filed a petition with the court, which the judge granted. “It’s like a Hail Mary after a year,” Mr. Mandelker said of the 2016 subpoena. “They’re not going to let us alone unless your honor tells them to let us alone.” Justice Hartman said she would deliver her decision this summer.
The CFB Treats Incumbents Who Appoint Them With Kid Gloves While Destroying Challenger Campaigns
Berlin Rosen Flack Levitan Who Worked for the Campaign for One NY is the Spokesman for the Mayor in the CFB Cover-Up?
More de Blasio Straw Bundlers
De Blasio donors had no idea they gave to his campaign (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s largest bundler this year reported raising $68,750 from 16 donors — but one says he has no idea how his name got on the list, another couldn’t recall the contribution and a third refused to discuss it. The donations were rounded up by Arana Hankin, a senior vice president at WeWork, an office-space-sharing company that has been lobbying the city on a project in the Financial District. The $68,750 rounded up by Hankin is the largest bundle received by de Blasio’s 2017 campaign to date. One of the donors, Shlomo Khodara, told The Post he has “no idea” how his name ended up in official records as giving $4,950 — the maximum allowable under city law. “Maybe my company donated for me,” he said of the Jan. 11 donation. Then, when pressed, he added: “Yes, they donated for me, probably one of my associates did.” Records show that Khodara has made only one other contribution to a city political campaign — $2,000 to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. in 2009. Another one of Hankin’s bundled donors, Mariano Castro, confirmed he gave $4,950 to de Blasio on Jan. 11, but said he doesn’t know Hankin. “I made the donation through the Web site,” he said. De Blasio’s campaign announced in May that it would return $32,200 to several contributors tied to a Queens-based beauty-products company.* The New York City Campaign Finance Board found that Mayor Bill de Blasio did not break fundraising rules by raising unlimited contributions through his Campaign for One New York, but immediately issued a de facto rebuke of the tactic, the Daily News reports. * Representatives of De Blasio’s political nonprofit group Campaign for One New York sought to convince an Albany judge that it should not be compelled to respond to a subpoena from the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, The New York Times reports.
It's No Sin if you commit it in service of the Divine. NYC Mayor Transcendent His New Style Money Machine:
de Blasio Plan to Turn Around Failing Schools Has Failed Daily News Says Improvment Needs?
Improvement needed in de Blasio’s Renewal Schools (NYDN) De Blasio’s turnaround plan needs a turnaround itself. Apparently desperate to find better opportunities for children faster than the mayor and Chancellor Carmen Fariña are delivering them, parents have been pulling their kids out of the so-called Renewal Schools. Fully 81 of the 94 schools enroll fewer students than they did when the program launched, according to an analysis by the education news website Chalkbeat. In sum total, enrollment in the schools dropped 14%, from 45,140 in the fall of 2014 to 38,870 by the end of the 2015-16 academic year. (The education department says the trend appears to be looking up.) Department of Education school-by-school report cards show that parents have made rational choices — because achievement has stayed constantly low or has fallen in two-thirds of the Renewal Schools.o gauge the preliminary results of de Blasio’s program, the Daily News Editorial Board tracked English and math test scores from 2014 to 2015 at elementary and middle schools, and graduation rates at high schools. We looked at trend lines to see whether they were flat, modestly or steeply up, or modestly or steeply down from year to year. Performance at 32 of the schools fell, with nine showing strong downward movement. (Example: Math proficiency in Manhattan’s J.H.S. Lola Rodriguez de Tio slipped from the 26th to the 7th percentile citywide, while English proficiency fell from the 11th to the 4th percentile.) Twenty-nine schools essentially marched in place, either because English and math scores moved in different directions or because performance was essentially unchanged. Thirty-three schools moved up, with 21 registering strong improvement. (Example: English proficiency at the Academy for Personal Leadership and Excellence in the Bronx jumped from the 23rd to the 29th percentile, and math proficiency rose from the 6th to the 23rd percentile). This is an early assessment of a budding program that rolled out slowly. The picture will become clearer as time passes and the data grow, including the 2016 test scores and graduation rates. Still, it was de Blasio who promised that “we will demand fast and intense improvement.” The kids are waiting, Mr. Mayor. Although multiple studies show that the children benefited, de Blasio said that the approach “wrote off” students and staff “with neglect” and that the closures “added insult to injury.”The mayor saw a better way in replacing school leaders, training teachers, adding instructional time and providing mental health and other services.* With cuts made during the recession now restored, education policymakers and stakeholders are focusing on how school aid is distributed, a review that could lead to the revamping of the state’s nearly decade-old funding formula, Politico New York reports.* Just protect the kids, Bill: de Blasio's daycare debacle (NYDN)
de Blasio Surrounds Himself With Scam Artists Cooks
Ownership of 23 Wall St. tied to NYPD corruption scandal (NYP)here’s a creepy link between the tangle of scandals swirling around City Hall and one of lower Manhattan’s longest-running real estate mysteries — and his name is Jona Rechnitz. Rechnitz, the “developer” who’s at the center of the scandals, was long involved with 23 Wall St. — the triangular marble landmark at the corner of Broad Street that has sat vacant for 13 years, an embarrassing black hole amid teeming apartment and office towers. Rechnitz was the head of acquisitions and dispositions for real estate giant Africa-Israel USA, owned then as now by diamond king Lev Leviev, when in 2008 it sold the 103-year-old former home of JPMorgan & Co. to an octopus-like combine of companies called China Sonangol. After I wrote about 23 Wall St.’s curious condition in November 2014, Rechnitz, whom I did not know, called me to share “the story of your career” — namely, the “explosive truth” about the 2008 sale. I was skeptical. For starters, Rechnitz reportedly won $75,000 on two Super Bowl bets that involved not merely picking the winner but predicting actual plays — such as a safety on the first play from scrimmage in Super Bowl XLVIII earlier that year. And then there was JSR, the so-called development firm Rechnitz founded after leaving A-I that didn’t seem to have developed anything. My alarm bells rang loudest when Rechnitz warned that “another New York paper” was ready to run the story he was hot to share with me. That’s an old trick to stampede novice journos into writing a story before it’s sufficiently nailed down.I agreed to meet Rechnitz nonetheless. I was surprised to find his real estate office at 580 Fifth Ave., a second-class diamond-industry tower with elevators that took 20 minutes to reach his eighth-floor suite. The rooms were filled with sports memorabilia — plus photos of Rechnitz with Mayor Bill de Blasio, with athletes and with high-ranking NYPD officials, including former Chief of Department Philip Banks. When I mentioned that Banks had recently unexpectedly resigned, Rechnitz cryptically said, “You’ll be hearing more on him soon.” Yup — the same Banks who’s being probed for allegedly accepting money from Rechnitz in exchange for favors and travel fees. Rechnitz proceeded to spin a cloak-and-dagger tale. He said Sam Pa, a shadowy megabillionaire believed to control Sonangol, directed Sonangol to buy 23 Wall St. plus a chunk of an adjoining building for $150 million as a favor to his then-friend Leviev, who needed cash. Yup — the same Leviev who supposedly enjoyed a police escort through the Lincoln Tunnel via a closed lane as part of the current scandal. Leviev was allegedly swindled out of cash by two jewel merchants who later steered funds to de Blasio’s election campaign in a scheme allegedly controlled by Rechnitz. But, Rechnitz told me 18 months ago, Sonangol was somehow tricked into thinking it was actually buying, not the five-story 23 Wall St., but the 50-story Madison Square Park Clocktower — another landmark that is today the Edition by Marriott Hotel. The hocus-pocus was successful because Pa never saw the title papers until years later. But wait, there’s more. To make the story stick, Rechnitz staged a carefully choreographed floor show for me — wheeling in a parade of characters to corroborate various strands of the yarn. He next made a series of speakerphone calls to guys who weren’t supposed to know I was listening. For further corroboration, he urged me to call some well-known New York dealmakers with unblemished records. Among them: Richard Marin, a former Bear Stearns investment banker who was for a time the CEO of A-I USA and is today the developer of the New York Wheel on Staten Island. I tried to confirm this bizarre yarn, but almost nothing Rechnitz told me held water. Investment-sale brokers said it was impossible for Sonangol not to know which building it was buying. Marin did not even join Africa-Israel until after it had sold 23 Wall to Sonangol. Rechnitz’s speakerphone pals ran for cover when I called. And from that point on, so did Rechnitz. So the truth about 23 Wall remains a mystery to all except, perhaps, Sam Pa, the alleged victim of a world-class scam. But he’s in no position to talk. He was arrested by Chinese authorities last year on corruption charges and hasn’t been heard from since.
Tammany Hall Not Landmarked? - 100 Years of History Wiped Out As Building Changed Into Offices
Tammany Hall’s Auditorium, Where Politics Once Took Center Stage, Will Be Demolished (NYT) The exterior of the building, which has landmark status (but the auditorium does not), will be preserved as part of the project. Memories of Tammany will survive in decorative details like a limestone medallion of Chief Tamanend, for whom the society was named, and a red, blue and gold liberty cap, made of terra cotta, on the front pediment. On its first day as Tammany Hall, in 1929, the auditorium was filled beyond overflowing and “ablaze with color,” The Times said, because of the many flags on display. Roosevelt shared the stage with former Gov. Alfred E. Smith, who represented the best of Tammany, and Mayor James J. Walker, who symbolized just about the worst — if you do not count Boss Tweed.
At A Time When the Feds Are Investigating de Blasio's Senate Slush Fund the IDC and the Independence Party Today Create Another One
Five Senate Democrats creating their own campaign committee to help protect members (NYDN) A group of five breakaway Senate Democrats is creating its own party campaign committee to help protect its members from challenges and possibly support other candidates. The Senate Independent Democratic Conference, also known as the IDC, is doing it through an unusual agreement with the minor state Independence Party. Under the deal, the Independence Party will create the Senate Independence Campaign Committee that Sen. Jeffrey Klein will control. The IDC head will get to appoint the committee’s treasurer and other members Klein, who has headed the IDC since its inception in 2011, said one reason for the move was that two years ago he and one of his members, Tony Avella of Queens, faced Democratic primaries. And this year, he said, Avella and IDC member David Carlucci (D-Rockland) are facing possible GOP opposition. “I want to have the ability to protect my members,” Klein said. This is the first time a minor party has created a committee to help a specific legislative conference. A source said the Independence Party is expected to formally vote to create the committee in coming weeks. Flangen's Law Firm Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan earned more than $100G from his old law firm, but provided no ‘direct services’ (NYDN)
'THERE COULD BE MORE (BOMBS) HERE':
Central Park blast severs 18-year-old college student's foot, raising fears of more 'homemade' explosives in the area (NYDN)
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.* From @ChrisBragg1: @NYGovCuomo development program created 32 Capital Region jobs last year. (TU) * N.Y. state controller rips Gov. Cuomo over handling of Excelsior Jobs Program (NYDN)
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.
As many predicted... StartUp NY is a failure, spends tax$ to promote @nygovcuomo but creates few jobs -
* The Daily News asks Cuomo “what now?” after revealing disappointing job-creation numbers for his Start-Up New York program, noting that he did not have a backup plan in 2014 and assumed it would work.
Cuomo's Pigeon Operative Faces
Bribing A Judge and More . . .
Operative Tied to Cuomo Is Accused of Bribing Judge to Get Favorable Rulings (NYT) A political operative with ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to be charged on Thursday in connection with a bribery scheme that involved a State Supreme Court justice in Buffalo, who has already pleaded guilty in the case. The operative, G. Steven Pigeon, is accused in a criminal complaint of bribing the justice, John A. Michalek, with help for a promotion; favors for two close relatives; Buffalo Sabres hockey tickets; and a seat at one of Mr. Cuomo’s fund-raisers. In return, the complaint says, Mr. Pigeon received favorable treatment in court cases in which he and his acquaintances had an interest. Mr. Michalek, who had served as a justice since 1995, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court on Wednesday to a felony count of receiving a bribe. He also admitted to filing a public document with false information, also a felony. The case stemmed from a joint state and federal investigation led by the state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, into Mr. Pigeon’s fund-raising activities. As part of his plea agreement, * When Eric Schneiderman and Steve Pigeon battled in Albany (CapitalNY) 'There has been bad blood' * DICKER: 'Cuomo closely tied to Pigeon'... @fud31
Pigeon Update Cuomo pal ran payoff scheme at elderly mom’s home: source (NYP) Like a scene from “The Sopranos,” a political operative busted by the state Attorney General’s Office held secret meetings at his elderly mother’s house and had a campaign worker paid with grocery bags stuffed with cash, a former upstate prosecutor told The Post. Steve Pigeon — a Buffalo-area Democrat — had a waterfront condo but the neighborhood was also home to a number of judges, so he conducted his shady business at his mom’s, according to former Erie County prosecutor Mark Sacha.* Cuomo closely tied to operative indicted for bribery: report (NYP)
"Twice, the operative was paid $10,000 stuffed in Tops Supermarket grocery bags, Sacha said."
Gov. Cuomo has been far closer for far longer to now-indicted Buffalo-area Democratic power broker Steve Pigeon than the governor himself admits — or that many in his administration realize — sources tell The Post. Cuomo was so close to Pigeon — charged last week with nine felonies in connection with the alleged bribing of a state Supreme Court justice — that he gave him a key role in his 2014 re-election campaign despite objections from more important political aides like Joseph Percoco and Larry Schwartz, who considered him “untrustworthy and a little sleazy,’’ a source close to the campaign told The Post. Cuomo directed Percoco, the focus of an ongoing probe by corruption-fighting US Attorney Preet Bharara, and Schwartz, Cuomo’s former chief of staff, and a handful of other trusted aides to allow Pigeon to attend key strategy meetings at the campaign headquarters from which virtually all other political operatives were excluded, said the campaign source.
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)
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.*
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)
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
de Blasio Cuomo Bharara is Coming?
LOVETT: Hillary Clinton won’t commit to reappointing U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (NYDN)
Bharara on the lookout for NYC corruption (NYP)Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara used the bright spotlight of national TV to put Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo on notice Sunday that he expects to uncover proof of official wrongdoing in both of their administrations. “We have found that corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York and throughout New York,” Bharara said on ABC’s “This Week.” “That’s true in the Legislature,” he said. “It’s also the case that there’s corruption, we believe, in the executive branches as well. And we’ll ferret it out wherever we find it.” It was Bharara’s strongest warning yet to the leaders of the city and state and came amid his probes into fund-raising efforts by de Blasio and suspected bid-rigging in a slew of state-funded development projects, including Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. And it followed an interview in which Bharara bristled at the idea that Cuomo had been cleared of wrongdoing when Bharara declined to charge him for shutting down the anti-corruption Moreland Commission panel in 2014. “Nobody gave a clean bill of health to anybody. A non-indictment is not an endorsement of anyone’s conduct,” * Cuomo, De Blasio Downplaying US Attorney’s Assertions In Corruption Scandal (WCBS)
Bharara told the New Yorker last month in what the magazine described as “an uncharacteristically icy tone.” After subpoenaing records of the Moreland probe, Bharara used the information to help build cases against corrupt state pols, most notably ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Silver reports to prison on Aug. 31 to serve a 12-year sentence. Skelos, who got five years behind bars, is seeking bail pending appeal. History has shown that Bharara makes good on his predictions, with the charges against Skelos coming after he famously told New Yorkers to “stay tuned” following Silver’s arrest in January 2015.
And in April, Bharara told the good-government group Common Cause that his crusade to clean up New York wasn’t limited to just jailing crooked legislators. In addition to targeting political corruption, Bharara has been investigating an alleged gifts-for-favors scheme involving top NYPD brass. Last week, the feds busted three cops, including Deputy Inspector James Grant, who is accused of shacking up with a hooker during an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas in 2013. During his Sunday TV appearance, Bharara — who was once dubbed the “Sheriff of Wall Street” — deflected criticism that he had failed “to prosecute anyone for big financial fraud.” But he said, “To an extent, people are right about the system being rigged,” citing “the track record of this office and other offices of exposing fraud.” Asked if he expected to “go back to Washington someday,” Bharara — former chief counsel to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) — said: “No, I love New York . . . This is my home.”
Crown Heights Gentrifiers White Guilt on Changing A Black Neighborhood?
Gentrifiers’ plight — and responsibility: A young white woman in Crown Heights reflects on the changing neighborhood (NYDN) "They move into our neighborhood, and they don’t even say hello.” That’s what many of my neighbors think about people like me — and unfortunately, at least once, I gave them reason to do so. I was walking down the street, someone said hello, I didn’t register it until they’d walked past me, and by then it was too late. I was the white girl with a resting b---h face who didn’t even acknowledge her neighbor. I don’t apologize for being a gentrifier. In fact, I couldn’t afford to live in New York without gentrifying. Tight zoning and a fresh-out-of-college salary keep me from being able to afford somewhere I might technically “fit in” better. On the other hand, the community I’ve moved into, Crown Heights, has a rich history, and I don’t have an inalienable right to fundamentally change that social fabric just because the rent is cheap. It’s a struggle that those of us who move into parts of the city that might be changing faster than they want to — which are often morphing from predominantly black and brown to increasingly white — need to be honest about. Being a gentrifier means living in the tension between trying to contribute to the community you’re joining while realizing that, to some extent, you’re displacing the very people who form that community. This means, for me, oscillating between incapacitating guilt and exhausting friendliness. When I walk around Crown Heights, I see at least two Brooklyns. There are the families who have raised their children on my block, know the bodega owners and have gone to the church around the corner for years.Then there are the young, relatively high-income folks looking for a cup of ethically sourced pour-over coffee and a spot to plug in their MacBook.
Illegal Airbnb listings are hogging NYC's available apartments, report says
The fact that these groups generally don’t mix should worry those of us who care about the future of New York. Crown Heights has changed immensely in the hundred years since my great-grandfather was born steps away from what is now a yuppie haunt called Chavela’s on Franklin Ave. As various economic forces push gentrifiers into neighborhoods like Crown Heights, I hope it’s not too naive for us mostly young, mostly white folk to more actively consider how we can contribute to the communities we are changing. The answer isn’t holding hands in the park across economic and racial lines and singing “Kumbaya.” But all of us should look for opportunities to get off our laptops more and be less skittish about laying down roots.* Illegal Airbnb listings are hogging NYC's available apartments, report says (AMNY)* You can blame Airbnb for NYC's high rents and dwindling housing market, study says (NYDN)
de Blasio Dumps on Charters to Protect His 2017 Reelection Machine the UFT
The Post writes that de Blasio, who has said that he supports charter schools, could show that support by allowing them to use unoccupied space in public schools and questions whether he needs to keep adding an expense to the city budget out of ideological spite.
Daily News Shocking No Endorsement of Congressman Nadler
No to Nadler: Rep. Jerrold Nadler undermined global security by supporting President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, shouldn't be reelected (NYDN Ed)
The NYT Reports About Dark Money PAC In Other States But Not NYC Where There Guy de Blasio PACs are Under Federal Investigation
The Secret Power Behind Local Elections (NYT) The rise of dark money may matter less in the race for president or Congress than for, say, the utilities commission in Arizona. Voters probably know much less about the candidates in contests like that, which get little news coverage but whose winner will have enormous power to affect energy company profits and what homeowners pay for electricity. For a relative pittance — less than $100,000 — corporations and others can use dark money to shape the outcome of a low-level race in which they have a direct stake. Over the last year, the Brennan Center analyzed outside spending from before and after the 2010 Citizens United decision in six states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts — with almost 20 percent of the nation’s population.
Why is the NY Times Covering Up de Blasio's Corruption Investigation
NY Times Ignores That NY's Falling Voting Rates is Caused by Loss of Faith in NY's Political Process
The ultimate cost of elections overrun by hidden interests may be the loss of voters’ faith in the political process and governing institutions.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Someone Needs to Ask de Blasio Why His Fundraisers Are Getting Arrested
Three NYPD officials, including a deputy chief, were busted in connection with probes into de Blasio’s fundraising (NYP)
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.
Airbnb is Being Stopped by the Hotel Lobby Not the Bigger Problem of Fueling Gentrification Pushing Blacks Out of Their NeighborhoodsAirbnb’s burden to end any racial bias in its rentals (NYDN Ed) The online lodging service Airbnb has a race problem that the tech giant has a moral, if not legal, duty to expunge from its self-described “trusted community marketplace.” But, in a striking commentary on the true level of hidden racism in America, there is substantial evidence that the Airbnb “community” is less inclusive to African-Americans than to others. The Twitter hashtag #airbnbwhileblack, posted alongside screenshots of curt rejections by prospective hosts, sums up the experiences of users who suspect that their race played a role in denying them accommodations. They’re not paranoid. Harvard Business School researchers ran tests in Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. They found that potential renters with black-sounding first names were 16% more likely to be rejected than those with white-sounding names, for that reason alone * Airbnb fights bill to ban advertising of illegal units (NYP) * * A political organization funded by a top hotel-trades union has helped develop the Share Better campaign – a multifaceted lobbying effort to persuade New York City politicians to curtail Airbnb, according to emails and records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.*Airbnb moved in, and there went my neighborhood * Let Airbnb be, governor: Permitting short-term rentals is good for all New Yorkers (NYDN Ed)
Manhattan landlord Steve Croman surrenders to face charges he threatened, sued rent-protected tenants to force them out for high-rent units (NYDN)
@HammerDaily NYC landlord Steve Croman arrested for threatening rent-stabilized tenants--"secret weapon" is former NYPD cop
Months Ago True News Said the Campaign for One NY PAC Sending Should Count to His 2017 Spending Limits
How Bill de Blasio tore the heart out of NYC’s campaign laws (NYP) Should nakedly political spending by Mayor de Blasio’s pocket nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, count against the legal limits on his re-election spending? The decision’s up to the city Campaign Finance Board — which is now dominated by appointees of the mayor and his hand-picked City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, so don’t expect a crackdown. After all, in off years, the campaign spending cap is $328,000. Yet CONY has spent more than $4 million since 2013 to tout de Blasio’s political agenda. Because Team de Blasio raised that cash from a host of developers and unions with business before the city, it faces multiple probes. But Tusk is right that the whole arrangement is also a challenge to the city’s system of public campaign finance. If a mayor can use his power to freely raise and spend millions to boost his public profile, no challenger can hope for anything remotely close to a level playing field. Under the campaign-finance laws, the mayor is limited to spending $7 million through the 2017 primary election; if CONY outlays count, he’s already run through half of it. But if they don’t, then he’s made a mockery of the limit. De Blasio admits he created CONY — and actively raised cash for it — to advance his agenda. So it certainly doesn’t qualify as “independent expenditures,” which aren’t subject to CFB limits. And the CONY scheme defeated another goal of the laws, namely to limit the time politicians spend grubbing for cash. Just last month, Common Cause New York complained that the mayor’s use of the nonprofit has led to nonstop political fund-raising. Maybe it was technically legal. De Blasio helped write the campaign-finance laws, so he’s got the expertise to end-run them. We’ve never liked these laws, not least because they’re slanted to boost the power of unions and stifle political spending by the business community. But if the loopholes are truly this big, then the taxpayer-funded campaign-finance program is even more rigged than we ever imagined.
Albany Legislature Avoids Important Issues, Pass Feel Good Bills, As They Leave Town
New York Legislature passed laws on boozy brunches, cremated cats and hunting for her — but squat for sex abuse victims (NYDN) While state leaders appear ready to turn their backs on child sex abuse victims again this year, they found time to shower love on female hunters, brunch-goers and pet lovers. But lawmakers this year did manage to pass an array of apparently more pressing legislation. Among them is a bill to allow the use of fluorescent pink, instead of just orange, hunting attire in order to attract more women and young people into the woods. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders, who couldn’t come to terms on a bill for sex abuse victims, did agree on legislation that would allow restaurants to begin serving alcohol on Sundays at 10 a.m., instead of the current noon requirement. The Legislature also passed a bill that would let the cremated remains of dogs and cats be buried with their owners. Another bill that passed both houses would allow college students under 21 enrolled in programs involving the agriculture, hospitality and beverage industries to partake in tastings at off-campus wineries, distilleries and breweries as long as they are supervised by an instructor.* State lawmakers assembled a deal on many issues Thursday evening, including a one-year extension of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control over the school system and a measure that would strip convicted electeds of their pensions, The New York Times reports. * * New York’s Legislature couldn’t leave town without approving up to $50 million a year in tax subsidies for music and video game producers, modeled after the state’s existing (and outrageous) giveaway to film and TV producers, the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon writes.
Feds Interviewing de Blasio Donors
The Wall Street Journal reports.
Groundhog Day NYCHA Spins Another Clean Up Lead Paint As Feds Investigate
The Daily News writes that child lead poisoning is a “serious issue” in public housing and that it fully merits federal investigators’ probe into how the New York City Housing Authority responded to the toxin’s presence in apartments. Failing to lead on lead: The trouble with NYCHA's lead remediation strategy (NYDN) Since 2010, city Department of Health tests have found dangerously high lead levels in 202 children living in 133 apartments. Still, Olatoye assured the City Council in March that just 18 of the apartments contained elevated levels of lead in paint, which becomes hazardous to children when it flakes or peels.What she failed to say, and what Greg Smith found in a Daily News special report, was that, using reliable X-ray technology that can detect lead through layers of paint, the Health Department had identified lead in 63 of the kids’ apartments. Rather than send in repair and repainting crews, NYCHA elected to challenge the Health Department’s results in all but a small number of cases. Running its own test, using paint chips pried from surfaces flagged as containing lead, NYCHA persuaded health inspectors that lead levels were safe in all but 17 (not 18) of the units. Because the lead typically lurks beneath more recently applied layers of paint, NYCHA insists it usually isn’t harmful. But chronically leaky housing projects, where sudden water damage frequently cracks walls and ceilings, demand far greater precaution. In all, NYCHA estimates that as many as 10,000 apartments home to tots contain untreated lead paint. Yet except in rare instances , the authority conducts remediation only after occupants move out, in order, the authority says, to work more safely in vacant apartments. Bubble Mayor No Town Hall de Blasio Spins and the NYC Press Defining Journalism Down
Is Spin Doctor de Blasio Telling Us He is Open to the Press? What Crap
De Blasio commends himself for giving the Post press credentials (NYP)
THE MAYOR WHO WANTS TO TELL REPORTERS WHAT QUESTIONS HE’LL PERMIT THEM TO ASK By Gabe Pressman
Mayor DeBlasio has tangled with a reporter, Marcia Kramer, over whether she had a right to ask him a question. The Mayor who promised to run a “transparent” administration has done the opposite. He insists on setting the agenda for his press conferences. He gives us the topic and then assesses each question. If it’s something he doesn’t want to discuss, he admonishes the reporter to stay “on topic.” I’ve been covering press conferences at City Hall for 60 years---and never has a Mayor had the temerity to enforce an agenda on journalists. This Mayor who proclaims he is a “progressive” is anything but. The word “retrogressive” might be a better fit. He needs a lesson in the history of freedom of the press in NY John Peter Zenger went to jail for criticizing the English governor of New York. That happened 300 years ago and, if it were not for Zenger, the principle of freedom of the press might never have been embedded in our constitution. Zenger, a half-literate German-born printer, was a true progressive.
de Blasio Bad Story About His Administration - ATTACK THE PRESS
Media "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism"
Spiro Agnew and de Blasio
De Blasio thinks homeless crisis is a case of ‘fear-mongering’ (NYP) Mayor de Blasio on Monday ripped The Post’s coverage of the homelessness crisis — and touted an estimated drop in the vagrant population based on a single-day census conducted in sub-freezing temperatures. * The Agnew de Blame the Press "Fear-Mongering" Edition * De Blasio 12/3/14: I had 2 “train” son "how 2 takespecial care w police." Today: “media...likes 2 look backwards” (Capital)
Bubble Mayor No Town Hall de Blasio Spins and the NYC Press Defining Journalism Down
Council $655,000 Member Items Slush Fund Went to Federal Rat Rechunitz
De Blasio donor funneled $655K from City Council to fund law-enforcement seminar (NYP) A Mayor de Blasio donor under federal investigation for lavishing cops with gifts also helped pry taxpayer money from the City Council for a police training program he supported, The Post has learned. Real-estate investor Jona Rechnitz used his connections to siphon $655,000 over the past two years from the City Council to fund a law-enforcement sensitivity seminar at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance, a source familiar with Rechnitz said. “Rechnitz was able to secure funding from the council for a program he had an affinity for, based on his status as a heavy political contributor,” the source said.The spokesman said Rechnitz has been a benefactor and volunteer at the Midtown museum since 2012. The Upper West Side macher gave the museum thousands of dollars in 2014 after winning $25,000 on a $500 Super Bowl prop bet. But Rechnitz’s primary role was recruiting scores of high-ranking cops and corrections officers to attend the center’s sensitivity-training program, called “Perspectives in Profiling.” “Jona helped introduce us to people at Corrections and the Police Department,” the museum source said. “He helped bring people to events and helped raise money for [the museum].” Two attendees included correction-union president Norman Seabrook and then-NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks, sources said. The top cops are under federal investigation for receiving gifts and travel fees from Rechnitz, sources have told The Post. Rechnitz allegedly funded several other jaunts for top brass to the Super Bowl, China, London, Brazil and Rome and golfing trips to the Dominican Republic, sources told The Post. He also bundled $41,650 for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign and wrote $50,000 in checks to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit promoting the mayor’s agenda, state campaign-finance records show. But Rechnitz needed help getting the City Council to fund his pet project, so he turned to the museum’s director, Rabbi Steven Burg, and its politically connected lobbyist then, Michael Cohen, a source said. “Cohen arranged for tours of the Wiesenthal Center for different lawmakers and arranged for funding as well,” the source said. “He introduced Rechnitz to other elected officials.” Burg declined comment. Cohen, hired as the museum’s director in October, did not return a call seeking comment. * Judge doubts hedge fund tied to kickback probe can pay debt (NYDN) A New York judge cast doubt Wednesday on whether Platinum Partners, the hedge fund holding $20 million in NYC corrections officers’ retirement funds, has enough money to pay back a measly $30 million debt. “Are they financially sound and capable of paying this debt?” Judge Salinann Scarpulla asked at a Manhattan state court hearing on Wednesday. “I haven’t seen evidence that the fund is worth a billion dollars. For all I know the fund is worth five cents,” an exacerbated Scarpulla said after failing to get satisfactory answers to her questions about the hedge fund’s financial status.Platinum claims to have $1.3 billion in assets on its web site. But it was in court Wednesday over $30 million owed to private equity firm New Mountain Finance, which claims the hedge fund has defaulted on its loan.
Last week, Platinum hedge fund manager Murray Huberfeld was arrested and accused of paying $60,000 in bribes to Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, in return for a $20 million investment in Platinum in 2014.
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)
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.”
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.
Bill to Force de Blasio to Release Agent of the City Emails
Proposed bill would force Mayor de Blasio to release correspondences with his designated ‘agents of the city’ (NYT) Mayor de Blasio would be forced to publicly release correspondences with his designated "agents of the city" under a bill quietly introduced by Senate Republicans. The bill by Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Westchester) would clarify who would be exempted from the state Freedom of Information Law. The bill is the latest shot from the Senate GOP at de Blasio. De Blasio recently created the term “agents of the city” to keep correspondence between five outside political advisers and City Hall exempt from being made publicly available.
Howe Law Firm Directed Payment to Him
People familiar with matter said federal investigators are examining whether Todd Howe, a longtime associate of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, defrauded his former employer, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna, by diverting client payments to himself, The Wall Street Journal reports.
JCOPE Told Percoco Not to File Financial Disclosure Statement
Times Union reports.
Talk About Lessons Unlearned: Uber Lobbyists Tusk Wants to Pick de Blasio's Challenger
Ex-Bloomberg campaign aide on hunt for de Blasio challenger (NYP) Mike Bloomberg’s former campaign manager is so hellbent on dumping Mayor de Blasio that he launched a site Monday to recruit a challenger. “It’s an embarrassment that we have a mayor under massive federal investigation,” said Bradley Tusk, who helped orchestrate former Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 third-term victory. “I’m going to put together an effort to find the best possible opponent. I’ll do whatever I can to help them,” he said.
NYP Pours On the Mayor Troubles While the Daily News Attacks GOP Senate
Scandals hurt de Blasio’s bid for extended school control(NYP) *
Our kids, mayor and control: State senate Republicans use kids for payback against de BlasioNYDN
As investigations have swamped City Hall, the notion that Mayor Bill de Blasio has brought about a unified New York appears to have all but vanished as an argument for his winning a second term.
The de Blasio Years When Developers Ran the City
The people have spoken on Mayor de Blasio’s creative political fund-raising, now under the microscope of federal and state investigations. More than half of voters in a recent Quinnipiac poll say yes to the proposition “Do you think Mayor de Blasio does favors for developers who make political contributions to campaigns in which he is involved or don’t you think so?” Of those, all but a handful deem that conduct either unethical or outright illegal. Between the probes and the frequency with which his generous political donors also end up with blessings from the city for real estate projects, it’s no wonder New Yorkers turn a withering gaze on what sure looks like dirty business. Where de Blasio’s theory of civic transformation fell apart was on his own administration’s competence to swim with the real estate sharks who own New York . One donor gobbled the Lower East Side nursing home where apparently clueless city administrators lifted a deed restriction based on the buyer’s pinky promise to keep it a health facility — then flipped it for condominiums. Another blotted out the Upper East Side sky with a luxury tower many stories taller than zoning allows because the Department of Buildings got outfoxed by a wily developer who bent the rules. Another clue that de Blasio’s real estate bureaucracy is no match for the sharks: The stunning cancellation last week of Flushing West, one of seven much-heralded new housing development zones. And developers privately say that in outer-borough neighborhoods, de Blasio’s updated version of the 421-a tax break, which went belly-up in Albany, would have padded their profits far more than under the expired program — while counting as affordable apartments units renting for at or close to market rate. We can call all of these bargains with the sharks win-wins — and de Blasio does. We can call them giveaways to wealthy developers. Perhaps the corruption label will ultimately stick — but far likelier we’ll remember the de Blasio years as the era when real estate ran the city.
What About the Super Talls Building That Are killing New York City's Neighborhoods?A de Blasio-backed bill aimed at boosting the city’s affordable-housing stock by lifting a state cap on the size of residential projects has suddenly gained steam in Albany and could be approved later this month, the Post writes.
Both Came to Light Because of A Federal Investigation Not Pols Who Look the Other Way
Both of those fails came to light only because community boards and City Council members Margaret Chin and Ben Kallos sprang into action at the behest of constituents who had gotten the cold shoulder from the mayor’s side of City Hall.
Cuomo Moves State Police Into NYC
Control of City Schools Up In the Air
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has continued to torment Mayor Bill de Blasio as the mayor lobbies to have mayoral control of schools extended, introducing a one-year extension with new oversight that drew swift criticism, the Times writes. * The fate of mayoral control over New York City schools could come down to a political game of chicken, with the Assembly Democrats in the position to force the Senate GOP into a take it-or-leave it three-year extension of the expiring law, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.
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.
A deBlasio Administration That Governs By Incompetence and Obstruction
Comptroller report blasts ACS’ juvenile delinquents program (NIP)
Even the Conviction of the Two Albany Leaders Does Not Stop Pols of Memeber Item Pork in Albany Budget
Editor's Note: True News Will Soon Be Up to Full Speed Showing How the Media is Covering Up New York's Corrupt Election System
Heastie Cool With Federal Prob
de Blasio Has A Payoff Spreadsheet of Big Donors Just Like Tammany Hall Did
Sometimes City Hall consulted with de Blasio’s campaign on candidates. With one of de Blasio’s biggest bundlers, businessman Anthony Bonomo, the list states City Hall was to “ask Elana Leopold before we go any further.” Leopold is a longtime de Blasio campaign worker. Bonomo — who bundled $44,550 for de Blasio — was put on the Mayor’s Fund and got a personal sitdown with the mayor at City Hall on April 23, 2015. He could not be reached for comment. The list also reveals coordination between the mayor's lobbying fund, Campaign for One New York, and his administration. The mayor, who formed the group to support his causes, has been criticized for using it to evade the $4,950 donation limit. Campaign for One New York donors gave unlimited amounts as high as $350,000. The list obtained by The News shows that Campaign for One New York Director Ross Offinger recommended several candidates for appointments, including philanthropist Lorna Brett Howard, who’d just given the organization a $10,000 check. De Blasio then put her on the Mayor’s Fund board. Offinger has received a subpoena from investigators looking into de Blasio’s fundraising. Nearly all the candidates appeared to need approval from Emma Wolfe, a top de Blasio deputy who deals with lobbyists. Wolfe has also received a subpoena in the ongoing fundraising probes. Twice Wolfe gave her approval — “EW approves” — for the mayor to appoint lobbyists who records show were actively lobbying her on behalf of their clients. Lobbyist James Capalino and another lobbyist in his firm, George Fontas, got an “EW approves” while both were seeking her support for a client’s proposed condo tower at the former Long Island College Hospital site in Brooklyn. Neither got appointments, but Capalino and Fontas’ lobbying of Wolfe apparently paid off. The Campaign for One New York sent out a mailer in support of the apartment tower Capalino’s client was pushing for the hospital site. Veteran lobbyist Sid Davidoff made it on the list with the caveat “look up client list.” The mayor gave him a position on the Wildlife Conservation Commission. The list also notes public relations rep Steve Aiello was recommended for a slot on the Jazz at Lincoln Center board “per Sid Davidoff.” Aiello, a big jazz fan, got it.* An internal spreadsheet created by the de Blasio administration and obtained by the New York Daily News reveals a blatant and highly choreographed effort to reward donors and power players with highprofile VIP appointments. The list even goes so far as to suggest that the mayor appoint lobbyists who were and are actively lobbying his administration on behalf of their wealthy clients.
Park Commissioner de Blasio Did Not Tell Him About the Rat Bags NYP Reporter Never Asked Silver Who Did? Can We See Park Commissioner and Team de Blasio's Emails on the Bags?
Bharara to Cuomo Investigator: Stay Away from Buffalo Billions
Daily News Agrees With Beth Israel Hospitals Plan to Kill People By Becoming Smaller
Another Hospital to Close for Condos In deBlassioVille
Hospital After Hospital Close in de Blasio's NYC
Manhattan Subpoenas DA Team de Blasio Monrow Campaign for 1 NY Senate $$ Laundry
Friday Spin: de Blasio Special Agents Demoted to Just Advisors Still Keeping Their Emails Secret
Brewer and Chin Who Allowed Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change, Blame de Blasio and Want More Govt Cross-Checks
de Blasio Sinking Hoisted on His Own Petard
De Blasio should blame himself for the sorry mess he’s in (NYP Ed) Facing seven (yep, seven) pay-to-play probes, Mayor de Blasio can’t find a whole lot of love these days. Not from his erstwhile allies on the City Council — and especially not from everyday New Yorkers. A devastating Quinnipiac poll Tuesday showed city voters give his performance a big thumbs-down, 52-41 percent. That’s a stunning 20-point flip since January, when they approved of it 50-42 percent, and the worst ratings since he took office. Plus, a majority say he doesn’t deserve reelection. Council members, too, are resisting a behind-the-scenes push from Team de Blasio begging them to publicly support the beleaguered mayor — even supplying them with helpful talking points. Lawmakers, for the most part, are in “a holding pattern,” as one puts it, watching as the shoes drop. Here’s the latest shoe: As The Post reported, US Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan DA Cy Vance are now looking into a $52 million deal to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights public library as a luxury condo tower. The bid was awarded to a de Blasio donor and fund-raiser, even though two other developers made higher offers. The deal also requires the Department of Education to lease the basement and build a huge science lab — even though DOE never asked for the space.
NYT It Is Time to Stand Up for New Yorkers
State Corruption Investigation
* Cuomo says he had no input into his top CNY contributorgetting state contracts * AG Investigators Searches SUNY Poly Office (YNN) * Cuomo: Closing Loopholes In Election Law ‘Top’ Issue (YNN) * CLOSE THE ALBANY BROTHEL: Heastie and Flanagan must join Cuomo to shut the LLC loophole (NYDN Ed)
The Post Copies Political NY Story On de Blasio Asking For His Council Friends to Support the Mayor
Even de Blasio's NYCHA is Lawyering Up
Feds, others looking at public-private partnerships (TU) Investigations examine complex interactions across New York The lobbyist who did work for the state university while representing the companies vying for tens of millions of dollars in business with its development arm. The manager of the governor's re-election campaign who took consulting fees from two of the same companies. Those are just a few of the connections in the tangled skein of personal and business relationships now under the gaze of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara. In late April, Bharara served Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration with a wide-ranging subpoena seeking information about actions taken by six administration officials for the potential benefit of almost two dozen companies. The list ranges from large developers to a previously invisible consulting firm, stretching across the map from Buffalo to Washington, D.C.* Some worry new NY big-projects agency is Cuomo power grab (Post Star) * East Syracuse-based Pyramid Network Services, the general contractor for the Mesonet Initiative, a $23.6 million UAlbany project supported by Cuomo to enable better planning for extreme weather events, is one of the nearly two-dozen companies mentioned in the federal subpoena issued to the Cuomo administration in late April. As part of a probe into former top Cuomo aide and friend Joseph Percoco and others close to the governor, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a subpoena to the administration for records and communications pertaining to various economic development and nano-tech projects. But in some cases, material being sought might have already been deleted — or never been retained in the first place.* Company in Cuomosubpoena is contractor on UAlbany initiative (TU) Pyramid Network Services was contractor for $23.6M weather system supported by governor Company in Cuomo subpoena is contractor on UAlbany initiative Pyramid Network Services was contractor for $23.6M weather system supported by governor Deleted Emails Cuomo email-deletion policy could hinder federal probeinto former top aide Joseph Percoco (NYDN) * Another Monday, Three More Cuomo Corruption Stories: The"Never Leave A Trail" Cuomo administration strikes a... (RBE)
@RaviBatra Silly Frivolous. Imagine City Agents Who Seek Favors. Worse Than Nepotism. This is Criminally Deranged
The Weakness of the de Blasio Cover-Up
de Blasio Claims Lobbyists are Part of His Government - Admits to A Shadow Govt
De Blasio Pressed to Clarify New Adviser Role: ‘Agent of the City’ (NYT) Mayor Bill de Blasio described the designation amid mounting scrutiny over City Hall’s shielding of communications with one of his closest advisers.* With the exception of Gaspard, a former 1199 political director who is now the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, each man on that list represents a firm that got large payments from de Blasio’s political nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, now at the center of several inquiries into the mayor’s fund-raising efforts. * “Their communications to the Mayor’s Office, along with those of their support staff working at the principal’s direction on those particular matters, are exempt from disclosure when related solely to city business and not on behalf of any client,” said de Blasio counsel Maya Wiley.* 'Agents of The City' Mayor de Blasio's LAWYERED-UP Presser:Defends Fundraising 5/18/16 (Video)
de Blasio Says Lobbyists Are Part of His Govt and Their Emails are Protected
City Hall Releases Names of Outside Advisers BeingTreated Like City Employees When it Comes to Email Exchanges with Mayor (NY1) Mayor Bill de Blasio's inner circle at City Hall is bigger than you might expect. In addition to his top government aides, he relies on the help of five outside advisers. They aren't paid by your tax dollars, they are said to have no formal relationship with the city, yet the mayor wants them treated like city employees when it comes to his email exchanges with them. Emails between government officials and people outside government are supposed to be accessible under open-records law. But in the case of his outside advisers, de Blasio is saying no way. The advisers on the mayor's protected list are former campaign aides Jonathan Rosen of the communications firm BerlinRosen, Nicholas Baldick and Bill Hyers of the firm Hilltop Public Solutions, and John Del Cecato of AKPD Message and Media. Patrick Gaspard, a longtime de Blasio friend, is also included in the group. He is the U.S. ambassador to South Africa. In a statement, the counsel to the mayor, Maya Wiley, said,
From Two Years Ago
"As personal advisors to the Mayor, their communications to the Mayor’s Office, along with those of their support staff working at the principal’s direction on those particular matters, are exempt from disclosure when related solely to City business and not on behalf of any client.” Some elected officials and government insiders are privately saying they are shocked by the arrangement and by the legal argument the city is making. Most of the mayor's outside advisers also work for clients who have business before the city, companies like AirBNB and real estate developers like Forest City Ratner. The email issue was first reported by NY1 earlier this week after the city refused to turn over emails from Chill,People: De Blasio Just Needs To Have Secret Talks With Lobbyists (Gothamist)
True News Asked the Howard Backer WaterGate Questions About de Blasio Two Months Before the NYP
Team de Blasio Putnam Spending Records Disappeared From Nassau 4 Days Before BOE Issued Criminal Referral
What is Good de Blasio is Good for the Public Interests
de Blasio: My Berlin Rosen Emails Are Shadow Govt Protected
Mayor Keeps Emails with Outside Consultants Secret,Fueling Accusations of a 'Shadow Government' (NY1) Critics accuse Mayor de Blasio of setting up a shadow government — comprised of consultants who are not paid by City Hall, but pocket cash from clients, many of whom have business before the city. The arrangement has long drawn complaints but it is generating a new wave of condemnation, because City Hall is refusing to release emails the consultants exchanged with the mayor and his top aides. "It's disappointing to see the mayor, whose whole persona in government is about doing it for the people and being transparent about it, and to be relying on a legal analysis from some lawyer about whether this consultant's communications are protected is ridiculous," said Dick Dadey with good government group, Citizens Union. "Just disclose." In a letter to NY1, a city lawyer referred to Rosen as a consultant to the Mayoralty. He argued the emails were protected by the same exemption that keeps us from seeing many of the e-mails the mayor sends to his City Hall staff only. A spokesman for de Blasio says: "The Mayor has worked with a number of people over the years who he continues to seek advice on a variety of political and communications issues. When these advisors consult with the Mayor in the interest of the Mayor’s Office and not on behalf of clients, those communications are not subject to disclosure." Rosen declined to comment. The open-records denial comes as federal and state investigators are examining the mayor's fundraising and political activities. The investigations have put a spotlight on the mayor and his consultants. However, when it comes to their emails, de Blasio seems determined to keep New Yorkers in the dark.
And More Albany Probes + Cuomo + de Blasio
Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos head to prison, but state corruption probes aren’t over (Daily Freedman)
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
Team Cuomo Blasts de Blasio Blame Game Smokescreen
Democratic leader slams de Blasio for ‘political smokescreen’(NYP) The executive director of the state Democratic Party slammed Mayor de Blasio in an interview Friday for creating a “political smokescreen” to distract from probes of his fund-raising. Basil Smikle disputed efforts by the mayor and his allies to pin the leaks about the investigations on political rivals including Gov. Cuomo, The New York Times reported. “To the extent that the mayor is asserting that the current investigation is politically motivated, that would imply that actions of the Manhattan DA and the US attorney are politically motivated,” Smikle Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara are looking into whether de Blasio’s aides played fast and loose with campaign finance rules.
de Blasio's Lawyer Interconnected With the State Dem Party Lawyers
De Blasio lawyer did event for group with ties to state Dem party (NYDN) At the same time allies to Gov. Cuomo hammer Mayor de Blasio and his campaign lawyer Laurence Laufer for branding probes by state entities into the mayor and his associates as politically motivated, Laufer last week helped lead an event by a group aligned with the state party designed to teach lawyers about state and city campaign finance laws. “The (state party) seems happy to rely on Mr. Laufer's expertise when it suits them but questions it when politically expedient,” said one Democratic aide. Laufer, a former counsel to the city Campaign Finance Board, and Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the state Board of Elections, led the May 12 event sponsored by the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, which is a joint voting rights project of the state and national Democratic committees Laufer last week released a scathing letter saying that the Committee For One New York, a non-profit created to push de Blasio’s agenda, would no longer cooperate with a probe by the state ethics commission. Laufer claimed called the probe a political witch hunt undertaken by allies of the governor. He also recently released a letter trashing as political criminal referral made by Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman, a Cuomo appointee, regarding the de Blasio fundraising operation's help for Senate Democrats in 2014. In that letter, he said the legal points Sugarman made in her referral letter were not accurate and also raised the issue of possible political hijinks. Former state Sen. Martin Connor, a lawyer who does campaign work, attended the May 12 event as part of a requirement in New York that attorneys every two years get a certain amount of continuing legal education. He said Laufer focused on the rules pertaining to the city Campaign Finance Board and did not bring up any of the investigations or hostilities between the governor and mayor.
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?
Team de Blasio Creating A NYS Constitutional Crisis As They Defy Subpoenas By the JCOPE Which Regulates Election and Lobbyists
When Lawyer Ravi Batra A JCOPE Commissioner Tried to Expose the Illegality of the None Profit CSNY Campaign-Lobbying Coordinating in 2012 He Had No Idea That He Would Also Be On Point for A Tax Exempt None Proft de Blasio Would Form A Year Latter the Campaign for One NY
RaviBatra@RaviBatra C41NY, as CSNY, is tax-exempt issue-advocacy. No tax-exempt body can Candidate-Coordinate OR lobby & remain such. JCOPE is Lobbyists'Cop * I protested in7/12 as JCOPE Commissioner when #JCOPE, w/o Pwr, alteredDisclosure Date to cloak #CSNY & Cuomo-admitted 2Coordinating-CSNY * AsJCOPE Commish I notified Feds in 8/12 & resigned 9/7/12 from JCOPE. Now, C41NY has BdB-Coordination, lobbying, QuidProQuo Donor-BdB? JCOPEsubpoena must be complied w/ by C41NY, Donors disclosed, Tax-Exempt lost, look4QPQs, conspiracy & state & federal (tax)crimes nailed. * Goodbye, Committee to Save New York! (Met Council on Housing) * "A guide to political corruption probes in New York State" (Because there are a lot of them and it's confusing)
-Thx to Cuomo feeling bitten by @PreetBharara, he cut de Blasio to distract; but Preet & Cy can take both out
Both Nixon and Now de Blasio Refused to Answer Subpoenas From Investigates
John Catsimatidis said he made the 50,000 contribution at the request of the mayor, after they spoke at the Al Smith Foundation dinner Oct. 1. Alexis Lodde was not known to contribute to New York political campaigns, but shortly after his school-bus company's workers got a chunk of $42 million from the de Blasio administration, he sent $100,000 to aid one of the mayor's pet causes: state Senate Democrats.* We Won't Comply With 'Blatantly Political' Subpoena, Mayor's Lawyer Says (DNAINFO) JCOPE does have the power to go to court to try to compel the mayor's nonprofit to respond to the subpoena. The group announced in March that it was closing after good government groups called for an investigation. “We want the documents and we want them now," Seth Agata, JCOPE's executive director, told The New York Times. According to Laufer's letter, JCOPE is investigating whether the Campaign for One New York was required to register as a lobbyist in 2015 as it did in 2014 when the group was known as UPKNYC and focused on lobbying activities to bring universal pre-K to New York City, a successful campaign that is one of de Blasio's signature achievements. But in 2015, the Campaign for One New York decided not to register as a lobbyist because the group was mainly focused on launching The Progressive Agenda, de Blasio's somewhat failed effort to make income inequality a central issue in the 2016 presidential elections. The Progressive Agenda became a separate entity in July 2015 and the Campaign for One New York's work "did not trigger the statutory threshold for registration as a lobbyist," Laufer wrote.
This is What JCOPE Said Team de Blasio, CONY and the Consultants Did
De Blasio, aides accused of ‘criminal’ fundraising activity (NYP) “There is considerable evidence in this case that New York City mayor William de Blasio organized a team dedicated to getting a sufficient number of Democratic New York State senators elected in 2014 to achieve a Democratic majority in the senate. The evidence indicates that de Blasio established a structure, both within and outside City Hall, and entered into an agreement with powerful unions… and political consultants… to raise and spend money to influence senate races,” wrote Sugarman, who was nominated to the post by Gov. Cuomo. “The evidence demonstrates that the de Blasio team coordinated its fundraising activities with and intentionally solicited contributions for these candidates … in order to evade contribution limits and to disguise the true names of the contributors, conduct which may violate [two election laws],” she wrote. One of those alleged violations is a felony. The memo targets de Blasio, his legislative director. When the Putnam Party Committee Hired Team de Blasio Political Consultants It Showed An Ilegal Quid Pro Quo Arrangement with the Campaign for One NY Radio De Blasio begins weekly radio appearance amid talk of investigations (Politico)
Who Watchers the Watchman, Lobbyists, Grand Jury, AG - DAs Conflict of Interests With NYPD and Elected Officials
Horse-Carriage Fight Politics
Media Cover-Up of NYCLASS, Other Citizens United PACs, Mayor One NY PAC
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
Team de Blasio is accused of campaigncrimes far beyond ordinary politics (NYP) One huge difference is the state Board of Elections charge that Team de Blasio’s involvement stretched all the way to telling campaigns how to spend the money — namely, to hire the mayor’s favored consultants, such as BerlinRosen and AKPD Message and Media. If that holds up, then Team de Blasio wasn’t just using upstate Democratic committees as cutouts to fund its favored candidates’ campaigns. It was also using the campaigns as cutouts to pay its own cronies. Such micro-management is light years beyond what state law envisions in letting party committees help fund local campaigns. Of course, the allegations also run to crossing the line in dumping funds on those party committees. The Board of Elex memo notes, “Team de Blasio held discussions with the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee concerning who would be paying for what aspect of the campaign” and how to identify the de Blasio-raised money. Having the cash from “independent” donors flagged as really coming from you isn’t “usual,” either. Beyond all that is the question of what if any favors were promised to the city-based donors for their upstate donations. *NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York was accepting thousands of dollars in donations from people who do business with the city, potentially violating a directive from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.
Voter's Protest: New York's Decreasing Voter Turnout
The Great NYP Robbery of True News Part 1 On How de Blasio Learned to Go Around the Election Law
Finnegan’s law firm represented another union group, UNITE HERE!, run by de Blasio’s cousin. UNITE HERE! funneled $175,000 on June 1, 2013, to the animal-rights group NYCLASS, which has fought for a ban on horse carriages. Two days later, NYCLASS gave the money to a political action committee that bought TV ads attacking rival Christine Quinn for opposing the ban. After becoming mayor, de Blasio and campaign advisers founded the nonprofit Campaign for One New York. Like the Fund for Public Advocacy, it was used to raise unlimited amounts of money to push his agenda. Finnegan’s union gave $500,000 to the campaign. UNITE HERE! added $400,000. Finnegan, who left SEIU 1199 in November, did not return messages. A union spokesman did not answer questions about its relationship with the mayor. Now prosecutors are examining several of the charities and fund-raising practices de Blasio and his brain trust set up.
NYP Rips Off True News's Story On de Blasio on Data and Field And Leaves Out Two Players Being Investigated By the FBI DUMB
Emma Wolfe Refused to Speak to A Special Prosecutor About Data and Fields
How the NYT Tried to Stop the Investigation of Data and Fields For One Staten IslandCampaign, a Special Prosecutor Instead of an Auditor (Dwyer NYT)
BOE boss finally apologizes for 126,000vanished voters (NYP) The head of the city’s Board of Elections issued an apology Tuesday for the mysterious purge of 126,000 voters from the rolls that wreaked havoc on last week’s presidential primaries. “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the public for any actions that might have been taken by our staff that may have caused any amount of the public trust in New York City to erode,” executive director Michael Ryan told a crowd of nearly 100 who packed the board’s weekly meeting. That was a reversal from his position last week, when he told Fox 5’s “Good Day New York” he was “proud” of his staff. Ryan claimed his remarks were taken out of context and that he was specifically praising workers for tallying the results in an “unprecedented” short time. There were 121,056 affidavit tallies citywide, 37,214 of which were in Brooklyn. Board commissioners later ratified Ryan’s recent suspension without pay of Republican Diane Haslett-Rudiano as chief clerk of the
Kellner Who Supported Sending de Blasio's Campaign Contributions to the Prosecutors Turns Against Ms. Sugarman to Protect the Mayor
Firm lobbying for permits donated $68K tode Blasio (NYP) A top exec at an “incubator” office-space firm bundled the largest contribution to Mayor de Blasio’s re-election bid from her bosses and others — while the company was lobbying the city over a Financial District conversion project, The Post has learned. De Blasio took in $68,750 collected by Arana Hankin, senior vice president of WeWork, which is adding residences to a building at
The Daily News Which Investigated the Advance Group Ducks Comment the CFB AG Parking Ticket Fine
The Daily News and Good Govt Groups Who Said UFT PAC Illegally Funding Advance Now are Silent
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
Media Cover-Up of NYCLASS, Other Citizens United PACs, Mayor One NY PAC
More About Pitta Bishop and the Other Shadow Government Lobbyists
More about Lobbyists Mercury
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election
The Mayor's Berlin Rosen Flack Said the Mayor's Fund Raising Which Included the PACs Was Legal and Part of the Campaign
De Blasio has no one to blame but himself for what happens next (NYP ED) So now Preet Bharara has cast a gimlet eye on Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising. Which comes as no surprise. If de Blasio isn’t running one of the gamiest administrations since Tammany’s sachems were pulling the strings at City Hall, it isn’t for lack of trying. But not to worry. As mayoral operative Dan Levitan says: “We are fully confident that the campaign has conducted itself legally and appropriately at all times.”
The mayor's PACs “has created a perpetual campaign, confusing the role of government and politics, to the detriment of the public interest,” the letter said. It was sent to the Campaign Finance Board and the Conflicts of Interest Board. Both are stuffed with mayoral appointees, and neither responded. In fact the CFB and Conflict Board both gave small fines to the Council Speaker from getting illegal help form the Advance Group who ran the NYCLASS PAC that was so helpful to electing de Blasio by blasting Quinn. The lawyer for the Advance Group in the illegal help for the speaker investigation was Lawrence Mandelker. Mandelker is also the lawyer for the de Blasio's campaign fund and for the PAC Campaign for One NY
The Mayor's Other Two PACs
Why Was the Campaign for One NY Closed Before the CFB and Conflict Board Was Able to Vote? Will They Still Rule?
How the Lobbyists Shadow Govt Runs NY
Bharara 3rd Anniversary of Smith's Arrest and Standing By for Silver and Skelos Sentences While Albany Ducks Ethics Bill
Political Parties Survive Despite Much of Its Power Being Eaten Away By NY Lobbyists Class Because of New York's Falling Political and Voting Participation
NY's Political Class in Both Parties Which Using the Election Law to Control Judgeship, Special Elections and Run An Incumbent Protection for Elected Officials and Party Leaders Not is Trying to Influence the Voters Who They Disconnected A Generation Ago
Everyone Saw the Conflict of Interests In the Mayor Slush PAC Taking $$$ From Lobbyists and People Doing Business With the City, But the Mayor's Conflict of Interests Board
NYP Goo Goos Ignore Slush PAC NYCLASS and UFT's United for the Future That Elected the Mayor and Council
Assembly Dems Try to Protect the Lobbyists
Assembly Dem bill requires more disclosure by groups wholobby in NY; exempts talks with edit brds as lobbying The bill, according to officials, would also specifically exempt from the definition of lobbying any communications with news outlets, including editorial boards. The bill, officials said, would require organizations registered to lobby in
Daily News and NYP Protect the Lobbyists As Usually
Oust the JCOPE bureaucrats for their speech-suppressing power grab (NYP) * N.Y.’s free-speech impediment (NYDN)* * A group of public relations firms filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop the state’s top ethics panel from implementing a rule that would require the firms to disclose their efforts to influence editorial boards, The New York Times reports: * * The Daily News writes that it looks forward to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics’ day in court because the body displayed ignorance while attempting to classify PR professionals’ communications with editorial boards as lobbying: * The Post writes that it hopes the courts “slap” the Joint Commission on Public Ethics “fast and hard” for trying to treat public relations firms as lobbyists and that the commission’s members lose their jobs:
de Blasio One NY PAC Interlocking-directorates Slush Fund, Berlin Rosen, Bill Hyers, Red Horse
Why Did theNYP Leave Out the Fact That Berlin Rosen Work for the Mayor the Developer and for the Campaign for One NY?
A City Union and Soros Are the Biggest Contributors to the Mayor Slush PAC