Mayor de Blasio had another memory lapse Sunday when grilled about damning testimony from a big bucks donor, saying he doesn’t remember whether he personally asked the man for a six-figure check.
Businessman Jona Rechnitz, who has pleaded guilty to corruption, testified Friday that de Blasio personally asked him to donate to an unsuccessful 2014 push to flip the state Senate to Democratic control.
He wrote a check for $ 102,300 — and claimed that after that, requests he had made to the city that were previously stalled got attended to.
De Blasio said Sunday he didn’t remember whether the conversation ever took place.
“I don’t recall ever talking about that,” he told reporters at an unrelated press conference in the Rockaways.
“I for years was raising money for different funds,” de Blasio said. “I don’t remember when I asked them, what specifically I asked them. Just way too much had happened. Plus there was the vast majority of my work I do as mayor. It’s very normal that I wouldn’t remember a specific conversation.”
De Blasio again denounced Rechnitz Sunday as a liar, but has only denied one specific claim made by the disgraced donor — that they spoke about once a week late in his 2013 campaign for mayor.
Asked Sunday to identify other false statements Rechnitz made on the stand, de Blasio did not list any and instead attacked the press for covering the testimony.
“Obviously he’s a convicted felon because he’s lied about a lot of things. He’s a criminal, guys! I don’t understand what your problem is,” Hizzoner said.
Jona Rechnitz testified Friday that de Blasio personally asked him to donate to an unsuccessful 2014 push to flip the state Senate to Democratic control.
“The federal government looked at this in excruciating detail, but you somehow want to elevate a criminal to the front page. If you want to do that, feel free. Sell newspapers. God bless you. He’s a known liar, he’s a convicted criminal,” he said. “I don’t know all his comments. I know he’s a criminal. I know the government went through this. I don’t know what else you want.”
The U.S. Attorney probed de Blasio’s fundraising operation and opted not to bring charges, though prosecutors said the mayor had intervened on behalf of donors.
Rechnitz testified Thursday and Friday as a government witness in the bribery trial of jails union boss Norman Seabrook, and said he raised $ 193,000 for the mayor and got “lots of access” in return.
The donor said de Blasio had asked him to appeal to Seabrook to put a lid on public criticism of the mayor’s jail plans, which de Blasio also said he had no recollection of.
De Blasio seized on comments by a few residents at the press conference, which marked the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, that they’d rather be talking about storm resiliency, saying he wanted to put the matter behind him so the “rest of New York City can go back to caring about real things.”
He said he was not worried that President Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions would reopen the probe into him.
“His testimony adds nothing,” he said. “You think (prosecutors) didn’t know the things he’s talking about? Of course they did. That’s their job…and they made the determination that there were no further actions to take. I believe this case is long since closed.”