Westchester County Executive Subpoenaed in Corruption Probe
As reported in the Monday edition of the New York Post, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has expanded his corruption probe into the dealings of two businessmen and donors to Mayor de Blasio to include Westchester County and County Executive Rob Astorino’s office.
According to the Post, Bharara subpoenaed the County Executive’s offices about dealings with de Blasio financial backers Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who have been linked to recent New York City pay-to-play scandals.
FBI agents also recently questioned Fernando Mateo, who introduced Rechnitz and Reichberg to Astorino, according to a source familiar with the inquiry, the Post said.
The investigation claims Reichberg, a Brooklyn resident who had no known previous ties to Westchester County, was named a volunteer county police chaplain in June 2013. A few days later, entities tied to his associate Rechnitz donated $25,000 to Astorino’s re-election campaign. During a recent visit to Mateo’s Irvington home, the FBI questioned him about his ties to Astorino as well as de Blasio, according to a source familiar with the interrogation, the Post article said.
Astorino spokesman Bill O’Reilly confirmed his office has been subpoenaed from Bharara’s office. He also noted that it was no surprise, given the need to get all available information and that the county was complying with the requests.
Astorino, a Republican, said he has done nothing wrong.
Upon hearing about the investigation, the Democratic caucus of the County Board of Legislators announced that it would begin advocating for stronger adjustments to current county ethics laws. The BOL was set to meet about changes to the county ethics laws on Monday.