De Blasio Donor Testifies: New York Mayor Gave Favors in Exchange for Campaign Contributions

One of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s biggest donors testified Thursday about a pay-to-play scheme in which he expected favors in return for his high-dollar contributions.

Jona Rechnitz, a Brooklyn businessman who pleaded guilty to corruption charges, testified about his relationship with de Blasio as the star witness in the trial of New York City union boss Norman Seabrook, according to the New York Daily News.

Rechnitz, 33, put it plainly, saying he “was giving money to the mayor of New York in exchange for favors.”

Rechnitz spoke of his interactions with de Blasio’s top aide, Ross Offinger, painting him as the mayor’s chief solicitor, who would inform the mayor of Rechnitz’s demands.

“Whenever we would call (Offinger) for access or for a favor, we were getting the response that we expected and the results we were expecting,” Rechnitz said.

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“We expect a lot of access and influence in the office,” Rechnitz said he and another donor, Jeremy Reichberg, told Offinger in one meeting.

“We’re going to become significant contributors, but we want access. And when we call, we want answers. When we reach out for things, we want them to get done. It was very important and specifically stated at that meeting.”

According to Rechnitz, the mayor’s bagman replied, “OK. How much do you think you guys can get together?”

“About $50,000 to $100,000,” Rechnitz replied, according to his testimony.

Rechnitz said the sky was the limit in his hopes for the favors he expected to receive, as reported by the New York Post.

“My mind was limitless,” Rechnitz said.

“I was focused on making money, getting my name out there, becoming a big player in town. So I figured maybe I’ll buy an office building, and I’ll get the city as a tenant. Maybe I’ll need to get special permits to make residential developments,” he added.

Rechnitz hinted that previous mayors of the Big Apple, such as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also engaged in similar pay-to-play conduct with donors.

“Jeremy (Reichberg) had told me in the days of Giuliani, people made a fortune,” Rechnitz said.

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De Blasio’s press secretary, Eric Phillips, vehemently denied Rechnitz’s allegations.

“These are nothing but re-heated, re-packaged accusations that have been extensively reviewed and passed on by authorities at multiple levels,” Phillips said. “The administration has never and will never make government decisions based on campaign contributions.”

Since mid-2016, Rechnitz has been cooperating with Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim’s probe into municipal corruption under de Blasio’s watch.

De Blasio scraped by unscathed while bribery charges were brought against a number of top cops and the former corrections officer union president.

However, Kim made it clear that his investigation revealed the mayor had provided favors to big donors.

This post was last modified on October 29, 2017 12:45 pm