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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Post has learned that the star witness for the government, in public corruption cases involving two NYPD cops and a city union official, was allegedly involved in criminal activity during the same time he was cooperating with the feds.

Jona Rechnitz, one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s donor and the key witness for the feds in a case against two NYPD cops and ex-union official Norman Seabrook, has been accused in new court documents of threatening “to go to the feds” about a scheme he was involved in, if one of his rich friends didn’t get paid. 

A lawyer involved in one of Rechnitz’s bribery investigations, said that if the allegation is proven to be true, then “the game is over.” The attorney said, “Even if it’s legitimate monies owed — if you make a threat then that’s extortion.” 

According to The Post, “It could also force the government to rip up Rechnitz’s cooperation agreement, putting their cases in jeopardy, sources said. According to recently unsealed NY state court documents, Rechnitz was a recruiter for a $70 million Ponzi scheme involving Jason Nissen, a former math teacher busted last week and charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors with duping investors of his wholesale ticket business. 

It’s unclear whether Rechnitz knew Nissen’s ticket selling business was an alleged sham. But the court documents, filed by Diamond wholesaler Taly USA Holdings, show that he may have kept his concerns hidden from the government in hopes that one of his pals would get paid.”

In a secretely recorded conversation on May 7, Nissen, in reference to h toldedge fund manager Michael Weinberger, told Taly executive Yaron Turgeman, “Jona’s the one who told me he would go to the Feds if Weinberger doesn’t get paid.” 

In the recording, Nissen does not reveal when Rechnitz made the threat, however, sources said that it wasn’t until last June when Rechnitz pled guilty to conspiring to bribe public officials, that Nissen stopped paying the investor friends of Rechnitz. 

Meanwhile, lawyers for defendants in the bribery probes — who include ex-NYPD cops James Grant and Michael Harrington — are gearing up to demand evidence from the Nissen case be turned to help them vet whether Rechnitz broke any laws or violated the terms of his cooperation agreement.

Rechnitz allegedly earned as much as $8 million, including an estimated $80,000 a month paid to Rechnitz’s credit card bills, working as a paid recruiter for the alleged scheme, according to Nissen. 

Taly USA Holdings’ attorney Christopher Milito said, “We are confident that most, if not all of the misappropriated monies will be recovered.”

By Rebecca Gold