Before prosecutors dropped de Blasio investigation, key donor had pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy

Jona Rechnitz had been identified in press reports to have taken part in activities that included flying aboard a private jet to Las Vegas with senior New York Police Department officers. In this slide, prepared by Federal prosecutors, some individuals, Mr. Rechnitz excluded, were named as part of one criminal conspiracy to provide bribes to NYPD officers in exchange for receiving official acts. Source :  U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York/Public Domain

Jona Rechnitz had been identified in press reports to have taken part in activities that included flying aboard a private jet to Las Vegas with senior New York Police Department officers. In this slide, prepared by Federal prosecutors, some individuals, Mr. Rechnitz excluded, were named as part of one criminal conspiracy to provide bribes to NYPD officers in exchange for receiving official acts. Source :  U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York/Public Domain

By LOUIS FLORES

Nine months before Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim and District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. (D-Manhattan) dropped their respective corruption investigations into the campaign finance activities of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City), a key campaign contributor of Mayor de Blasio, Jona Rechnitz, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a criminal conspiracy. The admission was made in a criminal Information statement filed in Manhattan Federal Court on 06 June 2016. News of the criminal Information statement was first noted in a report published by The New York Daily News.

During the conduct of the reported wide-ranging, Federal corruption investigation, prosecutors or investigators filed charges or assessed fines against some of Mayor de Blasio's key political supporters, such as the lobbying firm The Advance Group, NY-CLASS, Jeremy Reichberg, and several top officers at the New York Police Department. The probes exposed a pattern and practise at the NYPD of expediting the processing of gun permits in exchange for bribes, amongst other findings. When Acting U.S. Attorney Kim made the no-charges announcement of the de Blasio administration, the top Federal prosecutor for New York's southern district said in a statement, in relevant part, that Mayor de Blasio had "made or directed inquiries to relevant City agencies on behalf of" his political donors. In the political shake-up that followed the firt revelations of the reported wide-ranging, Federal corruption investigation, several senior administration officials resigned, including former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

Election-year media strategy is failing Mayor de Blasio

To deflect attention from the corruption investigations, the murderous, racial conflict that is playing out in New York City, and the growing anti-Semitic threats against Jewish community centers, Mayor de Blasio has been making State-wide policy proposals that have been described by Crain's New York Business as being unable to garner support in Albany, such as for a mansion tax. After Mayor de Blasio's television advertismement-friendly, 2013 mayoral campaign, grassroots advocates for police reform, including Erica Garner, have faulted Mayor de Blasio for not following through as mayor on his politicised use of the language for reform.

In the face of Mayor de Blasio's assertion that his administration is transparent, he has come under fire for refusing to appoint a panel patterned after the Knapp Commission to publicly investigate the NYPD, the forced dismissal of a whistleblower at the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the dismissal of a senior administrator at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services who was questioned by prosecutors, the decision to appeal a Court order for the release of public records, his refusal to take off-topic questions from reporters during staged press conferences, and his decision to boycott news outlets, which have published reports that have been critical of his administration's record.

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