A former top NYPD cop received up to $500,000 in investment income from a real estate firm run by one of two Borough Park businessman at the center of a federal probe into possible police corruption, city records show.
The official, Philip Banks III, the NYPD’s chief of department from 2013 until his 2014 resignation, declared on his final city financial disclosure form that for 2014 he received income totaling $250,000 to $499,999.99 from JSR Capital, run by Jona Rechnitz, a real estate investor.
Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg have emerged as subjects of the FBI investigation which, according to law enforcement sources and news reports, is focused on possible corruption among some high-ranking NYPD brass. Banks and city correction union head Norman Seabrook went on trips to Israel with Rechnitz and Reichberg, who picked up some of their expenses, the sources said.
Banks’ financial disclosure form didn’t spell out what investment vehicle was used by JSR Capital — spelled “JSR Capitol” on the document — to earn him nearly a half million dollars. It couldn’t be determined if the payment reflected a return of the initial principal or just earnings on the investment. The form allows city workers to give a range of values rather than the exact amount.
JSR Capital’s web site said the firm deals in real estate investments and management. The investment firm owns a number of units in the Apthorpe Condominium on Park Avenue, according to its web site.
The report, which city employees are required to file, listed Banks’ numerous stock and mutual fund holdings. He showed an investment in Walmart stock ranging from $1,000 to $4,999, as well as other stock holdings in McDonalds and Family Dollar. Banks disclosed that he had mutual fund balances of up to $99,999 with T. Rowe Price, and at least $100,000 in the Janus Capital Group.
Banks was making about $200,000 as chief of department when he resigned. At that time, Police Commissioner William Bratton wanted to make him first deputy commissioner but Banks chose to leave the department. In addition to the JRS Capital investments, Banks stepped away with up to $499,999 in his deferred compensation accounts.
In a statement Monday, Banks’attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said that “despite all that has been printed and reported about Phil Banks, I repeat: Not one single dollar earned by Mr Banks while a member of the PD or subsequent to his retirement, is any way related to illegal or corrupt activities. All of the money invested by him or on deposit in his accounts is derived from lawfully earned income and his wife’s inheritance after her father passed away.”
Attorneys for Rechnitz and Reichberg couldn’t be reached for comment Monday. Both men have been ensnared in the current investigation, which sources said is looking into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign financing and fundraising. Neither Rechnitz, Reichberg nor Banks have been accused of any crime.
Last week the probe led to the indictment of Hamlet Peralta, 36, a financially troubled restaurant owner who was charged with running a $12 million Ponzi scheme.