FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The city Department of Investigation — which is led by the treasurer of Mayor Bill de Blasio's 2013 campaign — has opened a probe into a de Blasio fundraiser and his two engineering firms whose employees donated nearly $40,000 to the mayor's last campaign and transition committee, DNAinfo New York has learned.
City investigators executed search warrants on Aug. 17 to inspect the offices of the two firms, HAKS Engineering and SIMCO Engineering, according to records filed with the Mayor's Office of Contract Services.
Husam Ahmad is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of HAKS, which is based in the Financial District and has received more than $360 million in city contracts since 2000, records show.
He is also the vice president and a part owner of SIMCO, which has gotten tens of millions of dollars in city contracts, including a $15 million deal with the Department of Design and Construction that was registered Aug. 22, records show.
Ahmad, who lives in Forest Hills and has given generously to a slew of local and state politicians, personally bundled $6,400 in contributions from his employees to de Blasio's 2013 mayoral run, campaign finance records show. HAKS employees donated an additional $32,900 — that was not bundled by Ahmad — to de Blasio's 2013 campaign and transition team.
Ahmad did not give directly to de Blasio — principals of firms that do business with the city can only give a maximum of $400 to a city candidate. However, Ahmad's wife, Uzma, made the maximum campaign contribution, $4,950, to de Blasio in 2013 and donated $4,000 to his 2017 re-election effort.
In June 2014 de Blasio appointed Ahmad to the board of advisors of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit that solicits donations to promote city causes. The mayor also appointed him to his Workforce Development Board, which consists of leaders from the private sector, public agencies and unions who advise the city on its policies about job seekers, employers and adult learners.
The Department of Investigation declined to comment on the nature of the probe into Ahmad, HAKS and SIMCO.
But the investigation again creates unusual circumstances for DOI Commissioner Mark Peters, who served as de Blasio's campaign treasurer during his 2013 mayoral run. In April Peters recused himself from his agency's role in the federal probe of de Blasio's fundraising.
When asked if Peters would recuse himself from the probe into Ahmad and his two firms, an agency spokeswoman referred DNAinfo to the statement the commissioner made in April 15.
"As has been reported, the Department of Investigation, in conjunction with its law enforcement partners, is investigating allegations related to certain campaign donors," Peters said at the time. "In order to avoid the appearance of a conflict, the commissioner has recused himself from these matters."
Ahmad did not respond to requests for comments. SIMCO's president, Muhammad Siddiqui, also did not respond to requests for comment.
The de Blasio campaign declined to comment
Ahmad has given nearly $400,000 to the campaigns of state and local elected officials and political parties in New York, campaign finance records show. He's donated $119,000 to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaigns since 2009, records show. His wife also contributed $60,250 to Cuomo's campaigns.
Campaign Finance records show that Ahmad and HAKS employees spread their wealth around to other mayoral candidates in 2013.
Ahmad bundled $2,400 in contributions for former Comptroller William Thompson, while HAKS employees contributed $10,236 to his campaign. Ahmad also gave $400 to former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in 2013 and $300 to Republican mayoral contender, Joe Lhota. HAKS employees also gave $3,750 to Lhota.