De Blasio and two Queens City Council members cited for committing campaign violations

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Kevin Case

The New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) announced Thursday that 14 campaigns involved in the 2013 citywide election cycle committed violations, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Councilman Ruben Wills.

The board found that de Blasio, who racked up $47,778 in penalties, committed several violations including failure to report transactions, accepting over-the-limit contributions, accepting contributions from corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships, and failing to document transactions.

Ferreras-Copeland, who represents Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights, racked up $5,718 in penalties for similar violations.

Wills, who represents South Ozone Park, Jamaica and Springfield Gardens, received $810 in penalties for failing to report transactions, failing to file daily pre-election disclosure statements, accepting contributions from corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships, and failing to demonstrate compliance with intermediary reporting and documentation requirements.

In 2014, Wills was charged with grand larceny and filing false business records. He was accused of stealing public funds from a nonprofit he founded, NY1 previously reported.

“Today’s determinations reflect the board’s commitment to safeguarding the public matching funds,” CFB said in a statement. “The $38.2 million that the board distributed in 2013 helped ensure cleaner, fairer elections in New York City. Every campaign receives a nonpartisan, independent review, and the results encompass a range from technical errors to serious violations.”

For a full list of violations committed by election officials, click here.

Federal and state investigations into de Blasio’s campaign fundraising are also underway and federal prosecutors have enlisted a Long Island City restaurant owner to give testimony to a grand jury, The New York Times reported.

In September, a federal probe was opened to determine whether the city tried to stop an investigation into the finances of Water’s Edge, a Long Island City restaurant that was shuttered due to the owner’s arrest on fraud and bribery charges.

Harendra Singh, the owner of the popular restaurant, was arrested last year for paying bribes and kickbacks to a Long Island employee in order to secure $20 million in loans. He also failed to report more than $17 million to the IRS between 2009 and 2014, according to NBC New York.

Before his arrest, Singh met with city officials to discuss the $1.8 million he owed in rent and fines on Water’s Edge, which is located on city-owned land. An audit found that he underpaid his rent and Singh sued to delay the evictions, The New York Times reported. The city decided to evict him in 2015 but Singh met with City Hall to reduce his arrears and fines and was close to making a deal when he was arrested last year.

Singh donated more than $50,000 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign and held two fundraisers at Water’s Edge. The restaurant shuttered its doors several times last year before closing down for good in December 2015.

A spokesperson for the mayor previously told The Wall Street Journal that “we’re absolutely confident we acted appropriately in this matter.”

The current investigation is looking into whether the mayor or his aides gave donors special treatment in exchange for contributions in specific city matters.

More from Around New York