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Forget it, it's Trump Town: New York City has some anti-corruption soul-searching to do

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Forget it, it's Trump Town: New York City has some anti-corruption soul-searching to do

Aug 25, 2018 | 5:00 PM


Some of the crimes in New York City — the crimes I’d wager account for most of the money stolen here — aren’t a bug but a feature of life here.

Our real estate is built first to store and clean global cash, and only after that to shelter New Yorkers. Our laws and law enforcers have let financiers and developers mostly police themselves, much like how their peers in California don’t spend too much time digging into movie studios colluding to keep wages down and competition to a minimum.

Enter Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. Three years after overruling the recommendation of his own senior prosecutors and instead letting Ivanka and Junior off the hook for lying to buyers about occupancy rates at Trump Soho, his office has leaked word that now it might go after the Trump Organization for crimes related to longtime Trump fixer and newly confessed felon Michael Cohen paying Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about having slept with the Donald.

Vance hasn’t strayed this far out of his lane since — hold on, checking my notes — last October, when he started boasting to friendly reporters about his own Manafort probe, one that threatened to screw up the state attorney general investigation well underway in coordination with Robert Mueller. The DA appeared to back off after I reported on it.


Tuesday, a jury on a case brought by the special counsel convicted the former Trump campaign manager on eight counts, including bank fraud related to his SoHo condo. A single holdout apparently hung the jury on the remaining 10 charges, including those related to his unoccupied $3 million Brooklyn townhouse.

The same afternoon Manafort was convicted, Cohen confessed to crimes undertaken on behalf of a certain presidential candidate. The fixer had flipped on the Donald after fallen NYC “Taxi King” Gene Freidman — who ran Cohen’s medallions and said they’d first met in small claims court, just two millionaires who still cared enough to show up in person to screw the little guy out of a few hundred bucks — had flipped on the fixer.

Friedman happened to be a big Bill de Blasio backer in 2013. In 2014, Mayor de Blasio happened to slam the brakes on the green cabs that had been a boon to drivers and outerborough riders but threatened the value of yellow medallions.

Speaking of de Blasio backers turned felons, Jona Rechnitz just helped prosecutors convict disgraced jail guard union boss Norman Seabrook of stealing from his members.

Style trend: Rechnitz delivered Seabrook a $60,000 bribe inside an $820 Ferragamo bag; Cohen hid $30,000 from the IRS he made brokering the sale of a Hermès Birkin bag. Who wore it better?


Meantime, Rechnitz may testify again at the trial of his alleged mayoral bribe buddy along with one of the top cops the pair also bribed. The defense attorneys want to ask jurors if hearing about “police officers having sex with prostitutes” — paid for by Rechnitz and his partner, allegedly — “would make it difficult for you to render a fair and impartial verdict?”

Welcome to Trump Town. The place where the bastar — err, bankers — who nearly collapsed the world economy in 2008 were too big to fail, let alone jail. Where The Donald and his pals pillaged and peddled for decades.

A moment of truth may finally be approaching for Trump. There’s one due for all his fellow New Yorkers, about the sort of people we want to make it here and the sort we want to lock up or kick out before they get too big to punish.



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