Saturday, December 23, 2017

TEAM DIAZ Christmas Party

  Above - (L - R) Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, 79th A.D. District Leader Cynthia Cox, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Not yet elected City Council Speaker Councilman Cory Johnson, newly elected Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., Councilman Rafael Salamanca, and Assemblyman Victor Pichardo.

 It was a night of surprises at the TEAM DIAZ Christmas Party last night as there was no stage for the elected officials to sit, they mingled and took photos with the over 500 people in attendance. There was a special guest who was able to poke some fun at current State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr., an announcement by the Bronx Democratic County Leader, and lots of fun as the photos below will tell you.

Above - At first it was only Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, 89th District Leader Andrea Seigel, and newly elected Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr.
Below - 78th A.D. District Leader Cynthia Cox, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, and Councilman Rafael Salamanca shortly arrived. 

Above - By now Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo had arrived, and Assemblyman Crespo announced that a special guest was in the house.
Below - Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. welcomes his new best friend Councilman and new Speaker of the City Council Councilman Cory Johnson.

Above - Councilman Disaz Sr., and Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo (who was a big player in who became the new City Council Speaker) hold up the new Speaker's hands in victory.
Below - Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. wanted to make sure he was real close to his new Speaker.

As for other announcements,
Above - Bronx Democratic County Leader Narcos Crespo announces that Ruben Diaz Jr. will be running for mayor in 2021.
Below - Assemblyman Luis sepulveda announces that he is running for the very soon to be vacant 32nd State Senate seat which Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. will be leaving on January 1st. 

Additional Charges Announced Against Two Bronx Men For A 2014 Murder And 2014 Drug-Related Shooting

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Darcel D. Clark, the Bronx County District Attorney, Ashan M. Benedict, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), James J. Hunt, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced additional charges in a Superseding Indictment[1] against members of a drug trafficking crew based in the Bronx.  In the Superseding Indictment returned on Tuesday, December 19, JASON POLANCO, a/k/a “Jin,” a/k/a “Wolfman,” is charged with the August 31, 2014, murder of Shawn Ross, a/k/a “S.B.,” and RENE RUIZ, a/k/a “Lil’ Rene,” a/k/a “Nae Nae,” is charged with a May 2, 2014, non-fatal shooting.

POLANCO, RUIZ, and 12 others were previously charged in an Indictment unsealed on February 6, 2017.  That prior Indictment charged narcotics trafficking, firearms possession, and participation in robberies of commercial establishments in the Bronx and Manhattan.  In addition to the new charges described above, the Superseding Indictment re-alleges the charges that had previously been brought in the Indictment against POLANCO, RUIZ, and 10 others.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain.  POLANCO, RUIZ, and the 10 other defendants charged in the Superseding Indictment were arraigned today.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, Jason Polanco and Rene Ruiz not only participated in a drug conspiracy, but also personally participated in the drug crew’s gun violence, including, for Polanco, a murder.  Fortunately, federal authorities and our local law enforcement partners, working together, can make our streets safer, as they did in this case.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said:  “We are pleased to have assisted our federal law enforcement partners in their superseding indictment charging Jason Polanco with the murder of a Bronx man.  It is one of numerous violent felonies that Polanco and his co-defendants allegedly committed in the Bronx and Manhattan.  In addition to facing justice in federal court, he will face justice in the Bronx for shooting two New York City police officers in 2015.  With seamless cooperation between city, state and federal agencies we will continue to do all we can to ensure safety for all who live and work in the Bronx.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict said:  “Jason Polanco, Rene Ruiz and his charged co-conspirators are alleged to have committed a litany of crimes, including firearms offenses and violent crimes.  The defendants are alleged to have possessed and used firearms in the commission of violent crimes with some crimes resulting in serious bodily injury and in one case death.  The members of this violent drug trafficking crew have been a plague to the citizens of the Bronx and Manhattan for some time.  I would like to commend our partners in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for their collaboration that made this case possible.  I also would like to extend my gratitude to the special agents of the DEA and ATF, and the NYPD detectives, who worked tirelessly to bring these individuals to justice.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said:  “This case shows the intrinsic link between drug trafficking, crime and gun violence.  New York law enforcement is committed to weeding out drug dealers in our neighborhoods so law abiding residents can live in neighborhoods  free from drugs and safe from the consequences of drug trafficking.” 

POLANCO is separately being prosecuted by the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office for his alleged shooting of two NYPD Officers in January 2015.  Mr. Kim thanked the District Attorney’s Office for their cooperation in the federal investigation of POLANCO for the alleged murder of Shawn Ross.  

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 [1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

A.G. Schneiderman Files Lawsuit Alleging Bronx & Westchester Car Dealerships Illegally Charged Consumers For Bogus Theft Protection Product

AG Seeks Refunds For As Many As 1,100 Consumers Who Were Allegedly Charged As Much as $4,000 Apiece By Victory Mitsubishi of Larchmont and Victory Suzuki of the Bronx
Lawsuit Also Seeks To Permanently Stop Dealerships From Engaging In Deceptive Business Practices
Since 2015, Attorney General Schneiderman Has Obtained Approximately $19M In Restitution And Penalties From Fraudulent Auto Dealers
  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a lawsuit against Victory Motors, LLC (Victory Mitsubishi of Larchmont) and Victory Auto Group, LLC (Victory Suzuki of the Bronx) alleging that the car dealerships deceptively charged as many as 1,100 consumers for an unwanted and bogus anti-theft product that cost up to $4,000 per consumer. The lawsuit alleges that this item, known as an “after-sale” product, was often added onto the final cost of the vehicle without the consumer’s knowledge or consent, after the customer had agreed upon the purchase price of a vehicle but before the sale transaction was finalized. Since 2015, Attorney General Schneiderman has obtained approximately $19 million in restitution and penalties from auto dealers; nearly 29,000 consumers were eligible for restitution under these settlements.
“Consumers shouldn’t have to worry about being scammed by auto dealers when they buy a car,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will continue to protect New Yorkers – and take on those who seek to rip off consumers with hidden and unwanted fees and products.”
In April 2015, the Attorney General received a complaint from a consumer who, after purchasing a vehicle from Victory Mitsubishi in Larchmont, noticed that there was a puzzling charge of $1,995 labeled “Etch” on the bill of sale. When contacted by the Attorney General’s office, the dealership allegedly explained that the charge was for a glass etch product, a security add-on in which a serial number, often the vehicle identification number (“VIN”), is etched onto each of the vehicle’s windows. However, the consumer said that she had not been made aware by the dealership that she was purchasing the etch product, and that had she been made aware, she would have declined to purchase it. The dealership made a full refund.
Concerned that other consumers could have been charged for the product without their knowledge or consent, the Attorney General then launched an investigation that found that both Victory Mitsubishi and Victory Suzuki of the Bronx – another dealership with common ownership – had allegedly charged as many as 1,100 consumers for a product called the Etch Guarantee, which is intended to serve as a theft deterrent. 
Consumers were charged amounts ranging from $129 to $3,998. In many instances, the two Victory dealerships allegedly added this fee onto the final sales price without the knowledge or consent of the consumers. As a result, the final price paid by the consumers was inflated by the amount charged for the after-sale product.
Furthermore, the two Victory dealerships allegedly failed to clearly disclose the nature of the after-sale product to their customers. The “Vehicle Replacement Discount Allowance,” also known as the “Etch Guarantee,” is supposed to include a permanent etch or engraving of the vehicle’s VIN, or a registered serial number, on the windows of the vehicle – supposedly to deter theft. However, in many instances, the Victory dealerships did not actually etch the VIN onto the windows of the vehicles.
Consumers were also allegedly led to believe that there would be a guaranteed credit of up to either $2,500 or $5,000 towards the purchase of a new vehicle should their car be stolen. However, there were numerous conditions and limitations – such as that the credit would not be applied if it eliminated the dealership’s profit on the sale – which rendered the “credit” illusory.
The Attorney General commenced the lawsuit because the Victory dealerships – although they have ceased selling the Etch Guarantee – failed to offer full refunds to the other consumers who had been charged (i.e., the consumers not involved in the original complaint). The lawsuit seeks to permanently stop the dealerships from engaging in deceptive business practices and to obtain full refunds for the consumers. It also seeks an accounting to determine the precise number of consumers who were charged.
This lawsuit is part of the Attorney General’s wider initiative to end the practice engaged in by some auto dealers of “jamming,” or unlawfully charging consumers for products and services without their knowledge or consent. 
Since 2015, Attorney General Schneiderman has reached 14 settlements with auto dealerships, including over $19 million in total restitution and penalties; nearly 29,000 consumers were eligible for restitution under these settlements. For example, in October 2017, the Attorney General obtained two settlements with auto dealers that returned $900,000 in restitution and $135,000 in penalties.


As we reflect on what an incredible year this been and embark on the new and exciting adventures that await us in the New Year, Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) is hosting a “thank you” event for his constituents during his State of the District Forum on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. EST at 809 Restaurant located at 112 Dyckman Street, New York, NY

During the event, Congressman Espaillat will give a legislative update and presentation on the next steps and the road ahead for New York’s 13th congressional district.

State of the District Forum
December 27, 2017
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
809 Restaurant
112 Dyckman Street
New York, NY 10040


Secret Snowflake - a holiday initiative by NYC Service in partnership with ACS, DSS, DHS, and OCDV - engages City and private sector employees to answer hand written letters and provide gifts for New York City children and families

   Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that NYC Service mobilized over 1,600 volunteers to answer more than 2,500 letters from NYC children and families in need and provide them with gifts during the holiday season through the Secret Snowflake initiative. This initiative relies on the support of Mayor’s Office staff, private sector employees across 15 NYC businesses, and a dozen NYC organizations to provide some holiday cheer for thousands of youth and families in the City. Throughout the last four years, Secret Snowflake has served over 9,000 New York City children through letters and in kind donations.

“The holidays can be a critical time for those in need and remind us to be thankful and share that gratitude with our fellow New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Secret Snowflake has grown tremendously and continues to be an inspiration to our staff and our City to give back and make this season brighter for someone else. We are committed to supporting our City’s children and I want to thank the over 1,600 volunteers who answered letters, as well as all the NYC organizations who donated gifts and resources to make the holiday season special for thousands of children and families in need.”

“Secret Snowflake brings New York City residents together during the holidays to support children and youth in need,” said NYC Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin. “The partnership and support from City agency partners, businesses, and every day New Yorkers across the City continues to make it possible for NYC Service to grow Secret Snowflake and support children and families during the holidays.  We are honored to be an office that inspires others to volunteer and serve each other during the holiday season and beyond.”

Every holiday season, the Secret Snowflake initiative relies on the support of the City agency partners for success. The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), and the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) collect letters from children and families served by their agencies before the holiday season. NYC Service engages mayoral and private sector employees to volunteer to answer these letters and purchase gifts. In addition, other NYC businesses and organizations across the City provide in kind donations to serve additional children and families.

“The holidays are a special time to spread joy and cheer to children and families in need,” said Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner David Hansell. “Secret Snowflake brings New Yorkers together to take the time to make a child feel special. I want to thank NYC Service for their commitment to giving back to our young people in care.”

“This is a reminder of the wonderful generosity of New Yorkers and the dedication of our staff to helping survivors of domestic violence rebuild their lives,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.  “By participating in this activity with our City partners, we are bringing holiday joy to children who have endured incredible hardship.”

“Thanks to NYC Service’s Secret Snowflake initiative, more than 1,000 children experiencing homelessness will receive toys, books, clothing and school supplies this holiday season,” said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. “Homelessness affects every neighborhood in our City, and we are grateful for New Yorkers’ dedication to spreading the holiday spirit through generosity and compassion for neighbors in need.”

“The holidays are a precious time of year for so many, and children especially enjoy opening presents from their parents, loved ones and friends,” said Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel. “While every family may not be in a position to buy gifts, the Secret Snowflake program ensures that more children are able to open a gift each year, and enjoy the spirit of the season.”

The Mayor’s Office for International Affairs also engages the diplomatic community in service during the holidays. This year, participants included representatives from the Consulates General of Belize, Finland, Germany, Lebanon, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. Representatives from the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan, Andorra, Austria, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Liberia, Nepal, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Vanuatu, as well as, the European Union Delegation to the United Nations also participated.

"Each holiday season, the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs activates the world’s largest diplomatic and consular community to support New Yorkers in need through the Secret Snowflake initiative,” said Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Commissioner Penny Abeywardena. “This year, representatives from more than 25 countries collected gifts to bring joy to over 165 youth and children and their families. We are grateful for this opportunity to connect our international partners with the local communities of New York City in the spirit of service and giving.” 

NYC Service actively recruits corporate partners and local businesses to fulfill the holiday wishes of children in need. Companies engage their employees to volunteer and answer hand written letters from children, while local businesses donate toys and books to supplement answered letters and serve additional families.

2017 Corporate Partners (Employees Answered Letters):
·         Brookfield
·         HBO
·         Medley
·         Mizuho
·         M&T bank
·         Neuberger Berman
·         New York Times
·         New York City Football Club
·         Revlon
·         Swarovski
·         Tumblr
·         Turner Construction
·         Yelp

2017 In-Kind Donors:
·         Akashic Books
·         Archipelago Books
·         Artist & Craftsman Supply: Long Island City and Park Slope
·         Brooklyn Sports Entertainment
·         Europa Editions
·         Greenlight Books
·         Globant
·         HarperCollins
·         HBO
·         Macy’s
·         Mayor’s Office International Affairs

Mayor de Blasio Announces Retirement of Chancellor Farina, and Retention of Police, Fire, and Corporation Counsel Heads

  It’s an important day for the city and an important day for the administration. I want to announce some important personal actions that will have an impact for years to come and want you to know how proud I am at the outset of the team that we assembled from the beginning and the incredible work that they have done.

I’ve told you throughout we will be providing you with personal updates as they occur and let me go over several things with you right now. First, very good news for the City of New York and the people of New York City.

Three tremendous public servants will continue their work on behalf of the city going into the second term – our police commissioner Jimmy O’Neill, our fire commissioner Dan Nigro, and our corporation counselor Zach Carter. And I want to thank them all for their continued commitment to this city and for the great work they are doing. I want to say something about each because I really want to honor what they have achieved.

First of all, Commissioner O’Neill, I have to say Jimmy, you have done an outstanding job it’s been now, I guess we are pushing on towards a year and a half now – hey guess what let’s start with the most important point. We have the safest big city in America and it continues to get safer. That is testament to the leadership of Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill and the great work of the men and women of the NYPD. You will remember that Jimmy started on a very difficult day – the day of the bombing in Chelsea. He proved literally on day one that he was ready for the job and he has continued to prove it every day since.

His most foundational contribution was the work he did in building the neighborhood policing model under Commissioner Bratton. That model has flourished. It has proven to be extraordinary to our crime fighting efforts and to improving the relationship between police and community and he’s also led the way in a number of key reforms including bringing body cameras to all of our officers on patrol in the coming years. Extraordinary achievement and I’m looking forward to a lot more from Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill.

I also want to quote from the Associated Press today. Looking at the crime statistics for this year and we always remind everyone the statistics represent human beings and human lives and the fact that we are on the pace to have a level of crime that we have not seen in this city in over half a century.

But the quote that jumped out to me was amazing and I, because it is the Associated Press it’s being seen all over the country – it says these numbers mean a person’s odds of getting killed by homicide in tightly packed, diverse New York City were about the same as they were last year in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. Extraordinary impact that your leadership has had Jimmy, and extraordinary credit to the men and women under your command.

Commissioner Dan Nigro has been a revelation from my point of view – a leader who has managed to continually make the FDNY stronger. He is universally respected, has governed over consistent progress in his agency. In 2016 the fewest fire death in New York City in over a century. An extraordinary achievement.

We have, this year, one of the safest years on record and we have a Fire Department that after a lot of years of challenges has made a huge step forward and increasingly has a personnel that look like all of New York City. Diversity in the Fire Department has increased consistently and the recent firefighter exam was taken by more than 46,000 people, 60 percent of whom were women and people of color. That’s the most ever. So, Commissioner Nigro, just so appreciative of all you’ve achieved and the constant progress you’ve made in your agency. And so happy you’ll be continuing in the role.

The last announcement, obviously is a bittersweet one. It’s not news you’ve seen in the last 24 hours but I want to just speak from heart here about Carmen Fariña.

I have so many stories I could tell and so many warm moments and so many special moments along the way going back now 16, 17 years to when we first met and the work we did locally in District 15 in Brooklyn. And from the very beginning, Carmen was someone that I realized was an extraordinary talent but also extraordinarily wise.

And I learned a lot from her from the very beginning. I sought her counsel in all the years in between. And then the day came when the people chose me as their mayor and we had to decide on a Schools Chancellor, incredibly important difficult role. And I reached out to Carmen Fariña.

And her first impulse was to offer me advice and I tried to steer the conversation to the topic of Carmen Fariña with no success initially. But the more we talked the more I tried that subterfuge of describing the ideal candidate and then saying, “Oh, by the way, that describes you.”

Slowly but surely she warmed to the idea of coming out of retirement and getting back on the playing field. One thing I did not know about Carmen at the time was that she would take on the role with the kind of energy you can only call superhuman.

When someone’s coming out of retirement to take on one of the toughest jobs in the country, you wouldn’t blame them if they just worked like anyone else. She proceeded to do something miraculous. I constantly called her or emailed her while she was in the middle of a school visit.

I have no idea how she possibly managed to visit so many schools so often while answering emails from parents all over the city, while attending strategy meetings here and at the Tweed building – just unbelievable energy and focus which harkens back to one of my favorite quotes of the entire administration. The day – it was a very special day for Carmen and me both because we did the announcement at M. S. 51, in the school district that both of served those years earlier at the middle school that both Chiara and Dante went to, on the gym floor where Chiara and Dante used to play basketball.

And it was a very personal moment for me. And I was caught up in that but the single most memorable moment that day was when Carmen flashed a big, bright smile and said that part of why she was going to take on this job even though she had reached the age of 70, that she was coming back – she had said, “Today, 70 is the new 40.” And she just beamed this big smile.

I think your version of 70-is-the-new-40 actually sometimes looked like the new 30 or the new 20 because there was so much energy. But more than just the extraordinary wisdom and energy and leadership is what she achieved.

And I can tell you something – I heard this from teachers all over the school system, I heard it from parents – people felt they were in good hands. They felt that there was an educator at the helm who really knew her stuff and really felt their lives, and it made all the difference.

She will go down in history not only as one of the longest serving chancellors in the history of New York City but as one of the most effective chancellors we’ve ever had.

And the list of achievements is extraordinary.

Highest graduation rate in the history of New York City, highest college enrollment rate for our young people, highest college readiness rate, four years of improved test scores, obviously a crucial role in the launching of pre-k which has been profoundly important to the future of this city, and then the launching of 3-K. I remember being in that classroom with Carmen in the first hours of 3-K starting in this city and seeing the shape of the future.

And one of the reasons why it was possible was her confidence in her team in the ability to do great things. She never shirked. She never shirked when we talked about creating the Equity and Excellence agenda.

She never shirked when I said, “Carmen we have to figure out a pathway to getting all our kids reading on grade level by third grade.” I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. I think some of it was right in this room.

She soberly told me how unprecedented it would be in this city to achieve that level. And then she proceeded to tell me exactly what it would take and said, “We’re going to take on the mission.”

That is the epitome of who Carmen Fariña is. So many children benefitted. So many educators benefitted from her leadership.

And I also want to say at a time when this nation was roiled by division, our Chancellor stood up as a great example of what’s best New York City.

She, with her powerful voice, her presence reassured parents and kids all over the city including our immigrant children who really feared what was coming next in their lives but because of Carmen’s leadership, they knew there was a place where they were safe and respected and protected, and that was in our schools. And that made a big, big difference at a very sensitive moment for this city.

I could go on and on but suffice to say, I asked a lot of Carmen Fariña and she gave me even more. And it’s been a fantastic four years I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve achieved together.

And I am now formally announcing the second retirement of Carmen Fariña. And she can – and I can say this from the bottom of my heart – leave public service with her head held very, very high.

Friday, December 22, 2017


Two Defendants Indicted For Operating As Major Traffickers Could Face Life in Prison Narcotics Trafficked Throughout NY Metropolitan Area

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a joint investigation with the New York City Police Department with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations has resulted in the indictment of 21 people for trafficking heroin and cocaine throughout the Bronx, reaching into upstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. 

 District Attorney Clark said, “Through the efforts of a year-long joint investigation, we have dismantled a major drug organization and charged the defendants with over 100 counts of various serious charges. Two of the defendants are charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker and could face life behind bars. The defendants allegedly peddled heroin and cocaine throughout the Bronx, spreading their operation to two other states. We will go wherever our investigation leads to make our borough safe and with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue and prosecute those doing harm to our communities.” 

 NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said, “These narcotics traffickers operated an organized criminal network through which major quantities of illicit and potentially deadly drugs infected the streets of the Bronx during a period in which opioid-related deaths have been reaching epidemic levels. Through major cases like this one, the NYPD, along with our law enforcement and prosecution partners, continues to focus on the source and supply of illegal drugs and together we are committed to bring these criminals to justice." 

 Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez said, “These individuals are alleged to have trafficked large quantities of highly addictive drugs through our local communities and into our surrounding states. Our neighborhoods have been plagued with opioid addictions, and we will continue joint law enforcement efforts with the NYPD in order to rid our streets of the dealers and traffickers of these deadly drugs.”

 District Attorney Clark said the defendants are variously charged with first, second and third-degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance; first, second and third-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance; second and fourth-degree Conspiracy; and other related charges. Defendants Mario Martinez and Joan Velez are charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker. They face a maximum of 25 years to life in prison if convicted of that charge. 

 Eleven defendants were arrested in a takedown on December 20, 2017 and were arraigned before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary. They are due back in court on March 28, 2018. One defendant is awaiting extradition from Connecticut.

 According to the 12-month wiretap investigation by the Bronx DA’s Special Investigations Bureau and Criminal Enterprise Bureau along with the NYPD Bronx Gang Squad and Homeland Security Investigations, defendants Mario Martinez and Joan Velez worked together to obtain and distribute narcotics. The defendants resold the narcotics throughout the Bronx and New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut.

 Several of the defendants allegedly sold drugs along West Burnside Avenue in the 46th Precinct. During the investigation, authorities seized over 10 kilograms of heroin, packaged in bricks and thousands of glassines, as well as various quantities of cocaine and crack-cocaine, $20,000 in cash and three firearms.

 District Attorney Clark thanked the NYPD’s Bronx DA Squad, the NYPD Bronx Gang Squad, the 48th Precinct, Homeland Security Investigations Violent Gang Unit, Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut Department of Probation for their assistance in the case. 

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

Defendants - Mario Martinez, 46, Bronx Joan Velez, 36, Bronx Franky Skinner AKA Row, 48, Bronx Johnnie Wright AKA Jimmy, 36, Ulster County, NY Ramon Bonilla AKA Baldy, 52, Bronx Luis Raposo AKA Luisito, 50, Bronx David Hemphill AKA Dolla, 40, Bronx Alexis Sanchez AKA Butter, 39, Bronx Michael Collins AKA Mike, 29, Bronx Christian Sanchez AKA Bori, 32, Manhattan Emmanuel Gomez AKA Pistola, 35, Bronx Yessenia Castro AKA La Yii, 33, Bronx Francisco Brito, 38, Bronx Randy Minaya, 30, Bronx Miguel Robles, 36, Bronx Michael Gallardo AKA Mike, 39, Bronx Victor Lora, 24, Westchester County, NY Leo Bonilla, 34, Bronx Robert Porras AKA Robo, 39, Manhattan Stephen Carrasco AKA Smurf, 42, Bronx Desjohn Curry, 28, Bronx.

What You Should Know By Senator Rev Rubén Díaz 32nd Senatorial District Why Is It That When People of Colour Are In Charge, Our Communities of Colour Do Worst?

  Why Is It That When People of Colour Are In Charge, Our Communities of Colour Do Worst? 

You should know that we, people of colour, are always demanding and struggling to achieve opportunities in high places to help our Black and Latino communities.  But history has shown that once one of us acquires a position fought, our communities do not improve or prosper. 

It is important for you to know that our struggle, I include myself, has always been in an effort to improve the quality of life of our people by having members of our own communities represent us.  But surprise, surprise we too often find that this does not always happen. 

It has been my experience that when we have been fortunate enough to put one of our own in charge, there is always someone, not of our own communities of Colour, behind the scenes pulling the strings.  This happens on a national, state, and city levels. 

Let’s look at some city and state examples.  Beginning with the New York City Council Speaker.   

In the New York City Council, when I was there in 2001, we created a Black and Latino Caucus established to help and address the issues affecting our communities of colour. It was destroyed, dismantled, abolished to give way for a speaker, member of the minority community and the creation of the “Progressive Caucus”.   

As a result, we got Mellissa Mark-Viverito a Puerto Rican woman to serve as our City Council Speaker.   Well that did nothing for our communities of colour, didn’t matter that one of our own held a powerful position as Speaker.  Instead, Mellissa Mark-Viverito dedicated herself to move forward her lefty agenda while rumor has it that behind the scenes strings were being pulled by Council Member Brad Lander and others, none with their best interest for the minority communities and their improvement. 

Rumor also has it that whenever the unions, businesses, lobbyists and other interest groups needed something they called those individuals behind the scenes.  You should know that this was not the case under the Black and Hispanic Caucus.   

Another case was when I served on the CCRB (NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board) the majority of police brutally complaints were against Black and Latino police officers patrolling Black and Latino communities.   

For years the outcry was that communities of colour wanted and needed to have our own patrolling our communities, thinking that this would solve and improve police and community relations.   We thought people of colour would be better off because they would understand, and be sensitive to people like us because they are like us. So, we thought.   But once many got that badge, that gun, and the authority, all sensitivities were lost.   CCRB Complaints showed that our own was the first to slap, curse and abuse their power on members of their own communities of colour.   

The same is true at our city agencies.  When members of our communities of colour go to a social services office, a hospital emergency room, retail stores or other facilities, too often people of colour are mistreated, are having to wait long hours to be serviced and the delivery of service is substandard and of poor quality.  Doesn’t matter that the delivery of service comes from our own kind. 

Now let’s look at the Hon. Carmen Farina the New York City Public School Chancellor.  She has the title, but again rumor has it, and I am afraid that there have been others behind the scenes making the decisions that affect the quality of education our children are receiving.   

Under Ms. Farina bullying and crime in minority school districts increased and also our school’s performance rates are poor.   Meanwhile our minority chancellor instead of addressing these problems and work toward solving them she was used by others in a campaign to stop charter schools that have been proven to greatly benefit Black and Latino children. 

My dear reader, I could speak about endless examples including the State Legislature and State government agencies, such as the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR).   This agency is managed by people of colour appointed by the governor.  These managers appear to be manipulated.  The result is policies that contribute to an increase in family homelessness.   Landlords in State developments are granted approval for rent increases.   These rent increases force families out of their homes and into homeless shelters.   The number of homeless families in our city and state is a disgrace.   Who are those greatly this?  You guessed it, people of colour. 

I know that this WYSK will not be well received by many of those pulling the strings, and by those whose strings have been pulled by people of other ethnicity’s, and colour who do not represent nor have the best interests of the minority communities at heart.    I’m sure that they will blast me.  But as the saying goes “the truth hurts”.   But I always write the truth as I know it, even when I know that I might face criticism for it. 

I am Senator Ruben Diaz and this is what you should know.    


  The days are winding down on State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr. He has given his resignation to the State Senate Democratic Conference Chair as of December 31st 2017. No soon to be former State Senator Diaz Sr. is not leaving politics, but was elected as the new Council member for the 18th City Council District. That means he should have 8 more years until he can finally retire on his record in city and state government. 

  Former State Senator and Councilman Elect Diaz Sr. you have made some bold moves in your current political career. While have you spoken out before, who is pulling your strings to vote for the new speaker of the City Council?

Engel Votes Against Republicans’ Inadequate Government Funding Bill

  Congressman Eliot Engel, a top member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement after voting against the Continuing Resolution passed by House Republicans:

“Congressional Republicans have decided to cap off one of the least productive years in the history of Congress with yet another continuing resolution that kicks the can down the road on some of our nation’s most pressing issues. This abdication of duty is shameful – and especially galling after their gleeful display at the White House yesterday where they applauded themselves for their tax scam on the middle-class.

“I believe we should not end the year without enacting a solution for the hundreds of thousands of young people who had their immigration status so cruelly revoked by the President in September. Every day, another 122 DREAMers lose their protected status and are at risk of deportation. Yet, despite bipartisan support, this bill does not include a fix for DACA.

“We also should not have ended the year without fixing the mess House Republicans made when they allowed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire. This CR fails our nation’s children, putting an inadequate patch on CHIP instead of a long-term, bipartisan reauthorization. This won’t help states plan and it won’t give CHIP families peace of mind.

“On top of that, this CR fails to provide adequate funding to care for our nation’s veterans. The VA is facing a dire shortfall and a shortage of 45,000 doctors, nurses and health care providers. It is unconscionable of GOP leaders not to authorize these funds and deny care to veterans.

“Finally, the House also voted today on a supplemental disaster relief package – but one that doesn’t sufficiently meet the needs of fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I voted against this package as well. We must do more to aid those struggling to rebuild in Hurricane Maria’s wake.

“No long-term, bipartisan funding for CHIP. No support for our veterans. No help for our DREAMers and inadequate assistance for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Failing to fix our biggest problems is exactly what has happened this year under Republican leadership.”