Shocking testimony implicates de Blasio in bribery scheme

A businessman accused of bribery gave testimony Thursday that implicates the New York Police Department (NYPD), Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in a pay-to-play scheme.

In Manhattan federal court on Thursday, real-estate investor Jona Rechnitz testified in the bribery trial of former city corrections-union chief Norman Seabrook. Rechnitz “explained how easy it was for him and his friends to allegedly buy off City Hall and One Police Plaza,” according to a report in the New York Post.
The stunning report says that after Rechnitz and his associate, Jeremy Reichberg, established a relationship of gifts and cash for favors with NYPD officers, they turned to politicians, and were able to create a similar relationship.
From the Post: In his first meeting with de Blasio fundraiser Ross Offinger after de Blasio won the Democratic primary in 2013, Rechnitz and his pals — including Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg and Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers — made the rules clear, Rechnitz said.
“We’re going to be significant contributors, but we want access,” Rechnitz, 34, said the group told Offinger. “When we call, we want answers.
“We’re one group, and we expect a lot of access and influence.”
According to Rechnitz, Mayor de Blasio visited him at his office and even gave the businessman his personal cellphone number and e-mail address.
“He said, ‘Keep in touch,’ and [that] he really appreciated my friendship,” Rechnitz said, according to the report.
Next thing you know, Rechnitz was talking with the mayor once a week, and Rechnitz was calling Offinger every time he had a problem that needed to be fixed, including a massive water bill for a friend, violations over a renter’s subletting one of his residences on Airbnb and a request to delay his wife’s school’s closing by a month.
Rechnitz said the relationship worked out exactly as intended. “Whenever we would call him for access or for a favor, we were getting the response that we expected and the results we were expecting,” he told the court.
After raising $100,000 for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign, Rechnitz earned a spot on de Blasio’s inauguration committee. He and Reichberg were also given positions as police chaplains in exchange for their financial contributions. The chaplain positions included parking perks and other benefits, although neither man was a rabbi or priest.
Rechnitz described additional exchanges, including paying for part of a Rolex watch for Astorino, and cash for favors like wiping parking tickets.
Mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips denied Renchitz’s claims, a rep for Astorino said his testimony was “contrived nonsense,” and the NYPD declined to comment.

SOURCE : dmlnews

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