Signs of a sprawling municipal investigation in New York City have emerged in a seemingly random fashion over the last week. Four senior police officials were abruptly transferred or put on modified duty. A Manhattan restaurateur was arrested and charged with operating a Ponzi scheme. Among his investors were two men who had raised money for Mayor Bill de Blasio, and one of the men was also a generous campaign donor.
What ties these developments together — and others unfolding behind the scenes — is a long-running and wide-ranging federal investigation that has come to focus on possible corruption involving Mr. de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising, the first major inquiry of its kind during the mayor’s two-year tenure.
A federal grand jury in Manhattan has begun hearing evidence in the case, according to several people briefed on the matter. The inquiry has come to focus on the two fund-raisers: Jona Rechnitz, who raised money for Mr. de Blasio’s campaign and was also a donor to both the campaign and to a nonprofit group that supported the mayor’s agenda; and Jeremy Reichberg, who held a fund-raiser for that nonprofit.
Federal wiretaps in the case have captured their conversations, two of the people said, without elaborating on the substance of the discussions.