Rockland County Executive Ed Day today ordered county flags to be lowered to half-staff beginning morning, , in honor of the four U.S. Marines killed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Flags located at all Rockland County facilities will remain lowered until each of the slain service members are interred. Said County Executive Day, "The senseless violence that occurred in Tennessee is only made worse by the fact that the brave individuals whose lives were taken answered the call to serve and protect our nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and our hearts are with the families left behind by the tragic loss of four American patriots." Day is also urging towns and villages within the county to display their flags at half-staff to honor the service and sacrifice made by the U.S. Marines.
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Friday, July 17, 2015
If one photo told the story of last night's Bronx Democratic County Dinner it might be the photo above. There was a love fest between the elected officials with both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio in attendance, but not at the same time. The jam packed dinner had just about every Bronx elected official, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Eric Schniderman, Mayor Bill deBlasio, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Democratic County Leader (and future Congressman Keith Wright, and many others for the largest turn out for a Bronx Democratic County Dinner.
Why did everyone come you may ask, and the answer according to Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo was that they came to honor Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. There were four other honorees Mr. Tonio Burgos (President of Tony Burgos and Associates), Aleksander Nilaj (President Albanian American Open Hand Association), Mr. Mike Prohaska (Business Manager of Local 79), and Ms. Maria Rios (President of Classico Building Maintenance Inc.).
While It was reported that Governor Cuomo took a few swipes at Mayor de Blasio last night, Mayor de Blasio heaped praise on the Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Crespo, thanking Crespo for much that had been accomplished for the city, and it may just have been the good feelings by everyone that seemed to dominate the dinner. All political corners of success were covered. The new Assembly Speaker (a local Bronx Assemblyman), Labor, a successful MBWE employer, a political consultant, and the new face of immigration to the Bronx, the 'New Bronx'. The photos below will tell the rest of the story. Please excuse the poor lighting that makes the photos appear dark.
Above - Bronx Democratic County leader Crespo with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul,Below - They are soon joined by State Senator (and IDC Leader) Jeff Klein, and State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.
Above - The National Anthem is being sung, with Bronx Democratic County Executive Director Anthony Perez and and another key part of the BDDC organization standing next to him.
Below - Governor Andrew Cuomo poses with Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., and one of the senators constituents.
Above - Governor Cuomo speaks of the many accomplishments of his administration as he praises Bronx County Leader Crespo and Assembly Speaker Heastie.
Below- Shortly after Governor Cuomo finished Mayor Bill de Blasio showed up. Here County Leader Crespo acknowledges the mayor.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also heaped praise on County Leader Crespo and Assembly Speaker Heastie, saying that they helped move his agenda in Albany.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
A.G. Schneiderman And U.S. Department Of Labor Announce Criminal Charges Against, And Civil Settlement With, Papa John’s Franchisee For Wage Theft
Papa John’s Franchisee Arrested For Allegedly Failing To Pay Workers Minimum Wage And Overtime; As Part Of Scheme, Franchisee Allegedly Required Workers To Use Fake Names As Part Of A Scheme To Cover Up His Criminal Conduct
A.G.’s Criminal Charges Seek To Recoup $230,000 In Back Wages For Workers, And U.S. Department of Labor’s Civil Settlement Recovers An Additional $230,000 In Damages And $50,000 In Civil Monetary Penalties
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division Dr. David Weil today announced charges against Abdul Jamil Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc., which together owned and operated nine Papa John’s franchises throughout the Bronx. According to court documents, the owner and company allegedly failed to pay minimum wage and overtime to approximately 300 current and former employees, created fictitious identities to conceal overtime worked by employees, and filed fraudulent quarterly tax returns with New York State in order to cover up their alleged wage theft.
Charges filed by the Attorney General’s Office seek jail time and $230,000 in back wages to Khokar’s current and former employees. Administrator Weil announced the filing of a consent judgment whereby Khokhar would pay an additional $230,000 in liquidated damages to employees and $50,000 in civil monetary penalties.
“My office will not hesitate to criminally prosecute any employer who underpays workers and then tries to cover it up by creating fake names and filing fraudulent tax returns,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will continue to be relentless in pursuing the widespread labor law violations, large and small, which we have found in the fast food industry. And I call on franchisors to stand up and stop the widespread lawlessness plaguing your businesses and harming your hardworking employees.”
Both New York and federal law require employers to pay workers at least the minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime at one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of forty in any given workweek. New York’s current minimum wage is $8.75 per hour, and the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour; employers in New York must pay the higher rate.
In addition, employers must report all wages paid to employees on tax returns on a quarterly basis and must make contributions to the State Unemployment Insurance Fund based upon the reported wages.
Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc. allegedly did not pay the overtime premium as required by law. Instead, charges allege they paid workers the same, regular rate of pay for all hours worked, including hours in excess of forty. To hide this practice, they allegedly paid for overtime hours in cash, to avoid creating a record. They also allegedly created fictitious names for employees to use in their computerized timekeeping system: once employees’ weekly hours reached 35 or 40 per week, they were allegedly required to use the fictitious names so that the employer’s failure to pay proper overtime for these hours would be concealed. Khokar and BMY Foods Inc. allegedly made the cash payments under the fake names and kept separate paper records reflecting both the check and cash payments made to the same workers. In a further attempt to conceal this scheme, the defendants allegedly filed fraudulent tax returns with the State of New York that omitted the cash payments made under fictitious names.
Khokhar allegedly created the dual name scheme after becoming aware that he was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor for wage violations. As part of its criminal investigation, the Attorney General’s Office obtained records substantiating the cash payments and fictitious names through execution of a search warrant at Khokhar’s Papa John’s franchise office location in the Bronx.
Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc. are expected to be arraigned in Bronx criminal court.
Pursuant to the consent judgment filed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Khokhar’s Papa John’s franchises will be required to designate and create procedures for an internal compliance officer and will be subject to independent auditing of the franchises’ practices.
In February and March of this year, Attorney General Schneiderman obtained judgments against two other Papa John’s franchisees, Emstar Pizza and New Majority Holdings, for violating wage laws. Those judgments totaled almost $3 million. A.G. Schneiderman has also secured settlements with 12 separate Domino’s franchisees for almost $1.5 million, as well as settlements with McDonald’s and KFC franchisees. All of these cases addressed violations of wage and hour laws.
Since Fiscal Year 2014, Wage and Hour Division investigations of fast food and other limited service restaurants across New York State have uncovered violations resulting in more than $683,000 in back wages for nearly 700 workers.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor and the New York State Attorney General’s Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding cooperation in enforcement of labor laws. The two agencies are currently collaborating on several ongoing matters pursuant to the MOU.
The investigation was handled for the U.S. Department of Labor by its Wage and Hour Division.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Bronx Press Conference with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton RE: New Community Policing
Ms. Elizabeth Gill President of the 47th Precinct Council demanded action when crime was going way up last year in the 47th Precinct, and it seems that City Hall heard the noise with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton coming to Cardinal Spellman High School to explain the new 'Summer All Out' police department program. It is a three month program called 'Summer All Out' in the ten highest crime police precincts, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton praised the new program that was started last month in decreasing crime in the 47th Precinct in the Wakefield section of the Bronx with shootings down 70 percent for the past month.
In the past the Mayor said that there was a chain of command that had to be gone through to change the deployment of police officers in a precinct. Now that red tape has been cut to allow for an almost instant redeployment of officers where they may be needed when problems pop up. The 47th Police Precinct in Wakefield has been assigned 26 additional officers for three months, and several other officers commonly refereed to as 'House Mouse Officers' have also been deployed into the streets of the precinct. In all there are 330 additional officers that have been sent to the 10 precincts in the 'Summer All Out' Program which began on June 8th. Other Bronx police precincts in this three month program are the 43rd, 44th, and 46th according to Bronx Assistant Chief Commanding Officer Larry Nikunen.
Deputy Inspector Stevenson of the 47th Pct. had only praise for his police officers, and he thanked 47th Pct. Council President Elizabeth Gill for her help in getting his command the much needed manpower to reduce the high crime rate. Commissioner Bratton spoke of how the NYPD must keep coming up with new strategies to keep ahead of the bad guys. However when I asked the question - that it looks like the first thing that the new street officers are doing is looking at car registration and inspection stickers when they arrive on their beat. I then said that to me it looks like these officers might have a ticket quota to fill. Commissioner Bratton fired back to me, 'Well that's what it looks like to you', and then stepped away from the podium without any real answer. I asked one of the new officers the same question, and was told if the situation warrants a summons it will be given. 47th Pct. Commanding Officer Stevenson said 'No Comment' when I asked him the same question.
Above - Mayor de Blasio is flanked by police Commissioner Bill Bratton, and other police brass during the press conference.
Below - Commissioner Bratton outlines the 'Summer All Out' program, and the results that has been accomplished.
Above - 47th Police Pct. Commanding Officer Stevenson had only words of praise for the police officers in his command.
Below - Mayor de Blasio welcomes Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and the mayor thanked the speaker for his help in Albany on matters of importance to the city.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
NEW YORK CITY COMPTROLLER SCOTT M. STRINGER ANNOUNCES PRE-LITIGATION SETTLEMENT WITH THE ESTATE OF ERIC GARNER
New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer today announced the settlement of a pre-litigation claim with the estate of Eric Garner for $5.9 million. Garner’s estate filed a claim against New York City in October 2014 for damages related to his death in July of last year.
“Following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of Eric Garner that is in the best interests of all parties,” Comptroller Stringer said. “We are all familiar with the events that lead to the death of Eric Garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our City and our nation. It forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve. While we cannot discuss the details of this settlement, and the City has not admitted liability, I believe that we have reached an agreement that acknowledges the tragic nature of Mr. Garner’s death while balancing my office’s fiscal responsibility to the City.”
Under Chapter 5, Section 93 of the New York City Charter, the Comptroller has the authority to settle any claims against the City.
Save The Date
Thursday, August 6th at 5:30 PM
Membership Recognition Event
The New Marriott Hotel
located in the
Metro Center Atrium
for more information
Monday, July 13, 2015
In an announcement in front of a 66 unit affordable housing building located at 950 Summit Avenue (just north of Yankee Stadium) Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President, and many local Bronx elected officials cheered that more affordable housing was created last year than since 1978.
Mayor de Blasio said “This is real progress, in real time, for real families. Together with the city council, community based organizations, and the private sector this will remain a city for everyone.” Speaker Mark-Viverito said “ It is imperative that we proactively protect affordability in our communities.” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said that his office will continue to work with the de Blasio administration to plan and build new affordable housing units that work for the people of the Bronx. Other Bronx elected officials on hand included Congressman Jose Serrano, State Senator Jose Marcos Serrano, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, Assembly members Latoya Joiner (who thanked the Rent Guidelines Board for its rent freeze for one year leases), Michael Blake, Luis Sepulveda. HPD Commissioner Vicki Been said that surpassing the goal of 20,000 units this year is a testament to the work that is being done at HPD. HDC President Gary Rodney added that the record breaking 20,000 plus units demonstrates the the de Blasio administration is achieving concrete results towards its ambitious vision of Housing New York.
The 66 unit building on Summit Avenue is currently under construction, and is slated for completion in a little over one year from now. A lottery system will be put into place to select the winners of the various income level tiered apartments which will be advertised a few months before construction on the building is finished.
The goal of Mayor Bill de Blasio's affordable housing plan is to have 200,000 new or rehabilitated current affordable units by 2021 completed or in construction. Photos are below.
Above - City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito with Mayor de Blasio at her side with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. , and other Bronx elected officials congratulate the mayor on surpassing the goal of creating 20,000 affordable housing units this year. The affordable housing 66 unit building in the background is in Speaker Mark-Viverito's council district which includes parts of the Bronx and Manhattan.
Below - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is excited about the new affordable housing units being built in the Bronx like the one he is standing in front of.