Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Emails show de Blasio helped influential donor 

An influential rabbi received red-carpet treatment from City Hall after hosting a fund-raiser for Mayor de Blasio in 2013 — and later boasted about steering thousands of votes to him from the Brooklyn Hasidic community, emails show.

Like power-broker wannabe Jona Rechnitz, Moishe Indig had firsthand access to the mayor's personal e-mail address — and he also got sit-downs with more than a half-dozen deputy mayors and commissioners.

A trove of documents released by the city in response to a public-records request show that from 2014 to 2016, Avi Fink, then the mayor's deputy director of intergovernmental operations, leaned on top officials to open their doors to Indig.

"Very important that he has a line of communication open in the Commissioner's office," Fink told Assistant Buildings Commissioner Patrick Wehle in December 2014.

Fink used similar language to get Indig a meeting with City Planning officials in April 2015, emphasizing that "this one is important."

In a September 2014 note, Fink said he had de Blasio's approval for a meeting between Indig and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

"I have a Hasidic community leader who asked the mayor to meet with the commissioner and he said yes. Would like to get it on the books for some time in late September/early October," Fink wrote to assistant DOT Commissioner Jeff Lynch.

Indig also had meetings set up with Deputy Mayors Richard Buery and Alicia Glen and former Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, as well as Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks, then-Housing Preservation Commissioner
Vicki Been and then-Economic Development Corp. chief Maria Torres-Springer.

Indig told The Post everything he did was proper.

"As a community leader, I interact regularly with city, state [and] federal officials to advocate on behalf of the community," he said.

Critics have blistered de Blasio for giving donors special access to city government during his first term — most notably i Rechnitz, who claimed in court testimony that his donations bought a direct line to City Hall.

Hizzoner has consistently denied that, claiming he doesn't interfere with the government on behalf of supporters.

But e-mail exchanges in June and July 2015 show Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement staffer Diane Leonard helped Indig get a stop-work order lifted at 125 Lefferts Place in Brooklyn, a $2.7 million town house owned by developer Cheskel Schwimmer.

Leonard explained what to do and the work order was lifted a month after the exchanges began.

City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips insisted Indig didn't get special treatment.

"It's City Hall's job to be responsive to New Yorkers navigating our city's bureaucracy," Phillips said.

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