New York, NY - NYC Mayor Lawyers Up As Fundraising Probes Continue
New York, NY - Three weeks after authorizing his 2013 campaign lawyer to work with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in the ongoing corruption investigation that has rocked New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has hired that same attorney to represent him in a federal fundraising probe that has cast shadows on City Hall.
de Blasio’s office announced today that Barry Berke, a partner at the Kramer Levin law firm, will be representing the mayor at his own expense, as reported by the Daily News.
Berke is said to be one of the top white collar criminal defense lawyers in the United States and is a former trial lawyer for the Federal Defender’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The City of New York has also hired the law firms of Debevoise & Plimpton and Carter Ledyard & Millburn to deal with the investigation, with those legal bills to be paid with taxpayer dollars.
de Blasio is under investigation for his fundraising efforts, both in the 2014 State Senate race where the mayor helped raise money for several candidates and in his own 2013 mayoral bid.
According to DNA Info, authorities are looking into whether or not straw donors, who contribute funds belonging to another person in their own name, were used to fund de Blasio’s war chest in his mayoral campaign.
A study of de Blasio’s campaign found several contributions that appear to raise red flags, including two drivers for Primary One LLC, a Queens-based beauty products wholesaler, who each gave $10,000 to the de Blasio campaign and his subsequent transition team in a time period of less than two months.
A clerical worker at the same company also made a $2,500 donation to the de Blasio campaign in October 2013. Records show that the de Blasio campaign received at least $55,000 from Sm-Ali Amanollahi, Primary One’s president, his relatives, employees and business associates between October 2013 through December 2013.
“We are reviewing the donations and will take any appropriate action,” said a spokesperson for the mayor.
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