Sunday, December 25, 2016

Two Grand Juries Investigate Team de Blasio

Two Grand Juries Sitting On De Blasio Corrupt Fundraising This Time the de Blasio Arrest is For Real and Not A Campaign Prop
Grand juries convene over de Blasio fundraising probes (NYP) Two grand juries have convened in Manhattan and have begun hearing testimony related to the federal and state investigations into Mayor de Blasio’s campaign fundraising, a new report said Thursday night  The revelation that prosecutors are presenting evidence about the de Blasio Administration’s fund-raising efforts does not mean the mayor will face criminal charges, according to The New York Times, but showed that more subpoenas could be forthcoming in the growing investigation of de Blasio and his aides.  The state investigation focuses on whether de Blasio and his nonprofit groups violated the law by raising money and funneling it through Democratic county committees for State Senate candidates. The federal instigation revolves around whether de Blasio helped donors who contributed to this 2013 mayoral campaign. Grand Juries Said to Hear Testimony on Inquiries Into de Blasio Fund-Raising  (NYT) Two grand juries in Manhattan are hearing testimony in federal and state investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fund-raising, people with knowledge of the matters said. Two separate grand juries in Manhattan have begun hearing testimony in connection with federal and state criminal investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising, according to several people with knowledge of the matters.
Special Agent Lobbyist Campaign Consultant Berlin Rosen The Center of the City Hall Pay to Play Scandal 

The investigations are focusing on de Blasio aides Emma Wolfe and Ross Offinger and political operative Josh Gold, the Times said. Offinger, one of the mayor’s top aides, was accused of “willful and flagrant violations” of state law after allegedly coordinating the fund-raising.

 It was unclear whether either inquiry would result in criminal charges against the mayor, but the grand jury activity appeared to be the strongest indication since the investigations came to light in April that prosecutors may be moving closer to one or more indictments, possibly against some of Mr. de Blasio’s closest aides. The inquiries have centered on Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, and several of his senior aides, according to the people with knowledge of the matter, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret. The state investigation has focused on whether the mayor, or those acting with him or on his behalf, violated state election law by raising hundreds of thousands of dollars through three upstate county committees and funneling it to Democratic candidates during the party’s unsuccessful 2014 bid to gain control of the State Senate. The questions asked by state prosecutors in their grand jury presentations suggest their inquiry is in some measure centered on Emma Wolfe, Mr. de Blasio’s top political aide, Ross A. Offinger, who was then his campaign finance director, and Josh Gold, a union political operative who worked on the 2014 Senate effort, the people with knowledge of the inquiry said. The federal investigation has examined whether Mr. de Blasio or his aides took beneficial action on behalf of donors in exchange for contributions they had made to his 2013 mayoral campaign, his political nonprofit or both in roughly a half-dozen instances, according to people with knowledge of that inquiry.

@unitedNYblogs have to include pay-to-play invest and who that might incl: DMs Shorris & Glen, DCP chair Weisbrod, General Svcs commish?

How True News Investigation Unit Exposed the Campaign for One NY Interlocking directorates of Team de Blasio’s Pay to Play
Several of the witnesses to testify before the federal grand jury were current or former city officials who were knowledgeable about one of those matters, in which Harendra Singh, the owner of a popular restaurant and wedding venue in Long Island City, Queens, was negotiating a new lease with the city, several of the people said. One such witness was Stacey Cumberbatch, former commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, an agency that manages city franchises and negotiates leases. Because federal and state grand jury proceedings are conducted in secret, few details were available about the witnesses who have appeared so far, the substance of their testimony or the nature of any other evidence that may have been presented to the panels. But the fact that prosecutors have begun presenting evidence to the grand juries suggests the unrelated inquiries are probably moving into their final stages, and could wrap up in a matter of weeks.  The identities of the small number of witnesses who have appeared — some in recent days — and interviews with people with knowledge of the matter provides some sense of what federal and state prosecutors are focusing on in the grand jury presentations.

Offinger was the top fund-raiser for CONY. Wolfe, De Blasio’s top political lieutenant, became enmeshed in the controversy surrounding the controversial sale of the Rivington House nursing home, which developers planned to convert into luxury condos.

 Mr. de Blasio has been steadfast in maintaining that he and the members of his administration have acted appropriately, something his spokesman, Eric F. Phillips, reiterated late on Thursday, adding, “He remains focused on running the city.”  On Tuesday, Mr. de Blasio was asked at a news conference on an unrelated matter whether he or any of his “employees in city government” had been asked to testify before a grand jury.  “I have not been asked to testify before a grand jury,” he replied. “I can’t speak to other people.” Mr. Phillips also defended Ms. Wolfe, the mayor’s director of intergovernmental affairs. “Emma is an exemplary, honest public servant who has done absolutely nothing wrong,” he said in a statement in response to questions about the state grand jury’s apparent focus on her. “We look forward to this coming to a conclusion and her being fully cleared.” Harlan Levy, a lawyer who represents Mr. Offinger, said that his client had done “nothing wrong.” “He was simply doing his job and is a person highly respected for his work as a fund-raiser,” Mr. Levy continued. Mr. Gold’s lawyer, J. Bruce Maffeo, said: “No reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against Josh Gold on these facts, and if they did, it’s a case they would certainly lose at trial.” The office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are conducting the federal inquiry. The office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is conducting the state inquiry.

Harlem Deer Dies, Giving Mayor and Governor Something New to Fight About
All three agencies declined to comment.  In the federal case, prosecutors have secured the assistance of Mr. Singh, owner of Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City, who has been indicted on unrelated federal fraud and bribery charges. Mr. Singh had met with senior officials in City Hall about issues involving his restaurant, and was close to resolving them when he was arrested last year, two people with knowledge of the inquiry said. Mr. Singh, his associates and relatives gave more than $50,000 to Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 campaign and held two fund-raisers at Water’s Edge, which is on city-owned land. The city moved to evict him in early 2015, after an audit concluded that he had underpaid his rent and owed $1.8 million in back rent and fines. e challenged the findings and sued to delay the eviction; at the same time, he sought help from City Hall, working out an arrangement to reduce his arrears and fines. Despite resistance from Ms. Cumberbatch and her aides, the deal was nearly complete when he was arrested on the unrelated charges in September 2015, the people said.

Bhararanado Part 1 Albany 
Bhararanado Part 2 NY City Hall
The investigation into the Senate push in 2014 is focused on whether the Mr. de Blasio’s fund-raising violated a provision in state election law that bans contributions given to a party committee but designated for a particular candidate to evade individual contribution limits. Such committees can accept donations of up to $102,300, far more than the $11,000 general-election maximum that candidates can receive. The committees are not restricted in how much they can transfer to candidates. Prosecutors in New York State appear never to have used this section of the election law to bring a criminal case, and such a violation would be a felony. Subpoenas issued by prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office early in their investigation sought evidence of a scheme to use the county committees to illegally redistribute contributions to candidates favored by the mayor

NYP's McManus: If You Are Not Sure Team de Blasio Committed Crimes By de Creating Campaign for 1NY PAC to Go Around the Election Law and Much More, Ask Liu's 25 Year Old Treasure 
This is the winter of Bill de Blasio’s discontent (NYP Ed) Now comes the winter of Bill de Blasio’s discontent — or, at least, now arrives a pair of grand juries, rooting through his administration just as he enters his re-election year.  The New York Times, for one, reported on the grand juries at week’s end. And earlier reports seemed to lay out in provocative detail the status of the major investigations.  Sources have yet to be quoted on the record anywhere, but that’s part of the game, too. (Think of it as prosecutors prepping the battlespace for combat.). So far as they’re known, the details seem straightforward enough. Bharara apparently is focusing on evidence that de Blasio & Co. cobbled together a pay-to-play political-contribution scheme shortly after taking office — while Vance has zeroed in on allegations that the mayor broke campaign laws while financing efforts to flip the state Senate to Democratic control in 2014.  Again, whether crimes have been committed must be determined. All of which adds up to this: Bill de Blasio is floating in a leaky boat as he enters his fourth year in office, and most of the holes he drilled himself.* Report: GrandJuries to Hear Testimony Over Bill de Blasio Fundraising Probes(Breitbart)

Liu's 25 Year Old Treasurer Went to Jail Locked Up for 10 Months For A "Straw" Donors Scheme

John Liu aide headed to jail(NYP) The disgraced city Comptroller John Liu campaign aide convicted of scamming campaign cash from the city’s Campaign Finance Board must report to prison next week. Jenny Hou, a former aide to Comptroller John Liu convicted on various counts during his mayoral campaign, lost her request to remain free pending her appeal and is headed to jail. Former Liu campaign treasurer Jenny Hou, 27, was sentenced to 10 months behind bars in October for her role in a “straw” donors scheme.

The Feds Make A Case Against de Blasio
A federal investigation into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising has zeroed in on whether donations were exchanged for beneficial city action in about a half-dozen cases, according to people with knowledge of the inquiry.  Prosecutors have subpoenaed thousands of emails and documents from the New York mayor, his senior aides, city agencies, lobbyists, his 2013 campaign, donors to the campaign and to the nonprofit formed to advance his political agenda, the Campaign for One New York — as well as the group itself, which several people with knowledge of the inquiry said played a central role in many of the matters being scrutinized.  The matters under scrutiny, the people said, involve, among others, a company whose soundstages are used to film television shows such as “The Good Wife” and “Blue Bloods” that wanted to expand its operations, and that depends on city permits; those connected to a lucrative development deal on the site of a former hospital that needed city approvals; a popular restaurant and wedding site that was negotiating a new lease with the city; and a garbage bag company seeking a city contract.  

Two donors are now cooperating with the investigation, several people with knowledge of the inquiry said. Investigators recently secured the assistance of Harendra Singh, owner of Water’s Edge restaurant in Queens, who has been indicted on unrelated federal fraud and bribery charges. Mr. Singh had met with senior officials in City Hall about issues involving his restaurant, and was close to resolving them when he was arrested last year, two people with knowledge of the inquiry said.  The second donor, Jonah Rechnitz, has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges and has been providing information in the fund-raising inquiry and other cases, according to officials and court records. Information from Mr. Rechnitz, a real estate developer who sought the mayor’s help for his business, has led to unrelated charges against three senior police officials, a veteran municipal union leader and a financier.
More on Dark Pool Corrupt Consultant Who Will Have to Register As Lobbyists
Berlin Rosen and de Blasio One NY PAC Slush Fund 


More Prof That Feds Are Going After de Blasio NYCLASS Leaders Jump Ship 
Animal rights group NYCLASS bossesleave amid carriage drivers’ harassment suit, mayor fund-raising probe (NYDN) Three higher-ups at the animal rights group that helped elect Mayor de Blasio and unsuccessfully tried to ban horse-drawn carriages are leaving their posts, just weeks after the carriage industry filed a lawsuit against the group alleging harassment.  Allie Feldman, the executive director at NYCLASS, and organizers Chelsie Schadt and Julie Cappiello announced their departure in a letter to the group’s members.  She did not respond when asked if the departures had anything to do with the lawsuit carriage drivers filed against NYCLASS and other animal rights groups, or the law enforcement probes into the group for its work on the 2013 City Hall race with de Blasio. As (True) News previously reported, the FBI is looking at donations NYCLASS made in the 2013 mayoral race.  Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu released a statement praising the outgoing staffers and promised the group would keep fighting to ban horse-drawn carriages. The statement added NYCLASS will hold its former ally de Blasio “accountable” for breaking his campaign promise to curtail the business.
Horse Carriage Politics

The UFT Coup d'√©·tat Of NYC Election System and Democracy 
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election
More On the Advance Group 

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