Make way for the King of Diamonds, ye peasants of New Jersey.
That was basically the message sent when part of the Lincoln Tunnel was shut down to escort Lev Leviev chairman of the international real estate firm Africa Israel, the New York Post reported. It’s unclear when the shutdown occurred. Federal authorities are investigating the lane closure in connection with a bigger corruption probe into two city police officers, sources told the newspaper.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called on the inspectors general of the state and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to investigate the incident.
“If this is true, it is deeply troubling,” Cuomo said. “The NYPD has no jurisdiction within the tunnels boundaries.”
The governor isn’t usually one to intervene in interstate lane closures — he’s remained mostly mum on the George Washington Bridge scandal, “Bridgegate,” that has plagued New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But in this case, the closure was reportedly at the behest of a major donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio, with whom Cuomo has a complicated relationship.
The details of the lane-closing incident reportedly came from Jona Rechnitz, an alumnus of Africa Israel who runs JSR Capital and is now a cooperating witness in a federal probe into de Blasio’s fundraising.
An attorney for Leviev has denied that he received the police escort.
In January, Leviev agreed to pay $2 million penalty to the city and to turn over control of three condominium buildings to their respective condo boards as part of a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s office. [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified a major donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign.