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NY Restaurateur Accuses Bill de Blasio of Accepting His Bribes

But the mayor’s office says the former Water’s Edge owner is lying

Water's Edge
The dining room of now-shuttered Water’s Edge
Water's Edge

The former owner of a prominent Long Island City restaurant is now in the spotlight in an ongoing bribery scandal involving mayor Bill de Blasio.

Harendra Singh — a Long Island restaurateur who also ran now-shuttered restaurant and wedding venue Water’s Edgepleaded guilty earlier this year to trying to bribe the mayor in hopes of getting a better lease on the LIC restaurant, which was on city property. De Blasio was not charged. Now, the Times reports that Singh testified that the mayor knew about his bribes — saying that Singh raised as much as $80,000 for him in exchange for various deals.

Drama has been chasing Singh for years now. The FBI arrested him for bribery, fraud, and obstruction back in September 2015 for underreporting $17 million in sales. Shortly after, the popular waterfront restaurant closed when unpaid employees walked out.

But while Water’s Edge was open, it played a major role in the bribery of the current mayor, Singh alleges. The restaurateur admitted that the thousands in donations were primarily to get help on the business where he was behind on rent payments and wanted a lease renewal. He now claims that he and de Blasio often talked about the lease and his donations in the same conversations. De Blasio’s team, though, says the mayor has never acted inappropriately, implying that Singh is lying to avoid jail.

The comments came as Singh testified in the corruption trial of other Long Island public officials. The trial’s ongoing, and more may be revealed as it continues.