Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces $15.1 Million in Federal Funding to Support Emergency Planning and Response


Funding Supports Emergency Planning Efforts and Operational Readiness

Deadline for Applications is August 31, 2020

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $15.1 million in federal funding is being made available to New York State and county emergency management agencies to support planning and operational readiness for any type of disaster New York may experience.

Through the federal Emergency Management Performance Grant, an annual grant program, awardees are able to access funding to support efforts ranging from the development and implementation of trainings and exercises to acquiring emergency response resources. This funding is in addition to a $4.3 million supplemental grant already awarded to the state for similar efforts focused on the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Whether its fighting against an invisible enemy like COVID-19, or helping communities withstand the dangers of extreme weather, local governments play a critical role in emergency management and we need to make every effort to support our local partners and help ensure they have the resources they need to keep New Yorkers safe," Governor Cuomo said. "With this funding in hand, our local partners will now be better positioned to protect the communities they serve no matter what this new reality throws at us."

The $15.1 million awarded to New York in FY2020 represents a slight increase in funding from FY2019, when New York was awarded $15.03 million. As in past years, 51 percent of the funding ($7.7 million) will support enhancement of the state's overall readiness and all hazards approach to emergency management. The remaining 49 percent ($7.4 million) is being made available to individual counties based on a population driven formula.

In order to access the funding, local awardees must develop projects or initiatives which strengthen their own readiness and response capabilities to address all hazards. Projects should also focus on addressing any efforts identified by FEMA as needing national improvement. This includes logistics and distribution management planning, evacuation planning, disaster financial management, catastrophic disaster housing and resilient communications.

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, "Over the past several years, New York has experienced a wide array of emergency situations ranging from natural disasters to terrorism, making it essential emergency management experts have the resources they need to keep communities safe no matter the hazard. This funding not only supports the state's efforts to continuing strengthening our readiness posture, but also provides critical funding to our local partners to further build their capabilities as well."

Working within this framework, funding can be used to support:

  • Management and Administration activities;
  • Planning;
  • Staffing for Emergency Management Agencies;
  • Equipment;
  • Training and Exercises;
  • Construction and Renovation of Emergency Operations Centers; and
  • Maintenance and Sustainment of GIS and interoperable communications systems

Ineligible costs include:

  • Unallowable Equipment: firearms, ammunition, grenade launchers, bayonets, or weaponized aircraft, vessels, or vehicles of any kind with weapons installed.
  • Costs to support the hiring of sworn public safety officers for the purposes of fulfilling traditional public safety duties or to supplant traditional public safety positions and responsibilities.
  • Activities and projects unrelated to the completion and implementation of the EMPG Program.

Governor Cuomo Announces New Record Number of COVID-19 Tests Reported Yesterday


87,776 COVID-19 Tests Reported Yesterday; 0.79 Percent of Tests were Positive

7 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

Confirms 700 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 422,703; New Cases in 36 Counties

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 87,776 COVID-19 tests were reported to New York State yesterday—a new record high for tests in a single day. The governor also updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The number of new cases, percentage of tests that were positive and many other helpful data points are always available at

"We're continuing to move forward protecting New Yorkers, slowing the spread and saving lives as the COVID-19 pandemic rages throughout much of the country and threatens the reduction in the numbers we've achieved here at home," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is reaching new heights in its ability to track and trace the virus, and that's evidenced by the record number of tests—nearly 88,000—that were reported yesterday. As we prepare for the fall, I urge everyone to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands, and I urge local governments to enforce state guidance on reopening."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Patient Hospitalization - 558 (+18)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 89
  • Hospital Counties - 30
  • Number ICU - 123 (+3)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 62 (+2)
  • Total Discharges - 73,842 (+63)
  • Deaths - 7
  • Total Deaths - 25,218



Defendant Pleaded Guilty to First-Degree Manslaughter

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a Bronx man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree Manslaughter in the 1999 death of his neighbor. 

District Attorney Clark said, “More than two decades have passed since the defendant killed his neighbor, a 56-year-old woman who lived on the floor above him. DNA taken from another crime he committed in 2017 connected him to the 1999 crime scene. The defendant believed he had gotten away with her killing, but in the end justice prevailed.” 

District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Curtis Batchelor, 44, last of 825 Gerard Avenue, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision by Bronx Supreme Court Justice James McCarty. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree Manslaughter on February 27, 2020.

According to the investigation, on or about and between May 25, 1999 and May 27, 1999, at 825 Gerard Avenue, the defendant stabbed Elsa Grullon more than twenty times in the face, neck and chest with a knife while he raped her. Grullon was discovered dead on May 27, 1999 by a family member.

Batchelor was arrested and convicted in January 2016 for a minor crime and his DNA was taken. In March 2016, the DNA was found to match the DNA recovered from the Grullon’s body. Batchelor was arrested on February 27, 2017 for the death of Grullon.

As part of the plea deal the Rape charge was dismissed.

District Attorney Clark thanked NYPD Detective Brian Hennessy and NYPD Detective Dennis Kelly (retired), both of the 44th Precinct, and NYPD Detective Francis Orlando of the Bronx Homicide Squad for their assistance in the investigation 

Texas Man Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Participation In Multimillion-Dollar Business Email Compromise Scheme


  Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSHUA IKEJIMBA, a/k/a “Johnson Ifeanyi Gbono,” a/k/a “Alfred Henshaw,” a/k/a “Peterson Kamara Lawson,” a/k/a “Ganiru Paul Thompson,” pled guilty and was sentenced in Manhattan federal court today for conspiring to commit wire fraud as part of a wide-ranging, international business email compromise (“BEC”) syndicate.  IKEJIMBA was sentenced to 24 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As he admitted in court today, Joshua Ikejimba played a key role in an international business email compromise conspiracy.  For his admitted crime, Ikejimba will serve a two-year prison sentence and be compelled to make restitution to the victims of his fraud.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment, Complaint, other court filings, and statements made during court proceedings:

During the relevant time period, IKEJIMBA, his co-defendants, and others engaged in a fraudulent BEC scheme that deceived numerous victims, including international companies, individuals, and an intergovernmental organization headquartered in New York City, into diverting payments to bank accounts controlled by the syndicate.

The defendants executed this fraudulent scheme by, among other things, obtaining fraudulent passports in false names, registering and incorporating shell companies, and opening fake bank accounts at various banks throughout the United States.  A substantial number of victims were tricked by fake emails and fraudulent wiring instructions into sending funds to the syndicate’s bank accounts, and those amounts were then withdrawn by members of the conspiracy and dissipated.  During the period from about 2016 through about July 2018, it appears the defendants obtained approximately $8 million by defrauding numerous victims.

IKEJIMBA had a multi-faceted role in the BEC scheme, which included using fraudulent identities and false identification documents to open bank accounts; using those accounts to receive funds from victims; and forming a shell corporation to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional fraud proceeds, principally by purchasing or depositing cashier’s checks that represented stolen funds.  Through his participation in the scheme, IKEJIMBA was personally responsible for receiving and laundering approximately $1.25 million in fraud proceeds.

IKEJIMBA, 25, of Houston, Texas, pled guilty to, and was sentenced on, one count of with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.  In addition to the 24-month prison term, IKEJIMBA was sentenced to three years of supervised release.  IKEJIMBA was further ordered to forfeit $1,250,766.03, and to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $1,238,748.93.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Olga I. Zverovich and Jarrod L. Schaeffer are in charge of the prosecution.



  Sales tax revenue for local governments in July fell 8.2 percent compared to the same period last year, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Collections for counties and cities in July totaled $1.3 billion, or $116 million less than in July 2019. Although revenue is still down compared to July 2019, the decline is less steep than any month since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect sales tax collections.

Nearly every county in every region of the state saw overall July collections drop year over year: only four counties had increases, including Westchester, where its tax rate increase in August of 2019 boosted year-over-year growth. County decreases ranged from 2.1 percent in Essex to 19.7 percent in Schuyler. New York City experienced a 7.3 percent decline, amounting to a $44.6 million reduction in revenues. While less dramatic than the 46 percent ($375 million) decrease seen in June, this represents another month where the city’s sales tax revenue dropped significantly over the same month in the prior year.

“New York’s local governments continue to see a significant downturn in sales tax collections, a major source of revenue. This is going to have a long-lasting effect on revenues for counties, cities and many towns and villages around the state,” DiNapoli said. “The federal government needs to step up and provide financial help to those hit hard by this virus. Without action, communities may need to make severe cuts to critical services.”

Last month, DiNapoli reported that local sales tax collections dropped 27.1 percent in the April-June quarter, down $1.2 billion from collections in the same quarter of 2019.

Over the five-month period of the pandemic’s effects (starting in March, when only New York City showed losses, and continuing through July), local governments have received $1.4 billion

(18.7 percent) less than they did during the same period in 2019.


Find out how your government money is spent at Open Book New York. Track municipal spending, the state's 170,000 contracts, billions in state payments and public authority data. Visit the Reading Room for contract FOIL requests, bid protest decisions and commonly requested data.Table: Monthly Local Sales Tax Collections by Region