Directly hit up for big-dollar donations by Mayor de Blasio and his associates, the owner of a movie and TV production services company complied for fear that her business would be crippled if she failed to raise money for the mayor’s causes, her husband told the Daily News.
“There was never a threat or anything, but if your boss says you gotta do it, you gotta play ball,” lawyer John Ciafone said of his wife Gina Argento, the power behind Broadway Stages in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
“He’s asked her (for money) and then his minions asked her and Broadway Stages.”
The requests paid off — Argento raised $167,000 for the mayor and his causes, including writing four checks totaling $70,000 from herself and her companies.
“Here’s their concern, which is why they have to play the game of giving,” he said of Broadway Stages. “In the film industry, you have to take over parking on the block for the filming. At different times it was difficult to film because the mayor’s office would arbitrarily issue hot spots.”
He described the “hot spots” as areas “where you can’t film in that area.”
“They get complaints, they say ‘We’ve been oversaturated with complaints. We want a freeze.’ That was done in Long Island City, parts of Brooklyn, Greenpoint. Specifically Broadway Stages, they were given hot spots right outside of where they’re located. They had hot spots right outside their building. No explanation. It’s their discretion. It is what it is,” he said.
Ciafone said if the mayor’s office denied a permit, there was no recourse.
“There’s not much you can do about it. It’s up to the discretion of the mayor's office of film where they’re going to instill those hot spots,” he said. “For TV or movie productions, it can be devastating. Suppose you’re filming and you want the flavor of a brownstone neighborhood or you want the flavor of New York City skyscrapers?”
And then there's the stop work order that de Blasio allegedly had lifted for another of his donor pals.