Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that DARYL CAMPBELL, a/k/a “Taxstone,” pled guilty yesterday to two federal weapons charges in connection with his possession of a semiautomatic handgun at Irving Plaza on May 25, 2016, the night a man was shot and killed there and three others were wounded.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
City Agrees to Pay Over $1.3 Million to Individual Employees to Resolve Lawsuit Alleging a Pattern or Practice of Racial Discrimination at the New York City Department of Transportation
Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States settled a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that the CITY OF NEW YORK (the “City”), and specifically the NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (“NYCDOT”), violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) by engaging in a pattern or practice of racial discrimination and retaliation in its Fleet Services unit (“Fleet Services”). The consent decree was approved yesterday by U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl.
- During a 2009 investigation into allegations of racial discrimination, employees reported to the City that Executive Director I had used racial epithets to describe African American employees and had taken personnel actions that were motivated by racial animus.
Twelve Alleged Gang Members Variously Charged With Conspiracy and Attempted Murder in Bushwick Turf War
Defendants Shot at Rivals on Busy Streets, Sometimes in Broad Daylight;
Statements by City Council Housing and NYCHA Chairs on TRUMP PICK TO HEAD LOCAL FEDERAL HOUSING PROGRAMS
STATEMENT BY COUNCIL MEMBER WILLIAMS
"This is yet another sorry, and potentially dangerous, appointment coming out of the Trump Administration.
"As chair of the Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings, it is extremely concerning that a person without zero experience in housing or government sectors is being charged with overseeing how billions of tax payer dollars are spent for federal housing programs, including the struggling New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). How these dollars are spent, or not spent, has an impact on millions of families across New York and New Jersey. People are relying more and more on government to help fill the gap between what they come home with and what they're able to afford for housing expenses. Housing to this Administration is clearly more of a play thing, than a serious resource that so many communities are being starved of.
"This appointment is just the latest example of why the job of local legislators and leaders is especially important now. We cannot trust that the people placed to lead critical offices, such as HUD, will be effective or competent in addressing the needs of the people. It's time we step up.
"It is not lost on me that this is yet another example of the insulting belief that the housing agency is more of a place to store Trump's melanin rich allies, than a place to seriously contemplate and address issues of critical concern."
“Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation” Fundraisers Pocketed 92 Cents Of Every Dollar Donated For Themselves – While Misleading Donors With Fictional Medical Services For Breast Cancer Patients
AG’s “Operation Bottomfeeder” Targets Shell Charities That Exploit Popular Causes To Line Professional Fundraisers’ Pockets
Settlement Shuts Down Charity; $350,000 Will Be Directed To Legitimate Breast Cancer Organizations
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a settlement with the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation, Inc., (“BCSF”), and its President and Founder Dr. Yulius Poplyansky. For years, BCSF and its fundraisers painted the picture of an organization that was providing medical services to breast cancer patients and those at risk of breast cancer. Instead, as the Attorney General’s investigation found, BCSF was a shell charity created and run by its primary outside fundraiser, Mark Gelvan, in order to line the pockets of Gelvan, his companies, and his business associates – who pocketed 92 cents of every dollar donated to BCSF.
As part of the settlement, BCSF will shut down its operations nationwide and pay nearly $350,000, which will be directed to legitimate breast cancer organizations.
“There are few things more galling than pretending to help cancer patients, when you’re really just lining your own pockets. But that’s exactly what those behind the Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation did – siphoning millions in profits for themselves and sending less than four cents of every dollar raised to medical clinics,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As our Operation Bottomfeeder has shown, too often these shell charities exploit popular causes to enrich professional fundraisers. I’m committed to using the full power of my office to stop those who take advantage of people’s generosity to make a quick buck.”
Today’s settlement is part of the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau’s “Operation Bottomfeeder,” which targets a pervasive business model of shell charities that exploit popular causes, the professional fundraisers who take the lion’s share of donations and make misrepresentations, and other entities that facilitate the abuses. In August 2016, the Charities Bureau shut down the American Foundation for Disabled Children (AFDC), a shell charity that claimed to provide “resources to schools, shelters and other agencies providing long and short term care to special children,” but in fact served mainly as a source of money for its fundraisers. In November 2016, the Attorney General announced a settlement with the National Vietnam Veteran’s Foundation and its founder and president, John T. Burch, which also resulted in that charity’s shuttering, the payment of damages, and the issuance by Burch of a public apology. Also as a result of the Attorney General’s exposure of Burch’s actions at the charity, Burch was recently indicted by the Department of Justice for wire fraud.
BCSF was founded in 2010 and began soliciting in New York shortly thereafter. By 2014, BCSF was raising on average $3 million a year nationwide from its telemarketing and direct mail campaigns.
The Attorney General’s investigation found that Dr. Poplyansky started BCSF at the encouragement of Mark Gelvan, a professional fundraiser and longtime family friend whose relationship with Poplyansky’s family dated back to the 1970s. Dr. Poplyansky had no training or experience in managing or leading any type of charitable enterprise. He and the other board members of BCSF allowed Mark Gelvan to run BCSF and turn it into a cash cow for Gelvan and his businesses. Mark Gelvan has been barred from the professional fundraising industry in New York since 2004, following litigation brought by the Attorney General.
As set forth in the findings in the settlement document, which Dr. Poplyansky admits are true, Mr. Gelvan suggested that Dr. Poplyansky start a breast cancer charity because it is a proven charitable moneymaker. Mr. Gelvan even provided Dr. Poplyansky with seed money to start the charity. Mr. Gelvan then used BCSF to fuel his own economic interests by ensuring that his fundraising companies and business associates were hired to provide services for BCSF.
Mr. Gelvan also controlled BCSF’s operations by inserting himself into nearly every aspect of the charity’s operations, despite having no official role in the charity. Gelvan oversaw financial reporting, attended board meetings and prepared board minutes, responded to media inquiries, and even organized and prepared the response to the Attorney General’s investigative subpoenas. Mr. Gelvan went so far as to tell BCSF’s outside accountants that Dr. Poplyansky “speaks very little English”- a completely false statement - so they would deal directly with him.
The investigation also found that Mr. Gelvan was instrumental in developing and authorizing BCFS’s charitable solicitations, which contained false and misleading statements about BCSF’s program activities. These solicitations contained fictional accounts of doctor and patient interactions, descriptions of non-existent forums for breast cancer survivors, and international pharmaceutical programs – and left the donor with the distinct impression that BCSF was a medical facility providing medical services. In reality, BCSF had no medical staff, performed no medical services, had no real office, and provided no direct value to breast cancer patients or those at risk of developing breast cancer. BCSF made only a few modest grants to clinics; those grants were, on average, only 3.5% of the funds it raised in the last four years that BCSF reported to the Attorney General.
Dr. Poplyansky was not compensated for his role at BCSF. Nonetheless, he had legal responsibilities to BCSF, which he repeatedly failed to honor. Dr. Poplyansky has admitted to his wrongdoing and will cooperate with the Attorney General’s ongoing investigations into BCSF’s fundraisers and associated legal and accounting professionals. BCSF and Dr. Poplyansky have also agreed to dissolve BCSF under the Attorney General’ s direction so that the charity can no longer be used as a shell company to direct monies to its fundraisers. Dr. Poplyansky will also be subject to a permanent nationwide bar on access to charitable assets or decision-making. On behalf of BCFS and himself, Dr. Poplyansky issued an apology to the donors of the Foundation and to the individuals and families that have been impacted by breast cancer.
BCSF and Dr. Poplyansky also admitted that BCSF had made false filings with the Charities Bureau, including failing to disclose the identity of the fundraisers that operated on its behalf in New York, and all fees associated with its fundraising activities.
The full text of the admissions of BCSF and Dr. Poplyansky, and Dr. Poplyansky’s apology, are available here.
This investigation into BCSF highlights the importance of the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau’s annual Pennies for Charities report, which reveals that charitable donations obtained by many professional fundraisers are largely spent on fundraising and administrative expenses, with only a small fraction left for charitable work. The latest Pennies for Charities report may be accessed here.
The AG’s Tips for Charitable Giving are available here.
More information about the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau and organizations regulated by the Bureau may be found at www.charitiesnys.com.
Tri-State Paving Allegedly Baited Consumers With Low Prices, Performed Shoddy Work, And Demanded More Money
Judge Orders Tri-State Paving To Stop All Work While Lawsuit Is Pending
A.G. Schneiderman Provides Tips For Consumers When Choosing A Home Improvement Contractor
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a lawsuit against Tri-State Paving and its principals, Richard Attenborough, III and Stevee Paige Castle-Lagerquist. The suit alleges that they defrauded homeowners with a deceptive paving scheme and failed to comply with New York’s home improvement contractor laws. Based upon the evidence submitted to the court, Supreme Court Justice James P. McClusky issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the company from conducting or soliciting any paving business while the lawsuit is pending.
The Attorney General alleges that Tri-State and Attenborough have a longstanding pattern of deceiving homeowners. In a classic bait-and-switch scheme, Attenborough or another Tri-State employee are alleged to have falsely told consumers that they have “leftover” paving material from a nearby job, and then offered to pave all or a portion of the homeowner’s driveway at a low price or with no price estimate at all. Tri-State then performed substantially more work than what was agreed upon. The work was often substandard, or created paving issues for the homeowner, requiring more work. Afterward, the company demanded payment of much more money than discussed or agreed-upon.
The Attorney General’s investigation was initiated in the summer of 2016, after complaints were filed by homeowners in the North Country. Tri-State and Attenborough subsequently moved their operations to other regions, and it is alleged that they had been most recently deceiving homeowners in the greater Binghamton area.
“People’s homes are often their most valuable asset; the culmination of years of dreaming, planning, saving, and hard work,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “We will keep fighting to hold unscrupulous contractors accountable and ensure that hardworking New Yorkers do not fall victim to these scams.”
In support of the lawsuit, sworn statements from five victims of Tri-State’s predatory practices were submitted, together with records from multiple law enforcement agencies that have had contact with Attenborough for the same or similar conduct over a period of many years. In one instance, after being deceptively solicited by Tri-State, a homeowner agreed to have the company pave a four-foot section of his driveway, but Tri-State is alleged to have refused to provide a price quote. The company then proceeded to pave the entire driveway and demand payment of $9,200. In another case, the company is alleged to have deceptively solicited a homeowner to pave a driveway at a cost of $3,000. While the homeowner was still talking to the Tri-State representative and refusing all work, employees had already begun paving the driveway without his knowledge or authorization. Tri-State refused to remove the material put down, and demanded payment.
In New York, home improvement contractors—such as paving companies—are required to use contracts for any job that costs the homeowner more than $500. The contract must be signed by both parties and contain: proposed starting and completion dates; a description of the work to be completed; materials to be provided; total cost of the contract; and include a notice to the consumer of their unconditional three-day right to cancel the contract without penalty, among other items. Tri-State Paving compounded their illegal behavior by failing to use contracts in compliance with state law.
Home Improvement Fraud ranked eighth on the Office of the Attorney General’s top ten list of consumer frauds for 2016, with 1,606 complaints statewide. Rooting out and resolving these fraud cases is a top priority for Attorney General Schneiderman.
When planning to use a home improvement contractor, Attorney General Schneiderman urges consumers to consider the following tips:
- Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are marketing door-to-door.
- Determine exactly what you want done, then look for a qualified contractor.
- Shop around; get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided.
- Ask for references: check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers, and neighbors.
- Always contact any references provided to you.
- Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed.
- Do not pay unreasonable advance sums; negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job.
- Never pay the full price up front.
- Remember that you have three days to cancel after signing a home improvement contract, but all cancellations must be in writing.
Additional information on how to avoid fraudulent home improvement contractors can be found on the Attorney General’s Website.
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against Tri-State, Attenborough, and Castle-Lagerquist, prohibiting them from operating as home improvement contractors in New York State, restitution for the homeowners they defrauded, and penalties and costs to the state. A hearing is scheduled for June 26, 2017.
The Attorney General thanks the New York State Police for their assistance on this case.
On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, A.G. Schneiderman Launches New Elder Fraud Prevention Initiative
New Section Of AG Website – “Smart Seniors: Resources For Older Adults” – Gives New York Seniors The Tools They Need To Protect Themselves
A.G. Offers Smart Seniors Presentations, Tips For Seniors To Avoid Becoming Victims
To mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the launch of a dedicated portion of his office’s website, titled “Smart Seniors: Resources for Older Adults,” that will provide easily accessible safety tips, alerts and information that seniors can use to stay safe in their daily lives.
“Today and every day, my office is committed to combatting and raising awareness of elder abuse,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will continue to hold accountable those who take advantage of our seniors – and provide senior citizens easy access to information so they can protect themselves from abuse and scams.”
Elder financial fraud is a serious and growing problem. Just yesterday, Attorney General Schneiderman announced a lawsuit against a Queens’ investment advisor for allegedly defrauding 58 elderly New Yorkers out of millions of dollars of their retirement savings. A recent study estimated the annual financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse in New York State to be at least $1.5 billion dollars per year. The Grandparent Scam, IRS Scam, and similar phone and internet-based scams are pernicious, and the resulting harm to consumers can be devastating. Often, victims are instructed to purchase gift cards or pre-paid debit cards and provide the serial number on the back of the card to the scammer – which allows the funds to be transferred without a trace. In many cases, consumers end up losing a significant portion of their savings.
The new ‘Smart Seniors: Resources for Older Adults’ webpage will include tips on a variety of consumer, health, and civil rights issues and will enable older adults to stay up-to-date on the latest scams that are targeting them. Having these resources aggregated in one place will enable seniors to more easily obtain the information they need to protect themselves. Seniors will also be able to report scams to the Attorney General’s office, and victims will be able to file complaints online. The resources are available in a friendly format that is easier for those who are visually impaired.
In addition to launching the new web resources the Attorney General’s office is proud to participate in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day programs at the JSPOA Theodora G. Jackson Adult Center in Jamaica, NY, the Alpha Phi Alpha Senior Center in Cambria Heights, NY, the Hudson Area Library in Hudson, NY, and the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Summit in Washington, D.C.
Smart Seniors Presentations
To spread the word about senior safety, presenters from the Attorney General’s office regularly visit senior centers, assisted living facilities, libraries, houses of worship, senior clubs, and other locations to teach seniors about the most common scams, the techniques perpetrators commonly use, and who to alert if they identify a scam or are victimized. Seniors are also informed of how to protect their physical safety at home and in other common day-to-day situations. Senior groups are encouraged to book a “Smart Seniors” presentation by calling the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-771-7755. Upcoming events include:
June 23 – Leisure Knoll in Ridge, NY with County Legislator Sarah Anker
June 29 – Bridgehampton Senior Center in Bridgehampton, NY with County Legislator Bridget Fleming
August 22 – Lewisboro Library in Lewisboro NY
September 18 – Woodland Pond in New Paltz, NY
September 25 – Hillburn Senior Citizens Organization in Hillburn, NY
October 17 – “Senior Law Day” at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY
Tips To Avoid Falling Victim
Scam artists are always devising new schemes to defraud consumers, so it is important for consumers to learn how to protect themselves by taking some basic precautions.
If the caller is a stranger, you should be on alert:
- Never give out personal information to a stranger on the phone, even if they claim to be a representative from your bank, credit card company, or any other company with which you’ve done business.
- Never wire money to a stranger through Western Union, MoneyGram, or any other wire service.
- Never purchase gift cards for the purpose of providing the gift card numbers to a stranger or someone who claims to be a loved one; gift cards are not a legitimate form of payment.
If you have an elderly parent or loved one:
- Pass along these tips to them and don’t assume that they can’t be victimized.
- Consider seeking their permission to be involved in their finances, including asking credit card companies to alert you when they make an unusually large purchase.
- Assure them that they should check with you before making a payment or purchase, especially if a caller has instructed them not to.
- Encourage them to immediately contact you and/or the police if they get a call like those described here.
Attorney General Schneiderman reminds New Yorkers that in addition to being vigilant consumers, they should also report instances of fraud to his office. Consumers are encouraged to file complaints by visiting the Office’s website or calling 1-800-771-7755.
For specific health-related instances of fraud, consumers are encouraged to contact the Office’s Health Care Bureau Helpline at 1-800-428-9071 or file a complaint online.
Protection Against Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
In addition to protecting seniors from financial abuse, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigates and prosecutes people who have directly harmed elderly nursing home residents, as well as nursing home managers and owners who tolerated or covered up abuse and neglect. No one is above the law when it comes to the special duty that New York requires of people entrusted with the care of our seniors.
In recent years, the Attorney General’s MFCU has brought charges involving homicides through neglect, injuries from violence and from negligent care, and crimes that include stealing narcotics and falsely reporting that a patient needed the opioids for pain, as well as posting “selfies” or videos of disabled or distressed patients online for amusement. MFCU has ensured that fake nurses are not treating patients, greedy managers are out of business, and sex abusers are behind bars.
Since 2011, 262 persons have been brought to justice by the Attorney General’s MFCU for committing crimes against nursing home residents. Seventeen of those defendants stole valuables or money from the people who were in their care.
Please report suspected neglect or abuse of nursing home residents to the NYS Department of Health Nursing Home Complaint hotline at 888-201-4563 and to the Attorney General’s Office at 800-771-7755. Suspicious activity can also be reported online at www.ag.NY.gov.
Michael Perlov Sentenced To 6 Months In Jail, 5 Years On Probation, And Ordered To Pay An Additional $28,000 In Restitution
Schneiderman: New Yorkers Seeking Legal Counsel Deserve To Know That The Professionals They Hire Will Defend Them – Not Take Advantage When They’re Most Vulnerable
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the felony conviction of Mikhail Perlov, of Brooklyn, NY for posing as an attorney and defrauding multiple victims of tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. On May 4, 2017, Perlov pled guilty to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (Class D felony), five counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (Class D felony), two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (class E felony), one count of Practicing or Appearing as Attorney-at-Law Without Being Admitted and Registered (class E felony), two counts of None but Attorneys to Practice in the State (class E felony), and two counts of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (class E felony). Today, Kings County Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth A. Foley sentenced Perlov to six months in jail and five years on probation, as well as ordered him to pay additional restitution totaling $28,150.
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Perlov illegally practiced law as an unlicensed attorney in Brooklyn from 2013 to 2016. Perlov later admitted to making court appearances on behalf of his clients who believed that he was a registered attorney and paid him over $68,000 in legal fees to represent them. Despite entering into a Consent Order and Judgment with the Attorney General’s Office in September 2015, which permanently banned him from misrepresenting himself as an attorney, Perlov continued illegally practicing law in Brooklyn.
“Brazenly continuing to operate an illegal law practice after being shut down by my office was the last strike for this defendant; now he’s going to jail and paying additional restitution,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “New Yorkers seeking legal counsel deserve to know that the professionals they hire will defend them – not take advantage when they’re most vulnerable.”
Pursuant to the 2015 Order and Judgment, Perlov disclosed the names of 51 of his clients and was ordered to pay over $40,000 in restitution to his victims and $10,000 in penalties. As part of his sentence today, Perlov was ordered to pay over $28,000 in additional restitution to the victims.
Perlov claimed to have a wide expertise and extensive experience practicing in New York, New Jersey, and Florida courts, and offered legal services related to criminal defense, commercial disputes, accidents, domestic violence, real estate and immigration matters. Perlov admitted that he maintained a law office and advertised legal services using the title “attorney” despite not having a license and not being admitted to practice law even after the 2015 Order and Judgment.
Additionally, Perlov admitted to defrauding his victims out of thousands of dollars. The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that in one instance, Perlov promised an elderly man that he would win him millions of dollars in a non-existent civil lawsuit. Perlov not only failed to ever file a lawsuit, but on occasion, Perlov himself used the victim’s ATM card to withdraw money directly from the victim’s bank account. The OAG’s investigation also revealed that in another instance, following a request from a divorce case client to freeze her husband’s bank account, Perlov provided the client with a forged letter from Chase bank.
As a reminder, attorneys must be licensed in the State of New York by the New York State Unified Court System, Office of Court Administration. If possible, before meeting or retaining an attorney, consumers should confirm his or her license on the OCA website:http://iapps.courts.state.NY.us/attorney/AttorneySearch.
If you are seeking legal representation outside of New York State, contact that state’s licensing authority to confirm that the person is in fact licensed to practice in that jurisdiction.
Yesterday I was one of the unfortunate drivers or other people who use Manhattan College Parkway from Broadway to any point towards the Henry Hudson Parkway. That is because a private contractor for the Department of Transportation closed all of Manhattan College Parkway to mill the street in one day. The only problem was that nobody knew about this as only a few signs were posted the day before, and not the required forty-eight hours notice. I am sure the residents of Fieldston who use Manhattan College Parkway to get into the semi secluded area of Fieldston were not to happy about the entire stretch of the street being closed. One Fieldston resident told me that signs went up late the day before, and that she could not use her driveway which was on the road because of the milling. Some photos are below, but I have to say that there were no broken curbs like that on Riverdale Avenue when another contractor ripped up the asphalt and broke much of the curbs between West 231st and West 239th Street in March of 2016. The merchants are still waiting for the curbs to be fixed, especially since a car went into a storefront at a section of broken curb.
Above - what a driver saw at various intersections that were on Manhattan College Parkway, cones blocking off the street,
Below - The road next to Manhattan College, the crew must have missed placing asphalt around this sewer cover that sticks up.
Above - The milling crew had to be careful of gas mains, sewers, and underground electrical transformers such as above.
Below - You can see how asphalt is removed from a street.
Above - When it came to an intersection the milling crew had to place a temporary asphalt filling to make the drop from the street easier.
below - You can see a DOT supervisor on scene writing down what needs to be done by the contractor before he leaves the street that was milled.
Probably the only complaint could be the lack of notice to those who use Manhattan College Parkway, and the residents of the area. The new Bronx DOT Commissioner Nivardo Lopez appears to be doing a good job. It is expected that the street will be repaved in two weeks I was told by the DOT supervisor. That is down from the usual 4 - 6 weeks in the past.
No the commanding officer of the 47th Precinct didn't win the lottery, but he did get a check for one million dollars to help fix up his old precinct house. By the way the NYC Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill was also on hand to watch Councilman King put his John Hancock on the million dollar check and answer a few questions later on.
Above - Some of the new NCO's at the 47th Pct. were on hand.
Below - NYPD Commissioner O'Neill tells of some of the programs that are being instituted around the city by the NYPD.
Above - Councilman King looks at the new NCO officers to his right, and says a few words about the excellent job that the 47th precinct commander (far left from the councilman), and Bronx Borough Commander (next to the 47th Pct. commander) are doing with the resources they have.
Below - Councilman King signs a check for One Million dollars to the 47th precinct for renovations and upgrades to the precinct house as the police commissioner and 47th Pct. commander hold the check.
Above - The check is held is held by the police department brass while they Councilman King on one side , and State Senator Jamal Bailey on the other side who are working hard to bring much needed resources to the community.
Below - NYPD Commissioner O'Neill answered questions from reporters covering the event. To my question of lack of police enforcement on the streets to stop hazardous drivers, the commissioner responded by saying that the department has changed over the years, crime is at its lowest point in many many years, and police officers have been assigned to details such as anti-terrorism.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Mayor's Press Office HEADLINES SHOW RAMPANT CORRUPTION, DISARRAY IN NYC SCHOOLS WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY OF MAYORAL CONTROL
Before Albany granted New York City control over our own schools, accountability was so limited that patronage, chaos and corruption were allowed to run rampant. The lack of oversight allowed:
· jobs to be sold
· for people to hold jobs they didn’t show up to for years on end
· money to be stolen directly from schools
· school board members openly admitting they would never send their children to schools in the districts they represented
· the hiring of drug dealers and gang members, including as school safety officers
The headlines and excerpts below – only a small portion of the scandals that plagued schools before mayoral control – make clear why New York City schools need mayoral control and the accountability it provides.
Excerpt: When investigators charged last week that teachers and principals in 18 of New York City's 33 school districts had helped students cheat on standardized tests, it came as no surprise to veteran school officials that several of the implicated districts had long histories of corruption.
After the city school system was decentralized in the 1960's to give more control to community school boards, the hiring of school administrators and even teachers in those districts became a highly politicized process, with some board members serving as unofficial proxies for neighborhood political leaders who used them to dole out patronage jobs and other favors.
Patronage hiring has been less common since 1996, when the State Legislature took away the hiring powers of the community school boards and broadened the powers of the schools chancellor. But even with increased power, Chancellor Rudy Crew has had difficulty rooting out corruption in the city's 1,100 schools.
Excerpt: The Board of Education leasing scandal expanded yesterday as investigators focused on two new multi-million dollar deals involving a school official who quit and then got huge fees for managing the projects. Officials said probers are examining records on Bronx and Brooklyn renovation jobs totaling more than $11 million each.
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE LATIN KINGS: No tolerance for gangs in our public schools ( for the New York City School District) 97
Excerpt: Our findings make clear that as a member of the Latin Kings, Officer Roman faces an irreconcilable conflict between his loyalty to the Kings, on the one hand, and his duties as a school safety officer on the other.
Excerpt: A Brooklyn rabbi stole $6 million from the Board of Education by putting 81 no-show employees on the board payroll in a 20-year scam that benefited his religious school, Special Schools Investigator Ed Stancik charged yesterday. Rabbi Hertz Frankel principal of the 4,000-student Beth Rachel all-girls school in Williamsburg pleaded guilty last Friday to a felony charge to commit mail fraud.
Excerpt: Mulukuntee Krishnappa entirely abandoned his duties as the DSF inspector assigned to the window installation portion of the P.S. 55 contract. Indeed, he concealed this dereliction by submitting fraudulent documentation. Without ever inspecting the site, he approved final payment, and misrepresented that the work was timely, satisfactory, and performed by the contractor.
To the five bulleted items to which highlighted excerpts are given, as a former member of the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Committee I can reply to all five items.
The one main thing left out by Mayor's press office is that of student performance which has virtually remained the same during Mayoral Control as to before Mayoral Control. It is interesting that the United Federation of Teachers said that during the Bloomberg administration, but has done an about face under a mayor the union now supports for re-election.
1 - The New York Times article only mentions Bronx School Districts 9 and 12. In district 9 there was a scandal by IBM to the tune of millions of dollars for a tracking system which was faulty, and brought out by the school board who had to be removed at all costs.
2 - This is the same time that the Croton Water Filtration Plant is proposed for the Jerome Park Reservoir at a cost of $600 million dollars. Mayor Giuliani would later say that he expected this project with cost overruns would cost $800 million dollars. Under the same administration Mayoral Control was given the cost of the Croton Water Filtration plant projected cost is now over three billion dollars and still growing.
3 - Gangs in the public schools Oct. 1997- The process of hiring employees failed the school system, and hopefully more safeguards were put in place that are not mentioned. Gangs are still prevalent in the public schools if not more than the report date. Police issues were not under control of school board members, and after school programs were gutted in the late 1990's and early 2000's if not more so under mayoral control.
4 - Scam stealing $6 million dollars - this was done at a private school not under the jurisdiction of a school board, and should have been monitored better by the State Education Department.
5 - Fraud and incompetence on window replacement. Either the central or local school boards inspected work done by contractors, or had oversight of contractors or sub contractors. That was the job of the Division of School Buildings, to be replaced by the School Construction Authority.
The old Board of Education voted on contracts one at a time so that any information could be heard about any contract that was to be awarded. At one such meeting Item seven was a contract for $50,000 dollars to repair the windows at Jamaica High School. A few items later was a contract to replace the windows at Jamaica High School. I said why is the board spending $50,000 dollars to repair windows that they are replacing a few months later. BOE President Bill Thompson agreed, and thanked me for noting that.
With the Panel For Educational Policy contracts are lumped together as a group to vote on so it is almost impossible to find out what the PEP is voting on.