Sunday, January 21, 2018

Inaugural Ceremony of Councilman Mark Gjonaj

Recently elected 13th City Councilman Mark Gjonaj had his public swearing in today at the Herbert Lehman Educational Campus. It was a packed auditorium with many Bronx Elected officials, and others from outside the Bronx to see the new Albanian American Councilman, as well as friends and constituents. The members of Bronx Congressional delegation however were stuck in Washington with the government shutdown.  

Mistress of Ceremony Lisa Sorin opened the event, with the Salute to the colors by NYPD Post 1824 and Post 2436. The pledge of Allegiance and American National Anthem was done by Renaissance High School Students, with the Albanian National Anthem by Ms. Jessica Raja. The invocation was then given by Imam Edin Ajar.

State Senator Jeff Klein was first to speak of the day he and Mark were fishing off City Island when Mark first said that he wanted to run for the State Assembly. Senator Klein added that this council race was one of the hardest races for him outside of his own. Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo was next followed by Public Advocate Leticia James. Assemblyman Michael Benedetto up next thanked the three speakers before him for saying almost exactly what he wanted to say about Councilman Mark Gjonaj who Benedetto had served with for five years in the state assembly. 

The Ambassadors from Albania (Flavetta Faber) and Kosova (Vlora Citaku) each read letters from their respective Prime Ministers who praised Mark Gjonaj for becoming the first Albanian American to be elected to the New York City Council.

Judge Llinet Rosado then swore Mark Gjonaj (with his wife Roberta and two sons) in as the new Councilman from the 13th City Council District. Councilman Gjonaj said “God has been good to me and my family”. He spoke of helping struggling business corridors in his role as chair of the Small Business committee. He added that he wants to bring more mass transit to areas in the Bronx who are undeserved, a two-percent tax cap, stop the out of control water rate increases, and do more for senior citizens and veteran's. Photos are below.

Above - The Pledge of Allegiance and American National Anthem by Renaissance High School Students.
Below - The Albanian National Anthem by Ms. Jessica Raja.

Above - The Invocation by Imam Edin Ajar.
Below - Flocetta Faver Ambassador from Albania presents Councilman Gjonaj with the letter she       read from the Prime Minister of Albania.

Above - Kosova Ambassador Vlora Citaku also read a letter from the Prime Minister of Kosova    congratulating on becoming the first Albanian American in the NYC Council.
Below -  Mark Gjonaj with his wife Roberta and two sons beside him is sworn in by Judge Llinet      Rosado as the Councilman from the 13th City Council District

Above - Councilman Mark Gjonaj speaks of his agenda for the first four years in City  Hall as the City Councilman from the 13th district.
Below - Could Councilman Gjonaj be speaking to his replacement in the state assembly?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

18 Arrested at Brooklyn NYCHA Housing Complex on Charges Including Narcotics and Conspiracy

Joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York City Police Department, Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and DOI leads to arrests of 18 individuals on charges including narcotics and conspiracy at NYCHA’s Sheepshead/Nostrand Houses

  Mark G. Peters, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), today announced the arrest of 18 individuals, including three New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) employees, and released a Report that revealed NYCHA’s continued failure to effectively enforce its Permanent Exclusion policy for dangerous criminal offenders. The investigation also uncovered employees purchasing drugs from tenants and targets of the criminal investigation and other misconduct at NYCHA’s Sheepshead/Nostrand Houses. The Report was issued at the conclusion of a 16-month criminal investigation with federal and state law enforcement partners into the Towaz Boyz gang, which resulted in 15 arrests on drug and conspiracy charges, the arrest of one NYCHA employee for illegally facilitating access to a NYCHA apartment allegedly used in narcotics sales, and arrests of two additional NYCHA employees for purchasing marijuana from a Sheepshead apartment while on duty and in uniform. During the course of the investigation, DOI investigators discovered NYCHA was fully aware that two of the defendants charged today had allegedly sold narcotics in NYCHA apartments, lobbies, and stairwells, and had been Permanently Excluded from NYCHA property. Furthermore, when NYCHA became aware that these defendants were still living in the NYCHA apartments in violation of the Permanent Exclusion policy, the Authority failed to take further enforcement action to protect other Sheepshead/Nostrand residents

DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said, “Today’s arrests highlight the inherent dangers of allowing serious, recidivist criminals to continue to reside on NYCHA property. DOI’s Report demonstrates NYCHA’s continued failure to exclude these offenders - disregarding its own policies and DOI’s repeated findings in this critical area of safety. By defying its own policy of Permanent Exclusion, NYCHA is placing its residents at risk.” 

“People deserve to leave their homes without fearing the drug dealers and violent gang members loitering around their front doors. The FBI NY Metro Safe Streets Task Force and our partners the NYPD and the City of New York Department of Investigation worked closely on this investigation to stop illegal criminals from disrupting people’s lives. We want this case and these arrests to serve as a warning that we will leverage these partnerships to stop future gang members hoping to fill the void,” said William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Division.

DOI’s investigation exposed significant vulnerabilities in NYCHA’s internal controls concerning Permanent Exclusion, as well as misconduct by NYCHA employees, and alleged criminal activity by numerous unauthorized NYCHA occupants, specifically:

 Two of the defendants charged today, MATTHEW GERARD and JAMEEK BAKER, had previously been arrested for selling crack cocaine at Sheepshead/Nostrand Houses, and BAKER had also been charged with armed robbery. NYCHA Permanently Excluded them from public housing so that their leaseholder relatives could remain living at NYCHA. NYCHA subsequently found both of these defendants still living in the NYCHA apartments in violation of the Permanent Exclusion agreement, but failed to take effective action to protect other Sheepshead/Nostrand residents from the ongoing narcotics activity. 

  Eight additional defendants were residing in public housing or Section 8 apartments without legal authorization and in violation of the lease terms. 

 DOI also arrested a NYCHA caretaker, SHAKINA ROWE, for illegally unlocking a NYCHA apartment, after a court-ordered eviction, in order to enable individuals charged in this investigation to access an apartment known to be used for narcotics sales, according to the charges. Two additional NYCHA employees were arrested for purchasing marijuana while on duty and in uniform.

As a result of this investigation, DOI is re-issuing recommendations it has made in its two prior reports concerning removing recidivist serious criminal offenders from NYCHA properties, including more aggressively prosecuting tenancy cases against NYCHA leaseholders who participated in, knew or should have known, of serious criminal activity being committed by criminal offenders, especially where the offender has already been Permanently Excluded from NYCHA housing. The report also includes new recommendations, including that NYCHA should conduct a comprehensive audit of all arrests referred by NYPD to evaluate NYCHA’s response.

Commissioner Peters thanked New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James O’Neill and the Brooklyn South Gang Squad, NYPD Captain Anthony Guadagno and Detectives Matthew Jagoda and Robert Chan; Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation William F. Sweeney, Jr.; FBI Special Agent Neil Maxson; Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan; Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Senior Executive for Law Enforcement Operations Gregory A. Thomas; and City Department of Correction Acting Deputy Commissioner Antonio Cruz, for their cooperation and assistance in this investigation. 

Indictments and criminal complaints are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty

DOI is one of the oldest law-enforcement agencies in the country and New York City’s corruption watchdog. Investigations may involve any agency, officer, elected official or employee of the City, as well as those who do business with or receive benefits from the City. DOI’s strategy attacks corruption comprehensively through systemic investigations that lead to high-impact arrests, preventive internal controls and operational reforms that improve the way the City runs. 

Bribery and Corruption are a Trap. Don’t Get Caught Up. Report It at 212-3-NYC-DOI

Honduran Congressman Charged With Conspiring To Import Cocaine Into The United States And Related Firearms Offenses

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Raymond Donovan, the Special Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced that Honduran congressman Fredy Renan Najera Montoya (“NAJERA”) was charged yesterday in Manhattan federal court with conspiring to import cocaine into the United States and related weapons offenses involving the use and possession of machineguns and destructive devices. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Fredy Renan Najera Montoya used his power and influence as a Honduran congressman to help facilitate the transport of huge quantities of cocaine from Colombia through Honduras, and ultimately to the streets of the United States.  Along with the DEA, we are committed to attacking the drug trade at every level, regardless of a defendant’s status.  We look forward to trying Najera on U.S. soil.”

Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan said:  “As alleged, Fredy Renan Najera Montoya used his position in the Honduran Congress to facilitate huge amounts of drug trafficking and corruption, while using security teams possessing dangerous and deadly weapons that threaten the rule of law and innocent lives.  DEA will continue to go after these dangerous criminal individuals and their violent networks with our counterparts across the world utilizing every law enforcement tool at our disposal.” 

As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed in federal court:[1]

 From 2009 up to 2014, multiple drug trafficking organizations in Honduras and elsewhere worked together, and with support from NAJERA and others, to receive multi-hundred-kilogram loads of cocaine sent to Honduras from, among other places, Colombia via air and maritime routes, and to transport the drugs westward in Honduras toward the border with Guatemala and eventually to the United States.  For protection from official interference, and in order to facilitate the safe passage through Honduras of multi-hundred-kilogram loads of cocaine, drug traffickers paid bribes to public officials, including certain members of the National Congress of Honduras.

NAJERA is a member of the National Congress of Honduras who participated in and supported the drug trafficking activities of large-scale drug traffickers in Honduras and high-ranking members of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.  For example, NAJERA facilitated the receipt of cocaine-laden aircraft at clandestine landing strips in Honduras that were protected by heavily armed security personnel so that the cocaine could be transported through Honduras, sold to the Sinaloa Cartel, and imported into the United States.  NAJERA also participated in a maritime cocaine trafficking venture that involved a $50,000 bribe paid to Fabio Porfirio Lobo, whose father was the President of Honduras at the time of the payment.  On September 5, 2017, in United States v. Lobo, No. 15 Cr. 174 (LGS), U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield sentenced Lobo principally to 24 years in prison based on his conviction for participating in a conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States.

The Superseding Indictment charges NAJERA, 41, with three counts:  (1) conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of life imprisonment; (2) using and carrying machine guns and destructive devices during, and possessing machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the cocaine-importation conspiracy, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum term of life imprisonment; and (3) conspiring to use and carry machine guns and destructive devices during, and to possess machine guns and destructive devices in furtherance of, the cocaine-importation conspiracy, which carries a maximum term of life imprisonment. 

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding efforts of the DEA’s Special Operations Division Bilateral Investigations Unit, New York Strike Force, and Tegucigalpa Country Office, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  The potential mandatory minimum and maximum sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Chinese National Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court For Economic Espionage And Theft Of A Trade Secret From U.S. Company

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Dana J. Boente, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, announced that XU JIAQIANG was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison for economic espionage and theft of a trade secret, in connection with XU’s theft of proprietary source code from XU’s former employer, with the intent to benefit the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China.  XU previously pled guilty to all six counts with which he was charged.  Yesterday’s sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas in White Plains federal court. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As he previously admitted in federal court, Xu Jiaqiang stole high-tech trade secrets from a U.S. employer, intending to benefit the Chinese government.  The laws governing economic espionage and trade secrets exist, in part, to protect the sanctity of American ingenuity and property.  Xu’s prison sentence should be a red flag for anyone attempting to illegally peddle American expertize and intellectual property to foreign bidders.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Dana J. Boente said:  “Xu, a Chinese national, is being held accountable for engaging in economic espionage against an American company.  Xu not only stole high tech trade secrets from his U.S. employer – a federal crime – he did so both for his own profit and intending to benefit the Chinese government.  Xu’s sentence clearly demonstrates that the National Security Division will not hesitate to pursue and prosecute those who steal from American businesses.  I thank the many people who worked hard to bring this result.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint and the Superseding Indictment filed against XU, as well as statements made in related court filings and proceedings:

From November 2010 to May 2014, XU worked as a developer for a particular U.S. company (the “Victim Company”).  As a developer, XU enjoyed access to certain proprietary software (the “Proprietary Software”), as well as that software’s underlying source code (the “Proprietary Source Code”).  The Proprietary Software is a clustered file system developed and marketed by the Victim Company in the United States and other countries.  A clustered file system facilitates faster computer performance by coordinating work among multiple servers.  The Victim Company takes significant precautions to protect the Proprietary Source Code as a trade secret.  Among other things, the Proprietary Source Code is stored behind a company firewall and can be accessed only by a small subset of the Victim Company’s employees.  Before receiving Proprietary Source Code access, Victim Company employees must first request and receive approval from a particular Victim Company official.  Victim Company employees must also agree in writing at both the outset and the conclusion of their employment that they will maintain the confidentiality of any proprietary information.  The Victim Company takes these and other precautions in part because the Proprietary Software and the Proprietary Source Code are economically valuable, which value depends in part on the Proprietary Source Code’s secrecy. 
In May 2014, XU voluntarily resigned from the Victim Company.     XU subsequently communicated with one undercover law enforcement officer (“UC-1”), who posed as a financial investor aiming to start a large-data storage technology company, and another undercover law enforcement officer (“UC-2”), who posed as a project manager, working for UC-1.  In these communications, XU discussed his past experience with the Victim Company and indicated that he had experience with the Proprietary Software and the Proprietary Source Code.  On March 6, 2015, XU sent UC-1 and UC-2 a code, which XU stated was a sample of XU’s prior work with the Victim Company.  A Victim Company employee (“Employee-1”) later confirmed that the code sent by XU included proprietary Victim Company material that related to the Proprietary Source Code.
XU subsequently informed UC-2 that XU was willing to consider providing UC-2’s company with the Proprietary Source Code as a platform for UC-2’s company to facilitate the development of its own data storage system.  XU informed UC-2 that if UC-2 set up several computers as a small network, then XU would remotely install the Proprietary Software so that UC-1 and UC-2 could test it and confirm its functionality.

In or around early August 2015, the FBI arranged for a computer network to be set up, consistent with XU’s specifications.  Files were then remotely uploaded to the FBI-arranged computer network (the “Xu Upload”).  Thereafter, on or about August 26, 2015, XU and UC-2 confirmed that UC-2 had received the Xu Upload.  In September 2015, the FBI made the Xu Upload available to a Victim Company employee who has expertise regarding the Proprietary Software and the Proprietary Source Code (“Employee-2”).  Based on Employee-2’s analysis of technical features of the Xu Upload, it appeared to Employee-2 that the Xu Upload contained a functioning copy of the Proprietary Software.  It further appeared to Employee-2 that the Xu Upload had been built by someone with access to the Proprietary Source Code who was not working within the Victim Company or otherwise at the Victim Company’s direction.

On December 7, 2015, XU met with UC-2 at a hotel in White Plains, New York (the “Hotel”).  XU stated, in sum and substance, that XU had used the Proprietary Source Code to make software to sell to customers, that XU knew the Proprietary Source Code to be the product of decades of work on the part of the Victim Company, and that XU had used the Proprietary Source Code to build a copy of the Proprietary Software, which XU had uploaded and installed on the UC Network (i.e., the Xu Upload).  XU also indicated that XU knew the copy of the Proprietary Software that XU had installed on the UC Network contained information identifying the Proprietary Software as the Victim Company’s property, which could reveal the fact that the Proprietary Software had been built with the Proprietary Source Code without the Victim Company’s authorization.  XU told UC-2 that XU could take steps to prevent detection of the Proprietary Software’s origins – i.e., that it had been built with stolen Proprietary Source Code – including writing computer scripts that would modify the Proprietary Source Code to conceal its origins. 

Later on December 7, 2015, XU met with UC-1 and UC-2 at the Hotel.  During that meeting, XU showed UC-2 a copy of what XU represented to be the Proprietary Source Code on XU’s laptop.  XU noted to UC-2 a portion of the code that indicated it originated with the Victim Company as well as the date on which it had been copyrighted.  XU also stated that XU had previously modified the Proprietary Source Code’s command interface to conceal the fact that the Proprietary Source Code originated with the Victim Company and identified multiple specific customers to whom XU had previously provided the Proprietary Software using XU’s stolen copy of the Proprietary Source Code. 

In addition to the five-year prison term, XU, 32, formerly of Beijing, China, was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.
Mr. Berman and Mr. Boente praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s outstanding investigative efforts.  He also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division. 

Investment Adviser And Broker Sentenced For Securities Fraud Scheme

   Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CHRISTOPHER CERVINO, a/k/a “Smitty,” was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, and SHEIK F. KHAN, a/k/a “Abida Khan,” was sentenced to 53 months in prison for their roles in a securities fraud scheme involving the shares of a publicly traded company called VGTel, Inc. (“VGTL”).  CERVINO and KHAN were convicted after a three-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter, who imposed yesterday’s sentence. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Securities broker Christopher Cervino and investment adviser Sheik Khan created a massive web of lies to defraud investors of millions of dollars.  They manipulated the market, and their clients’ trust, to ensure they made money.  Thankfully their days of deceptive trading and investing are over, and they will spend time in prison for their crimes.”

According to the Indictment other filings in Manhattan federal court, evidence at trial, and statements made in court proceedings:

The securities fraud scheme was conceived and led by Edward Durante, a recidivist securities fraud defendant, who pled guilty in August 2016 to various crimes related to the scheme, including conspiracy, securities fraud, money laundering, and perjury.  As part of the scheme, Durante, CERVINO, KHAN, and others conspired to control and manipulate the public stock of VGTL in order to artificially inflate the stock price and trading volume so as to profit from sales of VGTL stock and to further induce investments in private shares of VGTL. 

Durante, through entities he controlled, held a majority of the publicly traded stock of VGTL.  Durante recruited CERVINO, a broker, to open brokerage accounts associated with Durante-controlled entities and investors who were clients of KHAN, an investment adviser.  Many of KHAN’s clients had no idea that KHAN and Durante had opened accounts on their behalf with CERVINO.  KHAN, along with Durante, then induced her clients to purchase VGTL stock through CERVINO – sometimes without the clients’ knowledge or permission – while Durante and CERVINO ensured that many of these purchases were matched with sales of VGTL stock by Durante-controlled accounts.  The reality of these transactions was that Durante and his co-conspirators were effectively taking both sides of a single transaction in VGTL stock in order to artificially control VGTL’s stock price.  The defendants’ efforts to artificially inflate the market for VGTL increased the stock price from approximately $.25 per share to as much as $1.90 during the course of the scheme, and dramatically inflated the trading volume, which increased the defendants’ abilities to raise private investments in VGTL and to unload Durante-controlled shares at artificially high prices at the expense of victim investors.  To compensate CERVINO for his efforts to control and manipulate the market in VGTL, Durante made at least two cash payments to CERVINO totaling $35,000, in addition to the substantial commissions CERVINO received for executing trades in VGTL.  For her part, KHAN received more than $400,000 from Durante, including more than $100,000 in payments for liquidating her clients’ investments in safe annuities so that the money could then be invested into VGTL.  In total, CERVINO purchased more than $3.5 million of VGTL shares in client accounts controlled by KHAN and/or Durante.  The VGTL shares were ultimately worthless and clients lost the entirety of their investments.

In addition to the prison term, CHRISTOPHER CERVINO, 45, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $35,000.

In addition to the prison term, SHEIK F. KHAN, 54, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $290,787.

Restitution for both defendants will be determined at a later date.

Mr. Berman praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission for its assistance. 

Comptroller Stringer Audit: School Construction Authority’s Shoddy Oversight of $100 Million “Miscellaneous” Checking Account Leads to Lost Dollars

SCA Failed to Follow State Law Investment Requirements
Comptroller Stringer Calls for Strict Measures to Improve Financial Transparency and Performance
  According to a new audit released by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, the City-funded School Construction Authority (SCA) has kept more than $100 million in an obscure– and inadequately managed – “miscellaneous” checking account. The audit examined a two-year period and discovered inadequate controls over the account – which could lead to waste or abuse – as well as a failure to follow a State law requiring investment of public dollars entrusted to the SCA in order to ensure maximum returns.
The SCA is funded largely through the City’s capital budget, but it also receives money from other sources, ranging from lease payments to insurance and litigation settlements. For those external dollars, the SCA created a special account called the “Other Funds Account” (formerly known as the “Miscellaneous Checking Account”). The Comptroller’s office found that the account’s balance grew dramatically—from $20 million to $104 million—between Fiscal Years 2007 and 2016.
When auditing the account for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016, Comptroller Stringer found that the SCA’s internal controls over it were insufficient to ensure proper accountability and transparency. In addition, the audit found that rather than investing the funds as authorized by State law, the SCA kept them in a checking account that earned minimal interest from May 2015 through June 2016 – a missed opportunity to earn better returns. That failure to follow State law and invest those dollars as prescribed by law, means that hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be going to improving school facilities have been left on the table.
“When the bureaucracy can’t get its house in order, taxpayers lose and our kids miss out on the facilities they deserve. The SCA’s bungling of financial records potentially cost the City millions. When we could’ve earned a significant return by investing tens of millions of dollars, the SCA knowingly left money on the table. That incompetence comes at the expense of our children,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer. “Hundreds of thousands of critical, additional dollars that could have been put toward supporting our schools, our kids, and facilities were ultimately lost. That’s unacceptable. The SCA must immediately implement controls that will allow for stronger oversight of public funds in the future.”
Comptroller Stringer issued a series of recommendations as part of the audit, including:
  • Deposit the funds maintained in the Other Funds Account not needed for immediate use in an investment account in accordance with the General Municipal Law.
  • Implement controls to ensure that it accurately and consistently records the funding source classifications and use designations (dedicated or discretionary) of Other Funds Account funds in all of the SCA’s financial records.
To see Comptroller Stringer’s audit, click here.


Engel Statement on GOP Forcing a Government Shutdown

“The Republican Majority, which controls the House, the Senate, and the White House, had months to address the most pressing issues facing our nation. These include renewing DACA, reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), funding community health centers and, of course, keeping our government running.

“Instead of tackling even one of these issues, they worked exclusively on passing a huge tax cut for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Then, at the last moment, they decided to hold kids’ health care hostage to extort votes for a bill that doesn’t take care of our veterans, people grappling with addiction, or Americans desperately waiting for disaster aid.

“My fellow Democrats and I refused to be coerced. We told the Majority to put forward a bill that dealt with the issues our constituents are facing, and they failed. As a result, the government has shut down.

“Though many government services are now temporarily shuttered, my offices—both in Washington and in my district—will remain open during normal business hours and stand ready to assist with any constituent issues you may have. Democrats have been consistent in their desire to put petty politics aside and begin fixing the many problems our country faces. It’s time the Republicans joined us in that effort.”  

Congressman Adriano Espaillat statement regarding Senate Republicans’ failure to avert a government shutdown.

“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have voted to reject the bill that would have funded the government and averted a government shutdown that impacts millions of Americans,”said Rep. Espaillat. “Successful governments work together in bipartisan ways that benefit each of us while creating stability and opportunity for us all – regardless of status or country of birth. Republicans control the White House and hold the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Instead of working with Democrats to reauthorize children’s health insurance, fund community health centers, address the national opioid crisis, and pass bipartisan immigration reform, President Trump and Republicans instead chose to relinquish their responsibility to govern. They have continuously stalled negotiations that would provide a solution and path for citizenship for 800,000 Dreamers and their families.

“It is my sincere hope that we can come to a remedy and create a funding deal that will put our nation back on the right path.

“During this shutdown, I will continue to honor my commitment to serve the constituents of New York’s 13th congressional district and will be meeting with families and constituents impacted directly by the government shutdown throughout the community.”