Thursday, August 4, 2016


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.

The CFB Has Two Sets of Rules One For the Mayor and Speaker and Other for the Challengers Liu and Albanese 
@nyccfb finds Campaign for One NY not an arm of 2017 de Blasio reelection operation under current law — and urges Council to change law
 Campaign Finance Board lets de Blasio off the hook (CrainsNY) The mayor's fundraising arm spent millions promoting his agenda, but far enough from the 2017 election to be legal, regulator rules

The CFB Saw Something When They Shut Down John Liu Mayoral Campaign By Blocking Him From Matching Funds

John Liu Gets 'Death Penalty' From Campaign Finance Board (DNAINFO) The New York City Campaign Finance Board unanimously decided not to award Comptroller John Liu’s mayoral campaign millions in public funding on Monday, over what it said were pervasive questions about the campaign’s fundraising practices. The board’s decision dealt a significant blow to a mayoral campaign that has struggled to overcome a federal investigation and trial over its fundraising practices, even as the candidate has maintained his innocence and no charges have been filed against him.

The CFB Fined A Candidate for Mayor Who Did Not Get Any Matching Forms

A Tale of Two CFBs: Albanese vs Campaign PAC NYCLASS, UFT's United for the Future 179 (True News)

The city's campaign finance board scolded a nonprofit closely linked to Mayor de Blasio. (NYT) * Group Linked to Mayor Bill de Blasio Didn’t Aid His Re-election Bid, Board Finds (WSJ) New York City’s campaign finance board says the Campaign for One New York didn’t give money to de Blasio’s 2017 campaign. NYC Campaign Finance Board says Mayor de Blasio's nonprofit spending did not break rules, but 'raises serious policy and perception issues' (NYDN) The city Campaign Finance Board Wednesday found Mayor de Blasio broke no contribution limitation rules by raising unlimited donations through an outside fund — then immediately issued a de facto rebuke of the tactic. The independent non-partisan board found that de Blasio's Campaign for One New York, set up before he took office and run by his campaign staff, stayed within the law but took advantage of serious loopholes that need to be closed.

The CFB Ignores How the UFT Controls the City Council Electing Dozens of Its Members With An Illegal PAC Control By Lobbyistss Advance Group and Berlin Rosen

The UFT Coup d'é·tat Of NYC Election System and Democracy (True News)

The city Campaign Finance Board Wednesday found Mayor de Blasio broke no contribution limitation rules by raising unlimited donations through an outside fund — then immediately issued a de facto rebuke of the tactic. The independent non-partisan board found that de Blasio's Campaign for One New York, set up before he took office and run by his campaign staff, stayed within the law but took advantage of serious loopholes that need to be closed. The city Campaign Finance Board Wednesday found Mayor de Blasio broke no contribution limitation rules by raising unlimited donations through an outside fund — then immediately issued a de facto rebuke of the tactic. The independent non-partisan board found that de Blasio's Campaign for One New York, set up before he took office and run by his campaign staff, stayed within the law but took advantage of serious loopholes that need to be closed. One CF1NY donor, Jonah Rechnitz, has pleaded guilty and is cooperating in the ongoing probe. On Wednesday Campaign Finance Board Chairwoman Rose Gill Hearn said she could not comment on the ongoing probe but noted, "We have all seen a concerning increase in activity by organizations that face no limits on what they can raise and spend at the city and state level in recent years. The board will not allow candidates to sidestep contribution and expenditure limits by outsourcing essential campaign activities to these coordinated organizations." De Blasio personally raised money for CF1NY and former campaign staffer administer it. Shortly after the complaint was filed, de Blasio disbanded the group, asserting that its work was over. For two years CF1NY raised money at the same time de Blasio was soliciting donations for his 2017 re-election bid, which he kicked off in March 2014. But the Campaign Finance Board found CF1NY actually did spend money on non-campaign issues such as the mayor‘s push for universal pre-K and that spending happened long before Election Day. However, the board left the door open for further monitoring, noting that work conducted by CF1NY such as polling, list-making and research “may have enduring value” for de Blasio’s campaign going forward. Two of the Campaign Finance Board's five members are appointed by the mayor, two by the council Speaker, and one by the mayor with agreement of the Speaker.

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.”

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

Yesterday True News

" 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.

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)