Thursday, January 31, 2019

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces New Agreement For Fundamental Reform At NYCHA

Administrative Agreement Requires NYCHA to Remedy Living Conditions under Supervision of a Federal Monitor and Obligates New York City to Provide $1.2 Billion in New Capital Funding over the Next Five Years as Well as Other Monies

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”), Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), and Andrew Wheeler, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), announced today the signing of an administrative agreement (“Agreement”) with the NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY (“NYCHA”) and the CITY OF NEW YORK (the “City”) requiring NYCHA, under the supervision of a federal monitor, to fundamentally reform its operations and remedy living conditions for its residents, including lead paint hazards, mold growth, pest infestations, lack of heat, and inadequate elevator service.  The Agreement, which went into effect immediately and does not require court approval, resolves the United States’ claims against NYCHA detailed in the Complaint filed in United States District Court on June 11, 2018 (the “Complaint”), which will be dismissed without prejudice.  The Complaint alleged that for years NYCHA had violated and was continuing to violate basic federal health and safety regulations, including regulations requiring NYCHA to protect children from lead paint and otherwise provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing.  The Complaint further alleged that NYCHA repeatedly made false statements to HUD and the public regarding its lead paint compliance, and intentionally deceived HUD inspectors.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:  “NYCHA’s failure to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing is simply unacceptable, and illegal.  Children must be protected from toxic lead paint, apartments must be free of mold and pest infestations, and developments must provide adequate heat in winter and elevator service.  This Office has not wavered from its commitment to better living conditions for NYCHA residents.  Today’s Agreement will improve the lives of the more than 400,000 New Yorkers who call NYCHA home.  The Agreement goes beyond the prior proposed Consent Decree by providing strict, enforceable standards that NYCHA must meet by particular deadlines for the five critical living conditions, including requiring both the immediate remediation of lead paint in apartments with children under 6 years old and, over time, 100 percent abatement of all lead paint in all NYCHA developments, as well as a change in NYCHA leadership.”
HUD Secretary Ben Carson said:  “This is a very positive outcome, one that I believe can bring meaningful change to living conditions of the many thousands of families who depend upon NYCHA for their housing.  But there is still a lot of work to be carried out.  We look forward to continuing what has been a productive working relationship with the Mayor and his team.  HUD will continue to advocate for the hundreds of thousands of children, women, and men in New York City whose lives and livelihoods depend on having safe, fair, and affordable housing.  They deserve nothing less.”
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said:  “Under today’s agreement, New York City commits to provide the resources and institutional reforms needed to end NYCHA’s pattern and practice of endangering the health of children living in New York’s public housing.  EPA will be vigilant and is prepared to reinstate our litigation should they fail to meet those commitments and continue to harm children by violating lead paint safety regulations.”
Based on NYCHA’s misconduct as detailed in the Complaint, the Secretary of HUD declared today that NYCHA is in substantial default of its covenant to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing.  The purpose of the Agreement is to remedy the deficient physical conditions in NYCHA properties, ensure that NYCHA complies with its obligations under federal law, reform the management structure of NYCHA, and facilitate cooperation and coordination between HUD, NYCHA, and the City.
Specifically, the Agreement requires NYCHA to remediate living conditions at NYCHA properties by specific deadlines and meet strict, objective compliance standards regarding lead paint hazards, mold growth, pest infestations, and inadequate heating and elevator service.  With respect to lead paint hazards, for example, the Agreement requires NYCHA to take action within 30 days to visually inspect all non-exempt units built before 1978 where NYCHA believes a child under 6 resides or routinely visits and remediate any deteriorated lead-based paint in the apartment, and, over time, to abate all lead paint in all NYCHA developments.  The Agreement further obligates NYCHA to establish three new critical functions:  a Compliance Department, an Environmental Health and Safety Department, and a Quality Assurance Unit.  In addition, the Agreement requires the City to select a new chief executive officer for NYCHA from a list of qualified professionals jointly compiled by HUD, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the City. 
The Agreement also renews the City’s commitment, reflected in the June 2018 proposed Consent Decree, to provide an additional $1 billion in capital funds to NYCHA over the next four years and an additional $200 million in capital funds each subsequent year for the duration of the Agreement.  Also, the agreement locks in an additional $4 billion in City funds budgeted through 2027.
Pursuant to the Agreement, a federal monitor, selected by HUD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in consultation with NYCHA and the City, will oversee NYCHA’s reform efforts.  Beyond the specifically enumerated remedial actions required under the Agreement, NYCHA will develop action plans, subject to the monitor’s approval, to remediate living conditions at NYCHA and meet the compliance standards set forth in the Agreement.  The monitor and NYCHA also will collaboratively develop a plan to overhaul NYCHA’s organizational, management, and workforce structure, informed by a new comprehensive study from an independent third-party consultant.  Throughout the term of the Agreement, the monitor is required to engage with the community, including NYCHA residents, resident groups, and stakeholders, regarding matters covered by the Agreement, and provide public reports detailing NYCHA’s progress.  The cost of the monitor shall be paid by the City.
Mr. Berman thanked HUD, HUD Office of Inspector General, and EPA for their invaluable assistance in this matter.

Three Additional Members And Associates Of Violent New York City Gang Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Racketeering And Firearms Offenses

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), John B. Devito, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing today of a Superseding Indictment charging three additional individuals, ANTHONY ELLISON, a/k/a “Harv,” DENARD BUTLER, a/k/a “Drama,” and KINTEA MCKENZIE, a/k/a “Kooda B,” with racketeering and firearms offenses in connection with their membership in and association with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, also known as “Nine Trey.”  A fourth defendant, KIFANO JORDAN, a/k/a “Shotti,” who was named in the original indictment, faces additional racketeering and firearms charges.BUTLER was arrested yesterday.  ELLISON was already in custody on federal charges.  MCKENZIE is still at large.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged in the superseding indictment, the new defendants in this case, like those previously charged, engaged in brazen acts of gun violence.  Thanks to our remarkable partners at HSI, ATF, and the NYPD, these defendants now face federal charges for their serious crimes.”
HSI Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez said:  “Nine Trey has engaged in a pattern of racketeering reinforced by a reputation of extreme violence, best known for shootings, assaults and robberies in our city.  The new arrests in this case and the additional charges as part of this ongoing investigation should send a clear message to members of any gang that carry out acts of violence, that we are resolved in our joint efforts to promote a safe environment for our communities in New York City.”
ATF Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito said:  “Today’s charges demonstrate ATF’s and our law enforcement partners’ commitment to identify and investigate individuals that drive violent crime within our communities.  The members and associates of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, also known as ‘Nine Trey,’ allegedly terrorized the public via a variety of crimes including violent armed robberies, assaults and shootings.  The ATF/ NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force will continue to work diligently with all of our partner agencies in order to best serve the community and protect the public.  I would like to personally thank the United States Attorney’s Office for their leadership and guidance throughout this investigation.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “In working to reduce crime past already record-lows in New York City, the NYPD is relentless in our pursuit of the relatively small percentage of the population driving the violence and disorder.  We are achieving this, with pinpoint accuracy, because of the full and willing partnership of New Yorkers in every neighborhood and the unrivaled assistance of our law-enforcement partners.  I commend the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, and the members of Homeland Security Investigations and the ATF, for helping us dismantle groups responsible for shootings, robberies, drug-dealing, and more.  Together, we are making the safest large city in America even safer.”
As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:
Nine Trey was a criminal enterprise involved in committing numerous acts of violence, including shootings, robberies, and assaults in and around Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Members and associates of Nine Trey engaged in violence to retaliate against rival gangs, to promote the standing and reputation of Nine Trey, and to protect the gang’s narcotics business.  Members and associates of Nine Trey enriched themselves by committing robberies and selling drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, MDMA, dibutylone, and marijuana.   
The Superseding Indictment charges JAMEL JONES, a/k/a “Mel Murda,” ROLAND MARTIN, a/k/a “Ro Murda,” KIFANO JORDAN, a/k/a “Shotti,” ANTHONY ELLISON, a/k/a “Harv,” DENARD BUTLER, a/k/a “Drama,” JESNEL BUTLER, a/k/a “Ish,” FUGUAN LOVICK, a/k/a “Fu Banga,” KINTEA MCKENZIE, a/k/a “Kooda B,” FAHEEM WALTER, a/k/a “Crippy,” and AARON YOUNG, a/k/a “Bat,” with racketeering and firearms offenses. 
Count One of the Superseding Indictment charges JONES, MARTIN, JORDAN, ELLISON, DENARD BUTLER, JESNEL BUTLER, WALTER, and YOUNG with participating in a racketeering conspiracy for their criminal involvement in Nine Trey.  Count Two charges JONES, MARTIN, JORDAN, ELLISON, DENARD BUTLER, JESNEL BUTLER, WALTER, and YOUNG with using and carrying firearms, which were brandished and discharged, in connection with the racketeering conspiracy.  Counts Three through Five charge MARTIN, JORDAN, DENARD BUTLER, JESNEL BUTLER, and WALTER in connection with a gunpoint robbery in the vicinity of West 40th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan on April 3, 2018.  Counts Six and Seven charge LOVICK in connection with his shooting at rivals of Nine Trey in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 21, 2018.  Counts Eight through Ten charge JORDAN and MCKENZIE in connection with a shooting at a rival of Nine Trey at a hotel in Times Square in Manhattan on June 2, 2018.  Counts Eleven and Twelve charge MARTIN, JORDAN, JESNEL BUTLER, and WALTER with agreeing to shoot an individual who had shown disrespect to Nine Trey, resulting in an innocent bystander being shot, in the vicinity of Fulton Street and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn on July 16, 2018.  Counts Thirteen through Fifteen charge ELLISON in connection with his kidnapping and assaulting another member of Nine Trey near the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn on July 22, 2018.  Count Sixteen charges JONES and YOUNG with conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, MDMA, and marijuana from 2015 to 2018.  Count Seventeen charges YOUNG with using and carrying firearm in connection with the narcotics conspiracy.  Count Eighteen charges JONES with possessing with intent to distribute one kilogram and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of heroin on November 15, 2018. 
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 HSI, ATF, and the NYPD.  He also thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and the New York City Department of Correction’s Intelligence Bureau for their assistance in the investigation.
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 constitutes only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.
1 Racketeering conspiracy   18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) JAMEL JONES (age 38) ROLAND MARTIN (age 37) KIFANO JORDAN (age 36) ANTHONY ELLISON (age 31) DENARD BUTLER (age 26) JESNEL BUTLER (age 36) FAHEEM WALTER (age 29) AARON YOUNG (age 28)       20 years in prison
2 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) JAMEL JONES ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN ANTHONY ELLISON DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER AARON YOUNG       Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
3 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (April 3, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER   20 years in prison    
4 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (April 3, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER   3 years in prison
5 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was brandished   18 U.S.C. § 924(c)   ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN DENARD BUTLER JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER   Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison
6 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (April 21, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 FUGUAN LOVICK (age 40) 20 years in prison
7 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) FUGUAN LOVICK Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
8 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (June 2, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 KIFANO JORDAN KINTEA MCKENZIE (age 21) 20 years in prison
9 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (June 2, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 KIFANO JORDAN KINTEA MCKENZIE 3 years in prison
10 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) KIFANO JORDAN KINTEA MCKENZIE Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
11 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (July 16, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER 10 years in prison
12 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was discharged   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) ROLAND MARTIN KIFANO JORDAN JESNEL BUTLER FAHEEM WALTER Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison
13 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (July 22, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ANTHONY ELLISON Life in prison
14 Violent crime in aid of racketeering (July 22, 2018)   18 U.S.C. § 1959 ANTHONY ELLISON 20 years in prison
15 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a crime of violence, which was brandished   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) ANTHONY ELLISON Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison
16 Conspiracy to distribute narcotics   21 U.S.C. § 846 JAMEL JONES AARON YOUNG Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison  
17 Using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of, a narcotics trafficking offense   18 U.S.C. § 924(c) AARON YOUNG Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison
18 Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute   21 U.S.C. § 841

JAMEL JONES Life in prison   Mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison

Former New York City Police Department Official Sentenced To 18 Months For Conspiring To Bribe Fellow Officers In Connection With Gun License Bribery Scheme

  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that PAUL DEAN was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos today in connection with a bribery scheme involving the approval of gun licenses by the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) License Division.  Specifically, DEAN, who as second-in-command of the License Division had accepted gifts and favors in connection with his approval of gun licenses, conspired upon his retirement from the NYPD to open his own “expediting” business in which he would pay bribes to his fellow NYPD officers, once his subordinates in the License Division, to issue gun licenses to DEAN’s clients. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As a high-ranking officer and supervisor in the NYPD’s License Division, Paul Dean was entrusted with ensuring the integrity of the process for issuing gun licenses in New York City.  Instead of embracing that trust and focusing on the safety of New Yorkers, he monetized it for his own benefit, and enabled officers under his command to do the same.  Together with our partners in law enforcement, my office has worked tirelessly to make sure those efforts by Dean and others involved ended not with dollar signs, but in prison cells.  We will continue to root out corrupt law enforcement officers where we find them, while commending the vast majority of officers who, unlike Dean, serve the City of New York honestly and honorably.” 
According to the Indictment and Complaint filed in this case, other public filings, and statements made during the plea proceeding:
DEAN was a member of the NYPD from 1994 through 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2008 through 2016.  DEAN, a lieutenant, was one of the highest-ranking members of the License Division and, from approximately November 2014 through November 2015, regularly ran its day-to-day operations.  Co-defendant Robert Espinel was a member of the NYPD from 1995 through his retirement in 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2011 through 2016. 
From at least 2013 through 2016, multiple NYPD officers in the License Division serving under DEAN’s command, including David Villanueva and Richard Ochetal, solicited and accepted bribes from gun license expediters – including Frank Soohoo, Alex Lichtenstein, a/k/a “Shaya,” and co-defendant Gaetano Valastro, a former NYPD detective – in exchange for providing assistance to the expediters’ clients in obtaining gun licenses quickly and often with little to no diligence.  DEAN, aware of this bribery arrangement, approved many of the gun license applications submitted by these expediters, despite the fact that no substantial due diligence had been performed on them.  As part of the scheme, licenses were issued for individuals with substantial criminal histories, including arrests and convictions for crimes involving weapons or violence, and for individuals with histories of domestic violence. 
DEAN accepted things of value from the expediters whose applications he approved, including $1,000 cash from Lichtenstein, catered meals and alcohol from Soohoo, and gun equipment from Valastro.  DEAN also accepted gifts and favors directly from applicants whose licenses he approved, including free meals at restaurants, free liquor from a liquor distributor, free beer and soda from a beverage distributor, free car repairs from car shops, and free entertainment.
In 2015, dissatisfied with the fact that private gun expediters were profiting thousands of dollars per gun license applicant when DEAN and others did the work to approve those applications, DEAN and Espinel decided to retire and go into the expediting business themselves.  In order to ensure the success of their business, DEAN and Espinel planned to bribe Villanueva and Ochetal, who were still in the License Division, to enable their clients to get special treatment.  They also agreed with Valastro to run their expediting and bribery scheme out of Valastro’s gun store.  According to the plan, Valastro would benefit from the scheme because DEAN and Espinel would steer successful applicants to Valastro’s store to buy guns.  They also tried to corner the expediting market by forcing other expediters to work through them.  Specifically, DEAN and Espinel attempted to coerce Frank Soohoo, another gun license expediter, into sharing his expediting clients with them by threatening to use their influence in the License Division to shut down Soohoo’s expediting business if Soohoo refused to work with, and make payments to, DEAN and Espinel.
Espinel and Valastro have previously pled guilty and are awaiting sentence.  Villanueva, Ochetal, Lichtenstein, and Soohoo have also pled guilty in case number 16 Cr. 342 (SHS).  Lichtenstein was sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein to 32 months in prison, and the remaining defendants are awaiting sentence.
In addition to the prison term, DEAN, 46, was sentenced to two years of supervised release, a fine of $7,500, and forfeiture of $1,000.
Mr. Berman thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department, Internal Affairs Division, for their outstanding investigative work in this matter.

It's Down to 17 Candidates for the Special Election for Public Advocate February 26, 2019

It's Down to 17 Candidates for the Special Election for Public Advocate February 26, 2019.

By Robert Press

It began with twenty-three people handing in petitions to run for the vacant NYC Public Advocate Special Election called for February 26, 2019. Through various Board of Elections decisions and court verdicts the field has narrowed down to the seventeen candidates listed below. They are in order as they will appear on your ballot with their own non-partisan line. Their present occupation are listed, but will not appear on your ballot.

1) Melissa Mark-Viverito (Fix the MTA), former speaker of the New York City Council
2) Michael Blake (For The People), NY State Assembly member from the Bronx
3) Dawn Smalls (No More Delays), Attorney
4) Eric Ulrich (Common Sense), New York City Council member from Queens
5) Daniel O'Donnell (Equality For All), NY State Assembly member from Manhattan
6) Latrice Walker (People For Walker), NY State Assembly member from Brooklyn
7) Rafael Espinal (Livable City), New York City Council member from Brooklyn
8) Jumaane Williams (The People's Voice), New York City Council member from Brooklyn
9) Ron Kim (People Over Corporations), NY State Assembly member from Queens
10) Ydanis Rodriguez (UNITED FOR IMMIGRANTS), New York City Council member from Manhattan
11) Benjamin Yee (COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT), Entrepreneur. 
12) Manny Alicandro (Better Leadership), Attorney. 
13) David Eisenbach (Stop REBNY), History Professor at Columbia University.
14) Nomiki Konst (Pay People More), Journalist.
15) Jared Rich (Jared Rich For NYC), Attorney.
16) Anthony Herbert (Housing Residents First), Community Activist.
17) Helal Sheikh (Friends Of Helal), Former City Council candidate.

More on the Public Advocate Special Election in upcoming articles, including who are the favorites in this race, candidate(s) to look for, and any longshot candidate(s).

NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Improvements in Patient Safety Reduce Number of Deep Vein Blood Clots

Early Prevention Guidelines and Protocols Produce Dramatic Results

  Protocols undertaken by NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi in October 2016 to identify and reduce the threat of deep vein blood clots, or venous thromboembolism, have resulted in dramatic improvements.

In the first year following the protocols’ implementation, the number of cases of deep vein blood clots following surgery declined 53 percent, from 13 cases (baseline, November 2015 to October 2016) to 6 cases (November 2016 to November 2017), according to hospital-wide data. In the second year (December 2017 to December 2018), the number of cases declined to 4—an additional 15 percent decline from the baseline—demonstrating sustainability. Patient safety satisfaction scores also improved by 83 percent in the first year, according to Press Ganey data.

Venous thromboembolism refers to a blood clot that starts in a vein. A clot that develops in a deep vein, most often in the legs, is referred to as deep vein thrombosis. When such a clot breaks free from a vein wall and travels to the lungs—especially dangerous because it can block some or all of the blood supply—that is known as a pulmonary embolism.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 60,000 to 100,000 Americans die from venous thromboembolism every year. Patients recovering from surgery are at an increased risk for the condition. Other risk factors include age (starting at about age 40 and increasing over time), obesity, and cancer.

Clinicians at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi sought to improve post-surgical safety by instituting a risk assessment scale to identify the patients at highest risk and introduce special monitoring and new preventive measures into their care. Among the interventions are:

· Introduction of an intermittent pneumatic compression device or stockings to allow for compression of blood veins to stabilize blood flow, used both before anesthesia (pre-surgery) and after surgery.
· Proper pharmaceutical prophylaxis, including the use of drugs like heparin only after applying the risk assessment scale.
· One-on-one consultations with all at-risk patients, addressing education about risk factors and warning signs. Follow-up with patients occurs at three days, two weeks, and one month post-operatively to screen for warning signs and reconfirm medication regimens.

"Between 60,000 and 100,000 Americans die every year from deep vein blood clots, according to the CDC,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepulveda. “I applaud NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi for dramatically improving the identification and reduction of the threat from deep vein blood clots. Lives will be saved through this medical innovation."

“The joint effort undertaken by the medical team at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi is nothing short of astounding,” said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez. “To see the number of cases of venous thromboembolism, which has been fatal to so many, taken down from 13 three years ago to 4 cases last year is an amazing accomplishment. I would like to extend my most sincere thank you to the team for limiting the number of fatal incidents post-surgery and for continuing to help the people in our communities.”

The article “NSQIP Impacts Patient Experience,” published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Patient Experience, provides additional data and detail, focusing on implementation and related metrics in the hospital’s General Surgery service. (Unlike the article, today’s reported numbers reflect hospital-wide data. The sets of data, while different, reflect similar improvement.)

The article was written by Maria Castaldi, MD, former Director of Breast Health Service at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi; Geena George, MPH, of Westchester Medical Center; Pamela O. Turner, MSN, Director of Nursing for Perioperative Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi; and John McNelis, MD, Chairman of Surgery at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi. The authors from NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi are also those who led the implementation of the protocols.

The article notes the dramatic change underscoring the improvement in patient satisfaction. Before the new interventions, only four patients of 109 who were surveyed recalled having a conversation with their doctor before surgery about the risk of blood
clots during surgery, the need for screening and prophylaxis to reduce the risk, and patient safety being a top priority. After the intervention, 145 of 147 patients surveyed reported that the indications, risks, and benefits of screening and prophylaxis were explained well or very well.

“This was truly a multi-disciplinary approach among members of our medical team,” said Dr. McNelis. “Surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, and anesthesiologists worked together to identify the risks to our patients and reduced them dramatically, and more important, the results have been sustainable.”

These protocols are just one component of the hospital’s ongoing efforts to make surgical care as safe as possible.


  The de Blasio Administration has consistently failed the residents of NYCHA.  Independent monitoring is long overdue, along with management reforms and emergency repairs. Mayor de Blasio has without a doubt been NYC’s worst landlord, and NYCHA residents deserve better. We cannot allow the Mayor to mislead New Yorkers about the deplorable conditions in public housing, nor will we stand idly by as he lies about the reasons for his careless neglect.  I applaud the federal government for its bold action, and I’m optimistic that the new monitor will do a better job than the Mayor, who has proven to be incapable of making things right.”

DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo, Council Members I. Daneek Miller, and Rafael Salamanca Host Ribbon Cutting for the New Civil Service Exam Testing Center.

  The new NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)  Civil Service exam testing center at 1932 Arthur Avenue (off East Tremont Road) opened today with a ribbon cutting ceremony by DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo, Councilman I. Daneek Miller Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, and Councilman Rafael Salamanca whose council district serves as the location. 

  Bronx residents no longer have to go to another borough to take a civil service test as they had to in the past with the opening of this new Bronx civil service testing center. DCAS Commissioner Lisette Camilo said that there are now testing centers in each of the five boroughs of the city. Councilman Miller said that with the expected turnover in city employment that is expected from retiring this civil service testing center was needed to provide the people of the Bronx with better options to take civil service tests. 

This address 1932 Arthur Avenue is home to other city agencies including Bronx Community Board 6.

Above - DCAS Commissioner Camilo, Council members Miller and Salamanca are joined by two workers from the new Bronx Civil Service Testing Center for the ribbon cutting.
Below - The ribbon is cut, and the new Bronx Civil Service Testing Center is open for business.

Wave Hill events February 14-21

Sat, February 16
Visit Wave Hill’s Cactus and Succulent House and leave winter behind as you dream of warmer places. Spend some time sketching and painting exotic desert dwellers and tropical inhabitants, then use sand and vibrant tempera paint to make a desert or tropical mirage. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Sat, February 16
Take your birding adventures to the next level by participating in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count! This global “citizen science” research project engages bird watchers of all ages in helping to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Using smartphone apps and official, field-data forms, track and record the birds in Wave Hill’s backyard, guided by naturalist Gabriel Willow. Share your observations with fellow participants over cocoa and coffee at the conclusion of the program. No experience necessary; bird watchers of all levels are encouraged to participate. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Sat, February 16
This winter, Glyndor Gallery is transformed again into studio spaces for artists to develop new work and offer opportunities for public interaction in the context of the garden. Individual artists share their studio practice with the public on this open studio day. This year’s session 1 artists are Melissa Calderón,Nandini ChirimarElana HerzogChristopher HoTijay Mohammed and Shervone Neckles. Free with admission to the grounds.
Glyndor Gallery, NOON–3:30PM

Sun, February 17
Visit Wave Hill’s Cactus and Succulent House and leave winter behind as you dream of warmer places. Spend some time sketching and painting exotic desert dwellers and tropical inhabitants, then use sand and vibrant tempera paint to make a desert or tropical mirage. Free with admission to the grounds.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Sun, February 17
Enjoy Afternoon Tea in the Mark Twain Room prior to today’s concert in Armor Hall. The Café at Wave Hill pairs a classic menu with an assortment of green, black and herbal teas. This traditional tea service includes the four classic elements of savory, scones, sweets and tea. The menu, presented by Great Performances, includes an array of tea sandwiches, scones and bite-sized desserts. Afternoon Tea also includes a glass of sparkling wine. Afternoon Tea Service is $36. Wave Hill Members receive a 10% discount. Advance registration is required by calling 718.549.3200 x95 or by We will take reservations until 5PM on the Thursday prior to the concert.
Wave Hill House, NOON

Sun, February 17
Jazz artist Marika Hughes has returned to her chamber music background with her new project, The New String Quartet. Alongside Charlie Burnham (violin and voice), Marvin Sewell (guitar) andRashaan Carter (bass), the band sets out to celebrate the sounds, vibrations and resonances of acoustic, unamplified, raw strings. Rooted in the standards of the western string quartet tradition, The New String Quartet's setlist will also weave throughout Hughes’s varied musical heritage, from classical and jazz songs to pop music and impromptu sketches. With a selection of songs both old and new, Hughes and The New String Quartet tip their hats to love, to loss, to family and to gratitude. A granddaughter of Emanuel Feuermann, one of the 20th century's greatest cellists and a Holocaust refugee, Hughes grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and was a regular on "Sesame Street." Her recent albums include "New York Nostalgia" and she recently toured with Adele. Ticket Prices: Adults: $28 (includes admission to the grounds) / Wave Hill Members 10% discount / $12 children ages 8-18, unless otherwise noted. Order tickets online, or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. For additional information, please call 718.549.3200 x251.
Wave Hill House, 2PM

Sun, February 17
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 2PM

Mon, February 18
Closed to the public.

Wed, February 20
This year’s three lectures illuminate how deeply an intimate garden like Wave Hill is embedded in the larger world of horticulture. Lisa Roper has devoted 28 years to gardening at Chanticleer, a public garden in Wayne, PA, where for the last five years she has been developing Chanticleer’s Gravel Garden, on a site created in 2000 and planted with a mix of grasses, Mediterranean plants, drought-tolerant perennials and annuals and hardy succulents. Roper will speak about how form, texture, color and rhythm are carefully considered as she plants and edits, photography serving to inform her design decisions. Roper holds a BFA in Fine Art from The Cooper Union, and trained at Longwood Gardens. Wave Hill’s annual horticultural lecture series is held at the New York School of Interior Design. Three-lecture series: $72. Wave Hill Members and students save 10%. Individual tickets: $30, with a 10% discount for Wave Hill Members and students. Seating is limited, and advance reservations are recommended, online. Student tickets available lecture evening only, at the door, space permitting and with a valid student ID. The final lecture of the series takes place on March 20, when Coralie Thomas will speak about the evolution of her career as a young gardener.
New York School of Interior Design, 6PM

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–4:30PM,  November 1–March 14. Closes 5:30PM, starting March 15.

ADMISSION – $10 adults, $6 students and seniors 65+, $4 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


  "It’s about time the city and the federal government came together to deliver for the residents of the New York City Housing Authority.

"Today’s agreement is by no means a panacea, but it does represent progress for the more than 400,000 residents of our city’s public housing who for decades have gone without basic necessities—like heat, hot water, mold abatement, lead testing, garbage pickup and others—and have been neglected by all levels of government.

"The New York City Housing Authority is broken. Today’s agreement is the first step towards fixing it, while also keeping the city in control of NYCHA and providing it with billions of dollars in new funding that the agency so desperately needs.

"As we move forward, it is important that we keep the rights of the tenants of public housing at the forefront of the decision-making process. Timelines and deadlines must respect the rights of the families who live within NYCHA and who need our help. The city, HUD and the newly-appointed monitor must prioritize the elimination of bureaucratic waste, spend money swiftly and efficiently, and make necessary repairs with a true sense of urgency.

"This agreement must be the spark that finally brings real reform to the New York City Housing Authority and dignity to its residents. After years of inaction, we can no longer accept excuses," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. 


Secretary Benjamin Carson, Department of Housing and Urban Development: We’re delighted to be here in this frozen tundra on this day because we have warm news, and that is that NYCHA, and the City of New York, and HUD, along with SDNY have reached an agreement. Now, interestingly enough, the whole concept of public housing largely got started right here in New York many decades ago. And, you know, the idea was to be able to provide safe, and clean, and nurturing environments to give people an opportunity to move up the ladder. 

Over the course of the years, some things have happened that have been unfortunate and have resulted in environments that sometimes are not completely safe, with lead, and mold, and vermin, elevators that don’t work properly, and heating issues that put people’s lives in jeopardy. And we all recognize that this is a problem, and, you know, we have a couple of options, some of which are not particularly pleasant, but one of the best options, which is extremely pleasant, is when you have people who are willing to put the people first and then needs of the people first – and that’s what I found with the Mayor. We were able to put aside any political differences and think about, what would provide the right kind of environment for the people here? What had been the things that precluded that in the past? What kinds of things can we do now that are controlled at a local level and empowered by all of the various components to make sure that the people’s needs are taken care of? 

And I’m very excited about what we have agreed to here, because I think it sets a great precedent for what can be done in other places around the country. You know, public housing, assisted housing, these are things that we need to be concerned about – affordable housing especially we need to be concerned about because the cost of rents are going up about 20 percent faster than the cost for inflation and other things. And obviously, we’re going to have to get to the root causes of these things and fix them, because having a safe and nurturing environment is key to the human development. And our most important resource are our people, and if we want our people to be developed appropriately, we need to provide those basic resources to get them there, to show them there, because when they are developed it makes our country much stronger.

So, it’s been – I have to tell you, it’s been a pleasure, actually, working with the Mayor, with SDNY. You know, this has nothing to do with Democrats or Republicans – it has everything to do with the people. 

And with that, I’ll turn it over to the Mayor. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. I want to affirm the statement you just made. You know, at the beginning of this process, I’m sure that there are many who would have predicted that Secretary Carson and I would not have been able to work together well and communicate and find common ground. But I want to thank Secretary Carson for his tremendous commitment to getting to an agreement. We put a lot of time in and I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary. I also want to thank your staff here and in Washington. I want to thank as well U.S. Attorney Berman and his team. 

This has been going on for many weeks and it’s taken a lot of work, a lot of focus. The Secretary and I have met in person several times here and in Washington. We’ve spoken constantly on the phone. And I actually used to work at HUD – I know something about HUD. I want to say, this Secretary has shown me a level of focus and concern that I deeply appreciate. And most importantly, the 400,000 New Yorkers who live in public housing I know will appreciate because we were able to get to a cooperative and constructive outcome. 

400,000 people who are the backbone of this city – I want to remind people, sometimes in the public discourse folks who live in public housing are stereotyped, and, I think, often stereotyped negatively and unfairly. They are the backbone of this city. They are every-day people who get up and work hard, many of them two jobs or more to keep this city running, and we owe it to them to provide them decent housing. 

Secretary Carson and I inherited a situation that was many decades in the making, and I wish we didn’t. I wish that over those decades there had been consistent focus and support for public housing at all levels of government, but there was not. We inherited a very troubled situation. But we resolved from the beginning to do something different and to find a way to cooperate in the interest of the people. What we have done here today I think creates a strong path forward and a very tangible path forward. As we met, we were both committed to very specific goals that would change and improve the lives of public housing residents. There was equal commitment, it was not something that one side wanted and the other one didn’t. We both wanted tangible and specific goals and timelines. We wanted to make sure there would be results. And I want to thank the Secretary also because I know he believes in something I believe in, which is local control – the power and the accountability that comes with local decision-making. 

I mentioned to the Secretary that just this week I was a town hall meeting in the Bronx, and NYCHA residents came up to me to talk about their concerns and issues, and that’s the way it should be, that they are demanding of their local leaders’ accountability and results. This agreement continues that and strengthens that. 

The agreement was made possible also by tremendous hard work not only by members of the City Hall team, but also the Office of Management and Budget, Operations – a number of City agencies participated – but most especially, everyone at NYCHA. And I want to thank Stan Brezenoff, Vito Mustaciuolo, and their entire teams who worked tirelessly over many, many weeks to put together this agreement. But I especially want to thank them for the progress that has been made, and is real and tangible – the NYCHA 2.0 plan, the progress we’ve made in reducing heating outages and speeding along repairs and recovery from any outage. Real changes are happening at NYCHA and this plan will help them to happen faster. 

Just a few quick points – we are 100 percent committed to providing the resources that we originally committed to back last summer. In over a 10-year timeframe, that is $2.2 billion in City money, and that is money that will be well spent on behalf of the people who live in NYCHA. This is on top of $4 billion in previous commitments we made that had nothing to do with the proceedings we’re addressing here, but were all about the commitment this City government feels to those residents. 

We are going to continue with our new 2.0 plan, it is going to allow us to fully renovate 175,000 apartments. We need HUD’s cooperation through the RAD program. We know that we have to in each case win approval development by development, but we also know that the Secretary and his team are committed to the principles of the RAD program, and they’ve been very receptive to working with us. 

And we see this as a partnership now. And I want to end on this note, we see this as a partnership to get things done for the residents. As we all talked – and I want to certainly include our colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s Office when I say this – we kept talking about the goals we had to reach and how we could all help each other to get there, and this plan allows us to do it. It has created an atmosphere of partnership and a sense of shared destiny that will bent the 400,000 people who live in public housing.