Thursday, November 30, 2017

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj - Join me for these upcoming Holiday Events

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting 
Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza !
Thursday, December 7th 3:30pm
Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza
Pelham Pkway, North at Esplanade

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting 
at Loreto Park !
Thursday, December 7th 5:00pm
Loreto Park
Corner of Morris Park Ave. & Haight Ave

Join us for hot cocoa, caroling, and a special appearance by Santa!

Breakfast with Santa ! 
Saturday, December 16,2017
9:30AM - 11:30AM Maestro's Caterers
Menorah Lightings ! 
Tuesday, December 12th,2017

3:30PM - Bronx House

4:30PM - Einstein Hospital
Corner of Morris Park Avenue and Eastchester Rd
Bronx, New York 10461

5:30PM - Rudy Macina Peace Memorial Plaza
Pelham Parkway N at Esplanade 

NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez - MTA Should Only Focus on Maintenance, Repair and the Signal System

   Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council Committee on Transportation, today proposed measures to improve service delivery by the MTA.

"Throughout the years we have witnessed how the City and State of New York have taken on great challenges and succeeded. Creating 3-K for All; the construction of the Mario Cuomo Bridge; the decrease in the unemployment rate to 6.4 percent, the lowest in six years; the renovation of the LaGuardia Airport, among other important projects, are just some examples our accomplishments.
"Motivated by our achievements as New Yorkers, I proposed earlier this week that the MTA should put a hold on starting new projects, focus completely on finishing all maintenance and repair work throughout all subway lines, and upgrade the New York City subway signal system by 2028.
"Since the 1980s, more than $100 billion have been invested in the infrastructure of the New York City subway. These dollars have not been effectively spent to improve service and safety. They have been bandages preventing the subway system from further collapsing. The Regional Planning Association's call for a "subway reconstruction public benefit corporation" echoes my proposal to make repair and maintenance the priority.
"In addition to working solely on maintenance, repairs and the signal system, the board should be reorganized to include two members of the New York City Council. Straphangers deserve to be more fairly represented. The MTA is not delivering the service New York City residents deserve and they need more voices that better reflect their experience riding the subway.
"New Yorkers need to see more results and transparency in the subway improvement process. We can raise over $27.1 billion over 10 years by implementing Comptroller Stringer's state bonds plan, Move NY's proposals, Mayor De Blasio's "Fair Fix" and Dinowitz' income tax set-aside. This revenue would be fully dedicated to funding the work I am proposing for the next ten years.

"As New Yorkers, I know we can take on this feat and work together to bring our subway system to the 21st century."

ENGEL on Reports of Tillerson Being Replaced by CIA Director Pompeo

  Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“I have serious concerns with how Rex Tillerson has performed at the State Department, but regardless of who is Secretary of State, it’s clear that Donald Trump has been trying to undermine the Department and hollow out our diplomatic corps. With his 31% budget cuts and the exodus of so many of our most senior foreign service officers, morale at the Department is hitting rock bottom. And without skilled diplomats working on national security issues like North Korea, every American is less safe.

“Here's what America needs going forward:  A Secretary of State who strongly supports the diplomatic corps, fully funding the State Department, USAID, and our other foreign affairs agencies, and showing the world that we want to extend a hand of friendship, rather than building walls of division.”

Assemblyman Dinowitz and State Senator Alcántara Pass Law to Combat Lead Poisoning

Newly signed legislation will require the New York State Department of Health Commissioner to take tangible action when a designation of lead poisoning risk is made.

  The recent revelations about NYCHA failing to disclose the presence of lead paint in some of their buildings has made a new law from Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and State Senator Marisol AlcaÌntara particularly timely, however the pursuit of protections against the dangers of lead has been two decades in the making. Under the new law, first proposed by Dinowitz in 1997, the New York State Department of Health Commissioner will be required to take such steps which will not only increase public awareness but also increases accountability on the part of landlords and other parties to address potential lead paint conditions. Previously when an area was designated to be at risk of lead poisoning, the NYS Health Commissioner was not required to provide written notice to affected residents or conduct a formal hearing if the condition was not remediated.

The health impacts of lead poisoning are well-documented and most acutely affect young children, ranging from neurological impediments and developmental delays to coma conditions and death. However, many individuals are unaware if and when they are living in an area that puts them at risk of lead poisoning. Lead paint was commonly used in homes built prior to a federal ban was implemented in 1978, and lead pipes and solder were used until 1986. Improperly performed renovations, industrial contamination, or old water pipes that have not yet been replaced are all examples of risk factors for lead poisoning.

The new law will first require written notice and demand for the remediation of lead paint conditions that are conducive to lead poisoning. If the notice and demand is not complied with, then the NYS Health Commissioner is able to conduct a formal hearing and may order abatement of the condition and assess a fine of up to $2,500. The abatement and fine cannot be ordered if the property owner is able to sufficiently prove that their lead paint condition will not cause lead poisoning.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “While NYCHA failing to disclose lead paint in some of their buildings has generated recent headlines, we have long known about the health risks associated with lead. Lead poisoning most severely affects young children and can cause irreversible neurological damage. The first step for parents to protect their children is to be made aware that there is a risk of lead poisoning in their area. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill into law.”

State Senator Marisol Alcántara said: Lead poisoning creates severe and lasting developmental delays in young children, and can even be fatal in extreme cases. Thousands of buildings across New York City were built before the federal ban on lead paint was instituted in 1978, and New Yorkers deserve to know if they or their children are at risk for lead poisoning. Low-income New Yorkers are especially vulnerable to poorly maintained or aging buildings that may contain lead, and I am very glad that Governor Cuomo has signed our bill, which I made a priority last session.


  “As we work to make this city more equitable, we are building and preserving affordable housing at a record pace. Alongside the East New York and Downtown Far Rockaway plans, the East Harlem plan and Bedford Armory Recreation Project mean thousands of affordable homes for neighborhood families. They mean jobs for local residents, community spaces for learning, growing and gathering, and investments in parks, schools, and roads. As we plan for the future, we protect the core values of our city and our neighborhoods – and most importantly the very residents who built these communities. We are making progress, and today we applaud Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Bill Perkins and Laurie Cumbo and the dedication of the East Harlem and Crown Heights communities for working with us to guarantee a fairer future for New York,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This is big. We are making investments in communities that need more affordable housing for working families and seniors, better recreation space for kids and a clearer path to good jobs. These are important links in our growing housing plan that will shape these neighborhoods for decades to come. The City agencies, Council Members and communities that brought these plans together should be proud of the outcomes,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said.

In addition to significant City investments to build and preserve nearly 4,000 affordable homes for the community, the East Harlem plan brings $178.2 million in City investments:

Capital improvements in NYCHA developments within East Harlem: $50 million.

Expand the Harlem River Greenway Link to connect 125th and 132nd streets: $83 million.
Improvements to the East River Esplanade: $15 million.
Build a comfort station in Harlem River Park: $4.7 million.
Create a small business Workforce 1 satellite center to increase access to employment opportunities for local residents: $500,000.
Renovate La Marqueta: $25 million.

Redevelopment of the 138,000-square-foot Bedford Union Armory will create:

250 homes for families earning less than $50,000 year, including for formerly homeless New Yorkers.
State-of-the art recreation center affordable to community residents.
Low-cost space for local nonprofits and a new medical facility for uninsured New Yorkers.
More than 750 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs at the Armory.

In partnership with Council Member Cumbo, the project was greatly improved:

The City will maintain ownership of the entirety of the Bedford Union Armory property.
The City will prohibit the sale of market-rate residential condominiums.
The City will study the feasibility of redeveloping 516 Bergen Street, a City-owned parking lot, into more than 30 affordable homes for seniors. 


Changes include adding an income threshold to ensure help reaches those who need it most

  Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick today announced a new bill that would make changes to the Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) aimed at helping New York City’s small businesses succeed. Effective July 1, 2018, the threshold for Manhattan’s CRT for businesses with income up to $5 million will increase from $250,000 to $500,000 annual rent, with the benefit provided on a sliding scale for businesses with income between $5 million and $10 million or paying $500,000 to $550,000 in rent. In total, the move reduces taxes for 2,700 small businesses, including 1,800 that will no longer pay the tax at all. Under this move, the average business owner will receive between $11,300 and $13,000 in annual tax relief. This represents the first change to the CRT since 2001 and specifically targets Manhattan’s mom-and-pop shops and small businesses with 99 percent of the benefit going to businesses with only one or two taxable locations. The bill was voted on earlier in the day by the City Council and will be signed by the mayor in the coming weeks.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of this city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “That’s why we designed the bill to ensure that they’re the ones we’re helping. The Commercial Rent Tax in its previous form is outdated and we’re proud to make the first changes in over a decade to bring relief to thousands of small businesses.”

“Manhattan’s small business owners have had to make too many sacrifices just to keep their livelihoods open. Intro 799-B would alleviate the financial burden of having to pay a rent tax on top of having to pay the rent itself for the borough’s businesses. Despite vast changes in the Manhattan real estate market and economic landscape over the last 15 years, the commercial rent tax has not been updated to reflect the realities on the ground. So this legislation reflects a long overdue step to provide relief to those businesses who have been struggling for far too long,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I thank my colleague, Economic Development Chair Daniel Garodnick, for his leadership on this issue and advocating for our small businesses.”

“With storefront vacancies soaring and retail in crisis, the City Council is today taking a crucial step to support Manhattan’s small businesses,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “For the first time since 2001, we are reforming the unfair, commercial rent tax. By doing so, we are throwing a lifeline to businesses that make our neighborhoods special and provide jobs to New Yorkers from all five boroughs. This relief could not come soon enough and I join the 41 other co-sponsors of this legislation in thanking Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito for their support.”

Currently, the CRT is paid by commercial tenants below 96th Street and above Murray Street in Manhattan who pay $250,000 or more in annual rent. The effective tax rate is 3.9 percent and has, for years, imposed an additional operating expense on small businesses, regardless of their income. For some small businesses, what they have owed in CRT has at times amounted to more than their net annual income, putting a serious strain on their finances. This change in tax policy is an effort to alleviate that strain and help New York City’s small businesses thrive. The total cost to the City is $36.8 million in Fiscal Year 2019.


I left in the comment from Manhattan Councilman Garodnick, and left out the other comments from other Manhattan connected business affiliates or elected officials, since this is for Manhattan only and not the other four boroughs known as the 'Outer Boroughs'. Good going Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Vivirito. No wonder this city has gone downhill the last four years. At least one of you will be gone soon.


  Last night Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and the Bronx Jewish Historical Initiative honored the Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, highlighting the rich and extraordinary history of the Jewish community of The Bronx.
The induction ceremony, emceed by 1010 WINS Radio’s Juliet Papa, honored former New York Yankee Ron Blomberg, former New York City Council Member June Eisland, playwright Miriam Hoffman, designer Joel Iskowitz, architect Daniel Liebeskind, Executive Vice President & CEO for the Jewish Community Relations Council Michael S. Miller, Bernstein Global Wealth Management’s Jeffrey Wiesenfeld and WPIX-TV anchor Marvin Scott for their contribution to the borough.
“The Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame showcases people who have made extraordinary contributions not just within their community but also throughout the world,” saidBronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I want to thank this year’s class, folks from all walks of life, be it in sports, finance, the arts, real estate or public service, for all that they have done for The Bronx and beyond.”
The Bronx Jewish Hall of Fame was established by the Bronx Jewish Historical Initiative--co-chaired by Howard Teich and Marti Michael--in 2015. It is intended to honor Jewish individuals from the Bronx in recognition of their Bronx heritage and their lifetime achievement, epitomizing what makes our community great.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What You Should Know By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz The Big Winner Is

The Big Winner Is Senator Jeff Klein 

You should know that after seven long years of the back and forth of much criticisms and insults thrown at each other, finally (supposedly) The New York Democratic Senate will unite and become two in one. 

As you know in 2011 Senator Jeff Klein pulled away from the Democratic Majority in the Senate and created his own conference which he called the “Independent Democratic Conference” (IDC).    The result of this move was the IDC’s ability in joining the Republicans which helped to keep the Republicans in control of the Senate.   This resulted in a weakened Democratic Majority in the Senate. 

It is important for you to know that for the last seven years Senator Klein has proven to be very clever, quite Smart and a skilled leader.  Under the IDC Senator Klein has managed to obtain more resources, better benefits for himself, and the eight members that comprise his IDC.   So, what about the other twenty-five (25) members of the regular Democrats?  Well they have obtained zero, nada. 

Now, finally, (supposedly) there is an agreement. Well in this agreement Senator Klein and his eight member IDC will abandon their association with the Republicans and will now return and join the majority Democrats in the Senate. Well get this, not as one conference but two conferences.  Meaning that the IDC will continue to operate under the leadership of Sen. Jeff Klein, and the Regular Democrats will continue to operate under the leadership of Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins.  Now the Democrat majority in the Senate can proudly declare that they operate with two heads! Ha, ha, ha. 

According to the agreement the two conferences will have equal share of benefits, and resources.   Meaning that Jeff Klein and his eight members will get more than the other twenty-five senators under Sen. Andrea Cousins. 

It is important for you to know that the big winner here is Jeff Klein and his eight member IDC. Senator Klein has skillfully managed to do away with the pressure of his many critics and avoids the threat of possible primary challenges.   

Now ladies and gentleman I fear that many other members of the regular Democratic Senators will be free to jump and join in with Jeff Klein and his IDC. 

You should know that by joining Klein and his IDC those Senators take the leap into the IDC, believing that it would be more beneficial for them and the districts they represent.   No one can criticize them for that because now it is viewed as, that they are all Democrats who are once again controlling the New York Senate.   

My dear reader, I strongly believe that Jeff Klein and the IDC will grow in membership and the regular Democrats will dwindle in membership little by little, one by one.  In return, this will make Jeff Klein more powerful, making him the one and only leader of the New York State Senate.   

This is Senator Ruben Diaz and this is what you should know.


State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. will only be in the state senate for less than two more months, that is because Ruben Diaz Sr. is the Councilman Elect to the 18th City Council District. 

There is already talk of the City Council extending term limits to a third term for council members only. 

What do you think of that Councilman Elect Ruben Diaz Sr?

That is what the people need to know.


  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the borough’s official celebration of Albanian culture and heritage in recognition of the 105th Anniversary of Albania’s Independence last night.

“The Albanian community has always had a strong connection to The Bronx,” saidBronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “As we celebrate Albanian Independence Day, I am proud to recognize several individuals of Albanian descent who have contributed to the ongoing success of our borough and our city.”

During the event, Borough President Diaz honored three individuals—Dr. Hasan Ademaj, Bajram Doka and Sander Çotaj—for their contributions to the civic life of The Bronx. In addition, three awards were posthumously accepted by the families of Ded Gjo Luli, Elez Ali Nezaj and Imam Isa Hoxha, all of whom are considered heroes in Albania.

The event was co-sponsored by the Albanian-American Society Foundation, the Sons and Daughters of Albania in America, the Albanian Community Center.

Above - Soprano Merita Halili and Maestro Raif Hyseni prepare for their performance.
Below - They were wonderful in singing and music background for both the American and Albanian national anthems.

Above - Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks of the importance of the Albanian-American to the Bronx and New York City..
Below BP Diaz Jr., and Nathalia Fernandez (former Chief of staff to the first Albanian elected official) currently Gover Andrew Cuomo's Bronx Liaison, present a proclamation to Esat Rizai and Hajdis Alijaj proclaiming the day for Albanian Independence Day.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Criminal And Civil Charges Against Prominent Researcher For Theft Of Government Funds And Other Offenses

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Scott J. Lampert, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (“HHS-OIG”), announced today the filing of criminal and civil charges against ALEXANDER NEUMEISTER (“NEUMEISTER”), a prominent researcher into neurological disorders who, at all times relevant to the charges, was a professor of psychology at a New York City medical school (the “School”).  NEUMEISTER was charged with using his position at the School to convert tens of thousands of dollars of federal grant funds, as well as funds belonging to the School, to his personal use by spending them on, among other things, trips for family members and trips and meals for himself and a social friend (the “Friend”).  Among other expenses, NEUMEISTER used approximately $9,000 in government funds to pay for eight roundtrip flights from New York City to Salt Lake City to visit the Friend, as well as more than $4,300 in School funds to pay for the Friend to enjoy a nine-day, all-expense paid trip to a resort hotel in Miami Beach.  In addition, NEUMEISTER falsely claimed that the Friend was a research study participant in studies that NEUMEISTER was overseeing for the School, and caused the School to pay over $10,000 of the School’s own funds directly to the Friend.  To date, NEUMEISTER has not repaid any of the misappropriated funds.

NEUMEISTER was arrested on November 21, 2017, in Ogdensberg, New York, and appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in the Northern District of New York on November 22, 2017.  He will be presented before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman in Manhattan federal court today.  In addition, a civil case was brought against NEUMEISTER in Manhattan federal court earlier today.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, Alexander Neumeister, fraudulently charged tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses as research or school-related expenses.  For allegedly betraying the trust of the medical school that employed him and the government institute that funded his research, Neumeister now faces serious federal charges.”  
Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert said:  “The defendant allegedly stole thousands of dollars from grants that were meant for important mental health research.  We will continue to hold individuals accountable for blatant misuse of federal funds.”

According to the allegations in the Government’s criminal and civil complaints[1]:
From 2012 through 2014 (“Covered Period”), NEUMEISTER was employed by the School and served as the principal investigator for a variety of research studies, many of which were funded by grants issued by the National Institute of Mental Health (“NIMH”).  As the principal investigator of these studies, NEUMEISTER was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the studies.  NEUMEISTER was provided a credit card by the School, referred to as a procurement card (“P-Card”), and was authorized to charge study-related expenses to the P-Card, but in doing so he was required to identify to which specific funding source (i.e., which grant or other source) each such expense should be allocated.  To the extent NEUMEISTER allocated expenses to NIMH grants or School expense accounts, the School would pay the expenses using funds it received from NIMH or its own funds, respectively. 
During the Covered Period, NEUMEISTER used his P-Card to charge tens of thousands of dollars of expenses that were personal in nature and unrelated to his research studies or employment at the School.  Nevertheless, NEUMEISTER falsely classified, or caused others to classify falsely, these expenses as related to his research or for business purposes related to his position at the School, which resulted in the expenses being paid for using NIMH funds or the School’s own funds.  For example, during the Covered Period, NEUMEISTER used his P-Card to charge the following personal expenses, all of which were ultimately paid for with NIMH or School funds:   
  • airline tickets so that the Friend could travel from Charlotte, North Carolina, or Salt Lake City, Utah, depending on where the Friend was then living, to New York City, where NEUMEISTER was then living;
  • airline tickets so that NEUMEISTER could travel from New York City to Charlotte and Salt Lake City to visit the Friend, as well as lodging, bar tabs, meals and other travel-related expenses associated with this travel;
  • an all-expense paid trip to Miami Beach for the Friend, during which the Friend was given authorization by NEUMEISTER to use NEUMEISTER’s P-Card to pay for food, beverages, and beach facilities; 
  • an iPhone for the friend; and 
  • airline tickets so that NEUMEISTER’s spouse could travel from Newark, New Jersey, to Vienna, Austria, to attend a family event.
When one of NEUMEISTER’s supervisors at the School questioned him in connection with an audit of his P-Card charges, NEUMEISTER, among other things: (1) asked that the audit findings not be disclosed to others because it would jeopardize his job and his children’s ability to attend the School without having to pay tuition; and (2) offered to pay back certain of the expenses that he had charged to the P-Card.  Yet, Neumeister never repaid any of the misappropriated funds and later denied much of the improper conduct. 

NEUMEISTER, 51, of Hamden, Connecticut, is charged with one count of theft of government funds, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the Judge.  NEUMEISTER is also charged with civil claims under the False Claims Act, through which the Government may recover damages and civil penalties arising from his conduct.

Mr. Kim thanked HHS-OIG for their efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.

The criminal case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dina McLeod and Christopher B. Harwood are in charge of the prosecution.

The civil case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Frauds Unit, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher B. Harwood and Anthony J. Sun are in charge of the matter.

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

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Brooklyn Hospital To Ensure Rape Survivors Are No Longer Illegally Billed For Forensic Rape Examinations

Hospital Will Pay Restitution To Patients & Change Billing Procedures
A.G. Sends Letters To Additional NY Hospitals Seeking Info On Policies
Schneiderman: Survivors Are Entitled To Cost-Free Emergency Care Under New York Law  
  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced an agreement with The Brooklyn Hospital Medical Center (“Brooklyn Hospital”) after an investigation that revealed the hospital illegally billed sexual assault survivors for forensic rape examinations. As part of the settlement, Brooklyn Hospital will maintain a Sexual Assault Victim Policy that prevents such improper billing, and will provide full restitution to improperly billed sexual assault survivors.
Attorney General Schneiderman has also sent letters to 10 additional hospitals across New York State seeking information on their policies. Attorney General Schneiderman reminded New Yorkers that survivors of sexual assault are entitled to cost-free emergency care under New York law, which requires those services to be provided free of charge through the state’s Office of Victim Services.
“It’s hard to imagine the heartache and anxiety a survivor must feel having to fight a collection agency over an unlawful bill for a rape kit. It’s unacceptable, and we will not allow it to continue,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “I want to be clear: survivors of sexual assault are entitled to cost-free emergency care under New York law – and we will do everything possible to ensure they get the respect and care they deserve.”
Attorney General Schneiderman initiated an investigation after receiving a complaint that a survivor of sexual assault was billed seven separate times by Brooklyn Hospital for a forensic rape exam administered in Brooklyn Hospital’s emergency room.
The Attorney General’s investigation further revealed that between January 2015 and February 2017, Brooklyn Hospital conducted 86 forensic rape exams – and in 85 out of those 86 cases, the hospital either improperly billed the patient directly, or billed the patient’s insurance plan without advising the patient of their payment options as required by law. Brooklyn Hospital had sent some of these improper bills to collection. Click here to read the settlement agreement.
New York State Executive Law Section 631(13) provides that when a hospital furnishes services -- including a forensic rape examination (FRE) – to any sexual assault survivor, it shall provide such services to the patient without charge and shall bill the Office of Victim Services (OVS) directly, or alternatively, the sexual assault survivor may voluntarily opt to assign the costs to private insurance. The purpose of Executive Law 631(13) is to ease payment of FREs by providing for submission of bills to OVS; provide quality exams; and give survivors of sexual assault the ability to choose a means of payment for their FREs, either through the OVS program or their own insurance. Allowing sexual assault survivors to choose to have OVS directly pay for services helps ensure privacy and confidentiality. This increased privacy increases the likelihood that a survivor will submit to the FRE, which in turn increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to identify offenders.
“It is unconscionable that a survivor who undergoes an intensive rape kit collection process would then receive a bill in the mail to pay for her own rape kit. What other crime victims must cover the costs of their own crime investigations? This goes to the very heart of blaming the victim, and we commend A.G. Schneiderman for stopping this illegal practice in its tracks,” said Sonia Ossorio President NOW-NY.
Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, executive director of Sanctuary for Families, said, “At Sanctuary for Families, we assist survivors of many forms of gender violence, including domestic  violence, sex trafficking, and sexual assault. We applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for uncovering the untenable practice of charging sexual assault survivors for forensic rape examinations. Institutions like hospitals should be places of refuge and healing for gender violence survivors. Victims should not be re-traumatized by receiving a bill for the collection of evidence used to find and prosecute the person who assaulted them.”
“Survivors of sexual assault should not have to pay for an evidence gathering medical exam. New York State law provides for direct payment through its Office of Victim Service for all sexual assault medical exams,” said Mary Haviland,Esq., Executive Director, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault. “A hospital may not charge the patient for that exam. We applaud Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for taking the initiative to make sure that charging survivors of sexual assault for medical exams does not take place in New York State.”
“No survivor of sexual assault who consents to a Forensic Rape Exam should ever receive a bill for medical services that NYS hospitals are obligated to provide. Receiving an underserved notice from a collections agency is a traumatizing reminder of a devastating event, and completely unnecessary. As NYS's oldest Rape Crisis program, CVTC praises the actions of the Attorney General's Office in ensuring that every survivor of sexual assault has access to the free medical exam promised by New York State,” said Christopher E. Bromson, Executive Director, Crime Victims Treatment Center.
Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang said, “Rape survivors deserve expert and immediate medical care after an assault, including access to a rape kit. The Violence Against Women Act requires states to pay for these sexual assault forensic exams—there should be no cost to survivors. For so long, survivors and victim advocates fought to change the law so that survivors would not incur the cost of these important exams. We applaud the Attorney General’s office for ensuring enforcement of this law, holding hospitals accountable who have unnecessarily charged for this exam, and standing up for survivors.”
"The Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims thanks the Attorney General for ensuring state mandated free forensic rape exams for survivors of sexual assault. This law is of the utmost importance for survivors, and no medical facility should consider itself exempt,” said Kimberly Sanchez, Co-chair, Legislative Committee, Downstate Coalition for Crime Victims.
New Yorkers with complaints regarding hospital billing or other health-care related issues may contact the Attorney General’s Health Care Helpline at 1-800-428-9071.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr - Join Santa & Mrs. Claus Thursday December 7th


What You Should Know 
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz 
32nd Senatorial District 

Governor Cuomo Should Act to Protect Medicaid Patients who need Topical Oxygen Wound Therapy 

You should know that I have written to you before about the importance of Topical Oxygen Wound Therapy to New Yorkers who are on Medicaid. 

Topical Oxygen Wound Therapy is a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from chronic, open wounds that come from diseases like diabetes and have not responded to other treatments.  It is only used after other treatments fail. Patients use it in the convenience and comfort of their own homes. It literally saves people from having limbs amputated. 

You should know that New York State’s Medicaid patients who need this treatment are overwhelmingly low-income Black and Hispanic people, and more of these patients live in the 32nd Senatorial District in the Bronx than in any other part of the State of New York. 

You should know the state decided to cover this treatment nearly 10 years ago but that the state Department of Health more recently has tried – repeatedly – to end coverage for this important treatment. 

That prompted my colleagues and me in the Legislature to pass a bill making sure that New Yorkers on Medicaid continue to have access to Topical Oxygen Wound Therapy. The bill passed unanimously in the Assembly and passed the Senate 60-3. If you total the votes in the Legislature, the bill passed 205-3! 

You should know that just last month, the state Health Department’s own panel of health care experts -- whose job it is to oversee what benefits the state offers under Medicaid -- voted unanimously to continue covering Topical Oxygen Wound Therapy indefinitely. 

You should know that Governor Cuomo should sign this bill into law. 

New York State was a leader when it decided to cover Topical Oxygen Wound Therapy in 2008. The federal government, the Veteran’s Administration and other programs have followed New York’s lead.   
Our state should continue to be a leader now. 

Dear Governor Cuomo, as we enter the holiday season, I can think of no better or more compassionate gift to New Yorkers who suffer from these painful and debilitating wounds than ensuring they can receive a treatment that helps them heal and helps fortify their dignity. 
Please sign the Topical Oxygen Wound Treatment bill. 

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea Of Brooklyn Real Estate Developer Daniel Melamed

Defendant Created Shell Corporations, Forged Letters To Defraud HUD And Financial Institutions From 2011 To 2014
Facing Trial, Daniel Melamed Pleads Guilty To 13-Count Indictment
Melamed Previously Found Guilty Of Unlawful Eviction Of Rent Stabilized Tenants Following A Separate Prosecution By A.G. Schneiderman
  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that Brooklyn real estate developer Daniel Melamed pleaded guilty today in Kings County Supreme Court to a 13-count indictment, including Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree and two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, class C felonies; as well as four counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, four counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, and two counts of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, all class D felonies. Melamed admitted under oath to engaging in various real estate schemes that defrauded banks and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) by creating shell corporations and forged letters to illegally purchase and/or sell multiple Brooklyn properties between 2011 and 2014. Today’s guilty plea follows charges brought by Attorney General Schneiderman in November 2016.
“Daniel Melamed stole money from taxpayers and cheated the public in order to boost his bottom line,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We have zero tolerance for landlords who try to game the system to line their own pockets — and we will use every tool at our disposal to bring them to justice.”
Specifically, in one scheme, Melamed, together with former co-defendants Carmen Morales and Abraham Perez, created and submitted false documents that purported to bolster Perez’s income and create the appearance that he intended to occupy 185 Hale Avenue in Brooklyn, which was a requirement of HUD in order to receive a loan from the federal agency. Perez was approved for his loan on the basis of those false submissions and, in less than two years, he defaulted. HUD, which is taxpayer funded, paid over $480,000 to cover the loss.
In a second scheme, Melamed and former co-defendant David Soufeh recruited individuals who were in foreclosure with the promise of relief from mortgage debt and cash under the table. To facilitate this illegal transaction, Melamed and Soufeh, together with former co-defendant’s Curt Joseph and Denise Morales, created and submitted numerous false documents. Melamed admitted that he and Denise Morales created multiple forgeries by cutting and pasting the signatures of bank employees and letterhead from certain banks onto false proof of funds letters. Melamed, through a fraudulent corporation, purportedly owned by Denise Morales, illegally purchased one of these properties for $250,000 in 2013 and sold it a year later for $1,250,000.
Finally, in a third scheme, Daniel Melamed, together with former co-defendants Denise Morales and Christopher Magliocca, attempted to deceive JP Morgan Chase into approving a short sale of a property owned by Melamed’s mother to a corporation controlled by Melamed. 
Melamed entered his guilty plea before State Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He is scheduled to be sentenced by Justice Chun on January 25, 2018.
Melamed was previously found guilty in June 2017 of three counts of Unlawful Eviction of rent-stabilized tenants following a bench trial before Justice Chun. The June 2015 arrest of Melamed in that case was the first resulting from the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force. Sentencing in that case is also scheduled for January 25, 2018.

Senator Jeff Klein submits over 1,000 signatures to city to save Columbus Statue

Signatures were presented to the city’s commision reviewing public art at Monday’s public hearing in The Bronx

Over 1,000 signatures from a petition drive led by Senator Jeff Klein to save the Columbus Statue were submitted to city’s commission reviewing public art at their Bronx public hearing Monday morning. A host of elected officials, including Senator Diane Savino, and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, kicked off the petition drive last month at the Morris Park Columbus Day Parade.

Community leader Joanne Rubino handed in the signatures on behalf of the elected officials while testifying in favor of saving the Columbus Statue at the public hearing at Bronx Borough Hall. The final public hearing will take place tomorrow in Staten Island.

“It is offensive to tear down an important part of Italian-American history in New York City and we will not stand for it. The statue of Christopher Columbus represents the Italian immigrants’ voyage to New York City at a time when the group faced rampant discrimination. Today we sent a strong message to the city that the Columbus Statue must stay,” said Senator Klein.

"The statue does not represent the explorer, it represents the experience of the Italian immigrant. Italians stretch from every corner of New York State, and I applaud the countless individuals who have also stepped up to voice their opposition to potentially removing the Columbus Statue,” said Senator Savino.

“The Columbus Statue represents the many Italian-American immigrants who came to this country for a better life. I am proud to stand in opposition to the potential removal of the statue with so many other New York City residents. We will continue to fight so that this symbol stays standing for generations to come,” said Assemblyman Gjonaj.