Construction CEO with ties to de Blasio being investigated

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New York City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) has been seeking information on donations made by two construction companies to Mayor de Blasio’s 2013 campaign. Husam Ahmad’s firm HAKS and its sister company, SIMCO Engineering, have been under a criminal probe over political contributions since last August, according to city records.

HAKS, which has acquired more than $365 million in city contracts during the past two decades, entered into an agreement with DOI on April 24 to have an independent monitor oversee its business. SIMCO is designated as a minority and disadvantaged business. Employees from both companies donated a total of $45,100 to the de Blasio campaign.

According to HAKS’ lawyer, Howard M. Rubin, the monitor — consulting firm Thacher Associates — will review the company’s ethical standards, have access to its books and keep tabs on its operations. All findings will be given to DOI. “Because of the search warrant — even though that’s all that’s happened — we wanted to give all the agencies we work with a level of comfort,” Rubin said. “It was our suggestion that we have a monitor put in place.”

Rubin added that DOI has not provided any information about the investigation or its status to HAKS.

Born in India, Ahmad is an immigrant success story after founding HAKS, which consists of 675 employees and 15 branches, in 1991. He said he makes donations to candidates and nonprofits because he believes in their politics and causes.

Ahmad also owns a 45-percent stake in SIMCO. Both companies have continuously received major contracts from various city agencies since de Blasio took office.

Records show that Ahmad himself raised $6,400 in contributions for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, but the funds did not go directly to de Blasio, because of a law that principals of companies that do business with the city can only give a maximum of $400 to a candidate. However, Ahmad’s wife made the maximum contribution — $4,950 — to de Blasio’s 2013 campaign and donated $4,500 to his transition team.

De Blasio appointed Ahmad to the board of advisers of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in 2014, a nonprofit that solicits donations to promote city causes.

A year after his appointment, records show that Ahmad donated between $20,000 and $59,000 to the fund. He also gave between $5,000 and $20,000 to the Gracie Mansion Conservancy and has donated a total of $119,000 to Gov. Cuomo since 2009. Cuomo received another donation of $75,250 from Ahmad’s wife.

Rubin emphasized that there were no expectations on the part of Ahmad in giving the money.  “He received no favors,” said Rubin.

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