Saturday, September 02, 2017
A major donor to Mayor de Blasio donor once discussed someone putting a "bullet" in the head of a Harlem restaurateur who owed him money, new court papers charge.
Jona Rechnitz, who secretly copped to giving political campaign donations in exchange for official actions, made the stunning statement in an intercepted phone call with Jeremy Reichberg, another major de Blasio donor, according to a new Manhattan Federal Court filing.
Reichberg also faces federal charges for allegedly heaping perks on NYPD cops in exchange for favors like police escorts.
Rechnitz and Reichberg's alleged Jan. 26, 2015 conversation came to light late Wednesday in a sentencing memo for Hamlet Peralta, the onetime Hudson River Cafe owner who in May admitted to running a Ponzi scheme.
Peralta is asking a judge for leniency, maintaining Rechnitz — who has been accused of recruiting investors — aggressively pressured Peralta to pay him $3 million after Rechnitz made these investors whole.
As part of Rechnitz' alleged intimidation campaign, he took out a whopping $3 million life insurance policy on Peralta in late 2014 — shortly before the "bullet" exchange.
"…Mr. Rechnitz references someone putting 'a bullet in (Peralta's) head,'" Peralta's lawyer, Cesar de Castro, writes of the intercepted convo.
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"The problem is if he goes to jail, it doesn't help us. Unless other customers put a bullet in his head," Rechnitz said, according to a transcript of the talk included in de Castro's filing.
And while Rechnitz's layer once told Peralta that he "asked me to please tell you he doesn't have a gun to your head," the feds investigating them "believed, based on their training and experience, that the manner in which this statement was delivered was intended as a threat," de Castro wrote.
Neither Rechnitz nor Reichberg’s lawyers could immediately be reached.
De Castro's filing also contained additional details about Rechnitz's ties to the NYPD.
Rechnitz, who has been accused of bribing cops alongside Reichberg, "was permitted to have lights and sirens installed in his own personal Range Rover," de Castro wrote.
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Peralta is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 8.
When Peralta pleaded, prosecutors said they would recommend 51-63 months under his deal.
De Castro is asking Manhattan Federal Judge Katherine Forrest to consider a 24-month sentence.
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