Saturday, May 7, 2016

NYPD GiftGate Scandal

Bratton No Comment On Corruption Probe Crazy Eddie Wants My Job

 Bratton fires back at ‘crazy’ union boss who called for his resignation (NYP)  “I couldn’t quite understand that. Sgt. Mullins — or Crazy Eddie as he’s known by those of us in the department — Crazy Eddie might now have the motivation that Richard Johnson of Page Six has a column out today that Ed thinks he might be the next police commissioner,” Bratton told WCBS Newsradio 880.* NYPD cop might be fired for staying silent on gifts-for-favors scandal(NYDN  *  Number of cops killed in 2015 dropped from spike in 2014  (NYDN) * An NYPD commander was cooperating with authorities as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe before fatally shooting himself, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.* Cop’s motive for suicide unclear as mourners pay respects (NYP) * NYPD inspector tapped to overhaul gun licensing division suddenly retires (NYDN)Judge bars NYPD from promoting sergeants amid exam scandal(NYP)

Police Met Secretly With Accused Gun License Briber at NYPD HQ, Sources Say(DNAINFO) Alex Lichtenstein allegedly brought snacks to the early-morning meetings in Police Headquarters.* Bratton refuses to answer questions on corruption probe (NYP) Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Sunday refused to take reporters’ questions about the ongoing federal corruption probe that led to a high-ranking cop’s suicide last week.Reporters who showed up to cover an anti-terrorism drill at Kingsborough Community College were repeatedly told before a press conference that “no off-topic questions” would be answered.It’s not uncommon for department brass to restrict the line of questions reporters are permitted to ask at certain events, but it was the first media availability since Inspector Michael Ameri killed himself Friday.* 'WE'RE SEEING HYPOCRISY': NYPD sergeants' union head Ed Mullins calls for Police Commisioner Bratton to step down amid ongoing corruption probe (NYDN) * NYPD sergeants’ union head calls for Bratton to step down amid ongoing corruption probe (NYDN) “It’s time that we start to set the department straight, and if we need to make changes at the top — I personally think Bratton has stayed too long, and it’s time to go,” Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said on the John Catsimatidis AM 970 radio show.“We need to set a standard, and we need to raise the bar, and we need to build the relationship with the community, and we need to set an example of leadership going forward. And I just don’t see it happening.” Mullins charged there is a double standard within the NYPD, where high-ranking brass are punished less severely than lower-level cops and sergeants for the same behavior.“What I am seeing on a regular basis now at the NYPD is, it’s a do-as-I-say, not a do-as-I-do attitude — and this is coming directly from Commissioner Bratton,” Mullins told Catsimatidis. “We’re seeing hypocrisy.”He also hit Bratton for getting a membership to the Harvard Club paid for by the nonprofit Police Foundation. * Eight NYPD sergeants who alleged widespread cheating on the 2015 lieutenants’ exam will file a new lawsuit today challenging questions on the test, potentially throwing coveted promotions into limbo yet again. * A NYPD union head said he had told an NYPD inspector who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in West Babylon on Friday that he was not the focus of a federal corruption probe in the department. * The upper ranks of the NYPD are filled with anxiety, and one senior cop killed himself after being questioned by the FBI in connection with a sprawling corruption probe — but Commissioner Bill Bratton has no comment. * 'Bratton or someone above him needs to have discussion w/ Preet Bharara b4 another 8officer takes his life.' (NYDN)   *NYPD Precinct Head Transferred Amid Karaoke Bar Corruption Scandal: Sources (DNAINFO) * Her husband puts his life on the line every day to guard a city their family cannot afford to live in. That’s the message of the NYPD Patrolman’s Benevolent Association new 7-figure TV ad campaign, which started airing today.

de Blasio Contributions Accused Rip Off Artists That Took Pride In Their Connection With the Cops 
Shady de Blasio donors accused of ripping off Israeli billionaire (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s campaign accepted donations from two Manhattan jewelers who were accused of scamming millions of dollars in cash and gems from an Israeli billionaire known as the King of Diamonds, The Post has learned. The mayor’s contributions were recorded less than a month after a Manhattan Supreme Court suit alleged that Raps had swindled millions of dollars from a jewelry company owned by Lev Leviev, a renowned diamond merchant who’s on the Forbes World’s Richest People list at 278 for 2016. In that suit, Raps — the distributor of singer Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable Diamonds jewelry line — was described as someone who’s “dressed in nice clothing, but he’s the devil.” Turgeman, meanwhile, was sued in December 2013 for allegedly ripping off Leviev through schemes that included purchasing diamonds at inflated prices from Turgeman’s father and other associates, then selling the gems for little or no profit.* De Blasio Donors Took Pride in Connections With Top Police Officials (NYT) The donors, Jona S. Rechnitz and Jeremiah Reichberg, are the fulcrum of a sprawling federal corruption inquiry into police commanders and the mayor’s fund-raising.* The New York Timesdelves into the background of two businessmen tied to an investigation into a quid-pro-quo scheme with the NYPD, who raised money for de Blasio’s campaign and took pride in the connections they had cultivated: * A former top NYPD cop received up to $500,000 in investment income from a real estate firm run by one of two Borough Park businessman at the center of the federal probe into possible police corruption, Newsday reports: * The mayor’s campaign campaign accepted donations from two Manhattan jewelers who were accused of scamming millions of dollars in cash and gems from an Israeli billionaire known as the King of Diamonds.* A former top NYPD cop, Phillip Banks III, received up to $500,000 in investment income from a real estate firm run by one of two Borough Park businessman at the center of a federal probe into possible police corruption, city records show.* Businessman Eyed in Brooklyn FBI Probe Is Scion of ProminentOrthodox Family (Forward)* One of the businessmen at center of FBI probe initially supported William Thompson in 2013 race, NYT:* Brooklyn businessman at center of FBI probe of NYPD servedas Westchester County police chaplain 

A Tale of Two de Blasio Investigation Responses: Play Dumb on Probe As He Gives Back NYPD's GiftGate Rechnitz Campaign Donations 
De Blasio plays dumb on feds’ probe into fundraising (NYP) Mayor de Blasio insisted Sunday that he knows nothing about the feds’ investigation into his fund-raising activities — two days after promising to return shady donations just as news broke of the probe. “I haven’t heard anything about any investigation,” the mayor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning. “There haven’t been any questions posed to me or my team.” He refused to address the investigation further at a public appearance in the afternoon, saying he has “no evidence” the feds were putting his fund-raising under a microscope. “We’ve gotten no indication of that, and until we have something specific to respond to, there’s nothing to respond to,” he said. De Blasio said Friday that he would return donations from one of the businessmen at the center of the FBI’s widening investigation into NYPD corruption. The announcement was made amid revelations that US Attorney Preet Bharara, according to sources, is looking at how the mayor solicits campaign cash from members of the real-estate industry. The Post revealed last week that de Blasio received sizable donations from Jona Rechnitz, the owner of a real-estate investment company who is suspected of being part of an alleged gifts-for-favors scheme in the NYPD. Blasio’s nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York. The mayor attended. Jeremy Reichberg, another target of the probe, held a fund-raiser at his million-dollar-plus home in Borough Park for de De Blasio tried to downplay his ties to the men, who served on his inaugural committee in 2013. “It’s not a particularly close relationship,’’ he said. “I met them first around the time of the general election. I hadn’t known them previously, really haven’t seen them in the last year or more. They supported the effort.” Rechnitz shelled out $50,000 to the Campaign for One New York, which has announced it will shut down. He and his wife gave another $9,900, the maximum amount, to the mayor’s 2013 campaign.  But de Blasio stood by his former campaign-finance director, Ross Offinger, whose fund-raising tactics, sources say, are being probed by the feds. “I think [Offinger] has handled everything with integrity and everything appropriately,” he said.* De Blasio defended his fundraising activities on Sunday after reports surfaced about a federal investigation, and said neither he nor his aides have been contacted by investigators, The Wall Street Journal writes:

Buzz Wiretaps?
de Blasio Refuses to Answer Questions or Return Campaign $$$ In Connection With NYPD GiftGate 
Businessmen eyed in FBI’s NYPD probe big-time de Blasio donors (NYP) The businessmen at the center of a federal corruption probe of NYPD cops have deep financial ties to Mayor de Blasio — with one of them having sent tens of thousands of dollars Hizzoner’s way, sources and records revealed. 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. And when de Blasio asked donors to help the Democratic Party’s bid to take control of the state Senate, Rechnitz handed $102,000 to the Dems, records show. The party’s effort ultimately failed. Rechnitz’s holdings include the real-estate firm JSR Capital. His first big score was selling the Apthorp, a landmarked building on the Upper West Side, almost 10 years ago, a former associate said. “He was a wheeler-dealer,’’ the source said. The brash businessman’s father is extremely well-connected in the Orthodox community, sources added.

Rechnitz’s pal and fellow target of the fed probe, Jeremy Reich­berg, is another well-known Borough Park leader who would “brag about his relationship with the NYPD — and about his personal relationship with the mayor,’’ a community source said. 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. De Blasio refused to answer a Post reporter’s question Tuesday about whether he planned to return any of the tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money he received from Rechnitz, given the scandal. “We’re on this topic, my friend . . . It’s all we’re doing today,’’ he responded when questioned at a press conference about homeless outreach.* Up to 20 senior members of the NYPD were interviewed by federal agents focused on two businessmen with ties to de Blasio as part of an investigation centering on free meals and trips given to police officials, The New York Times reports: *  The Post writes that the probe into the NYPD’s ties tobusinessmen and the acceptance of gifts in exchange for favors is a signal that the pay-to-play culture emanating from City Hall may be influencing the police force:* NYPD detective placed on administrative duty amid federalinvestigation (WSJ) *   Bratton mum on probe into NYPD, but says department will cooperate(PoliticoNY)

de Blasio Says He Took No Gifts, Will Not Return 2013 $ Until We Get Results of the Investigation 
During an appearance at a school in Brooklyn Wednesday morning, de Blasio was asked about his relationship with the two men — Jona Rechnitz, a real estate developer and Jeremy Reichberg, a politically connected Borough Park resident. The two men, who were on de Blasio's inaugural committee, are alleged to have paid for trips to the Caribbean and Israel for then-NYPD chief of department Philip Banks and Correction Officers' Benevolent Association president Norman Seabrook, in addition to supplying expensive gifts to top NYPD brass. Asked if he would return prior donations from the two men, de Blsaio demurred. “An investigation means something is being looked at. Until we get a result, we can’t make final judgements. So, in terms of any past donations, I will make that determination when I see the results of the investigation.”

NYPD Inspector Questioned In GiftGate Kills Himself But Was Told He Did Not Face Any Charges  GiftGate Update
NYPD corruption probe by feds was nearing indictment phase when high-ranking cop committed suicide (NYDN)  Fear of possible indictments and a shakeup of police brass from a corruption probe gripped the NYPD in the days before a high-ranking cop committed suicide, sources told the Daily News. Inspector Michael Ameri, 44, came under increased scrutiny in the days before his death in the mushrooming scandal that involves a pair of businessmen with ties to Mayor de Blasio. Indictments were expected “sometime soon,” with changes among the NYPD’s upper echelon at One Police Plaza likely by the end of May, according to one source.  Details of the investigation could become public as soon as Monday or Tuesday, the sources said. Investigators questioned Ameri, head of the NYPD Highway Patrol Unit, for a second time this past week — and popped into the unit’s office  Thursday in search of files, sources told The News. * ‘It doesn’t make sense’: Cop who killed himself ‘wasn’t in trouble’(NYP) A day after the suicide of top highway cop Michael Ameri, heartbroken colleagues and family were staggered by one unanswered question — why? — given that he was said to have not been criminally implicated in looming NYPD corruption indictments. “I don’t understand it,” one close friend of the respected police commander told The Post on Saturday. “He was told he didn’t face criminal charges. It just doesn’t make sense.” But several higher-ups had told Ameri “that he was OK,” said another source close to the 44-year-old divorced dad from Long Island. “He had been repeatedly reassured.”Probers are seeking evidence that officers were providing police escorts for members of the Orthodox Jewish community in return for gifts, including trips and even loose diamonds.So far, targets have been revealed to include former Chief of Department Philip Banks III and four high-ranking cops who were relieved of their duties last month after The Post exposed the probe. * NYC gun broker accused of bribing cops used cozy relationships with NYPD to have clients avoid mandatory interviews (NYDN) * Gun, badge taken from NYPD pal of cop who killed himself; department fears indictments in corruption probe (NYPD)
Cop questioned in NYPD corruption probe kills himself at golf course (NYP) An NYPD inspector who had been questioned in the ongoing corruption probe of the department fatally shot himself in the head on Long Island on Friday, The Post has learned.  It was not clear whether Ameri was a target of the joint FBI/NYPD investigations, and he had not been charged with any crimes or named as a suspect. But the divorced father of a teenage son was one of several cops assigned to the highway district who were grilled about providing escorts and doing favors for a pair of shady businessmen in exchange for cash and gifts. * High-ranking NYPD cop kills himself at Long Island golf course after being questioned by FBI in massive corruption probe — 'What did the feds know that was so big that he had to take his own life?'   

Cops Union  Pounces On Mayor in Crisis 

Police union claims de Blasio is shortchanging cops (NYP) The city’s police union will begin airing an ad Monday accusing Mayor de Blasio of shortchanging cops. The 30-second radio spot will focus on how NYPD officers “make 34 percent less than cops locally and nationwide.” * Cops didn’t inspect guns purchased through bribery scandal (NYP) Union chief to ‘hypocrite’ Bratton: Resign!(NYP)  “What I am seeing on a regular basis now in the NYPD lately is, it’s a do as I say, not as I do attitude, and this is coming directly from Commissioner Bratton,” Sergeants Benevolent Association President Ed Mullins said on John Catsimatidis’s radio show on AM 970.
“We have a hypocrisy that’s coming right from the top, and it has to stop,” he said.

NYPD Giftgate Mile High Ride

NYPD debauchery with prostitute on private jet exposed (NYP) NYPD officials had sex with a prostitute dressed as a flight attendant during at least one trip on a private plane paid for by a businessman at the heart of afederal probe into police corruption, The Post has learned. Police brass joined the “Mile High Club” with the woman after departing from New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport en route to Las Vegas in 2014, sources said. The call girl repeated her “Coffee, tea or me?” routine when the cops flew back from Vegas, sources said. “It was first-class plus, with full service,” said a source close to the case. “They weren’t on commercial airlines. The entertainment was quite good on board.” Jona Rechnitz, who is under investigation in a suspected gifts-for-favors scheme, provided the high-priced transportation, the sources said. Deputy Inspector James Grant and Detective Michael Milici were both identified by the sources as having been on board during at least one wild cross-country trip.* Orthodox community tangled in NYPD corruption scandal (NYP) NYPD officials acted like personal concierges to members of the Orthodox Jewish community — doing favors from providing free parking at weddings to letting wife beaters off the hook, sources told The Post. “I don’t give a s–t, you’re giving him DAT [desk appearance ticket] and that’s it,” one high-ranking deputy inspector raged after learning that a member of a powerful Hasidic group had been arrested on charges of third-degree assault for attacking his wife, according to a source. In that case, the charges were downgraded to a desk appearance ticket, allowing the man to avoid arraignment court and more serious penalties, the source said. “I still remember that as clear as day,” the source said. “That’s against protocol.” Jeremy Reichberg, a prominent Borough Park figure, and Jona Rechnitz, a real-estate investor, were familiar faces around Brooklyn’s 72nd Precinct, where disgraced Deputy Inspector James Grant, who was placed on modified duty last week, would let them park in his private spot, according to sources. Reichberg was even allowed to attend a roll call at the precinct, where he may have footed the bill for repairs, sources said. Sources said Grant is hardly the only high-ranking officer who has been giving Orthodox community members special treatment. Commanding officers often assign cops to Orthodox wedding receptions, including ones at the Rose Castle in Williamsburg and the Ateres Chaya Hall in Borough Park, according to sources.* Brooklyn man busted for charging to expedite gunpermit applications as part of probe into NYPD (NYDN) 

A Brooklyn man who offered to expedite Gun Permits with the NYPD was arrested as part of far reaching probe into the department, the Daily News has learned. Shaya "Alex" Lichtenstein was arrested Saturday and was facing arraignment Monday, multiple sources said. Lichtenstein, from Borough Park, would charge members of the Orthodox community between $5,000 and $25,000 to expedite their gun permit requests, according to sources. The process can take up to a year and requires multiple checks by the NYPD. It is unclear if Lichtenstein was actually able to speed up the procedure. But his name is tied to multiple permit holders in the community, records show. Lichtenstein, who works in real estate, told the NYPD that the permit seekers needed the guns because they worked in security or in the diamond district, sources said.* Bill de Blasio Ducks Questions About Ongoing Scandals (NYO) * NYC Neighborhood Watch Member Accused of Bribing NYPD Staffto Get Gun Licenses (WNBC) The neighborhood patrolman bragged he used his connection to get 150 gun licenses for people who wouldn't otherwise qualify for them * Brooklyn man arrested forbribery in connection with NYPD-issued gun licenses  * Man Arrested on Charges of Improperly Obtaining Handgun Licenses (NYT)  The arrest of Alex Lichtenstein, a member of a volunteer security force, is the first to materialize from an inquiry into police corruption and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising.

City Grants Frozen
City freezes funds for orthodox Jewish group linked to NYPD scandal (NYP) The city is withholding $35,000 in taxpayer funding from the group Borough Park Shomrim patrol following the arrest of one of its leaders in a nearly$1 million bribery scheme involving NYPD pistol permits. A spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday the cash wouldn’t be handed over until City Hall was confident that Shomrim was “a responsible vendor.”
 Orthodox Jewish leader allegedly bragged about NYPD bribes for pistol permits (NYP) *  NYPD bribery suspect accused of getting ‘violent man’ full-carry gun permit (NYP) Bribery suspect Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein helped score a full-carry gun permit for a man with a history of domestic violence who once threatened to kill a loved one, the feds alleged Monday.  The man, identified only as “License Holder-1,” has been the subject of at least four domestic-violence complaints — one of which involved the death threat — and was once arrested for forgery, court papers said. He has also been in four car crashes and has gotten slapped with three vehicle-related summonses and about 10 moving violations.* Brooklyn man busted for charging to expedite gun permit applications as part of probe into NYPD (NYDN) * The bigger they are: Churning NYPD scandal snares top cops (NYDN Ed) * * A member of a volunteer Orthodox Jewish security force in Brooklyn that works closely with New York City police was arrested for allegedly paying NYPD officers to expedite gun-permit applications, the latest development in a corruption probe, The Wall Street Journal reports:  * With nine top members of the NYPD removed from their posts for different corruption scandals in recent weeks, Commissioner Bill Bratton needs to rat out any remaining rotten cops before New Yorkers completely lose trust, the Daily News writes:  * I paid fixer $12,500 for gun licenseand wound up with nothing (NYP) The building owner is complaining that the FBI blocked his bid last year to get a carry permit from the NYPD — after he paid more than $10,000 to a fixer who was busted this week for allegedly bribing cops. The 72-year-old man, who asked to be identified at “Jay,” told The Post that he’s appealing to the FBI to overturn the denial with the help of Manhattan gun-licensing attorney John Chambers. He said he needs a firearm because he collects cash rents from a Queens building he owns.

Cop at Center NYPD GiftGate Fired
Detective at center of NYPD probe suspended after trying to retire (NYP) An NYPD community affairs officer who was stripped of his gun and badge tried to retire Monday – triggering his immediate suspension because he is still a target of a federal corruption probe. Detective Michael Milici, a 20-plus-year veteran currently assigned to Brooklyn’s 66th Precinct in Borough Park, was placed on modified duty earlier this month after invoking his Fifth Amendment rights before a grand jury hearing evidence in the case. Milici was being questioned about his relationship with two Jewish businessmen suspected of offering cash and gifts to police brass in exchange for favors, such as free NYPD security at special events and rides to and from the airport. The Post reported exclusively that Milici and other police officials took at least one trip on a private plane with the men in 2014, and that at least some on board allegedly had sex with a hooker dressed as a flight attendant.

Ponzi Scheme Tip Off Feds to NYPD GiftGate Scandal 

Summary of NYPD GiftGate gift and cash scandal rocking the NYPD. Even the two shady Brooklyn businessmen who allegedly handed out the goodiesare not the big fish. And don’t be distracted by the arrest of a man accused of running a Ponzi schemeout of a failed restaurant that some of the cops frequented.

$12 million Ponzi scheme linked to NYPD corruption probe (NYP) he owner of a trendy Harlem cafe that was used as a hangout by allegedly corrupt NYPD bosses was indicted Friday for operating a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, officials said. Hamlet Peralta, who regularly entertained the high-ranking NYPD officers at his since-shuttered Hudson River Cafe, was arrested in MaconGa., and charged with wire fraud by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. He is accused of swindling a dozen investors — including two businessmen at the center of the FBI’s police corruption probe — out of more than $12 million, claiming he would sink their money into a wholesale liquor business. “As alleged, Hamlet Peralta solicited investors for his fictitious wholesale liquor business by peddling wholesale lies,” said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. Jeremy Reichberg, a prominent figure in Brooklyn’s Borough Park, and Jona Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real-estate businessman, invested more than a million dollars in the scheme, sources said.
The pair is suspected of doling out lavish gifts to NYPD officials in exchange for favors — an alleged pay-to-play scheme that sources said was brought to light during an investigation into Peralta’s liquor business. “As I’ve said before, the business of our public-corruption unit is corruption, and right now, business is a-boomin’,” Bharara said at a New York Press Association event in upstate Saratoga Springs. “As I’ve said before, the business of our public-corruption unit is corruption, and right now, business is a-boomin’,” Bharara said at a New York Press Association event in upstate Saratoga Springs. “We don’t know where all the corruption is happening, and it turns out, it’s often the case you folks are better at figuring those things out. You folks can ferret out and expose things often before we can,” Bharara said.* Manhattan Restaurateur With Ties to U.S. Corruption Inquiry Is Arrested in Ponzi Scheme (NYT) Hamlet Peralta, who owned the Hudson River Café in Harlem, is accused of misappropriating more than $12 million, according to a criminal complaint.* Cop disciplined amid FBI probe was given CommunityService Award at event attended by Commissioner Bill Bratton days beforediscipline (NYDN) Sunday FAMILY FAVOR: Jeremy Reichberg, Brooklyn bigwig in FBI probe, allegedly used NYPD to help nephew escape assault charges (NYDN)

WCBS @MKramerTV is reporting that US attorney is Looking at DEB's Real Estate fundraising as a result of NYPD scandals

FBI Questing People In Real Estate How the Mayor Raises Money Ross Offeringer Former de Blasio Fundraiser Involved. NYPD GiftGate Target Reichberg raised money for the mayor in 2013, held a fund raiser for his Campaign for One NY PAC and raise over 100,000 for the mayor 2014 fight to make the state senate controlled by the democrats
Sources: NYPD Corruption Probe Expands To Mayor DeBlasio’s Campaign Fundraising (WCBS)  A federal corruption probe into NYPD officials has been expanded to investigate the fundraising activities of Mayor Bill de Blasio, sources said Friday. As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the expansion of the probe in some ways seems like a natural offshoot of the initial corruption investigation.*Bharara reportedly asking about donations to de Blasio Capital New York‎

Fed Have Expanded Its Investigation of NYPD GiftGate Into the Entire Pay to Play Culture of Team de Blasio
Businessmen eyed in FBI’s NYPD probe big-time de Blasio donors (NYP) The businessmen at the center of a federal corruption probe of NYPD cops have deep financial ties to Mayor de Blasio — with one of them having sent tens of thousands of dollars Hizzoner’s way, sources and records revealed. 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. And when de Blasio asked donors to help the Democratic Party’s bid to take control of the state Senate, Rechnitz handed $102,000 to the Dems, records show. The party’s effort ultimately failed.

Rechnitz donated $50,000 to de Blasio’s nonprofit group, the Campaign for One New York, and Rechnitz and his wife shelled out the maximum $9,900 to the mayor’s 2013 campaign, records show. n addition, Rechnitz was one of the biggest bundlers for de Blasio’s campaign, raking in more than $40,000 from contributors. 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. De Blasio campaign operatives said they will give back the donations from Rechnitz and his wife but keep the more than $40,000 in bundled contributions. Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who both served on the mayor’s inaugural committee in 2013, are at the center of the NYPD investigation. Hizzoner also does not plan to return the $50,000 that went to the Campaign for One New York. The mayor announced last month that he was disbanding the Campaign for One New York after good-government groups called for an probe into whether it was ­violating campaign-finance and conflict-of-interest laws. The $102,300 that Rechnitz, who runs the real-estate firm JSR Capital, gave to Senate Democrats at de Blasio’s urging will not be returned, either. Offinger was also treasurer of the nonprofit and once served as a campaign-finance director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. * CITY HALL REFUND: Mayor de Blasio to return campaign donations from businessman in FBI probe of NYPD (NYDN) * Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign Fund-Raising Scrutinized in U.S.Corruption Inquiry (NYT) *  Source: Mayor Returning Campaign Donations from Real Estate Executive in Alleged NYPD Bribery Scandal (NY1)

NYPD GiftGate Transfer Shake Up 4 Top Cops Reassigned  
On SI A Black Man Gets Killed for A Loosey While Another has A Top Cop Protect His Diamonds
Bratton reassigns 4 top police officials amid joint NYPD-federal probe (PoliticoNY) Four senior police officials were removed from their commands and placed on desk duty — with two of the officials stripped of their guns and badges — as part of a two-year joint investigation with police and federal officials. “This is not a particularly good day for the department,” police commissioner Bill Bratton told reporters inside NYPD headquarters this morning, where he announced that Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant were stripped of their guns and badges. Bratton also announced two other officials, Deputy Chief David Colon and Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez, were “transferred to administrative positions so they will not be working operationally in the field.” Bratton did not specify what the four men may have done wrong, but said the probe is looking at whether there was a violation of NYPD rules, city Conflict of Interest rules, and, possibly federal law.*  Four NYPD Officers Disciplined as Part of Federal CorruptionProbe (WSJ)*  Four high-ranking veterans of the NYPD were reassigned to desk jobs in what is likely to be a first wave of discipline stemming from a wide-ranging federal corruption investigation. The action against such prominent police commanders — three deputy chiefs and a deputy inspector — was a rare public rebuke to the senior management of the nation’s largest municipal police force.

NYPD GiftGate: Banks Trips On Ponzi-Schemer NYPD FBI Gang Takedown
This top cop traveled to DR with ‘ponzi-scheming’ club owner (NYP) The “very, very high-ranking [NYPD] officer” who the feds say traveled to the Dominican Republic with an accused Ponzi-scheming club owner is former Chief of Department Philip Banks III, The Post has learned. Multiple sources on Wednesday confirmed that Banks was the police boss referenced during a bail hearing for Hamlet Peralta, who ran a Harlem eatery that served as a hangout for allegedly corrupt cops. Banks flew on a private plane from Teterboro Airport to the Caribbean nation for a golf trip and a stay at a waterfront condo with Peralta in November 2013, sources said. Also on the trip were Mayor de Blasio’s buddies Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, the source said. Sources also identified Deputy Chief David Colon as the high-ranking cop the feds say introduced Peralta to victims of the alleged $12 million Ponzi scheme. 

Gang Takedown More than 100 gang members arrested in largest takedown in NYC history (NYP)* THAT'S A RAP! Bloods-linked members charged with running $414G identity-theft ring, using stolen cards to shop at pricey stores — one suspect rapped about crimes (NYDN) * FACES OF THE ARRESTED: See the Bronx gang members busted in police raids across the borough — SEE THE PHOTOS (NYDN) * NYPD goes gangbusters (NYDN Ed)* With anti-cop hysteria unabated in some quarters, the historic mass takedown of two criminal gangs is a reminder that the NYPD gets the job done and New York’s streets — safe as they already are — just got a whole lot safer, the Postwrites:  * Biggest Gang Bustin NYC History, New Blizzard Record and More (NYO)

de Top Cop Probed By FBI Says "I"m F..K'

Top cop probed by FBI tells friends: ‘I’m f—d’ (NYP) The current boss of the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct accepted diamonds and cash from one of the businessmen at the center of a federal investigation, sources told The Post. Deputy NYPD Inspector James Grant was at his Staten Island home when he was handed hundreds of dollars by Jeremy Reichberg, a prominent figure in Borough Park, around Christmas, sources said. Grant soon became aware that the feds had opened a probe into the NYPD, and he told close friends, “I’m f–ked. I can’t go to jail,” a source said. Investigators also discovered that Grant on multiple occasions had personally escorted Reichberg from the airport after overseas trips to pick up diamonds. “[Grant] said he would meet him at the airport and get him back to where he had to go,” the source said. “And as a form of payment, he’d give him one or two really nice cut diamonds to give to his wife.” Grant has known Reichberg for about eight years, including Grant’ s time as head of Sunset Park’s 72nd Precinct from 2011 to 2014, sources said. The police boss is still well known in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish communities — having doled out hundreds of Captains Endowment Association cards that bear his name and read, “Please extend all courtesy to the holder of this card.”

Kelly Attacks Bratton For Promotions Given to Officers Under Investigation
BRATTON BASHES BANKS' BUMP: NYPD commissioner feuds with former top cop Kelly over promotions given to officers under investigation (NYDN)* How ‘f—d’ cop used Judaism to curry favor with probed businessmen (NYP) Disgraced Deputy Inspector James Grant was so cozy with his pals in the Orthodox Jewish community that he kept a mezuzah on his office doorpost — even though he isn’t Jewish, sources told The Post Thursday.* F—d’ NYPD cop’s wife part-Tony Soprano, part-dominatrix (NYP) * Four high-ranking veterans of the New York Police Department were reassigned to desk jobs in what is likely to be a first wave of discipline stemming from a wide-ranging federal corruption investigation, The New York Times reports:Bratton announces 4 high-ranking cops are disciplined amid FBI corruption probe, 'Not a particularly good day for the department' (NYDN)

Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real-estate investor, are both at the center of a federal probe into whether high-ranking members of the NYPD took lavish gifts in exchange for favors. According to sources, NYPD cops received presents like Super Bowl tickets and vacations to China and Brazil, while giving out favors such as police escorts for business deliveries and extra security to manage crowds at Hasidic weddings. Up to 20 members of the NYPD — including Grant and two other deputy inspectors — are being grilled about their knowledge of these dealings, sources said. Reichberg has been suspended from his role as a volunteer chaplain with the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, according to a report.

As one of four chaplains since June 2013, he offered support to cops and took part in police events, including police academy graduations and memorials for fallen officers.* $3G OF TAXPAYER MONEY SPENT ON RIBS? FBI probe into NYPD corruption scandal focuses on massive feast for Midwood cops (NYDN)* Tarnishing the NYPD brass (NYDN Ed) * 2 high-ranking NYPD officers transferred, 2 put on desk dutyamid FBI probe (WNBC) * 'NOT A GOOD DAY FOR THE DEPARTMENT': Bratton announces four high-ranking NYPD cops disciplined amid FBI corruption probe  (NYDN) * Tarnishing the NYPD brass (NYDN Ed)  * Espaillat will return money from donor in federal probe (PoliticoNY) State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, one of the Democrats running for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Charlie Rangel, said Thursday he will return donations he received in 2014 from real estate developer Jona Rechnitz, a central figure in an ongoing corruption probe that has already led NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to reassign four top police officials.  According to Federal Election Commission filings, Rechnitz gave $7,600 to Espaillat’s 2014 congressional campaign. That year, Rechnitz also donated $6,500 to Espaillat’s state Senate campaign account.

Former Chief of Dept Banks Big FBI Problem  
NYPD chief quit amid FBI’s probe into ‘inordinate amount of cash’(NYP) He was once a rising star in the NYPD — and a finalist to be Mayor de Blasio’s police commissioner. But Chief of Department Philip Banks stunned city leaders when he resigned in late 2014, rather than take a promotion to the No. 2 spot in the department.  Now, The Post can reveal that Banks was the target of an ongoing federal corruption probe when he walked away from his job as one of the most powerful men on the force. Investigators found “hundreds of thousands” of dollars in his bank accounts that raised red flags, sources said on Wednesday. “He did bow out in kind of a strange manner,” said a source involved with the investigation.

The feds discovered the money while looking into his close relationship with two businessmen beingprobed for giving gifts to high-ranking NYPD members in exchange for favors. “Banks had collected an inordinate amount of cash,” a source familiar with the case said. “Which begged the question, where is he getting this money? How is he getting it?” “We were hearing about alleged gifts and all of these trips he was taking,” the source said. Sources said the feds and the Internal Affairs Bureau were also tipped off that Banks had several rental properties in the names of relatives, and may have had a side business selling liquor. The investigation into Banks and his businessmen pals began with an IAB probe into an unnamed Bronx cop, sources said.  The NYPD called in the feds on that case, which eventually led to Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg — who are suspected of giving gifts to high-ranking cops as part of an illegal quid pro quo, according to sources. Banks and correction officers union chief Norman Seabrook took trips with Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real-estate investor, and Reichberg, a leader in Borough ParkBrooklyn, sources said.  At least part of their bills were paid for by Rechnitz, sources said. Banks also received two golf trips to the Dominican Republic, according to a government source, and got a free hotel stay in Israel, where he visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem with Rechnitz and Reichberg in October 2014. A source close to Banks said he only became aware of the investigation after he stepped down as chief of the department — and that’s when he hired celebrity lawyer Ben Brafman to represent him* Former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks, who was a rising star when he quit in 2014, was one of the targets of a police investigation into a quid-pro-quo scheme with two businessman, the Post writes:\
How Does The Ticket Fixing Scandal Fit Into NYPD GiftGate

NYPD GiftGate Deepens 
FBI probe finds NYPD cops got Super Bowl tickets, lavish trips (NYP) The gifts were lavish — Super Bowl tickets and vacations to China and London. The favors were troubling — using NYPD cops to provide security for private cash and jewelry deliveries and police escorts for funerals and airport trips to transfer bodies to Israel. New details emerged Tuesday in the FBI’s corruption investigation into the Police Department, including how deep-pocketed businessmen who were the original targets of the probe sought out high-ranking members they knew could “get things done for them,” sources told The Post. “They don’t go to police officers or detectives. They’re too far down the food chain,’’ a law-enforcement source said of the politically connected businessmen. “They go straight to the top: the [commanding officer], lieutenants and other top officials at the precinct,” the source added. “They get things done for them. All they need to do is make a call.” The favors ranged from getting police escorts for their own business deliveries, to crowd control during Hasidic weddings, and even receiving special security when Torahs are moved, according to sources. The feds are looking into whether high-ranking NYPD officers then received gifts as part of an illegal quid pro quo — including jaunts to the Super Bowl, ChinaLondonBrazil and Rome, and golfing trips to the Dominican Republic, sources said. The suspected corruption surfaced during a separate financial investigation into Mayor de Blasio cronies Jona Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real-estate powerhouse, and Jeremy Reichberg, a prominent figure in Borough ParkBrooklyn, the sources said. Wiretaps on the two men raised red flags because there were so many phone calls to and from cops, sources said. “When it’s replayed, it might not sound good,’’ a source said of the wiretaps, explaining that they involve one of the businessmen making requests and the cops saying they’ll take care of it, although it’s unclear if any criminal conduct occurred. Up to 20 NYPD members — including Deputy Inspector James Grant, the head of the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct, and two other deputy inspectors — are being grilled over what they might know, sources said. Some were questioned during 5 a.m. visits to their homes by the FBI. Staten Island Highway Sgt. Al Bono was questioned by agents at his house last week. Sources said the you-scratch-my-back I’ll-scratch-yours arrangement between the department and local leaders has been going on for decades — and that Rechnitz and Reichberg are experts at mining it.Rechnitz is “always bragging about his relationship with the cops, how he knows everyone,” a former work associate said. “He drops names to the cops that he knows Mayor de Blasio and [former NYPD Chief of Department Philip] Banks. He thinks he’s a big shot because of his so-called connections,” the source added. “I don’t know why these [cops] got friendly with him.’’ Banks and his buddy, correction officers union chief Norman Seabrook, were the first law-enforcement officials to come on the feds’ radar, sources said. Both took overseas trips with Rechnitz and Reichberg, with Banks’ and Seabrook’s bills at least partly paid for by Rechnitz, according to sources. Banks also was treated to two golf trips to the Dominican Republic, a government source said, and Reichnitz covered his hotel bill in Israel, where Banks posed in uniform at the Western Wall, even though he was on personal time. Ben Brafman, Banks’ lawyer, said Tuesday, “It does not appear that Mr. Banks, either while employed by the New York City Police Department or after he retired, was involved in any intentional criminal conduct.”A source said Seabrook is suspected of using Rechnitz’s JSR Capital LLC to invest union money without board approval.* New details have emerged in the FBI’s investigation, showing that high ranking members of the NYPD received international trips and Super Bowl tickets in exchange for personal police escorts and other special treatment, the Post reports: Subpoenas from  theAG's office were sent out last week to several players involved in the deal, a spokesman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. The subpoenas were from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, according to people familiar with the matter.

FBI Investigating de Blasio Pals For Gift to the NYPD Outgrowth Of Cop Money Laundering Probe  

FBI investigating NYPD for alleged ‘gifts-for-favors’ scandal (NYP) The FBI is investigating suspected NYPD corruption focusing on the relationship between two politically connected businessmen and a slew of officers throughout the ranks, multiple sources told The Post on Monday. The feds are grilling about 20 cops — including three deputy chiefs and the head of the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct — over gifts and foreign trips that the businessmen may have doled out to them in exchange for favors, law-enforcement sources said. A grand jury also has been convened, sources said. The investigation began with an unrelated deal-gone-awry involving the two businessmen — Mayor de Blasio buddies Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, well-placed sources said. They gave a large sum of money to a third party who was supposed to buy discounted liquor for them to sell at a profit, but investors lost their money and the feds opened a fraud probe, sources said. Wiretaps on the two businessmen’s phones revealed relationships with several NYPD cops — and the probe soon led the feds to then-NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks and his close pal,

Corrections union president Norman Seabrook, sources said. Reichberg, who lives in Borough Park, is a police buff known for his NYPD connections, while Rechnitz is a deep-pocketed de Blasio donor from the Upper West Side, sources said. The businessmen became close friends with Banks and Seabrook, with the foursome traveling together to the Caribbean and to Israel in 2014.  Rechnitz picked up both men’s tab for the Caribbean jaunt, sources said. He also paid Seabrook’s airfare and hotel bills in Israel, while Banks paid for the flight but allowed Rechnitz to pick up his lodging tab, sources said. Although he was on his personal time, Banks wore his NYPD uniform during a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and when he returned to New York, shared what he had learned with authorities here, sources said. As a thank-you gift for all Rechnitz had done, Banks and Seabrook bought him a pricey backgammon set made of ancient wood. “[We] spent $5,000 on the backgammon set — custom-made from Israel — so that nobody could say they bought me the [plane] ticket,’’ Seabrook told The Post Monday. “There is no quid pro quo. There’s nothing [the FBI] could say Norman did wrong,’’ he added, referring to himself. Banks could not be reached for comment. Rechnitz also paid for at least part of other cops’ trips to places such as LondonRomeLas Vegas and the Caribbean, sources said.  Several sources said those being questioned as part of the probe include Deputy Inspector James Grant, head of the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct; Brooklyn South Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez; and Deputy Housing Chief Michael Harrington. Harrington worked for Banks before the chief of department retired. “Most of the bosses questioned are not targets,’’ a law-enforcement source claimed. One of the officers who has already testified before the grand jury is veteran NYPD Community Affairs Officer Michael Milici, sources said. The detective pleaded the Fifth and was placed on modified duty, sources said. Rechnitz and Reichberg both served on de Blasio’s “inauguration team’’ that planned his party when he took office in 2014.* NYPD cop involved in federal money laundering probe, may have accepted gifts in exchange for police escorts (NYDN) An NYPD officer tangled in the snare of a federal probe has been put on modified duty and stripped of his badge and gun, the Daily News has learned. Michael Milici, a longtime community affairs detective in the 66th Precinct, was placed on restricted detail after he refused to answer questions from a grand jury, sources said Monday. The trouble began when the feds launched a financial fraud inquiry within the NYPD. It grew out of an earlier probe by the FBI and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office that involved fraud and possible money laundering, sources said. Now investigators are also trying to determine if some NYPD officers accepted gifts from Jewish community leaders — including a Borough Park activist with close ties to city officials, sources told The News. Some officers were suspected of doing favors for at least two prominent local businessmen — including providing police escorts for Jewish funerals. The cops might have received gifts, like paid vacations, in return, sources said. Under NYPD rules, officers are not permitted to accept free meals, much less vacations.  A number of NYPD brass have been interviewed. Additionally, a former chief appears to be part of the investigation, as well as another retired NYPD supervisor with ties to the 66th Precinct. The probe into illicit favor trading was sparked by a comment caught on a wiretap by a Jewish businessman, who was under investigation for something entirely different, sources said. Sources said the feds suspect he gave gifts to cops and bought meals for at least some of them. Milici’s lawyer said he and his client were in the dark about the feds’ investigation. “He asserted the Fifth to the grand jury completely,” attorney Patrick Parrotta said of Milici. “We don’t know exactly what their theory is ... we don’t know what’s on their minds, he said. Asked if his client had taken any gifts, Parrotta had an immediate adamant response. “No, of course not,” he said. *  The FBI is investigating suspected NYPD corruption focusing on the relationship between two politically connected businessmen and a slew of officers throughout the ranks, sources tell the NY Post.Update Bratton: NYPD will ‘cooperate fully’ with corruption probe (NYP)* State Attorney General eyes shady dealing from Lower East Side developers, lobbyist who turned Rivington St.nursing home for AIDS patients into luxury condos (NYDN)

Captain who bailed on shot cops may soon face historic charges (NYP) The NYPD is looking to make an example of the captain who blew off his duties after a double cop shooting — by bringing the first-ever criminal charges against an officer for stealing time from the department, The Post has learned.  The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau is analyzing Capt. Scott Forster’s E-ZPass and cellphone to figure out if he was skipping out on his job and getting paid for the time, law-enforcement sources said. Investigators also are looking at his New York Law School schedule to see if he was taking classes when he was supposed to be working.


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