N.Y. City mayor's office subpoenaed amid corruption probe

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 28, 2016 3:30 PM

By Joseph Ax and Nate Raymond

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office has received subpoenas from both state and federal prosecutors, according to the mayor's chief legal adviser, as investigators pursue a series of coordinated corruption probes that extend from City Hall to the police department.

"City Hall has been subpoenaed by the New York County District Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District and we are fully cooperating with the investigation," said the mayor's counsel, Maya Wiley, in a statement. "The Mayor has not been personally served."

De Blasio has said his administration committed no wrongdoing and is cooperating fully with investigators, a stance he repeated on Thursday.

"We hold ourselves to the highest standard of integrity," he told reporters. "Everything we've done from the beginning has been legal and appropriate."

News of the subpoenas came days after the leaking of a January report from the state Board of Elections that accused the mayor and others of intentionally evading campaign finance contribution limits in 2014.

The memo, authored by the board's top investigator, recommended state prosecutors examine whether de Blasio and his allies violated election law as they steered funds to candidates in an unsuccessful effort to capture the state Senate for Democrats.

In a letter to the board and to state prosecutors on Monday obtained by Reuters, a de Blasio campaign lawyer rejected the allegations and suggested the leak was politically motivated.

"I am deeply troubled that your office made a criminal referral that was based on a complete misreading and utter disregard of the state's unambiguous election laws, and that your blatantly political document was leaked to the press," wrote Laurence Laufer.

The probe appears to have a number of aspects beyond the 2014 state Senate races.

Federal investigators have focused on two businessmen with fundraising ties to de Blasio's 2013 mayoral campaign and to a nonprofit operated by his advisers.

Investigators have also examined whether high-ranking New York City police officers received gifts from businessmen in exchange for favors. Police Commissioner William Bratton has reassigned five senior officers amid the probe.

Federal prosecutors have charged two people in connection with the probe: a member of a volunteer safety patrol in an Orthodox Jewish community for bribing police officers for gun licenses, and a former restaurateur for running a Ponzi scheme.

Representatives for the U.S. Attorney's office and the district attorney's office declined to comment on Thursday.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Marguerita Choy)