Indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh told investigators that he disclosed to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio his use of straw donors in fundraising for de Blasio and that he falsified a campaign receipt at the direction of the mayor’s office, according to a court filing by former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s attorney.
Singh’s “misconduct” involving de Blasio went beyond the bribery attempt to which Singh has pleaded guilty, according to the filing late Thursday by attorney Matthew Brissenden, who seeks to use de Blasio’s dealings with Singh to help defend Mangano against corruption charges.
Brissenden alleged newly revealed evidence that showed Singh told investigators that he relayed to de Blasio that his efforts to direct funds to his campaign coffers were “not kosher” because he skirted campaign finance laws by using the names of contributors — the straw donors — whom he subsequently reimbursed.
The filing also said Singh said the mayor’s office, under scrutiny for its fundraising, told him to falsify a receipt showing the campaign paid for an event at Singh’s Queens restaurant, Water’s Edge.
Brissenden wrote that he wants “broad latitude to question” Singh about his “illegal conduct” regarding de Blasio and his efforts to gain benefit in cooperating against de Blasio.
The Garden City attorney was responding to Eastern District of New York prosecutors’ proposal to bar any mentions of their Southern District counterparts’ decision against criminally charging de Blasio.
Mayoral spokesman Eric Phillips on Friday rejected allegations of wrongdoing by de Blasio.
“That’s an absurd, categorically false accusation from a convicted felon trying to save his own skin — and from a defense attorney trying to save his client from prison,” Phillips said.
Singh of Syosset pleaded guilty in October 2016 to bribing Mangano and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto and attempting to bribe de Blasio, to whom Singh said he directed campaign contributions in exchange for efforts to save the struggling Water’s Edge.
“Mr. Singh is prepared to truthfully explain his course of dealings with his co-conspirators,” his attorney, Anthony LaPinta, said Friday. “The decision whether or not to charge others was left to the government prosecutors.”
Mangano, his wife Linda and Venditto are scheduled for federal trial March 12 and have pleaded not guilty to the alleged bribery scheme involving Singh.
Southern District prosecutors declined nearly one year ago to bring criminal charges against de Blasio in their investigation into his fundraising, citing the high burden of proof. But they criticized his fundraising practices.
Spokesmen for the eastern and southern districts declined to comment.