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Old 05-14-2019, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: NYPD rocked by massive corruption probe

https://nypost.com/2019/05/13/cop-cl...ly-retirement/

Cop cleared in NYPD corruption scandal sues city over early retirement
By Andrew Denney
May 13, 2019 | 8:36pm

A former NYPD commander who was cleared of charges in the department’s infamous bribery case has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was wrongly forced to retire early over the scandal.

James Grant filed his suit in Manhattan federal court Monday, just hours after Jeremy Reichberg, who stood trial alongside Grant, was sentenced to four years in prison for orchestrating the massive corruption scandal.

Grant was acquitted in the case in January.

Also Monday, four other NYPD officers who were tied to the scandal filed suit in Manhattan federal court alleging that they were thrown under the bus to protect former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio. They were booted from their jobs but never charged.

In Grant’s suit, the former 19th Precinct commander similarly alleges that Bratton and Lawrence Byrne, the department’s former deputy commissioner for legal matters who retired last year, made Grant a “scapegoat” while other NYPD brass were able to avoid serious charges from the scandal.

Specifically, Grant said it was revealed at trial that Phillip Banks, the NYPD’s former second-in-command; and Michael Endall, the former commanding officer for the NYPD’s scandal-ridden License Division, were tied to the bribery scheme and were allowed to stay on the job for months or years — and then retire “without repercussion.

“Unlike those officials, Mr. Grant and other innocent officers were forced out of the department without due process,” Grant’s suit states.

He claims that he was forced to give up two years’ worth of unpaid overtime that he built up through his 23 years with the department.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said it will “review the suit and respond accordingly.”

In an e-mail, a NYPD spokeswoman said there was nothing wrong with the department’s handling of Grant’s retirement.

“The NYPD believes this retirement was handled properly, ” said Sgt. Jessica McRorie.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: NYPD rocked by massive corruption probe

https://nypost.com/2019/05/13/corrup...asio-campaign/

Corrupt execs cop plea over illegal donations to de Blasio campaign
By Rebecca Rosenberg
May 13, 2019 | 8:20pm



Two corrupt brothers whose engineering firm was awarded millions of dollars in city contracts pleaded guilty Monday to illegally funneling cash to Mayor de Blasio’s 2013 election campaign.

Husam Ahmad, the CEO of HAKS and part-owner of SIMCO, copped to one count of first-degree bribery in the scheme, which also included an allegedly corrupt DEP official. Ahmad is expected to be sentenced to two to six years behind bars July 8.

Court papers say his plea agreement will also end a Brooklyn federal investigation into him but do not elaborate on the nature of that probe.

In a separate Manhattan Supreme Court hearing, his brother, HAKS Chief Financial officer Shahid Akhtar, copped to two counts of offering a false instrument for filing in exchange for one to three years in prison.

As part of the deal, the brothers have to step down from the company and sell their interests.

HAKS, which was also charged in the bribery scheme, agreed to pay a $3 million fine over the next three years and cooperate with investigators. If the company complies, the indictment against it will be dismissed.

Prosecutors say Ahmad and Akhtar hosted three fundraisers at HAKS headquarters to court favor with then-mayoral candidates de Blasio, Joe Lhota and Bill Thompson —- with the expectation they’d later be awarded lucrative contracts.

They directed their staffers to donate to specific candidates, then reimbursed them with end-of-year bonuses, circumventing campaign contribution limits.

HAKS and SIMCO ended up scoring $36 million in city contracts, including projects related to Superstorm Sandy repairs, the Second Avenue Subway and the reconstruction of the Kosciuszko Bridge.

Ahmad and Akhtar also allegedly paid millions in bribes to a DEP official who steered valuable contracts their way, undermining the public bidding process.

The crooked CEO was appointed to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York in 2014 but was kicked off in February of 2018 when the criminal allegations first came to light.

The non-profit raises money for causes connected to City Hall.
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: NYPD rocked by massive corruption probe

https://nypost.com/2019/05/13/nypd-b...-bratton-suit/

NYPD brass tied to scandal were forced to take fall to protect de Blasio, Bratton: suit
By Yaron Steinbuch
May 13, 2019 | 2:28pm | Updated May 13, 2019 | 3:25pm


(From left) Andrew Capul, Peter DeBlasio and David Colon Paul Martinka; Brigitte Stelzer; NYPD


Four former high-ranking NYPD cops who were forced to retire amid a bribery scandal filed a federal lawsuit Monday alleging they were denied due process to protect Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The plaintiffs — ex-Inspector Peter DeBlasio, who is no relation to the mayor, and former Deputy Chiefs Andrew Capul, David Colon and Eric Rodriguez — have already been collectively awarded more than $1 million for vacation and overtime days they were owed before being forced to resign.

They had been linked to the bribery scandal involving two top donors to the mayor, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, but none of the cops were ever criminally charged.

DeBlasio, Capul, Colon and Rodriguez filed their lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on the same day Reichberg was sentenced to 48 months behind bars for his part in the massive bribery scheme in which NYPD officers were showered with lavish gifts that included a private junket to Las Vegas.

“The NYPD believes these retirements were handled properly,” Detective Denise Moroney, a police spokeswoman, told The Post in an email.

Freddi Goldstein, a City Hall rep, said in a statement: “The mayor is not involved with NYPD personnel decisions at this level. Any belief to the contrary is wrong.”

Reichberg was convicted in January of four counts, including conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and bribery.
Enlarge ImageEric Rodriguez
Eric RodriguezNYPD

His prosecution was secured in part by the nine-day testimony of former pal Rechnitz, who cut a deal with the feds and pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy in 2016.

“Because the allegations led to the highest-ranking NYPD officials, and perhaps directly to the Mayor, who the NYPD was trying to protect, the NYPD believed it needed to take immediate action, at least for public relations purposes,” the plaintiff former cops say in their suit, which was filed in Manhattan federal court.

“Because the corruption allegations reached the Mayor’s office, the Mayor, the City, and NYPD top leaders, such as the Commissioner and [NYPD] Chief (Philip) Banks, they had an interest in insulating themselves from the allegations,” according to the lawsuit.

“Accordingly, the NYPD implicated ‘expendable’ deputy chiefs and inspectors – career police officials with impeccable records – while protecting politically tied officers from implication in the Corruption.”

Banks, the former NYPD chief of department who was named by the feds as an unindicted co-conspirator in the scandal, has denied that he took payoffs from the mayor’s two ex-fundraisers in return for special treatment.
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: NYPD rocked by massive corruption probe

https://nypost.com/2019/05/13/de-bla...ibery-scandal/

De Blasio donor Jeremy Reichberg sentenced to 4 years for bribery scandal
By Andrew Denney and Yaron Steinbuch
May 13, 2019 | 1:48pm | Updated



A former City Hall fundraiser who was convicted of taking part in a massive bribery scheme in which NYPD officers were given lavish gifts that included a private junket to Las Vegas was sentenced Monday to 48 months in prison.

Jeremy Reichberg, who was convicted in January of four counts, including conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and bribery, had tearfully asked District Judge Gregory Woods for leniency moments earlier.

“I acted as an adolescent, wanting special attention, feeling that I was entitled to get special attention for my friends who were police officers ,” Reichberg said in Manhattan federal court, struggling to read through prepared remarks and pausing often to wipe away tears and blow his nose.

His attorney, Susan Necheles, argued that her client committed crimes of “hubris … ego and gluttony,” saying he paid bribes to cops so he could pal around with them and look like a “big shot.”

She argued that the bribes didn’t get him any big favors or put the public in danger.

“What he got were things that made him look like a big shot,” she said. “He hung out with them doing fancy things.”

But prosecutors said Reichberg’s bribes weren’t just to spruce up his image — arguing that he and his former pal Jona Rechnitz got police favors in exchange for their lavish gifts, including help with arrests and difficult-to-obtain gun licenses.

“This was not a crime that created an appearance of favoritism,” said Assistant US Attorney Martin Bell. “This was impropriety of the most basic sort. This was favoritism, bought and paid for.”

Reichberg also was sentenced for two years of supervised release.

“I believe the offenses were about more than dollars and cents. It’s about corruption of an important public institution,” the judge said.

Reichberg’s prosecution was secured in part with the nine-day testimony of Rechnitz, the “money man” in the bribery scheme who cut a deal with the feds and pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy in 2016 before returning to his native Los Angeles.

Also testifying in Reichberg’s case was Gabriella Curtis, also known as “Gabi Grecko,” the prostitute who provided NYPD cops with mile-high entertainment on a pricey private flight to Las Vegas.

James Grant, a former NYPD commander who was tried alongside Reichberg, was acquitted.

Jurors from the trial have told The Post they had a hard time believing Grecko’s story that she shared a hotel room with Grant in Sin City.

In March, Reichberg’s lawyers alleged that Rechnitz inaccurately testified that Reichberg used police connections to “fix” tickets so recipients could avoid getting points on their licenses or fines, and that he leaned on the head of the state court officers union to get friends who paid him a fee out of jury duty.

Reichberg had maintained he only hired lawyers to help violators with their tickets, and he never helped to get a ticket fixed.

He also said Rechnitz asked him about getting one friend out of jury duty, but that the friend ended up serving on a jury anyway.

In June 2016, The Post exclusively revealed Grecko’s account of wearing a flight attendant uniform during a private plane flight to Vegas during 2013’s Super Bowl XLVII, on which she said she engaged in sex with Grant and others.

In addition to the all-expenses-paid getaway, Grant was accused of taking graft from Reichberg and Rechnitz in the form of a Nintendo game system and an American Girl doll for his daughter, diamond earrings for his wife and hotel accommodations in Italy.

In exchange, prosecutors alleged that Grant provided Reichberg, Rechnitz and their pals with official favors, including NYPD vehicle escorts, help handling private disputes and help getting gun permits.

The defense contended that all the exchanges were merely favors one pal would do for another, and that none amounted to an illegal quid pro quo.
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