Sunday, January 31, 2016

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman - Ticket Industry Abuses, IRS Scams & More

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Uncovering Abuse In The Ticket Industry

Ever wondered why you’ve had trouble purchasing tickets to see your favorite performer? A new report issued by the Attorney General has answers. The wide-ranging, three year investigation found that consumers are often prevented from accessing tickets at affordable prices – or even accessing them at all. Pre-sale tickets, high fees and ticket bots which snatch up tickets that are subsequently sold at higher prices all make the ticketing industry a fixed game. This investigation is just the beginning of the Attorney General’s efforts to create a level playing field in the ticket industry.

Protecting New Yorkers Against Scams

New Yorkers should be wary of telephone scammers posing as officials from the Internal Revenue Service. The Attorney General recently received an uptick in complaints on these scams, which often target seniors, students, and first-generation Americans. The scam typically involves a caller holding themselves out as an IRS agent or representative from the Attorney General’s office inquiring about a past due tax balance that is owed. The caller will state that unless the debt is paid immediately, a team of officers will come to the victim’s home that day to arrest the victim. New Yorkers should remember that IRS and legitimate government agencies never demand payment by phone. If you think you are being scammed, remember that you can always say no and hang up the phone. The Attorney General urges anyone who thinks they have been the victim of fraud to immediately contact his office. 

Protecting Medicaid Against Fraudulent Billing

A Capital Region transportation company will repay Medicaid more than $1 million for overbilling the program. Over several years, Advantage Transit Group submitted reimbursements for transportation services that were not rendered. Many New Yorkers rely on Medicaid for essential health care services, and when companies take advantage of the program, it burdens taxpayers and patients alike. The Attorney General will continue to identify abuses and put Medicaid money back where it belongs.

Stopping Abuse Of Nursing Home Residents

The Attorney General announced the arrest of a Buffalo area social worker for allegedly pushing a nursing home patient to the ground. The alleged incident, caught on video surveillance, shows Susan Sanborn pushing the resident and then kicking the resident’s legs out of the way of the exit door as she left the unit. It is charged that Sanborn did not wait with the resident for medical assistance and did not return to check on the wellbeing of the resident. The Attorney General will not tolerate anyone being abused by those responsible for their care. 

Battling Public Corruption

With Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, the Attorney General announced the guilty plea of Robert Wiesner, the former Security Director for the Monroe County Water Authority, for working with others to rig the bidding process for a multi-million dollar public works contract in Monroe County.  Wiesner and other individuals were initially charged with a scheme to rig the bidding process for a number of multi-million dollar public works contracts in Monroe County.  Wiesner admitted that he acted in concert with others between March 2008 and approximately October 2013, to rig the bidding process of Monroe County for a $212 million public safety contract.
Have a question, comment, or complaint? Click here. You can also learn more about the various initiatives of the Attorney General's office by visiting our website at

Saturday, January 30, 2016

100 PERCENT Saturday January 30, 2016

By Robert Press

 The Next 17th Councilman

   Before I tell you who the next city councilman for the 17th City Council will be, Monday is Iowa Caucus Day (or evening). Iowa residents most of whom are independent voters not enrolled in either the Democratic or Republican Party are still able to register in either party to select their candidate for the state Caucus. The front runner Donald Trump is expecting thousands of new people to sign up for the Republican Caucus to select him as their choice. In the Democratic side Bernie Sanders is hoping for the same thing. So why does Iowa and the next primary stare New Hampshire mean so much to the candidates? 
    It is always good news when you are out trying to raise the much needed campaign funds or trying to get more people to vote for you if you have already proven that you are a better choice than the other candidates. You are already a winner, and if there is a large field of candidates they start to drop out because things are starting to get tough, and look bleak for them. That is the true spirit of the primary, let the people decide. To bad that dies not happen in the Bronx, and especially in the current 17th City Council Special Election. 
   Why am I so cynical about the 17th City Council Special Election especially when there was a forum that ten of the eleven candidates took part in. I expect that after the petition hearings are held on February 8th to see less than half of the field of candidates left. Will they be the best candidates or will they be the political hacks, one issue candidate, or just plain lucky to not get thrown off the ballot by the Bronx Democratic County organization expert election lawyer "KING STANLEY SCHLEIN". KING STANLEY is the man credited with knowing more than the Board of Elections when it comes to election law, after all it is said that he wrote the book on election law, or corrected it. 
   Here is who I predict will remain on the ballot, and just who will win and why. Of course Rafael Salamanca the candidate of the Bronx Democratic County organization will be on the ballot since no one challenged his petition, and the petition of the other ten candidates were challenged by the Bronx Democratic County organization as said at the candidates forum by soon to be former candidate Elliot Quinones. Other candidates who will make it past the Board of Elections challenge phase will be Julio Pabon, Loren Russell, and maybe one more candidate for a total of four from the original eleven candidates. 
   One would think with only three or four candidates in the race the Bronx Democratic County organization candidate would win, but one would be wrong as has happened in recent elections such as the 79th Assembly District. Then there is the factor of the campaign manager Mr. Benny Catalia, who seems to be slipping in recent elections, and most recently as the campaign manager of the Ruth Hassel-Thompson campaign for Mayor of Mount Vernon. It seems that State Senator Thompson should have won the election easily especially with the Bronx Democratic County organization ace campaign manager as her campaign manager Mr. Benny Catalia. So what happen to Senator Thompson in the Mount Vernon Mayor's race, she came in third. Was it bad campaign managing or something else? Word is that State Senator Thompson will be seeking re-election after saying that she would be retiring from office. Could the way she lost have anything to do with the decision?
   Getting back to the 17th City Council Special Election with only three or four candidates I would have to say that candidate Julio Pabon would be the favorite to win, and he should need less votes this election than he received in the last election for this seat in 2013. The Bronx Democratic County organization candidate Rafael Salamanca seems to be very weak, especially since it appears that he was not doing his job as District Manager of Bronx Community Board #2. I say that because there were no minutes of Community Board #2 full board meetings, executive board meetings, or District Service Cabinet meetings on file when I requested to see them at the Community Board #2 District office on January 19, 2016. I also asked to see the time sheets for the Community Board #2 District Manager, any communication between the district manager Mr. Salamanca and the board as to when Mr. Salamanca decided to run for office, and any discretionary spending by Bronx Community Board #2 while Mr. Salamanca has been the district manager. I have had to give Bronx Community Board #2 Chairman Dr. Ian Amritt a Freedom of Information letter for the above six items, and in an e-mail to me dated January 25, 2016 from Dr. Amritt he states that the board has received my FOIL letter and will respond in twenty business days of which documents are in the possession of Community Board #2, how I can obtain them, and which items I will be denied. Since Bronx Community Board #2 is a public body of the City of New York all six items should be in the possession of the board office and available for viewing at any time. By the way the twenty business days just happens to be after the Special Election that Community Board #2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca is a candidate. 
   I have also viewed the first Campaign Finance Board filing of 17th City Council candidate Rafael Salamanca (all nine pages) which is accessible on the CFB website, and it seems that candidate Salamanca received campaign donations as far back as early December 2015, throughout November 2015, on October 26, 2015, and even as far back as September 11, 2015. The question is, how many of the contributors had anything to do with Bronx Community Board #2, and was District Manager Rafael Salamanca on the payroll of Bronx Community Board #2 when any of the contributions to his campaign for City Council of a seat that covers Bronx Community Board #2 came in? by the way I was sitting next to a person who said they were a member of Bronx Community Board #2 at the candidates forum. More in upcoming columns.
   If you have any political information (especially about the 17th City Council special election) that you want to share or have checked out, any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on this blog, you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.     


AUDITIONS for the 6th Annual Youth Got Talent Competition/Show

The Youth Got Talent (YGT) Committee of Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church cordially invites youth ages 5-25 y/o to participate in our 6th annual youth talent competition & show.
An audition is required to perform in the event.

Persons May Enter In Either Category:
I    Perform as Contestant with chance to win prize (1st Place $100, 2nd Place $75, 3rd Place$50).
II   Perform as Supporter/Guest-will NOT be considered for a prize.
III  Display own Art Work at Gallery segment – no prize offered– item for display must be
      Screened by the committee. Persons over age 25y/o may participate for the Gallery.
IV  Help Decorate Stage.

Audition Registration:
To register for audition, please complete and return the attached Pre-Registration Form (PRF). Performers must be at least 5 y/o and no older than 25 y/o on day of the event on May 21, 2016. PRF must be received by committee to confirm your selected arrival time to audition- from schedule listed below.  An application must be completed and signed prior to the audition.

 Audition Schedule:
Persons under age 18 must be accompanied during audition by their parent or legal guardian or authorized adult – with signed consent of parent or legal guardian.  
February 6th (Saturday) 11am-1pm
February 13th (Saturday) 1pm-3pm
March 24th (Thursday) 6pm-8pm

Audition Location:
 771 Fairmount Place (corner of Fairmount Pl & Prospect Ave). 
BronxNY 10460
Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church

The Event:
Youth Got Talent Competition/Show 2016: “Stirring Up The Gifts”
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Gallery: (11am – 1pm); Performances: (1pm – 4pm).
Event Location: Community site in the Bronx
If you have any questions call (917) 226-7960 or send email to

Bronx Democratic County Committee - Upcoming Events

Below is a list of upcoming events. Attached you will find flyers for each event.
Bronx Dems' Winter Reception
Thurs. 2/18/16 from 6:30 - 9:30pm
Michaelangelo's - 2477 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, NY

You are cordially invited to join Hon. Marcos A. Crespo & the Bronx Democratic County Committee for a Winter Reception.

To RSVP or for more information, please call347.281.9759 or email

Click to Enlarge
State of the 79th Assembly District Address
When: Sun. 1/31/16 at 2p
Where: Dreamyard - 1085 Washington Avenue The Bronx, NY
The Honorable Michael A. Blake cordially invites you to the State of the 79th Assembly District Address. 

RSVP by calling (718) 538-3829.
Click to Enlarge
Liberty Democratic Club Meeting
When: Sun. 1/31/16 from 2 - 5p
Where: Janel Towers - 801 Neill Ave. (Community Room)

The Liberty Democratic Club is holding its first meeting of the new year. Annual dues of $10 will be collected. Space is limited. 

RSVP by contacting Monica 917-208-3886 or Zena Twyman: 646-236-2053.
Click to Enlarge
BYD Networking Event
When: Wed 2/3/16 at 6:30p
Where: Bronx Beer Hall - 2344 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY
Join the Bronx Young Democrats for an evening of networking.

For more information, please
Click to Enlarge
State of the 12th Council District
When: Sat 3/12/16
Where: 177 Dresier Loop (Auditorium)

Save the date for Councilman Andy King' State of the District Address.

For more information, contact the Councilman's office at 718-684-5509.
Click to Enlarge

In solidarity,
Hon. Marcos A. Crespo, Chair
The Bronx Democratic County Committee
1640 Eastchester Rd.

Friday, January 29, 2016


  This afternoon Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz held a Senior Town Hall Meeting at the Van Cortlandt Senior Center on Sedgwick Avenue.  The main focus of these senior town hall meetings is to alert senior who are targets of scammers to the current and newest scams that are aimed towards senior citizens.  Assemblyman Dinowitz mentioned some of the phone scams where the caller says a relative is in need of money or that the senior owes Con Edison back payment or their lights will be turned off. The senior is then directed to go to a drug store to purchase a Green Dot Money Card and give the code numbers to the scammer in a call back. Also mentioned was a new scam at this time of the year when taxes are done. The senior receives a call from someone who says they are from the IRS who tells the senior that they owe more taxes, and again to purchase a Green Dot Money Card and call back with the code numbers.

   Assemblyman Dinowitz said that Con Edison, The IRS, and any reputable company will not call you on the phone directing you to purchase a Green Dot Money Card, and call back with the code number from the back of the card. These are scams he said and once you give the code number the Green Dot Money Card becomes useless and worth nothing. He added that Con Edison, the IRS, and any other reputable company will not call you asking you to purchase a Green Dot Money Card, and the code from the back of the card. 

   Assemblyman Dinowitz also warned the seniors to be careful on their computers as to phony e-mails that may do the same thing, or try top get their personal information for a scam to steal their hard earned money. Hse suggested if you do not know who the e-mail is from, or it looks suspicious that you should not open the e-mail and delete it from your computer. Afterwards Assemblyman Dinowitz took questions from the audience on this and other topics. 

The next Senior Town Hall Meeting from Assemblyman Dinowitz will take place on Friday February 12th at the Riverdale YM_YWHA located at 5625 Arlington Avenue (off West 256th Street), and begin at 11 AM.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The 17th City Council Special Information Forum hosted by We Stay/Nos Quedamos began l

  The 17th City Council Special Information Forum hosted by We Stay/Nos Quedamos began last night at the Pregones Theater located at 575 Walton Avenue, but by the photo above two candidates were missing at the the opening. Candidate George Alvarez and Candidate Rafael Salamanca were not in their seats (as seen by the empty chairs) Salamanca came in about 10 minutes after the forum started, but Alvarez was a no show like in a previous 79th A.D. debate two years ago.  

  Candidates Carlton Curry, Helen Hunt, Martin Molina, Joann Otero, and Elliot Quinones on one side, with candidates Julio Pabon, John Perez, Rafael Salamanca, Loren Russell, and Amanda Septimo seated across from the first five candidates. The first question went to candidate Quinones, who in answering the question opened up against the Bronx Democratic County organization. Quinones said that the Bronx Democratic County organization had challenges put in against the 10 candidates who were running against their candidate. The anti Bronx Democratic County organization atmosphere was also felt by many in the audience who wanted a fair open election, or had their own choice other then the Bronx Democratic County organization candidate. 

  In my opinion there were some candidates who I felt because of their current positions should do better than other candidates, and the few who were doing this for the first time. Candidate Rafael Salamanca was the choice of the Bronx Democratic County organization, and the District Manager of Community Board #2. Candidate Joann Otero was the Chief of Staff for the previous Councilwoman who resigned. Candidate Amanda Septimo was an aide to Congressman Jose Serrano. All three of these candidates emphasized their positions, but I felt all three should have done better. Candidate Helen Hunt stressed her union background, Candidate Julio Pabon stressed his community activism and ownership of three small businesses. Candidate Loren Russell stressed his church background. Candidate John Perez stressed his roots in the neighborhood, and almost 20 year military career coming back to a district that has gone in reverse rather then forward. Candidates Curry, Molina, and Quinones seemed out of place in a candidates forum, and candidate Alvarez was no where to be seen..
  As to just who won the forum were the people who were in attendance, and those who watched on Bronxnet Television. As I interviewed people after the forum they had their own candidate that they liked, now liked, wanted to know more about, and did not like. You can make up your own mind by watching a replay on Bronxnet Television channel 67 when the forum is rebroadcast, or you can go to to view a replay of the 17th City Council Special Election Forum held last night by We Stay/Nos Quedamos. 


Candidates Carlton Curry, Helen Hunt, Martin Molina, Joann Otero, and standing Elliot Quinones.

Candidates Julio Pabon, John Perez, Rafael Salamanca (not seated yet), Loren Russell, and Amanda Septimo. The photo was taken as the forum began before candidate Salamanca arrived.

This photo was taken when candidate Salamanca was answering a question. Candidate Septimo is hidden by the two questioners.


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

You should know that back on October 7, 2015, I wrote a column titled “Scott Stringer is Hurting the Homeless and the Needy” hoping that the abuse and the torture that community-based organizations who work with the homeless would come to an end.
You should also know that I even explained these problems in detail to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week during his testimony in front of the Local Government Officials and General Government Committee in Albany during New York State’s Legislature Budget Hearing.
It's important for you to know that as of today,the situation has not changed and Mr. Scott Stringer still refusing to sign the contract, that is why I am releasing (for you information) the same What You Should Know that I wrote back in October. Here it is:
You should know that there is an article titled EXPERTS SAY STRINGER’S REJECTION OF HOMELESS SHELTER CONTRACTS IS ‘ILLEGAL’ written by Jeff Stein from New York NonProfit that appeared in the October 6, 2015 edition of “City and State.” Mr. Stein wrote about how “the current standoff between Bill de Blasio and Scott Stringer over the registration of homeless shelter contracts is far from shocking.” As a New York State Senator here in the South Bronx, and as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, I must say that it is deplorable for families and children to languish in poverty and homelessness while New York City's Comptroller - who lives in a penthouse - delays and denies payments for New York City homeless shelter contracts.
I must also say that it is disreputable for Mr. Stringer to bolster his own public stature by refusing to sign contracts for homeless shelters while people are suffering, and organizations that rely upon City funding to serve the homeless are not even able to pay their bills.
You should already know that my ministers and I work hard to support the efforts of the multitude of organizations that serve homeless New Yorkers. We know that due to circumstances that are often outside of our control, any one of us could become homeless overnight. Most of us know that it is our duty and obligation to take care of each other, and when someone or something becomes an obstruction, we have a responsibility to shine a light on that person and demand for him or her to be held accountable.
It is important to know that under the New York City Charter, the Comptroller’s authority mandates the registration of contracts unless: (1) there is not enough funding for the contract to be paid; (2) if the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services has not certified the contract; or (3) if there is reason to suspect corruption.
According to New York University School of Law Professor Roderick Hills: “Given that none of the homeless shelter contracts have been rejected on those grounds … For the comptroller to slow down or stop the mayor’s contracting policy is frankly illegal.”
We all know about Mr. Stringer’s personal ambition to become the Mayor of New York City; it’s no secret. We also know that Mr. Stringer has been extremely generous handing out lawsuit settlement checks for high profile cases against New York City, and has not missed any opportunity to glow in the media for each of our tax dollars he has doled out.
Mr. Stringer's refusal to sign contracts that the Mayor's office has approved shows that he is intentionally hurting the most needy, and making community organizations that deal with the homeless endure all kinds of problems. Many of the organizations that are truly there for the homeless are being forced to borrow money from banks to pay their bills without knowing if Scott Stringer will ever sign their contract.
My dear reader, the homeless are suffering. And the organizations that are fighting for the needy are paying the consequences because of Mr. Stringer's vicious refusal to sign their contracts.
Mr. Stringer should be trying to help the organizations that serve the homeless to work out technicalities and assist with any necessary paperwork - instead, he is beating them down and casting them aside.

I am calling on New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to stop hurting the needy and to sign the contracts already approved by the Mayor to allow homeless service organizations to pay their bills and fulfill their obligations to serve the needy.

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.

Bronx Borough President - Celebrating African-American Culture

Invites you to celebrate
Thursday, February 11, 2016

5:30 P.M.-8:30 P.M.

Eastwood Manor Banquet, 3371 Eastchester Road


Hon. Darcel D. Clark, Bronx County District Attorney

Hon.Charles B. Rangel, United States Representative

Davon Lomax, Political Director, DC9 of the International 

Union of Painters & Allied Trades

 The Jonathan Hicks Award Recipient

Gregory A. Delts, Kappa Alpha Psi, 

Bronx Alumni Chapter

Please call to confirm your attendance 718-590-3532 or

Sponsored by

Assemblymember Michael Blake - Reminder January 31st State of the District

Assemblymember Michael Blake cordially invites you to his first State of the District as he outlines the progress of and the path forward for the 79th assembly district to achieve our "3, 2, 1" vision of Economic Development, Education, and Equality for All.  
NOTE: The State of the District will now be on Sunday, January 31st, 2016 at 2pm at DreamYard, 1085 Washington Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451.
A reception will follow the event.
Join us as we are transforming the South Bronx into the urban metropolis of the world.
This is a free event but we encourage you to RSVP at link below:


  Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the Zika virus:
“We shouldn't allow the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Zika virus to spark a panic.  Domestic and international health experts are taking this issue seriously, and I'm committed to working in Congress to ensure that this outbreak is dealt with quickly and competently.

“President Obama's recent meeting with top U.S. health officials and today's announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) of an emergency meeting on Zika are good steps.  I encourage continued efforts to address the issue head-on. This challenge will require enhanced research, substantial resources, interagency cooperation, and coordinated efforts to ensure that clear information reaches the public as quickly as possible. I have long called for increased engagement with our partners in the Americas, and at this difficult time, the United States must assist our neighbors as they continue to fight the Zika virus.”


Cases of the Zika virus have been reported in more than 20 countries throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean, as well as Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. While this mosquito-borne infection is common in other parts of the world, Zika has only recently appeared in the Western Hemisphere. As a result, most lack the immunity needed to ward off infection.

News on Zika’s spread has centered primarily on a concurrent uptick in cases of microcephaly, a condition that causes infants to be born with abnormally small heads and significant brain defects. While health officials have yet to confirm the link between Zika and microcephaly in infants whose mothers were infected during pregnancy, the apparent correlation has incited widespread concern and varied instructions for pregnant women.