Saturday, August 12, 2017

A.G. Schneiderman Statement On Charlottesville

  “My heart is with the people of Charlottesville, especially those standing up to hatred, racism, and bigotry. 

The white supremacist violence on display in Charlottesville this weekend is an affront to everything this country represents. When you give license to open expressions of bigotry against some groups, you open the door to bigotry against all groups of people. 

Each of us—especially those of us in public office—has a moral obligation to condemn these actions in the strongest of terms. False equivalencies between "sides" simply provide cover to the white supremacists seeking to take our country backwards and tear our communities apart. 

Our diversity is our greatest strength—and we will not allow anyone to turn that strength against us.”

Union Community Health Center 2017 OPEN HOUSE & COMMUNITY HEALTH FAIR on Thursday, August 17th, 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM at UCHC, 2016 Bronxdale Avenue

Union Community
Health Center
Thursday, August 17th, 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM
2016 Bronxdale Avenue Bronx, NY 10462
(Between Holland & Antin Place)
For more info contact Muniz Serena 

Bronx House "First Indoor Flea Market at 990 Pelham Parkway South on Saturday, August 26th, from 12pm-3pm

First Indoor Flea Market
Saturday, August 26th, from 12pm-3pm
990 Pelham Parkway South, Bronx, NY 10461

We are having our First Indoor Flea Market at Bronx House on August 26th, 2017 from 12pm-3pm to support the Special Needs Department. We are going to have numerous vendor selling a variety of furniture, crafts, toys, jewelry, vintage Knick Knacks and more. If you can please share this with your community, friends and neighbors, it would greatly be appreciated.
This event is for a great cause!
For more info Call 718-792-1800 x263 or Email:


"The white supremacists have taken their hate, violence, and intolerance to the streets, but we will not be intimidated by domestic terrorism. We will continue to fight against the deep-seated racism that exists in our country wherever it appears."

On Sunday, Mayor de Blasio will march in the Dominican Day Parade. Prior to the parade, the Mayor will deliver remarks on the Charlottesville domestic terror attack and security measures surrounding the President’s upcoming visit.

Jason Galanis Sentenced To More Than 14 Years In Prison For Defrauding Tribal Entity And Pension Funds Of Tens Of Millions Of Dollars

   Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JASON GALANIS was sentenced today by the Honorable Ronnie Abrams to 173 months for defrauding a Native American tribal entity and numerous pension fund investors of tens of millions of dollars in connection with the issuance of bonds by the tribal entity.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “In a brazen securities scheme designed to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else, Jason Galanis and his co-conspirators cheated both their tribal clients as well as the investing public. After defrauding a Native American tribe into issuing bonds, Jason Galanis and his cohorts sold the illiquid bonds to unwitting pension funds, and then stole the proceeds for themselves. For his role in this campaign of theft and deception, Jason Galanis will now spend over 14 years in federal prison.”

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment filed against JASON GALANIS and his co-conspirators and statements made in related court filings and proceedings[1]:

From March 2014 through April 2016, JASON GALANIS and others engaged in a fraudulent scheme to misappropriate the proceeds of bonds issued by the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation (“WLCC”), a Native American tribal entity (the “Tribal Bonds”), and to use funds in the accounts of clients of asset management firms controlled by JASON GALANIS and others to purchase the Tribal Bonds, which the clients were then unable to redeem or sell because the bonds were illiquid and lacked a ready secondary market.

Documents governing the Tribal Bonds specified that an investment manager would invest the proceeds of the Tribal Bonds in investments that would generate annuity payments sufficient to pay interest on the Tribal Bonds and provide funds to the WLCC to be used for tribal economic development purposes. In fact, none of the proceeds of the Tribal Bonds were turned over to the investment manager specified in the closing documents. Instead, significant portions of the proceeds were misappropriated by JASON GALANIS and his co-defendants for their own personal use.

Specifically, the proceeds of the Tribal Bonds were deposited into a bank account in the name of Wealth Assurance Private Client Corporation (“WAPCC”). More than $38 million from the WAPCC account to an account controlled by JASON GALANIS, who then misappropriated more than $8.5 million of the proceeds for his personal use, including for expenses associated with his home, jewelry and clothing purchases, travel and entertainment, and restaurant meals.

There was no ready secondary market for the Tribal Bonds. Nonetheless, without prior notice, JASON GALANIS directed others to use funds belonging to clients of two related investment advisers, Hughes Capital Management, Inc. (“Hughes”) and Atlantic Asset Management, LLC (“Atlantic”) to purchase the Tribal Bonds, even though JASON GALANIS and others were well aware that material facts about the Tribal Bonds had been withheld from clients in whose accounts they were placed, including the fact that the Tribal Bond purchases fell outside the investment parameters set forth in the investment advisory contracts of certain Hughes clients and of the Atlantic pooled investment vehicle in which the Tribal Bonds were purchased. When Hughes and Atlantic clients learned about the purchase of the Tribal Bonds in their accounts, several of them demanded that the Tribal Bonds be sold. However, because there was no ready secondary market for the Tribal Bonds, no Tribal Bonds have been sold from any Hughes or Atlantic client accounts. In addition, JASON GALANIS and his co-conspirators failed to apprise clients of Hughes and Atlantic regarding substantial conflicts of interest with respect to the issuance and placement of the Tribal Bonds before the Tribal Bonds were purchased on these clients’ behalf.

In addition, a portion of the misappropriated proceeds was recycled and provided by JASON GALANIS to entities affiliated with co-conspirators in order to enable the purchase of subsequent Tribal Bonds issued by the WLCC. As a result of the use of recycled proceeds to purchase additional issuances of Tribal Bonds, the face amount of Tribal Bonds outstanding increased and the amount of interest payable by the WLCC increased, but the actual bond proceeds available for investment on behalf of the WLCC did not increase.

In addition to the prison term, JASON GALANIS, 47, was sentenced to three years of supervised release. GALANIS was also ordered to forfeit $43,277,436 and to make restitution in the amount of $43,785,176.

Trial with respect to the remaining defendants is scheduled to begin on February 5, 2018, before the Honorable Ronnie Abrams.

This conviction represents JASON GALANIS’s second conviction in this District in the past year. On February 15, 2017, GALANIS was sentenced by the Honorable P. Kevin Castel to 135 months in prison in connection with his participation in a scheme to manipulate the market for Gerova Financial Group, Ltd. (“Gerova”), a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and to defraud the shareholders of that company.

Mr. Kim praised the work of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and thanked the SEC.
[1] As for the defendants who have not pled guilty, the description of the charges set forth herein constitute only allegations.

Woman Charged For Defrauding Donors Of Over $50,000 By Misrepresenting That She Had Terminal Cancer

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Emil Califano, Chief of the Village of Ardsley Police Department, announced today charges against VEDOUTIE HOOBRAJ, a/k/a “Shivonie Deokaran,” for allegedly engaging in a scheme to defraud donors through false representations that she had been diagnosed with terminal leukemia and needed money to pay for her treatments.   HOOBRAJ was arrested in Orlando, Florida this morning and will be presented before a Magistrate Judge in the Middle District of Florida. 

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “Vedoutie Hoobraj allegedly concocted an elaborate story about having cancer when she did not, using GoFundMe pages and accepting money raised by a local high school, all supposedly to fund her medical care.  Hoobraj even falsified medical records for donors to conceal the fraud.  I commend our law enforcement partners for thwarting this allegedly brazen fraud.”
Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Vedoutie Hoobraj went to great lengths to hide behind her self-fabricated cancer diagnosis.  Not only did she allegedly allow the people of her community to hold fundraisers on her behalf, including a local high school football team, but sat idly by as they showered her and her family with their love, money, and unwavering support.  To further aggravate the matter, as alleged, she actively peddled her story in an effort to make more money; falsely claimed that she received treatment from legitimate doctors and hospitals; and produced fake test results to support her claims. Hoobraj's alleged crime is not only an injustice to those who were kind enough to help her, but also to those who do truly need the support of their communities and may now be met with suspicion because of Hoobraj’s alleged behavior.    
According to the allegations in the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
Beginning in at least about October 2014 and through at least March 2016, in Westchester County, New York, and elsewhere, HOOBRAJ engaged in a scheme that solicited donations through fraudulent representations that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and needed money for living and medical expenses.   
HOOBRAJ obtained donations from donors through checks and fund transfers to two GoFundMe fundraising websites set up in October 2014 and August 2015 on her behalf.  The GoFundMe websites represented, among other things, that HOOBRAJ was diagnosed with leukemia and given eighteen months to live, and that HOOBRAJ’s family was suffering financial burdens from her chemotherapy treatments and other medical and living expenses.  HOOBRAJ publicized the sites in online posts and emails, among other means. 
As alleged in the Complaint, HOOBRAJ received in excess of $50,000 in donations from over 300 individuals in Ardsley, New York, and elsewhere based on these and other related misrepresentations.   Between October 2014 and December 2015, HOOBRAJ transferred a total of approximately $32,600 from an Ohio bank account operated by GoFundMe’s payment processor vendor to HOOBRAJ’s bank account in New York.  In or about November 2015, HOOBRAJ deposited two donation checks totaling $16,274 from the Student Activity Fund of Ardsley High School, in Ardsley, New York, representing proceeds of a fundraising event organized in part by a donor (“Individual-1”).  HOOBRAJ also deposited other donation checks.
In an interview with a detective at the Ardsley Police Department on or about January 20, 2016, HOOBRAJ stated, among other things, that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer by a specified doctor at Sloan Kettering Medical Center who died in an earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, was currently being treated by another specified doctor, and had also gone to “Mount Kisco Medical Center” and “Bronx Lebanon Hospital” for treatments.  However, as alleged in the Complaint, HOOBRAJ had never been treated by these doctors and medical centers.
In or about March 2016, in an effort to prove that she had cancer, HOOBRAJ used the online messaging platform Facebook Messenger to send Individual-1 a screenshot of HOOBRAJ’s purported laboratory tests from a January 29, 2016, examination at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, New York (“Jacobi”).  The results presented by HOOBRAJ appeared to indicate that her hemoglobin, platelet counts, and red blood cell counts were all outside the stated normal ranges.  Records obtained from Jacobi as part of this investigation, however, revealed that the document sent by HOOBRAJ was a forgery, and that the actual medical record previously provided by Jacobi to HOOBRAJ stated, “Your labs turned out to show no abnormalities.”   
VEDOUTIE HOOBRAJ, a/k/a “Shivonie Deokaran,” 38, of Orlando, Florida, has been charged in the Complaint with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the FBI and the Ardsley Police Department.  Mr. Kim also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance.               
 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Investment Bank Vice President Pleads Guilty To Insider Trading

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that AVANEESH KRISHNAMOORTHY, who worked as a vice president and risk management specialist for a Manhattan-based investment bank (the “Investment Bank”), pled guilty earlier today to a criminal Information (the “Information”) charging him with engaging in a scheme to commit insider trading. KRISHNAMOORTHY made over $78,000 by trading in the stock and options of three publicly traded companies based on material nonpublic information he misappropriated from the Investment Bank and its parent company (the “Company”). KRISHNAMOORTHY pled guilty before United States District Judge Jesse M. Furman.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As he admitted today in federal court, Avaneesh Krishnamoorthy abused his position as an investment bank executive to get nonpublic information about several companies and then trade on it. We remain committed to prosecuting financial professionals whose greed drives them to break the law.”
According to the allegations in court documents, including the Information and a previously filed criminal complaint, and statements made during court proceedings:
As a vice president and risk management specialist, KRISHNAMOORTHY was given access to material, nonpublic information concerning mergers and acquisitions in which the Investment Bank was potentially going to be retained.
In November 2016, the Investment Bank was contacted about financing the acquisition of Neustar, Inc., a company whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, by a private equity fund (the “Fund”). KRISHANMOORTHY received multiple emails regarding the Investment Bank’s potential involvement in the transaction, which also summarized the mechanics of the deal. In violation of the Company’s policies and in breach of his duties to the Company and its clients, KRISHNAMOORTHY used this material nonpublic information to acquire Neustar stock and options. In the days and weeks after receiving the emails, KRISHNAMOORTHY purchased numerous Neustar call options and hundreds of shares of Neustar stock before the public announcement of the transaction. KRISHANMOORTHY did not reveal these trades or the existence of the underlying brokerage accounts to the Company. The price of Neustar stock increased by approximately 20% following the public announcement of the Fund’s acquisition of Neustar on December 14, 2016. KRISHNAMOORTHY also used material nonpublic information that he received from the Company to make profitable trades in securities of Cabelas Inc. and Axiall Corporation.
As a result of the scheme, KRISHNAMOORTHY reaped over $78,000 in ill-gotten gains, which he has agreed to forfeit to the Government as part of his plea agreement.
KRISHNAMOORTHY, 42, pled guilty to one count of securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
KRISHNAMOORTHY is scheduled to be sentenced November 21, 2017.
Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A.G. Schneiderman And Comptroller Dinapoli Announce 2 To 6 Year Prison Sentence For Former Councilman Ruben Wills In Public Corruption Scheme

  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the sentencing of former New York City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Queens) to 2 to 6 years in prison; Will was also ordered to pay nearly $33,000 in restitution and a $5,000 fine.'
The sentencing followed an eleven-day trial in July that resulted in a guilty verdict on five counts related to Will’s theft of approximately $30,000 in public campaign funds and state grant money. The jury found Wills guilty of one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree , and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Wills was previously expelled from the New York City Council; he was immediately taken into custody today. 

“New Yorkers deserve public servants whose priority is the needs of their constituents, not lining their own pockets. Instead of spending taxpayer money on projects to help his community, Ruben Wills betrayed the public trust by stealing tens of thousands for himself – and he’ll now pay the price,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We will continue to ensure that public servants who act as though they’re above the law are brought to justice.”

"Ruben Wills stole money meant to benefit the community he was sworn to serve. Thanks to my investigators and auditors working with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Mr. Wills has been brought to justice," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “We must have a zero tolerance for public corruption and we will continue to partner with law enforcement to root out fraud and protect the taxpayers."  

In addition to serving 2 to 6 years in prison, Wills will pay $11,500 in restitution to the New York City Campaign Finance Board and $21,374 to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). He will also pay a $5,000 fine.

The jury found that, Wills used public matching funds from his 2009 campaign for City Council to pay $11,500 to Micro Targeting, a shell company purportedly created to translate and distribute campaign literature. Prosecutors proved that the money paid to Micro Targeting was instead redirected to NY 4 Life, a non-profit corporation  that Wills controlled. Wills withdrew the money and made a series of personal purchases, including at Macy’s, where he used a portion of the funds to purchase a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag.  

Prosecutors also detailed how Wills used $21,000 in State grant funds for personal and political expenses. 

The $21,000 was part of a $33,000 grant provided to NY 4 Life from the OCFS, earmarked by former State Senator Shirley Huntley while Wills was serving as Huntley’s chief of staff. The grant stipulated that the money had to be used to conduct four public service projects. Yet witnesses at trial testified that NY 4 Life only held one event during the contract period, while Wills used approximately $21,000 of the funds for personal and political expenses, including at Nordstrom and Home Depot. Wills also used a portion of the money to pay individuals who had carried out campaign work for his City Council race. 

Judge Ira Margulis presided over the trial and sentencing. 

Since 2011, Attorney General Schneiderman, through his “Operation Integrity” partnership with Comptroller DiNapoli, has brought charges against dozens of individuals implicated in public corruption schemes around the state – resulting in the return of over $11 million in restitution to taxpayers through these convictions. 

A.G. Schneiderman Announces $5.5 Million Multi-State Settlement With Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company Over 2012 Data Breach

Breach Involving 32 States Exposed Personal Information Of 1.27 Million Consumers, Including 2,810 New Yorkers
New York State Will Receive Nearly $104,000
  Attorney General Schneiderman  announced that New York, along with 32 other states, has reached a settlement with the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and its subsidiary, Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Company, concerning an October 2012 data breach. The data breach, which the states allege had been caused by the failure to apply a critical security patch intended to prevent hacking or viral infection, resulted in the loss of personal information belonging to 1.27 million consumers – including 2,810 New Yorkers. The breach included social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit scoring information, and other personal data initially collected to provide insurance quotes to consumers applying for Nationwide insurance plans—many of whom did not ultimately become insured by the company. In addition to agreeing to improve its data security, Nationwide will pay a total of $5.5 million, including $103,736.78 to New York State.
“Nationwide demonstrated true carelessness while collecting and retaining information from prospective customers, needlessly exposing their personal data in the process,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This settlement should serve as a reminder that companies have a responsibility to protect consumers’ personal information regardless of whether or not those consumers become customers. We will hold companies to account if they don’t.”
The settlement requires Nationwide to take a number of steps to both update its security practices and to ensure the timely application of patches and other updates to its security software. Nationwide must also hire a technology officer responsible for monitoring and managing software and application security updates, including supervising employees responsible for evaluating and coordinating the maintenance, management, and application of all security patches and software and application security updates. Additionally, Nationwide agreed to take steps during the next three years to strengthen its security practices, including:
  • Updating its procedures and policies relating to the maintenance and storage of consumers’ personal data.
  • Conducting regular inventories of the patches and updates applied to its systems used to maintain consumers’ personal information.
  • Maintaining and utilizing system tools to monitor the health and security of their systems used to maintain personal information.
  • Performing internal assessments of its patch management practices and hiring an outside, independent provider to perform an annual audit of its practices regarding the collection and maintenance of personal information.
Many of the consumers whose data was lost as a result of the breach were consumers who never became Nationwide’s insureds, but the company retained their data in order to more easily provide the consumers re-quotes at a later date. Following the breach, affected consumers were provided with free credit monitoring and identity theft protection, in addition to identity fraud expense coverage up to $1 million and access to credit reports. The settlement announced today requires Nationwide to be more transparent about its data collection practices, including by disclosing to consumers that it retains their personal information, even if they do not become its customers.
The settlement was signed by a total of 33 Attorneys General, including New York, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.


Bronx Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us for our "Twilight Golf '5 at 5'" Golf & Networking Event

Bronx Chamber of Commerce - Bronx County Historical Society 17th Annual Golf Tournament

New York Comic Con 2017

October 5-8, 2017 | Javits Center | NYC

Wave Hill Events Aug 25–Sep 1

At Wave Hill, the week before Labor Day offers a quiet space for looking back on the summer season, and ahead to the glories—and busyness!of fall.

Sat, August 26    Family Art Project: Shades of Summer
See the world through rose (or green or blue or purple) colored glasses. Create your own custom sunglasses equipped with cool and colored lenses to feast your eyes on lush August gardens and river. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon

Sat, August 26    Garden Highlights Walk
Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Sat, August 26    Family Gallery Tour
Explore artwork on view in Glyndor Gallery on a family-friendly tour with a Curatorial Fellow. Children ages six and older welcome with an adult. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Sat, August 26    Gallery Tour
Wave Hill’s Curatorial Fellow leads a tour of the summer exhibitions in Glyndor Gallery. An exuberant counterpoint to Wave Hill’s lush summer gardens, Flora Fantastica! shows the work of four artists who share an interest in using pattern derived from cultural and botanical sources to create fantastic hybrid forms.Nancy BlumAmy Cheng and Elisabeth Condon each has an entire room for their paintings. Jill Parisi creates an installation for the entry foyer. In the Sunroom Project Space, Jan Mun combines digital and living media to explore the movement of plant species and the immigrant experience, while a window installation by David Rios Ferreira contains drawings and collages with cartoon-inspired characters, along with historical, cultural and contemporary pop references. Free with admission to the grounds.

Sun, August 27    Family Art Project: Shades of Summer
See the world through rose (or green or blue or purple) colored glasses. Create your own custom sunglasses equipped with cool and colored lenses to feast your eyes on lush August gardens and river. Free with admission to the grounds. 

Sun, August 27    Garden Highlights Walk
Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Mon, August 28    
Closed to the public.

Tue, August 29    Garden Highlights Walk
Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Tue, August 29    No Gallery Tour
Regular gallery tours resume in September.

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM–5:30PM, starting March 15.  Closes 4:30PM, November 1–March 14.
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6–18. Free Saturday and Tuesday mornings until noon. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the W. 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at

Friday, August 11, 2017


  Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed Intro. 214-B into law, and solidified the City’s commitment to providing all low-income tenants facing eviction with legal representation in Housing Court. The program, which is overseen by the Civil Justice Coordinator at the Human Resources Administration, will serve 400,000 tenants when it is fully implemented in five years.

“New York City will be the first city in country to ensure anyone facing an eviction case can access legal assistance thanks to this new law. New Yorkers should not lose their homes because they cannot afford a lawyer and stopping wrongful evictions from happening makes both ethical and economic sense,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Council for bringing this legislation into fruition and helping keep New Yorkers in their homes no matter their income level, making our city an even fairer city for all.”

"Everyone deserves access to legal services, especially when it comes to something as important as their home," said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "Access to counsel is about leveling the playing field and providing all tenants facing eviction with access to legal advice or representation. No tenant should fear losing their housing simply because they could not afford a lawyer. This is landmark legislation that will greatly impact the lives of residents of this city and I want to thank Council Member Mark Levine and Council Member Vanessa Gibson for working diligently on this bill and the Mayor for his support on this critical issue of tenants' rights."

Prior to this legislation, nearly no tenants had legal representation in Housing Court – estimated at just 1% in 2013 by state court officials – which resulted in high incidences of evictions and unchecked tenant harassment. To help close the gap, the Administration dramatically increased the availability of City-funded legal services for low-income tenants, increasing funding for legal assistance for tenants facing eviction and harassment from $6 million in 2013 to $62 million in 2016, a tenfold increase. 

The program successfully increased tenant representation in Housing Court from 1% in 2013 to 27% in 2016, and provided more than 50,000 households with legal services since 2014. At the same time, residential evictions by marshals declined by 24 percent, allowing 40,000 people to remain in their homes during 2015 and 2016.

Last February, the Administration agreed to more than double this financial support, dedicating an additional $93 million at full implementation for a comprehensive program to provide access to legal representation to all low-income tenants facing eviction proceedings in Housing Court earning up to 200% of the federal poverty line and brief legal assistance for all tenants facing eviction in court whose income is above that level.  In total and once the program is fully implemented, the City will spend $155 million annually to cover the costs of the initiative.

Beginning this October, the program will also start providing legal services to NYCHA tenants in administrative proceedings to terminate their tenancy. There are approximately 3,200 cases that go through NYCHA administrative hearings annually.

To ensure that tenants know their rights and at-risk communities have access to these services, the City’s Public Engagement Unit and the Human Resources Administration will be conducting outreach across the program areas. Tenants are encouraged to call 311 if they are facing an eviction and/or visit HRA offices located in housing courts.

“Universal access to counsel in housing court will level the playing field for tenants facing eviction and prevent more New Yorkers from facing homelessness,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks.  “This is the culmination of everything we have done over the past three years to expand access to counsel for tenants, and we’re looking forward to working with our partners in the legal services community as we implement this groundbreaking access to justice initiative.”

“Too many of the most vulnerable New Yorkers face eviction simply because they don’t have the means to hire an attorney. The Council’s passage of this bill marked a new beginning of a new era for tenants in New York City, and I’m proud to stand with the Mayor as he signs this landmark legislation,” said Council Member Mark Levine, lead sponsor of Intro 214. “New Yorkers have a right to affordable housing and to a fair justice system. No longer will low-income New Yorkers have to fend for themselves in Housing Court. This new law is a historic step forward in the fight against unlawful evictions.”

“This is a monumental day for tenants and a historic day for the City of New York. After four years of advocating, rallying, and marching, the ground breaking legislation that will curb the homelessness epidemic and end the cycle of eviction we've fought tirelessly to create will become New York City law. With access to counsel in place, tenants facing eviction will finally be on an even playing field with the landlords taking them to court. I am proud to have spent four years fighting for this critically important legislation and am so thankful to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, my partner in this endeavor Council Member Mark Levine, the many elected officials, advocates, tenant leaders, clergy leaders, and civil legal service providers who joined me in securing universal access to counsel for New Yorkers and bringing equity and justice to our housing court system,” stated Council Member Vanessa Gibson, co-sponsor of Intro 214.

“Too many tenants in New York City have been evicted from their homes simply because they cannot afford legal representation,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Providing access to counsel to all low-income tenants in housing courts will go a long way in ensuring our City’s most vulnerable citizens are protected and defended. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for signing this landmark legislation, introduced by Council Members Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, into law and guaranteeing our tenants have the rights they deserve.” 

“For too long the deck has been stacked against low-income tenants, most of whom do not have attorneys, because most landlords have representation in housing court. That is no longer the case, thanks to the new system laid out by this incredibly important 'Access to Counsel' legislation," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for their strong commitment to tenants' rights, and for leading us to where we are today. I especially want to thank two of my colleagues from the City Council, Mark Levine and Vanessa Gibson, for their tireless advocacy on behalf of this important piece of legislation. Together, we have struck a blow for a more fair and just housing court, and that is something we can all be proud of.”

Above - Mayor Bill de Blasio talks about the importance of this bill, and the impact it will have giving tenants a fighting chance now in Housing Court.
Below - Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. congratulates the mayor and City Council for passing this legislation. 

Above - The mayor gives the Bronx X to BP Diaz Jr.
Below - Mayor de blasio poses for photos before he uses the first of many pens to sign Intro 214. Each elected official, and selected tenant leaders were given a pen used to sign Intro 214 to keep.

Above - Mayor de Blasio starts to sign Intro 214 into law.
Below - A slimmer looking Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo shows off the pen he received from Mayor de Blasio that was one of many used to sign Intr 214.


  On Thursday, August 10, 2017, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York Yankees and Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T-East Region, co-hosted the seventh annual “Borough President’s Cup” Little League Championship.

The event featured two teams both competing in the championship game for the first time: Bronxchester Realtors and Caribe Little League. Bronxchester took the championship trophy home in a 2-1 thriller.

To compete in the “Borough President’s Cup” Little League tournament, players for each Little League have to meet a set of requirements unrelated to their performance on the field: maintain a B-average in school, 90 percent or greater school attendance and a demonstrated commitment to community service.

“This tournament has become a true Bronx sports tradition, and I am proud to once again join AT&T and the New York Yankees to make today possible,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Today’s game featured two teams of great kids, giving it their all at the most important stadium in all of baseball. Congratulations to the Bronxchester Realtors on today’s victory. I’m already looking forward to next year’s tournament!”

“AT&T’s ongoing partnership with Borough President Diaz is empowering student athletes to achieve academically, support their peers and give back to their communities,” said Marissa Shorenstein, President, AT&T-East Region. “Congratulations to all the players and their coaches on their incredible performance today, and here’s to a successful school year ahead, on the field and in the classroom.”

“The New York Yankees are honored to partner with the Bronx Borough President’s Office and AT&T to host the seventh annual Borough President’s Cup Little League Championship and showcase the talents and achievements of local student athletes,” said Brian Smith, Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate & Community Relations.