Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bronx Man Convicted In Manhattan Federal Court Of 2013 Double Murder Of Two Cousins

   Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ORANE NELSON, a/k/a “Amaze,” 28, was convicted today of murdering Jennifer Rivera and Jason Rivera on January 16, 2013, in the Bronx, in connection with a dispute over a drug debt, as well as narcotics conspiracy and firearms possession charges.  At the time of their murders, Jennifer Rivera was 20 and Jason Rivera was 30.  The jury convicted NELSON on all four counts in the controlling indictment following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote.   
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Orane Nelson executed two people in cold blood over a drug debt.  He killed Jason Rivera over a drug debt, and Jennifer Rivera – a 20-year-old college student who had nothing to do with that drug debt – just because she was there.  Today’s unanimous jury verdict finding Nelson guilty on all counts ensures Nelson will be held to account for his violent and callous crimes.”
According to court papers and evidence admitted at trial:
From 2011 to 2013, ORANE NELSON, a/k/a “Amaze,” was a crack dealer in the Bronx who also carried guns to protect his drug business.  In January 2013, NELSON had a dispute with Jason Rivera over a drug debt owed by NELSON.  Following the dispute, NELSON decided to murder Jason Rivera, and lured Jason Rivera out to a location in the Bronx with the promise of money to be paid for the debt owed.  Jason Rivera brought along his 20-year-old cousin, Jennifer Rivera, who was not involved in any drug trafficking activities, to pick up the money promised by NELSON.  Shortly after midnight, NELSON and an accomplice entered Jason Rivera’s vehicle, and minutes later executed both Jason Rivera and Jennifer Rivera by shooting them each in the head at close range.  Jennifer was killed because she was a witness to the murder of Jason Rivera.
For these activities, NELSON was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life, one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a narcotics conspiracy, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of life, to be served consecutively, and two counts of causing the death of another through use of a firearm, each of which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum of  life, to be served consecutively.  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.
NELSON is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23, 2017, before Judge Cote.
U.S. Attorney Bharara praised the FBI and the NYPD for their outstanding work in this investigation.

Guilty Plea Of Former Judge For Using His Position To Issue Favorable Rulings To Defendants In Exchange For Sexual Favors

Paul M. Lamson Faces Up To Six Years In State Prison Following Admission He Abused Position By Issuing Beneficial Rulings To Defendants In Exchange For Sexual Favors
Schneiderman:  We Will Continue Working With Our Partners In Law Enforcement To Root Out Public Corruption And Hold Those Individuals Responsible Accountable
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and NYSP today announced the guilty pleas of Paul M. Lamson, the former Judge for the Town of Fowler Justice Court in St. Lawrence County, for abusing his position as a Judge by giving beneficial rulings to defendants that appeared before him in exchange for sexual favors.  Lamson today entered guilty pleas before the Honorable Derek P. Champagne in St. Lawrence County Court, to the charges of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree in violation of Penal Law § 200.10, a class “D” felony and Official Misconduct in violation of Penal Law § 195.00(1), a class “A” misdemeanor.  As part of a plea agreement, the defendant is expected to be sentenced to two to six years in state prison.
“Judges who exploit their positions in exchange for sexual favors show blatant disregard for their victims, the trust of the general public, and the judicial system as a whole,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will continue working with our partners in law enforcement to root out public corruption and hold those individuals responsible accountable.”
A joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police revealed that Lamson had solicited defendants who had criminal cases pending before him in Fowler Town Court, to perform sexual favors and that in exchange for those sexual favors, Lamson agreed to use his authority as a Judge to assist those defendants in their criminal cases. The investigation further revealed that Lamson did, in fact, issue favorable rulings for the benefit of those defendants.
“The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office received information that initiated multiple operations with the assistance of the NYS Violent Crime Investigative Unit and the investigators of the NYS Attorney General’s Office over several months,” said St. Lawrence County Sherifff Kevin Wells. “Those operations yielded a successful arrest and conviction in a timely manner of Paul Lamson. The St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work with their law enforcement partners to combat this and other crimes in St. Lawrence County.”
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said “It is deplorable for any entrusted public official to use their authority and public office to take advantage of others especially in this manner. Judge Lamson was appointed by the people in his community to uphold the law and used the very bench that he presided over to break the law himself and to victimize and manipulate the individuals he was sworn to protect through a fair judicial process. When a public official shows such a blatant disregard for the law it is particularly disturbing. No one is above the law and such abuse of power, especially when it involves abhorrent acts like this, will not be tolerated.”
Lamson was the Town Justice for the Town of Fowler Justice Court from 2006 to December 1, 2016, when he resigned.  Today, in St. Lawrence County Court, Lamson admitted to soliciting and accepting sexual favors from individuals who had pending criminal cases before him in the Town of Fowler Justice Court, upon an agreement or understanding that his judgment, action, decision and exercise of discretion as the Justice for the Town of Fowler Court, would be influenced with respect to those defendants’ cases. The defendant further admitted that he did, in fact, provide favorable rulings on these defendants’ behalf. For example, Lamson admitted that in exchange for sexual favors, he kept a defendant at liberty as opposed to sentencing that defendant to a period of incarceration. Lamson is expected to be sentenced to two to six years in state prison at the time of his sentencing on June 1, 2017.
On February, 24th, the Attorney General announced the guilty plea of Delmar House, the former Village Justice for the Village of West Carthage Court in Jefferson County, for abusing his position as a Judge by reducing a fine for a defendant who appeared before him in exchange for sexual favors, and by paying a portion of that defendant’s fines in exchange for additional sexual favors. House pleaded guilty to Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree, and Receiving a Reward for Official Misconduct in the Second Degree, and is expected to be sentenced to up to six months’ incarceration and five years of probation.  

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Felony Charges Against Tech Firm And Former Chief Executive Officer For Alleged Securities Fraud Scheme

Tech Firm Sungame Corp. And Former CEO Neil Chandran Charged With Securities Fraud, Grand Larceny And Forgery
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today the unsealing of a multi-count indictment charging Freevi Corp., d/b/a Sungame Corp. (“Sungame”), and former Sungame Chief Executive Officer Neil Chandran in an alleged scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from unwitting investors by soliciting investments in computer tablets which supposedly were able to display content in 3D. Sungame is a publicly-traded Las Vegas, Nevada-based technology firm trading under symbol “SGMZ.
Chandran’s alleged scheme brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars from a single victim in 2014 alone, resulting in a Nassau County grand jury indicting Chandran on felony charges of Grand Larceny and Forgery, as well as securities fraud under the Martin Act. If convicted, Chandran faces up to 15 years in prison. The Attorney General’s investigation into Chandran’s potential theft of millions of dollars from dozens of other victims throughout New York State is ongoing.
“New Yorkers should not have to worry that their investments are being used to fund elaborate securities fraud schemes,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.  “My office will vigorously pursue those individuals and corporate entities whose greed threatens the fairness, order, and efficiency of the markets.”
According to statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, beginning on or around July 1, 2013, and continuing through to the present, Chandran induced unsuspecting investors into agreeing to purchase Tablets at $1,000 per unit with the promise that the full purchase price would be returned in the form of a no-risk rebate typically within several weeks of purchase (the “Investment”).  In addition, Chandran further incentivized investors by offering both a so-called “education grant” consisting of 50% of the purchase price as well as the opportunity to allow Sungame to buy back the Tablet, who would thereafter resell it, and remit the profits to the investor.  Accordingly, Chandran represented that every $1,000 Tablet purchase would entitle an investor to: (1) a full return of their investment principle; (2) an “education grant” equal to 50% of their investment; and (3) the option to either keep the Tablet or receive the profit once Sungame re-sold it to an end-user. 
However, also according to statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, the overwhelming majority of these investors received neither their return of investment capital nor their profit, as promised.  Instead, their investment capital was allegedly utilized by Chandran for the undisclosed and improper purpose of artificially inflating Sungame’s publicly-reported corporate earnings, funding the manufacture of additional Tablets so as to promote the investment to yet more unwitting investors, to repay those investors who had previously provided investment capital, and for the improper and undisclosed purpose of paying Chandran’s personal and corporate liabilities.
In August 2014, when Sungame’s over-inflation of reported corporate earnings came to light, Sungame’s stock price plummeted from a high of approximately $35.00 as of April 2014 to $1.50 per share in November 2014.  Sungame stock is currently valued at approximately $0.07 per share.
The indictment unsealed today involves a single Nassau County, New York resident who was introduced to Chandran and his investment opportunity during the winter of 2014.  Based upon alleged misrepresentations made by Chandran, the investor made an initial investment of $400,000 in April 2014 and a subsequent $66,000 investment in August 2014.  In an effort to pacify the investor, Chandran is alleged to have presented the investor with a fraudulent stock certificate purporting to show an ownership interest in a corporation that had ceased to exist almost two years prior to the date of issuance.  To date, the investor has received no return of his investment.
Chandran and Sungame are both currently charged with two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a Class “C” Felony) and one count of Securities Fraud under the Martin Act (a Class “E” Felony); Chandran is also charged with one count of Forgery in the First Degree (a Class “C” Felony) and one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the First Degree (a Class “C” Felony).
Chandran was apprehended at the Los Angeles County Airport by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol personnel after returning  to United States from Hong Kong. Chandran, 45, and Sungame were arraigned today in Nassau County Supreme Court before the Honorable Judge Meryl Berkowitz. Bail for Chandran was set at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash. The charges against the defendants are allegations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  
In addition to the crimes charged in Nassau County, the Attorney General’s investigation into Chandran’s activities has also uncovered evidence of other alleged criminal conduct in other regions of New York State and elsewhere.  Anyone who believes that they may be a victim of this scheme is urged to contact the Attorney General at 212-416-8731. The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. Attorney General Schneiderman thanked the Office of the Nevada Attorney General for their valuable assistance on this investigation, including Criminal Investigator Todd Grosz, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department. The OAG investigation was conducted by Investigators Brian Metz and Ryan Fannon.  The Supervising Investigator is Sylvia Rivera and the Deputy Bureau Chief is John McManus. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.


   “Helen Marshall was as bighearted, dynamic and brave as the borough of Queens, which she represented with such determined grace for three decades in many roles, including as its first African American Borough President. New York City will miss her deeply, but her memory will live forever in the libraries, schools, and neighborhoods she uplifted and in the many hearts she touched. My deepest condolences to her family, friends and all who knew her.”  

Croton Facility Monitoring Committee Meeting (CFMC) - Monday, April 3, 2017 – 6:30 PM - Agenda

DEP Office – 3660 Jerome Avenue, Bronx NY 10467 - (718) 231-8470

I Welcome, Call Meeting to Order                                 Bill Hall, Chair

II Consider, Adopt April 3 CFMC Agenda   CFMC Representatives

III Consider, Adopt Minutes                 from CFMC Representatives
      November 14, 2016 CFMC Meeting

IV DEP Update - Open Access Weekend at JPR Eric Landau, DEP
      in Coordination w/ Bronx Week,
     DEP Schools 2017 Educational Program

V Update from Dept. of Parks, Recreation Andrew Penzi, DPR
    On Croton Funded Parks Projects

VI Croton Costs Report, Construction Update Bernard Daly, DEP

VII Old Business                         CFMC Representatives, and Public

VIII New Business                      CFMC Representatives, and Public

IX Select Date for Next Meeting  and Adjourn


   Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Transitional Services, which deals with post-incarceration issues, today hailed Gov. Cuomo's pilot program to increase housing opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.

Sepulveda called it "an important step" in fighting homelessness, enhancing public safety and reducing the risk of recidivism.

 His subcommittee of the Assembly Corrections Committee, deals with legislation to best prepare prison inmates for reentry to the community, prevent recidivism, enhance public safety, and provide the support network and training to help former prisoners become self-sufficient, responsible community members.

Under the new pilot program, funded by the state Department of State and supported by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, carefully screened and monitored individuals with criminal convictions will be allowed to rejoin their families in public housing in Schenectady, Syracuse and White Plains.

In announcing the pilot program, the governor pointed to a 2016 study by the Vera Institute which showed that not one of the 85 individuals who participated in an ongoing housing pilot program in the New York City Housing Authority has been convicted of a new crime since enrollment.

Assemblyman Sepulveda also hailed NYCHA's Family Reentry Program.

"I call on NYCHA to continue to work at modifying some aspects of this program in order to increase the number of participants in this already worthy program," he said.
"I hope both the governor's and NYCHA's pilot programs become successes, opening the door to expansion," said Sepulveda. "For too long, there has been a blanket stigma against all former inmates, even though they have paid for their crimes and shown they are worthy of acceptance back into general society. This can only benefit all concerned."
Assemblyman Sepulveda represents the 87thAssembly District covering Parkchester, Castle Hill, West Farms, Van Nest and Stratton Park.


Successful Charitable Bail Organization Across The State Will Help A Greater Number of New Yorkers Avoid Unnecessary Time Behind Bars Under New Bill

   State Senator Gustavo Rivera introduces bill S4776 in the New York State Senate. This bill expands the current scope of the law regulating charitable bail organizations, which was sponsored by Senator Rivera and signed into law by Governor Cuomo in 2012, by enabling charitable bail organizations to provide greater assistance to low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford bail. This bill is sponsored by Assemblymember Michael Blake in the New York State Assembly. 

Bill S4776 will seek to implement the following measures:

1. Reducing the certification fee required by the New York State Department of Financial Services from $1000 to $500. The current $1,000 certification fee has been a financial burden for the charitable bail organizations operating in the State. Their limited funds would be better utilized in the operation of their organization.

2. Raising the cap for which charitable bail organizations can post bail for from $2,000 to $5,000. Under the current charitable bail law, organizations are only able to post bail for individuals charged with a misdemeanor. However, a number of counties across the State tend to set bail at a significantly higher rate for misdemeanor charges.

3. Removing the regional/geographical limit that currently states that charitable bail organization can only operate in one county in Upstate New York and Long Island.

"No one should be forced to sit in jail awaiting trial or plea to a charge they did not commit because they cannot afford bail. This bill will further strengthen our State's current charitable bail fund law by expanding how these organizations can operate and lower the financial barriers that hinder more organizations from obtaining the appropriate certification," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "Expanding these cost-saving programs will provide countless of struggling New Yorkers with a fairer alternative to navigating our criminal justice system." 

"No one should be denied an opportunity for Justice because they couldn't afford it.  Kalief Browder and countless others were waiting on a chance to be heard just because of economic hardships, and that injustice cannot continue. An estimated half million people daily remain in custody due to the inability to post bail, nationally. The cost of keeping individuals detained is not only a burden on taxpayers of New York, but also has a tremendous impact on the detainees, their families and their communities. In response to this, nonprofit organizations have begun to raise money via individual and private donations, creating charitable bail organizations. During the 2011 legislative session, the Assembly and Senate voted to officially recognize and regulate these charitable bail organizations.  This bill continues the regulation of charitable bail organization and further advances assistance by increasing the ceiling on the bail posted by individuals. The  New York State Assembly has already passed this vital piece of legislation. With Senator Rivera's  sponsorship , we hope that this bill will soon pass the Senate and become law." said State Assemblymember Michael Blake.

The success of the charitable bail fund programs has been undeniable. During its first year, the first organization licensed as a charitable bail organization, the Bronx Freedom Fund, helped 140 low-income Bronx residents facing a misdemeanor case where bail is set at $2000 or less. In addition, 98 percent of these clients made all required court appearances, 56 percent of these cases ended in dismissals where all of the charges were dropped, 23 percent of the cases resulted in non-criminal disposition and 9 percent of the clients plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

Friday, March 3, 2017


 Senator Klein Highlights the IDC’s Religious Freedom Package

With Muslims across the country facing intolerance in light of bad national immigration policy, along with Jewish communities being bombarded by bomb threats and cemetery vandalism, Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Councilman Ritchie Torres joined local Muslim and Jewish community leaders to rally against hate at the Bronx Muslim Center on Friday.

After the Trump administration issued a since-blocked immigration executive order, local Muslims have expressed fear and uncertainty over their future in America. Jewish communities centers, meanwhile, have faced roughly 100 bomb threats in 2017, including four this week in the New York City metropolitan area. The elected officials, along with Muslim and Jewish community leaders, spoke against these reprehensible acts and called for unity.

As elected officials, as community leaders, as religious leaders, as ordinary citizens, we must stand together to condemn these acts of hate against our Muslim and Jewish communities. Such cowardly actions are acts against humanity, and acts against America. We, as Americans, believe acceptance and freedom of religion define us, not hate-filled cowards who aim to spread fear through called-in threats, abhorrent emblems or malicious words of hate, said Senator Klein.

“These acts of hate against the Muslim and Jewish communities are deplorable and contradict what we stand for as Americans. The United States is an inclusive society; a society that must be accepting of more than one idea. We must all come together to condemn these cowardice acts of prejudice and send a message that this will not be tolerated,” said Assemblyman Gjonaj.

“We will stand together against hate and use our positions to denounce acts of violence against Muslims, immigrants, the Jewish community and all communities that face discrimination. Together, we will overcome hate and ensure that perpetrators of hate crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Councilman Torres.

“We, the Muslim leaders and community, condemn all hate crimes and call for human beings to unite under peace and tranquility. We have to stand for justice, freedom, and equality for all, regardless of belief, color, and social status. A great nation prospers by having values and morals that keep the people protected and safe. Hatred and racism fuel violence and corruption. This is a country of diversity and prosperity. Until we come to accept our differences, we will forever live in darkness,” said Dr. Hamud Al-Silwi, Imam of the Bronx Muslim Center.

“As Americans of all faiths, we stand united to condemn the acts of hate and bigotry that has plagued the Jewish and Muslim communities. The hateful few that seek to divide us have betrayed the fundamental values that make America great. Americans are like one body, when one part of the body is in pain, the entire body is in pain,” said Captain Jamiel S. Altaheri,  Highest ranking Yemeni American in the NYPD & Founder of Building Bridges Through Positive Dialogue.

“The recent string of threats against Jewish organizations and vandalizing of Jewish cemeteries - including here in the New York Metropolitan area - has been deeply unsettling and worrisome for America’s Jewish community.  And, indeed, it should be of deep concern to all Americans, irrespective of faith or creed.  We must be exceedingly vigilant in stomping out all forms of bigotry, discrimination and hatred, if we are to live up to the ideals and values that this great country represents.  The response of America’s Muslim community to this string of anti-Semitic threats has been nothing short of inspiring, and it sends a loud and clear message to those who would divide us: no matter how hard you try to pull us apart, you will not succeed,” said Rabbi Elliot Schrier of The Albert Einstein Synagogue.

“I am honored and grateful to have this opportunity to join with my Muslim neighbors to speak out against the hate and intolerance that are epitomized by broad based immigration ‘bans’ and heinous threats of harm against nursery and pre-school programs at Jewish Community Centers. The United States has proven itself to be a haven for religious freedom and for people of all faiths and there is no room in our nation for bigotry or intolerance,” said David Edelstein, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Council of Pelham Parkway.

Senator Klein highlighted the Independent Democratic Conference’s Religious Freedom Package, a collection of legislation to combat hate crimes. Some of the measures deter hateful graffiti, vandalism in houses of worship, cemetery desecration and discrimination against religious attire.

The United Against Hate rally precedes a Friday night Know Your Rights forum, which will be hosted by the same elected officials, also at the Bronx Muslim Center. The forum will provide hands-on legal advice and assistance to Muslim community members concerned about their immigration rights.

Above - Senator Jeff Klein Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, and Councilman Ritchie Torres stand with Jewish and Muslim leaders in front of the Bronx Muslim Center located on Rhinelander Avenue.
Below - Senator Klein standing at the podium he used the night before for a similar rally against hate tells of what he and the IDC propose in the state legislature to help prevent hate, and protect community centers across the state. 

Above - Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj the first Albanian-American elected to the state legislature says that all people have the right to be free and safe.
Below - Councilman Ritchie Torres also says that no matter where a person may come from they are entitled to the same rights as all Americans are, and should not be treated differently. 

Above - Dr. Hamud Al-Silwi, Imam of the Bronx Muslim Center says that the Muslim community stand with their Jewish Brothers in the Fight Against Hate.
Below - Captain Jamiel S. Altaheri The highest ranking Yemeni-American NYPD officer who founded the Building Bridges Through Positive Duologue program echos what the IMAM said.

Above - Mr. Charles Landsberg President of the Jewish Community Council of Pelham Parkway thanks his Muslim Brothers for their support in fighting hatred.
Below - A group photo of Muslim and Jewish leaders United Against Hatred.


   “We must not be indifferent to the rising tide of hate crimes we’re seeing in New York City and nationwide. When you attack someone because of who they are, how they worship or who they love, you are attacking our democracy. Today, we thank law enforcement for aggressively pursuing and arresting a suspect in a disgusting series of threats against Jewish Community Centers. Our country was founded to shelter the oppressed and respect all faiths. It’s up to every generation to protect those American values.”


   Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Jeffrey D. Friedlander to the Conflicts of Interest Board. Friedlander brings a wealth of experience in the corporate, government and legal fields and is active in professional and community service.

Friedlander was confirmed by the City Council and will serve the remainder of a six-year term starting April 1.

This position requires not only exceptional knowledge and experience of the law, but also the highest regard for ethics and governance, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. Jeff is an excellent leader and has made great strides in each of his previous positions. He is committed to upholding the highest standards of the law.

"At a time when public confidence in our institutions is eroding, it is so important that government officials act in conformance with the highest ethical standards. The COIB plays a vital role in achieving this end, and I am honored that the Mayor and City Council have given me the opportunity to contribute to its important work," said Jeffrey D. Friedlander.

About Jeffrey D. Friedlander
Jeffrey D. Friedlander has served New York City as one of its top and longest-serving municipal attorneys, having worked alongside 13 corporation counsels and under seven mayors.

Friedlander joined the Law Department as a member of its Honors Program in 1970 and in 1995 became the City's First Assistant Corporation Counsel, second-in-command of the New York City Law Department.

As the First Assistant Corporation Counsel, Mr. Friedlander was responsible for the office's corporate side, which includes key divisions like Economic Development, Contracts and Real Estate, and Municipal Finance. Mr. Friedlander also oversaw Affirmative Litigation, Environmental Law and Legal Counsel, the latter of which provides legal advice to City Hall and all City agencies and prepares the City's legislative proposals. He served as the City's Acting Corporation Counsel from 1997 to 1998 and then again in January of 2014. Subsequent to his retirement from the Law Department in 2015, he served as counsel to the Quadrennial Commission for the Review of Compensation of Elected Officials.

Friedlander is the President of the Board of Directors of the Heart and Soul Charitable Fund, Inc., which funds charitable activities in Manhattan that include meal programs for those in need as well as a number of youth programs. Additionally, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Youth Services Opportunity Project, a non-profit corporation that provides opportunities for high school and college students to serve the homeless community. He is also a member of the Hunter College Pre-Law Advisory Board.

A lifelong New Yorker, Friedlander obtained his B.A. from Hunter College in 1967 and his J.D. from New York University Law School in 1970.

About the Conflict of Interest Board
The Conflicts of Interest Board is the independent New York City agency tasked with administering, enforcing and interpreting Chapter 68 of the New York City Charter, the City's Conflicts of Interest Law, and Section 12-110 of the Administrative Code, the City's Annual Disclosure Law. Through a combination of engaging training, confidential advice, and vigorous enforcement, the Board seeks to prevent ethics questions from becoming ethics problems for public servants.


Frigid weather expected to end the week, as temperatures drop below freezing with single-digit wind chill values Friday and Saturday

Unsheltered homeless individuals, older adults and people with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk of health problems from the extreme cold

  The New York City Emergency Management Department today urged New Yorkers to prepare for upcoming extreme cold weather.

“If you’ve packed away your coats, it’s time to take them out again; winter isn’t finished with us yet,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “We urge New Yorkers not to take these temperatures lightly. Stay indoors, and if you have to go out, bundle up. Remember to check in on your family, neighbors, the elderly, or others with increased health risks to make sure they are protected from the extreme cold.”

An arctic blast is forecast to bring bitterly cold temperatures to the New York City area to end the week. Temperatures Friday night are expected to be in the twenties, with wind chill values in the single digits. High temperatures Saturday will be around freezing, with wind chill values in the teens. The coldest period is expected Saturday night, with temperatures in the teens and wind chill values close to zero. High temperatures Sunday are forecast to be in the mid-thirties, with lows Sunday night around thirty degrees. Temperatures are expected to rise into the forties on Monday.

New Yorkers are advised to check on their neighbors, friends, and relatives. People most at increased risk include those who lack shelter, drink heavily or use drugs, or live in homes without heat, and:
·         Are 65 years of age or older.
·         Have chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease. 
·         Have serious mental illness or developmental disabilities.
·         Are socially isolated, have limited mobility, or are unable to leave the house.
Safety Tips

New Yorkers are also encouraged to take the following precautions during extreme cold:

·         Stay indoors as much as possible.
·         If you have to go outdoors, wear dry, warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered.
  • Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head.
·         Shivering is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Shivering is a signal to return indoors.
·         Drinking alcohol may make you think you feel warmer, but it actually increases your chances of hypothermia and frostbite.
·         Follow your doctor’s advice about performing hard work in the cold if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. Remember, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don’t overdo it.
·         Workers in construction and utilities, and others who spend a lot of time outdoors are at risk for cold-related disorders. Employers should implement safe work practices, provide appropriate protective equipment, and train workers on health effects of cold weather, proper prevention techniques, and treatment of cold-related disorders.

Health problems resulting from prolonged exposure to cold include hypothermia, frostbite and exacerbation of chronic heart and lung conditions. If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 to get medical help. While waiting for assistance, help the person by getting them to a warm place if possible, removing any damp clothing and covering them with warm blankets. Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite:

·         Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition where the body temperature is abnormally low. Symptoms can begin gradually and get worse without the person realizing how serious it is. Early symptoms include shivering, dizziness, trouble speaking and lack of coordination. Signs of moderate to severe hypothermia include sluggishness, drowsiness, unusual behavior, confusion, and shallow breathing.
  • Frostbite is a serious injury to a body part frozen from exposure to the cold. It most often affects extremities like fingers and toes or exposed areas such as ears or parts of the face.  Redness and pain may be the first warning of frostbite. Other symptoms include numbness or skin that appears pale, firm, or waxy.

Homeless Services

A Code Blue Weather Emergency notice is issued when the temperature drops to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or less between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., including National Weather Service calculations for wind chill values.  No one who is homeless and seeking shelter in New York City during a Code Blue will be denied. Should you see a homeless individual out in the cold, please call 311 and an outreach team will be dispatched to offer assistance. Code Blue Weather Emergencies include the following options for the homeless:

·         Shelters: During a Code Blue, shelter is available system-wide to accommodate anyone who is reasonably believed to be homeless and is brought to a shelter by outreach teams. Accommodations are also available for walk-ins.
·         Drop-in centers: All drop-in centers are open 24-hours per day when Code Blue procedures are in effect and will assist as many people as possible for the duration of the emergency. Drop-in staff can also make arrangements for homeless individuals at other citywide facilities.
·         Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported directly to these low-threshold housing options.
·         Street homeless outreach: Teams will contact vulnerable individuals on their Code Blue Priority Lists a minimum of once every four (4) hours beginning at 8 p.m. during Code Blue Alerts and once every two (2) hours beginning at 8 p.m. for Enhanced Code Blue Alerts to encourage them to accept transport to a safe place. DHS coordinates Code Blue efforts directly with agencies such as NYPD, DSNY, and the Parks Department, at a borough level.
Safe Home Heating Tips
Improper use of portable heating equipment can lead to fire or dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Take precautions to ensure you are heating your home safely.
Fire safety tips:
·         Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in every room. Test them at least once a month and change the batteries twice a year.
·         Use only portable heating equipment that is approved for indoor use. Space heaters are temporary heating devices and should only be used for a limited time each day.
·         Keep combustible materials, including furniture, drapes, and carpeting at least three feet away from the heat source. Never drape clothes over a space heater to dry them.
·         Never leave running space heaters unattended, especially around children. Always keep an eye on heating equipment. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it.
·         Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Never use an extension cord or power strip. Do not plug anything else into the same outlet when the space heater is in use. Do not use space heaters with frayed or damaged cords.
·         If you are going to use an electric blanket, only use one that is less than 10 years old from the date of purchase. Also avoid tucking the electric blanket in at the sides of the bed. Only purchase blankets with an automatic safety shut-off.
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

·         Carbon monoxide comes from the burning of fuel. Therefore, make sure all fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters, and clothes dryers are properly vented to the outdoors and operating properly. If you are not sure, contact a professional to inspect and make necessary repairs.
·         Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Most homes and residential buildings in New York City are required by law to have carbon monoxide detectors installed near all sleeping areas. Owners are responsible for installing approved carbon monoxide detectors. Occupants are responsible for keeping and maintaining the carbon monoxide detectors in good repair.
·         If you have a working fireplace keep chimneys clean and clear of debris.
·         Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven, charcoal barbecue grill, kerosene, propane, or oil-burning heaters. Kerosene heaters and propane space heaters are illegal in New York City.
·         The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-specific and include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleepiness, trouble breathing, and loss of consciousness. Severe poisonings may result in permanent injury or death.
If a carbon monoxide detector goes off in your home get outside immediately and call 911. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside immediately and call 911.
What to Do if You Lose Heat or Hot Water at Home
Building owners are legally required to provide heat and hot water to their tenants. Hot water must be provided 365 days per year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat must be provided during the “Heat Season”, between October 1 and May 31 under the following conditions:
·         Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
·         Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., if the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any New York City tenant without adequate heat or hot water should first speak with the building owner, manager, or superintendent. If the problem is not corrected, tenants should call 311. For the hearing impaired, the TTY number is (212) 504-4115. The center is open 24-hours a day, seven-days a week. You may also file a complaint via mobile app, 311MOBILE, or online at 311ONLINE.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will take measures to ensure that the building owner is complying with the law. This may include contacting the building’s owner and/or sending an inspector to verify the complaint and issue a violation directing the owner to restore heat and hot water if appropriate. If the owner fails to comply and does not restore service, HPD may initiate repairs through its Emergency Repair Program and bill the landlord for the cost of the work. HPD may also initiate legal action against properties that are issued heat violations, and owners who incur multiple heat violations are subject to litigation seeking maximum litigation penalties and continued scrutiny on heat and other code deficiencies.
Take measures to trap existing warm air and safely stay warm until heat returns, including:
  • Insulate your home as much as possible. Hang blankets over windows and doorways and stay in a well-insulated room while the heat is out.
  • Dress warmly. Wear hats, scarves, gloves, and layered clothing.
  • If you have a well-maintained working fireplace and use it for heat and light, be sure to keep the damper open for ventilation. Never use a fireplace without a screen.
  • If the cold persists and your heat is not restored call family, neighbors, or friends to see if you can stay with them.
  • Do not use your oven or fuel-burning space heaters to heat your home. These can release carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell.
  • Open your faucets to a steady drip so pipes do not freeze.
If You Need Emergency Heating Assistance
The Human Resources Administration (HRA) administers the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which can help low-income renters and homeowners with heating bills and other energy expenses. HEAP can help with:

·         Regular heating bills from a variety of heat sources (even if heat is included in your rent or you live in subsidized housing).
·         Emergency payments to keep you from losing your heat.
·         Replacing damaged furnaces, boilers and heating units.

Eligibility for HEAP is based on your household income, family size and energy costs. If you are homebound and need help with your heating bills, you can call the NYC Heat Line at 212-331-3150 to arrange a home visit. For more information, call 311.

For more safety tips, visit New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency notification system. Through Notify NYC, New Yorkers can receive phone calls, text messages, and/or email alerts about winter weather conditions and other emergencies. To sign up for Notify NYC, call 311, visit, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.