Saturday, June 23, 2018


   A federal jury found one physician and two nurses guilty today of health care fraud, and one physician and one nurse guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, all for their roles in a home health fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas, Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Region, Special Agent in Charge Eric Jackson of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office and Director of Law Enforcement David Maxwell of the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) made the announcement. 
After a five-day trial, Kelly Robinett, M.D., 70, of Denton County, Texas; and Kingsley Nwanguma, 47, of Dallas County, Texas were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  In addition, Robinett and Nwanguma were each convicted of three counts of health care fraud, and Joy Ogwuegbu, 42, of Collin County, Texas was convicted of four counts of health care fraud.  Sentencing before U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, who presided over the trial, has not yet been scheduled. 
“Medical professionals Kelly Robinett, Kingsley Nwanguma, and Joy Ogwuegbu engaged in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud the taxpayer-funded Medicare program by certifying patients for medically unnecessary home health services and falsifying medical records to hide their crimes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan.  “The Criminal Division and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting taxpayer dollars by vigorously pursuing medical professionals and anyone else who seeks to profit off our federal health programs through fraud and deceit.” 
“The significance of this case highlights the responsibility healthcare workers, especially physicians and nurses, have to protect not only their patients, but prevent fraud against any federal health insurance program during the performance of their duties,” said Eric K. Jackson, FBI Dallas Special Agent-In-Charge. “Their decision to undertake this level of fraud against the government is something that the FBI will always make a priority to investigate and bring to justice those who would use their influential positions and their access for personal gains.”
“All patient care decisions must be based on legitimate assessments of medical need,” said CJ Porter, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  “In this case, decisions revolved around a fraud scheme to enrich the defendants.  The Office of Inspector General, with our enforcement partners, will continue to pursue prosecutions of this nature to protect federal health care program dollars.”
From 2007 through 2015, Robinett, Nwanguma, and others, engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting and causing the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, through Timely Home Health Services Inc. (Timely), a home health agency, and Boomer House Calls, a physician house call company.  The evidence presented at trial showed that Robinett, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, certified Medicare beneficiaries—whom he had never seen and did not care to see—for medically unnecessary home health services that were often not provided.  The evidence further established that Ogwuegbu, a registered nurse, falsified nursing assessments and Nwanguma, a licensed vocational nurse, falsified nursing notes, to make it appear as if Medicare beneficiaries were qualified for and were provided skilled nursing services.   
Evidence at trial demonstrated that Timely billed Medicare for over $11.3 million for home health services purportedly provided to Timely’s patients, some of which was attributable to certifications Robinett signed.  Robinett’s company Boomer House Calls billed Medicare approximately $1 million for medically unnecessary home health certifications and services and physician’s home visits. 
Four other defendants, have been convicted in this matter and in a related case.  
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country.  The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operates in nine locations nationwide.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged over 3,500 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $12.5 billion. 

Former Leader Of New York Chapter Of United Gamefowl Breeders Association Convicted For Animal Welfare Offense For Cockfighting Venture

Thomas Carrano Convicted of Conspiring to Raise, Train, and Sell Roosters for Cockfighting

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that THOMAS CARRANO was convicted today by a unanimous Manhattan jury of conspiring to possess, sell, and transport roosters for purposes of participation in animal fights around the United States. The defendant was convicted after a five day trial before the Honorable Sidney H. Stein.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Thomas Carrano, the leader of an association that claimed to ‘not promote cockfighting in any way,’ was convicted of that very thing.  Carrano cared not a whit for the welfare of the roosters he raised, sold, and transported for participation in the cruel and inhumane ‘sport’ of cockfighting.  Thanks to the ASPCA and our law enforcement counterparts, justice has come home to roost for Thomas Carrano.”
The evidence at trial showed, among other things, the following:
Cockfighting is an activity in which two roosters are put forward to fight one another for sport and entertainment.  The roosters typically have metal spurs, known as gaffs, or plastic spurs, known as “postiza,” affixed to their legs for use in the fight.  The fights between roosters are ended when one rooster is dead or refuses to continue to fight.  If not killed during the fight, the losing rooster is typically killed afterwards.  Roosters involved in cockfighting will often be mutilated in preparation for fights, typically by cutting off the rooster’s comb and wattle and shaping the rooster’s spur. 
From January 2012 up June 2017, THOMAS CARRANO, a member and former president of the New York chapter of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association (“NYUGBA”), conspired with others – including a co-conspirator in the Bronx, New York – to buy, sell, transport, and receive roosters for cockfighting and to buy, sell, and transport cockfighting weapons.  CARRANO used two social media accounts – one in his own name, and one in NYUGBA’s name – to communicate with co-conspirators, including members of NYUGBA and others who were located in the Southern District of New York.  The NYUGBA claimed to be devoted solely to breeding rare gamefowl for poultry shows.  Yet in messages sent through these social media accounts, CARRANO discussed breeding and training roosters for cockfighting, the sale and purchase of gaffs and postizas for cockfighting, and CARRANO’s personal participation in cockfighting.
On May 23, 2017, law enforcement personnel executed a search warrant at CARRANO’s gamefowl farm in Ontario, New York.  During the search, law enforcement officers discovered, among other things, gaffs, postizas, shears for dubbing roosters, a rooster sparring dummy, a specialized ladder used to train fighting roosters, cockfighting supplements, and videos of roosters being trained for cockfights.  In addition, law enforcement officers recovered approximately 104 chickens, including 19 adult roosters and 12 adolescent roosters, many of which had their natural spurs, combs, wattles, and/or earlobes removed.            
CARRANO, 44, of Ontario, New York, is convicted of one count of conspiring to sell, possess, and transport animals for purposes of participating in an animal fight, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and the New York City Police Department’s Animal Cruelty Investigations Squad, and thanked them for their ongoing support and assistance with the case.  Mr. Berman also thanked the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in this case. 

Former Baruch College Basketball Coach And Athletics Official Sentenced To 20 Months In Prison For Embezzling More Than $700,000

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MACHLI JOSEPH was sentenced to 20 months in prison for embezzling more than $700,000 in funds intended for Baruch College for the rental of their athletic facilities.  JOSEPH pled guilty in January 2018 before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty, who imposed today’s sentence.   

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Machli Joseph used the facilities of Baruch College as his own cash machine, renting them out without approval and without compensation to the school.  All told, his scheme diverted nearly three-quarters of a million dollars that should have been paid to the college.  Our Office is committed to pursuing those who misappropriate educational funds for their own profit.”
According to the Information and Complaint filed in this case, and statements made during the plea proceeding:     
MACHLI JOSEPH served as an athletic department official at Baruch College between 2002 and 2016.  He served as Baruch’s women’s basketball head coach between 2004 and 2014, its men’s basketball coach in 2002, as assistant athletic director from 2003 to 2011, and as associate athletic director from 2011 until August 2016.  At times when the Baruch College gym was not being used by the school’s athletic teams, it could be rented out to outside parties.  In his administrative capacity, JOSEPH had control over those gym rentals and their scheduling.
On numerous occasions between 2010 and 2016, JOSEPH rented the gym to outside parties, ostensibly on behalf of Baruch College.  In instructing the renting parties on how to provide payment, however, JOSEPH directed that payment be made to entities that were not, in fact, connected to Baruch College.  Instead, they were entities with bank accounts over which JOSEPH had personal control, some of which merely sounded like Baruch-affiliated entities.  On several occasions, JOSEPH simply directed that payment be made directly to him or individual associates of his.  Many of these funds were ultimately spent on personal expenses and items for JOSEPH and his family, including renovations to his home in New Jersey.  All told, the scheme improperly diverted over $700,000 of payments intended for Baruch College.
In addition to the prison term, JOSEPH, 43, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $787,194, and to pay the same amount in restitution. 
Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the Department of Education – Office of the Inspector General and the New York State Inspector General’s Office.  

Friday, June 22, 2018

Three People Shot Dead in Castle Hill

  Police from the 43rd precinct responded to a call of shots fired at a Castle Hill strip mall. When they arrived they found three people had been shot and killed. This area which is right across the street from the Castle Hill Houses is prone to violence.

  It appears that at the table set up in front of the medical center (in the photo above) is where the shooting occurred. The red cones on the ground are where empty casings were found and marked. the victims were identified as Mustafa Tarver age 33, Christopher Alleyne also age 33, and Arileida Jimenez age 45 who is believed to have been an innocent bystander. 

 In talking to neighborhood residents who would answer questions, it seems that there was an altercation over the weekend which may have led to this shooting. The residents also said that there is a lot of trouble in the neighborhood, but this is something nobody expected. 

City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. and State Senator Luis Sepulveda were on scene when I arrived, but they were talking to people promoting the candidate for assembly who is the choice of The Bronx Democratic County Leader Marcos Crespo, and just happens to be a nurse. I could hear people say you come around after people are killed, and their blood is in the street to promote your candidate for office. 

Police closed off the entire street in front of the mall, and searched the Castle Hill Houses looking for the shooter who remains at large. I spoke with the commanding officer of the 43rd precinct who said that this is an active investigation, and she could not comment any further. Police do have video of the shooter and the shooting. 

Twenty-Two Members Of Manhattan Crew Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Narcotics And Firearms Offenses

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing today of an Indictment charging 22 members of a crew operating in and around the Thomas Jefferson Houses in Manhattan with narcotics conspiracy and firearms offenses. 

A total of 14 defendants were taken into custody; two other defendants were already in federal custody.  Sixteen of the 22 defendants will be presented and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman later today.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter.   
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “In this Office’s continuing effort to improve the quality of life for the law-abiding and rent-paying residents of NYCHA housing, today’s indictment charges 22 members with allegedly operating a serious drug distribution network to deal crack cocaine in and around the Jefferson Houses in East Harlem.  These drugs destroy lives and cripple communities.  In addition, members of the crew allegedly possessed firearms to further their drug operation, bringing the danger of gun violence to the streets of New York.  Thanks to the outstanding work of the FBI and NYPD, the defendants will now face justice in federal court.” 
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “As alleged, these drug dealers hold communities hostage by creating an atmosphere of fear, and the wares they’re pushing are now having a deadly impact beyond our city.  The FBI Metro Safe Streets Task Force, which made today’s arrests, is committed to deterring street violence and will continue to pursue those that endanger New York City communities.”  
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and in other court papers[1]:
From 2014 up to June 2018, JOSE HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Cheerio,” a/k/a “Bheerio,” CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE, a/k/a “Hood,” a/k/a ”H.O.,” a/k/a “Peanut,” LUIS AVILES, a/k/a “Toby,” GERALDO BUSANET, a/k/a “Bunazie,” SAMMUEL CABAN, a/k/a “Sammy,” JASON DAVENPORT, a/k/a “Jay,” JAMER DAVIS, a/k/a “J-Rock,” JERRELL FULCHER, a/k/a “Relly,” a/k/a “Butta,” RICO GONZALEZ, CLARENCE GRANDY, a/k/a “Butta,” TITO LLANES, a/k/a “Reek,” BENJAMIN LUCRE, a/k/a “Gotti,” DERRICK RICHARDSON, a/k/a “Fazo,” PARIS ROBERTS, a/k/a “Rambo,” ROCKY SANCHEZ, EDWIN SANTANA, a/k/a “E.B.,” a/k/a “Fat,” a/k/a “Defat,” LARRY SMITH, a/k/a “Scrap,” SHAHIEME SMITH, a/k/a “Mills,” a/k/a “Ira,” ISAAC SOLER, a/k/a “Doughboy,” DYLAN WILLIAMS, a/k/a “Rock,” a/k/a “Rockyo,” JAMES WILSON, a/k/a “Gotti,” and ROBERT WRIGHT, a/k/a “Rob Santana,” participated in a conspiracy to distribute 280 grams and more of crack cocaine and in around the Jefferson Houses, a public housing project in East Harlem, New York.
From 2014 up to June 2018, certain members of this Crew, namely JOSE HERNANDEZ, CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE, BENJAMIN LUCRE, EDWIN SANTANA, LARRY SMITH, ISAAC SOLER, and DYLAN WILIAMS used, carried, and possessed firearms in furtherance of the crack cocaine conspiracy of which they were members.    
Charts containing the names, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants are set forth below.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and NYPD, and commended the NYPD's Manhattan North Narcotics, Major Case. 
The charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.       
Narcotics conspiracy

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(b)(1)(A) and 846 

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c ) and 2

Life in prison

Mandatory minimum of five years in prison
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment constitutes only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.

A.G. Underwood Announces Victory In Ongoing Lawsuit Against Charter-Spectrum

First Department Fully Rejects Charter-Spectrum’s Motion to Dismiss AG’s Lawsuit; Decision Affirms Victory in NY Supreme Court in February
AG’s Suit Alleges that Charter-Spectrum Promised Internet Speeds It Knew It Could Not Deliver
   New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood released the following statement, upon a decision by the Appellate Division, First Department rejecting Charter-Spectrum’s motion to dismiss the Attorney General’s lawsuit:
“This decision affirms the basic principle that our office – and state attorneys general nationwide – can continue to protect consumers from fraud by their internet service providers. 
We look forward to moving our case forward and holding Charter and its predecessor Time Warner Cable accountable for promising New York consumers internet speeds they could not deliver.”
Last year, the New York Attorney General sued Charter-Spectrum. Earlier this year, the New York Supreme Court fully dismissed Charter-Spectrum’s motion to dismiss.


 "Drivers speeding in school zones endanger the lives of children. State lawmakers must allow cities to do everything in their power to stop entirely preventable crashes. The Assembly has passed this bill, and the Governor supports it. We strongly urge the Senate to pass speed camera legislation today. Our children's lives depend on it.”


  It is unfortunate that that these four of the five New York City District Attorney's have also been taken in by the NYC DOT. 

The DOT surveyed a street for the Speed Camera program that it knew would be a street where there was speeding. I would not be surprised if several streets were surveyed, and the street with the highest number of speeders was chosen to be the street to be used. 

While the announcement came aat PS 81 everyone thought the street which was surveyed was the street in front of the school. In fact the DOT surveyed a street several blocks away from the school, a street behind the Russian Mission, which leads into the Henry Hudson Parkway South to Manhattan, and leads into the private community of Fieldston.

The four District Attorney's should investigate how the DOT choose the street it surveyed, why the DOT gave the impression that it was the street in front of a school, and how they tricked the state legislature.

The real answer is to have more police officers on the streets pulling over speeders, those who drive through not only red lights, but also stop signs, and most importantly the few reckless drivers who are currently on the road.

Comptroller Stringer Statement on School Zone Speed Cameras

  “The New York State Senate is putting the lives of our children in direct danger by failing to renew and expand New York City’s ability to use speed cameras near schools. Children on their way to school or the playground deserve the protection of speed cameras, which we know reduce speeding by a staggering 63% and pedestrian injuries by 23%. The Senate must quickly return and pass this lifesaving measure.”

In March, Comptroller Stringer released an analysis on reckless drivers. The report found that over 121,000 New York City vehicles received more than five tickets for speeding near schools and running red lights in just 26 months alone – and 1,107 times per day, a vehicle with multiple violations brazenly blows through a red light or speeds through a school zone.
Comptroller Stringer while quoting numbers which he knows that he can not identify which drivers were speeding, or just whom was at the wheel of the vehicle. The comptroller is just like the DOT which announced figures at PS 81 in the Bronx that ninety percent of the drivers it surveyed were speeding over the then 30 MPH limit, even by only one mile over the limit. 
The DOT did not survey the street in front of PS 81 which everyone thought they did. The DOT surveyed a street several blocks away from PS 81 which was behind the russian Mission, which led to the Southbound Henry Hudson Parkway, and into the private community of Fieldston. 
You see Comptroller Stringer you are doing the very same thing that the DOT did to get speed cameras passed. By the way how many of the 121,000 vehicles were Uber, Lyft or similar 'for hire' cars, trucks, or buses from the MTA or even school busse?
It is just an added on cost to the consumer.

Chairman Crowley and Reps. Larson, Davis, Cummings, Beyer, and Moore Call on President Trump to Stop Closing Social Security Field Offices

  Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, Reps. John Larson, Danny Davis, Elijah Cummings, Donald Beyer, and Gwen Moore called on President Trump to stop closing Social Security field offices across the country. In the last year alone, the Social Security Administration (SSA) shuttered offices in Virginia, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Illinois.

As the Baby Boom generation ages and the number of Americans relying on Social Security benefits continues to rise, SSA field offices are in high demand. These offices provide a great service to the community, providing beneficiaries with resources and in-person assistance. Closing these offices creates an undue hardship on seniors and other beneficiaries who may face challenges in traveling further to get the help they need, as well as lead to overcrowding and longer wait times at other locations.
The members are calling on the president to stop the closures, and in the event that an office has closed, another should be opened to provide these much-needed services to the community.
“Now is the time to declare a moratorium on the closure of SSA field offices. In the event that a specific office must be closed due to unique circumstances, another one should be opened serving the same population in a nearby location – it should not be ‘consolidated’ into other offices, thereby reducing overall access to service in the local community. We urge you to act quickly before more damage is done to those seeking Social Security,” the members wrote in the letter.
The letter can be read here
We would have liked to see in addition to the vanishing Social Security offices that the vanishing or cut backs to post offices that now close on a semi regular basis since there can be only one clerk in a Bronx post office have been included. 
It is bad enough that many Bronx residents experience poor total service from the Postal Department, but perhaps Chairman Crowley should has contacted his fellow Bronx representatives on the needs of their districts.
We mean this in no way to criticize Congressman Crowley, but make him aware of the Bronx postal problem if he is not already aware of it.


Changes modify the restricted access nearest One Police Plaza on Park Row, a vital connector from Chinatown to City Hall and Lower Manhattan that has been largely closed since 2001

  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that Park Row in Lower Manhattan had officially opened this week to pedestrian and bicycle access in newly dedicated and designed space.   Vehicular traffic on Park Row has been limited since 2001; the redesign includes a new two way bike lane, new pedestrian space and Wayfinding signage to direct tourists to the many attractions of Chinatown and Lower Manhattan.  NYC DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez, NYPD Counter Terrorism Executive Officer Inspector Jeffery Schiff, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, and Council Member Margaret Chin joined in today’s ribbon cutting.

“Park Row long served as the best and fastest route between lower Manhattan and Chinatown, and for the first time since 2001, we are fully re-opening the street for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We thank the elected officials of lower Manhattan and Chinatown for focusing our attention on how we could make these changes effectively – and to the partnership of DOT and the NYPD to redesign a street that could be both functional and secure.”

“For years, Chinatown residents, advocates and elected officials have asked that we find the way to ease access to Park Row, maintaining safety while also dramatically increasing mobility and accessibility for thousands of cyclists, pedestrians and bus riders,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “We worked cooperatively with the NYPD, and added to the high-impact changes we made last year on Park Row, added critical new protected bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings near City Hall.”

This New York City Department of Transportation project, implemented in coordination with the NYPD, will help reconnect the Chinatown and Civic Center areas that have been somewhat physically separated since 9/11. 

DOT began preliminary work on Park Row from Worth Street to Frankfort Street last Fall after consulting with local Community Boards and stakeholders and substantially completion the project earlier this months. This portion of Park Row, nearly a half-mile in length, now includes  10,000 square feet of new pedestrian space and a two-way protected bike path. 

This project successfully addresses the Chinatown community’s long-term efforts to get the City to consider opening up further access along Park Row to connect the neighborhood with the rest of Lower Manhattan.  Park Row has been closed to vehicular traffic other than emergency vehicles and MTA buses since 9/11. 

As part of the project, DOT resurfaced a section of the roadway in preparation for the project and NYPD relocated protective barriers along the corridor to allow for the access while maintaining the necessary security for One Police Plaza. DOT also installed new Wayfinding signage on both ends of the Park Row project to further integrate the new bike and pedestrian space into the area and guide visitors.  DOT’s Streetlighting Division transformed lighting in the area to brighter and more energy-efficient LED bulbs.  The NYPD supported the efforts by relocating or removing cement barriers, unused guard booths, shipping containers and some planters.  Service on the M9 and M103 MTA buses was not affected during or after construction.

DOT has developed preliminary plans to connect the eventual Park Row bike path with the existing bike network via Frankfort Street, including the newly completed protected lane adjacent to City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. On the north end of the project, DOT is studying connections to Chatham Square and the existing bike path along East Broadway in Chinatown.


   Calling the Republican-led New York State Senate “beyond dysfunctional,” Democratic Senate candidate Alessandra Biaggi today said the lawmakers deserve a failing grade after another ineffective legislative year.
  “Whether it was a common-sense need -- like speed cameras -- or something requiring a little backbone – like ethics reform – the Senate was missing in action,” Biaggi said. “And critical progressive measures like the Reproductive Health Act and the DREAM Act that my opponent has promised for years to enact have once again failed to move forward.

  “Comically, though, they did fix a 54-year-old spelling error in the name of a bridge.”

  The Legislature’s 2018 session ended when the Senate adjourned shortly before two this morning, three hours after the gavel fell in the Assembly. Lawmakers are not scheduled to reconvene until January, after a new Legislature is elected in November.

  Biaggi will face State Senate Deputy Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein in the District 34 Democratic primary on September 13. For the past seven years, Klein led a rogue group of Democratic senators called the Independent Democratic Conference that caucused with the Republican Conference and effectively handed control of the State Senate to the GOP. Democrats and grassroots activists blame the IDC for blocking more than two dozen progressive legislative proposals.
  Biaggi also criticized the State Senate for failing to pass: an end to cash bail; early voting; the New York Health Act; the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Acts; and the Child Victims Act.
  Biaggi, 32, brings extensive experience in the state capital to her bid for a Senate seat. An honors graduate of Fordham Law School, she served the Cuomo Administration in the Counsel’s office, focusing on women’s health issues; advocated for affordable housing with New York Homes and Community Renewal; and helped lead the rebuilding of homes and businesses after Hurricane Sandy in the governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.

  This is her first bid for elective office.


In the second sentence of the statement above by candidate Alessandra Biaggi she speaks of the need of speed cameras.

We were at the announcement, and found out how the DOT made it appear that the street in front of PS 81 was surveyed for the results of over ninety percent of drivers going over the then 30 MPH speed limit, even by only one mile. In fact the DOT surveyed a street several blocks from PS 81 that runs behind the Russian Mission, which also is an entrance ramp for the Henry Hudson Parkway South, and leads into the private community of Fieldston. 

Senator Jeff Klein did two surveys of the street in front of PS 81 and the results were much less that what the DOT reported, but cars were still speeding in front of a school. 

It was Senator Jeff Klein who was instrumental in getting the first Speed Camera law passed. 

We believe however that more police officers are needed to police the roads, because a fifty dollar fine to someone who may not be driving the vehicle is not fair, nor is it a deterrent. 

A speeding car being stopped by a police officer will result in a higher fine, points on a license (or possible revocation), and a speed camera can no way stop a reckless driver from operating a motor vehicle. Only a police officer can do that.

NYC Council Member Andy King to host NYU Dental Van

   The NYU College of Dentistry's "Smiling Faces, Going Places" mobile dental care program will provide free oral health screenings to children and adults on Saturday, Aug. 4th , 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as a part of the 6th annual 12th District Community Engagement Day/ Fun In the Son Parade & Concert. The dental van will be parked on Barnes Avenue in front of Evander Childs High School Campus at 800 East Gun Hill Road, Bronx.

The dental team will provide oral screenings which are a general inspection of the mouth. No dental treatment will be rendered. At the conclusion of the screening, each patient will receive a “goodie bag” filled with a new toothbrush, toothpaste, and oral health care information.

Interested residents must fill out permission forms at Council Member King’s office, 940 East Gun Hill Road, Bronx. For more information, call 718-684-5509.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


  “The failure to preserve and expand life-saving speed cameras near New York City schools represents a massive failure of leadership. Kids will be in danger. Kids will lose their lives. The State Assembly majority has shown the way with their expansion bill. Senate Republicans haven't done their job until they pass the bill, which has majority support. Our families now need the Governor to do all he can to aid its passage and sign it into law. The Senate must return next week to keep our children safe.”


  No Mayor de Blasio the state legislature has done their job in deciding not to renew Speed Cameras. Speed Cameras were installed on a false pretence by DOT and former Mayor Bloomberg.

The DOT said it did a survey where over 90 percent of drivers were speeding (including those who were only one mile over the then 30 MPH speed limit) on a road which was assumed to be in front of PS 81 in the Bronx. 

State Senator Jeff Klein surveyed the road in front of the school, and while there were speeders the figures were much lower than the DOT's claim.

After the announcement of speed cameras I asked the representative from the DOT when they surveyed the street. I was told the DOT had surveyed at different times of the day, but I was also told that it was not the road in front of the school that was surveyed by the DOT. 

In order to inflate the speeding numbers the DOT surveyed a street several blocks away from the school. This road is behind the Russian Mission, at the entrance to the Henry Hudson Parkway south going into Manhattan, and also leads to the private community of Fieldston. 

Mr. Mayor more police officers are needed to catch not only drivers who speed, but also drivers who drive reckless , and should not be driving at all.  

Cynthia Nixon Discusses Plan to Fix Our Subway

 In light of yesterday's roof collapse, Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon will return to the Borough Hall Brooklyn bound platform in Brooklyn to discuss #CuomosMTA on Thursday.

On Wednesday, part of the ceiling collapsed on the Manhattan-bound 4/5 train platform, one of the busiest lines in the system. The MTA had not previously identified the station as in need of critical renovations. Cynthia first discussed her plan to at the Borough Hall station earlier this month.

As the Village Voice put it, “The MTA is now in the unenviable position of either explaining that it didn’t know the Borough Hall ceiling was in such a state of disrepair or that is simply didn’t bother to fix it. I’m not sure which is worse, and it doesn’t really matter. In either case, the onus is now on the MTA to prove its stations are structurally sound, because we simply cannot assume that anymore. The only thing we do know: Of the list of 50 or so stations two public authorities determined were most in need of critical renovations, Borough Hall was not one of them. Not to sound alarmist, but at this point, there’s no great reason to believe any station is safe.”


Senator Rivera Calls On the NYS Office of Children and Family Services To Utilize Oversight to Ensure Safety and Reunification of Separated Migrant Children  

  State Senator Gustavo Rivera condemns the Trump administration's inhumane implementation of its "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which has forcibly separated migrant children from their families while they await immigration proceedings. Senator Rivera is also calling on New York State agencies to utilize their oversight authority over not-for-profit organizations operating in New York that have been contracted by the federal government to house children affected by this policy.

Today, the Trump administration signed an Executive Order claiming to end family separations. However, the administration still aims to continue its policy of criminally prosecuting anyone crossing the border and indefinitely detaining families at facilities. It has also neglected to announce a course of action for implementing reunification plans for the children they have already separated from their families.
In the last several weeks, it has been reported that approximately 100 or more of these separated migrant children have been placed in 10 private facilities designated for unaccompanied and refugee minors in New York State, including three in The Bronx. Echoing the public outcry and repudiation toward such an abhorrent policy, Senator Rivera joined fellow New Yorkers in their support of Governor Cuomo's plan to file a lawsuit against the federal government over this policy.
"The reports of children being separated from their families immigrating to our country are distressing, unsettling, and maddening. The placement of approximately 100 separated children in New York State obliges us to elevate our responsibility to them by providing them with the care they deserve, and ultimately ensuring that they are reunified with their families," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "While bringing attention to this issue is certainly critical, I urge my colleagues in government, in the media, and members of the community to respect the privacy of children in such facilities. Separated children are enduring an already traumatizing and invasive experience and we must do everything we can to limit further anguish. We will continue working to ensure their health and safety."
Senator Rivera is also calling on the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to deploy inspectors and medical experts to these facilities to ensure the children are receiving adequate accommodations and developmentally appropriate services. OCFS should also assist these providers in identifying every resource possible to help the families in the process of reunification. To that effect, Senator Rivera and his staff have been in touch with state providers that may be housing separated children in their facilities and that generally hold contracts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement to house unaccompanied minors.

Read Senator Rivera's letter to OCFS here

Engel: Trump’s New Executive Order “Fails to Solve the Problem He Created”

 Congressman Eliot L. Engel released the following statement:

“President Trump’s new Executive Order fails to solve the problem that he created. Migrant families will still be detained together indefinitely, and there is no plan to reunite the thousands of children already separated from their parents. In America, we should not have to choose between separating or incarcerating children. 

“We’ve seen children in cages, and heard their cries. Now, we’ve found out that these children are being shipped thousands of miles across the country. Reports indicate that thousands of children have been ripped from their families and are being held at more than 100 shelters in 17 states. I’ve confirmed that children are being held in my district, in New York – 2,000 miles away from their parents, without any indication of when they will be reunited.

“Unfortunately, this Administration refuses to be transparent. First, they denied that families were being torn apart, then they tried to blame Democrats, now the President has signed an Executive Order to end separation by detaining families indefinitely. This cannot continue.

“We need to know where each and every child is being held. Every single one of them.

“And we need concrete answers on how the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services plan to reunite these children with their families.”


On Friday, BP Diaz & Bronx Clergy Task Force will host a prayer vigil and rally Calling for the reunification of these children with their parents

  “My staff and I have received numerous inquiries regarding the news that children who have been separated from their parents at the border are being housed in The Bronx.

“Since this news of this humanitarian crisis was made public, my office has been in contact with the two social service providers that are contracted with the federal government to provide services for these children in our borough, Catholic Guardian Services and Lutheran Social Services of New York.

“Both of these organizations had been previously contracted by the federal government to provide services for unaccompanied minors, and in recent days have been forced to take on a new population of children who have been separated from their parents at the border.

“I have been assured by leadership at both organizations that these children are receiving the best possible care. They are not in prisons. They are going to school, receiving medical and counseling services, and are afforded legal representation in immigration court where appropriate. Given the sensitive nature of the current situation, as well as the need to protect these children from unwanted attention, the organizations will not disclose the locations where these children are being housed.

“My office will continue to monitor this difficult situation and be in touch with these social service providers to ensure these children are receiving the best of care. In the coming days my office will also be in touch with institutions across the city regarding ways the lives of these children can be made easier and more comfortable during their stay in this borough.

“President Trump’s cruelty is a stain on this nation.  On Friday, my office will host a prayer vigil and rally to call on this administration to reunite these children with their families and reverse this shameful, hateful, reprehensible policy,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The prayer vigil will take place on Friday, June 22, 2018, on the steps of The Bronx County Building, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York. The event will begin at12:00 p.m., and will be co-sponsored by the Bronx Clergy Task Force.

Chairman Crowley Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order that Continues the Detainment of Families

   House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley released the following statement on President’s Trump executive order that continues the detainment of families:
“Our country has always been a beacon of light for those seeking safety and refuge. Instead of upholding these American values, President Trump has caged innocent babies and children. Tearing children out of the hands of their parents is immoral and inhumane, and should never have happened, let alone been an official policy of the United States. 
“While this order stops the separation of children from their parents, it does not end the administration’s despicable policy of unreasonably detaining asylum seekers and families fleeing violence. And the legislation put forward by House Republicans this week doubles down on this policy not only by allowing indefinite detention, but also by removing court-ordered protections that ensure safe conditions for detained children. President Trump and Republicans are manipulating the law and claiming a false choice to justify their anti-immigrant ideology. It is utterly shameful. 
“Instead of pushing legislation that endorses the Trump administration’s policy of detaining families, House Republicans should join Democrats in calling for an end to the policy and in making sure we reunite the families that have been ripped apart. The thousands of children who have spent days, weeks, and months without the love and support of their parents deserve nothing less.”