Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chase Bank located at 75 East 161st Street robbed This Afternoon.

  The above Chase Bank branch located at 75 East 161st Street was robbed just before 2 PM today. Police from the 44th Precinct aided by other police in the area caught up with the suspect who apparently passed a note to a teller, was given an unidentified amount of cash, and fled on foot. The unidentified robber was caught less than three blocks away from the bank on Jerome Avenue. 

Above - A letter is placed on the door of the bank saying it is closed, but not excatly why.
Below - Police capture the suspected bank robber less than three blocks away on Jerome Avenue across from Yankee Stadium.


The Bronx was home to record $3.2 billion, 14.2 million sq. ft. of development in 2016

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. released his “Bronx Annual Development Report” this morning at a development roundtable hosted by the Greater New York Construction User Council. The event took place at the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

The report finds that 2016 was one of the most successful years the Bronx ever had in regards to development. More than $3.27 billion in total investment took place in the borough in 2016, 37 percent higher than in 2015. The borough also saw 14,204,253 square feet of total development during the same year, 41 percent higher than 2015, which included 5,234 residential units of all types.

“In 2016, The Bronx once again saw an amazing influx of new development of all types. We are the place to be. And there is a good reason for that. Great people, resilient people, make up the more than 1.4 million residents who call this borough home,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Working together with our business and development leaders, our community boards, non-profits, elected officials and committed residents of The Bronx we are all—together—making The Bronx an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

The full report can be read at

“We have seen incredible growth in The Bronx, across the board, from job creation to affordable housing to the addition and renovation of green spaces and park land,” saidMarlene Cintron, President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation. “With over $3 billion having been invested in our wonderful borough in 2016 alone we are continuing to find ways to improve the life of the more than 1.4 million people who call The Bronx home. We look forward to seeing these projects blossom, as we continue to build on the successes that fostered positive transformation in our borough.”

In addition to outlining the growth the borough saw in 2016, the “Bronx Annual Development Report” also illustrates the year-to-year investment and construction The Bronx has played host to since 2009, when Borough President Diaz first took office.

Since then, the borough has seen more than $12.7 billion in total development, as well as more than 68.5 million square feet of total development construction. A total of 29,058 residential units have also been constructed in The Bronx since 2009, as well.

Above - Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. introduces a panel of five developers who have belived in the Bronx. (l-r seated) Joseph Farkas - Ceo/Founder Metropolitan Reality Associates LLC, Ms. Rella Fogliano - Founder Macquesten Construction Management LLC, Mr. H. Gut Liebler - President Simone Healthcare Development, Mr. Guido Subotovsky - President Azimuth Development Group LLC, and Ms. Margarette Lee Partner Youngwoo Associates LLC.
Below - As each member of the panel spoke BP Diaz Jr., and the BOEDC President Marlene Cintron were the first to clap for the business success. 

Mr. Joseph Farkas was the first to tell of his success of turning the once famous then closed Stella Doro Bakery into a high class shopping center. Mr. Farkas said that he is looking for his next Bronx properety, as other members of the panel also said.


Jail population down 18% since Mayor took office

  Mayor de Blasio today announced that by the end of this year, every person in the Department of Correction’s custody will receive re-entry services to help connect them with jobs and opportunities outside of jail, as well as five hours of programming per day during their stay to address vocational, educational, and therapeutic needs. The Mayor also reiterated major reductions in the jail population in the last three years.

“Everyone deserves a second chance. We’re working to break the cycle of returning to jail for those in City custody by making sure they have opportunities to learn and grow while in jail, and connecting them with the re-entry services to support a pathway to stability when they leave,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Re-Entry Services for All Detainees by End of 2017

Re-entry services are critical to preventing recidivism and ensuring that people leaving DOC custody have opportunities to embark on a productive and stable path. The City is building a system in which every person who enters city jails will be provided with new tools and services that will help to promote a stable future. By addressing vocational, educational, therapeutic and other needs in an individualized way, time inside jail can be used productively to lay a foundation that can prevent future interaction with the criminal justice system.

The administration’s new system will begin with expanded risk and need assessment on the first day that someone enters jail, offer five hours every day of programming that addresses an individual’s unique needs, and continue with support – including new employment and educational programs – after someone leaves jail and returns to the community. A 2013 RAND Corporation study showed that participation in prison education, including both academic and vocational programming, was associated with an over 40 percent reduction in recidivism—saving $4 to $5 for each dollar spent.

By the end of 2017, every single person who enters City jails will be meeting with counselors, starting day one, who will assess their unique risks and needs. These counselors will work with detainees to develop an individualized approach for their time in custody that will include efforts to identify vocational and educational needs and help them connect with the right programs during their stay. Everyone in City custody will be matched with five hours per day of vocational, educational, and therapeutic programming that will help lay a foundation to best support long-term stability after release.

Jails to Jobs

·       Peer Navigators: Everyone leaving city jails after serving a sentence will be paired with a Peer Navigator from a new public health-informed program in which peers who have successfully stabilized after incarceration help those who are recently released to achieve this same stability.

·       Transitional Employment: Everyone leaving city jails after serving a sentence will be offered paid, short-term transitional employment to help with securing a long-term job. Research has shown that connecting those recently released from prison to short-term transitional jobs can reduce recidivism by 22%.

·       Trained workforce providers: All City-funded workforce professionals will be trained on issues and laws related to working with people with criminal records, including the Fair Chance Act, legislation signed by Mayor de Blasio that prohibits discrimination based on a person’s arrest record or criminal conviction.

Educational subsidies: Additionally, the City will continue its partnership with the City University of New York to offer 500 people per year who leave City jails after serving a sentence educational subsidies to support getting certificates and other credentials that promote career advancement, including the opportunity to become a certified peer and join the Peer Navigators for the Jails to Jobs program.

This re-entry initiative will be implemented in partnership with the New York City Diversion and Re-Entry Council, which includes over 100 leaders from various parts of the criminal justice system.

Serious Violence is Decreasing in DOC Facilities

Since the Mayor took office, the jail population has decreased 18% – from an average population of 11,478 in December 2013 to an average of 9,362 this month. The population just at Rikers Island has fallen 23%. This drop was largely driven by intentional efforts to reduce the number of people who go into jail and how long they stay – while still protecting public safety.

The successful diversion of those who do not belong in jail has meant a higher concentration of inmates who are more likely to commit violent acts. Despite this challenge, serious violent incidents are decreasing by double digit percentages in nearly every category. These decreases affirm the shift away from punitive segregation to more effective rehabilitation methods.

From calendar year 2014 to 2016:

·       Assaults on staff with serious injuries decreased 38 percent
·       Assaults on staff with minor injuries decreased 21 percent
·       Serious uses of force decreased 51 percent
·       Minor uses of force decreased 14 percent
·       Inmate fights with serious injuries decreased 9 percent

The drop in incidents resulting in any type of injury – coupled with an increase in uses of force without injury – indicate that new de-escalation trainings for staff  have helped officers learn successful strategies to end fights or intervene in tricky situations without anyone getting hurt.

While the jails are still seeing an increase in stabbings and slashings, those incidents represent less than 1.5% of all jail violence, and contraband confiscations increased 33% from 2015 to 2016. The administration continues to advocate the State to change the law that would permit the Department to use ionizing body scanners that are more effective at finding small blades. Since the department stopped using these scanners in 2013 under State law, slashing and stabbing incidents have risen, and returning them to use as soon as possible is a key part of the strategy to make our jails safer.

In a separate, related announcement, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today released two Requests for Proposals to create innovative programming and support existing services for New Yorkers reentering communities after periods of incarceration. Using criminal forfeiture funds obtained through settlements with international banks that violated U.S. sanctions, the District Attorney’s Office is also funding the creation of a blueprint for a new Manhattan Criminal Court Resource Center to better enable low-level offenders to navigate and utilize programs and services that comprise non-jail sentences, ranging from community service to mental health programs.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said, “Any effort to reduce crime must address the needs of those returning to our communities after being incarcerated. Unless we provide these individuals with access to the resources they need – from employment to supportive housing to mental health services – the cycle of recidivism is bound to continue. Similarly, as we work to reduce unnecessary incarceration, we know we must not only expand sentencing options for low-level offenders that do not include jail, but provide better access to these programs and services for the thousands of defendants that come through our courts each year. I look forward to investing in programs that have been proven to be successful in reducing recidivism, and to learning more about the new and innovative work happening in this field, with an eye toward funding more projects in the future.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “We support re-entry programs and other efforts to rehabilitate formerly incarcerated people.”

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “We share a common goal of preventing crime in New York City and programs aimed at breaking the cycle of recidivism will help reduce crime and make our communities safer for all.”


  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced two new appointments to the Rent Guidelines Board: David Reiss, a Brooklyn Law School professor specialized in property law, and Hilary Botein, a professor at Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. The board is responsible for establishing rent adjustments for approximately one million dwelling units subject to rent stabilization in New York City. Reiss and Botein will serve as public members of the Board.

“Professors Reiss and Botein are experts in real estate law and urban policy planning and will serve New Yorkers fairly as they work to strike the right balance on any rent adjustments,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am honored to have them accept these positions on the Rent Guidelines Board as we work to make this City more just and more equitable, and thank K. Sabeel Rahman and Steven Flax who have served New Yorkers so well.”

About David Reiss

Professor Reiss concentrates on real estate finance and community development. He is the founding director of the Community Development Clinic, and teaches a Property Law Colloquium at Brooklyn Law School. He is an Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Committee Member. 

Reiss, who also currently works at NYU’s Furman Center, was a visiting clinical associate professor at the Seton Hall Law School Center for Social Justice; an associate in the New York office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in its real estate department; and an associate in the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster in its land use and environmental law group.

He clerked for Judge Timothy Lewis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to attending law school, he worked for a non-profit organization that assists people who have psychiatric disabilities as they make the transition from shelters and hospitals to independent living.

About Hilary Botein

Hilary Botein is an associate professor at Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Her research explores factors that influence urban development, with special attention to policies and programs underlying affordable housing and community development, including for vulnerable populations. She teaches courses on housing policy, housing and community development policy, and a course for the National Urban Fellows graduate program. She has been at Baruch since 2007. She was a Public Policy Fellow at Columbia University.

From 1999 to 2003, she was Director of Program & Policy Development at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Prior to her academic career, she worked for 18 years as an attorney and policy analyst on affordable housing and economic justice issues, primarily in New York City.

About the NYC Rent Guidelines Board

The NYC Rent Guidelines Board is mandated to establish rent adjustments for the approximately one million dwelling units subject to the Rent Stabilization Law in New York City. The Board holds an annual series of public meetings and hearings to consider research from staff and testimony from owners, tenants, advocacy groups and industry experts. The RGB staff is responsible for providing administrative support to the Board and prepares research regarding the economic condition of the stabilized residential real estate industry including operating and maintenance costs, the cost of financing, housing supply and cost of living indices. The RGB staff engages in year-round research efforts, publishes its reports for use by the public, other governmental agencies and private organizations, and provides information to the public on housing questions.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Turkish Banker Arrested For Conspiring To Evade U.S. Sanctions Against Iran And Other Offenses

Complaint Further Alleges That the Defendant Used His Position at Turkish Bank to Facilitate Access to the U.S. Financial System and to Conceal International Financial Transactions for Iranian Entities in Violation of U.S. Sanctions

   Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing of a Complaint charging MEHMET HAKAN ATILLA with conspiring with others, including Reza Zarrab, a/k/a “Riza Sarraf,” to use the U.S. financial system to conduct transactions on behalf of the Government of Iran and other Iranian entities, which were barred by United States sanctions, and to defraud U.S. financial institutions by concealing the true nature of these transactions. ATILLA was arrested on March 27, 2017, and will be presented later today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated: “As alleged, Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a Turkish banker, participated in a years-long scheme to violate American sanctions laws by helping Reza Zarrab, a major gold trader, use U.S. financial institutions to engage in prohibited financial transactions that illegally funneled millions of dollars to Iran. As alleged in the criminal complaint unsealed today, Atilla worked with Zarrab to create and use fraudulent documents to try to disguise prohibited Iranian financial transactions as food that would qualify under the humanitarian exception to the sanctions regime. United States sanctions are not mere requests or suggestions; they are the law. And those who use the American financial system to violate the sanctions laws, as Atilla is alleged to have done, will be investigated and prosecuted aggressively. I thank the FBI and the career prosecutors in my Office for their tireless work and dedication in this and other important investigations of alleged sanctions violators.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Iran continues to illustrate it will use whatever means necessary to evade sanctions and violate U.S. law. Our work in this case shows the unscrupulous behavior by exposing how the men charged allegedly moved massive amounts of money through U.S. banks disguised as humanitarian efforts to feed people in need. In this instance, they allegedly utilized a Turkish national and a financial institution that knowingly shielded the true nature of the transactions. The FBI and the U.S. Intelligence Community have dedicated investigators and analysts who won’t stop weeding out every action Iran takes to continue its alleged illegal activity.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint[1]:

Beginning in or about 1979, the President has repeatedly found that the situation in Iran constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States and declared a national emergency to deal with the threat. Pursuant to these presidential declarations, the United States has instituted a host of economic sanctions against Iran and Iranian entities pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (the “IEEPA”). This sanctions regime prohibits, among other things, financial transactions involving the United States or United States persons that were intended for the Government or Iran or Iranian entities.

Specifically, ATILLA, Zarrab, and others protected and hid Zarrab’s ability to provide access to international financial networks, including U.S. financial institutions, to the Government of Iran, Iranian entities, and entities identified by the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control as Specially Designated Nationals (“SDNs“). They did so by, among other things, using the Turkish bank at which ATILLA acted as Deputy General Manager of International Banking (“Turkish Bank-1”) to engage in transactions that violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. In particular, they took steps to protect and hide Zarrab’s ability to supply currency and gold to the Government of Iran, Iranian entities, and SDNs using Turkish Bank-1 without subjecting Turkish Bank-1 to U.S. sanctions. As described in more detail in the Complaint, ATILLA, Zarrab, and others conspired to create and use false and fraudulent documents to disguise prohibited transactions for Iran and make those transactions falsely appear as transactions involving food and thus falling within humanitarian exceptions to the sanctions regime.

MEHMET HAKAN ATILLA, 47, is a resident and citizen of Turkey. ATILLA is charged with conspiracies to violate the IEEPA and to commit bank fraud. The conspiracy to violate the IEEPA carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. The bank fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum term of 30 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and its New York Field Office, Counterintelligence Division, and the Department of Justice, National Security Division, Counterintelligence and Export Control Section. He also thanked U.S. Customs and Border Protection for their assistance in the arrest, and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs for its assistance on this case.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Sentencing Of Former Engineering Firm Manager For Making Unauthorized Alterations To Superstorm Sandy Damage Report

Attorney General Schneiderman Calls Upon FEMA To Implement His Proposed Reforms To The National Flood Insurance Program
Schneiderman: Today’s Sentencing Demonstrates That We Will Not Tolerate Those Who Undermine The Integrity Of The FEMA Claims Process
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today the sentencing of Matthew Pappalardo, 39, of Nassau County, for Unauthorized Practice of Engineering after admitting to altering an engineering report prepared in connection with the assessment of structural damage of residential properties resulting from Superstorm Sandy. Papparaldo was the former Project Manager for Uniondale engineering firm HiRise Engineering, P.C. (“HiRise”). In January, HiRise pleaded to the violation of Criminal Solicitation in the Fifth Degree, and agreed to be permanently banned from receiving contracts and providing services under the Federal Emergency Management Association’s (“FEMA’s”) National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”). 
“Today’s sentencing demonstrates that we will not tolerate those who undermine the integrity of the FEMA claims process. New Yorkers should be certain that their insurance claims are being handled accurately and fairly,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Yet there are still too many flaws in the NFIP that allow this type of fraud to happen. It's high time that FEMA implement the common sense reforms recommended by my office -- so that families can be confident that their claims are being handled appropriately when the next storm hits."
In August 2016, the Attorney General’s Office announced the unsealing of an indictment from a Nassau County Grand Jury charging Pappalardo and HiRise with multiple counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, and charging Pappalardo with multiple counts of Unauthorized Practice of Engineering, a class E Felony. 
As prosecutors stated at the arraignment on the indictment, after Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, HiRise was contracted to perform structural engineering assessments for properties covered under the National Flood Insurance Program. HiRise, in turn, retained numerous licensed professional engineers to perform house inspections and prepare engineering reports. 
The original reports authored by the on-the-ground, subcontracted professional engineers were altered by employees of HiRise, under the direction of project manager Pappalardo. Pappalardo and the other HiRise employees who made the alterations to the original reports did not personally inspect the damaged buildings and were not licensed to practice engineering in New York State. The altered reports were then submitted by HiRise, and ultimately provided to the adjusting firms, without the consent or approval of the underlying professional engineers. Federal flood claim administrators and adjusting firms then relied on these reports as part of their evaluation of coverage for homeowners under the NFIP. 
On January 10, 2017, before the Honorable Jerald S. Carter in Nassau County Supreme Court, Pappalardo pleaded guilty to Unauthorized Practice of Engineering, a Class E felony, and today was sentenced to three years’ probation and a fine in the amount of $10,000. Also in January 10, 2017, HiRise pleaded to Criminal Solicitation in the Fifth Degree, a violation, agreed to be permanently banned from receiving contracts and providing services under the NFIP, and paid $225,000 in costs of prosecution.
When the original criminal charges were filed in August 2016, Attorney General Schneiderman released a report identifying several fundamental flaws in the NFIP and recommending specific reforms designed to provide homeowners with a better understanding of their coverage and to ensure the integrity of the structural damage assessment process. The Attorney General’s Report, entitled “Murky Waters:  Increasing Transparency and Accountability in the National Flood Insurance Program, Findings and Recommendations in the Wake of Superstorm Sandy,” identifies several fundamental flaws related to both the scope of coverage and the structural damage assessment process under the NFIP.
Flaws in the NFIP identified by the OAG include:
  • A lack of clarity in the scope of coverage under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy;
  • Inadequate training and lack of certification requirements for structural engineers retained in connection with flood claims; and
  • Poor administration and supervision of the flood claims process, including the failure to provide important documentation to policyholders.
Reforms to the NFIP recommended by OAG include:
  • Increase the transparency and clarify the scope of flood insurance coverage and any applicable exclusions, to provide consumers with a better understanding of what is and is not covered under their flood policy, through the creation of a plain language disclosure sheet;
  • Provide policyholders with all documents created during the course of the flood claim administration process and ultimately relied upon in determining payment or denial of a flood claim, including all final adjuster and engineering reports, as a matter of course;
  • Implement a national certification process for all engineers retained to provide structural damage assessments in the wake of a flood event; and
  • Ensure the transparency of fees paid to engineering experts by implementing a standardized fee schedule for all engineering services.
On December 30, 2016, FEMA issued a letter bulletin to the Write-Your-Own insurance carriers (“WYO carriers”) that administer the NFIP.  Notably, the FEMA bulletin fails to address several of the key reforms called for by the Attorney General.  The bulletin does not require a plain-language disclosure sheet highlighting the exclusions from coverage, and it does not implement a fee schedule for engineering services.  Additionally, while the bulletin recognizes that FEMA experts must comply with applicable licensure laws, it does not implement training or certification requirements for engineers who perform structural damage assessments.  Lastly, the letter states that WYO carriers must only provide copies of expert reports when requested by policy holders, rather than requiring that such reports be provided to homeowners as a matter of course. As such, Attorney General Schneiderman continues to call on FEMA to implement his recommended reforms.
Attorney General Schneiderman thanks the United States Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General for their valuable assistance in this investigation, including Special Agent in Charge Gregory K. Null, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Julio Santana, Special Agent in Charge of Headquarters Michael Dawson, Special Agent George Heitz and Special Agent Steven Tseng.
Attorney General Schneiderman also thanks the New York State Education Department, Office of Professions for their valuable assistance on this investigation.

A.G. Schneiderman Leads Coalition Of States And Localities In Opposing Pres. Trump’s Efforts To Dismantle The Clean Power Plan

   New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman led a coalition of 23 states, cities, and counties in opposing President Trump’s executive order today that the administration described as paving the way to eliminating the Clean Power Plan rule.
The coalition – which includes the Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the chief legal officers of the cities of Boulder (CO), Chicago (IL), New York (NY), Philadelphia (PA), South Miami (FL), and Broward County (FL) – issued the following statement today:
“We strongly oppose President Trump’s executive order that seeks to dismantle the Clean Power Plan.
“Addressing our country’s largest source of carbon pollution—existing fossil fuel-burning power plants—is both required under the Clean Air Act and essential to mitigating climate change’s growing harm to our public health, environments, and economies.
“We won’t hesitate to protect those we serve—including by aggressively opposing in court President Trump’s actions that ignore both the law and the critical importance of confronting the very real threat of climate change.” 
The Clean Power Plan is the culmination of a decade-long effort by partnering states and cities to require mandatory cuts in the emissions of climate change pollution from fossil fuel-burning power plants under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan, along with the companion rule applicable to new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, will control these emissions by setting limits on the amount of climate change pollution that power plants can emit. The rule for existing plants is expected to eliminate as much climate change pollution as is emitted by more than 160 million cars a year – or 70 percent of the nation’s passenger cars.
EPA adopted the Clean Power Plan through a multi-year stakeholder process that drew heavily on the experience of states and utilities in reducing power plant greenhouse gas emissions. A number of states have already taken a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by moving forward with their own programs. These states recognize that, on such a crucial issue that is already costing taxpayers billions of dollars in storm response and other costs, state action alone will not be enough and strong federal actions like the Clean Power Plan are needed.
In November 2015, a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties, led by New York Attorney General Schneiderman, intervened in defense of the Clean Power Plan against legal challenge in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court heard oral argument en banc for a full day in late September; a decision is expected soon. 
On December 29, 2016, a broad coalition of states and localities called on President-Elect Trump to continue the federal government’s defense of the Clean Power Plan in a letter, urging him to reject “misguided advice” from a group of Attorneys General led by West Virginia to discard the Clean Power Plan. 


   “Working people have beaten the landlord lobby. Despite attempts to overturn the recent rent freeze, a court has ruled the Rent Guidelines Board was correct in its decision. The rent freeze stays, and more than 2 million people in rent-regulated apartments can breathe a sigh of relief. We are fighting displacement and protecting affordable housing on every front. We have put shovels in the ground for more affordable housing and we’re investing in universal access to free legal services for tenants fighting eviction. We have more work to do, but together we are turning the tide.”

Congressman Eliot Engel Responds to President’s Executive Order Repealing Environmental Regulations

   Congressman Eliot Engel, a top member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement today in response to President Trump’s executive order rolling back the Clean Power Plan and eliminating the consideration of climate change and the social cost of carbon when evaluating government actions: 

“President Trump has been ruthlessly chopping away at our nation’s environmental regulations since he took office, and today’s Executive Order takes his misguided efforts to a new and dangerous level. It seeks to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to combat climate change in the name of bringing back coal and other dirty-energy jobs. This effort rests on a false premise and threatens the health and security of the American people.

“Coal mining jobs are not disappearing because of regulations. They are disappearing because natural gas is cheap, wind and solar are booming, and automation has allowed coal companies to produce more fuel with fewer employees. Clean energy jobs across the country outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1. Solar and wind jobs are growing at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. But this executive order, much like the President’s proposed budget, is a job-killer that throws obstacles in the way of innovation and job creation in the renewable industry in favor of sweetheart deals for fossil fuels.

“Repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which aims to slash greenhouse gas emission from electricity by 32 percent by 2030, will lead to billions of additional tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere contributing to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths. 

“The Department of Defense has viewed climate change as a national security concern for at least a decade, and ignoring it threatens our military installations and infrastructure, while raising the potential for increased conflict across the globe. 

“Today President Trump failed the American people by rejecting the overwhelming scientific evidence and economic benefits supporting climate action.”


   “President Trump’s order to begin rolling back the progress we have made on climate change represents an existential threat to New York City. We’re already experiencing rising seas and hotter weather, with the last three years on record as the hottest yet. At the same time, the effects of climate change will fall disproportionately on our most vulnerable communities, exacerbating inequality. We are choosing to meet this challenge head-on, investing to make our neighborhoods more resilient and doing our part to reduce the pollution that drives climate change. Faced with presidential orders that reject sound science and common sense, I am proud to join mayors across the country in offering bold solutions capable of leaving our children a healthy planet.”


   A "Know Your Rights" Workshop for Immigrants organized by Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda will be held this Sunday, April 2, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Holy Family Church, 2158 Watson Avenue, at Castle Hill Avenue.

Co-sponsored by state Senators Jeff Klein and Ruben Diaz, the workshop will feature a number of speakers from city government and private agencies discussing immigration issues and taking questions from the audience.
A recent similar workshop organized by Sepulveda at St. Helena's Catholic Church in Parkchester drew 500 participants.

"I urge those in the community who may have issues with their immigration status, or even possibly face deportation, to attend this workshop," said Sepulveda. "This will be a chance to connect with a number of agencies and organizations that are there to help."

For more information, contact Assemblyman Sepulveda's office at 718 931-2620

A job fair organized by Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda for Wednesday, April 5, is expected to draw several hundred job seekers to meet with several dozen potential employers from city and state agencies, retailers, general contractors, colleges and the healthcare/hospital industry.

Co-sponsored by Senator Ruben Diaz and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, the job fair will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Sotomayor Community Center, 1000 Rosedale Avenue, just off the Bruckner service road.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney And Nypd Commissioner Announce Arrest Of Narcotics Dealer Responsible For Heroin Overdose Death In A Hospital Rehabilitation Clinic

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a complaint charging ANTHONY DODAJ with narcotics dealing that resulted in the heroin overdose death of a 41-year-old woman while the victim was a patient in a hospital rehabilitation clinic.
The complaint alleges that DODAJ participated in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, and that heroin distributed by DODAJ on January 1, 2016, resulted in the death of Ivy Katz in New York, New York. DODAJ was arrested this morning and presented today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV. DODAJ faces a mandatory minimum term of 20 years in prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim stated: “As alleged, Anthony Dodaj hand-delivered a fatal dose of heroin to a recovering addict inside a rehabilitation facility. Together with our partners at the NYPD, we will continue to prosecute those who prey on others’ addictions, as alleged here.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill stated: “As alleged, the defendant preyed on the vulnerable – peddling poison to those seeking help. Today, the defendant finds himself under arrest with the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison for the crimes alleged in the complaint.”
According to the complaint[1]:
From December 2016 up to January 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, ANTHONY DODAJ and others conspired to sell heroin. As part of that conspiracy, on January 1, 2016, DODAJ delivered heroin to Ivy Katz, a 41-year-old recovering heroin addict. In mid-December 2016, Katz had voluntarily checked herself into an inpatient rehabilitation program for opioid dependence at a hospital located in New York, New York (the “Hospital”). On January 1, 2016, DODAJ entered the Hospital and met with Katz in the Hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation ward. Approximately 30 minutes after DODAJ left the Hospital, Katz was found comatose in her room with a needle containing heroin in her arm. Katz never regained consciousness, and ultimately died on January 16, 2017.

DODAJ, 46, of the Bronx, New York, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by a judge.
Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD.

This matter is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorney David W. Denton Jr. is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.


Inmate and Wife Charged with Bribery, Promoting Contraband 

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a former New York City Department of Correction Officer, an inmate and the inmate’s wife have been indicted on charges they brought marijuana, alcohol and tobacco into a Rikers Island jail. 

  District Attorney Clark said, “Contraband fuels beatings and slashings in jail because it is so lucrative. This defendant allegedly took bribes to bring in forbidden items after only 10 months on the job. He was betraying his fellow officers and endangering staff and inmates by adding to the violent atmosphere in the facility. We will not tolerate employees, inmates or visitors bringing in contraband.” 

  District Attorney Clark said that James Brown, 45, of Queens, who became a Correction Officer in January, 2016, was arraigned today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice William Mogulescu. Bail was continued at $50,000. He is due back in court on April 17. Dene Morris was previously arraigned, and Shane Morris, 31, is due to be arraigned at a later date.

  Brown was charged with third-degree Bribe Receiving and Official Misconduct, Shane and Dene Morris were charged with third-degree Bribery and second-degree Rewarding Official Misconduct, and all three defendants were charged with fifth-degree Conspiracy, second-degree Promoting Prison Contraband, and fourth and fifth-degree Criminal Possession of Marijuana. They face a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted. 

  According to the investigation, between November 2, 2016 and December 9, 2016, Brown allegedly accepted $700 from Dene Morris to bring in the contraband to her husband, who is being held on a Queens attempted murder case. As Brown was entering the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on December 9, 2016, a Department of Investigation canine detected marijuana. Brown was found to have four ounces of marijuana, tobacco and an Arizona Iced Tea bottle filled with Patron tequila on him. He was arrested by DOI investigators.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt. 

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj - 4th Annual Bronx Immigration Forum

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Senator Jeff Klein  
invite you to the
4th Annual Bronx Immigration Forum 
Join us as we share important steps toward protecting yourself regardless of your immigration status.
-Panel Discussions on Immigration Policy 
-Community Resource Table  
-Q & A's 
Thursday, April 6th,2017 
5:30pm - 8:30pm
Bronx House 
990 Pelham Parkway S 
Bronx,New York 10461 
Between Bogart Ave/Hone Ave 
Train to Morris Park/Buses BX12SBS, BX12
For additional information, please call Lilyanna at (718) 655- 5000
or (718) 409-0109