Wednesday, January 25, 2017
De Blasio fundraiser asked for zoning change
From DNA Info:
The night club impresario and beauty product wholesaler whose employees made suspicious donations to Bill de Blasio's campaign threw a fundraiser in 2013 for the future mayor under a bogus name and two years later met with City Hall officials about rezoning a Queens property that he wanted to turn into a hotel, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Sm-Ali "Alex" Amanollahi — whom DNAinfo wrote about last spring for his connection to possible straw donations and for losing money to accused fraudster Hamlet Peralta — co-hosted a fundraiser in October 2013 at a club under the name Alex Amano, sources said. In total Amanollahi, his employees, family and friends gave at least $55,000 to de Blasio's campaign and transition committee in 2013, records show.
Two years after the fundraiser, Amanollahi hit up City Hall officials with help in rezoning his property at 23-04 94th St. in East Elmhurst, sources said.
The rezoning discussions took place in 2015 and 2016. The talks involved Amanollahi, who was going by Alex Amano, meeting with deputy mayor Alicia Glen's chief of staff, James Patchett, and one of her senior advisors, Steven Caputo, at City Hall, according to sources.
However, in April 2016, Amanollahi decided not to move forward with the rezoning because of the costs involved, including hiring a lobbyist to interact with the local community, legal fees and producing an environmental impact study, sources said.
Amanollahi's decision to scrap his hotel plan also came around the time that the media began reporting about federal investigators looking into possible pay-for-favor schemes involving the NYPD and de Blasio's fundraising.