A former donor to the liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign for New York testified on Thursday saying that the mayor knew in a certain way about the illegal contribution’s made to his campaign, reports The Blaze.
The New York Times first reported that de Blasio said, “Listen, I don’t know, I don’t want to know. Just do what you’ve got to do,” to Harendra Singh who was the former donor who organized the illegal donations.
As part of the dual corruption trial of former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and former Oyster Bar Town Supervisor John Venditto, Singh is currently serving as the star witness.
Singh has already pleaded guilty to bribing de Blasio, and accepted a plea deal to testify in the trial of Mangano and Venditto. Defense attorneys for the two accused say Singh, a former restauranteur, can’t be trusted.
According to Singh, he raised somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 for de Blasio, detailing how he’d thrown free fundraisers for the mayor and presented funds via the use of “straw donors” — contributors who give money to campaigns and are reimbursed by the actual donors — an illegal mechanism used to skirt campaign finance laws.
Singh suggests that he and de Blasio had a close relationship where the mayor not only knew about the exchange but he even encouraged it and actively helped the restaurateur in situations like replacing the pier near his restaurant. Singh says that the two built a “very close relationship.”
“He made many phone calls,” Mr. Singh said of the mayor. “His office was working very hard, from his deputy mayor to his assistant to his intergovernmental affairs person. Everyone was working.”
De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips responded to the accusations from Singh, insisting, “This administration acted appropriately at all times, as we’ve said several thousand times,” saying that Singh is just “a convicted felon trying to save his own skin.”
But Singh is the second de Blasio donor who has admitted to pay-to-play politics involving the mayor. In a different case, a Brooklyn developer, Jona Rechnitz, testified that he, too, had cut large checks to the mayor’s campaign in exchange for favors.
The second-term Democratic mayor continues to deny these allegations, saying that Singh received the same treatment as any other constituent and also suggested that the restaurateur made up the accusations in an attempt to appease prosecutors and avoid jail time for his own crimes.