- Officials said to be looking into conduct of New York’s finest, including senior NYPD staff
- Officers are suspected of accepting cash from businessmen Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg for influence
- Rechnitz and Reichberg served on Mayor de Blasio’s inauguration team’
- They planned the mayor’s party when he took office in 2014 and are both major donors
- Around 20 top NYPD officers were roused from their sleep by FBI agents investigating what could be one of the NYPD’s largest corruption scandals
- NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant and Deputy Housing Chief Michael Harrington have been placed on modified duty
- Deputy Chief David Colon and Brooklyn South Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez have been transferred
- Wiretaps on the two businessmen’s phones reportedly revealed relationships with several NYPD cops
By MARTIN GOULD and REGINA F. GRAHAM and WILLS ROBINSON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
New York City’s ultra-Liberal mayor Bill de Blasio has been thrown into the center of a wide-ranging corruption probe as the FBI closes in on top officers in the city’s police department.
Two major de Blasio donors are at the center of the scandal that led to the NYPD’s chief on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side placed on modified duty on Thursday.
Deputy Inspector James Grant, head of the 19th Precinct, was relieved of his badge and gun amid claims that he accepted cash and diamonds from Jeremy Reichberg, a friend of the mayor.
Michael Harrington, the second in command of the force’s housing bureau was given similar punishment and deputy chiefs David Colon and Eric Rodriguez have been transferred, commissioner Bill Bratton confirmed.
NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant (left) has been placed on modified duty and stripped of his gun and badge as was Deputy Housing Chief Michael Harrington (right)
‘The public has expectations of its public officials, of the leadership of the department, and those expectations were not met,’ Bratton said during a press conference.
‘This is not a particularly good day for the department.’
Grant allegedly told friends ‘I’m f****d, I can’t go to jail,’ when he heard he was under investigation.
Thursday’s dramatic moves came after it was revealed that Philip Banks, the force’s highest-ranking black officer, who quit in 2014 rather than accept promotion to what he considered a desk job, was also under investigation over hundreds of thousands of dollars that had appeared in his bank accounts.
De Blasio had considered Banks for the top job of police commissioner but in the end passed him over and chose former LAPD chief Bill Bratton instead. Banks rejected the post of second-in-command and went to work as head of security for a medical marijuana distribution company.
Harrington worked under Banks before his boss resigned.
Two major de Blasio donors are at the center of the scandal that led to the NYPD’s chief on Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side placed on modified duty on Thursday
Around 20 other top NYPD officers were roused from their sleep in the early morning hours by FBI agents investigating what could become one of the largest corruption scandals to hit the department in years. Some are considered witnesses, others could face disciplinary action or even court charges.
The probe centers on allegations that Reichberg and real estate investor Jona Rechnitz, two Orthodox Jewish businessmen, who are both major donors to de Blasio, gave cash, diamonds and overseas trips to cops in return for favors — including providing security for large Jewish funerals.
The scandal all started with an NYPD investigation into whether Norman Seabrook had enriched himself during his 20 years as head of the city’s Corrections Officers’ Union, but soon grew to engulf top cops
When Reichberg and Rechnitz’s phones were tapped, it soon became clear they had close connections not only to Seabrook but to several leading police officers as well.
A federal grand jury has already begun hearing evidence, the New York Times reported.
Reichberg is said to have gone to Grant’s home on Staten Island around Christmas and handed him hundreds of dollars in cash. Grant has allegedly known Reichberg for some eight years, including his 2011-14 stint as head of heavily Jewish Sunset Park’s 72nd Precinct from 2011 to 2014, the Post reported.
Jeremy Reichberg (left) and Jona Rechnitz (right) flanked former top NYPD officer Philip Banks at a charity dinner. The two businessmen are major donors to New York City mayor Bill de Blasio
Reichberg was suspended Tuesday from his post as one of four chaplains to the neighboring Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the Journal News reported. He had held the post since June 2013, the same month that his company gave $15,000 to Republican Rob Astorino’s re-election campaign as Westchester County Executive.
Bratton vowed that the NYPD will ‘cooperate fully’ with the FBI investigation. A spokesman for the FBI told Daily Mail Online the bureau would not be commenting on the case.
The commissioner said in a statement that the corruption investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau began in 2013.
The FBI and Department of Justice became involved in the inquiry early the next year.
‘The potential violations under investigation include violations of NYPD rules and policies, the City conflicts of interest rules and the federal criminal laws,’ Bratton said.
‘The investigation is examining the conduct of current and former NYPD Officers and several others.’
In addition, Brooklyn South Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez (left )and Deputy Chief David Colon (right) have been transferred, Bratton announced
Grant is said to have personally chauffeured Reichberg from airports after overseas trips to pick up diamonds. ‘As a form of payment, he’d give him one or two really nicely cut diamonds to give to his wife.’ The New York Post reported.
Despite the deepening scandal, de Blasio said on Wednesday that he will not hurry to give back donations from Reichberg and Rechnitz.
‘An investigation means something’s being looked at,’ the mayor said. ‘Until we get a result we can’t make final judgments.’ He said he would look at returning the two men’s donations once the probe is complete.’
Rechnitz gave $50,000 to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, the Post said. That is the exact amount of money he won on a freak Super Bowl bet, when he put down $1,000 on a 50-1 wager that the Giants would score the first points in the 2012 game with a two-point safety. It happened when New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was flagged for intentional grounding in his own endzone.
Rechnitz and his wife, Rachel, who, according to public records is a registered Republican, each donated the maximum $4,950 to Democrat de Blasio’s 2013 winning campaign for mayor. Both he and Reichberg were on the inauguration team that planned de Blasio’s inaugural parties.
Investigators discovered that on multiple occasions Grant (above) personally escorted Jeremy Reichberg, a prominent figure in Borough Park , from the airport after overseas trips to pick up diamonds. Grant was the boss of the NYPD’s Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct (above) located on East 67th Street
De Blasio said neither man had contributed to his campaign for re-election next year.
Rechnitz and Reichberg have long boasted about their close ties to the NYPD, New York’s Jewish Voice reported with Rechnitz paying for officers to travel to exotic locations including the Caribbean, Rome, London and Las Vegas.
Banks wore his uniform for an October 2014 visit to Jerusalem’s Western Wall — even though he was on his private time. Banks paid for his own airfare but Rechnitz picked up the hotel bills for Banks and his friend, union boss Seabrook.
Seabrook has already denied any wrongdoing., saying he and Banks repaid Rechnitz by giving him an expensive, ornate backgammon set made of ancient woods.
‘[We] spent $5,000 on the backgammon set — custom-made from Israel — so that nobody could say they bought me the [plane] ticket,’’ Seabrook told the Post.
One of the officers who has already testified before the grand jury is veteran NYPD Community Affairs Officer Michael Milici.
According to the New York Daily News he has been placed on modified duty.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3528773/I-m-f-ed-t-jail-Four-high-ranking-NYPD-officers-disciplined-amid-FBI-corruption-probe-one-took-cash-one-Blasio-s-major-donors.html#ixzz45CrPFMlL
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