The Real Deal New York

Feds investigating City Hall over fishy Queens restaurant

Mayor’s office may have tried to block probe into campaign donor
September 16, 2016 01:03PM

Water's Edge at 401 44th Drive in Long Island City and Bill de Blasio

Water’s Edge at 401 44th Drive in Long Island City and Bill de Blasio

Federal authorities are investigating whether the de Blasio administration tried to shut down an investigation into a Queens restaurant that leased land from the city and whose owner is a political ally and donor to the mayor.

In an audit, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (the same administration that removed the deed to Rivington House) found that the now-shuttered Long Island City restaurant Water’s Edge, owned by Harendra Singh, owed $1.7 million in rent and fees on the city-owned property it operated out of, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to federal investigators, City Hall officials may have tried to dissuade the agency from launching the probe into the restaurant.

Singh donated to de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign and has worked with him on political initiatives.

A spokesperson for the de Blasio administration said “we’re absolutely confident we acted appropriately in this matter.”

Singh was arrested in September of last year in a separate case on charges of bribing local Brooklyn officials in exchange for loans. He operated Water’s Edge on the city-owned Nott Avenue Pier, but closed the restaurant last year. [WSJ]Konrad Putzier