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De Blasio says prosecution of Harendra Singh is 'as it should be'

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio winks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio winks at someone during the Columbus Day Parade in New York, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the prosecution of an indicted Long Island restaurateur and prominent benefactor to the Democrat's campaign is "as it should be."

De Blasio had little else to say about Laurel Hollow resident Harendra Singh or the federal indictment against him. Singh sat on prominent mayoral committees and the advisory board of a city-run nonprofit.

"I haven't seen the details of his case," de Blasio told Newsday at an unrelated event in midtown Manhattan where he also said of Singh, "I don't know him that well."

Singh, 56, was indicted in federal court last month on charges of bribing a then-Oyster Bay employee in exchange for the town's guarantee of $20 million in loans for his businesses.

Singh also faces charges he fraudulently collected $950,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for falsely reporting damages to his Water's Edge restaurant in Long Island City, Queens, after superstorm Sandy.

The Water's Edge has been a popular venue for weddings and political fundraisers, including those of de Blasio.

The mayor did not answer a question on whether Singh ever asked him for help to protect his business. The restaurant, which Singh put in his wife's name, is facing eviction over what city lawyers allege is improperly calculated rent resulting in $1.4 million in underpayments and late fees.

Singh's attorney said in legal filings that it was the city that miscalculated the rent.

Newsday has reported that, according to records, de Blasio's 2013 campaign spent $2,613 at Water's Edge for two fundraisers, and his campaign and transition committee received at least $54,651 in donations from Singh, his family and his associates between 2010 and 2013.

Singh served on de Blasio's inaugural committee, his 2016 Democratic National Convention host committee and his UPKNYC campaign committee for universal prekindergarten.

He also advised the philanthropic Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, which suspended him immediately after his Sept. 9 arrest.


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