NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A jury found a Brooklyn businessman and former fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio guilty in a scheme to get police perks.
Jeremy Reichberg was convicted of paying for the perks, capping a two month corruption trial with testimony sensational enough to tarnish reputations from the top levels of City Hall to top brass at the NYPD, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
Reichberg and Rechnitz gained special favors including VIP parking at 1 Police Plaza, and were caught on video bragging about it, discussing how they were able to get past a frozen zone into a garage and saying an officer should salute them if he wanted to keep her job.
Reichberg’s co-defendant was former NYPD Deputy Inspector Jimmy Grant, but he was acquitted. He was charged with being on the receiving end of the gifts, but the lack of a conviction for him indicates jurors did not consider the evidence against him strong enough proof of illegal quid pro quo, reported Carlin.
It seems the jury found more evidence – and more of it convincing – that Reichberg actively bought and received the favors.
Reichberg is guilty on four of five counts relating to gifts to officers from him and Rechnitz, who wound up pleading guilty to wire fraud and cooperated with the feds.
Defense attorneys called it all within the bounds of friendship.
Jurors agreed with prosecutors that in Reichberg’s case it was out of bounds, with dinners, presents and sordid activities like a Las Vegas trip with a prostitute, who spoke with CBS2 confirming it and saying she’s no longer in that life.
Prosecutors argued gifts were rewarded with hard to get placards, ticket fixing, pistol permit approvals, including one for Reichberg despite allegedly incomplete paperwork, and more.
A release of de Blasio’s emails revealed Reichberg put in writing a request that City Hall reduce a $650,000 water bill. It was reduced to just over $125,000, but City Hall described it as a legitimate correction.
“I tuned it out honestly, because it had nothing to do with me,” De Blasio, who was not accused of wrongdoing, said Wednesday. “I really have no interest in talking about it anymore.”
“I’ve said very clearly that this was someone I came to know for a very limited period of time, did not know that well,” he added.
Jurors did not see the gifts as rising to the level of bribes for Grant.
Reichberg’s set for sentencing on April 4.