The owner of the now-defunct Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City, who was a campaign donor of Mayor Bill de Blasio, pleaded guilty to federal charges in a bribery attempt involving an unnamed city official, newly unsealed court records show.
Harendra Singh, 59, of Syosset, Long Island, admitted in October that he gave “donations to the elected official in exchange for efforts by that official and other city officials to obtain a lease renewal from the city agency for my restaurant on terms that were favorable to me,” according to a court transcript.
Last March, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York decided against bringing criminal charges against de Blasio and his associates after an investigation into fund-raising practices.
During his weekly appearance on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” last Friday, the host asked de Blasio “how can someone be guilty of giving you a bribe and you not be guilty of taking it?”
The mayor was dismissive.
“It’s abundantly clear, and I will say it for everyone — this man did a lot of bad things in a lot of places,” de Blasio said. “I’m someone who never did, never would be involved in such (an) effort. I was thoroughly looked at, and there is a reason there were no charges brought because there was nothing there.
“This guy, to save his own skin, struck a plea deal with the federal prosecutors. That’s what this is, he agreed to certain charges for his own self-preservation. But I’ve been 100 percent consistent — what he said happened did not happen, period.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by email at bparr
©2018 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.