I don’t know if anything will come of this because the Mayor of New York City seems to have a Teflon coat nearly as impervious as the one the Governor wears, but Bill de Blasio just had another political brick tossed through his window. There is currently another corruption trial taking place in the Big Apple, dealing with charges of bribery involving former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano. Mangano is accused of trading favors for bribes and dodgy campaign donations and one of the state witnesses is one of the people who allegedly bribed him, Harendra Singh.
You may remember Mr. Singh as the person who also previously pleaded guilty to bribing Mayor de Blasio, though he somehow was never brought to task on the subject and claimed that Singh had confessed to something he didn’t do. During the course of this trial, however, Singh had another shoe to drop. Somehow the testimony wandered back to an encounter with de Blasio where Singh claims he told Hizzoner that in order to meet his fundraising goals he was going to have to take some illegal contributions. He then testified under oath that de Blasio basically told him he didn’t want to know about it, but Singh would need to “do what you got to do.” (CBS New York)
Stunning testimony from one of his major donors claims the mayor gave the green light for illegal campaign donations.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the pictures entered as evidence in a Long Island corruption trial are likely to cause de Blasio a thousand political headaches — photos showing him alongside Queens restaurateur Harendra Singh.
“It has got to affect his image and also his power,” said Profesor Doug Muzzio of Baruch College.
Singh, who raised thousands for de Blasio and threw free fundraisers, testified under oath that when he told de Blasio he would have to arrange illegal campaign donations his response was “Do what you got to do, but I don’t want to know.”
Local reporters have already pointed out this analogy repeatedly, but all of these stories coming from this series of corruption trials really do sound like pages lifted from the scripts for episodes of The Sopranos. There are people confessing to various forms of corruption, going to jail over it and turning state’s evidence to save their own hides. Lower level officials definitely look to be in danger of going down in this ongoing legal quagmire.
But also following the life story of Tony Soprano and his buddies, the government always seems to somehow miss landing the big fish. We saw the same thing in the years-long investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration. One of his closest aides (who he said he considered as close as a family member) was just convicted of corruption, but the state never found a way to lay a charge on the boss. Same thing for de Blasio.
Shouldn’t we be asking what’s wrong with this picture by now? Either Harendra Singh is precisely who he seems to be or he’s not. If he’s not a credible witness whose testimony can be trusted, why is he being allowed to offer evidence against Edward Mangano? And if he is a credible witness with viable information to offer, how is the entire state legal system standing around with their collective thumbs up their butts pretending that he hasn’t already stood in a courtroom, taken an oath on the Bible and confessed to having paid bribes to the Mayor? And these are bribes which he says the Mayor clearly accepted and delivered political influence to benefit Singh in return.
Are we really watching a court of law in New York in the 21st century or is this a scene from the Governor’s office in Blazing Saddles?