Union Boss Norman Seabrook Held Tight Grip on Rikers

Norman Seabrook was arrested early Wednesday

Norman Seabrook was arrested early Wednesday

Early on Wednesday morning, Norman Seabrook, the president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, was arrested at his Bronx home on federal corruption charges.

Federal officials charged Huberfeld and Norman Seabrook, president of the New York's Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, in the case. Sources say Seabrook is accused of steering $10 million from the corrections' union's pension fund into Huberfeld's Platinum Partners firm. To disguise the kickback, Huberfeld created a fake invoice for Rechnitz's eight season tickets to the Knicks, paid for from Platinum funds that were funneled to Seabrook.

In April, Reuters reported Seabrook had invested union funds in Platinum, a mid-sized firm with a history of buying into controversial businesses, including two energy companies that later went bankrupt and are facing criminal charges.

De Blasio's office is now in the midst of a separate investigation looking into his fundraising campaign, and the Mayor has not been connected to Seabrook's arrest.

The case is part of a broader look into alleged corruption at the New York Police Department as well as Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising efforts. Mr. Rechnits recently pleaded guilty to fraud conspiracy charges and it's likely information that he provided to investigators that saw today's arrests. Several high-ranking officers have been reassigned or disciplined as a result of the probe.

De Blasio has sought to distance himself from Seabrook.

While Rechnitz was not named in the complaint, it's likely that he is the identified "cooperating witness #1" in the complaint.

Federal interest in Seabrook started in 2013, after authorities learned the union leader had allegedly developed a relationship with businessmen Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who served on de Blasio's inaugural committee in 2013 and contributed to his campaign. A lawyer for Rechnitz didn't return a request for comment.

The witness met Seabrook through a police officer in 2013, according to the complaint.

Court papers say Seabrook complained to an unnamed third party, who is now co-operating with the investigation, "about not getting any personal financial benefit for investing COBA money" in December 2013. Murray Huberfeld of Platinum Partners was also detained.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to announce the charges at a 12:30 p.m. news conference.

The cash was delivered by an unnamed intermediary to Seabrook, according to the complaint.

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