“I’m all ears, Jona”: De Blasio told aides to help Rechnitz with real estate favors

JSR Capital chief skipped town last month for California

Jona Rechnitz and Mayor Bill de Blasio
Jona Rechnitz and Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio on multiple occasions told his aides to step in on behalf of campaign contributor Jona Rechnitz, including to help solve his real estate problems.

De Blasio responded almost immediately whenever Rechnitz and fellow developer Jeremy Reichberg would email him, the New York Daily News reported.

On one occasion, Rechnitz emailed de Blasio on April 1, 2014 to recommend a new commissioner for the Department of Buildings.

“I’m all ears, Jona. We’ve actually been looking for additional candidates,” the mayor responded, according to emails provided through a Freedom of Information Act request. “I’ve cc’ed my chief of staff laura santucci. Pls send the info to her as well. Thanks.”

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On another occasion, Rechnitz emailed a top de Blasio aide as he was trying to pressure the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to buy a vacant lot he owned in Brooklyn to be the site of the NYPD’s new 70th Precinct station.

He pressured City Hall to try to get “special attention” because a city agency was giving him the “runaround” over a tax break for a Brooklyn building he owned, and asked for help when he got hit with a violation for operating a building as an illegal hotel.

Rechnitz bundled donations for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign and is a key witness set to testify later this year in federal prosecutors’ probe into pay-to-play corruption at the NYPD. He skipped town last month for California.

He was recently booted as the general partner on a Borough Park office-and-retail property that fell into foreclosure under his watch. [NYDN]Rich Bockmann