Thursday, September 23, 2021

Amazon Releases Workforce Demographic Data Following Push by Comptroller Stringer and NYC Funds


 Amazon has publicly released the company’s EEO-101 workforce demographic data for 2019 and 2020 following a concerted push by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and three New York City Retirement Systems. The Consolidated EEO-1 Report is the “gold standard” for diversity disclosure and will enable investors to evaluate the performance of portfolio companies in terms of their ability to hire, retain, and promote employees of color and women. Amazon last released its EEO-1 report in 2016.

“This information is critical for transparency and shareholders,” said Comptroller Stringer. “Amazon’s public disclosure of its workforce demographic data will help investors better understand the company’s labor practices, identify areas for improvement, and benchmark diversity performance. The release of this data brings us another step closer to ensuring companies’ commitment to equity and diversity, but we have more to do. We will continue to hold corporate America accountable and set the tone for EEO-1 disclosure across U.S. public companies.”

As of July 31, 2021, the New York City Pension Funds’ have $2.38 billion invested in Amazon.

In July 2020, Comptroller Stringer and the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System called on S&P 100 companies to match their public statements in support of racial equality, diversity and inclusion with concrete action by publicly disclosing their annual EEO-1 workforce demographic data. Prior to the launch of the Comptroller’s campaign, only 14 S&P 100 companies disclosed their Consolidated EEO-1 Report.  The Comptroller and three NYC funds subsequently submitted shareowner proposals to two initially unresponsive companies, and to a third company as a continuation of an historical previous engagement.  As of today, a substantial majority of S&P 100 companies disclose, or have committed to disclose their EEO-1 data, including 67 S&P companies that have begun or committed to disclose as a result of the push made by Comptroller Stringer and the NYC Funds:

!00 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, or Days and Counting


That's right, I have one hundred days left in office. Will you pesky reporters stop asking me when I am going to go to Rikers Island. In one hundred and one days when I am out of office.

Next month it will be City Hall in Brooklyn, or should I save that for my last week in office. That way I won't have far to go when I leave office. There is only one thing I love more than Brooklyn, and that is Boston and the Red Sox. At least tomorrow I have no media availability and will not have to sit through those pesky reporters questions. Mayor de Blasio, when are you going to visit Riker's Island. My answer should be when it becomes the runway for 747's to land on as they finally can land at Laguardia Airport.


 Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Anita Laremont as the next Chair of the City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning (DCP). Laremont, who has served as the Executive Director of the Department of City Planning since 2018, will begin her role immediately. Laremont succeeds outgoing chair Marisa Lago, who was tapped by the Biden Administration to join the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Anita Laremont brings vision and experience to the City Planning Commission, and she will be a tireless fighter for more equitable, inclusive, and dynamic neighborhoods across the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “She has an extraordinary record of success at the Department of City Planning, and I know she will continue that legacy of service to her city in this new role.”
“Anita is one of the smartest, savviest, most dedicated public servants I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” said Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development. “New Yorkers are fortunate to have her at the helm as we move forward on key planning initiatives that will keep our city on a path to an equitable recovery for all.”
“I am honored to be named Chair of the City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning, where I lead teams of talented data, environmental, legal and tech experts, planners and urban designers, and so many others, as we continue the urgent work of bringing New York City back from this deadly pandemic. My deep appreciation goes to Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been, my staff at DCP and my fellow commissioners, all of whom pour their heart and soul into advancing the twin goals of equity and sustainability for all New Yorkers,” said Anita Laremont.
Laremont first joined DCP as General Counsel in 2014. Before that, Laremont was a partner in the law firm of Harris Beach PLLC, where she had a real estate, land use and government agency practice. Laremont previously served for more than 16 years as General Counsel of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), New York State’s primary economic development entity. While at ESDC, Laremont was involved with numerous large-scale economic development and land-use projects in New York City and throughout the state, including transformative projects such as the 42nd Street Development Project, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Governors Island.
Laremont has served as a Trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission, and as Co-Chair of its Economic Development Committee. She is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the State Bar and the American Bar Association. Among a number of board affiliations, she currently serves as First Vice-Chair and Chair of the Development Committee at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens in Staten Island, where she resides.
Laremont is a magna cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and received her J.D. from the New York University School of Law, where she was a Root Tilden Scholar.

CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General James Seeks to Protect New Yorkers’ Wallets by Urging ShrubBucket Customers to File Bankruptcy Claim


Affected Consumers Should File Priority Claim by This Coming Monday, September 27, 2021

 New York Attorney General Letitia James today issued an alert, urging New York customers of ShrubBucket to immediately file a claim in the company’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings if they are owed money for undelivered services or products. ShrubBucket — an internet company based out of Ithaca, New York that sells plants, shrubs, and trees — filed for bankruptcy on June 18, 2021, but continued to wrongfully accept deposits from consumers up to a week prior to its bankruptcy filing. Consumers who were affected are encouraged to file a priority claim by this coming Monday, September 27, 2021 to secure a refund.

“As New Yorkers continue to recover and rebuild from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that companies meet their obligations to consumers and do not dig themselves out of a hole by preying on customers,” said Attorney General James. “ShrubBucket knew it could not deliver services to New Yorkers, but still thought it could hedge some of its losses by charging for products days before the company filed for bankruptcy. All ShrubBucket customers who made a purchase but were not provided what was being advertised are encouraged to file a priority claim immediately to secure their refunds. My office is committed to rooting out fraud.”

ShrubBucket — which operated out of facilities in New York, Ohio, New Jersey, and Connecticut — personally delivered products to consumers’ homes at a lower cost than retail stores. The company filed for bankruptcy on June 18, 2021, yet continued to accept deposits from consumers as recent as a week prior to its bankruptcy filing. After receiving multiple complaints regarding the company’s practices, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) began an investigation. Upon review of ShrubBucket’s bankruptcy filing, the OAG found that more than 2,000 consumers paid deposits in May of 2021, but the company never fulfilled its orders or provided refunds.

As ShrubBucket undergoes bankruptcy proceedings, the OAG encourages any affected consumers to file a 507(a)(7) priority claim to secure their refund. The last date to file proofs of claim is this upcoming Monday, September 27, 2021.

If consumers previously filed proofs of claim for products that were paid for and never received, then they should file an unsecured priority claim. Consumers who have already filed unsecured claims but did not file a 507(a)(7) priority claim may amend their filing. To amend a claim, individuals will need to check the “yes” box in response to question number 4 and input their claim number (if known) to show that this is an amended claim. Additionally, they will also need to input the claim amount in response to question number 7 and check “yes” in the second box (labeled “up to $3,025...”) in response to question number 12 and input the amount on that line. 

All proofs of claim should be completed and mailed to: United States Bankruptcy Court, James M. Hanley Federal Building, 100 South Clinton Street, Room 315, PO Box 7008, Syracuse, NY 13261-7008.

Queens Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Kidnapping That Resulted In The Murder Of 24-Year-Old Woman


 Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that JAVIER ENRIQUE DA SILVA ROJAS (the “defendant” or “DA SILVA”) was sentenced today to 360 months in prison for kidnapping Valerie Reyes (the “Victim”) in New Rochelle, New York and unlawfully transporting her to Connecticut, where her body was found approximately a week later.  DA SILVA, who was arrested in Flushing, Queens in February 2019, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti on February 4, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss stated: “Javier Da Silva committed a horrific kidnapping that resulted in the death of a young woman.  In the days after, he used her ATM card to empty her bank account and then attempted to cover up the evidence of his conduct. Valerie Reyes, the victim of this crime, was in the prime of her life when it was senselessly ended by Da Silva’s abhorrent act. Those who commit violence, especially those who kill, will not escape justice.”

According to the Indictment and other court documents, as well as statements made in public court proceedings:

DA SILVA and the Victim, who was 24 years old at the time of her death, were previously in a romantic relationship, which ended in approximately April 2018.  In the late evening of January 28, 2019, DA SILVA rented a car from a garage in Flushing, New York and drove to the Victim’s residence in New Rochelle, New York, arriving in the early morning hours of January 29, 2019.  Before he entered the Victim’s home, DA SILVA switched his phone to “airplane mode.”  Sometime after DA SILVA entered the Victim’s apartment, DA SILVA and the Victim had a violent altercation, during which the Victim suffered head trauma, bruising around the face, and a large hematoma to her forehead.  DA SILVA then kidnapped the Victim—covering her mouth with several layers of packing tape and binding her feet and hands with packing tape and twine and putting her in a suitcase—before disposing of her body, still inside the suitcase, in Connecticut.  Over the ensuing days, DA SILVA used the Victim’s debit card on various occasions to withdraw approximately $5,350 in cash from her bank account.  DA SILVA also sold an iPad belonging to the Victim in the days following her death.

On January 30, 2019, the Victim was reported missing to the New Rochelle Police Department.  A few days later, on February 5, 2019, her body was recovered in a red suitcase alongside a public road in the Town of Greenwich, Connecticut.  The Connecticut Medical Examiner’s Office later concluded that the Victim died of homicidal asphyxiation.

DA SILVA, 25, pled guilty to one count of kidnapping.  In addition to the prison term, DA SILVA was sentenced to two years of supervised release.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding work of the FBI Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives from the FBI, Yonkers Police Department, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, Westchester County Police Department, Peekskill Police Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, New York City Police Department, and U.S. Probation, as well as the FBI New Haven Division, the New Rochelle Police Department, the Greenwich Police Department, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, and the Westchester County Real Time Crime Center.



15-Year, $191 million plan to make New York City an international clean energy leader

 Mayor de Blasio and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced a 15-year, $191 million Offshore Wind Vision (OSW) plan to make New York City a leading destination for the offshore wind industry. The plan also ensures the city meets nation-leading climate goals of 100-percent clean electricity by 2040 and carbon neutrality by 2050.  


The $191 million offshore wind investment will put New York City on path to:

  • Create over 13,000 jobs and generate $1.3 billion in average annual investment 
  • Ensure 40% of job and investment benefits are directed toward women, minorities, and environmental justice communities 
  • Reduce 34.5 million tons of CO2 – the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from roadways for 15 years.

“New York City is stepping up to confront the climate crisis with bold action,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Investing in our offshore wind industry isn’t only a win for our planet, it also means thousands of new jobs and affordable, clean power for New Yorkers. This plan will have a dramatic impact on our fight against climate change and will help set us on the path towards a clean energy future.”


“When we talk about a green economy we are really talking about reliance on renewable energy and the jobs of the future coming together. We are proud to bring this vision to New York – to help meet our long-term sustainability goals and grow a new industry, centering equity as no other global destination has done before,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “We thank the Mayor and all of our partners for joining us in this bold vision for a green future.” 


New York City will make commitments focused on three core areas: sites and infrastructure, business and workforce, and research and innovation. The city will work to develop best-in-class infrastructure that will support the construction and operation of offshore wind farms. The plan outlines how the city will expand its manufacturing sector to build, stage, and install wind turbines, and ensure they can be serviced and powered locally.


The plan also commits the city to developing public-private partnerships with communities to create good-paying, green jobs in disadvantaged neighborhoods historically impacted by climate injustice. The city will focus on targeted investments to develop workforce trainings and support businesses that seek to create a diverse talent pool in offshore wind. The plan further aims to support Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and other local companies in accessing over $70 billion expected to be created by the offshore wind industry.  


Lastly, the city will work to promote research and innovation in offshore wind so new technologies and approaches are created in New York City. NYCEDC will work with the offshore wind industry and partners to launch an accelerator that will allow New York-based startups to build out the next generation of offshore wind technologies to support worldwide growth and advancement in the field.  


“This forward-looking plan to grow the Offshore Wind Industry sets New York City up to reduce emissions while creating good green jobs,” said United States Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. “The Mayor has long understood the way transforming our energy system will drive our economy to new heights. I am thankful to him for continuing to provide bold leadership on this vital issue.” 


The OSW Vision Plan looks ahead to attract additional federal, state, and private investments to drive industry growth to make the long-term vision a reality. To help ensure progress is made, NYCEDC will establish an Offshore Wind Industry Advisory Council led by co-chairs Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE, and KC Sahl, Northeast Energy Market Leader at VHB, a civil engineering firm active in the offshore wind industry. The council will be made up of additional community, business and nonprofit leaders with relevant expertise and experience. 


“The commitment to a new OSW facility in NYC is the result of Sunset Park’s two-decade struggle for environmental justice and the “green reindustrialization” of our waterfront. The struggle now is for a just transition, ensuring from day 1 our people are both at the table and working in this industry,” said NYC OSW Industry Advisory Council Co-Chair, Elizabeth Yeampierre.  


“For decades, offshore wind developers, supply chain manufacturers, consultants, and environmental justice organizations have dedicated themselves to a clean energy future, while creating economic opportunities for all communities. The New York City Offshore Wind Advisory Council will work to align these efforts to best serve the future of New York City. I am honored to leverage the past 15 years of my career devoted to offshore wind, to serve the objectives of this Council. I’m confident that my co-chair and I will work on behalf of all New Yorkers, especially those who have been most disenfranchised by the unintended consequences of previous generations’ energy infrastructure development, to grow the green energy innovation and economic development sector,” said NYC OSW Industry Advisory Council Co-Chair KC Sahl


Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19 - SEPTEMBER 23, 2021


Announces New Webpages to Provide Expanded Data on COVID-19 Variants and Breakthrough Cases

50,924 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

39 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday

 The Governor today also launched two new webpages to provide expanded COVID-19 data. The first focuses on COVID-19 variants, providing public information on how we track variants, why we track variants and updated data.

The second webpage includes the COVID-19 Breakthrough Data Report, which displays COVID-19 breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and in-depth data over time.                         

The breakthrough data shows that as of September 20, 2021, the New York State Department of Health is aware of 78,416 laboratory-confirmed breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully-vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 0.7% of fully-vaccinated people 12-years or older. Also, 5,555 hospitalizations with COVID-19 among fully-vaccinated people in New York State, which corresponds to 0.05% of the population of fully-vaccinated people 12-years or older. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic isn't over and it's critical that we continue to make progress getting shots in arms throughout the state to keep New Yorkers healthy and safe," Governor Hochul said. "We're implementing mask requirements in schools and facilities to keep children and their parents safe, but those measures alone won't defeat this pandemic—we need to get everyone who's eligible vaccinated immediately. If you haven't received your shot and are eligible, it's vitally important that you get it as soon as possible at one of the many sites located around the state."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 198,847
  • Total Positive -  4,814
  • Percent Positive - 2.42%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 2.75%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 2,320 (-32)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 291
  • Patients in ICU - 552 (-8)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 331 (+6)
  • Total Discharges - 198,935 (+274)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 39
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS - 44,313

The Health Electronic Response Data System is a NYS DOH data source that collects confirmed daily death data as reported by hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities only.

  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC - 56,434

This daily COVID-19 provisional death certificate data reported by NYS DOH and NYC to the CDC includes those who died in any location, including hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities, at home, in hospice and other settings.

  • Total vaccine doses administered - 24,846,507
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 50,924
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 347,404
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 80.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 72.7%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 83.0%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 74.5%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 68.2%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 61.3%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 70.3%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 62.9%