Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tragic Bus Crash on I-95 

At 5:30 AM a tour bus crashed into a sign post for exit 14 on the southbound side of I-95 just below the Bronx-Westchester borderline. 13 people were killed,and others were hurt. I-95 continues to be shut down while the accident investigation continues. Police have been told that a tractor-trailer truck may have side-swiped the bus before the bus crashed.

Here is a statement from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on the tragic bus crash

“This tragic loss of life has saddened the entire Bronx. The thoughts and prayers of 1.4 million Bronxites go out to the victims of this crash and their families, and my office is ready to assist them in any way we can during their hour of need,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.


Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz to His Colleagues: You Can Give My Campaign the Money!

New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) issued the following statement after receiving media inquiries about whether or not he would return campaign money received from Senator Carl Kruger, who surrendered to federal authorities yesterday:

"I have no intentions at all to return any money that has been donated to my Re-Election campaign.  Anyone who knows me knows that my votes cannot be bought, and that my convictions will not change because of any campaign contribution by anyone.
I would like for my colleagues who may be confused about what to do with campaign money they received from Carl Kruger before he was indicted, that if any of them feel guilty that they took Carl Kruger’s money for their campaigns and don’t know what to do with it, they can give it to my campaign. I won’t feel guilty at all.
My colleagues, my friends, and my enemies may all feel free to donate directly to my campaign by credit card to by visiting the following address:
Donations by checks should be made payable to Ruben Diaz for State Senate, and mailed to Ruben Diaz for State Senate,  P.O. Box 229, Bronx, New York.10460"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Assemblyman Dinowitz, Council Member Koppell, and State Senator Espaillat Hold Town Hall Meeting

Thursday night the room was filled with constituents as Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz opened the Town Hall Meeting. He along with City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell, and State Senator Adriano Espaillat were there to hear what their constituents had to say about the upcoming budget cuts proposed, and where each elected official stands . Each elected official gave an opening speech on how they were fighting budget cuts while trying to work with other elected officials statewide to find monies somewhere or ease the drastic cuts proposed. 

Questions ranged from senior centers closing, teacher tenure, empty stores on Johnson Avenue in Riverdale, a baseball field still waiting to be fixed in Van Cortlandt Park, the water filtration plant also in VCP, caps on malpractice suits,  parking meters, and the removal of special needs children from programs by the DOE to name only some of the topics discussed. 

Senator Espaillat said that he was against ending LIFO for teachers, because that would be against gains made in collective bargaining agreements as we see in other states. He added that the pain of the cuts must be spread around so all share and some do not share more than others as we see in this budget proposal. 

Assemblyman Dinowitz blamed Mayor Bloomberg for cost overruns on the water filtration  plant, and said that he wished that we had the two billion dollars in cost overruns for this years budget. On the subject of empty stores on Johnson Avenue Dinowitz said the owner of many of the empty store Friendland Properties "is a pig" by keeping the stores empty and was actually driving out businesses from the street by asking for  exorbitant rents. Councilman Koppell added that the local community board was checking into possible down zoning the area so the empty stores could not be demolished to put up a high rise building.

When it came to the baseball fields still awaiting fixing, Councilman Koppell explained that there was a problem with the winning bidder on the project and that the project had to go to the second bidder. Assemblyman Dinowitz however brought up the proposed ice skating rink by the mayor and VCP Conservancy, saying that that project will get done in eight months. 

Councilman Koppell said that his office will look into the removal of special needs children from current programs by the DOE, and that he believes in the local public schools.  Assemblyman Dinowitz had a different opinion of the DOE by saying that we were bamboozled by the mayor on how good test scores were. He added we found out after the election for mayor that said test score were inflated and much lower in reality. 

A question as to why parking meters were removed for muni-meters was answered by Dinowitz that it is a way to get more money, while Koppell said that there is a savings on the collection of money, and due to smaller cars more can park in the same area. 

As the town hall meeting winded down it seemed that there were many questions that still remained on peoples minds, as they were told by the elected officials that they will be fighting all the way for them. Will it still be three men in a room in Albany, or will there be input from every elected official around the state? When it comes to the city, will Mayor Bloomberg's budget ax swing more than it has to? One will have to wait and see what happens, what gets cut, and what is sparred this year.



- Mastermind Ltd is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for The Tiffany, a 53 unit, residential development, of affordable housing for working class families.  Rental apartments are currently under construction and nearing completion at 1150 Tiffany Street in the Longwood section of the Bronx. The Tiffany is being constructed through the New Housing Opportunities Program (New HOP) and the HOME Programs of the New York City Housing Department Corporation and Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Multifamily New Construction Participation Loan Program (PLP). Mastermind Ltd most recently built co-ops; a prestigious development in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx, called Washington Bridge View that over looks New York City’s amazing skyline.  These developments are ideal for those working in all boroughs, as access to mass transportation is conveniently located.  Applicants will fall in love with the amenities, and may even be pleasantly surprised to find a great valued residential property in the Bronx.
"Mastermind is committed to the communities in which we develop, we take pride in contributing to this beautiful borough, and invite the kind of change that has garnered, our neighboring Charlotte Street, national attention.  Come Home to Life's Amenities" says Radame Perez, Chief Operating Officer of Mastermind, Ltd.  
The Tiffany consists of 25 one-bedroom apartments units, 23 two-bedroom units & 5 three-bedroom units. This development offers amenities such as pull-up parking, air conditioned and heat in every unit, fitness center, indoor/outdoor community space, private/public terraces, playground, and on-site laundry facility.  Available for occupancy, May 2011. 
About Mastermind Ltd Mastermind Management Ltd is one of the most active commercial real estate development companies in the Bronx, who has helped to continue the physical and economic development of this All American City. Mastermind manages over 3.5 million square feet of real estate throughout the Bronx, Westchester, Manhattan, and New Jersey.  Mastermind Ltd remains committed to its founding traditions of creativity, professionalism and community awareness while providing affordable opportunities to individuals, businesses, and professional service firms, community-based and not-for-profit organizations. For more information call 718-410-9661 or visit
The Tiffany_Rendering.jpg

Thursday, March 10, 2011


  Liz Benjamin has an update with the 53 page multiple count indictment against Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger which includes several other names here . Also named in the indictment are lobbyist Richard Lipsky, real estate developer Arron Malinsky, Adex Management owner Solomon Kalish, former CEO of Parkway Hospital Robert Aquino, the CEO of Medisys Health Network David Rosen, 55th Assemblyman William Boyland Jr., former 38th Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, and Mr. Michal Turano. 

  Charges include money laundering, and Conspiracy to deprive New York State and its citizens of their legislators honest services. You just have to read the entire 53 pages to see the scope of the charges.

  Those charged have declared their innocence, and say that they will be exonerated. Stay tuned for more updates.
SoBRO Hosts First Reginald F. Lewis Lecture Series on Successful Franchising

March 4, 2011: SoBRO held a moderated panel discussion today at Hostos Community College that pooled together several experts within the franchising industry to discuss successful business practices. The event was the first in a series of wealth creation lectures named after the investor and business tycoon Reginald F. Lewis, who, in 1987, engineered the largest offshore leveraged buyout in US history. Ms. Loida N. Lewis, Reginald Lewis’s widow and successor as Chairman and CEO of the consumer products conglomerate TLC Beatrice, introduced the discussion. The event was moderated by Professor Hector Lopez, Chairman of the Business Department at Hostos Community College.

After remarks by Professor Lopez, Loida Lewis, and SoBRO’s President and CEO, Phillip Morrow, and Dr. Felix Rodriguez, President of CUNY/Hostos Community College, five panelists provided their perspectives on franchising: Esther Yip, the owner and operator of five Wendy’s franchises; William Landers, Vice President of Business Relationships at HSBC Bank; Radame Perez, Chief Operating Officer of Mastermind Realty; Julie Lusthaus, Partner in the Law Office of Einbinder & Dunn, LLP; and Gary Chipurnoi, Financial Services Professional at New York Life Insurance Company. Ms. Yip stressed the hard work of running a franchise for 25 years, explaining that her days often begin at 5am and does not end until late into the night. She also acknowledged the value of having a supportive franchisor, Wendy’s in her case, that is not inflexible in dealing with start-up operations. Mr. Landers of HSBC emphasized the importance of a sellable business plan when approaching a financial institution for a loan, while Mr. Perez of Mastermind Realty gave informative tips about securing a successful business location, such as searching for a densely-populated neighborhood close to the corner of a city block, to mass transportation, and schools such the bustling retail area on Fordham Road. Ms. Lusthaus provided the audience with legal issues in the franchising agreement to which potential franchisees should be alert, and Mr. Chipurnoi of New York Life underscored that planning for long-range financial goals and leadership succession is just as vital for a business owner as day-to-day questions of financial solvency.

A question-and-answer session allowed the audience of community members and aspiring franchise operators to participate, giving the program an interactive atmosphere. In a lighthearted moment, Ms. Yip described that her sons were not allowed to patronize other fast food stores because she stood by the rule, “never eat from your competitors!”

The Successful Franchising lecture will be followed by other best practice lectures at various Bronx-based colleges in the coming months in order to encourage wealth creation among Bronx entrepreneurs. The series complements SoBRO’s repertoire of small business assistance programs, including the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Industrial Business Zone Program, and Entrepreneurial Development Program.

SoBRO, a not-for-profit community development corporation, has been serving the South Bronx since 1972.  SoBRO’s programs include adult education and workforce training, real estate and community development, technical and financial assistance for businesses, and an array of programs for youth. For additional information about SoBRO, call 718 292-3113 or visit


City Comptroller John C. Liu stated the following in response to inquiries about his rejection of a $20 million teacher recruitment contract for the Department of Education (DOE):

“Twenty million dollars to recruit teachers as the DOE insists on laying off thousands of teachers seems curious at best,” said Comptroller Liu.

The five-year contract, with the “New Teacher Project,” was submitted in early February. The DOE was seeking the contract to “recruit, select, train and provide job search support to non-traditional candidates to become public school teachers.”

The contract submission comes at a time when agencies are being asked to cut services, including the DOE’s plan to lay off 4,600 teachers.

The Independent Democratic Conference

Independent Democratic Conference Plan would save $37 million; Strengthen State IG Office

The Independent Democratic Conference today released a plan to streamline New York's patchwork Inspector General system and further empower the State Inspector General to be the top watchdog of New York's bureaucracy.
This proposal, which would eliminate overlapping and duplicative layers of state government and consolidate what are often competing operations, would result in $37 million in savings.
Each of these specialized inspectors general was established with the best of intentions, but over time it has led to an inefficient and increasingly unaffordable system,” said Senator David J. Valesky, (D-Oneida.) “The Independent Democratic Conference's aim is to make the necessary changes that will allow a more effective and efficient system to root out fraud and abuse in our state government.”

Currently, the state has an overall inspector general, as well as specialized IGs that are intended to oversee the MTA, Medicaid fraud, welfare fraud, and Worker's Compensation Fund. These “boutique” IGs are in statute, which prohibits the State Inspector General from pursuing investigations in these areas. Former Inspector General Joseph Fisch railed against this probation and advocated for its change.
Bureaucracy should not stand in the way of oversight,” Senator Jeffery D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), said. “If someone with multiple state contracts is defrauding one agency, they are likely committing fraud upon another part of state government. The IDC's plan would allow the Inspector General to pursue malfeasance wherever it may hide.”
Additionally, many state agencies have administratively established their own inspector generals that function as internal affairs units. While the IG's Office is not barred from pursuing cases in these agencies, the IDC is concerned about the overall efficiency of this model.
Governor Cuomo has also expressed concern with the current proliferation of inspectors general. In the Fourth Volume of his New New York Agenda, “Clean Up Albany; Make It Work,” he called for a review of the current structure as part of his approach to create an “effective system against government corruption.”
The IDC's plan includes:
  • Empowering the State IG to pursue wrongdoing in every part of state government.
    The IDC plan calls for eliminating any statutory prohibition that would exempt a government entity from State IG scrutiny. Former Inspector General Fisch requested this authority during testimony he gave to the Senate Investigations & Government Operations Committee in 2009:
    Right now I do not have, statutorily, the authority to investigate agencies that have their own inspector general,” Fisch said. “The perfect example is the MTA. The MTA has its own inspector general. If that impediment did not exist, I would very quickly undertake an investigation of the MTA.”
  • Establishing a dedicated MTA Oversight Unit within the State Inspector General's Office. Using funding currently allocated to the MTA Inspector General, this unit would be used to exercise the IG's new-found jurisdiction of the authority. This new structure would preserve much-needed oversight of the MTA and its vendors, while, if warranted, enabling the full resources of the State Inspector General's Office to be used to pursue an investigation.
  • Merging the Medicaid and Welfare Inspectors General with the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All three entities are charged with pursuing fraud within the Medicaid system. However, the Welfare Inspector General, who is charged with pursuing Welfare recipient fraud throughout New York State has a staff of seven employees. By contrast, the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General has a staff of more than 650 and a budget of $80.4 million. It also reported -$66,000 in fraud recoveries, according to its most recent report. The AG's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit reported fraud recoveries of $283.2 million in 2009. The IDC recommends that, in order to fulfill these added responsibilities, federal funding that is currently going to the Medicaid Inspector General (projected at $47.1 million in the 2011-2012 budget) be reallocated to the Attorney General's Office.
  • Directing the Governor's Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of all non-statutory IG offices. The SAGE commission should determine if any duplications exist, and make necessary recommendations for further efficiencies. A search of the Department of Civil Service Web site found at least 523 state agency positions that have investigative functions.
At a time when New York State is facing a $10 billion deficit it is critical to streamline the state’s central watchdog in an effort to efficiently root out systemic corruption, fraud and waste,”  Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) said.  “We have identified four areas of consolidation that are projected to save a combined $37 million to the state which can be used to help plug the state’s current budget deficit.”
The projected savings directed by the IDC's plan are outlined below. (Since the Workers Compensation Fraud Inspector General is funded through a special revenue fund and not taxpayer dollars, the IDC recommends no change in its status. However, by lifting the statutory exemptions, the State IG will have the authority to also pursue Workers Comp cases when appropriate.)

Inspector General’s Offices
2011-12 Budget
2011-12 Budget
(General Fund Unless Noted )
State IG
$5.6 million
$11.2 million
Welfare (OWIG)
$1.6 million
$0.4 million
Workers’ Comp (OFIG)
$14 million
$1.4 million
$7 million*
Medicaid (OMIG)
$80.4 million
$29.6 million
$47.9 million
$95 million
Total Savings
$37 million
*Indicates savings from designated MTA fund
This is a win-win,” said Senator Diane Savino, (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn). By streamlining the state’s inspectors general system, we ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent as wisely and efficiently as possible and maximize the state’s ability to root out corruption and bring accountability to our government.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It is being reported that Brooklyn State Senator Carl Kruger will surrender to federal prosecutors tomorrow. 

We will have more details as they become available, but this is said to be an ongoing investigation for several years.
-- Thousands of Bronx Workers Could Walk Off the Job on March 15th--

  With a potential strike less than a week away, apartment building workers will march and rally in the Bronx to call on the Bronx Realty Advisory Board (BRAB), an industry association representing building owners, to sign a fair agreement before their contract expires at 12:01 A.M. on March 15th.
  Contract negotiations between 32BJ SEIU, the union representing the workers, and BRAB have been underway since early February, and several issues, including health care and retirement savings remain, outstanding. The current contract covers building superintendents, janitors, handypersons, porters, firepersons, doormen, elevator operators and garbage handlers. Failure to reach a new contract could trigger a strike of more than 3,000 apartment building workers at over 1,000 residential buildings throughout the Bronx.
    Bronx Apartment Building Workers Rally for New Contract
 --Thousands of apartment building workers
  --32BJ Vice President Kyle Bragg
  --Congressman José E. Serrano
  --State Senator Jeffrey Klein
  --Assembly members Carl Heastie, Vanessa Gibson
  --Council members Larry Seabrook, Fernando Cabrera
  --Community supporters

 Thursday, March10, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.
   Franz Segal Park in the Bronx @ 153rd Street & Grand Concourse
   Take 2, 4, 5 train to 149th Street -- Grand Concourse
  With more than 120,000 members, 32BJ is the largest property service workers union in the country. For more information, visit .
NAACP and Manhattan BP Scott Stringer Weigh in on Rep Peter King's Hearings

  Celeste Katz of the Daily News tells us here that the NAACP and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have both sent letters to Congresssman Peter King to hold off on his Homeland Security committee hearings on the radicalization of Muslims.
  The NAACP letter has more of a national theme to it, while Manhattan Borough President Stringer's letter is more geared just to New York City. BP Stringer has announced that he should be running for mayor in 2013.     We will take his letter as the first candidate out of the gate on the issue, and await letters from other potential candidates for mayor in 2013.


This morning, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined Jetro Cash & Carry CEO Stanley Fleishman, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation President Marlene Cintron, representatives of the Empire State Development Corporation and the New York City Industrial Development Agency, as well as other business leaders to break ground on the construction of a new facility for Jetro in Hunts Point.

The new facility, which will be approximately 200,000 square feet in size, will offer new space for both Jetro and its affiliate, Restaurant Depot. The $50 million construction project will be assisted in part by up to $21 million in tax incentives approved by the New York City Industrial Development Agency. Those credits had been supported by Borough President Diaz.

This environmentally-friendly project, scheduled to be completed in early 2012, will employ nearly 200 individuals in addition to creating a new, user-friendly facility for the thousands of businesses that rely on Jetro and Restaurant Depot’s wholesale food services.

“Jetro Cash & Carry is a major economic engine in the Bronx, and serves as a hub for the food industry throughout the entire region. I am thrilled to see this company invest in the Bronx, and I am proud to have played a role in making this eco-friendly, job creating development a reality. I also want to thank the Empire State Development Corporation, the New York City Industrial Development Agency and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation for their amazing work on this project,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“The new facility, with a full Jetro and Restaurant Depot, will be a wonderful complement to the Bronx, to our team, to our customers and to the community. It will both help ensure that Jetro and Restaurant Depot remain a leader in low cost food distribution in the most important city in the United States, while also helping to make sure that our small grocery stores and restaurants remain competitive. I am extremely grateful to Borough President Diaz for his leadership and support on this project. In addition, I would also like to thank the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, the Empire State Development Corporation and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for their invaluable assistance,” said Stanley Fleishman, CEO of Jetro and Restaurant Depot.

“When Jetro proposed a plan for the renovation of its distribution center, the State was willing and able to do its part to assist, contributing a $1.5 million incentive package that combines Metropolitan Economic Revitalization Fund and Downstate Revitalization Fund grants,” said Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development President & CEO, designate.  “ESD applauds our partners in City government for their generous contribution as well.  The expansion of Jetro is a great example of how the state offers assistance to companies that are willing to invest in our communities and remain an important player in our regional approach to economic development.  We wish Jetro continued success.”
“Assistance from the New York City Industrial Development Agency was a critical element of this $50 million project, which will generate millions of dollars in private investment,” said New York City Industrial Development Agency Chairman Seth W. Pinsky. “The new facility will allow Jetro Cash & Carry to expand its business and create jobs in the Bronx.” 

“This new facility will help us to maintain The Bronx as the City’s leader in providing New Yorkers with fresh and affordable food. This project is a win-win for everyone, and will create dozens of new jobs for Bronxites. The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and Borough President Diaz are truly delighted to be part of this important project,” said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

This project was highlighted in Borough President Diaz’s recent “State of the Borough” address.
  Steve Smith, owner of the property; Joseph Tazewell, representative of ESDC;  Marlene Cintron, president of BOEDC; Borough President Ruben  Diaz Jr.; Miriam Tannenbaum, representative of Chase Bank; Stanley Sleishman,  CEO of Jetro and Restaurant Depot; and Ilir Sadikay, representative of NYCIDA.

Croton Filter Project - CFMC Meeting on Thursday, March 31


The next Croton FMC meeting will be on Thursday, March 31 at 7 pm at the DEP Community Office on Jerome Avenue.  

As of now the agenda is not finalized.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Re: City Council Hearings on the “Fair Wages for New Yorkers” Act

“I’m pleased that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has committed to host hearings on the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act, which already has the support of more than half of the City Council. Our bill will require developers who receive heavy taxpayer subsidies for their projects to provide a ‘living wage.’  It is time for New York City to join the growing list of communities that promote quality development through living wages. It is my hope that these hearings will lead to a vote on this important legislation, and that we can begin to change the way we do business in our City,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The “Fair Wages for New Yorkers” Act, which was introduced by Council Members Annabel Palma and G. Oliver Koppell at the behest of Borough President Diaz, currently has 29 sponsors in the City Council.

This is a Continuation of the Senior Center Saga
News from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
3107 Kingsbridge Avenue
Bronx, New York 10463
(718) 796-5345

For Immediate Release Contact: Raffi Holoszyc-Pimentel
March 7, 2011 (718) 796-5345

Assemblyman Dinowitz leads the fight to save over 100 senior centers

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging, is fighting tooth and nail to save over 100 senior centers in New York City from closure.

In February, Assemblyman Dinowitz sent a letter to New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver signed by 54 New York City Assembly Democrats calling for the restoration of $25 million in proposed Title XX funding cuts in the 2011-2012 state budget. As a result of these proposed cuts, Mayor Bloomberg has announced that 105 senior centers that serve many thousands of seniors in New York City will close. Assemblyman Dinowitz is fighting to make the restoration of this critical funding and keeping these senior centers open a top priority during budget negotiations.

             Assemblyman Dinowitz is calling on Mayor Bloomberg to make keeping these senior centers open his priority as well. Assemblyman Dinowitz said, “Mayor Bloomberg should insist these senior centers stay open. How can the City waste hundreds of millions of dollars on the over-budget Croton Water Filtration Plant, the fraudulent CityTime contract, and the Department of Education’s no-bid contracts and highly paid outside consultants, but when it comes to critical, beneficial funding for senior citizens, they get kicked to the curb?”

On Friday, Assemblyman Dinowitz, along with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senators Ruben Diaz Sr. and Jose M. Serrano, and Assembly Members Marcos Crespo, Vanessa Gibson, Eric Stevenson, and Naomi Rivera, rallied on the steps of the Bronx County Courthouse to oppose Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed closing of the senior centers.

“As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging, I am leading the fight in the Assembly to restore Title XX funding for New York City senior centers.  I am confident that the Assembly will insist on this restoration.  I will not rest until all of this money is restored, which, among other things, would save the Van Cortlandt Senior Center,” said Assemblyman Dinowitz.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Upcoming Events From Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

1.- Garifuna-American Heritage Month in the Bronx
The Bronx Borough President Office and the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc, will celebrate the proclamation of March 11th – April 12th, 2011 as Garifuna Heritage Month 2011 in observance of the 214th anniversary of the exile of the Garifuna people from St Vincent on March 11th, 1797 and their settlement in Central America on April 12th, 1797.
During Garifuna-American Heritage Month, we will celebrate the great contributions of Garifuna-Americans to the fabric of New York City, and we will pay tribute to the common culture and bonds of friendship that unite the United States and the Garifuna countries of origin.  
Friday March 11th --5:30 PM 
Bronx County Building - 851 Grand Concourse- Rotunda
RSVP to 718-590-3989

2. – Women’s History Month: 
The Borough President will celebrate the courage and contributions of American women during Women’s History Month 2011
Several great women will be honored for their achievements and contribute ons to the Bronx and NYC. 
Wednesday, March 16 -- 9:30 am
Frankie and Johnny’s Pine – 1913 Bronxdale Avenue Bronx, NY 10462
RSVP TO 718-590-3522 or email
3. – Irish Heritage Celebration
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will join members of the Bronx Irish American community in celebration of Irish American Heritage Month 2011. 
Borough President Diaz will honor a group of Irish- Americans for their contributions to our community. 
Wednesday, March 23 -- 6:00 pm
Rambling House- 4292 Katonah Avenue
To RSVP, please call Sonia Malave 718-590-3989
(Come to the Irish Heritage Celebration to protest Mayor Bloomberg by getting inebriated and hanging out a window) - We are just kidding.     




Sunday, March 6, 2011


Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today released the list of the top ten consumer fraud complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office in 2010. Marking the start of National Consumer Protection Week, the Attorney General highlighted the scams most reported by New Yorkers and offered tips on how to avoid them in the future. He will announce a series of actions taken to protect New York consumers from scams in the coming days.

“Arming consumers with information is the best defense against frauds and abuses,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The crime scene of the 21st century is the Internet, and it is important for consumers to not only know their rights, but how to fight back. In addition to taking action against those who cheat New Yorkers, this office is an excellent resource that can help stop scams. I encourage New Yorkers to mark National Consumer Protection Week by learning how to recognize, avoid and report consumer frauds.”

The Attorney General’s Office analyzed the consumer complaints received from across the state throughout 2010. The highest number of complaints were Internet-related, closely followed by credit-related complaints that involved debt collection, credit card billing and identity theft. The following is the 2010 list of the top ten consumer complaints by category:

      CATEGORY                                      NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS
  1. Internet                                                          7,024
      (privacy issues; spyware; consumer frauds)
  2. Credit                                                              5,455
      (debt collection; credit card billing; debt settlement)   
  3. Consumer-Related Services                   3,817 
      (security systems; restaurant/catering services; tech repairs)
  4. Automobile                                                  3,661  
      (buying, leasing, repair, service contracts, rentals)  
  5. Landlord/Tenant                                      2,009    
     (residential repairs, deposit releases, tenant-harassment)   
  6. Mortgage                                                      1,927    
     (mortgage and loan broker fraud, foreclosures)   
  7. Retail Sales                                                  1,364    
    (any sale of goods: food, clothing, rent-to-own)    
  8. Home Repair/Construction                  1,299  
    (home improvement services not delivered or done poorly)   
  9. Mail Order                                                    1,266   
   (purchases made online or from a catalog)    
 10. Telecommunications                              1,202      
   (phone cards, cellular services, pay-per-call)

The Attorney General also provided a list of tips all consumers should use to protect themselves and their families:

  1. Internet: Always make sure websites are secure before providing any financial information, such as a credit card or bank account number. Secure website addresses start with “https” and have a symbol, such as a lock. These secure sites use encryption to scramble your information as it is transmitted over the Internet to keep it secure. Learn more here.
  1. Credit: Debt collection is the most common type of credit fraud, and consumers must know their rights. Debt collectors may not harass or abuse consumers, nor provide misleading information – for instance claiming to represent a government agency. Anyone with credit problems should contact credit counseling agencies licensed by the New York State Banking Department for assistance in managing the situation and avoiding collection scams. Learn more here.
  1. Services: We rely on a range of services in our day-to-day living, from snow-removal to home repair to party planning. Make sure to use a written contract for all services that clearly defined restrictions and obligations of both the consumer and service-provider.
  1. Automobile: Many automobile complaints relate to leasing and New Yorkers should know that they are protected by the strongest auto-leasing law in the country. The law allows consumers to shop around for the best deal when leasing a car, set limits on early termination, and even gives the Attorney General’s Office jurisdiction to resolve excess wear-and-tear disputes. Learn more here
  1. Landlord/Tenant: Landlords are required to keeping records of all notices, inspections and repair matters related to the residence. This is especially important for issues like lead paint – which was prevalent in the 1960s and poses a significant threat to children. Ask your landlord for documentation to ensure that your building is up to code. Learn more here.
  1. Mortgage: Mortgage rescue scams prey on homeowners in their greatest time of need. Look out for offers that will stop or delay foreclosure payments for an upfront fee or make payments on your behalf. Beware of companies that suggest a government affiliation or claim to be with the government, or those that work with attorneys but do not provide legal services. Turn to the New York State Banking Department for licensed counselors to help to manage the situation.  Learn more here.
  1. Retail Sales: Rent-to-own programs allow consumers who would otherwise be unable to afford some items access to common household goods without a down payment or credit check. However, some consumers may end up spending more to acquire items than if they had just paid for them up front. A new law restricts prices to keep them in line with the costs of goods.  Consumers should ensure that all rent-to-own transactions have a written contract. Learn more here.
  1. Home Repair/Construction: The biggest and most important investment families will make is their homes, and improvements should add value, not hardship. Before entering into a contract, shop around for estimates, check in with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers and neighbors for references, and know your rights: you have three days after signing a home improvement contract to cancel it. Learn more here.
  1. Mail Order: Whether ordering online or from a catalog, make sure the company has an operating customer service line and lists a real street address. Companies operating on a ‘fly-by-night’ basis often have no working customer service number and list only a P.O. Box. Learn more here.
  1.  Telecommunications: Calling cards remain a popular way not only to get in touch with family and friends, but also to rip-off consumers. Start with one card of a small denomination and test it to ensure that all the charges – including connection fees and rate per minute – are what the provider described.
Attorney General Schneiderman reminded New Yorkers that in addition to being vigilant consumers, they should also report instances of fraud to his office.

“Our top ten list reflects the complaints filed by New Yorkers across the state, which helped our investigators and attorneys stop scam artists in their tracks,” Attorney General Schneiderman added. “It’s critical that frauds are reported to the authorities so that we can hold wrongdoers accountable, limit their damage, and protect consumers.”

Consumers are encouraged to file complaints by visiting the Office’s website: or calling 1-800-771-7755.