Thursday, October 20, 2016

Preet scrutinizing campaign donors

From the NY Times:

A federal investigation into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising has zeroed in on whether donations were exchanged for beneficial city action in about a half-dozen cases, according to people with knowledge of the inquiry.

The matters under scrutiny, the people said, involve, among others, a company whose soundstages are used to film television shows such as “The Good Wife” and “Blue Bloods” that wanted to expand its operations, and that depends on city permits; those connected to a lucrative development deal on the site of a former hospital that needed city approvals; a popular restaurant and wedding site that was negotiating a new lease with the city; and a garbage bag company seeking a city contract.

Some of the earliest and most generous donors to the Campaign for One New York are among those whose contributions — along with their actions and those of the mayor and members of his administration and campaign staff — are under scrutiny, several people with knowledge of the inquiry said.

The first two donations to the group, made on Jan. 24, 2014, just weeks after Mr. de Blasio was sworn in, were for $25,000 each and came from Broadway Stages, the soundstage company seeking to expand, and the company’s president, Gina Argento.

By then, Ms. Argento and her company were well known to the mayor. She was the second-largest bundler of contributions for his 2013 run — city records show she brought in over $100,000 for the campaign and transition — and even spent $250 to rent the costumes that Mr. de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, wore at a 2014 Halloween party for children at Gracie Mansion. (The company said it also paid for costumes for more than 100 children from homeless shelters who attended the party.)

One of Ms. Argento’s companies also gave $10,000 to the Putnam County Democratic Committee in October 2014, when the mayor was urging his donors to support Democratic efforts to wrest control of the State Senate.

Broadway Stages also gave $35,000 to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, a charity that is led by Ms. McCray. Ms. Argento served on the group’s advisory board until July.

John J. Ciafone, a lawyer who is married to Ms. Argento and represents her and Broadway Stages, would not confirm the existence of a federal inquiry, but said that neither she nor the company had engaged in wrongdoing. Neither, he said, had sought help from the administration for Broadway Stages’ expansion plans, which include new soundstages in Brooklyn and on Staten Island, in exchange for its contributions.

“Broadway Stages and Gina Argento has not gotten a penny from the city for any of these projects — not a penny!” he said.

Mr. Ciafone suggested that his wife and the company had been pressured to donate. Their business, he said, relied directly on the discretion of the mayor’s office, which issues film permits from the film commissioner.

“They put a lot of pressure on people like Broadway Stages and I’m sure the other film people to give money to the mayor, to give money to C.O.N.Y.,” he said, referring to the mayor’s nonprofit.

Mr. Ciafone said there could be “repercussions in terms of not contributing,” adding, “People don’t understand that.”

Mr. Ciafone said the pressure had not come from Mr. de Blasio himself, but rather “from several people — fund-raisers, staff fund-raisers, several people on behalf of the mayor” whom he could not name.

He also denied suggestions that Ms. Argento had engaged in a so-called straw donor scheme, saying Mr. de Blasio’s campaign had attributed donors to her whom he said she had not solicited.


(sarc) said...

Just coincidental.

Looks like the mayor is taking notes from the Clinton Foundation...

Anonymous said...

Hey Preet, you are moving too slow with this. Speed it up!

JQ LLC said...

Taking notes? this is pure carbon copy of the Clinton industrial complex on a local level. But as the nation knows, the laws against money laundering and illicit patronage don't apply to establishment government types with delusions of iconic grandeur. A diminished supreme court confirmed this cynical hypothesis this summer with their McDnnell decision.

Johnnie's singing like a canary here. I see Gina taking a sudden overseas vacation shortly.

Hopefully, we will soon know what other film production companies have taken advantage of this city with their invasive and territorial presence on public streets.

Anonymous said...

Follow the money trail...

Anonymous said...

One term mayor...corruption reigns supreme as transparency is fading.
Still a tale of two cities...we will need someone is clean up the mess you created.

Anonymous said...

Check out Paul Vallone's!
This crook is hiding a lot.

Anonymous said...

CB 7 needs some scoping too!
There's a lot of Asian overseas money that's been laundered and finding its way into local politicians' pockets.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that Broadway Stages and Gina Argento were big supporters of our friend Dizzy Lizzy. She went to bat for them at the Knockdown Center that the community opposed and was certainly instrumental in bringing them to the Atlas Terminal property (I suspect that is why she is waisting 1/2 a million $ on that ridiculous light rail study). BTW, who oversees the 'filming, no parking permits' that they plaster up and down Cooper Ave. whenever they want to use the street for employee parking.

Anonymous said...

It's just an investigation,just because they have evidence crimes were committed Does Not mean anything will come of it,
Remember,these people are above the law,not like you,you go to jail.
Put your head back in the sand AND DON'T BE LATE WITH YOUR TAX OBLIGATION.

Anonymous said...

No one is above the law.

M. How said...

Anonymous said... "No one is above the law."

That's what I thought until Bill and Hillary, Loretta Lynch, and FBI's Comey produced the "scam of the century".

If no one is above the law, how come they're not in jail for lying, violating national security and treason?

And why is it Congress has not issued any warrants for their collective arrests for lying under oath to Congressional members?

Anonymous said...

Did Baharra find deBlahsio's offshore account where he hid his part of the spoils from the Rivington House Swindle??

JQ LLC said...

"And why is it Congress has not issued any warrants for their collective arrests for lying under oath to Congressional members?"

I like to point out, a Republican majority congress.

A good looking out for when the once Dem majority never took impeachment proceedings or even investigations from the lies that led to Iraq war debacle?

More likely so they can continue to break the law in elected office in the future. This is the only time when these sociopaths can come to bipartisan agreement.

Anonymous said...

Caption for the pic: DUH-Blah-zzzzzzio

Anonymous said...

Maybe CB7s Bitterman is retiring just in time before Preet decides to subpoena her.