De Blasio embroiled in bribery scandal

A donor to the campaigns of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio testified under oath that he paid bribes to the mayor and others to receive favorable treatment from the city.

Washington Free Beacon:

Harendra Singh, the owner of the restaurant Water's Edge, said he steered money to de Blasio's campaign to deal with property matters including better terms of his lease, the New York Times reports.  Singh said that on many occasions they discussed his restaurant lease and donations to de Blasio in the same conversation and that they mayor was actively worked on the illegal activity.

"He made many phone calls," Singh said about de Blasio.  "His office was working very hard, from his deputy mayor to his assistant to his intergovernmental affairs person.  Everyone was working."

Singh's testimony came during the corruption trial of former Nassau County executive Edward Mangano and former Town of Oyster Bay supervisor John Venditto.  The restauranteur [sic] has pleaded guilty to bribing both of them.  Mangano and Venditto are on trial for charges that include extortion, honest services fraud, and conspiracy.  They may face decades in prison.

Do you hear that sucking sound?  That's the sound of de Blasio's chances going down the toilet to become the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.

According to Singh, de Blasio requested contributions from him and, when Singh mentioned the contribution limit, the mayor told him to find a way around it.  De Blasio simply said, "Listen, I don't want to know.  Just do what you have to do," according to Singh.

Records show Singh, his family, and other associates donated tens of thousands of dollars to de Blasio, but Singh said he funneled much more to the mayor through "straw donors."

Singh was able to skirt the contribution limit, he said, by having others donate to de Blasio and receive reimbursement from Singh.  De Blasio and Singh discussed these straw donors twice, the witness testified.

The mayor has said Singh is just trying to avoid jail time by accusing him.

"It was thoroughly looked at, and there's a reason there were no charges brought, because there was nothing there," de Blasio said in January.

True, Singh is a convicted felon, and there should be some doubt attached to his testimony for that reason.  But in big-city politics, this sort of thing happens.  The problem is, Singh does not seem to be politically savvy, as he apparently didn't cover his tracks very well.  But de Blasio would almost certainly have taken greater care with whom he was doing business with.  Would an experienced pol have spoken as portrayed by Singh? 

In a "he said, he said" controversy involving the mayor and a convicted felon, who do you think comes out on top?