MANHATTAN — The city’s Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters announced late Friday that he will no longer be involved in any investigation into campaign donors to Mayor Bill de Blasio, reversing his position from earlier this week.
Peters, who served as de Blasio’s campaign treasurer before being named investigations commissioner, has been under fire for not refusing to step aside from the sweeping federal probe that is centered on two wealthy businessmen who were large donors to de Blasio, and who ware embroiled in a gifts-for-favors corruption scandal that has already toppled a handful of top ranking NYPD officials.
One of the men, Jona Rechnitz, bundled more than $40,000 in donations for de Blasio when Peters was the future mayor's campaign treasurer. Rechnitz and his wife also each gave the campaign $4,950, the maximum amount.
"As has been reported, the Department of Investigation, in conjunction with its law enforcement partners, is investigating allegations related to certain campaign donors,” his office said in a statement. “In order to avoid the appearance of a conflict, the Commissioner has recused himself from these matters."
Until late yesterday, Peters insisted he could be impartial and would not step aside, citing numerous investigations by his office that uncovered troublesome practices at various city agencies since he took office in January 2014.
The federal probe is being led by the FBI and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, and began with a corruption tip involving Philip Banks, the then NYPD Chief of Department.
Since then, the investigation has led to the activities of Rechnitz and his pal, Jeremy Reichberg, their dealings with NYPD officials, and their role in fundraising for de Blasio. Both served on his Inauguration Committee.
The mayor has tried to distance himself from the two businessmen, saying he had only a few dealings with them, and that he barely knows them.