Thursday, October 31, 2013


By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York

  You should know that when Senate Bill 5898, supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo and sponsored by Senator Bonacic, came to the Floor of the Senate to propose an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize casino gambling in New York State, I voted NO. When this vote came to the floor of the Senate on June 21, 2013, I was proud that seven of my colleagues: Senator Espaillat, Senator Hoylman, Senator Krueger, Senator LaValle, Senator Parker, Senator Perkins, and Senator Sanders all joined me and voted against this bill.

You should know that the bill passed, and on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, Proposal 1 will be on the ballot for voters in New York State to decide if they want to legalize and expand casino gambling in New York.

I still don’t support this measure that Governor Andrew Cuomo has been pushing hard to pass, and I will continue to publicly and ardently disagree with Governor Cuomo’s efforts to make this amendment to legalize casino gambling part of the State Constitution.

You should know that the purpose of putting Proposal 1 on the ballot and passing a Constitutional Amendment to allow for more casinos to open New York State is to bring more revenue to the State. The Governor believes that more casinos in New York State will open the coffers so that money will flow and help tourism, revenue and jobs.

The reason why I voted NO to legislation to legalize casino gambling – in a State where poverty levels continue to increase – is because gambling revenues will not draw from expendable income. Gambling revenues will draw from families’ necessities. Instead of helping the many New Yorkers who already suffer from gambling addiction, this amendment will only continue to destroy their worlds and further exploit vulnerable and poor New Yorkers and their families.

As a minister and a community leader, I have seen many good people get hooked on gambling - even senior citizens. I have seen it become an addiction, like drugs. I have seen families dispossessed from their homes. I have seen gambling destroy many lives.

You should also know that by legalizing casino gambling, gambling addiction will increase and more and more families and children will suffer. Rent will not get paid. Food will not be on the tables. People will suffer.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have opposed legislation to expand casino gambling in New York State, and I will continue to oppose it.

This is Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.


Bronx Young Democrats to Organize Days of Action for Bill de Blasio

  At their Debate Watch Party last night at the Bronx Beer Hall, the Bronx Young Democrats announced that they have organized three Days of Action to help elect Bill de Blasio as the next Mayor of New York City.  With a week remaining until Election Day it is important to identify supporters of Bill de Blasio and get them out to the polls next Tuesday.

“This is truly a historic election for our organization.  For the first time in over 20 years we are going to elect a Democrat to City Hall,” said John Zaccaro, President of the Bronx Young Democrats.  He added, “Over the next week we are going to help Bill de Blasio win with a huge mandate so he can go to City Hall and implement his progressive agenda that will ensure that every New Yorker has a fair shot.”

The three days of action include a phone banking operation this evening, Thursday October 31st, canvassing and visibility on Saturday November 2nd and a GOTV phone bank on Monday night, November 4th.  The dates, locations and times of the Days of Action are below:

Thursday October 31st, 6:00-8:30pm at the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, 304 West 231st Street Bronx, NY 10463

Saturday November 2nd, 1:00-5:00pm at Ritchie Torres HQ, 609 East 188th Street Bronx, NY 10458

Monday November 4th, 6:00-9:00pm at Bronx Democratic County Committee HQ, 1640 Eastchester Road Bronx, NY 10461

Some photos from the Debate Watch Party.
 BYD Councilman Andy King rallies the troops as he sees better days ahead for the Bronx when Democratic candidate Bill deBlasio is elected Mayor on Tuesday November 5th. BYD president John Zacarro Jr. (center) and Organizer Daniel Johnson (right).
 BYD Daniel Johnson of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz's office gets his say in.

Senator Ruben Diaz & Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda will Introduce Legislation to Protect Macy's Shoppers

  New York State Senator Rev Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda (D-Bronx) have introduced legislation SB ____ to “amend the general obligations law, in relation to requiring mercantile establishments to cease collections upon a court order finding of not guilty of larceny in mercantile establishments.” This legislation is in response to the growing number of news stories about people who have shopped at Macy’s and other stores and have been erroneously charged with shoplifting.

Senator Rev Diaz stated: “This legislation is intended to protect consumers – especially Black and Hispanic men and women who shop at Macy’s or elsewhere – and who are not guilty of any criminal activity and do not deserve to be fined by the stores for crimes they did not commit.”

Assemblyman Sepulveda stated: “Our city is known for its rich diversity of persons of varying socio-economic backgrounds. Everyone has the right to purchase goods without fearing that they will be suspected of shoplifting. New York State Senator Ruben Diaz and I are proposing legislation that would require merchants to cease attempts to collect fines against a customer falsely accused of shoplifting. It is shameful that innocent people are blacklisted. We, as legislators, will continue to fight against these inherently unfair and unjust practices.”

NEWS From City Comptroller John Liu

New Audit Highlights Continued Failures of Agency and of Shelter Operator

Comptroller John C. Liu called on the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to discontinue its use of shelter provider Aguila Inc. in light of repeated failures to account for millions of dollars spent and the continued placement of people in shelters that are unsafe or unclean. He also called on City Hall to drop its lawsuit against the Comptroller’s office with regards to proposed contracts with Aguila.

“Despite their claims to the contrary, Aguila’s appalling record has not improved and DHS continues to turn a blind eye. At this point, DHS should just dump Aguila as a shelter operator, and City Hall should direct its resources towards fixing DHS rather than litigating against my office,” Comptroller Liu said. “Continued dysfunction is a grave disservice to the homeless in need as well as communities whose concerns and input have been bypassed.”

A new audit underscores a fraught history with DHS and Aguila. In a November 2011 audit, Liu called on DHS to recoup $1.4 million from Aguila and examine another $9 million in bills to see if taxpayers were entitled to recover more.

Today’s audit found that DHS has recouped only $558,412, and didn’t even investigate more than half of the total $10.4 million identified by the earlier audit as improper or insufficiently supported payments.

Additionally, the audit found the following deficiencies with DHS operations:

·         The agency continued to do business without written agreements, in violation of the City Charter;
·         DHS did not adequately explain how rates the City paid for different shelters were set;
·         DHS did not appropriately follow up after more than 80 percent of units subject to spot inspections failed.
The audit also found that, as of June 2013, Aguila facilities owed the City $605,439 in unpaid water and sewer charges.

In light of the multitude of problems, rather than reining in Aguila, DHS rewarded it instead. DHS payments for Aguila-operated shelters surged from $46.3 million in Fiscal Year 2011 to $57.1 million in Fiscal Year 2013.

The new audit made 18 new recommendations. They include:

·         Periodically review Aguila per diem rates, allocation plans, and budget line items to ensure accuracy, reasonableness, and appropriateness, and ensure items are adequately supported.
·         Further investigate and recoup the balance of funds as identified in the previous audit.
·         Enter into written contracts with Aguila for directly-operated facilities that, at minimum, specify or restrict how funds may be expended.
·         Immediately eliminate the practice of placing clients in facilities with hazardous and unsanitary conditions.
·         Conduct surprise inspections and vary the inspectors.
·         Ensure that all Aguila facilities pay their City fines and water and sewer charges.


November 2011, Liu audit calls on DHS to recoup money from Aguila:

May 2013, Liu issues report on how Mayor Bloomberg’s shelter policies are failing communities and the homeless:

June 2013, the State Supreme Court, Bronx County rules in favor of the Comptroller’s office in a suit challenging the Mayor’s practice of establishing shelters and paying for those services without going through required public procurement processes. Liu statement:

July 2013, Liu rejects Aguila shelter contracts in the South Bronx and West 95th Street in Manhattan:


  City Comptroller John C. Liu today released the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for Fiscal Year 2013. The report, which provides a detailed look at the City’s finances, shows that for the 33rd consecutive year New York City completed its fiscal year with a General Fund surplus, as determined by the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

“Economic growth improved in Fiscal Year 2013 compared with the previous year despite the strains of Superstorm Sandy,” Comptroller Liu said. “Unemployment edged downward and the City’s workforce saw healthy wage growth for the first time since the financial crisis. But the City must remain vigilant against growing budget gaps, the continuing cost impact of Sandy recovery, and potential risks from the dysfunction in Washington as exemplified by the recent shutdown.”

The CAFR shows the General Fund had revenues and other financial sources in Fiscal Year 2013 totaling $71.029 billion and expenditures and other financing uses of $71.024 billion, resulting in a surplus of $5 million.

It also shows that as of June 2013, $1.7 billion had been spent on the Sandy recovery, and the City continues to incur costs associated with the storm.

Among other important economic findings, the report contains updates on New York City’s finances, including:

·         The City Pension Funds paid benefits totaling $12.0 billion during FY 2013. As of June 30, 2013, the City pension funds had an aggregate value of $137.4 billion, an increase of $15.3 billion from the June 30, 2012 value of $122.1 billion.
·         The Comptroller’s Bureau of Audit issued 84 audits and special reports in FY 2013 identifying approximately $184 million in actual and potential revenues and savings. Reviews of claims filed against the City identified another $15.7 million in cost avoidance.

·         In FY 2013, the City paid $562.4 million in settlements and judgments (tort and non-tort).

·         The City and its blended component units issued $10.15 billion in long-term bonds in FY 2013 to finance the City’s capital needs and refinance outstanding bonds for interest savings. In addition, the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority issued $2.30 billion in long-term bonds for capital and refinancing purposes. As of June 30, 2013, the City’s outstanding General Obligation debt totaled $41.59 billion, consisting of $33.93 billion in fixed rate bonds and $7.66 billion in variable rate bonds.

·         From June 2012 through June 2013, the City added more than 76,400 private-sector jobs. Although the number of new jobs created was lower than that of the previous 12 months, the gain still represented a solid 2.3 percent increase in the City’s jobs base. Overall, the city’s economy grew by an estimated 1.8 percent in FY 2013, slightly faster than the 1.3 percent recorded in the previous fiscal year.

·         The City’s unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in FY 2013 from 9.3 percent the previous year. The average weekly earnings of private-sector workers in New York City increased by 4.9 percent in the fiscal year, twice the national increase. The combination of rising employment and higher earnings produced an estimated 6.3 percent increase in year-over-year income tax withholdings.

The full CAFR report is posted here:

Assemblyman Dinowitz Calls on MTA to Reconsider Ending Access-A-Ride Reimbursements

   In a letter dated October 31, 2013 to MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz called on the MTA to reconsider the newly instituted policy change that will end reimbursement for eligible riders who utilize taxi or car services for intra-borough transit. The move continues the practice of slashing the Access-A-Ride budget, hurting many disabled seniors by making their travel more arduous. A copy of the official letter to Chairman Prendergast is attached, and the text of the letter can be found below:

Dear Chairman Prendergast:

It has recently been brought to my attention by several constituents that there has been a policy change that will affect Access-A-Ride service throughout the city for those who take advantage of the taxi/car service authorization and reimbursement. It appears that Access-A-Ride will no longer reimburse cab users for intra-borough rides, but will continue to honor reimbursements for inter-borough cab rides for authorized riders. I believe this is a change that will have a tangible and lasting negative impact on many senior citizens throughout the city.

I understand that Access-A-Ride will continue to service eligible seniors with their regular paratransit fleet, although recent cuts to that program have already made travel a major chore for many seniors. But it’s also worth noting that there are inherent advantages for seniors to the taxi reimbursement service, including a less ridged travel schedule and no threat of losing service if their appointments run late and they miss pick-up. It’s interesting to me that a senior can lose Access-A-Ride membership for being late a couple of times, yet Access-A-Ride is constantly late to their scheduled pick-ups, sometimes missing the mark by hours, in many cases leaving seniors stranded outside. In those situations, seniors who are stranded have little recourse, and this new policy change will only make that situation worse for them.  

  Cuts to Access-A-Ride services have become the norm in New York City. The program, which helps thousands of disabled seniors attend crucial doctor’s appointments and maintain normal lives, has proven to be an invaluable resource for so many, and yet it always seems to be this most vulnerable population that bears the brunt of budget cuts. Ending taxi reimbursement for intra-borough cab rides is no exception. Considering intra-borough rides would theoretically be shorter and thus cost less than inter-borough rides, on its face this plan seems to not only make lives difficult for disabled seniors, it also doesn’t seem to make as much economic sense as it otherwise could. Regardless of the economic impact, maintaining this service for certain seniors is the right thing to do, and I think we owe it to them to reconsider this change.

 Jeffrey Dinowitz.


Free Legal Forum, From Assemblyman Marcos Crespo 85th A.D.

I would like to invite you to an open legal forum which I am hosting in my office with The Legal Aid Society. We will be discussing topics such as Civil, Criminal and Juvenile Rights.

The event will be held in my District Office (located at 1163 Manor Avenue Bronx, NY 10472) on Thursday, November 7, 2013 from 4pm-7pm.

Feel free to bring a relative, neighbor or friend(s). Please RSVP with Matthew Shuffler my Office Manager either via email @ or via phone @ 718-893-0202.

Hope to see you here!


Marcos A. Crespo
Member of Assembly
85th District

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wave Hill Events November 15–November 22

Since this week may be your last for a deep, pre-Thanksgiving exhale, I recommend setting aside Sunday, November 17, for a visit to Wave Hill. Start your morning with yoga or meditation, then stay for brunch in our handsomely restored Café, and, following that, a free cooking demonstration that should be “pearfectly” wonderful. Round it all off with a leisurely, guided garden walk and a browse in The Shop at Wave Hill. Since our Harvest Brunch that Sunday will be the first since Wave Hill House reopened this summer after a two-year renovation—and Sunday Brunches won’t become a regular feature in The Café until early Spring—make your reservations soon!

And if Sunday doesn’t work, keep in mind that The Café is offering Afternoon Tea every Tuesday through Friday afternoon, starting last week. I’ve attached a snapshot of one of the very first. Elegant and relaxing!

Quiet like a mountain, moving like a river, Tai Chi is a sequence of gentle movements based on images found in nature. In this beginner-level class, Irving Yee, a member of the William CC Chen Tai Chi School, introduces students to the internal martial arts and promotes an awareness of its benefits. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Session fee: $23/Wave Hill Member $15. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Fashion a festive crown from fall leaves and leaf rubbings, toss leaves in the wind and walk through leaf piles. Make artful arrangements of leaves on the lawn and collage leaf designs to carry home. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Artists have the opportunity to meet with a curator, gallerist or critic for a 20-minute session, and get feedback on their work or presentation materials. Guest reviewers to be announced. Review fee: $25 per artist to meet with one reviewer. Registration required online at Call 718.549.3200 x398 with questions.

Gallery tours resume Tuesday, November 19.

Fashion a festive crown from fall leaves and leaf rubbings, toss leaves in the wind and walk through leaf piles. Make artful arrangements of leaves on the lawn and collage leaf designs to carry home. Free with admission to the grounds.

Find refuge from city life by practicing seasonal yoga. Decrease stress and increase your energy by focusing on your posture, your breath and your mind/body/spirit. Classes are led by Neem Dewji, certified in Hatha and Therapeutic Yoga from The Yoga for Health Foundation, England, and The Integral Yoga Institute, NYC. All levels welcome. Sessions are held outdoors only and are weather dependent. Call 718.549.3200 x245 by 8AM on the day of the class for program updates. Session fee: $23/Wave Hill Member $15. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

This fall, take a moment to release stress and reconnect with your inner self while practicing meditation. Each session includes instruction in simple techniques followed by 20 to 30 minutes of meditation. Led by Yoga for Bliss director Neem Dewji and other qualified instructors. All levels welcome. Session fee: $23/Wave Hill Member $15. Registration opens onsite at 9:30AM.

Now that Wave Hill House, home of our Café, is open after a two-year renovation, Great Performances, our exclusive caterer, is ready to begin offering Sunday brunches. They won’t be a regular feature of Sundays at Wave Hill for a few months, so make sure to make your reservations for this one. And then stay for a cooking demonstration afterwards!  For menus, pricing and reservations, check out our website at

Move over, apples! Pears are bit unexpected but just as versatile in sweet and savory fall recipes. Watch and taste as a chef from Great Performances demonstrates delectable dishes using fresh and cooked pears. Want to grow your own? Horticultural Interpreter Charles Day explains some of the finer points of growing this luscious fruit. Free with admission to the grounds.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free all weekend thanks to the generous support of Target.

Closed to the public.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Join a curatorial fellow for a tour of Wave Hill’s fall exhibition, Tandem Pursuits: Armor & Ichthyology, which celebrates the interests of former Wave Hill House resident Bashford Dean. Dean was Curator of Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Curator of Fish at the American Museum of Natural History. The intersection of his interest in both fish and armor provides the opportunity to bring together a remarkable group of contemporary art that explores concepts of adaptation, pattern, and protection. The tour also includes Alan Ruiz’s Sunroom Project Space installation, an architectural intervention that complicates the distinction between interior and exterior spaces. Tours take place Tuesdays and Saturdays at 2PM. Free with admission to the grounds.

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM—4:30PM. Closes 5:30PM, March 15—October 31.  
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6—18. Free Saturday mornings until noon. Free all day on Tuesdays in November. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 3o minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at

Shop & Frisk Rally Friday 11/1/13


With recent media attention to the issue of “Shop and Frisk,” it is imperative that we address this issue as a community to dissuade these discriminatory practices from occurring in the future.

In our community we will not tolerate any practices that target men and women based on the color of their skin. We will join on Friday to send a strong message to Macy’s and other businesses that we will be vigilant and proactive against Shop and Frisk.

I will be holding a rally in front of the Macy’s in Parkchester at 5:30pm to protest the “Shop and Frisk” policies that large department stores use to target our people. Please join in the effort to prevent these stores from using these tactics. 

Also attending the rally will be Senator Ruben Diaz, Assembly Members Carl Heastie and Marcos Crespo, Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, District Leader Julia Rodriguez, State Committeeman William Rivera, Pastor Hiram Ratliff of New Tabernacle Church, and Reverend/Doctor Laura Sinclair and Reverend Felicia Smith of Parkchester Baptist Church. Other elected officials have also been invited.

If you have questions concerning this matter, please contact the district office at (718) 931 2620.


District Office: 1973 Westchester Ave. Bronx, NY 10462

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Political Consultant Is Charged In Federal Court With Defrauding The New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee And Other Frauds

This is from United States Attorney Prett Baharara

Complaint Alleges Political Consultant Received Fraud Proceeds as Benefit from State Senator 


   Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Toni Weirauch, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced today the unsealing of a nine-count Complaint charging New York political consultant MELVIN LOWE with fraud and tax violations. The Complaint alleges that LOWE defrauded the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee ("DSCC") and its contributors of $100,000 by causing a vendor to submit a false invoice for printing services to the DSCC. According to the Complaint, LOWE instructed the vendor to send $75,000 of the proceeds to LOWE and $20,000 to a political consultant and to keep $5,000 for himself. The Complaint further alleges that the $20,000 payment came days after a State Senator promised to pay a benefit to the consultant for assistance the consultant had previously provided to the Senator. In addition to this fraud charge, the Complaint charges LOWE with income tax violations for his failure to report more than $2 million in consulting income. He is also charged with causing his bank to make a false statement to his mortgage lender, and also for defrauding a Yonkers resident of $66,000. LOWE was arrested this morning and will be presented later today before United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison in White Plains federal court.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Today’s Complaint alleges that New York's culture of political corruption extends beyond elected officials to the relatively unknown professional political insiders who work behind the scenes to carry out corrupt schemes. Our investigation will continue and we will continue bringing to justice every corrupt official we find, as well as those who allegedly execute their unlawful plots."
IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Toni Weirauch stated: “Elected politicians and others involved in the political process, such as political consultants and insiders, must comply with the same laws as the rest of the American public. IRS-Criminal Investigation investigates tax crimes and other financial crimes to ensure that those who are involved in making the rules, directly or indirectly, are held accountable when they do not follow them.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today in White Plains federal court:
Fraud on the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee
In June 2010, MELVIN LOWE, a political consultant who had been retained by the DSCC, caused a New Jersey based political consulting firm (the "Vendor") to submit to the DSCC a false invoice for printing services in the total amount of $100,000. LOWE told a representative of the Vendor to send a total of $75,000 to a bank account held by one of LOWE's companies, $20,000 to another New York political consultant (the "Consultant") and to keep $5,000 for himself. The Complaint alleges further that LOWE used the $75,000 he received to pay for the installation of a pool and other renovations at his second home in Georgia and to give $5,000 to a Manhattan community board member.
The Complaint charges that the Consultant received the $20,000 wire transfer from the Vendor several days after a State Senator, identified as "Senator #1," promised the Consultant a benefit for assistance that the Consultant previously had provided to the Senator. The Consultant, who is further described as a former staff member to elected officials in New York City, did not know the Vendor, had done no work for the Vendor and was not owed any money by the DSCC. The Complaint alleges that days after the Senator promised the Consultant a benefit, the Consultant learned of the $20,000 deposit into his bank account in a telephone call from LOWE.
Tax Violations
The Complaint also charges LOWE with three counts of subscribing to false tax returns for each of the years 2007 through 2009 and three counts of failing to file tax returns for each of the years 2010 through 2012. In total, LOWE is charged with failing to report more than $2 million in income from consulting services over a period of six years.
False Statement in Connection with Mortgage Loan Application
The Complaint charges further that LOWE caused an employee of Commerce Bank to make a false statement to LOWE's mortgage lender regarding the balance of LOWE's checking account at Commerce Bank. In 2007, LOWE obtained a mortgage loan from Premium Capital in the principal amount of approximately $225,000 that was secured by his second home in Georgia. As part of the loan application process, LOWE signed a form in which he represented that he had more than $80,000 in his checking account at Commerce Bank and authorized Commerce Bank to confirm that balance, as well as the average balance in the account over the previous two months, to Premium Capital. LOWE then asked an Assistant Manager at his local Commerce Bank branch to confirm that he had more than $80,000 in his checking account. The Assistant Manager did so, despite the fact that LOWE had less than $2,200 in that account at that time. The Complaint alleges that LOWE's fraudulently inflated checking account balance was a material misstatement in that it allowed LOWE to appear to have a positive net worth when, in fact, LOWE had a negative net worth at the time he closed on his mortgage loan. LOWE's mortgage loan balance remains above $225,000 today and the loan is now in foreclosure.
Fraud on Yonkers Resident
The Complaint alleges that LOWE also defrauded a Yonkers resident who is identified as "John Doe," of $66,000. LOWE told John Doe that he needed $66,000 in connection with his purchase of his second home in Georgia and that he would repay the loan within a few days. When John Doe asked LOWE to repay the loan, LOWE gave John Doe a check that was returned due to insufficient funds. Thereafter, LOWE promised to repay the loan at various times but failed to do so. He told John Doe on multiple occasions that he did not have the money to repay the loan when he, in fact, did have the money, the Complaint alleges.
*                      *                      *
LOWE, 52, of New York City, faces upon conviction a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment on the count charging wire fraud in connection with the scheme to defraud the DSCC; a maximum sentence of 30 years' imprisonment on the count charging him with causing an employee of a federally insured bank to make a false report; a maximum of three years' imprisonment on each of the three counts charging him with subscribing to false tax returns; a maximum of one year's imprisonment on each of the three counts charging him with failure to file tax returns; and a maximum of 20 years' imprisonment on the count charging wire fraud in connection with the scheme to defraud the Yonkers resident.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of IRS-CI and the investigators from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office's White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry A. Carbone and James McMahon are 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.

The Daily News Just Couldn’t Resist!

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
32nd Senatorial District, Bronx County, New York 

The Daily News Just Couldn’t Resist!
You should all know that for years and years, I have been writing columns – just like this one – titled "What You Should Know.” While I am certainly no friend of the Daily News nor most of the media, from time to time, my columns appear in part or in their entirety in different publications.

You should also know that whether or not my "What You Should Know" columns get the media’s attention, I am constantly receiving greetings and warm handshakes in the halls of the State Senate, on the streets of New York, phone calls, emails, Facebook postings, and twitter communications from constituents and friends and leaders – all letting me know that my "What You Should Know" column is the talk of the town. I have been told that my “What You Should Know” column is “one of the most highly anticipated emails in New York.”

My dear reader, just imagine the smile on my face when I read today’s New York Daily News top editorial titled "What New York Needs to Know." You bet I was flattered!

The Daily News didn't make any mention of or reference to my October 28, 2013 "What You Should Know" column titled "It Is About Time To Investigate Macy’s" even though (you should know) that what I wrote included some of the exact subject matter that was covered in their editorial. But surprise, surprise ... apparently, they couldn’t resist imitating my signature “What You Should Know” title - without giving me credit.

You should know that there is an old saying: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” And so, to the editors and staff at the Daily News, all I have to say to you today is: “Thank you!”

This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.



By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York


You should know that there has been a lot of media hype about Macy’s and the lawsuit actor Robert Brown has brought against Macy’s for (allegedly) parading him through the store in handcuffs after he bought a $1350.00 watch for his mother. Mr. Brown’s case may very well be the tip of the iceberg as to what actually goes on inside Macy’s Herald Square Store, located on West 34th Street in New York City.

My dear friend and former legal counsel, Christopher Lynn, Esq. told me about his experience representing a Hispanic man who was arrested and accused of shoplifting at Macy’s two years ago.

Mr. Lynn’s client went to exchange a coat purchased at Macy’s the day prior and he brought the coat and his receipt for which he paid cash. He was arrested for stealing the coat. The security claimed that the receipt was found on the floor.

Mr. Lynn’s client was taken to the private jail in the store - yes, bars and all. There, he was given a choice: to face arrest with NYPD, or to pay a fine to Macy’s with a credit card or debit card for violating the New York State General Obligation Law section 11-105 Law which allows a store to sue a shop lifter.

Mr. Lynn’s client refused. While he was in custody waiting for the NYPD to arrive, he saw dozens of such detentions, all involving people of color. Many, not wishing arrest, surrendered to the coercion and used their cards to pay a fine.

Mr. Lynn’s client was formally arrested by the NYPD and taken to the midtown criminal court where Presiding Criminal Court Judge Richard Weinberg, upon learning the facts and looking at the receipt, dismissed the charges.

Judge Weinberg recommended that Mr. Lynn subpoena the store videos and records and to start a civil action against Macy's. Mr. Lynn’s client told his attorney about Macy’s private jail. When Mr. Lynn went to serve the subpoenas, he saw the Macy’s jail. According to Mr. Lynn, “It was just like central booking.”

Of course, Macy’s settled.

My dear reader, we all know that people steal, but as Mr. Lynn stated – repeating the words of Judge Weinberg: "They don’t steal in the numbers represented by the arrests. There are not that many stupid, dishonest shoppers. And why are they all minorities? And why is Macy's using that part of the State Law?”

I fully agree with Judge Weinberg and with Mr. Lynn that we need to look at this law. Is Macy's using the New York State General Obligation Law as a stream of revenue? Are their security guards licensed? Are they under quotas for shoplifting detentions? Do they use racial profiling in the store to determine who may or may not be a shoplifter? Why is Macy’s allowed to run a private jail and offer thieves the choice to pay or to get arrested? What does NYPD have to say about this? What records does Macy's keep?

I agree with anyone and everyone who wants to ask Macy’s for the statistics on these "collections." I agree with all who want to know if Macy’s allow those falsely arrested at Macy’s to get a minimum dollar amount if they sue Macy’s in small claims court and win. (If anyone were to ask me how much I think they should pay, I might suggest for Macy’s to pay $5,000 per false arrest.)

You should know that I have sent letters demanding that the New York State Division of Human Rights and the New York City Commission on Human Rights to investigate these matters. I have also sent letters demanding that the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District take a first-hand look at this jail at Macy’s 34th Street Flagship Store.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope the authorities will focus on these matters before things get even more out of control, and before the rush of Christmas shoppers fills the store.

This is Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.

KNICK Players Come to Local Chase Bank

  Metta World Peace, Raymond Felton, and Pablo Priginoni of the New York Knicks Basketball Team came to the Chase Bank branch located at 3775 Riverdale Avenue Tuesday afternoon to sign autographs for the hundreds people who showed up. This is part of a partnership between the Knick basketball team and Chase Bank that has Knick players visit various Chase Bank branches all over the city.
  The Knick players were accompanied by four of the Knick "City Dancers" Cheerleaders who also signed autographs for the crowd. The Knick players and City Dancers went outside at different times to check out the crowd, and pose for a photo like the one at the top of this page. 
  The Chase Bank branch employees were treated to have their photos also taken with the players, and City Dancers, as well as receiving Knick/Chase T-shirts and headbands (as you will see in one photo below). As the people waited there was a question and answer contest where if someone answered the questions correctly they also won a Chase/Knick item. There were even three separate pairs of tickets to a Knick game that were won by three guys (see photo below) who also got their picture with the players. 


Left- The crowd gathered early outside the Chase Bank located at 3775 Riverdale Avenue once the word got out that three Knick players would be signing autographs.
Right - The three winners of Knick tickets show the tickets off as they get their picture taken with the Knick players.


The Knick players posed for some shots with some of the kids who came to see them
Left - Ileana. Right - Maya.

Left - Two officers of the 50 Pct. had their photo op with the Knick players. The shot is dark as not to identify the officers.
Right - While the action was going on inside the Knick City Dancers put on their coats and checked out the crowd outside.


Left - Chase Bank branch manager Delroy Ximines got into his Knick T-shirt and head band as he poses for this photo with the Knick City Dancers.
Right - A couple of the local merchants on Riverdale Avenue pose with the Knick City Dancers. On the right is Mario owner of Salvatore's of Soho who was reported to have brought a couple of his delicious Pizza pies with him.

Monday, October 28, 2013


  The Ben Franklin Democratic Club is seeking volunteers to help on the Bill deBlasio campaign for Mayor. 
  We need your help to campaign for Bill de Blasio for Mayor so we can have a big Democratic win November 5th.  Here's a morning and late-day schedule for one or more two-hour shifts at transportation stops in our district. Just call Dan Johnson to let him know which two-hour shift you can cover. (516) 672-3819. Thanks.

7-9 am
231st Street/Broadway - 1 train
238th Street/Broadway - 1 train
242nd Street/Broadway 1 train
Mosholu - 4 train
Spuyten Duyvil Metro North

5:30-7:30 pm
Spuyten Duyvil Metro North
Riverdale Metro North
231st Street - 1 train
Bedford Park/Grand Concourse D train

Jerome Ave and East Gun Hill Rd
Stop & Shop
Skyview Shopping Center
Johnson Avenue/W. 235 Street

Upcoming Events From Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez

Office of Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez 

Have Young Kids in Northern Manhattan?
Check out these great opportunities and events!

District 6 Kindergarten Fair
Learn what elementary school fits your child best! The CEC6 is hosting a fair for incoming kindergarten students on Saturday, November 2nd from 11:00AM to 3:00PM, giving parents and kids a chance to check out everything District 6 has to offer. Schools will include zoned, choice and charter schools, ensuring all options are presented to parents. The fair will be held ad PS 128 on 560 West 169th St. (between St. Nicholas and Amsterdam Ave.
For more information, email

Trick-or-Treat at the Inwood Center
 For children 12 & under, accompanied by an adult. Trick-or-treat in a safe, dry, warm environment. Games, prizes, CANDY, and more! At the Inwood Center, 5030 Broadway (btw. W. 213th & W. 214th Streets) on Wednesday, October 30th. Trick-or-treating & Carnival, 3:30pm-5:30pm; party games with the People's Theatre Project from 5:30pm-6pm 

KidCinemaFest Returns to Washington Heights!
With the opening night on November 8th, the fifth annual KidCinemaFest will make its triumphant return to Washington Heights, to the delight of kids and parents. The opening night will feature the film "Tio Papi" (Uncle Dad), a movie filmed in Washington Heights featuring extras from the neighborhood. The opening night will be held at the Columbia University Medical Center Auditorium at 650 West 168th St. at 7:00PM (Director and Cast will have Q&A session after the movie). Other films will then be shown throughout the week at schools throughout District 6 in Washington Heights and Inwood. The program will close on Thursday, November 14th at the Alianza Dominicana Triangle Building with the film "Tanta Agua" (So Much Water) at 7:00PM. A full program can be found at or by emailing

NYC Public School Gifted & Talented Admissions process
Families seeking Gifted & Talented placement for September 2014 in kindergarten through third grade must submit a Request for Testing (RFT) form by November 8, 2013. Families are encouraged to submit the form online (, but if they prefer to submit a paper RFT, they can review the application guidelines in the Handbook, available online through the link below and at public elementary schools. The Handbook also includes practice tests. For more information, please call 718-935-2009 or visit

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nov 7th Veteran's Luncheon Bronx Chamber of Commerce

Bronx Chamber Logo 
Join us for the Veteran's Luncheon
Thursday, November 7th
11:30 AM to 2PM
F&J Pine!
Mark your calendars for our upcoming events!  

What are Some of the Effects of Obamacare on Seniors?

  This comes from the New York Post that reports "Elderly patients sick over losing doctors under Obamacare". The Post writes that seniors are getting notices from their insurance companies that the doctors they may be seeing under the Medicare Advantage plans are no longer in those plans. This leaves the senior with the options of staying in their current plan and choosing a new doctor still in the plan, changing insurance companies where their doctors are in, or pay out of pocket for visits to their doctor.

   The Post reports that UnitedHealthcare is dropping up to 2,100 doctors that serve 8,000 Medicare Advantage patients in the metro New York Area. While there are 2.6 million elderly New Yorkers on Medicare only about 900,000 are in Medicare Advantage HMO's by private companies. The reason for the pairing down of doctors is given to encourage higher quality health care, and to keep cost down as the under the national Affordable Care Act.

   As for responses by the insurance companies UnitedHealthcare defended the doctor roster cuts, as did Emblem and Empire Blue Cross-Blue Shield which both said the cuts were less than one percent of the current rosters. You can see the entire New York Post article here.

No #1 Subway Service This Weekend

   This is what greets you as you come to the # 1 train entrance. From 11:30 PM Friday Oct. 25 to 5 AM Oct 28 "No trains between West 242nd Street and 137th Street". There is a shuttle bus that will take you from the Broadway and West 242nd, West 238th, West 231st, West 225th, and West 215th Street stations to the A train at West 207th Street & Isham Avenue for continued travel downtown. 
   That means if you want to go to any stop below 207th Street on Broadway you have to either take the local bus down, or go down 59th Street to transfer to the # 1 train to go uptown as far as 137th Street & Broadway.
   The shuttle buses wait in the northbound lane of Broadway before West 242nd Street (as you will see in the photos below), and that will cause a traffic problem that leaves only one lane of traffic to flow. This is also right near the left turn only lane for north bound Broadway and the Westchester bus stops & dead head area.
The final problem is that little if any people who use the # 1 line knew of this service change. 

Left - a sign by the # 9 bus tells of the free shuttle bus for # 1 line users, so why would anyone use the # 9 bus down Broadway to West 225th Street. 
Right - A crowd of people waiting for the # 1 shuttle bus. In the background are three MTA employees to help.


Left - Just some of the work being done on the # 1 line between West 242nd and 137th streets this weekend.
Right - One of the many shuttle buses that will take # 1 riders to the A train at West 207th Street.


Left - # 1 Shuttle buses are double parked northbound on Broadway before West 242nd Street.
Right - Cars are blocked in by the double parked shuttle buses.


Left - # 9 bus riders are forced to exit the bus in the middle of the street as the Westchester & # 1 shuttle buses block part of Broadway northbound.
Right - This results in people crossing in between traffic, and only one lane northbound on Broadway by West 242nd Street. That lane being the left turn only lane.