Sunday, November 20, 2016

de Blasio's Pay to Play Dirty Money

More de Blasio Dirty Pay to Play Campaign Money from 2013 This One Came With Fake Names

Shady de Blasio Fundraiser Asked City Hall for HotelRezoning Help: Sources (DNAINFO) The night club impresario and beauty product wholesaler whose employees made suspicious donations to Bill de Blasio's campaign threw a fundraiser in 2013 for the future mayor under a bogus name and two years later met with City Hall officials about rezoning a Queens property that he wanted to turn into a hotel, DNAinfo New York has learned.  Sm-Ali "Alex" Amanollahi — whom DNAinfo wrote about last spring for his connection to possible straw donations and for losing money to accused fraudster Hamlet Peralta — co-hosted a fundraiser in October 2013 at a club under the name Alex Amano, sources said. In total Amanollahi, his employees, family and friends gave at least $55,000 to de Blasio's campaign and transition committee in 2013, records show.  Two years after the fundraiser, Amanollahi hit up City Hall officials with help in rezoning his property at 23-04 94th St. in East Elmhurst, sources said.  The rezoning discussions took place in 2015 and 2016. The talks involved Amanollahi, who was going by Alex Amano, meeting with deputy mayor Alicia Glen's chief of staff, James Patchett, and one of her senior advisors, Steven Caputo, at City Hall, according to sources. Amanollahi's decision to scrap his hotel plan also came around the time that the media began reporting about federal investigators looking into possible pay-for-favor schemes involving the NYPD and de Blasio's fundraising.  DNAinfo reported exclusively in May that federal investigators were also looking into straw donations made to de Blasio's campaign. In its report, DNAinfo identified two drivers for Primary One — Amanollahi's beauty product business in Glendale — who each contributed nearly $10,000 to de Blasio inside of two months.  At the time, when DNAinfo contacted one of the drivers, Rafael Zepeda, he initially acknowledged making the donations. But hours later, Zepeda, who lives in a modest third-floor walk-up in Corona, called DNAinfo to say he didn't make the contributions.  De Blasio's campaign recently made good on its promise to give up donations that were connected to Amanollahi. It handed over $37,150 in contributions from Amanollahi, his employees and his associates to the city's Campaign Finance Board on Oct. 19, 2016, records show.

de Blasio Sees Failing Schools As Pay to Play Cash Cows for Consultants

Pricey bureaucrats plague de Blasio’s program to fix failing schools (NYP) After keeping it secret for more than a year, the city Department of Education has finally revealed it employs at least 114 bureaucrats and “coaches” — making a combined $12.7 million a year and rising — to run Mayor de Blasio’s stumbling Renewal program to fix failing schools.  In response to a lawsuit by The Post charging Freedom of Information Law violations, the DOE turned over a list of 71 Renewal administrators and other staffers, most earning well over $100,000 annually.  However, the list failed to mention a $175,000-a-year superintendent and 42 “leadership coaches” and “ambassadors,” the DOE acknowledged Saturday. The Renewal crew oversees 86 of the lowest-achieving schools citywide — down from 94 when the program started two years ago. The DOE has closed or merged eight. Yet despite persistent poor performance, enrollment drops, safety problems and low student attendance, Renewal administrators got raises of 2.5 percent to 10 percent this school year, records show. As Renewal costs have risen, enrollment has dipped 16 percent, from 45,140 students in 2014-15 to 38,870 in 2015-16. “Parents with little confidence in Renewal schools are withdrawing their children, or not enrolling them,” Davids said.  Chronic absenteeism in Renewal schools was 43.4 percent in 2014-15 — a dismal stat exposed by The Post in July, after Fariña falsely claimed that absenteeism was actually down.* Previewing Education Agenda for Re-Election Run, De Blasio Doesn't Focus on Charter Schools (NY1)

Slumlord Contributes to de Blasio and Campaign for One NY And Gets City Hall to Pass Tax Breaks for Billion Dollar Astoria Cove Project
Notorious slumlord a longtime deBlasio supporter (NYP) Efstathios “Steve” Valiotis ranked third in an annual Top 100 list of worst landlords tallied by Public Advocate Letitia James.  Records show that his Queens-based Alma Realty donated $5,000 to de Blasio’s nonprofit Campaign for One New York, while company officials chipped in another $5,525 to the mayor’s 2013 campaign fund.  Alma had 1,077 open violations with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and another 64 with the Buildings Department in eight buildings it manages around the city, according to James’ report. * City Councilapproves Astoria Cove with unanimous vote (Times Ledger) * Steve Valiotis Alma Realty | Astoria Cove Project (Real Deal)   A 1995 court decision reveals that Steve Valiotis, a principal of Astoria Cove developer Alma Realty, allegedly bribed representatives of a Greek bank to get a $5.7 million loan in 1990.* Lobbyists for Astoria Cove is Sid Davidoff 

DNAINFO Finds Another Pay to Play deB Contractor, Not Just About Rat Bags

Feds Probe De BlasioFundraiser Whose Engineering Firm Won Big Contracts (DNAINFO) A top bundler for Mayor Bill de Blasio is under federal investigation over his campaign fundraising and contracts the city awarded his environmental engineering firm, DNAinfo New York has learned. Manhattan federal prosecutors slapped Charles Hocking and his firm, Hazen and Sawyer, with subpoenas earlier this summer as part of their wide-reaching probe into the mayor and possible pay-to-play schemes, according to sources. Federal investigators have sought records connected to Hocking's donations to de Blasio, communications that Sawyer had with city personnel and contracts awarded to Hazen and Sawyer, the sources said. Hocking, the president of Hazen and Sawyer, raised more than $22,550 in campaign donations for de Blasio's 2013 mayoral run, campaign finance records show. The donations were all made two days after de Blasio won the Democratic primary. Nearly all of the 46 donations Hocking bundled were from Hazen and Sawyer employees, records show.  Earlier in the 2013 election season, Hocking had raised $20,700 in donations for mayoral contender Bill Thompson. After de Blasio won the general election, Hocking raised an additional $30,350 for his transition team. The majority of the money again came from Hazen and Sawyer employees, records show. Hazen and Sawyer, which specializes in controlling water pollution, has been awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in city contracts over the past three decades — and it has continued to win lucrative gigs in the past three years, records show.

Another Lobbyist Capalino de Blasio Pay to Play Fake Bid Central Park Bathhouse Contract Has Cause A Lawsuit  
De Blasio ethics stench hovers over Central Park boathouse (NYP) A restaurateur who lost out on the concession to run the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park — even though his offer was $19.5 million higher than the winner — is now suing the city, charging that he lost out to a bidder who should never have been involved in the process because he donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York. Robert Towers, who once ran the Bryant Park Grill, is suing the city to void the contract awarded to longtime Loeb Boathouse operator Dean Poll. The lakeside restaurant is among the city’s most popular wedding venues. Towers says in his Manhattan civil suit that Poll should have been disqualified from bidding for the 15-year concession, largely because he donated $10,000 to the mayor’s nonprofit, which is now shuttering amid an ethics probe, in what the state Board of Elections called a potential conflict of interest. The Post could not find a record of Poll donating to  The Campaign for One New York, but he did give $10,000 to the New York State Democratic Campaign Committee in October 2014. The State Board of Elections said in a January document that Poll’s donation to the committee may be a conflict of interest because it was made at the mayor’s behest while Poll had business before the city. Under city laws Poll “would not have been permitted to contribute more than $400…to the mayor directly,” according to the Board of Elections.  “Dean Poll’s donation to Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York can be characterized as one made to ‘pay-to-play’ to” continue running the Central Park landmark. Poll’s hiring of James F. Capalino Associates, a lobbying firm linked to de Blasio, coincided with the bid renewal process in late 2015 and early 2016, the suit says. That retention was prohibited by state law because Poll had a pending bid before the city at the time, according to court papers.m The Parks Department used “changed selection criteria” that “benefitted only Dean Poll” by downplaying his history of labor violations and underreported revenue. The Parks Department told Towers that Poll was the winning bidder even though Poll only offered a minimum $19.2 million in fees over 15 years to the city while Towers proposed $38.8 million.

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