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  #1  
Old 04-10-2016, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/10/de-blas...o-fundraising/

De Blasio plays dumb on fed probe into fundraising
By Michael Gartland
April 10, 2016 | 1:34pm

An incredulous Mayor de Blasio said Sunday he has “no information about an investigation happening” — just two days after The Post and other reported the feds are probing his fundraising efforts.

“I haven’t heard anything about any investigation,” he told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. “There haven’t been any questions posed to me or my team.”

De Blasio’s Sunday public schedule listed him as appearing on the show to “discuss the upcoming New York primary” between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but Todd still peppered him with questions about the widening probe into police accepting gifts in exchange for favors to two shady businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, both of whom raised money for Hizzoner.

Asked if he feels confident his campaign followed the law in raising cash, de Blasio acted as if nothing at all was amiss.

“I absolutely do, Chuck. We are very, very scrupulous about that,” he said. “Everything we’ve done is appropriate and carefully, carefully done with many, many lawyers, I assure you.”

Rechnitz and Reichberg both served on de Blasio inauguaral committee, and de Blasio accepted $9,900 in campaign money from Rechnitz and his wife in 2013.

Rechnitz also bundled $40,000 for de Blasio’s mayoral campaign and donated $50,000 to his non-profit Campaign for One New York. Reichberg hosted a fundraiser for Campaign for One New York at his home in 2014.

Team de Blasio has said they will give back the campaign cash from Rechnitz and his wife, bit not the $40,000 in bundled money.

De Blasio denied that Campaign for One New York money has been used for his mayoral campaigning.

“Totally separate things. Campaign for One New York was to achieve progressive change for affordable housing, pre-k for all,” he said. “That was a separate entity and it worked on those issues.”
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2016, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/11/de-blas...paign-funding/

De Blasio dodges probe questions, whines about campaign funding
By Yoav Gonen and Sophia Rosenbaum
April 11, 2016 | 4:02pm | Updated

Mayor de Blasio claims it’s not his fault he took shady donations from a Brooklyn businessman embroiled in a federal probe — instead blaming the system requiring politicians to raise money in US elections.

Hizzoner dodged discussing any details about his connections to the ongoing federal investigation into NYPD corruption during the Yahoo! interview with Katie Couric, and instead went on a rant that called for the public financing of elections.

“I believe we have a lot of changes we need to make systemically in this country to get money out of politics,” he said.

Without mentioning his predecessor Mike Bloomberg or the current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump by name, he said it was impossible to raise money without help from donors without being a billionaire.

“While we have a system that requires campaign contributions to run a campaign, unless you are a billionaire or a millionaire, the question is can you go about the work with integrity every single day and the people’s interest first?

“This is what we’ve done in our administration. We have always said ‘the decision is what is right for the people’ and that is how we make our decisions,” he said.

De Blasio went back to the blame game when he was pressed by Couric about the $50,000 donation Jona Rechnitz, an Upper West Side real estate investor that is at the center of the probe, made to de Blasio’s nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York.

“Until we get the money entirely out of the political system, of course we are going to turn to people for donations — big and small,” he said.

De Blasio said he “absolutely” did not dole out any special treatment or favors following the cash influx from Rechnitz, which he vowed to return Friday after The Post revealed it.

Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, a prominent figure in Borough Park, are being investigated for a gifts-for-favors scheme with several high-ranking NYPD cops.
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/11/nypd-co...r-your-ticket/

NYPD cop: Blame de Blasio for your ticket
By Tina Moore
April 11, 2016 | 5:14pm



An NYPD cop was caught on video telling a motorist he pulled over in the Bronx that it’s Mayor de Blasio’s fault he’s getting a ticket.

“Mayor de Blasio wants us to give out summonses Okay? Alright?” the cop tells the driver, who appears to be holding a ticket in his hand while the camera rolls.

“I don’t know if you voted for him or not,” the cop says, while leaning in the man’s car window.

“I don’t live in the city. I wouldn’t have voted for him because this is what he wants. He wants us to give out summonses.”

The driver responds: “I feel you, this is a hard job.”

The video was posted on YouTube Saturday by a user with the handle 181elvis.

A police source said the incident took place in the 46th Precinct, which is in the western part of the Bronx. Police weren’t immediately able to say when it happened, but said the precinct commander was investigating.

“The incident is under review by the Precinct Commanding Officer,” the NYPD said in a statement.

An NYPD detective who was caught on video chewing out an Uber driver last year was stripped of his shield and gun, and placed on modified duty.

Detective Patrick Cherry was removed from the department’s elite Joint Terrorism Task Force, after mocking the driver’s accent and berating him.

In the video posted on YouTube, Cherry blows up in the driver’s face after the Uber driver apparently honked at him and and made a gesture with his hand as he tried to park his unmarked car along the West Side Highway in Greenwich Village.

“I don’t know what f–king planet you think you’re on right now. Now sit in your f–king car and stay there,” the detective shouted at the Uber driver.
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2016, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/12/de-blas...-constituents/

De Blasio offers up a measly four Q&A sessions with constituents
By David K. Li
April 12, 2016 | 12:35am

Everyday New Yorkers will get a chance to question Mayor de Blasio through the public airwaves — but only four times a year.

Hizzoner and *WNBC/Channel 4 on Monday announced a new TV show, “Ask the Mayor,” set to debut Sunday at 10 a.m. with anchor Chuck Scarborough and reporter Melissa Russo asking de Blasio questions submitted by viewers.

De Blasio’s program will air quarterly — a far cry from former Mayors Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, who did weekly radio shows — Bloomberg on WOR and Giuliani on WABC — and verbally jousted live with callers .

When he took office in 2014, de Blasio stopped the shows, which had become must-listen events for government watchers and voters alike.

Giuliani in 1999 famously dressed down a ferret advocate who called for the animals to be legalized in the city, telling David Guthartz, “Something must be deranged about you.”

“The excessive concern that you have for ferrets is something you should examine with a therapist, not with me,” Giuliani said.

Despite concerted efforts by ferret lovers, the critters are still banned as pets in the five boroughs.

WNBC is asking viewers to submit questions to de Blasio though the new show’s Web site, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Telemundo will also air a talk with the mayor on its newscasts next week.

The mayor appears sporadically on radio shows and also occasionally fields listeners’ questions.

He abandoned regular town-hall meetings with constituents, a practice dating back to former Mayor Ed Koch’s tenure.

It was nearly two years into de Blasio’s administration — October 2015 — before the mayor scheduled his first town-hall meeting, at a school in Washington Heights.

Although the event was open to all, the mayor’s office extended invitations through politically progressive organizations , such as Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change.

De Blasio was greeted with a standing ovation.
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2016, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/12/shady-d...i-billionaire/

Shady de Blasio donors accused of ripping off Israeli billionaire
By Michael Gartland, Julia Marsh and Bruce Golding
April 12, 2016 | 12:07am


Bill de Blasio, Paul 'Effy' Raps (top right) and Jona Rechnitz (bottom right). Photo: William Farrington; PatrickMcMullan; www.collive.com/Baruch Ezagui


Mayor de Blasio’s campaign accepted donations from two Manhattan jewelers who were accused of scamming millions of dollars in cash and gems from an Israeli billionaire known as the King of Diamonds, The Post has learned.

Paul “Effy” Raps and Yaron Turgeman each forked over the maximum $4,950 in donations bundled by businessman Jona Rechnitz, who is at the center of a federal probe into NYPD corruption and shady de Blasio campaign finances.

Their donations were among $41,650 that Rechnitz raised for the 2013 campaign. Raps and Turgeman also donated another $4,500 and $400, respectively, separate from the bundled money.

The bundled contributions were recorded less than a month after a Manhattan Supreme Court suit alleged that Raps had swindled millions of dollars from a jewelry company owned by Lev Leviev, a renowned diamond merchant who’s on the Forbes World’s Richest People list at 278 for 2016.

In that suit, Raps — the distributor of singer Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable Diamonds jewelry line — was described as someone who’s “dressed in nice clothing, but he’s the devil.”

Turgeman, meanwhile, was sued in December 2013 for allegedly ripping off Leviev through schemes that included purchasing diamonds at inflated prices from Turgeman’s father and other associates, then selling the gems for little or no profit.

Leviev’s suit against Turgeman was settled off the record in 2014, while the suit mentioning Raps is listed as “disposed” — though the entire case file has been sealed.

City records also reveal that Rechnitz owns a Murray Hill apartment building where the Buildings Department last year got a complaint about prostitution inside an illegal massage parlor.


Ross Offinger
Photo: Gregory P. Mango


Online reviews of AV Bodywork at 238 Madison Ave. describe Russian hookers who provided everything from “happy ending” rubdowns to full-on sex. A building inspector wrote that the complaint didn’t include an apartment or floor number — and noted that the situation “appear[ed] to be a police matter.”

Rechnitz was also slapped with a Housing Court suit for locking out Joan Haggerty, 83, from her $121-a-month studio apartment following a brief nursing-home stay in 2014.

Rechnitz was threatened with jail time before finally giving her a working refrigerator, stove and oven, according to court records.

Rechnitz didn’t respond to questions from The Post, and the NYPD said no prostitution-related charges had been filed in connection with the address.

Both Turgeman and Raps declined to comment, and a de Blasio campaign spokesman wouldn’t say if Hizzoner planned to return the cash he got from the men.

“This appears to be a business dispute that was settled out of court,” said spokesman Dan Levitan. “The mayor nor his campaign know anything about it.”

De Blasio’s campaign money was overseen by Ross Offinger, whose activities are part of the federal probe, sources have said.
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2016, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/12/mark-me...ing-rink-plan/

Mark Messier brings de Blasio to court for ‘killing rink plan’
By Rich Calder
April 12, 2016 | 7:59pm


Photo: WireImage/Stephen Yang


Hockey legend Mark Messier crosschecked Mayor de Blasio with a lawsuit Tuesday alleging his administration conspired to kill a plan to develop the Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx into the world’s largest ice-skating complex.

Messier and developer Ken Parker’s company KNIC accused the city’s Economic Development Corp. of breaching a contract ironed out during the final days of the Bloomberg administration in 2013 and “deliberately delay[ing]” construction of the $350 million project.

“We believe the lawsuit reveals conduct that has not only harmed our client, but also robbed the community of the many benefits of this transformational project,” said KNIC lawyer William A. Brewer III.

The 35-page suit, filed in Bronx Supreme Court, alleges that former EDC President Kyle Kimball conspired with three former KNIC business partners in 2014 in a failed bid give them control.

The three ex-partners – Jonathan Richter, Marcus Wignell and Jeff Spiritos – months later lost a separate legal battle to regain a stake of the project from Messier and Parker.

“It now appears that, while publicly pretending to cooperate with KNIC, EDC was secretly working to advance the private interests of the three favored individuals and other non-party co-conspirators to the detriment of KNIC, the Kingsbridge community, The Bronx, and the City of New York,” says the suit.

EDC enlisted the Department of Investigation to see if Parker had adequate financing before turning over the lease, the suit said.

After DOI determined he did, EDC then purposely tried to delay construction by holding the lease in escrow until Messier and Parker could raise $158 million to finance the project’s first phase, the suit alleged.

Messier told The Post last week the unexpected move made potential lenders reluctant to open their checkbooks since his team did not control the site.

They still raised $20 million privately and convinced Gov. Cuomo’s economic development arm, the Empire State Development Corp., to commit the remaining $138 million as a loan.

But even the state’s word wasn’t good enough for EDC, the suit said.

Messier and his team asked the court to order EDC to turn over the lease along with unspecified money damages.

In a statement, the agency responded:

NYCEDC has bent over backwards to support the Kingsbridge project through continued legal and operational challenges faced by the KNIC team. Any allegations to the contrary are totally unfounded. We remain committed to delivering this project for the people of The Bronx.”
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2016, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/13/badmout...g-gifts-is-ok/

Badmouthing de Blasio gets you suspended — but accepting gifts is OK
By Larry Celona, Tina Moore and Bruce Golding
April 13, 2016 | 2:09am



A young cop was stripped of his gun, badge and paycheck just for speaking ill of Mayor Bill de Blasio — yet bosses whom the feds suspect of accepting lavish gifts for favors are still collecting their salaries.

Rank-and-file officers ripped the NYPD on Tuesday over the double standard and the rush to judgment.

“There’s a two-year investigation going on, with a deputy inspector [allegedly] getting diamonds, and they just got transferred,” one officer said.

“But a cop gives a guy a ticket and voices his opinion, and he gets suspended after a two-day investigation.”

Officer Joseph C. Spina, 28, is under investigation for “conduct unbecoming an officer” while ticketing an unlicensed motorist in the Bronx, NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said.

The unidentified driver — who was pulled over Saturday for excessive noise from his car speakers — secretly recorded Spina saying that de Blasio “wants us to give out summonses,” according to a 10-second video posted later that day on YouTube.

In addition to blaming Hizzoner, Spina told the man, “I don’t know if you voted for him or not. I don’t live in the city. I wouldn’t have voted for him, because this is what he wants.”

The Bronx borough commander, Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen, put Spina on the shelf after being notified about the video by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, Davis said.

Cops were livid over the move, with one saying Spina “made a mistake — he was doing his job, writing summonses. He should have taken a free trip or a diamond, and he wouldn’t have gotten in trouble.”

Another officer said blaming de Blasio for tickets is not uncommon. “You know how many times I tell people that? I say that all the time,” the cop said.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch blasted the harsh treatment.

“Suspending a police officer for speaking the truth about the reality of Vision Zero is a colossal, politically motivated overreaction by the department,” Lynch said, referring to the mayor’s traffic safety initiative. “Truth is the ultimate defense, and no formal discipline is warranted.”

Spina’s suspension came less than a week after The Post exclusively reported that the FBI was investigating whether two businessmen gave top NYPD officials diamonds, cash and overseas trips in exchange for favors.

Two days later, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton reassigned four department bosses, including two who were stripped of their badges and guns.

During Saturday’s traffic stop, the driver angrily argued with Spina before getting slapped with the ticket, a source said.

The video appears to have been shot using a hidden camera. The video has since been made inaccessible.

A de Blasio spokeswoman denied City Hall had a hand in Spina’s suspension, insisting, “NYPD handles internal discipline, and the mayor trusts Commissioner Bratton’s decisions.” But spokeswoman Monica Klein wouldn’t say whether Hizzoner had ordered a ticket blitz as part of the Vision Zero plan he announced in 2014.

One cop complained, “It’s his idea, but we give out the punishment and the public takes it out on us.”
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  #8  
Old 04-13-2016, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/13/two-fac...inance-system/

Two-faced de Blasio changes tune on campaign-finance system
By Yoav Gonen
April 13, 2016 | 3:38am

He’s complaining now about the city’s campaign-finance system, but Mayor de Blasio made sure a decade ago that the system would work — for him.

As a City Council member in 2005, de Blasio sponsored a bill that requires the Campaign Finance Board to treat affiliates of unions as separate entities, allowing each local chapter to donate at the $4,950 maximum rate.

It’s that piece of legislation that allowed UNITE HERE — a union formerly run by the mayor’s cousin John Wilhelm — to pump more than $77,000 into de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign from chapters as far away as Honolulu.

Internal documents from de Blasio’s council office obtained by The Post show that Local 1199 SEIU political director Kevin Finnegan explained in 2005 that the legislation would create a loophole for unions.

“It is easy to get around this stuff . . . 1199 could just maintain separate funds for each of the divisions (hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, homecare), we would have formal rules with separate boards for each fund. In reality of course, one person (guess who) would control all of those funds — because in reality, we are one union,” wrote Finnegan.

An 1199 spokeswoman said Finnegan was speaking hypothetically based on his concern over potential perceptions of the bill, which was aimed at ensuring that union chapters representing different sectors of workers would not be treated as one entity.

A separate e-mail from a labor lawyer to de Blasio staffers in 2005 said the proposed bill would treat few union chapters as affiliated.

“So, in that sense, it will achieve our goals,” the lawyer wrote.

On Monday, the mayor complained at an event in The Bronx that the city’s strict campaign-finance system isn’t fair to unions.

His gripes came in response to questions about a federal probe into the fund-raising practices of his nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, which critics have slammed as a political slush fund.

“A labor union can give in a New York City election $4,950. They may represent 50,000 or 100,000 people,” he said. “A single law firm — a single real-estate firm — could bundle hundreds of thousands of dollars under our law. No one makes a big noise about that.”

What de Blasio didn’t mention was that his third-biggest bundler in the 2013 race was his cousin, who raised $85,000.

Only representatives for the taxi and film industries collected more.

Additionally, UNITE HERE has boosted Hizzoner’s agenda through other means, including a $400,000 donation to the Campaign for One New York. Other unions have also given heavily to CONY, including Local 1199, which gave $500,000, and the American Federation of Teachers, which gave $350,000.

The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2016, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/13/de-blas...ruption-probe/

De Blasio says he offered to help feds in NYPD corruption probe
By Michael Gartland
April 13, 2016 | 3:27pm

Mayor de Blasio revealed Wednesday that he’d hired a lawyer who once defended crooked ex-Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik to represent him as the feds probe his campaign finances.

De Blasio said white-collar criminal defense lawyer Barry Berke called up federal prosecutors to offer assistance with their investigation, which grew out of the widening NYPD corruption scandal — but Hizzoner continued to maintain that neither he nor anyone from his campaign had been contacted.

“He [Berke] reached out at my request and simply said, ‘We’d like to be helpful in any way we can, happy to provide any information that can be helpful,'” de Blasio said.

“There was no, to the best of my understanding, no particular response except acknowledging, and you know, ‘Thank you for the call.'”

Berke helped Kerik fight a raft of charges that included lying to the White House during his failed bid to head the Homeland Security Department, which the disgraced ex-top cop resolved by copping a 2009 plea deal that sent him to the slammer for four years,

Berke has also been a staunch supporter of de Blasio’s, hosting nine fund-raisers and donating, along with his wife, Alison, a total of $29,250 to the mayor’s 2013 and planned 2017 campaigns.

Berke also served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee with businessmen and de Blasio donors Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who are key figures in the federal investigation.

Meanwhile, the head of the city Department of Investigation, Mark Peters, said he wouldn’t recuse himself from any probes of the mayor’s fund-raising, even though he was de Blasio’s campaign treasurer.

In a prepared statement, the DOI said: “The allegations of wrongdoing regarding campaign finance post-date Commissioner Peters’ involvement with the campaign. His recusal at this time would only serve to impede DOI’s active investigation of this matter.”

“Given the arrests made and multiple reports issued by DOI criticizing the current administration, the suggestion that DOI is not acting with integrity or independently is wholly inaccurate,” the statement added.
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2016, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: De Blasio in secret bid to be Dems’ 2016 pick

http://nypost.com/2016/04/14/bratton...o-bashing-cop/

Bratton defends suspension of de Blasio-bashing cop
By Shawn Cohen and Bruce Golding
April 14, 2016 | 3:23am

Top cop Bill Bratton defended the decision to suspend a Bronx officer without pay for badmouthing Mayor de Blasio — telling The Post on Wednesday that the cop caused “damage” to the NYPD and hurt its reputation “around the country.”

“The damage he did to those other 36,000 cops that — I’m sorry, we’re very comfortable with [his suspension],” Bratton said during a sit-down with The Post’s Editorial Board.

“You were applauding him for telling the truth, according to the way you interpret the truth, but the way this was portrayed around the country was not that way. It basically focused on his unprofessionalism, and that’s what we’re [focused on].”

Bratton also dismissed complaints from the rank-and-file that Officer Joseph C. Spina got suspended while top NYPD brass were still drawing paychecks despite being the targets in a widening corruption scandal.

Bratton said that while there were “a lot of allegations” that the bosses had traded favors for lavish gifts, in Spina’s case, “We have a video, we have live evidence. There’s no dispute.”

“The criminal investigation is a much more complex animal. It may take us longer to resolve it and ultimately get to a discipline level and whatever that level is, whether it’s criminal indictments, etc.,” Bratton said.

Spina, 28, was secretly recorded on Saturday telling a ticketed motorist about de Blasio: “I don’t know if you voted for him or not. I don’t live in the city. I wouldn’t have voted for him because this is what he wants. He wants us to give out summonses.”

Bratton’s anti-terror chief, John Miller, accused Spina of “hiding behind the mayor’s skirts for what is not a borderline violation,” referring to a charge of driving without a license.

“The officer who writes that summons should own that summons,” Miller noted.

Chief of Department James O’Neill also said that what Spina did “was absolutely unprofessional.”

“He pulled that car over, he made the decision to write the two summonses, and I applaud him for that. The editorializing — there’s no need for it,” O’Neill said.

Spina emerged from his Rockland County home Wednesday in sweat pants and a hoodie emblazoned with the logo of the Punisher comic-book hero, modified to include a flying eagle and the American flag.

He declined to comment before and after a brief trip in his pickup truck, but a neighbor. Mary Ann Sadowski, 73, said she thought Spina was getting a bum rap.

“You’re entitled to your opinion as long as you obey the law and do what your job requires,” she said.
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