Saturday, August 13, 2016

True News

Sign A Petition to Stop Pay Raises to Lawmakers Until They Pass an Ethics Bill

Post reader starts petition to stop lawmakers’ 47 percent raise (NYP) A Post reader, spurred to action by a report about state lawmakers possibly getting a 47 percent raise, has started an online petition opposing the hike that has drawn more than 7,000 signatures in less than a week.

Pay Raises for His Staff to Keep Them From Walking? Keep Them Quiet?
COOKING UP SOME CONTROVERSY! Mayor de Blasio dishes out $2M in raises to staff — including his chef — as poll numbers keep plummeting amid scandals (NYDN)

de Blasio's Public School Report Card Grade F and Lying About Charter Success

Bill can’t handle the truth: De Blasio's continued dismissal of charterschool achievement  (NYDN Ed) Someone smart in City Hall (no joking, now) would do Mayor de Blasio a favor with a frank talk about embarrassing himself. For two days running, Wednesday and Thursday, the mayor looked downright foolish in trying to belittle the gains achieved by charter school students on the latest English and math standardized tests. Charter kids, who make up one-tenth of the city’s public school enrollment, markedly outpaced children enrolled in traditional district schools. On the math test, district proficiency rose from 35% to 36% (a one-point rise), while charters moved from 44% to 49% (a five-point gain). “It’s not a state secret that some substantial piece of that is based on charters that focus on test prep. And if that’s where they put a lot of their time and energy, of course it could yield better test scores. But we don’t think that's good educational policy. So we’re going to do it the way that we believe is right for our children.”
Mayor de Blasio’s lame excuses for charter schools’ success  (NYP) harters did better, de Blasio said, only because they focus on “test-prep.” He also (falsely) claimed charters have a “history” of “excluding” lower-performing kids. The mayor insisted his approach is outperforming charters in terms of “actually teaching kids.” And that union-run schools are “doing better” — despite their lower scores. (The proof? There isn’t any.)  Note the hypocrisy: Even as he downplayed the value of test scores at charters, he emphasized it for district schools. The results “represent important progress” and “real improvements,” he said, noting an eight-point jump in the percentage of English-proficient kids at the districts, and a one-point uptick in math.
De Blasio fires back at Success Academy boss over school's rising test scores, claims they're based on ineffective 'prep-heavy' models (NYDN)
De Blasio's agreement with teachers and principals doesn't ax enough bad educators 'to help kids' (NYDN)

Letter to Cuomo Reveals State Senate’s Plan to Help Success Academy   (NYT) In the letter, John J. Flanagan, the Senate majority leader, urged the governor to do something about the “regulatory burden imposed” by the city’s universal pre-K program.

Fariña must tell judge why computer failed special-education students (NYP) D epartment of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña will have to tell a judge why the city’s school system has failed special-education students, a new ruling says.  Manhattan Judge Lynn Kotler ordered the special tribunal in response to a suit filed by Public Advocate ­Letitia James in February. James had found that a $130 million computer program that monitors the city’s 200,000 special-education students is “incapable of providing citywide data.” As a result, disabled students have missed out on services and the city has had to pay $38 million in overtime, according to James’ lawsuit.  Fariña has resisted an inquiry into the $130 million program, known as the Special Education Student Information System, or SESIS.

de Blasio to "Take A Look At" Another City Deal With the Rivington Nursing Home $72 Million Owners 

De Blasio will take a ‘hard look’ at Rivington firm’s newdeal (NYP) Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday the city is re-examining a deal that gave development rights for a Brooklyn armory to the company that hushed up its purchase of the Rivington House nursing home earlier this year. “We’re going to take a very hard look at that situation — the contract has not been finalized,” the mayor said at an unrelated press conference on the Upper West Side. “I think what they did was inappropriate,” he added. “And I think anyone who seeks to do business with the city of New York and misleads us needs to know that there will be consequences.” Slate Property Group won the right to convert the Bedford Union armory in Crown Heights into 330 apartments just before it quietly clinched the nursing-home purchase in February. The property was sold over community objections after the city lifted a deed restriction. That sale is now under investigation. Just two days ago, the mayor’s own Economic Development Corporation defended Slate’s role at the armory, saying the firm won the contract fairly. *De Blasio reconsiders if 'inappropriate' Rivington House developer should keep city-backed Brooklyn project (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio said he'll take a "hard look" at whether a developer implicated in the Rivington House scandal should get to keep a big city-backed project in Brooklyn. Slate Property Group was tapped by the city to develop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights — but de Blasio said Wednesday he's reconsidering the deal. "We're going to take a very hard look at that situation. That contract has not been finalized," he said. Slate bought Rivington House, a former Lower East Side nursing home, to turn it into luxury condos — and investigators found they plotted with the seller to keep the plan secret until the city had lifted a deed restriction requiring the property to be used for health care. "I think what they did was inappropriate," de Blasio said. "Anyone who seeks to do business with the city of New York who seeks to mislead us needs to know there will be consequences. So we'll take a hard look at that situation." Activist groups have called on the city to yank the armory project from Slate. As the Daily News reported, they're also asking Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, whose foundation is helping to pay for a rec center at the site, to drop out.

Schumer Hillary Not Clear on Political Corruption Fighter Bharara's Future 
Chuck Schumer says Preet Bharara is doing a great job,but won’t reveal if he wants the prosecutor back under next President (NYDN) *
Time For Preet to Clear His Plate (Manhattan Institute) The multiplying investigations of the de Blasio administration need resolution.
Hillary Clinton won’t commit to reappointing U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (NYDN) b Clinton during an appearance before the Daily News Editorial Board on Saturday would not commit to re-appointing Bharara should she win  "I will take all that into account if I'm lucky enough to be elected President," Clinton said when asked about Bharara's performance in cracking down on government corruption. "I obviously want the very best people to be U.S. attorneys," she said. "I want them to give no favor to anybody. If there are cases to be investigated and made, they should do it." But she quickly added that "I'm not going to comment on any particular personnel decision."
Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation

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

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

As Airbnb Warehouse Apts Driving Up 

Prices Media and Pols Support them

 A bill that would make advertising short-term rentals illegal is the latest example of New York officials trying to strangle the “sharing economy” when it should be embraced, since these companies satisfy a demand, the Cato Institute’s Matthew Feeney writes in the Post.* Airbnb and the Battle of Suitcase Alley  (NYT)  In New York and other cities with steep housing costs, a longstanding objection to home-sharing sites is that some listings remove units from the residential market.

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
City Hall mystery: Burning questions on the Rivington deed swap
 (NYDN) Two investigations into how the de Blasio administration enabled a real estate developer to reap a $72 million windfall on property once owned by the city have left unanswered the big questions: whodunit and why. Probes by the Department of Investigation and Controller Scott Stringer failed to identify who in City Hall gave a critical go-ahead that propelled the city bureaucracy into completing the transaction. Prime suspect: First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris. With the help of James Capalino, a lobbyist with close ties to Shorris, VillageCare asked the city to lift the deed restrictions in order to facilitate a sale.  The request triggered high-level City Hall deliberations. On July 25, 2014, Shorris discussed Rivington with Stacey Cumberbatch, then commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the agency that manages deed restrictions. That same day, Cumberbatch spoke to Capalino, an internal DCAS email indicates: “She told him that the City was reviewing options with regard to the property, and that DCAS will not remove the restriction at this time.” Stringer thus described the city as “putting VillageCare’s request on hold.” n September, the administration’s review, led by Shorris and Deputy Mayors Alicia Glen and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, concluded the building should be targeted for affordable housing and retail. All the while, the union representing AIDS home workers sought to save their jobs, as well as $18 million owed by VillageCare to the union pension fund.

A Dec. 2014 email to Shorris and Glen from top mayoral aide Emma Wolfe suggests that Shorris worked with 1199SEIU to identify a nursing home operator to take over the site. The union has the distinction of being de Blasio’s most generous backer — giving $500,000 to his Campaign for One New York.Despite the consensus that the building should be used for housing, Shorris told both the controller and DOI that he decided to keep Rivington House a health facility. He said he couldn’t recall if, when or how he informed DCAS of his decision. The City Hall line on what happened next holds that DCAS bureaucrats mobilized to lift the deed restrictions: 1) completely on their own, 2) despite Cumberbatch’s hold on doing so and 3) at the insistence of prospective buyer Joel Landau months before he owned the property.

“We need to move this,” one DCAS bureaucrat emailed another on Nov. 18, 2014. The key unanswered question: On whose orders? With Landau blustering that he would bail on a deal wanted by 1199, a union official prevailed on Wolfe to lean on DCAS to fast-track key paperwork — which DCAS did, according to emails. DCAS also ordered an appraisal that valued the property at $64 million — even as the buyer’s private estimate put it at $90 million. Under the city’s 25% formula for pricing deed restrictions, Landau paid $16 million, millions less than he should have. He then sold the property to a condo developer for $116 million. Shorris has professed ignorance of everything that happened after his phantom decision that the building should be maintained for health care. He says he does not recall seeing any of Cumberbatch’s three memos that updated progress. So, again, whodunit and why?

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
Coney Island Hospital ranks dead last in national ranking (NYP) Coney Island Hospital, which city officials have vigorously defended for its quality of care, has received the lowest grade in the federal government’s first report card on the nation’s 3,600 hospitals. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the one-to-five-star grades after reviewing hospitals’ performance in seven key categories: mortality, safety of care, readmissions, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, use of medical imaging and patient experience. All 11 city-run public hospitals were rated below par — and ­Coney Island was among eight facilities receiving only a single star. Coney Island Hospital, which city officials have vigorously defended for its quality of care, has received the lowest grade in the federal government’s first report card on the nation’s 3,600 hospitals. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the one-to-five-star grades after reviewing hospitals’ performance in seven key categories: mortality, safety of care, readmissions, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, use of medical imaging and patient experience. * City Hall officials teamed up with @1199SEIU on an earlier phase of the Rivington deal (PoliticoNY) Top health union official played early role in unusual nursing home deal, records show* De Blasio Defends Soliciting $20K Donation From Potential LICH Developer (DNAINFO)

An NYPD Banks Shot? 
Bratton Turn Over the NYPD to Outsiders Not Touched By the GiftGate Scandal
Incoming NYPD Commissioner O'Neill will follow Bratton's deal to avoid NYPD reforms (NYDN) Incoming Police Commissioner James O’Neill said he’ll stick to a controversial deal with the City Council on identification and search rules — prompting a clash with some police reform advocates before he’s even started the job O’Neill, the current Chief of Department who will take over for Bill Bratton, said he’d stick to the deal his predecessor made to avoid a vote on two bills called the Right to Know Act. Instead of legislation, the NYPD will instruct cops to ask for consent before they search people and identify themselves with business cards in some circumstances.

Tightrope Walk Awaits New York’s New Police Commissioner, and de Blasio (NYT) * A cop’s cop to the top: Meet Jimmy O’Neill (NYDN)

Under his new job, NYPD Chief James O’Neill, who is replacing respected Commissioner Bill Bratton, will have turbulent waters to navigate, as he and Mayor Bill de Blasio deal with terrorism, corruption charges, and community relations, the Times writes.

An NYPD Banks Shot?  Turn Over the NYPD to Outsiders Not Touched By the GiftGate Scandal 
 NYC’s leaders have mixed feelings about Bratton’s exit (NYP) *Colleagues praise Bill Bratton’s fight against crime (NYP) * NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton’s departure was caused by insane policing regulations (NYDN) * SHARPTON: NYPD Chief James O'Neill must abandon broken windows policy, hold bad cops accountable (NYDN) * De Blasio Draws Ire From Police Union Outside His Park Slope Gym and Cafe (DNAINFO)* The Times writes that Bratton’s appointment to NYPD commissioner was one of the best decisions de Blasio made, but now it will be up to O’Neill to finish transforming the department by overcoming communities’ wariness under court supervision.* Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD cop now teaching at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, writes in the Daily News that Bratton stepped aside because he was no longer able to proactively police with so many new protocols, overseers and the City Council at his throat.

Albany Lawmakers to Get A Pay Hike for Not Passing An Ethics Bill
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?
LICH was a money-losing state-run hospital that SUNY sought to close and sell to private developers. But de Blasio, as public advocate and during his mayoral campaign, said he would fight to keep the property as a full-service hospital. He sued the state and rallied the community, but ultimately failed.*  Shocker: How SUNY lost more than $100M mismanaging LICH(Daily Eagle)*  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

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

Progress de Blasio Channels Reagan Plausible Deniability His Staff Knew and He Did Not?
Comptroller weighs in on de Blasio’s nursing home scandal (NYP) City officials missed multiple opportunities to protect a Lower East Side nursing home from being developed into luxury housing – including weeks before the property was sold, a new report found. Comptroller Scott Stringer said community residents notified the administration about the pending sale of 45 Rivington House in December 2015, but that the sale went through without interference in February 2016. “They never took legal action to intervene, they never reached out to the buyer, and our investigation found no evidence … anyone told the mayor about the pending sale,” Stringer said Monday. His review found that 40 administration officials – including three deputy mayors and three agency heads – were involved in discussions about the deal. The comptroller’s report comes on the heels of a separate probe by the city’s Department of Investigation, which concluded that top city officials knew or should have known about the shady land deal – and worked to stop it. That review also noted an unprecedented lack of cooperation by the city’s Law Department – which reports to the mayor – including redacting relevant documents and blocking full access to City Hall computers. The Law Department backed down last week, but only after DOI threatened to file a law suit to force compliance. *  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

It’s ridiculous that de Blasio appointed Peters to serve as the supposedly independent head of DOI after Peters had served as his campaign treasurer. It’s ridiculous that, having served as campaign treasurer, Peters was forced to step aside from burgeoning investigations into the mayor’s aggressively transactional fundraising. It’s ridiculous that lobbyist James Capalino, a giver to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York and one-time mentor to First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris, asked city government to remove — for free — deed restrictions that permitted land once owned by the city to be used only for a nursing home. It’s ridiculous that Capalino’s involvement drew City Hall officials, including Shorris, into deliberating over lifting the deed restriction — a type of transaction never before of interest to the mayor’s office. It’s ridiculous that, in an apparent favor to the health care workers union — another big de Blasio giver — Shorris says he decreed that the land should remain limited to a nursing home, has no paperwork to support the statement, can’t remember to whom he spoke and could not be corroborated by anyone. It is ridiculous that Shorris issued his phantom decree after top administration aides, including another deputy mayor, concluded that the city should devote the land to housing. It is ridiculous that, after issuing the phantom decree, Shorris dropped the issue completely. It is ridiculous that, while serving as the mayor’s top manager, Shorris said he had stopped reading regular status memos from the responsible city commissioner. It is ridiculous that city bureaucrats lifted the deed restrictions for a payment of $16 million only to see a condo developer sell the land for $116 million. It is ridiculous for the mayor to say, as he did on Friday that, “in the context of an $82 billion budget, in the context of all the issues we deal with everyday — $16 million. I care deeply about $16 million, as do the taxpayers. But compared to everything else we deal with, it is on the smaller side of the equation.” Finally, it is ridiculous that de Blasio pooh-poohs attention to his ongoing mayoral management botch as ridiculous.* Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Aides Recount Outbursts and Condescending Tone (WSJ)

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? 
During the 2013 mayoral campaign de Blasio staged a prop arrest to gain voter support.  As public advocate, de Blasio rallied with community organizations and unions in the rain, heat and snow. At one protest, he (and several councilmembers) stormed through the doors of the hospital to present demands to its administrator, who locked himself in his office. At another, he was arrested in an act of public defiance. BY THE PA SUBPOENA DOES BHARARA THINK THAT THE PLOT TO CLOSE LICH WAS HATCHED LONG AGO AND DE BLASIO PAST SUPPORT FOR THE HOSPITAL WERE LIES?  From 2 Years Ago @SalAlbaneseNYC is not happy about LICH  @HuffPostNY "LICH already served its purpose as de Blasio's campaign prop."
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
Fed probe into Long Island College Hospital sale expands to include Mayor de Blasio allies in S.E.I.U. 1199 (NYDN) Some of Mayor de Blasio’s staunchest union supporters have been drawn into the federal probe of his role in the sale of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. Workers for the powerful health care union S.E.I.U. 1199 have received federal subpoenas, The New York Times reported Friday. But as The News first reported on Monday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara opened a probe into the 2015 LICH sale — and had already issued a subpoena to State University of New York, the prior hospital owner. The subpoena seeks all communications between the university system and City Hall regarding the sale of the Cobble Hill site dating to Jan. 2, 2014, when de Blasio took office. It also specifies emails and other communication from de Blasio and top aides Tony Shorris, Emma Wolfe, Dominic Williams, Avi Fink and Henry Berger, two sources said. In addition, Bharara’s office wants all communication from 2013 between SUNY and de Blasio’s campaign and his fund-raiser 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. “These actions involved numerous state agencies, including SUNY, the Department of Health and the NYS Dormitory Authority, and the complicity of the NYS Attorney General's Charities Bureau,” Gartner said.

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?
Brooklyn Hospital’s Sale, Backed by de Blasio and Cuomo, Is Drawing Federal Scrutiny (NYT) But the outcome now appears to be under federal scrutiny, the latest subject of a sprawling investigation into fund-raising and potential pay-to-play politics in New York. Federal subpoenas have been received by the health care workers union, 1199 S.E.I.U., which has supported Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Cuomo, and by the hospital’s former owner, the State University of New York.  A developer, Fortis Property Group, bought the hospital, with the sale completed in 2015. Prosecutors are seeking information related to the sale and, in particular, communications between SUNY and top City Hall officials or those associated with the mayor’s nonprofit group, Campaign for One New York, about the hospital’s fate, according to the subpoena, dated July 14 and described by an official who had seen it.

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
Mayor de Blasio lies again about info kept from investigators in Rivington House probe (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio denied Friday that his team withheld from investigators a crucial memo about a Lower East Side nursing home that wound up as condos — but a document obtained by the Daily News shows that’s not true. The July 29, 2014, memo shows city officials were well aware that a “private sale” of the “high value property” was discussed early on. On his radio show Friday, WNYC host Brian Lehrer asked de Blasio whether city Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter had withheld the specific memo from the Department of Investigation. “That’s not true,” the mayor replied. “Zach Carter put out publicly that some of the very memos that were claimed to have been quote unquote withheld had been provided to the Department of Investigation. He literally said, ‘Here’s when we provided those memos in question, here’s the date.’ That was months ago in this case. So this is becoming the telephone game. We provided the information. “I’m sorry some reporters have just blatantly ignored the fact that we laid out exactly when we gave those memos and we had every reason to be transparent about those memos,” he said. 

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 
Feds probe de Blasio’s involvement in Brooklyn hospital sale (NYP)Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating whether Mayor de Blasio engaged in a fund-raising pay-to-play scheme over the controversial sale of a Brooklyn hospital for redevelopment into housing, The Post has learned. The corruption-busting federal prosecutor recently subpoenaed the State University of New York seeking a slew of records regarding de Blasio’s ties to its sale of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, sources said.  The records date back to 2013, when de Blasio was the city’s public advocate and campaigned to keep LICH open. He even made a show of getting arrested during a protest rally while he was running for mayor.  But after winning the 2013 election, the mayor largely abandoned his opposition to the hospital’s closure, instead backing a redevelopment plan by the Fortis Property Group for a series of apartment towers that would include 200 to 300 affordable units. A July 15 letter written by SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor Joseph Porter — and viewed by The Post — reveals that Bharara’s office, which is already investigating the mayor’s office over his fund-raising for state Senate races, has now cast a wide net for evidence of possible malfeasance in SUNY’s $240 million sale of LICH to Fortis.  

According to Porter’s letter, the feds want copies of “any and all communications” between SUNY employees and de Blasio and his top aides including First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, Director of Governmental Affairs Emma Wolf and special counsel Henry Berger. The subpoenas also seek records of any related communications involving key de Blaiso fund-raiser Ross Offinger and all “personnel” and “employees or agents” of the Public Advocate’s Office, the “New Yorkers for de Blasio” campaign committee and de Blasio’s various nonprofits.  Wolfe and Offinger were both previously slapped with subpoenas tied to de Blasio’ s fund-raising operation, and Shorris has a link to the LICH deal through his former job as a senior vice president at NYU Langone Medical Center. The probe appears to stem from developer Don Peebles’ bombshell allegation that de Blasio personally hit him up for $20,000 to support Hizzoner’s universal pre-K program in March 2014 — while Peebles had a bid pending on the LICH site. The nonprofit he donated to, UPKNYC, later became the now-shuttered Campaign for One New York. Peebles told DNAInfo New York in May that he agreed to de Blasio’s request because it was hard “to tell the mayor no,” but that he later reconsidered and asked for his money back. Peebles didn’t return a call for comment on Monday, and a SUNY spokeswoman said she was unaware of Bharara’s subpoena.

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.
More on the Closing of Long Island College Hospital

Two Years Ago the Media Knew How de Blasio's Campaign for One NY PAC Help Closed LICH Hospital And Covered It Up
Berlin Rosen who worked for 52AD candidate Sikora and the PAC One NY, use to the PAC to send out to the voters of the district a misleading letter that a developers ER would be a good substitute for the closed LICH.  Rosen's assembly candidate was arrested during the 2013 mayor's race along with de Blasio protesting the closing of the LICH Hospital.  The Brooklyn Eagle called Berlin Rosen PAC mailing the dark money mailing, claiming the closed LICH hospital developer would build an emergency room that would meet the community’s health care needs.  Doctors and community leader have called that claim an outright lie. Carroll Gardens Association - Cover-Up of Members' Dark Money LICH Mailing

The Media Cover-Up Started At A debate That Almost Never Happened

Closing LICH Hospital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AG 180 On Rivington Nursing Home Owners and Allure's Lawyers Go After Schneiderman
Nursing home sues Schneiderman for blocking sale (NYP) A Harlem nursing home is suing the state attorney general for trying to block the sale of its building to the scandal-scarred developer at the heart of an explosive probe involving City Hall. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had at first approved the $32 million sale of the Greater Harlem Nursing Home on West 138th Street to The Allure Group in May. But Schneiderman then reversed course in June after discovering that the developer had allegedly tried to hide its true identity in the transaction.

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.”

Legal Eagle

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.

Right-hand Man

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.

Bag man

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.


John Dean, White House counsel. Testified before a Senate committee in 1973 that he had warned Nixon the Watergate cover-up was a “cancer on the presidency” three months earlier. Spent four months in prison.

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
Bill’s cover-up uncovered as DOI chief Mark Peters grows a backbone (NYDN)  The stonewall erected by Mayor de Blasio to impede a probe into how the city helped a developer make a $100 million real-estate killing has cracked. De Blasio was happy to have the Department of Investigation look into the complex transaction as long as the agency, headed by his former campaign treasurer, focused on functionaries out in the netherlands of the bureaucracy. But when DOI followed the trail to the mayor and top aides, de Blasio took the stunning and unprecedented step of denying investigators access to City Hall records and computers. He tried to skate by brazenly claiming that top lawyer Zachary Carter had divined solid legal rationales for concealing evidence. Carter, too, insulted the intelligence with such mumbo-jumbo. Now, though, after DOI Commissioner Mark Peters approved an equally stunning ultimatum to the mayor, via a letter to Carter — come clean or come to court — Carter ended the cover-up. As first reported by Greg Smith of the Daily News, Carter has agreed to turn over to DOI “all digital information” on the computers of the mayor, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Emma Wolfe and Shorris’ chief of staff, Dominic Willrounds. 

Is DOI's Mark Peters the New Watergate John Dean?
After demand for its services fell, the operator asked the city to lift the deed restrictions with the help of lobbyist James Capalino, an old friend of Shorris and big contributor to the mayor’s Campaign for One New York.  Capalino’s sway sparked high-level City Hall deliberations, including consideration of using the building for housing, until health-care workers’ union Local 1199, de Blasio’s most generous backer, protested a loss of jobs. In a report issued on July 14, DOI found unaccountable sloppiness and revealed City Hall’s stonewalling. Meanwhile, according to a letter sent to Carter by Inspector General Jodi Franzese, DOI discovered that documents Carter had kept secret included a memo recommending against lifting the deed restrictions written by a City Hall staff member after a meeting with a deputy mayor. Although directly on point, Carter had claimed the memo was irrelevant — a claim that was not his to legally make. DOI chief Peters has stepped aside from probes involving de Blasio’s fundraising. Here, he empowerd staff to vindicate the agency’s authority and stood up for the public interest. 

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.”

Law department has handed over thousands of pages of unredacted docs to DOI on #rivington after initially saying they were not "relevant"

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
Even the speaker smells a rat in Team de Blasio’s coverup (NYP Ed)You know City Hall has crossed the line when even City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is squawking — as she is over Mayor de Blasio’s stonewall over the Rivington St. nursing-home flip. At a press conference calling for new rules for lifting deed restrictions like the one in that now-notorious case, the speaker called it “very troubling” that the mayor’s office impeded the Department of Investigation’s probe of the affair. “It’s very clear what the authority of DOI is. [It] is to have full access to documents — so that is a concern,” said Mark-Viverito. It sure is. What is the mayor hiding? After all, what DOI did uncover already shows he’s a liar. When word of the flip hit the press, he claimed City Hall had been blindsided by the news — yet The Post uncovered proof that two deputy mayors had been all over the deal. He also insisted he first learned of the flip from the papers — yet DOI produced a memo showing he’d been briefed on it. What else is to be learned from the documents and electronic devices that de Blasio’s Law Department refused to let DOI ininspect? And why did DOI take “no” for an answer? Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) has a point: DOI chief Mark Peters — who was the finance chairman of de Blasio’s 2013 campaign — should resign if he won’t pursue legal action to get that “full access.” US Attorney Preet Bharara, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan DA Cy Vance have no doubt taken notice and are drafting subpoenas to take possession of the possibly incriminating information. If DOI won’t get the job done, it falls to prosecutors to get to the bottom of the Rivington swindle.* The concern New York City Council members showed about the sale over the Rivington St. nursing home shows that City Hall crossed the line and if the Department of Investigation fails to do its job, it falls to prosecutors to get to the bottom of the controversy, the Post writes.
@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
Debbie Medina, a candidate for state Senate in Brooklyn, admitted she repeatedly beat her troubled son with a belt as a child, a confession she first made in a Pennsylvania court to save him from execution after he was convicted of brutally killing a 3-year-old boy, the Post reports.

Team de Blasio Owned by Developers Shocking That A Developer and House Lobbyists Capalino Won With the Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change
First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris claimed he made a decision that the property should remain a nursing home, it was never written down — and no other city employee could corroborate “that it was made or communicated,” DOI found. Yet the city could easily have done so by not lifting all of the deed restrictions — but did so anyway, according to DOI. Then there’s the role played by mega-lobbyist James Capalino, a donor (one week before the deed was changed) to both de Blasio’s 2017 campaign and his nonprofit. Capalino wasn’t involved by the time the restriction was lifted. But he had repped the original owner — and DOI found that a city memo justifying the deed change is almost completely lifted from his arguments. What makes all this even more suspicious is DOI says the Law Department actively “hindered” its probe, flatly refusing access to unedited documents and to all computers. So we still don’t know what more information remains out there. To say all this stinks to high heaven is an understatement. Calling Preet Bharara.

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
The good-government group Common Cause in February asked the Campaign Finance Board to investigate, saying that this “fund-raising has spawned a shadow government that raises serious questions about who has influence and access to the policymaking process.”

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? 
Queens principal greets visitors with checks from disgraced pol (NYP) JHS 226 Virgil I. Grissom in Queens is named after a fallen astronaut, but judging by the school lobby, one might think it honors a disgraced politician. City Councilman Ruben Wills has been indicted on charges of stealing thousands of dollars in taxpayer money. But that hasn’t stopped Principal Rushell White from displaying giant replica checks with his name and John Hancock to tout the city funding he has steered to the South Ozone Park middle school. JHS 226 Virgil I. Grissom in Queens is named after a fallen astronaut, but judging by the school lobby, one might think it honors a disgraced politician. City Councilman Ruben Wills has been indicted on charges of stealing thousands of dollars in taxpayer money. But that hasn’t stopped Principal Rushell White from displaying giant replica checks with his name and John Hancock to tout the city funding he has steered to the South Ozone Park middle school.* New York City Councilman arrested for 'stealing around $30,000 in public funds that were awarded to a sham charity he started' (Daily Mail)

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

De Blasio: No aides to be fired over bungled nursing-home sale (NYP) Mayor de Blasio says no one is going to get fired over a bungled Lower East Side nursing-home sale because it was simply “a mistake.” But three months ago he promised there would be consequences for the botched transaction, which took away a community resource and allowed a developer to reap a $72 million profit. We’re going to get to the bottom of it,” the mayor said April 1 on WCBS Newsradio 880. “We will hold people responsible.” That same day on NY1, he added, “This just should not have happened, is the bottom line. And there will certainly be consequences.” An investigation found the mayor’s aides knew of the deal for the Rivington House facility, but none will get the ax regardless.* Top de Blasio aides use personal accounts for city-related emails despite mayor's transparency promise (NYDN 2014)

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. 

But de Blasio’s lawyers shut down City Hall. The mayor must uphold his own executive order. Until he does, the public can reasonably conclude he’s covering up.* The New York City Department of Investigation issued a stern report that found city officials had been warned that a Manhattan nursing home could end up in the hands of luxury condominium developers if deed restrictions were removed, despite having denied any such prior knowledge, the Times reports. * The de Blasio administration’s efforts to cover up what happened in the property flip of a Lower East Side nursing home to a private developer to build luxury condos is creating an obvious issue for the mayor, and should be picked up by federal authorities, the Post writes.* The cover up should also bring on the resignation of several key figures in de Blasio’s administration, including Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris and Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, the Daily News writes.

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

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

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 
Cuomo Campaign’s Role in Scrutinized Senate Races Comes Into Focus (NYT)  It began with great fanfare in the spring of 2014. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio joined forces to help elect a Democratic majority in the New York State Senate, a goal to which Mr. Cuomo had paid lip service but had done little to achieve.  It did not, however, end well.  The Republicans prevailed on Election Day, weeks after the unusual alliance between the governor and the mayor ruptured amid accusations that Mr. Cuomo was sabotaging the effort. The Democratic Senate candidates were not the only losers: Eighteen months later, Mr. de Blasio and several aides, along with a number of consultants and labor union operatives, find themselves caught up in a criminal investigation focused on how they directed money into some of the contested races. But the Cuomo campaign was nonetheless involved in the overall effort to help the Democrats retake the Senate, at least behind the scenes, according to documents and correspondence reviewed by The New York Times, and to people briefed on the effort. Meetings were held, plans drawn up and lawyers consulted. And perhaps most important, money was raised — in the end, well over $1 million.  A senior aide to the governor, Joseph Percoco, took part in some of the earliest organizational and planning sessions with a top de Blasio administration official and campaign lawyers for the mayor and the governor, the materials reviewed by The Times show. Mr. Percoco also received central legal and operational documents on how the fund-raising effort would be carried out. Three weeks before the election, he corresponded with Emma Wolfe, one of the mayor’s closest advisers, about the procedures for paying for hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign advertisements and mailings for Democratic candidates in targeted races, according to the materials.  Basil A. Smikle Jr., the executive director of the New York State Democratic Party, which took part in the effort and is controlled by Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said that neither the state party nor the governor’s campaign took part in the fund-raising activities that are now under scrutiny. Mr. Smikle said that Mr. Percoco, Ms. Wolfe and others were “clearly advised” by legal counsel “that fund-raising earmarking was a circumvention of the state’s campaign finance limits.” He added that once the “coordinated effort became divided” after “internal strategic and operational disagreements,” the mayor’s group began using earmarked funds through the Democratic county committees of Ulster and Putnam Counties.  An election lawyer for the mayor, Laurence D. Laufer, who advised on the Senate effort, dismissed Mr. Smikle’s version of events.  “There was clear legal guidance provided to all parties that was rigorously adhered to,” he said in a statement provided by Mr. de Blasio’s campaign.

After the Silver and Skelos Conviction the Times Down Played Bharara the Prosecutor That is Cleaning Up NY
“The notion that the state party had concerns about any legal issue, or backed away from the effort because of that, is patently ridiculous.” The state party, according to correspondence reviewed by The Times, continued to pay roughly $1 million for television commercials, mailings and consultants as part of the effort up until the final weeks before the election, with most of that money raised by Mr. de Blasio.  The criminal investigation, by the office of the Manhattan district attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is focused on allegations that the mayor, his aides and a team of consultants and labor union representatives whom he assembled sought to use county committees and the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee to evade the $10,300 limit on donations to individual candidates. County committees can receive contributions of $102,300.  It is a felony for donors to earmark contributions to the committees to be passed on to certain candidates. Prosecutors involved in the investigation interpret the statute, which has never been tested in court, to mean that it is also a felony under state election law to solicit donations in order to avoid contribution limits, people briefed on the matter have said, an interpretation that Mr. de Blasio’s campaign lawyers dispute. Among the materials The Times reviewed was a July 16, 2014, document prepared as part of that year’s Senate campaign effort that summarized the fund-raising and spending rules that would apply to the coordinated effort. It listed the contribution limits and restrictions on funds for five “recipient committees” that could be used in the undertaking. They included the county committees, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and the New York State Democratic Committee, which is controlled by Mr. Cuomo.  The 2014 Senate materials reviewed by The Times also show that Mr. Percoco was involved until at least mid-October, when correspondence with Ms. Wolfe shows that the two were negotiating over how to track and pay some of the roughly $1 million in television advertising and mailings. Mr. Percoco’s role in helping the Senate Democrats, elements of which were reported by Politico New York, ran counter to Mr. Cuomo’s actions in the past; despite his promises of support, he did little that year to publicly assist the Democratic candidates. Other questions about the investigation, including whether it may expand beyond violations of election law or remain narrowly focused on those allegations, remain. Prosecutors have subpoenaed several of the mayor’s senior aides and the finance chairman of his campaign, as well as a number of consultants who worked on the effort who are very close to the mayor, according to City Hall officials and others briefed on the inquiry. Democratic candidates from the 2014 race have also received subpoenas, as have some of the county committees.

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

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

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
Campaign Finance Board gives de Blasio group the Hillary treatment (NYP) The city’s Campaign Finance Board on Wednesday took a page out of FBI Director James Comey’s playbook by clearing a nonprofit aligned with Mayor de Blasio of violating campaign-finance laws while slamming it for raising “serious policy and perception issues.” Board Chair Rose Gill Hearn, a former commissioner of the Department of Investigation in the Bloomberg administration, said current laws allow politically connected nonprofits to run roughshod over the city’s campaign-finance system, which imposes strict limits on fund-raising and spending. The nonprofits, such as the mayor’s Campaign for One New York (CONY), have no such limits. “The Campaign for One New York is very clearly not independent of Mr. de Blasio,” Hearn said in her slap. “The organization was established by the mayor to support and promote his policy agenda. It is run by the mayor’s closest advisers and staffed by personnel and consultants that ran his campaign in 2013. But in her announcement reminiscent of Comey’s decision about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails — Hearn said there was no evidence the nonprofit was working to re-elect de Blasio in 2017, primarily because its spending to promote the mayor’s agenda occurred three years ahead of his re-election. Like Comey, who cleared Clinton of criminal conduct while rebuking her actions, Hearn warned that the board would continue to monitor the situation. She called on the City Council to toughen the law, so that nonprofits can’t haul in as much as $350,000 from a single contributor — as CONY did — while the maximum contribution to a mayoral candidate is set at $4.950. “It defies common sense that limits that work so well during the campaign should be set aside once the candidate has assumed elected office,” she said.

Berlin Rosen Flack Levitan Who Worked for the Campaign for One NY is the Spokesman for the Mayor in the CFB Cover-Up?
De Blasio’s campaign team continued to maintain that CONY did nothing wrong. “It never engaged in any election campaign activity for any candidate and shut down more than a year and a half before next year’s election,” said campaign spokesman Dan Levitan.

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.
Michael Powell @powellnyt
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)

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.

Bill Nojay ‏@BillNojay 
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 

Charges for

Bribing A Judge and More . . . 
Operative Tied to Cuomo Is Accused of Bribing Judge to Get Favorable Rulings (NYT) A political operative with ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is expected to be charged on Thursday in connection with a bribery scheme that involved a State Supreme Court justice in Buffalo, who has already pleaded guilty in the case. The operative, G. Steven Pigeon, is accused in a criminal complaint of bribing the justice, John A. Michalek, with help for a promotion; favors for two close relatives; Buffalo Sabres hockey tickets; and a seat at one of Mr. Cuomo’s fund-raisers. In return, the complaint says, Mr. Pigeon received favorable treatment in court cases in which he and his acquaintances had an interest. Mr. Michalek, who had served as a justice since 1995, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court on Wednesday to a felony count of receiving a bribe. He also admitted to filing a public document with false information, also a felony. The case stemmed from a joint state and federal investigation led by the state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, into Mr. Pigeon’s fund-raising activities. As part of his plea agreement, * When Eric Schneiderman and Steve Pigeon battled in Albany (CapitalNY) 'There has been bad blood' * 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.”

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

Crown Heights Gentrifiers White Guilt on Changing A Black Neighborhood? 
Gentrifiers’ plight — and responsibility: A young white woman in Crown Heights reflects on the changing neighborhood (NYDN) "They move into our neighborhood, and they don’t even say hello.” That’s what many of my neighbors think about people like me — and unfortunately, at least once, I gave them reason to do so. I was walking down the street, someone said hello, I didn’t register it until they’d walked past me, and by then it was too late. I was the white girl with a resting b---h face who didn’t even acknowledge her neighbor. I don’t apologize for being a gentrifier. In fact, I couldn’t afford to live in New York without gentrifying. Tight zoning and a fresh-out-of-college salary keep me from being able to afford somewhere I might technically “fit in” better. On the other hand, the community I’ve moved into, Crown Heights, has a rich history, and I don’t have an inalienable right to fundamentally change that social fabric just because the rent is cheap. It’s a struggle that those of us who move into parts of the city that might be changing faster than they want to — which are often morphing from predominantly black and brown to increasingly white — need to be honest about. Being a gentrifier means living in the tension between trying to contribute to the community you’re joining while realizing that, to some extent, you’re displacing the very people who form that community. This means, for me, oscillating between incapacitating guilt and exhausting friendliness. When I walk around Crown Heights, I see at least two Brooklyns. There are the families who have raised their children on my block, know the bodega owners and have gone to the church around the corner for years.Then there are the young, relatively high-income folks looking for a cup of ethically sourced pour-over coffee and a spot to plug in their MacBook.

Illegal Airbnb listings are hogging NYC's available apartments, report says
The fact that these groups generally don’t mix should worry those of us who care about the future of New York. Crown Heights has changed immensely in the hundred years since my great-grandfather was born steps away from what is now a yuppie haunt called Chavela’s on Franklin Ave. As various economic forces push gentrifiers into neighborhoods like Crown Heights, I hope it’s not too naive for us mostly young, mostly white folk to more actively consider how we can contribute to the communities we are changing. The answer isn’t holding hands in the park across economic and racial lines and singing “Kumbaya.” But all of us should look for opportunities to get off our laptops more and be less skittish about laying down roots.* Illegal Airbnb listings are hogging NYC's available apartments, report says (AMNY)* You can blame Airbnb for NYC's high rents and dwindling housing market, study says (NYDN)

de Blasio Dumps on Charters to Protect His 2017 Reelection Machine the UFT  
The Post writes that de Blasio, who has said that he supports charter schools, could show that support by allowing them to use unoccupied space in public schools and questions whether he needs to keep adding an expense to the city budget out of ideological spite.

Daily News Shocking No Endorsement of Congressman Nadler
No to Nadler: Rep. Jerrold Nadler undermined global security by supporting President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, shouldn't be reelected (NYDN Ed)

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

NY Times Ignores That NY's Falling Voting Rates is Caused by Loss of Faith in NY's Political Process
The ultimate cost of elections overrun by hidden interests may be the loss of voters’ faith in the political process and governing institutions.

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.

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)

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)

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

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

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

NYPD Two NYPD Chiefs Fined For Dining On Former Queens Library Boss Galante 
EATING AWAY AT ETHICS: Two NYPD chiefs face huge fines for dining on credit card tab of disgraced former Queens library boss Thomas Galante (NYP)

As Feds Investigate Buffalo Billion So Does Cuomo? To Find Out What the Feds Know?
Cuomo gives investigator Moreland Act powers (TU)  But other questions remain about Bart Schwartz's probe into upstate deals

Corrupt Albany Rearranging Chairs On the Titanic
Not worth the wait: A pathetic end to Albany's legislative session (NYDN) Prudence demanded patience in evaluating the blowout of behind-the-scenes deal-making that closed the annual session of the New York Legislature. Having sorted through the detritus, we can only hope for far better performances by Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who took over for Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. They produced half-measures, foolish measures and measures that only lobbyists could love, while significantly repudiating the public interest. Gov. Cuomo went along for the ride. Despite convictions of Silver and Skelos, Flanagan refused to close the LLC loophole, which allows unlimited money in New York politics. But the leaders did agree on a Cuomo proposal to crack down on evasions of the campaign finance laws. All too conveniently, Flanagan and Heastie failed to agree on terms for stripping the pensions of convicted public officials. On education, Flanagan continued to make a plaything out of mayoral control of the city schools, out of anger at Bill de Blasio’s attempt to dethrone him — but both houses conspired with the mayor and well-connected union lobbyists to boost the cost of city school bus services. In January, Cuomo proposed a $2 billion investment to finance affordable and supportive housing. The governor, Flanagan and Heastie put the money in the budget, but couldn’t agree on how to spend the cash. So only $150 million was freed up, potentially slowing necessary construction. Meanwhile, the Legislature showed downright hostility toward the tech economy, enacting a law that would essentially kill the Airbnb home sharing service and blocking expansion of call-a-car services like Uber. To restore popular fantasy sports betting — after the attorney general shut it down as illegal gambling — the Legislature fatuously relabled the games as something else while placing them under the gambling commission, all but ensuring a legal challenge. And, notoriously, Cuomo, Heastie and Flanagan turned their backs on childhood victims of sexual abuse at the unfortunate behest of the Catholic Church.* De Blasio’s recently departed press secretary Karen Hinton in the Daily Newsoffers advice to the mayor about how to survive his love-hate relationship with the news media and emerge stronger by adjusting to new media without forgetting lessons from the old.

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

No Albany Ethics Income Restrictions But A Shot At Team de Blasio's Lobbyists and PACs
 Albany passes weak corruption reform bill (NYP) Government watchdogs slammed state lawmakers for passing watered-down ethics reforms during a legislative session that saw two of the three most powerful people in Albany sentenced to prison for corruption. Bleary-eyed legislators waited until 5 a.m. on the final day of the legislative year to push through a bill regulating political consultants, lobbyists, not-for-profits and fund-raising committees.  

But the measure only stripped politicians of their pensions upon conviction of corruption charges. Stronger proposals to ban their ability to earn outside income and restrict contributions from limited liability corporations — actions that led to the downfall of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — went by the wayside. Government watchdogs slammed state lawmakers for passing watered-down ethics reforms during a legislative session that saw two of the three most powerful people in Albany sentenced to prison for corruption. 

Cuomo Goes After de Blasio's Lobbyists PAC Run Shadow Govt
Bleary-eyed legislators waited until 5 a.m. on the final day of the legislative year to push through a bill regulating political consultants, lobbyists, not-for-profits and fund-raising committees. But the measure only stripped politicians of their pensions upon conviction of corruption charges. Stronger proposals to ban their ability to earn outside income and restrict contributions from limited liability corporations — actions that led to the downfall of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos — went by the wayside.And Manhattan Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger called it “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” 

The new bill would force consulting firms that do business with the state and city to disclose their clients, make issue-advocacy groups and lobbyists reveal their funding sources and restrict how independent committees communicate with and give cash to candidates. Albany insiders said many of the measures were slipped in to curb Mayor de Blasio’s electioneering ability, and his reliance on outside consultants, including Berlin Rosen, as he seeks a second term in 2017.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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.

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... 

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.

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

Talk About Lessons Unlearned: Uber Lobbyists Tusk Wants to Pick de Blasio's Challenger
Ex-Bloomberg campaign aide on hunt for de Blasio challenger (NYP) Mike Bloomberg’s former campaign manager is so hellbent on dumping Mayor de Blasio that he launched a site Monday to recruit a challenger. “It’s an embarrassment that we have a mayor under massive federal investigation,” said Bradley Tusk, who helped orchestrate former Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 third-term victory. “I’m going to put together an effort to find the best possible opponent. I’ll do whatever I can to help them,” he said.

NYP Pours On the Mayor Troubles While the Daily News Attacks GOP Senate
Scandals hurt de Blasio’s bid for extended school control(NYP) *
Our kids, mayor and control: State senate Republicans use kids for payback against de BlasioNYDN

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

As investigations have swamped City Hall, the notion that Mayor Bill de Blasio has brought about a unified New York appears to have all but vanished as an argument for his winning a second term.

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

The de Blasio Years When Developers Ran the City 
The people have spoken on Mayor de Blasio’s creative political fund-raising, now under the microscope of federal and state investigations. More than half of voters in a recent Quinnipiac poll say yes to the proposition “Do you think Mayor de Blasio does favors for developers who make political contributions to campaigns in which he is involved or don’t you think so?” Of those, all but a handful deem that conduct either unethical or outright illegal.  Between the probes and the frequency with which his generous political donors also end up with blessings from the city for real estate projects, it’s no wonder New Yorkers turn a withering gaze on what sure looks like dirty business.  Where de Blasio’s theory of civic transformation fell apart was on his own administration’s competence to swim with the real estate sharks who own New York . One donor gobbled the Lower East Side nursing home where apparently clueless city administrators lifted a deed restriction based on the buyer’s pinky promise to keep it a health facility — then flipped it for condominiums.  Another blotted out the Upper East Side sky with a luxury tower many stories taller than zoning allows because the Department of Buildings got outfoxed by a wily developer who bent the rules. Another clue that de Blasio’s real estate bureaucracy is no match for the sharks: The stunning cancellation last week of Flushing West, one of seven much-heralded new housing development zones. And developers privately say that in outer-borough neighborhoods, de Blasio’s updated version of the 421-a tax break, which went belly-up in Albany, would have padded their profits far more than under the expired program — while counting as affordable apartments units renting for at or close to market rate. We can call all of these bargains with the sharks win-wins — and de Blasio does. We can call them giveaways to wealthy developers. Perhaps the corruption label will ultimately stick — but far likelier we’ll remember the de Blasio years as the era when real estate ran the city.

What About the Super Talls Building That Are killing New York City's Neighborhoods?A de Blasio-backed bill aimed at boosting the city’s affordable-housing stock by lifting a state cap on the size of residential projects has suddenly gained steam in Albany and could be approved later this month, the Post writes.

Both Came to Light Because of A Federal Investigation Not Pols Who Look the Other Way

Both of those fails came to light only because community boards and City Council members Margaret Chin and Ben Kallos sprang into action at the behest of constituents who had gotten the cold shoulder from the mayor’s side of City Hall.

Cuomo Moves State Police Into NYC 

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

Control of City Schools Up In the Air 
State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has continued to torment Mayor Bill de Blasio as the mayor lobbies to have mayoral control of schools extended, introducing a one-year extension with new oversight that drew swift criticism, the Times writes. * The fate of mayoral control over New York City schools could come down to a political game of chicken, with the Assembly Democrats in the position to force the Senate GOP into a take it-or-leave it three-year extension of the expiring law, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.

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

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

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

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

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

Editor's Note: True News Will Soon Be Up to Full Speed Showing How the Media is Covering Up New York's Corrupt Election System 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes City Hall consulted with de Blasio’s campaign on candidates. With one of de Blasio’s biggest bundlers, businessman Anthony Bonomo, the list states City Hall was to “ask Elana Leopold before we go any further.” Leopold is a longtime de Blasio campaign worker.  Bonomo — who bundled $44,550 for de Blasio — was put on the Mayor’s Fund and got a personal sitdown with the mayor at City Hall on April 23, 2015. He could not be reached for comment. The list also reveals coordination between the mayor's lobbying fund, Campaign for One New York, and his administration. The mayor, who formed the group to support his causes, has been criticized for using it to evade the $4,950 donation limit. Campaign for One New York donors gave unlimited amounts as high as $350,000. The list obtained by The News shows that Campaign for One New York Director Ross Offinger recommended several candidates for appointments, including philanthropist Lorna Brett Howard, who’d just given the organization a $10,000 check. De Blasio then put her on the Mayor’s Fund board. Offinger has received a subpoena from investigators looking into de Blasio’s fundraising. Nearly all the candidates appeared to need approval from Emma Wolfe, a top de Blasio deputy who deals with lobbyists. Wolfe has also received a subpoena in the ongoing fundraising probes. Twice Wolfe gave her approval — “EW approves” — for the mayor to appoint lobbyists who records show were actively lobbying her on behalf of their clients. Lobbyist James Capalino and another lobbyist in his firm, George Fontas, got an “EW approves” while both were seeking her support for a client’s proposed condo tower at the former Long Island College Hospital site in Brooklyn. Neither got appointments, but Capalino and Fontas’ lobbying of Wolfe apparently paid off. The Campaign for One New York sent out a mailer in support of the apartment tower Capalino’s client was pushing for the hospital site. Veteran lobbyist Sid Davidoff made it on the list with the caveat “look up client list.” The mayor gave him a position on the Wildlife Conservation Commission. The list also notes public relations rep Steve Aiello was recommended for a slot on the Jazz at Lincoln Center board “per Sid Davidoff.” Aiello, a big jazz fan, got it.* An internal spreadsheet created by the de Blasio administration and obtained by the New York Daily News reveals a blatant and highly choreographed effort to reward donors and power players with highprofile VIP appointments. The list even goes so far as to suggest that the mayor appoint lobbyists who were and are actively lobbying his administration on behalf of their wealthy clients.

Sheinkopf and Other Lobbyists Blocking Child Sex Law Reforms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

de Blasio Sinking Hoisted on His Own Petard 

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

NYT It Is Time to Stand Up for New Yorkers

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

State Corruption Investigation
Amid high-stakes court battles, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has hired two attorneys. * A report detailing how many jobs were created in 2015 under the START-UP NY program is nearly eight weeks late and some are questioning why. * Cuomo Admin: Up To Investigator To Release Buffalo Billion Report (Updated)  * Cuomo Plans To Unveil More Reform Measures * Challenging Legislature, Cuomo Unveils 8 LLC Closure Bills *Cuomo Offers 8 Bills to Cap Contributions From L.L.C.s (NYT)Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is seeking to close a loophole that allows almost unlimited amounts of money to flow to political candidates.* * Cuomo has pointed to his hiring of an internal investigator as evidence of taking a federal probe seriously, but former prosecutors said an internal probe amid a federal inquiry could be challenging and questions have been raised about Cuomo’s tolerance for an independent probe, The Wall Street Journal reports. * The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has authorized the hiring of two new attorneys after several PR firms sued the state lobbying regulator over its plan to have PR professionals disclose dealings with editorial boards, Politico New York reports. * The Times Union writes that, faced with a lawsuit from public relations professionals, JCOPE is doubling down on its wrongheaded plan to have PR professionals report contact with editorial boards and hiring a law firm at a cost of up to $300,000 annually.* Sources: Federal (Bharara's) probe into (Cuomo-controlled) DPS, energy projects broadening * Cuomo throws Percoco,Howe, and Kaloyeros under the bus - but will he fool the feds? 
Cuomo says he had no input into his top CNY contributorgetting state contracts * AG Investigators Searches SUNY Poly Office (YNN) * Cuomo: Closing Loopholes In Election Law ‘Top’ Issue (YNN) *   CLOSE THE ALBANY BROTHEL: Heastie and Flanagan must join Cuomo to shut the LLC loophole (NYDN Ed)

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

The Interlocking-Directoriates of the NYPD GiftGate Scandal 

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

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

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

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

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

The Federal Case Against Cuomo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Two Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

de Blasio campaign 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Keys to the Intelocking Directorates of the Mayor’s Fund Raising Pay to Play Governing Campaigning Scam Bharara & FBI Investigating Chart
1.  Reichberg raised money for the mayor in 2013, held a fund raiser for his Campaign for One NY PAC $9,900 to the in addition, Rechnitz was one of the biggest bundlers for de Blasio’s campaign, raking in more than $40,000 from contributors. ***2.  Reichberg donated $50,000 to de Blasio’sCampaign for One New York— Hizzoner made his first visit to     Borough Park after taking office in 2014 to Reichberg’s million-dollar-plus home for a Campaign for One New York fund-raiser  Hizzoner also does not plan to return the $50,000 that went to the Campaign for One New York.  *** 3.  Election lawyerLawrence Mandelker works for the mayor;s Campaign for One NY PAC  4. Mandelker works for the mayor campaign committee5. Mandelker represented the Advance Group on its Illegal work in the race that made Mark-Viverito the council speaker before the AG, CFB and Conflict Board       

6. The the CFB, AG and Conflict of Interest Board made the Council Speaker and Advance paid a small fine for the illegal work done by Advance Group 7,8.9,10 The mayor and Council Speaker pick all the members on the CFB and Conflict of Interest Board 11.Nislick & Neu had meeting w/ mayor 3 days after $100K donation to CONY #CarriageGate12.Neu and Nislick donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to NYCLASS PAC that destroyed Quinns mayoral campaign Anti-horse-carriage lobbyists Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu have donated $125,000 combined to de Blasio’s nonprofit CONY — which doesn’t fall under campaign-finance law restrictions — and landed three meetings with Hizzoner through August. The huddles included a March 2 meeting that occurred three days after the lobbyists gave the nonprofit $50,000 each.          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Look At NY's Undemocratic Party System 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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