Thursday, July 14, 2016

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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... 




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.”



Months Ago True News Said the Campaign for One NY PAC Sending Should Count to His 2017 Spending Limits
And the NYCLASS PAC is A Clear Case of Overspending By the Mayor in His 2013 Election
How Bill de Blasio tore the heart out of NYC’s campaign laws (NYP) Should nakedly political spending by Mayor de Blasio’s pocket nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, count against the legal limits on his re-election spending?  The decision’s up to the city Campaign Finance Board — which is now dominated by appointees of the mayor and his hand-picked City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, so don’t expect a crackdown. After all, in off years, the campaign spending cap is $328,000. Yet CONY has spent more than $4 million since 2013 to tout de Blasio’s political agenda.  Because Team de Blasio raised that cash from a host of developers and unions with business before the city, it faces multiple probes. But Tusk is right that the whole arrangement is also a challenge to the city’s system of public campaign finance. If a mayor can use his power to freely raise and spend millions to boost his public profile, no challenger can hope for anything remotely close to a level playing field. Under the campaign-finance laws, the mayor is limited to spending $7 million through the 2017 primary election; if CONY outlays count, he’s already run through half of it. But if they don’t, then he’s made a mockery of the limit. De Blasio admits he created CONY — and actively raised cash for it — to advance his agenda. So it certainly doesn’t qualify as “independent expenditures,” which aren’t subject to CFB limits. And the CONY scheme defeated another goal of the laws, namely to limit the time politicians spend grubbing for cash. Just last month, Common Cause New York complained that the mayor’s use of the nonprofit has led to nonstop political fund-raising. Maybe it was technically legal. De Blasio helped write the campaign-finance laws, so he’s got the expertise to end-run them. We’ve never liked these laws, not least because they’re slanted to boost the power of unions and stifle political spending by the business community. But if the loopholes are truly this big, then the taxpayer-funded campaign-finance program is even more rigged than we ever imagined.




Feds Interviewing de Blasio Donors
People familiar with the matter said federal and state investigators have received thousands of documents related to de Blasio’s fundraising activity and have begun interviewing donors, The Wall Street Journal reports.













Groundhog Day NYCHA Spins Another Clean Up Lead Paint As Feds Investigate

The Daily News writes that child lead poisoning is a “serious issue” in public housing and that it fully merits federal investigators’ probe into how the New York City Housing Authority responded to the toxin’s presence in apartments. Failing to lead on lead: The trouble with NYCHA's lead remediation strategy (NYDN) Since 2010, city Department of Health tests have found dangerously high lead levels in 202 children living in 133 apartments. Still, Olatoye assured the City Council in March that just 18 of the apartments contained elevated levels of lead in paint, which becomes hazardous to children when it flakes or peels.What she failed to say, and what Greg Smith found in a Daily News special report, was that, using reliable X-ray technology that can detect lead through layers of paint, the Health Department had identified lead in 63 of the kids’ apartments. Rather than send in repair and repainting crews, NYCHA elected to challenge the Health Department’s results in all but a small number of cases. Running its own test, using paint chips pried from surfaces flagged as containing lead, NYCHA persuaded health inspectors that lead levels were safe in all but 17 (not 18) of the units. Because the lead typically lurks beneath more recently applied layers of paint, NYCHA insists it usually isn’t harmful. But chronically leaky housing projects, where sudden water damage frequently cracks walls and ceilings, demand far greater precaution. In all, NYCHA estimates that as many as 10,000 apartments home to tots contain untreated lead paint. Yet except in rare instances , the authority conducts remediation only after occupants move out, in order, the authority says, to work more safely in vacant apartments. Bubble Mayor No Town Hall de Blasio Spins and the NYC Press Defining Journalism Down

Is Spin Doctor de Blasio Telling Us He is Open to the Press? What Crap
De Blasio commends himself for giving the Post press credentials (NYP)


Albany Legislature Avoids Important Issues, Pass Feel Good Bills, As They Leave Town
New York Legislature passed laws on boozy brunches, cremated cats and hunting for her — but squat for sex abuse victims (NYDN) While state leaders appear ready to turn their backs on child sex abuse victims again this year, they found time to shower love on female hunters, brunch-goers and pet lovers.  But lawmakers this year did manage to pass an array of apparently more pressing legislation. Among them is a bill to allow the use of fluorescent pink, instead of just orange, hunting attire in order to attract more women and young people into the woods. Meanwhile, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders, who couldn’t come to terms on a bill for sex abuse victims, did agree on legislation that would allow restaurants to begin serving alcohol on Sundays at 10 a.m., instead of the current noon requirement. The Legislature also passed a bill that would let the cremated remains of dogs and cats be buried with their owners. Another bill that passed both houses would allow college students under 21 enrolled in programs involving the agriculture, hospitality and beverage industries to partake in tastings at off-campus wineries, distilleries and breweries as long as they are supervised by an instructor.* State lawmakers assembled a deal on many issues Thursday evening, including a one-year extension of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s control over the school system and a measure that would strip convicted electeds of their pensions, The New York Times reports. * * New York’s Legislature couldn’t leave town without approving up to $50 million a year in tax subsidies for music and video game producers, modeled after the state’s existing (and outrageous) giveaway to film and TV producers, the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon writes.

Feds Sampson No McDonnell Bribery You Go To Jail for Obstruction of Justice and Lying to FBI

John Sampson’s bid for a new trial is shot down (NYP) Brooklyn federal prosecutors on Friday shot down convicted ex-state Sen. John Sampson’s bid for a new trial, saying a recent Supreme Court decision clearing a different politician does not apply in his case. Sampson filed a motion seeking another trial citing the high court’s decision overturning the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. But prosecutors argued Sampson wasn’t convicted of bribery, so the McDonnell ruling isn’t relevant. Sampson was found guilty of obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI as part of a mortgage-fraud investigation.





Team de Blasio Knew About the Rivington Nursing Home from the Begining Shorris Lied
Memos Suggest City Hall Knew of Nursing Home’s Sale Early (NYT) In a pair of memos obtained by The New York Times, a top official in the de Blasio administration was apprised on the progress in removing the restrictions at Rivington House twice in the middle of 2015 — suggesting involvement and coordination by close advisers to Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, months earlier than the administration has acknowledged. In the memos the Department of Citywide Administrative Services informed the first deputy mayor, Anthony Shorris, that it was working to remove the restrictions after Allure Group, a for-profit nursing-home company, had agreed to pay the city $16.15 million to do so. The transactions that resulted in the lifting of the restrictions and the sale of the nursing home to condominium developers are the subject of parallel investigations by the state attorney general, the city comptroller and the city’s Investigation Department. “Landau seeks to remove the restrictions but intends to use the property as a for-profit nursing home,” the department’s then-commissioner, Stacey Cumberbatch, wrote to Mr. Shorris in a memo dated May 6, 2015, referring to an owner of the company, Joel Landau. “The next step is a public hearing,” she added, “prior to requesting a mayoral authorization document.” After the city removed the restrictions on the property, which barred any use other than as a nonprofit health care center, Allure Group sold the home to the developers in February for $116 million. Officials at City Hall have said that Mr. Shorris did not know until after the sale that the city had lifted all deed restrictions on the property. The first deputy mayor “learned of the transaction and the lifting of the full deed restriction in late February,” according to background on the deal provided by City Hall in April, after the transactions became public. “He did not know D.C.A.S. had lifted the deed restriction for Allure.” But in the May memo — and in another on July 8, 2015 — Ms. Cumberbatch updated Mr. Shorris as part of a weekly report on “items of interest.” “D.C.A.S. is proceeding to remove two use restrictions that were imposed when the Rivington House property was sold by the city in 1992,” the July memo explained, one limiting use to nonprofits, the other to health care providers. The department “expects to have a formalized deed modification approved by the Law Department in July,” according to the memo, copied to two members of Mr. Shorris’s staff.Mr. de Blasio has said he did not find out about the questionable deals surrounding Rivington House until he heard about it from the media. City Hall officials have said that Mr. Shorris and others, who were scrambling to address the issue in early March, did not bring it to the mayor’s attention because they were still gathering facts.  The subject also did not come up, City Hall officials have said, during a meeting between Mr. de Blasio and Mark G. Peters, the commissioner of the Investigation Department, at City Hall on March 1, the same day that officials have said the agency began its inquiry. The city also halted all new deed changes that day. “It looks like there is movement on the Rivington House issue,” wrote Ms. Cumberbatch’s chief of staff, Sally Renfro, in an email on Sept. 2, 2014, to the general counsel for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. She added that a staff member “from DM Shorris’s office called to ask if there are any other steps required to remove the deed restriction on Rivington House, assuming Village Care pays the appraisal amount,” referring to the original nonprofit owner of the home. de Blasio Build Baby Build Bigger  DeBlasio trying hard to pass real estate friendly legislation in Albany * Brooklyn is officially the most unaffordable housing market in America (Business Insider)



The NYT Reports About Dark Money PAC In Other States But Not NYC Where There Guy de Blasio PACs are Under Federal Investigation 
The Secret Power Behind Local Elections (NYT) The rise of dark money may matter less in the race for president or Congress than for, say, the utilities commission in Arizona. Voters probably know much less about the candidates in contests like that, which get little news coverage but whose winner will have enormous power to affect energy company profits and what homeowners pay for electricity. For a relative pittance — less than $100,000 — corporations and others can use dark money to shape the outcome of a low-level race in which they have a direct stake. Over the last year, the Brennan Center analyzed outside spending from before and after the 2010 Citizens United decision in six states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts — with almost 20 percent of the nation’s population.




Groundhog Day Cuomo Fights de Blasio and the AG 

War of Words Erupts Again This Week Between Cuomo and de Blasio (NY1) * Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio continue to clash because ‘they don’t trust the other one’ (NYDN)* * Some eyebrows were raised that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has made cracking down on so-called zombie properties a top priority in recent years, was not invited to Cuomo events touting new legislation to combat the problem,the Daily News’ Lovett reports.


NYPD More Arrests Coming
NYPD official: More arrests coming in corruption scandal (NYP) More people will be arrested as a result of the wide-ranging federal probe into police corruption, an NYPD official said Friday — two days after the city correction-union boss was busted as part of the investigation. “There will be charges in the future, but we’re not going to get into the time frame today,” Lawrence Byrne, the Police Department’s deputy commissioner for legal matters, said during a press conference at 1 Police Plaza. The feds and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau are “aggressively pursuing a number of leads,” he said.




Groundhog Day NY Peeing In the Street, Buffalo Billion Corruption Probe, School Control
De Blasio approves bills making it easier to pee and drink in the street (NYP)
Investors are pulling out of the Buffalo Billion project amid corruption probe (NYP)
Getting de Blasio school control isn’t on Cuomo’s to-do list (NYP)




Team de Blasio Knew About the Rivington Nursing Home from the Begining Shorris Lied
Memos Suggest City Hall Knew of Nursing Home’s Sale Early (NYT) In a pair of memos obtained by The New York Times, a top official in the de Blasio administration was apprised on the progress in removing the restrictions at Rivington House twice in the middle of 2015 — suggesting involvement and coordination by close advisers to Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, months earlier than the administration has acknowledged. In the memos the Department of Citywide Administrative Services informed the first deputy mayor, Anthony Shorris, that it was working to remove the restrictions after Allure Group, a for-profit nursing-home company, had agreed to pay the city $16.15 million to do so. The transactions that resulted in the lifting of the restrictions and the sale of the nursing home to condominium developers are the subject of parallel investigations by the state attorney general, the city comptroller and the city’s Investigation Department. “Landau seeks to remove the restrictions but intends to use the property as a for-profit nursing home,” the department’s then-commissioner, Stacey Cumberbatch, wrote to Mr. Shorris in a memo dated May 6, 2015, referring to an owner of the company, Joel Landau. “The next step is a public hearing,” she added, “prior to requesting a mayoral authorization document.” After the city removed the restrictions on the property, which barred any use other than as a nonprofit health care center, Allure Group sold the home to the developers in February for $116 million. Officials at City Hall have said that Mr. Shorris did not know until after the sale that the city had lifted all deed restrictions on the property. The first deputy mayor “learned of the transaction and the lifting of the full deed restriction in late February,” according to background on the deal provided by City Hall in April, after the transactions became public. “He did not know D.C.A.S. had lifted the deed restriction for Allure.” But in the May memo — and in another on July 8, 2015 — Ms. Cumberbatch updated Mr. Shorris as part of a weekly report on “items of interest.” “D.C.A.S. is proceeding to remove two use restrictions that were imposed when the Rivington House property was sold by the city in 1992,” the July memo explained, one limiting use to nonprofits, the other to health care providers. The department “expects to have a formalized deed modification approved by the Law Department in July,” according to the memo, copied to two members of Mr. Shorris’s staff.Mr. de Blasio has said he did not find out about the questionable deals surrounding Rivington House until he heard about it from the media. City Hall officials have said that Mr. Shorris and others, who were scrambling to address the issue in early March, did not bring it to the mayor’s attention because they were still gathering facts.  The subject also did not come up, City Hall officials have said, during a meeting between Mr. de Blasio and Mark G. Peters, the commissioner of the Investigation Department, at City Hall on March 1, the same day that officials have said the agency began its inquiry. The city also halted all new deed changes that day. “It looks like there is movement on the Rivington House issue,” wrote Ms. Cumberbatch’s chief of staff, Sally Renfro, in an email on Sept. 2, 2014, to the general counsel for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. She added that a staff member “from DM Shorris’s office called to ask if there are any other steps required to remove the deed restriction on Rivington House, assuming Village Care pays the appraisal amount,” referring to the original nonprofit owner of the home. de Blasio Build Baby Build Bigger  DeBlasio trying hard to pass real estate friendly legislation in Albany * Brooklyn is officially the most unaffordable housing market in America (Business Insider)


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.



New Corporate Journalism If Your Don't Like What Happening Or Can't Spin Your Narrative Don't Cover the News
Today's Papers Ignore and Do Not Investigate the de Blasio or Cuomo Both Under Fed Investigation

We Fixed the Rivington Nursing Home Deed Scandal?

What About Corrupt Election PACS That Controlled the 2013 Election and the 2017 Election? 

What About the 7 Areas of Corruption Being Investigated by Bharara

What About Cuomo's Pay to Play Buffalo Billion?






Dream On, Shelly and Dean, Supreme Court Won't Save You From JAIL
Dream on, Shelly & Dean: Supreme Court won't save you (NYDN Ed) As if clutching a get-out-of-prison card for their corrupt and convicted client, lawyers for former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver cheered the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision Monday to vacate the conviction of ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and make it tougher to prosecute government officials on the take. No, folks, nothing to see here in Silver’s proven acts of fraud and extortion, as found by a jury last November — just “conduct that is part of the everyday functioning of those in elected office,” Silver’s legal team crowed. Theirs is the delusion of the desperate and despicable.  Silver, no more or less than former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, stands convicted of gross abuses of the public. Silver delivered state funds to a cancer doctor who in turn sent lucrative clients to Silver’s law firm. He also steered real estate developers to a law firm that paid him generous kickbacks, while advancing measures they backed. Skelos delivered votes and secured funds on behalf of a real estate lobbyist and a related company that paid his son Adam amply for a job he barely attended, and repeatedly leaned on officials in his Nassau County power base to assist. Facing utterly different circumstances, the Supreme Court tossed McDonnell’s conviction because while he and his wife greedily took gifts from a peddler of quasi-medical supplements, McDonnell did nothing more than hold meetings and make referrals in return. 


The McDonnell decision says that in order to prove government corruption, federal prosecutors must first identify a matter in question, such as a bill or contract, and then show what “official act” that politician took on the matter in exchange for a thing of value. Showing that Silver and Skelos each performed such acts in exchange for personal benefit is exactly what Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara did when he secured the two men’s convictions, along with that of Adam Skelos. Under no circumstances can such vile actions in betrayal of public trust stand as tolerable under the law. In the unlikely event either man wrings a reprieve on appeal, it will fall to Congress to strengthen anti-corruption statutes and draw a blazingly bright line between right and wrong.* SCOTUS Decision on VA Governor Could Impact NYS Corruption Cases (NY1) * The Supreme Court won’t stop Preet Bharara’s campaign to clean up New York (NYP) And as Bharara noted, “the official actions that led” to the convictions of Skelos and Siver “fall squarely within the definition set forth by the Supreme Court.” What Skelos and Silver did went far beyond that. Silver provided state grants to a doctor who referred clients to Silver’s law firm, while Skelos steered lucrative contracts to a prolific campaign donor. So the Supreme Court’s ruling may protect dubious pork and other “legal graft” that is New York pols’ bread and butter. But it won’t shield the sort of quid-pro-quo deals that Bharara is still investigating. “Corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York,” Bharara said Sunday. And the high court has still left him plenty of room to do something about it.* Two of the most powerful New York politicians convicted of public corruption, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, received possible lifelines as the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell,The Wall Street Journal writes.* The Post writes that the Supreme Court’s decision to vacate McDonnell’s conviction won’t stop U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara from pursuing corruption convictions in New York, as the type of quid-pro-quo deals he has been investigating will stand up in court. * While Silver and Skelos may have hope that the Supreme Court’s McDonnell decision may lead to their own convictions being thrown out, the type of “gross abuses of the public” they engaged in will prevent them from being let off the hook, the Daily News writes  * The Supreme Court’s decision in the McDonnell case also highlights the failure of the state Legislature to put in place stricter state corruption laws this session, even after its top two leaders were convicted on corruption charges, Newsday writes.






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.

Berlin Rosen's Levitan de Blasio Flack Declined to Say If Other Straw Shady Cash Will Be Returned
De Blasio’s team in no rush to return shady cash (NYP) Three weeks after saying it was reviewing suspicious donations tied to one of its biggest supporters, Mayor de Blasio’s campaign said Monday it still hasn’t decided whether to return the money. The Post reported on June 8 that some contributors tied to production company Broadway Stages dodged questions when asked why they wrote checks to de Blasio’s 2013 campaign. After The Post’s story appeared, de Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said the campaign was “reviewing” donations. A week later, the mayor said the same thing. “We’re certainly looking at those donations,” he said. “I think we do a thorough job of identifying anything that, on its face, does not belong.” On Monday, Levitan declined to say whether any of the checks would be returned.

Lawyer Mastro Fought Against WFP' Data and Field, Son of NYCLASS. Data is Where Team de Blasio Learned to Go Around Election Laws



Mastro Journey From Data and Field to NYCLASS
Errol Louis discussed the investigation into Mayor de Blasio, and his dealings with the horse carriage industry, with former Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro, who is counsel to the controversial anti-horse carriage industry group NYCLASS.
The WFP and Berlin Rosen Has Played Fast and Lose With the Election Law, Data and Field Arrests 
Today the Media Protect the Corrupt Political Bosses, Ignoring the Unfair Advantage Data and Field Gave Candidates in 2009, or PACs in 2013 
WFP the New Progressive Machine, Is it Corrupt At Its Core?
de Blasio's Campaign Lobbyists Control A Secret Shadow Government 
Horse Carriage Politics and the Central Park Stables
How the Advance Group Conspired to Steal the 2009 and 2013 Election
CrainsNY on the Advance Groups Double Dipping
Who Watchers the Watchman, Lobbyists, Grand Jury, AG - DAsConflict of Interests With NYPD and Elected Officials
Campaign 2013 Media Failure And Broken Political Promises


Port Authority Yes $$$ Airport, Bus Terminal No Penn Station 
Port Authority Pledges Billions for Airport Upgrades and New Bus Terminal (NYDN) * The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted to require a construction company overseeing La Guardia Airport’s redevelopment to pay for an outside “integrity monitor” after it admitted to overbilling at the World Trade Center site.  Port Authority Board members also advanced several major projects—including renovations at two area airports – as the agency’s mounting tensions burst into the public spotlight at raucous meetings. * The Authority backed out of a lease in the James A. Farley Post Office, temporarily throwing a wrench into part of Cuomo’s plans to pay for the project. * The Port Authority voted to spend tens of billions of dollars revamping La Guardia Airport, improving Newark Liberty International Airport and building a new bus terminal in midtown Manhattan, The New York Times reports: * The Port Authority voted to require Tishman Construction Corp. to pay for an outside integrity monitor as the firm oversees the La Guardia Airport redevelopment because Tishman admitted to overbilling at the World Trade Center site, The Wall Street Journal reports: * Govs. Cuomoand Chris Christie will leave the Port Authority in worse shape than during Bridgegate – and leave commuters in worse condition than when the two men took office – because of the tick-for-tack nature of the agency’s funding strategy, Nicole Gelinas writes in the Post: h


Port Authority Yes $$$ Airport, Bus Terminal No Penn Station 
Port Authority Pledges Billions for Airport Upgrades and New Bus Terminal (NYDN) * The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted to require a construction company overseeing La Guardia Airport’s redevelopment to pay for an outside “integrity monitor” after it admitted to overbilling at the World Trade Center site.  Port Authority Board members also advanced several major projects—including renovations at two area airports – as the agency’s mounting tensions burst into the public spotlight at raucous meetings. * The Authority backed out of a lease in the James A. Farley Post Office, temporarily throwing a wrench into part of Cuomo’s plans to pay for the project. * The Port Authority voted to spend tens of billions of dollars revamping La Guardia Airport, improving Newark Liberty International Airport and building a new bus terminal in midtown Manhattan, The New York Times reports: * The Port Authority voted to require Tishman Construction Corp. to pay for an outside integrity monitor as the firm oversees the La Guardia Airport redevelopment because Tishman admitted to overbilling at the World Trade Center site, The Wall Street Journal reports: * Govs. Cuomoand Chris Christie will leave the Port Authority in worse shape than during Bridgegate – and leave commuters in worse condition than when the two men took office – because of the tick-for-tack nature of the agency’s funding strategy, Nicole Gelinas writes in the Post: h



Senate to Remain GOP Democrat Felder
Democratic senator to vote Republican for Skelos’ replacement (NYP) Republicans appear set to remain in charge of the fractured state Senate no matter what happens in the April 19 special election to replace convicted crook Dean Skelos.  Renegade Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder said Thursday that he will continue to vote with the GOP even if a Democrat replaces Skelos, who was the Republican majority leader before his corruption conviction.* Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder said that he will continue to vote with the GOP even if a Democrat replaces former state Sen. Dean Skelos, who was the Republican majority leader before his corruption conviction, the Post writes:  * Renegade Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder said that he will continue to vote with the GOP even if a Democrat replaces former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was the Republican majority leader before his corruption conviction.




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)






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.


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.

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



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.








FBI Had Their Own Investigation Into the Mayor's Fund Raising During the 2014 Election Before Before JCOPE Made It Criminal Referral
FBI Probed Mayor's Fundraising Before DA Got State's 'Criminal Referral' (DNAINFO) Federal authorities were already investigating Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2014 fundraising efforts to unseat state Senate Republicans months before the Manhattan District Attorney received a "criminal referral" from a state elections official about "Team de Blasio," DNAinfo New York has learned. A team of FBI agents from the bureau’s Public Corruption Unit started eyeing the mayor’s 2014 election efforts for upstate Democratic candidates as many as five months before Risa Sugarman, the state Board of Elections' Chief Enforcement Officer, wrote the DA that her team discovered "willful and flagrant" violations by the mayor and his associates, sources said. The timing is significant because the mayor and his supporters maintain that the investigation into the upstate activities stemmed from Sugarman's referral, and that it was politically motivated by foes of de Blasio and his progressive agenda.   

 In the detailed referral, which was leaked to the media, Sugarman, a former top Bronx prosecutor appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said her investigators determined “that reasonable cause exists to believe a violation warranting criminal prosecution has taken place.” She claimed the fundraising apparatus used by “Team de Blasio” deliberately circumvented campaign donation limits in three races, channeling funds to candidates through county committees that could accept up to $103,000 from a single donor — well above the $10,300 allowed if a direct contribution was made to the candidate. At the time of the Sugarman referral, the Manhattan DA's office had its own investigation going into aspects of the mayor's fundraising in his 2013 mayoral election, and questionable money transactions tied to his campaign to rid the city of carriage horses, the sources say. The Sugarman issues, however, were not on their radar and opened yet another avenue to examine.  But sources say it was not long before the DA realized the feds had a "parallel" probe well underway, and they teamed up.* DNAinfo New York reported last week that the federal probe is now eyeing the mayor's entire fundraising apparatus as a potential criminal enterprise — with many of the same advisers, campaign officials or lobbyists acting in a "conspiracy" to circumvent election laws. Such a federal charge would likely be accompanied by other offenses such as mail fraud, wire fraud, extortion and even money laundering, sources said. For example, DNAinfo New York reported that real estate developer Don Peebles said he felt he could not say "no" to de Blasio's request for $20,000 to support universal Pre-K. Peebles later requested his money be returned when some of it went to other initiatives, including one that was working against Peebles' own interest to develop Long Island College Hospital.Supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis, meanwhile, has told federal investigators that de Blasio buttonholed him at a charity event in 2014 and asked him to give $50,000 for the Putnam County Democratic Party. He said he later was angry to learn the money almost immediately went to an upstate candidate’s campaign coffers.DNAinfo New York has reported that the FBI probe began more than two years ago with a corruption tip about Philip Banks, the NYPD's former Chief of Department. Sources say violations of state law that do not rise to the federal levels will be ultimately be prosecuted by the Manhattan DA, whose office declined comment, as did the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. * Mayor de Blasio brushes off ethics commission’s motion to bring his defunct Campaign for One New York 















































































Knight of the Long Knives As Cuomo Homeless Shelter Attacked


DNAINFO: Mayor Returns $ 56,700 Possible Straw Donor $$$$
Mayor Bill deBlasio's campaign will return $56,700 in contributions to his 2013 electionafter a DNAinfo New York investigation showed that the money — all from a Queens businessman, his employees and his associates — raised concerns of possible straw donations. Campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said Friday that it had informed the city Campaign Finance Board that it would return the money to seven donors "as soon as feasible." Levitan would not provide a reason why donations were being returned.  READ MORE: How Everyone is Connected in the City Hall/NYPD Corruption Probe  However, DNAinfo New York reported on May 5 that federal investigators — who have opened a probe into the mayor's fundraising practices — are scrutinizing de Blasio's campaign for possible straw donations. The city’s campaign finance law prohibits individuals from contributing more than $4,950 to a candidate running for a citywide office during one election cycle. And it’s illegal to give someone else money to donate to a campaign. De Blasio's campaign — like others in the city — required all of its donors to sign a form affirming their contributions were made from their own personal funds. Levitan told DNAinfo New York that the donors getting money back were Sm-Ali Amanollahi, the owner of Primary One, a beauty product wholesaler in Glendale; three of his employees, Rafael Zepeda, Jose Zepeda and Angela Parra; and three Amanollahi associates, Ralph Scopo, Charalambos Anastassopoulos and Giulliano Bruschi. Amanollahi, who dates a top de Blasio fundraiser, made the maximum-allowed donation of $4,950 to the campaign and the maximum-allowed contribution of $4,500 to de Blasio's post-election transition team. Both Zepedas, who are commercial drivers at Primary One and live in modest apartments in Queens, each donated $4,950 to the campaign and $4,500 to the transition team in less than two months time. DNAinfo previously reported that when Rafael Zepeda was asked about the donations, he flip-flopped. Initially, he said he made the donations. Hours later, he said he didn't. Parra, an executive assistant at Primary One, contributed $4,500 to de Blasio's transition team. Scopo's wife works for Amanollahi. He made the maximum contribution to de Blasio's campaign on Oct. 21, 2013, and donated $4,500 to the transition team on Dec. 10, 2013. Amanollahi made the same contributions on those dates. Scopo, a vice president at a Manhattan recycling company, previously told DNAinfo that he made the donations on his own accord. “You’re more than welcome to look into me and my wife,” he said. “We have no problems.” Anastassopoulos, who works at a Ridgewood auto body shop, declined to comment on his $4,950 donation to the de Blasio campaign.  Bruschi, the head of an office equipment wholesale company in Fresh Meadows, donated a total of $9,450 to the campaign and the transition team. He did not respond to requests for comment. Amanollahi previously declined to comment and has not responded to subsequent interview requests.  DNAinfo reported earlier this month that Amanollahi dates Rud Morales, a nightlife fixture in upper Manhattan who has thrown fundraisers for de Blasio, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.  Morales co-hosted a fundraiser at the Negro Claro Lounge for de Blasio on Oct. 27, 2013. She also served on de Blasio's inaugural committee. De Blasio also appointed her to the board of the nonprofit The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.   Amanollahi is also a victim of a Ponzi scheme connected to the sweeping federal investigation into de Blasio's fundraising practices, his nonprofit Campaign for One New York, and high-ranking NYPD officials accepting payments in exchange for favors. * De Blasio to return $32K in sketchy donations amid probe (NYP) Mayor de Blasio’s campaign plans to return $32,200 to seven contributors, just weeks after it was disclosed that state and federal investigators were looking into possibly illegal donations to his 2013 run for City Hall. De Blasio campaign spokesman Dan Levitan said the city’s Campaign Finance Board has been notified that the refunds would be made “as soon as feasible.” Sm-Ali Amanollahi, owner of the Queens based Primary One beauty products company; his drivers, Rafael Zepeda and José Zepeda; and his associates Charalambos Anastassopoulos, GiulianoBruschi and Ralph Scopo, each donated $5,000 to deBlasio, records show. All the donations except one were made on the same day: Oct. 21, 2013.It is illegal to make campaign contributions in someone else’s name, a practice known as “straw donations.” The timing of the Primary One donations, the fact that they all exceeded the limit by the same amount, and the workinclass jobs held by donors giving thousands of dollars have raised red flags. The generosity of the employees from the Queensbased company didn’t end with the campaign.  Six each chipped in another $4,500 to de Blasio’s transition committee, which picked up expenses after the mayoral election. Amanollahi told The Post earlier this month that he, like Rafael Zepeda, had retained a lawyer. Amanollahi dates Rud Morales, a member of the de Blasio inaugural committee and a board member of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which is headed by Hizzoner’s wife, Chirlane McCray.















Probes Kill Housing Deal in the Park de Blasio Say He Go It Alone



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Cuomo insisted he had no role in the probe. 

Connection to Riverington Nursing Home Deal Lobbyist Capalino and Developer China Vanke
Pier 6 affordable housing deal collapses amid de Blasio probes (NYP An agreement cut between the feuding de Blasio and Cuomo administrations to bring affordable housing to Brooklyn Bridge Park is now dead after state officials raised concerns over possible conflicts over it related to ongoing investigations surrounding the mayor. Following nearly a year of inaction, the Cuomo-backed Empire State Development Corp. was set to modify a project plan it approved in 2006 so the city could include 117 units of affordable housing in the 339 units slated for two high-end condo towers eyed for Pier 6 at the waterfront park. However, the deal collapsed after ESDC officials opted to cancel a vote scheduled for this week and seek more time to weigh their concerns.  Among these concerns were that the project’s developer Robert Levine had been picked by the city last year only weeks after donating to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, which is under investigation by the feds, sources said    Other concerns include the involvement of the city’s top lobbyist James Capalino in pushing the plan and Levine’s equity partner, developer China Vanke, being linked to the Rivington House project on the Lower East Side that being probed by state and federal investigators.  "We can’t keep putting off the vital issue of funding this incredible park, or of building the affordable housing this community needs,” said Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen. “We intend to move ahead with this project, with or without the State.” * An agreement cut between the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations to bring affordable housing to Brooklyn Bridge Park is now dead after state officials raised concerns over possible conflicts related to ongoing investigations surrounding the mayor, the Post writes. * State officials, citing potential conflicts linked to various investigations of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, blocked a deal on a long-delayed plan to put up two apartment towers inside Brooklyn Bridge Park.

SHOCKING NYT Focuses On de Blasio Moving Ahead With Park Buildings


Despite the state’s sudden reversal, the de Blasio administration is pushing ahead with the Brooklyn project, which would include market-rate and subsidized apartments as well as a school.




How Will Cuomo Go After de Blasio? Diaz?  Stringer?  Seabury Commission?
Cuomo would not rule out supporting Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for mayor, and the governor also said he would Democratic state Senate candidates and support Zephyr Teachout, his former primary foe, for Congress,the Daily News writes
Vacation Bill  According to a person familiar with the matter,  de Blasio is planning to leave for Italy this weekend and return the next weekend, but the trip could be delayed by protests or other events, The Wall Street Journal reports.* Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, write in the Daily News that the MTA’s capital plan presents the chance to create manufacturing opportunities in the metro area.



How Did the JCOPE and the Press Miss the Corruption?  
New Concerns at JCOPE


One moment someone is working for a state agency, the next he’s lobbying that agency on behalf of a client. One day his name is on public records as a lobbyist, the next it’s gone.  One day another person is working for the governor, the next he’s working for the governor’s campaign, and for people doing business with the state. A few months later he’s back in state service, where that private work is banned. These are some of the odd scenarios that are emerging amid a federal investigation that’s raised questions about possible corruption in the Cuomo administration, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and the Buffalo Billion project. What may be just as disturbing is that all this is being looked into by the U.S. Justice Department, not by the state entity that is supposed to be on top of these sorts of things, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. JCOPE says that it’s constrained from discussing matters that reflect its own shortcomings, lapses, and failures. Of course.THE OBSERVATION DECK  New concerns at JCOPE. It’s a short trip deep into the weeds of these scandals, in which two longtime aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Percoco and Todd Howe, are central figures. But to put it simply: Mr. Percoco, the governor’s former executive deputy secretary, collected tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from firms doing business with the state while he was briefly on leave from state service to head up the governor’s campaign. Mr. Howe, who worked for Mr. Cuomo when he was U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary, worked for SUNY Poly, and had an office on the campus, even while he was representing clients doing business with SUNY Poly. These apparent conflicts, blurred ethical lines, and revolving doors so active it’s a wonder the Capitol needs air conditioning, have been there for JCOPE to see in black and white in its own records.Or, at least, they were. Recently, Mr. Howe’s name was scrubbed from JCOPE’s website as if his lobbying work never happened. Now we learn lobbying firms can alter their own state records.  JCOPE’s explanation? No comment. Not commenting seems to be what JCOPE – an agency that is supposed to bring more transparency to state government – does best. We understand that an investigative body like JCOPE needs a certain degree of confidentiality to protect the integrity of investigations. But JCOPE has all too often used secrecy as an excuse to avoid being transparent and accountable about its own operations and performance. And so the questions mount: How did JCOPE miss possible corruption that the U.S. Attorney is now looking into? How was potential evidence scrubbed from its site? This isn’t just about blame, but about whether JCOPE is up to its watchdog mission, or whether the Legislature needs to revisit this watchdog’s structure and funding. The whole point of JCOPE is to help keep government open, honest and accountable. That’s got to start with JCOPE embodying what the rest of state government needs to be.
De Blasio says investigations are just part of the job  (NYP) He’s the only city elected official known to be under investigation — but Mayor de Blasio insists probes of those in public office are a dime a dozen. “I think investigations are unfortunately, in modern American public life, they are part of the woodwork now,” the mayor (left) said Friday on NY1.

US Attorney Bharara ‏@PreetBharar8h 
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."  -- Muhammad Ali #RIP



City Hall The Sound of Ordered Silence 
City Hall Orders Staffers To Keep Their Mouths Shut Or Else (Gothamist) On April 27th, a few hours before news broke that several of his top aides had been subpoenaed in joint federal and state investigations into his fundraising practices, Mayor Bill de Blasio summoned City Hall employees into the bullpen for what one staffer described as “the most depressing pep talk.”  “He said some of his closest aides have been unfairly targeted, and that it’s all political with no grounding in truth,” the source said, adding that de Blasio compared the investigations dogging his own administration to “how the Clinton administration was treated.”  “He told us that no one is going to thank him for ‘not being dead’ because the homicide rate is down and Vision Zero is working,” the source recounted. “He said we should put our heads down and focus on our good work. He told us that the media will never be on our side.”  To reinforce that final point, scores of City Hall staffers—some of whom have worked for Mayor de Blasio since he came into office—were recently asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. Another source who received the document from their superiors last Thursday said that they were told that all City Hall staff were expected to sign it immediately. All of the sources Gothamist spoke to requested anonymity and asked that we not name the agencies they work for, for fear of being fired for speaking to reporters, something they say has happened recently after the administration began cracking down on leaks. The form itself references two subsections of the city charter that prohibit public servants from disclosing city business unless it involves “conduct which the public servant knows or reasonably believes to involve waste, inefficiency, corruption, criminal activity, or conflict of interest.” City employees sign a similar document when they are hired, but one former city official who has worked under multiple administrations told us that “there’s no precedent I’ve ever heard of for a second signing like this.”



Brooklyn BP Has A Slush Fund Like the Mayor Funded By Developers Shady Donors
Eric Adams’ nonprofit has links to shady donors (NYP) Mayor de Blasio isn’t the only elected official who launched a nonprofit that has raised funds from questionable donors. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has his own group — the One Brooklyn Fund — which has raised as much as $964,000 over the past two years, according to records obtained by The Post. And, like de Blasio’s nonprofit, it has taken money from entities whose activities are under review by law enforcement or that have business interests before the government. One donor, Park Developers & Builders, was subpoenaed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office in recent weeks for its bid to raze a Bedford-Stuyvesant nursing home and replace it with a 241-unit residential building, according to a source. The group has given as much as $20,000 to Adams’ nonprofit since October. Its partner, the Allure Group, was also subpoenaed in that case — as well as in a Lower East Side real-estate deal involving the loss of a nursing home that was OK’d by the de Blasio administration. Another group that gave up to $20,000 to Adams’ group is Broadway Stages, a Brooklyn-based firm that is being questioned as part of the wide-ranging probe of de Blasio’s fund-raising. Other donors to Adams’ nonprofit include Airbnb, which gave as much as $60,000. Adams has been a vocal supporter of Airbnb. Other donors to Adams’ nonprofit include Airbnb, which gave as much as $60,000. Adams has been a vocal supporter of Airbnb. Dick Dadey, director of the watchdog group Citizens Union, said nonprofits run by elected officials are ripe for abuses. “It’s become a vehicle for self-promotion, as well as a vehicle for augmenting the services of the borough president’s office,” Dadey said.
“Entities within the borough may feel a certain responsibility to contribute.” While the mayor’s nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, only touted his agenda, the One Brooklyn Fund is a city-affiliated group and sponsors events for the public.* Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ nonprofit One Brooklyn Fund has raised as much as $964,000 over the past two years and has taken money from entities whose activities are under review by law enforcement or that have business interests before the government, the Post reports.





New Bid Rigging in DHCR Contracts
A new angle on New York’s corruption scandals (NYP) How about that: The Albany corruption probes may expose abuse of state affordable-housing funds. Two years ago, an audit by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that the state Division of Homes and Community Renewal had granted $10 million to six projects its own staff had deemed “infeasible” — meaning seriously impractical to pull off. Oops: DHCR’s rules banned the funding of “infeasible” applications. The audit also noted that, by failing to properly document why they opted to fund those projects anyway, agency managers put “the integrity of the program” at risk. Well, the managers found a creative way around this problem: They rewrote the evaluation criteria, dropping the system with too-accurate terms like “infeasible” for less-descriptive numerical rankings. Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reports that three of the developers behind the six suspiciously favored “infeasible” grants have been hit with federal subpoenas. All three are major donors to Gov. Cuomo and one was a client of Todd Howe — the lobbyist at the center of the Buffalo Billion probe. Naturally, Cuomo’s office insists donations have no impact on its official decisions. But the whole thing is a reminder that “apple pie” spending on items like affordable housing needs examining at least as closely as any other state outlays. And US Attorney Preet Bharara will have the last word on just how “infeasible” the awarding of state contracts has become.* De Blasio-Cuomo feud ignites mayor to KO bill to fix safety issues at day cares (NYDN) * The fact that state offices rewrote criteria for awarding affordable housing contracts after the Cuomo administration was criticized for not sticking to its own guidelines by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli shows the need for reform to those systems,the Post 






New Bid Rigging in DHCR Contracts
A new angle on New York’s corruption scandals (NYP) How about that: The Albany corruption probes may expose abuse of state affordable-housing funds. Two years ago, an audit by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found that the state Division of Homes and Community Renewal had granted $10 million to six projects its own staff had deemed “infeasible” — meaning seriously impractical to pull off. Oops: DHCR’s rules banned the funding of “infeasible” applications. The audit also noted that, by failing to properly document why they opted to fund those projects anyway, agency managers put “the integrity of the program” at risk. Well, the managers found a creative way around this problem: They rewrote the evaluation criteria, dropping the system with too-accurate terms like “infeasible” for less-descriptive numerical rankings. Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reports that three of the developers behind the six suspiciously favored “infeasible” grants have been hit with federal subpoenas. All three are major donors to Gov. Cuomo and one was a client of Todd Howe — the lobbyist at the center of the Buffalo Billion probe. Naturally, Cuomo’s office insists donations have no impact on its official decisions. But the whole thing is a reminder that “apple pie” spending on items like affordable housing needs examining at least as closely as any other state outlays. And US Attorney Preet Bharara will have the last word on just how “infeasible” the awarding of state contracts has become.* De Blasio-Cuomo feud ignites mayor to KO bill to fix safety issues at day cares (NYDN) * The fact that state offices rewrote criteria for awarding affordable housing contracts after the Cuomo administration was criticized for not sticking to its own guidelines by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli shows the need for reform to those systems,the Post 

JCOPE Asks Judge to Order Team de Blasio to Heed Subpoena on CONY Investigation Preferential Treatment Being Looked At 
Court Is Asked to Compel de Blasio Nonprofit to Heed Subpoena(NYT) A state ethics panel asked a court on Monday to compel the Campaign for One New York, a political nonprofit connected to Mayor Bill de Blasioto hand over documents related to its lobbying and fund-raising activities after the group’s lawyer declared last week that he would not comply with the panel’s subpoena. The panel, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, known as Jcope, filed papers in State Supreme Court in Albany seeking to have a judge enforce the subpoena, arguing that the nonprofit had no basis for refusing to provide the documents, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Campaign for One New York now has several days to respond, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the papers were filed under seal. The group’s lawyer, Laurence D. Laufer, said in a letter on Friday that the group would no longer cooperate with the panel’s investigation into the nonprofit’s lobbying activities, saying the inquiry had become “blatantly political.”*  Disclosure forms filed by the Campaign For One New York show it accepted numerous contributions from companies that did business with the city or wanted something from his administration. Investigators want to know if donors received preferential treatment from the city in exchange for contributions to the group, which was created to promote the mayor’s policy agenda.

The Speaker Found Guility of Using An Illegal NYCLASS Lobbyists Says de Blasio Follow "Letter of the Law"
Despite the mayor’s claims to the contrary, City & State foundsome details of his nonprofit groups and their interactions with City Hall remain private or virtually inaccessible to the public, and oversight of them appears muddled with largely voluntary compliance.* A Long Island Republican wants the state Board of Elections to expand an investigation into the use of county party committees by de Blasio and his team to help Senate Democratic candidates in 2014.* De Blasio: State Commission Subpoena Is Part Of Witch Hunt By Cuomo (WCBS) Meanwhile, Others Hint About Running Against De Blasio Next Year
Kramer: “They claim that they have seven Democrats and seven Republicans and it’s bipartisan. I wonder if you believe what they’re saying.”  De Blasio: “No, I don’t. I think it’s quite clear a double standard is being held. I think it’s quite clear there are other motivations, and if they want to go to court, they can go to court. We think it’s quite clear that they are beyond their purview.”

Subpoenas Fly At City Hall


Bratton's Weak Answer to NYPD GiftGate Corruption is To Give Corrupt Cops 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.


de Blasio May Not Understand But He Just Called DOI, CFB and Conflict of Interest Board That Picks Is Under His Thumb
Asked for comment, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio referred a reporter to the mayor’s interview on WNYC on Friday morning, in which he was asked why a political nonprofit tied to his administration had refused to comply with a subpoena from the state ethics panel, which Mr. de Blasio has argued is under Mr. Cuomo’s thumb. “It’s one thing to participate with an investigation that’s appropriate and within appropriate boundaries, but when an investigation may be motivated by politics, when an investigation may be going beyond its legal mandate — and obviously be, in a sense, a partisan act — that’s a whole different matter,” the mayor said.





Next: Bharara's Premature Closing of the Moreland Commission Warning
Preet Bharara says he’s not done — and Cuomo might be next (NYP)  Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara watched with smug satisfaction Thursday as a judge slapped the second of Albany’s “three men in a room” with prison time. But the sure-shot lawman made it clear that Gov. Cuomo remains on his mind — taking time from his victory lap to fire a salvo straight toward the state’s chief executive. “In the span of just 16 months, we have seen the arrest, prosecution, conviction and sentencing of both leaders of the New York State Legislature,” Bharara said in a statement minutes after former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was given five years in prison. “These cases show — and history teaches — that the most effective corruption investigations are those that are truly independent and not in danger of either interference or premature shutdown,” Bharara added — a clear jab at Cuomo. Cuomo created a Moreland Commission panel in 2013 to fight against corruption in state politics, but abruptly shut it down less than a year later amid pressure from lawmakers.  Bharara launched a probe into the panel’s closure but said earlier this year that there was “insufficient evidence” to prove the Cuomo administration had committed any federal crime.  But with his statement Thursday, Bharara made it clear that the battle against corruption in Albany continues. “The only thing that is truly bipartisan in Albany right now is the corruption.” Bharara sat in the back of the courtroom as Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood sentenced Skelos.  Bharara kept his head down as Skelos’s wife, Gail, sneered, “You can go to hell,” as she walked past him, Politico reported. * Despite Perennial Reform, Scandals In NY Swell (YNN) * Following the Skelos sentencing, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement that took a clear jab at Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the early shutdown of the corruption busting Moreland Commission, which Bharara looked into, but ultimately declined to bring any charges.* An inquiry by Bharara’s office focuses on de Blasio’s fundraising efforts to help the state Senate Democrats in their failed 2014 effort to re-take the majority. But the Cuomo campaign, which was run by ex-Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who is also now under investigation, was nonetheless involved in the overall effort and may have been aware of the mayor’s actions.* Preet Bharara looking into Percoco's wife, the ex-teacher, and her education gig
 Moreland Investigation Ends, Media Cover-Up





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" And How Dumb AS Feds and Manhattan DA Zero In ON Same Crimes as JCOPE?"
 If You Want to Know What's In the NYP The Next Day Read True News Today
Sorry, Mayor de Blasio: Your problem’s not Andrew Cuomo, it’s Preet Bharara(NYP Ed)
A good offense may often be the best defense in sports, but Mayor de Blasio is whistling in the dark if he really thinks it’s his way out of one of the biggest political scandals in New York City history.

The mayor is desperately trying to deflect attention any way he can from the myriad criminal probes now under way of his administration on five different fronts.  That’s why he’s now blasting the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, refusing to cooperate with its probe of his slush fund, the Campaign for One New York. It’s a political hit job clearly directed by the governor, de Blasio suggests.
 Not that he’s mentioning Cuomo by name. He just urges reporters to “look into these fascinating interconnections and potential motivations and the cast of characters” involved in JCOPE’s operation. Yes, JCOPE was a Cuomo creation. But all that guilt-by-association insinuation cuts both ways: Similar “interconnections and potential motivations” — and an odd cast of characters — have de Blasio squirming on the investigative hot seat. Like possible quid pro quos: favors given to donors to his slush funds and campaigns. But JCOPE is trying to subpoena CONY, not de Blasio. By aggressively declaring non-cooperation, the mayor only underscores just how tightly connected he and his slush fund actually are. Besides, the mayor’s public bluster ignores the fact that US Attorney Preet Bharara has had criminal probes of City Hall shenanigans under way for some time. The investigations even predate the state Board of Elections criminal referral to Manhattan DA Cy Vance — a move that de Blasio also tried to write off as the work of a Cuomo ally. Fact is, the two prosecutors remain much bigger potential threats than anything the relatively toothless JCOPE might do. De Blasio brought this whole mess on himself. And all the tough talk in the world won’t change that.


Now de Blasio Slams Silver As A Bad Apple in 2015 "Man of Integrity"
De Blasio slams ‘bad apples’ Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos (NYP)  * NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio trashed crooked ex-pols Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos as “bad apples” who got what they deserved in a WABC radio interview, while downplaying the multiple probes facing him and predicting he’ll be re-elected next year.* Dean Skelos Sports Complex removes references to disgraced politician's name (NYDN) A Long Island sports complex named after Skelos has quietly removed the signsbearing his name. Though the park is still named after Skelos, who last week was sentenced to five years in prison on federal corruption charges, the village of Rockville Centre removed any signs referencing the Dean Skelos Sports Complex.* Sheldon Silver's Surrender Date Pushed Back to August 31 (NY1)

 In 16 Months and One Trial Silver When From "Man of Integrity" To "Bad Apple"















The Key Thing You Need to Know Nothing Happens in Govt in 30 Days Unless You Bribe the Mayor 
A Pay to Play Rat Bag Caught Our Rat Mayor LOL de Blasio Federal Investigation


Why Trash Bags That Repel Rats Have the F.B.I. Sniffing Around in New York (NYT) Legal or not, an episode involving the parks department’s purchase of mint-scented garbage bags shows the collapse of the city’s carefully constructed defenses against “pay to play” government.You’d hardly expect the mayor of New York City, with its $82 billion budget and 300,000 employees, to get involved with buying garbage bags. For years, Joseph Dussich, the owner of a company in Queens that makes anti-rat garbage bags, could not get city officials to consider buying them. Last year, though, that changed after Mr. Dussich made the second of two donations of $50,000 apiece to a political advocacy group run by allies of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Ten days later, records show, Mr. de Blasio met with Mr. Dussich in City Hall to thank him for the contributions. The meeting was arranged by one of the mayor’s chief fund-raisers, Ross Offinger, according to two people familiar with the account that Mr. Dussich has given to federal authorities investigating City Hall fund-raising. Mr. Dussich, who brought one of his sons to the meeting, chatted briefly with Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, about their shared Italian heritage. As the visit with Mr. de Blasio was breaking up, Mr. Dussich was met at the mayor’s office by a City Hall aide, Peter Hatch, who then connected Mr. Dussich to purchasing officials at the parks department. Within a month, Mr. Dussich’s company, JAD Corporation of America, was given a $15,000 contract that allowed parks officials to try out his product, Mint-X, a heavy-duty scented bag that is advertised as repellent against the Norway rat. Later, the city sought bids for a five-year supply of bags registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as rodent repellent. Mr. Dussich’s website claims Mint-X is the only such bag on the market. He was not the low bidder, but the company that did get the city contract is buying about $3 million in bags from him, according to Mr. Dussich’s lawyer, Roland G. Riopelle.* Whether legal or not, de Blasio’s garbage bag episode illustrates the collapse of defenses built up in the city against “pay to play” practices in which people gave campaign contributions to gain access to or favors from powerful officials, the Times’ Jim Dwyer writes.* Mayor Bill de Blasio has introduced few large-scale policies this year that will drive his 2017 re-election bid, with his third year in office shaping up to be his slowest yet, raising concerns among some aides and Democratic allies, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Albany's Big Ugly: 1 Year Extension Mayor Control of Schools
While some have critiqued Gov. Andrew Cuomo for failing to get some of his key initiatives passed this legislative session, he argues that he has had a high rate of success, describing his office’s work this year as “the most successful session in modern history,” The New York Times writes.* Even for a place that has presented New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with plenty of political setbacks, the message from Albany as the legislative session wound down was clear, as the mayor was only able to secure a one-year extension on mayoral control of city schools after asking for seven, The Wall Street Journal reports. * De Blasio last week managed to kill a deal by state leaders that would have reformed day-care oversight in New York City, highlighting the tensions between him and Cuomo, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett writes.
* Unnamed lawmakers, lobbyists and journalists tell the Post’s Fred Dicker that state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have displayed weak leadership in their first full terms as legislative leaders.* The “little ugly” legislative package that passed at the end of this year’s legislative session did little to address the many issues that New York faces, but also avoided doing further damage and gave de Blasio little of what he wanted, the Post writes.

 Tentative deal would renew mayoral control for one year(PoliticoNY)
Lawmakers agree to give de Blasio 1-year school control extension (NYP)
Albany "ethics deal" targets good gvt groups which receive support from c3s to their c4 accounts
In last-minute move, Albany whacks @Airbnb  
New bill could crush Airbnb’s New York business (NYP) A bill that imposes hefty fines that start at $1,000 for apartment rentals of less than 30 days — which are illegal and which are a big part of the apartment-sharing site’s business.
Legislature Reaches Deal to Extend Mayoral Control of New York’s Schools for a Year (NYT) Agreements also emerged in Albany on a set of modest ethics reforms, required lead testing in schools and money for supportive housing for the homeless. Consensus on the ethics reform seemed to come quickly on Friday, the day after the last official day of the legislative session. The deal would, among other things, strip state pensions from public officials convicted of corruption and strengthen prohibitions on political campaigns’ ability to coordinate with independent expenditure committees.The state will also provide an additional $50 million in capital funding for SUNY and the City University of New York. But the governor’s announcement that the state would release $570 million in state resources to build and operate 1,200 units of supportive housing for the homeless was immediately dissected and dismissed by advocates for the program, who said it fell far short of Mr. Cuomo’s initial commitment to pay for 20,000 units. Blair Horner, the executive director for the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the deal was a “smorgasbord of elections, ethics and lobbying reforms” that nonetheless was “not focused at the heart of what’s wrong with Albany,” including the nearly unchecked flow of money through multiple limited liability companies. That said, Mr. Horner said the move to define coordination between independent expenditure committees and candidates was an improvement. “No one has defined what that means,” he said. “And this does.* Consensus says Heastie and Flanagan are weak leaders (NYP) * State lawmaker’s ‘little ugly’ is mostly a slap at de Blasio (NYP) * Some Call Legislative Session a Letdown. Cuomo Sees It Far Differently (NYT) Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said “it was probably the most successful session in modern history,” despite falling short on proposals involving ethics and housing reform.*Cuomo: De Blasio Lucky to Get Even One-Year Extension of Mayoral Control of City Schools (NY1) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he understands Mayor Bill de Blasio’s frustration at a one-year extension of mayoral control of schools, but added he was lucky to get anything since many Assembly Democrats joined Senate Republicans in opposing an extension, the Daily News writes. * * Cuomo doesn't believe that holding a special legislative session later this year to close a notorious campaign finance loophole or restrict lawmakers' outside income would be productive, the Times Union reports.* * One of the bills passed in the last hours of the legislative session allows SUNY to waive current requirements that limit the number of uncertified teachers that charter schools can employ and gives charter schools teachers three years to get certified, the Times writes.

Daily News Stenographers True News Two Year Investigation of the Lobbyists Take Over of NY Govt and Politics and Call it EXCLUSIVE Media A Bunch Of Low Life Press Bullies Thugs 
N.Y. campaign consultants made $115M since 2011 to get politicians elected (NYDN) Showing how New York campaigns are such big business, the state’s seven top political consulting firms — including five that have been subpoenaed in financing probes — were paid a whopping $115.5 million combined over the past five years, a Daily News analysis shows. Five of the seven firms were subpoenaed last year by state Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman as part of an investigation into whether an unsuccessful coordinated fund-raising effort led by Mayor de Blasio and his team to help the Democrats win control of the Senate in 2014 sought to intentionally evade state campaign finance laws. The lucrative haul doesn’t even include the tens of millions of dollars the firms made during the same period serving as either high-powered lobbyists, public relations consultants or both. The setup has long upset critics who decry that the consultants work to get people elected and then use their access to appear before those same public officials on behalf of clients with business before the state or city.

How True News For the Last Two Years Exposed How Shadow Govt Lobbyists Took Over NY's Govt and Election System


‏@CharmianNeary  A modern Diogenes, Gary Tilzer @unitedNYblogs has been sounding the alarm on this seemingly forever
AKPD Message and Media, which was founded by President Obama’s former adviser David Axelrod and whose New York clients include Gov. Cuomo, de Blasio and the state Democratic Party, was paid the most of any firm since 2011 — $37.9 million.  Red Horse Strategies was next with $20.1 million, followed by the Parkside Group ($15.8 million), SKDKnickerbocker ($15.3 million), Mark Guma Communications ($11.6 million), BerlinRosen ($9.6 million) and The Advance Group ($5.2 million).

BerlinRosen, AKPD, the Parkside Group, Mark Guma Communications and Red Horse Strategies were all subpoenaed by Sugarman last year as part of her investigation into de Blasio’s fund-raising practices for the Senate Dems. BerlinRosen has strong ties to de Blasio and was close to disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The firm also worked on Schneiderman’s two attorney general campaigns. Mark Guma Communications’ clients have included Senate and Assembly Democrats as well as Vance, who is investigating the fund-raising tied to the 2014 Senate races. Vance has paid the firm more than $61,480 since 2011 for consulting and ad services. Red Horse has business with the Senate Democrats, state Controller Thomas DiNapoli, Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson and the liberal Working Families Party.




The Advance Group, meanwhile, was fined by the city and state more than $25,000 in October for illegally helping New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets — an anti-horse carriage group that gave to City Council candidates in 2013 — evade contribution limits. The Advance Group has represented a range of elected officials ranging from former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to a number of state legislators and Council members. SKDKnickerbocker is the only top firm that has not been tied to any of the recent scandals involving de Blasio's fund-raising operation. In 2013, when de Blasio was elected, the firm worked for his primary opponent then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. It has also represented city Controller Scott Stringer, who is considered a potential de Blasio challenger.




AG Raids Cuomo's Lobbyist Howe
AG’s staff raids office of ex-Cuomo aideunder probe (NYP) Investigators from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office raided SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Albany offices Thursday, focusing on space used by lobbyist and former Cuomo aide Todd Howe, sources close to the investigation told The Post. Gov. Cuomo said Howe was the focus of a federal investigation into improper lobbying and conflicts of interest that resulted in a wide-sweeping subpoena that Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara sent to the governor’s executive offices.  * The governor then distanced himself from Howe, who has worked under both Andrew Cuomo and his father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo. * Sources said Schneiderman’s investigators Thursday hauled off boxes of documents and obtained electronic files after executing a search warrant at the Albany campus just ahead of the holiday weekend.* * New York state investigators who work for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman searched an office at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which had been used by Todd Howe, as part of a probe into the school’s contracting practices, the Journal reports.  * While federal investigators examine Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion, many companies already contracted by the Port Authority, and who stand to benefit from LaGuardia Airport's overhaul, are also big campaign contributors to the governor, NY1 reports.







Groundhog Bagdad Bob Wilhelm Blaming the Media On Ass Kisser WNYC's Lehrer  
Mayor de Blasio emerges from hiding — only to dodge again (NYP) New York’s duck-and-cover-up mayor finally braved reporters Thursday — but then … ducked key questions. After largely avoiding the press for more than a week, Mayor de Blasio held an open Q&A after a press conference on his anti-slumlord campaign. But when reporters started to focus on probes of City Hall corruption, he went to DefCon Evade. Asked, for example, to justify his decision to classify certain lobbyists as “agents of the city” as an excuse to keep his communications with them secret, he bobbed and weaved: “Their role as advisers was appropriate,” he said. “I think we’re handling it appropriately.” Asked, for example, to justify his decision to classify certain lobbyists as “agents of the city” as an excuse to keep his communications with them secret, he bobbed and weaved: “Their role as advisers was appropriate,” he said. “I think we’re handling it appropriately.” The public disagrees: This week’s Quinnipiac poll shows that voters disapprove by more than 2-1 of how he’s handling corruption. They also believe, by a similarly lopsided margin, that he “does favors for developers who make political contributions.” The poll also shows the mayor with his worst job-approval rating ever, with 52 percent of voters flashing a thumbs-down. And as the number of probes mushrooms (it’s at seven, and counting), confidence in de Blasio is headed further south. Thursday, Politico reported that the mayor “took an unusually personal role in raising money for a nonprofit group backing his political agenda, according to several people” hit up for donations. It also noted that “more than two-thirds” of donors who gave to the group — the Campaign for One New York — “were actively seeking approval for a project” when they made their donations. But de Blasio’s not explaining anything. He claims he got “legal guidance” and followed all the rules in his dealings. But he’s offered nothing concrete to back up those hopelessly vague assurances. Again: He’s refusing to release not just the names of folks he’s asked for donations, but also his communications with the slush-fund money men. He won’t even spell out the rules he says he followed. On Thursday, he again promised to release “information of various kinds” within “the coming weeks” — with no specifics on what or when. The kind way to put it is to say the mayor is flailing, but the truth is: He’s drowning.*   De Blasio blames news headlines for plummeting approval ratings (NYP) Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday blamed his plummeting approval ratings on “relentless negative headlines” — not the seven corruption and fundraising scandals swirling around his administration. “I think it is telling that those numbers were very, very strong for two full years, and then there’s relentless negative headlines,” de Blasio said in an interview with WNYC radio, referring to his latest Quinnipiac University poll that shows only 43 percent of voters believe he is honest and trustworthy. That’s down from the 60 percent in the same poll in January.




de Blasio Funded Another Slush Fund From Campaign For One NY Slush Fund Under Investigation
De Blasio funded nonprofit from campaign currently under investigation (NYP) A nonprofit launched by Mayor de Blasio to push his progressive agenda nationally got all of its money from one source last year: another of the mayor’s nonprofits, records show. Tax filings submitted by The Progressive Agenda Committee for 2015 show revenues of $480,100, all from the Campaign for One New York. The mayor’s fund-raising on behalf of CONY — which touted his progressive agenda locally — is currently under investigation by the feds and the Manhattan DA.The Progressive Agenda’s payouts show $160,000 going to Hizzoner’s preferred media consultants — AKPD, which was founded by former White House senior adviser David Axelrod.Other payouts included $188,000 on “program service” expenses and $7,500 for fund-raising.TPAC, which was founded in May 2015, has raised more funds in 2016, which will be disclosed in July. But it hasn’t said what its plans are following de Blasio’s botched attempt to hold a presidential forum on income inequality, which was scrapped after none of the presidential candidates agreed to attend the December 2015 event in Iowa.* A Look at Tax Forms for Mayor's Nonprofit Group Called the 'ProgressiveAgenda'(NY1)That organization was de Blasio's initial nonprofit group, set up to support his push for universal pre-kindergarten. Earlier this year, that group shut down and is now the subject of a federal investigation. The Progressive Agenda is now its own separate entity, which a spokesperson described as "in transition."So far, the group has seen mixed results. It was supposed to host a presidential forum in Iowa last year, but that never got off the   ground. According to the filing, its accomplishments for 2015 include creating a 14-point agenda to combat income inequality and a website. It champions its effort to get people to sign on to its platform. And it also "built a following on social media to gain supporters." The agenda has slightly more than 3,200 followers on Twitter.  Last year, its biggest check went to one of de Blasio's favorite consultants, AKPD Media, for $160,000. The cash was for media consulting.At the end of the year, the group spent nearly all of its seed funding. Its ending balance was a little more than $32,000. Nonetheless, NY1 is told it is not shutting down and that it has been fundraising. However, it no longer employs its executive director. She is returning to private consulting.* The Progressive Agenda, which de Blasio and his allies formed last year, raised no other money in 2014 and has just lost its sole full-time employee, Executive Director Geri Prado.* National  group discloses lone donor

AKPD Message and Media is an American political and media consulting firm catering to Democratic candidates and related causes. Formerly Axelrod and Associates, it is named after its four original partners:David Axelrod, John Kupper,David Plouffe, and John Del Cecato. All four were members of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, with Plouffe serving as campaign manager, Axelrod as senior strategist, and Del Cecato as media advisor. Axelrod, who is personally close to Obama, left AKPD to serve as Senior Advisor to the President in the Obama Administration and sold the firm to Kupper, Del Cecato and Larry Grisolano. AKPD's advertising and strategy have been widely credited for significantly altering elections in their clients favor.TIME has praised one of their most talked about ads, "Dante," as "The Ad that Won the New York Mayor's Race.". AKPD's offices are located in Chicago, Washington DC, and New York where it has recently expanded its presence by partnering with Bully Pulpit Interactive and Analytics Media Group.

de Blasio Bigger Crook Than Cuomo New Poll Numbers
 Cuomo gets higher approval rating than de Blasio, poll shows (NYDN)Though both their administrations are under investigation, the spate of bad headlines thus far seems to have taken a more serious toll on Mayor de Blasio’s political standing than that of Gov. Cuomo. A Siena College poll in late May found de Blasio's personal approval rating at just 44% in New York City while 50% view him unfavorably. For Cuomo, a Siena poll last week found his personal approval rating in the city has hit 70% with just 25% having an unfavorable view of him.  Statewide, Cuomo’s personal approval is at 56%, its highest mark since April 2015. For de Blasio, just 34% of New Yorkers statewide in May viewed him favorably.* Cuomo plans to take executive action to implement emergency rules cracking down on bad-actor day care providers, an unusual move in response to Mayor Bill de Blasio killing a bill that would have done the same thing, the Daily News writes. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating an off-duty police officer's fatal shooting of a man who apparently attacked him during a case of road rage, after a confrontation broke out in East New York, the Associated Press reports. * * Though both administrations are under investigation, the bad headlines seem to have taken a more serious toll on de Blasio’s political standing than Cuomo’s, with governing style and media coverage playing a role, the Daily News writes.* 'WHERE'S THE COMPASSION?' Minority officers rip NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton for allowing corruption-scandal cops to collect their pensions (NYDN)


At Least Two de Blasio Spreadsheet Appointments Have Integrity Issues  
Donors got political positions from Mayor de Blasio despite red flags indicating integrity issues (NYDN) When Mayor de Blasio was doling out political appointments to big campaign donors, sometimes it was best to look the other way. Companies owned by two big contributors de Blasio appointed to VIP slots had serious integrity issues before the mayor rewarded them for their money-raising, a Daily News review has found. One coowned a company the city had declared lacked “good character, honesty and integrity,” while the other owed the city $1.2 million in lease payments and fees. Not a problem. The mayor appointed both to several advisory boards. Businesswoman Gina Argento made the list after raising $97,780 for the mayor through bundled checks from friends and employees of her firm, Broadway Stage. And in January 2014, she was first in line to write checks totaling $50,000 for the Campaign for One New York, the fund de Blasio set up to support his causes. Most of Argento’s checks to de Blasio started arriving Oct. 1, 2013 — a month before he was elected and not long after the city Business Integrity Commission found a firm she coowned, Luna Lighting Inc., “lacks good character, honesty and integrity.” In May 2013, the commission rejected Luna’s request for a waste hauling license on two grounds: Luna had paid an $18,000 fine after admitting it repeatedly illegally hauled construction debris and ignored city demands to pay off a $620,000 IRS tax lien. A little over a year later, de Blasio put Argento on his Fund for the Advancement of New York City, a nonprofit run by his wife, Chirlane McCray, that raises private funds for city programs.And he put her on his committee to try to lure the Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn, and the city’s Workforce Investment Board, which advises the city on workforce issues and oversaw a $65.5 million budget in 2014. It’s unclear whether Argento paid the back taxes. She did not return repeat calls seeking comment. Then there’s donor Harendra Singh, a restaurateur who raised $21,425 for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign from friends and family. Singh made the spreadsheet in early 2014 as a candidate for appointment to the Mayor’s Fund advisory board and the DNC committee. But the spreadsheet noted an unspecified “vetting issue” with the phrase “r/flags.” Perhaps the “issue” was this: A May 30, 2014, city audit found one of Singh’s restaurants, Water’s Edge on cityowned land in Queens, owed the city $1.2 million in back rent and late fees. A month later in June 2014, Singh was appointed to the Mayor’s Fund and the DNC committee. He stayed on the fund’s board even after the city sued him in February 2015. Then in September, Singh was indicted by the feds on a number of charges, including $1 million in Hurricane Sandy fraud related to Water’s Edge. Days later, he was removed from the board of the Mayor’s Fund. The mayor declined to discuss his appointment, and Singh’s lawyer, Anthony La Pinta, also declined comment. Singh did not return calls for comment. Singh is a restaurateur who’d bundled $10,425 for de Blasio and raised another $11,000 from his family for the mayor’s 2013 campaign.Michael Goodwin writing in The New York Post: “Corruption comes in all flavors, and size certainly matters. Yet de Blasio’s mayoralty stands apart from recent predecessors’ in that virtually everything he does leads back to personal politics. He has never stopped campaigning because he doesn’t know how, and doesn’t want to learn.”

No Lobbyists Firewall Inside Team Cuomo
Probed lobbyist was a member of Cuomo’s ‘inner circle’ (NYP) Cuomo’s renewed effort to distance himself from lobbyist and longtime associate Todd Howe flies in the face of Howe’s continuous role as a member of Cuomo’s “inner circle,” a source close to US Attorney Preet Bharara’s corruption probe told The Post. “From the start, when Cuomo took office, Todd was part of the inner circle of decision makers. He was basically part of the Cuomo administration,” said the source, who has first-hand knowledge of Bharara’s investigation. “Todd was a coequal to Joe Percoco and Howard Glaser and absolutely seen as the governor’s guy, even though he wasn’t on the state payroll and officially part of the government. “For Cuomo to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.” Percoco, Cuomo’s once-powerful deputy secretary and one of his closest friends, is being investigated by Bharara over money he received from state contractors while running the governor’s re-election campaign in 2014. Glaser is Cuomo’s former state operations director.The Post’s Fred Dicker writes that Cuomo’s renewed effort to distance himself from lobbyist and longtime associate Todd Howe flies in the face of Howe’s continuous role as a member of Cuomo’s “inner circle.” *  Trying to divert attention from probes into his administration, Cuomo’s state agencies have been asked to put together lists of successes that can be touted publicly and a top official convened staff to urge them to stay focused on their work, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports.



The multimilliondollar payoff: How New York’s most powerful politicians use the LLC loophole to rake in money hand over fist from many of the state’s most powerful business interests


Andrew Cuomo stood outside his Albany office recently to do one of those seemingly impromptu yet carefully orchestrated press conferences in the hallway. He wanted to talk about eight bills he was introducing — and a gaggle, as opposed to a formal Red Room briefing, let him end it in a flash, with nary a word about the scandals scorching his administration.  He had walked the state to beat the drums for an historic state budget that delivered $15 an hour and paid leave to low-wage workers, but he'd mostly muzzled himself on ethics for months, even as his two onetime legislative partners, the Senate's Dean Skelos and the Assembly's Shelly Silver, were sentenced to a combined 17 years in federal prison. LLCs are a particular form of private company that allows individuals to avoid risk and conceal their ownership. They were legalized in New York in 1994, two years before the loophole decision that let the owner of multiple LLCs make contributions virtually without a cap. They soon evolved into a way for a small pool of wealthy donors, especially many in real estate, to funnel huge amounts to politicians they seek to influence. LLC contributions hit the $20 million a year mark in 2014.   Just days before, Flanagan had consigned a bill killing the loophole introduced annually by Brooklyn Democrat Daniel Squadron to a committee whose chair is recovering from surgery, won't return this session and isn't running for re-election. The GOP's reflexive rejection could not have been a surprise to Cuomo. With the Assembly Democrats having already passed a reform bill, Cuomo's bold-sounding initiative appeared more performance than policy, targeting an audience of one, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the Don Quixote of LLC reform.   To make one of Bharara's earliest Albany corruption cases, the FBI created a shell called Bedrock Capital LLC, whose very name reflected the role these entities now play in our politics. The sham business was then used to contribute and pay bribes to longtime Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio. Bharara's twin-killing Skelos and Silver cases had a single chilling common thread: a mountain of LLC contributions to Skelos by a real estate behemoth, Glenwood Management, whose executives also created a consulting gig for Skelos' now-convicted son, and a hill or two in donations for Silver, who also banked $700,000 in secret legal fees Glenwood steered him for no work.  Bharara, who named Glenwood's owner an unindicted co-conspirator, even made a 54-page list of its $10 million in donations a trial exhibit, a laundering list of compromise that covered 2005 to 2015. Cuomo collected $1.2 million of it.Glenwood's top executive Charles Dorego testified that the company orchestrated this massive political operation to advance its primary interests, including "campaign-finance issues" and noting that the LLC contribution limit was "much higher than the corporate limit." Glenwood was dedicated to maintaining that special status though, as the judge in the Silver case, Valerie Caproni, put it: "I don't care what the Supreme Court says. Companies aren't people. They don't have states of mind."   Flanagan and new speaker Carl Heastie loomed awkwardly large on Bharara's Glenwood Gimme List, collecting sizable downpayments long before they had real power, with the Bronx Democratic Committee that Heastie controlled getting more than most local Democratic depositories, and a mere two-term Flanagan bankrolled in his only competitive race in 2006. Bharara's current corruption probes are also focused on LLC contributors, the one common thread that binds Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. Cuomo's longtime top aide Joe Percoco is a Bharara target because he and his wife took consulting gigs involving three LLCs that did state business, funneled contributions to the governor's campaign and retained lobbyist Todd Howe, who was until his post-subpoena ban so wired into Cuomo, he simultaneously had offices inside a State University facility and the governor's re-election headquarters.* More than a month after Cuomo announced that Bart Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor, would head an “independent investigation” into the Buffalo Billion, it remains unclear whether Schwartz has begun his work, Gotham Gazette writes.

Nick Reisman ‏@NickReisman Republican state lawmakers Rob Ortt and 
Ray Walter are calling for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to investigate Buffalo Billion contracting.


Pay to Play Private Police Department
Shady businessman bribed cops to close Lincoln Tunnel lane: feds (NYP) Cops shut down a lane in the Lincoln Tunnel so a visiting businessman could be escorted through it at the behest of a major de Blasio fund-raiser, federal prosecutors charged Monday. The outrageous move was revealed as part of damning criminal indictments unveiled Monday against four NYPD officers and the shady “fixer’’ who allegedly arranged it. The stunning arrests marked the first time cops have been charged in the sweeping 3¹/₂-year corruption investigation rocking the department and Mayor de Blasio’s office, which is being probed for its fund-raising. Federal prosecutors allege that the civilian behind the closure, Borough Park businessman Jeremy Reichberg, and his real-estate-investor pal Jona Rechnitz, spent more than $100,000 on police bribes between 2012 and 2015. “They got, in effect, a private police force for themselves and their friends — effectively they got cops on call,” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.


Cops shut down Lincoln Tunnel lane for ‘King of Diamonds (NYP)An Israeli billionaire known as the “King of Diamonds” is the bigshot businessman who allegedly got a police escort through the Lincoln Tunnel in a lane that was closed to other drivers, The Post has learned. Lev Leviev, who is also chairman of the international real-estate firm Africa Israel, received the extraordinary favor that’s part of the feds’ corruption case against two high-ranking cops, sources said Tuesday. Gov. Cuomo ordered that the inspectors general of the state and the Port Authority launch a probe into the allegations, saying: “If this is true, it is deeply troubling.” “The NYPD has no jurisdiction within the tunnels boundaries,” Cuomo said.


Dems vying for Rangel’s seat call on Bratton to resign over scandals (NYP)  * More top NYPD officers under fire for corruption probe (NYP) Several high-ranking NYPD officers and a former chief of department are still in the cross hairs of the feds’ corruption probe. They include Philip Banks, who resigned in late 2014 as chief of department, Brooklyn South Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez, Deputy Chief David Colon and Deputy Chief John Sprague. Also under scrutiny are Deputy Chief Andrew Capul, who went from second-in-command of Patrol Borough Manhattan North to a desk job at the School Safety Division, and Deputy Chief James McCarthy, second-in-command of Patrol Bureau Manhattan. Former Community Affairs Detective Michael Milici is being eyed, too. He has already been fired for failing to cooperate in the corruption probe.* Another top NYPD official suspected in corruption scandal (NYP) * 3 N.Y.P.D. Commanders Are Arrested in Vast Corruption Case (NYT) The charges detail lavish gifts officials are accused of receiving and stem from one of several continuing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fund-raising.* Three NYPD commanders have been arrested, along with a Brooklyn businessman, on federal corruption charges linked to one of several continuing investigations into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fundraisingThe New York Times writes. * The hedge fund at the center of a scandal involving corruption charges against former Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook was able to convince a Manhattan judge that it has the cash to repay a $30 million loan, the Post writes.


Bratton reinstates cops tied to corruption probe so they can retire (NYP) Police Commissioner Bill Bratton quietly reinstated two NYPD bosses who had been stripped of their guns and badges over corruption allegations — in a secret deal to get them to retire, The Post has learned. The move — which ensures the high-ranking cops will get highly coveted, official references from the NYPD — came as Bratton is trying to oust all scandal-tainted brass by the end of the month, sources said Tuesday. Deputy Chief John Sprague, whom Bratton tapped last year to head a newly created, internal-investigations unit, was placed on “modified duty” June 1 for refusing to answer questions in front of a federal grand jury.



Seabrook Two Top NYPD Officers Indicted By Feds

Federal Grand Jury Expected to Indict Two Top NYPD Officials Soon: Sources (dnainfo) A federal grand jury is expected to indict two top NYPD officials and their businessman friend on bribery-related charges as early as Friday, DNAinfo New York has learned. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been presenting evidence against Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant and Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg since their arrest last month in an alleged pay-for-favors scheme, sources said.*  US Attorney's Office Announces Indictments as Part of Wide-Ranging Probe (NY1)he U.S. attorney’s office announced the indictment of several high-ranking members of the NYPD, a donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the former head of the city’s correction officers union. Norman Seabrook is charged with wire fraud after allegedly investing his union’s money in a private investment fund in exchange for a kickback.Murray Huberfeld, the founder of that fund, was also indicted. On top of that, NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant were charged with wire fraud and receiving bribes from de Blasio donor Jeremy Reichberg.


The two allegedly received gifts in exchange for favorable treatment from the department. Reichberg also faces charges of wire fraud and bribery. The indictments are part of a wide-ranging probe by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara into corruption at One Police Plaza. The investigation is also examining the mayor’s campaign activities. * New charges for cops, businessman at center of NYPD probe (NYP) * Norman Seabrook indicted in alleged union-bilking scheme (NYP) * Stringer: De Blasio’s ‘slush fund’ never should’ve been created (NYP)* NYPD cops James Grant and Michael Harrington, charged last month with accepting favors from prostitutes and other gifts in exchange for police protection, were indicted and face new charges that could mean more prison time if convicted, the New York Post reports.* A grand jury handed down an indictment of former union chief Norman Seabrook for his alleged role in siphoning $20 million from the Corrections Officers’ Benevolent Association to invest in a hedge fund that is now being investigated by the FBI, the Post reports.



Watch Out de Blasio Cuomo RICO?
JUST IN: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Hit With Federal RICO Lawsuit For Flint Water Disaster








The Bottom Feeders Running the NYC GOP Still Fighting Each Other
Golden ally issued deceptive robocalls in county chairman race (Booklyn Daily)  A top advisor to state Sen. Martin Golden (R–Bay Ridge) admitted in court on May 9 to sending out deceptive robocalls during last year’s contentious Republican party county chairman contest in an attempt to tip the scales for his boss’s preferred winner. James McClelland, a political adviser to the Brooklyn pol, sent calls to party members ahead of a Sept. 30 convention implying ballots they had previously filled out were not valid and instructing them to toss their votes — called “proxies” in political lingo — and wait for party leaders to send them the “official” ballots. “Please do not sign and return the postcard proxy you recently received in the mail,” McClelland told party members without identifying himself during a Sept. 23 round of robocalls. “Over the next few days, your district leader or representative will contact you personally to have you sign the official proxy. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and service to the Republican party.” It’s the latest revelation in an ongoing power struggle between former party chairman Craig Eaton and Golden that is playing out in court. Eaton-backed former Assemblyman Arnaldo Ferraro beat Golden-backed Ted Ghorra in the Sept. 30 contest after party officials invalidated more than 400 votes for Ghorra.

Both sides claimed victory — going so far as to hold competing meetings where Ferraro and Ghorra both acted as chairman. And Ghorra took Ferraro to court over the 400 tossed votes. But the litigative gambit backfired when McClelland admitted he helped Ghorra obtain the votes through deception. Ferraro attorney Ezra Glaser asked McClelland if the robocall — specifically with the use of the word “official” — was orchestrated to confuse people into believing they had signed an incorrect ballot and should re-sign their names on the “official” one for Ghorra. An erstwhile Golden ally who received three of McClelland’s robocalls believes they were designed to manipulate people, he said. “The whole purpose of that robocall was to convince people that there was something wrong with that proxy,” said former Golden political consultant Gerry O’Brien. “There are no ‘official’ or ‘unofficial proxies.’ There are valid and or invalid — but when you say, ‘Don’t sign that proxy, because there’s something wrong with it — this is the official proxy,’ it’s misleading and it’s fraudulent.” Testimony ended May 10, and now Supreme Court judge Edgar Walker will decide the party’s next boss.
GOP Bottom Feeders And Why the Party is Dying in NY, Tabone Trial










If You Want to Know What is In the Daily News Days Before They Write It
 The Daily News writes that de Blasio’s claim that he is a victim of a politically motivated attack in the federal probe into his campaign funds – instead of just dealing with the problem head on – is an insult to New Yorkers The Post writes that de Blasio’s assertions that he isbeing targeted by political enemies are the ultimate cop-out and sound like the defense put forth by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is awaiting sentencing for his public corruption conviction * The Post’s Bob McManus writes that since the early days in office, de Blasio and his team have proven time and again that they can’t handle the high-pressure world of New York politics:*  As the political upheaval from several investigations into possible wrongdoing swirled around him, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to focus on his policy agenda.







Another Hospital Closing Staff Beth Israel
Beth Israel Hospital set to close soon: Staff The Villager Nurses from Mount Sinai Beth Israel made emergency calls to The Villager on Tuesday. It wasn’t to provide medical care — but rather to let the newspaper know what they say is already a done deal: that the historic hospital will close, and “sooner rather than later.” Official word may come extremely soon, the nurses said. “They are going to make a big announcement before the end of the month,” one of them said. “We anticipate this is coming next week.” *Mount Sinai denies reports it's preparing to close Beth Israel Capital New YorkMount Sinai Health System on Friday evening acknowledged that it was still looking to overhaul Beth Israel Medical Center but denied reports that it was about to close the money-losing East Side facility, saying it was "100% committed to serving the community." Nurses and physicians have been worried for some time that Beth Israel would be closed or dramatically reduced in size, shifting jobs to other parts of the health system. A spokeswoman for Mount Sinai told POLITICO New York that leadership “was working on a plan [to] develop new facilities,” but declined to provide any further comment. Ken Davis, Mount Sinai’s CEO, has previously stated he is looking to rebuild Beth Israel, replacing its aging infrastructure with what could be a smaller facility with fewer in-patient beds.* Lower Manhattan's Last Large Hospital Could Be Shrinking, Despite Denials (Gothamist)  De Blasio was openly critical of the fact that so many hospitals closed when Michael Bloomberg was mayor, and was arrested in 2013, during his mayoral campaign, for protesting the closing of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn.

Both Governing By Corruption Investigations or By Pay to Play Cuts Out New Yorkers  
Our very costlyseason of scandal: De Blasio, Cuomo and missed opportunities to govern (NYDN) It’s early in this season of scandal, but we’re already paying the price of folly, greed and secrecy. Every hour that leaders spend huddling with lawyers and publicists to concoct explanations, double-check alibis and gather records for investigators is time not doing the work for which we pay them. The mayor, governor and their staffs should be spending every waking minute investing our tax dollars wisely to stimulate the economy, protect the environment, educate the kids and keep our citizens safe. But they’re not. “If someone violated the rules and the policies, then they have to pay the price,” Cuomo told reporters this month, promising no special mercy for his longtime friends. But during the months it will take to sort things out, projects in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and other economically struggling regions will be stalled and perhaps die on the vine. That’s the cost of slippery ethical dealing. Here in the city, Mayor de Blasio’s frenetic fund-raising for several failed state Senate campaigns and for the now-defunct Campaign for One New York has triggered multiple investigations of whether election laws were broken and whether some of the corporations, unions and wealthy donors who funded the mayor’s political projects did so in exchange for favorable government decisions.  Unlike Cuomo, who has adopted a go-where-the-facts-take-us attitude, de Blasio has unwisely chosen to stall and stonewall. Hizzoner is refusing to cooperate with state ethics investigators and has concocted a fictional legal status of “agent of the city” that supposedly exempts him from Freedom of Information laws that require an explanation of how, when and why some of his outside consultants communicated with the mayor about city business.  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has deemed several of his unpaid, outside consultants – Jonathan Rosen, Nicholas Baldick, Bill Hyers, John Del Cecato and Patrick Gaspard – “agents of the city,” defending his decision not to release his email exchanges with them in response to a FOIL request.  New York City Mayor Averts Disclosure by Naming Special Advisers (WSJ) Bill de Blasio gives title ‘agent of the city’ to five longtime allies

FBI Investigating Secret Recording Showed How Leaders of NYCLASS Bought de Blasio and Others
FBI Examining Secret Recording Of NYCLASS Meeting As Part Of Probe Into Bill de Blasio’s Fundraising (WCBS TV) The FBI is examining a secret recording as part of its investigation of an animal rights group’s relationship with Mayor Bill de Blasio.  The recording is being used by the FBI to determine whether the group was able to influence the mayor’s decisions by donating money to his campaign.  Back on May 19, 2011, horse carriage driver Christina Hansen infiltrated – and recorded – a meeting of New Yorkers for Clean, Liveable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) at Stitch bar on West 37th Street “I was stunned,” Hansen said. “I was worried.”  NYCLASS has been trying to eliminate horse-drawn carriages in New York City and replace them with electric cars. What Hansen saw and heard astonished her, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“Buying politicians is the name of the game,” NYCLASS member David Karopkin is heard to say on the recording. “That’s right.” There were about 20 NYCLASS members at the intimate meeting as the group plotted to use its money and clout to get the city to ban horse carriages, Kramer reported.  The tapes have been turned over to the FBI, which recently issued subpoenas to two NYCLASS executives as part of a wide-ranging probe into the fundraising activities of Mayor de Blasio and whether promises were made in exchange for donations. The strategy discussed by the anti-horse carriage group at the meeting was simple: Convince then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to support a ban, or they would run a big bucks campaign against her when she ran for mayor in 2013, and then support someone else. “If this doesn’t happen within the next year, we are in total and absolute war with her. It’s a war,” Steve Nislick of NYCLASS said on the recording. “Remember, we have de Blasio on our side, we have [then-Manhattan Borough President Scott] Stringer on our side, we have [former New York City Comptroller] Bill Thompson.  Quinn refused to shut down the industry. The group spent close to $1 million on “Anybody but Quinn” campaign. They ran ads and infiltrated some of her rallies. George Capsis, a de Blasio supporter, slapped State Senator Brad Hoylman at a Quinn rally weeks before the primary. Also present at the time: NYCLASS members. At the meeting that Hansen recorded, the NYCLASS people foreshadowed their tactics if Quinn didn’t fall in line. “If not, we’ll start a food fight,” Nislick said on the recording. At an earlier meeting, NYCLASS members also talked about the advantages of getting the 211 horse carriage operators to vacate their West Side stables “They occupy thousands and thousands of square feet of space,” Nislick says on the recording. “We need 68 cars. We need far less space. They free up a lot of real estate.” Hansen said she couldn’t believe what she heard. nsen said she couldn’t believe what she heard. “The fact that anyone would go around talking blatantly about that, pretty much, in so many words, buy the next mayor,” Hansen told Kramer. “I didn’t think that politics worked that way. It’s not supposed to work that way.” At an earlier meeting, NYCLASS members also talked about the advantages of getting the 211 horse carriage operators to vacate their West Side stables  “They occupy thousands and thousands of square feet of space,” Nislick says on the recording. “We need 68 cars. We need far less space. They free up a lot of real estate.” The Mayor’s office said de Blasio has never changed his position on horse carriages  “The mayor’s position on the issue has been consistent and clear,” said Peter Kadushin, a spokesman for de Blasio. “Carriage horses don’t belong on busy city streets   Kadushin pointed out that de Blasio called for a horse carriage ban while still public advocate











































What is Next de Blasio the Rat Did It At Least He Would Be Right About the Rat
 Only fitting de Blasio could be taken down by trash bags (NYP) *  As The Post first reported, the seller, Joseph Dussich, tried for nearly a decade to get the city to buy his Mint-X bags, which he says deter rats and squirrels. But he got the brush-off — until he contributed $100,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a slush fund de Blasio created. Presto, Dussich got a meeting with the mayor, a trial contract for $15,000, and then, through a middleman, a deal worth nearly $6 million. The sequence is shocking — and consistent with that of so many large donations under scrutiny. Even the names of his slush funds — the Campaign for One New York, The Progressive Agenda Committee and United for Affordable Housing — reflect a profound cynicism. Their names suggest the exact opposite of what they actually do.The affront is compounded by de Blasio’s sinister claim that he is the victim of political investigations. “How convenient that when we’re doing a lot of work to help everyday people, there’s all sorts of efforts being made to obscure that work,” he insisted.

NYP Copies True News On How de Blasio Learned to Go Around the Election Law Limits and Just About Everything Else 

True News Posted in 2015
The mastermind behind de Blasio’s shady finances (NYP) An influential labor-union lawyer has guided Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to raise abundant political cash amid the labyrinth of city and state campaign-finance laws. Longtime de Blasio pal Kevin Finnegan — a former political director of the powerful SEIU 1199 hospital-workers union — found ways for labor groups to funnel cash to de Blasio’s campaigns and causes in amounts above legal spending limits, said a source familiar with the mayor’s campaign practices. It’s an open question whether Finnegan’s ideas led de Blasio afoul of the law. The mayor and some aides are now at the center of investigations into their fund-raising practices. “Finnegan knew what de Blasio wanted to do, and he came up with the structure to do it,” one source said. “He was, in effect, de Blasio’s lawyer, architect and banker.” “Their goal was to win elections. They knew where they wanted to get the money from, and they figured out a way to get labor-union money to his campaigns.”  As general counsel of the Working Families Party, Finnegan oversaw the creation of the consulting firm Data Field Services in February 2007, according to state corporation records and court fillings.  When de Blasio ran in 2009 as a WFP-backed candidate for public advocate, his campaign paid $68,000 for Data Field Services’ canvassing and phone-banking services. Investigators suspected that the firm’s work for de Blasio cost more than $68,000, and that it was indirectly funded by WFP and labor largesse.  WFP pumped $560,000 into the firm’s coffers, state campaign records show. That money may have allowed the firm to reduce its consulting rates to de Blasio.




The Feds Have A Rat Rechnitz Spilling the Beans on the Putnam Senate Laundry
Correction Union Head Arrested on Fraud Charges in Federal Corruption Probe (DNAINFO) "I feel like a million dollars" after his arraignment Wednesday afternoon *  Seabrook arrest has city and police officials terrified (NYP) * U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s biggest prosecuting successes (NYDN)  The Norman conquest: Kickbacks bring down Rikers union chief (NYDN Ed) Rechnitz produced $200,000 for the mayor and his causes, despite campaign finance rules limiting donors to just $4,950 a candidate. De Blasio made it easy for him. During his mayoral campaign, disclosure documents say that Rechnitz collected nearly $42,000 from nine associates to deposit in de Blasio’s political pot. He and his wife gave their maximum $9,900. The mayor-elect rewarded Rechnitz with a spot on his ceremonial inaugural committee — and then kept looking for even greater sums of money by creating a non-profit called the Campaign for One New York. There being no limits on donations to such an organization, Rechnitz promptly gave $50,000. Later in 2014, he heeded the mayor’s call to fund the Democratic takeover of the state Senate, contributing the maximum $102,300 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.* * The criminal complaint against Norman Seabrook, the head of the New York City corrections officers union, alleges that he steered $20 million of union funds to a risky hedge fund in exchange for $60,000 for himself, The New York Times reports.  * The Times writes that the city’s corrections union has long wielded “an unhealthy” level of control, and the arrest of its leader has brought on a new phase in efforts to root out corruption and violence at Rikers Island. * The Daily News writes that the complaint against Seabrook and an investment manager highlight the “corrosiveness” of de Blasio’s invitation to pour cash into his campaign and causes beyond previously adhered to limits.* New York mayor strives to stay the course as probe queries persist



Senate Democratic Aide Who Ask if Team de Blasio Check Cleared Subpoenaed 
A state Senate Democratic aide who was a campaign manager referenced in a state Board of Elections criminal referral involving Team de Blasio’s 2014 fundraising operation on behalf of the Senate Democrats has been subpoenaed by investigators, a source said. In her referral, Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman cited a 2014 email from Matthew Lerch, then Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk’s campaign manager, to Ulster County Democratic Committee Treasurer Hayes Clement asking if a $60,000 check from the state Nurse’s Association had cleared and if it could be transferred to Tkaczyk’s campaign committee “ASAP.” Sugarman called the email proof of improper coordination and earmarking. Mayor de Blasio and his camp have insisted everything was done legally.

Albany Ethics Pension Rerorm Still Going Nowhere
Negotiations over a proposal to strip pensions from corrupt lawmakers continue in Albany — though broader ethics reforms appear to be going nowhere despite two recent scandals involving their leaders.* Gridlock Creeps Up On Ethics Bills(YNN)

Silver and Skelos Will Not Go to Jail Until After Supreme Court Rules On Corruption Case
Manhattan federal prosecutors told the judge who sentenced Dean and Adam Skelos last week that the government won’t push for them to go to prison until at least three-plus months after the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a pending case on anti-corruption laws.



Does the Daily News Think Getting Rid of LLCs is Going to Clean Up Albany?  The Same Real Estate LLCs Created the Jobs for NY PAC to Buy he City Council 
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have supported bills to close the so-called LLC loophole, state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has not and is likely not to support any of the bills the governor has introduced, the Daily News writes. Champion of corruption: John Flanagan won’t say yes to closing a gaping campaign finance loophole  (NYDN)  The truth and dare game thrown into the Legislature by Gov. Cuomo is clarifying who will support and who will fight a major anti-corruption reform. Cuomo filed bills to close the so-called LLC loophole that allows wealthy interests to donate unlimited amounts to politicians. He submitted eight measures, ranging from eliminating the loophole for all state political seats to targeting specific elected offices. Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie backs wiping the loophole off the books. So he is in sync there with Cuomo. That leaves the Senate, led by Republican John Flanagan. The dare has been put to him: Go for just one of the governor’s choices, even for gubernatorial races alone, and throw the challenge back at Cuomo and the Assembly. We’re not holding our breath. The truth is Flanagan is ready to keep the corruption font flowing.





The NYT Knew About Shadow Lobbyists Wroking Inside de Blasio Government  
The Press By Using Lobbyists Inside Mayor Office As Lobbyists Has Enabled de Blasio's Corruption
















de Blasio Defense: "I Did Not Steal From Everyone"  HE IS NUTS
Mayor de Blasio promises to release list of donors denied favors (NYDN) “A stunning number of donors and supporters not only did not get things they hoped they would get, they got a rejection of things they hoped they would get,” Mayor de Blasio insisted Wednesday. He said a list of disappointed donors would be provided “in the coming weeks.” The bizarre promise came in the midst of a rambling, more than two-hour news conference in which a defensive de Blasio refused to answer point-blank if he solicited donations from people with business before the city, and insisted he was more transparent than other elected officials — while at the same time defending his refusal to release emails from outside consultants with his administration. “We followed legal guidance,” de Blasio said when asked if he could say yes or no on whether he solicited donations from people who were doing business with the city. He said there were different rules for different types of fund-raising — including his now-disbanded Campaign for One New York — but that he always stuck to the law. The mayor, who is grappling with several intertwined law enforcement investigations into his fund-raising, said critics miss that the money was being raised for a good cause. Speaking slowly and enunciating every word, he said: “We are trying to change things.” He added sarcastically, “If I thought the status quo was just dandy, I wouldn’t have been trying to put together resources to change it.” Although he repeatedly said his administration was more transparent than others when disclosing donations, the transparency ends when it comes to his emails. De Blasio said he won’t release emails from Jonathan Rosen — an outside campaign consultant who has clients with business before the city — because as an informal adviser he is not subject to Freedom of Information Laws.*   De Blasio Taking Responsibility for Lifting of City's Deed Restrictions (NY1) *

Scandal de Blasio Poll Numbers Drop 19 Point in 3 Months
Mayor de Blasio’s approval hits record low (NYP) Battered by numerous investigations of his campaign and administration, Mayor de Blasio on Tuesday saw his job-approval rating sink to its lowest point since he took office. Only 41 percent of voters in the latest Quinnipiac University survey said the mayor was doing a good job, while 52 percent said he wasn’t. That’s a 19-point swing from the previous Q poll, in January, when he de Blasio had a positive, 50-42, rating. Perhaps most troubling for the mayor were the numbers among blacks and Hispanics, who form his base and whose support showed significant signs of erosion for the first time. Four months ago, black voters gave de Blasio an approval rating of 77 percent. This time, it’s only 58 percent. In a similar but smaller drop, Hizzoner’s approval among Hispanic voters fell from 66 to 55. The latest poll also shows that a majority of voters does not believe de Blasio deserves to be re-elected next year, while he finishes in a dead heat with two potential rivals. City Comptroller Scott Stringer would get 36 percent to de Blasio’s 37 in a hypothetical 2017 race, while Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams would grab 34 percent to de Blasio’s 35. The outcomes assume his challengers run as independents in the general election. Voters’ views of de Blasio’s honesty also reached historic lows, with 45 percent saying he’s not trustworthy and 43 percent saying he is. “The overall favorability switching in a couple of months is rather astounding,” said Baruch College Professor Doug Muzzio. * D'Amato says BDB will lose in court his effort to keep"agents of the city" emails private  (NY1)





What Do the Mayor's Friend Get by Joining (Contributing) to Campaign for 1NY?
Answer this, Mr.Mayor, on the Campaign for One New York (NYDN Ed) Questions with potentially severe consequences will linger for the mayor at least long as Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara keeps asking them. Then, too, the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board has much to discuss with the mayor, assuming that the see-no-evil panel finally recognizes that it’s supposed to enforce the law. Presciently, in February the good government group Common Cause asked the board, as well as campaign finance regulators, to check out the mayor’s money maneuvering through the Campaign for One New York. Hmmm . . . What, if anything, did benefactors Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz expect in return for their sizeable fundraising? What exactly did the mayor’s aides discuss with Reichberg and Rechnitz before and after their money came through? What did de Blasio say as he rattled the tin cup at a dinner in Reichberg’s Brooklyn home? Did he declare that donors would receive no special access to city officials or preferential treatment — as city conflicts rules say he must? Did the mayor or anyone from his administration solicit Campaign for One New York funding from the taxi industry, animal rights activists or the teachers union, knowing each had business before the city — a big conflicts no-no? Stepping back from transactional details to the big picture: De Blasio ran for office under a public financing system that gave his campaign $4 million and capped his spending so that all candidates would compete on a level playing field. Exempt from the spending limits, supporters spent lavishly on attack ads that demolished rival Christine Quinn. The mayor has insisted he had nothing to do with the hit job.* De Blasio Donor Lost$1.9M in Ponzi Scheme Linked to Corruption Probe (DNAINFO)  A landlord who donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s transition team was one of the biggest losers in an alleged Ponzi scheme that’s connected to a federal probe of the NYPD and the mayor’s campaign fundraising practices, records show. Gerald Leibman, 74, who has owned Bronx properties that have landed on the public advocate’s bad landlord list, lost $1.9 million to accused fraudster Hamlet Peralta, according to court documents.  Last week Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Peralta, a 36-year-old Bronx restaurateur, with running a pyramid scheme that bilked investors out of $12 million.The criminal case grew out of a public corruption investigation by the FBI and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau.





Today's Question is Who's On the FBI Tapes?







"100s of hours of FBI wiretaps" 
The FBI investigation, which includes hundreds of hours of wiretaps and several cooperating witnesses, has moved to broader political corruption issues involving mayoral fund raising, sources say.(DNAINFO) 












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