When a New York restaurateur who had donated to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign grew increasingly desperate to get a lease renewed, he sent an email directly to one of the city’s most powerful people: Emma Wolfe, a top aide to the mayor.
“Hope you had a great holiday season,” the restaurateur, Harendra Singh, wrote in January 2015. “I would love to speak with you at your convenience.”
Ms. Wolfe took just nine minutes to respond: “Absolutely,” she wrote, “let’s talk on Monday.”
A meeting was soon arranged — part of a longstanding effort that federal prosecutors say Mr. de Blasio and his aides undertook to help Mr. Singh in return for campaign contributions.
The emails were among a raft of evidence related to the alleged scheme that was revealed in Federal District Court here on Wednesday, as part of a case that has revived discussions of possible impropriety by Mr. de Blasio, despite his not actually being involved in the trial.
From the Daily News:
Asked if de Blasio ever called him and solicited donations, Singh replied, “He was always looking for money for himself.”
In court in Central Islip, L.I., Singh made clear that he openly discussed his ties to the mayor with top de Blasio aides as he sought their help resolving a rent dispute with the city.
And they responded by pressuring the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to go easy on back rent he owed for the restaurant he owned on city land in Queens.
In a March 22, 2014, email to top de Blasio aide Emma Wolfe, Singh wrote, “I humbly request you to get me some time to get some issue in front of some City officials. I am very loyal and very early friend of Bill and not (to) be able to get in touch with anyone is a little heart wrenching.”
Soon after, one of Wolfe’s assistants responded, “happy to see if I can help.”