Indian American Restaurateur Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Bribe NY Mayor
Harendra Singh, the owner of the Water's Edge restaurant in Long Island City, also pleaded guilty to bribing two other officials.
Indian American Harendra Singh, who owns the Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City, secretly pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, court records revealed.
Singh was a major campaign donor for de Blasio when he was running for the mayor position. He raised $27,000 for the 2013 campaign. He pleaded guilty to bribery and wire fraud in October 2016 for trying to get a sweetheart lease deal for this restaurant in Queens. He owed the city of New York $1.7 million in rent and penalties on the city-owned land at the time.
“I gave these 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,” Singh admitted. De Blasio and other city officials have not been mentioned by name in the transcripts that were unsealed on Jan. 24.
However, NYPost claimed that he met with top de Blasio advisor Emma Wolfe and Stacey Cumberbatch, the former head of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, regarding the same. According to the transcript, Singh met city officials on July 30, 2015 to “pressure” the department to renew his lease for the Water’s Edge restaurant Singh owned in Long Island City.
Singh was reportedly arrested before the deal went through as part of an investigation about corruption in Long Island. He had pleaded guilty to bribing officials in Long Island too. He said he bribed former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and former Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto.
Singh has agreed to testify against Mangano, who reportedly received gifts like a massage chair, an office chair and wood flooring meant for his bedroom, as well as a $7,000 watch for his son.
However, de Blasio denied any wrongdoing on his part and was found to be innocent during the investigation.
His spokesperson Eric Phillips was quoted as saying by NYPost: “The allegations against this administration were never proven because they are not true. They are old news that’s been widely reported and reviewed extensively by federal prosecutors before they closed their investigation. We make decisions on the merits. Period.”