Adams delays appointment of former police officer over ethics concerns
At the time of Mr Banks’ resignation, the investigation into illegal alcoholic beverages was focused on certain people who also had ties to the city government. Through these connections, the federal investigation was broadened to examine whether high-ranking members of the police department had abused their positions in exchange for personal benefits, resulting in charges and convictions for some of the participants. It also led to a federal investigation into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraiser that ended without any charges being laid against him.
Investigators learned that Chief Banks had accepted high-priced meals, tickets to sporting events and trips abroad and at home from two businessmen. The businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, received favors from senior police officials who were Mr. Banks’ subordinates and who also received benefits from both men, according to two people with direct knowledge of the ‘investigation.
New York Mayor Eric Adams’ new administration
Mr. Rechnitz, a developer and investor, and Mr. Reichberg, a restorer for Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, both raised funds and developed a close relationship with Mr. de Blasio. They also maintained friendships with police officials, whom they used to obtain favors for associates such as police escorts.
Chief Banks and Mr. Rechnitz have become close, according to investigative documents and testimony. They socialized, played backgammon together, dined at kosher steakhouses, smoked cigars at the Grand Havana Room in Midtown Manhattan, and traveled together. They’ve been to Israel and twice to a resort area in the Dominican Republic, once by private jet.
Mr. Rechnitz, who has cooperated with federal investigators, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on Chief Banks and other law enforcement officials, according to his testimony in court and summaries of his interviews with the FBI; New York Police Department rules do not allow members to accept more than “appreciation tokens,” such as sets of pens and pencils, for their service.
Mr Brafman said the trip to Israel had an official component because Chief Banks met with intelligence officials there. Mr. Rechnitz testified that Chief Banks also insisted on paying for his own plane ticket by bus. But Mr Rechnitz said he upgraded the chef and others to first class and paid for hotel rooms and tours, including a helicopter ride and a visit to Masada, an ancient desert fortress.
On a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic with Chief Banks and Mr. Seabrook, Mr. Rechnitz paid for prostitutes for each of them, he said. Mr Banks firmly denies having had any dealings with prostitutes.