Saturday, March 14, 2020

State Senator Gustavo Rivera's Office Closure Notice


Apparently your local elected officials are closing their offices, because of the COVID-19. Senator Rivera is not the first elected official to do this and he is not going to be the last one. It is a duty of those who were elected to serve their constituents. There is a claim that the COVID-19 could continue until September. will that be when our elected officials come out of hibernation? Look at the facts, there have been several flu strains hitting the city and country every year. Examples are the Bird flu/virus and the H1N1 Virus/flu,  both of which were more deadly than the Covid-19. Plus the fact that the NYC public school system with schools that have up to 5,000 students in them, and the NYC subway and bus system which carries millions of riders each day are still open and operating. 


March 14, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

As a public health measure in response to the coronavirus situation, our office will be closed to visitors until further notice. My team and I will be practicing social distancing as a way to limit community spread. 
We will still provide constituent services via phone and email. If you need assistance, please call 646-481-2283 or email
I encourage everyone to protect their health and the health of others by not attending public events and staying away from large gatherings, practicing good body hygiene such as washing hands for at least 20 seconds and covering coughs or sneezes with your arm, and generally following preventive and precautionary measures from reputable sources such your state and local public health officials. 
These preventive measures will slow the spread of the virus, keeping our community healthy, and ensuring our health care services are not overwhelmed.
For questions about the Coronavirus or COVID-19, call the New York State hotline: 1-888-364-3065 or visit
To get regular text message updates on the latest developments in New York City text COVID to 692-692.
For non-emergency assistance, call 311.
I will continue to provide updates via email and through my social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Gustavo Rivera
New York State Senator
33rd District

Friday, March 13, 2020


New Yorkers should text COVID to 692-692 to get regular updates on the latest developments regarding COVID-19; Text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish

  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced new updates on the City’s response to COVID-19. These updates include new social distancing guidance for schools and a temporary moratorium on evictions.

"As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we are asking New Yorkers to come together and do what they can to curb this pandemic,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “To those who are understandably feeling anxious: your City has your back and will continue to do everything within our power to keep you safe."

Updated Social Distancing Guidance for Schools:

To effectively implement social distancing, the Department of Education will cancel extracurricular activities such as athletic games and practices, school-wide assemblies, school plays, and recitals until further notice. Domestic travel is canceled, and field trips are suspended until further notice. Internships are canceled and SAT administration within DOE sites is postponed, and exam dates will be scheduled for later this month. Parent teacher conferences will be available via phone or video. After school programs, including DYCD and CBO-run programs, will still serve students, with the exception of some extended use permits that primarily serve adults. The City will also be adding an additional deep-cleaning day, in order to sanitize facilities three times per week.

The DOE is assessing other social distancing methods including:
  Moving to an in-classroom breakfast and lunch option if implementing distancing measures in cafeterias is not possible;
  Expanding our Move-to-Improve program, that will help us reduce large groups of kids in physical education and recess;
   Directing afterschool programs to avoid all large congregate activities, and spread children out in classrooms, gyms, and cafeterias as much as possible.

Evictions Moratorium:
This Administration is focused on preventing the displacement of New Yorkers facing sudden financial hardship due to Covid-19. The Courts are critical partners in this work, and today they announced a temporary moratorium on evictions in New York City and suspended the issuance of new eviction warrants when a tenant fails to appear in court. This means that more people will be able to remain in their homes during this health emergency.

City’s Mask Supply:
The City has over 500,000 N-95 masks currently on hand. This supply includes stockpiles from agencies like NYC Health & Hospitals, the Department of Corrections and the Fire Department. The City has asked the FDA for 2.2 million additional N-95 masks, but have only been approved for 76,000. However, the CDC and WHO have also said that surgical masks are acceptable replacements for N-95s. The Department of Health has 16 million surgical masks on hand and will receive an additional 25 million over the next two weeks. The NYPD received an additional 250,000 masks today. The Health Department will prioritize requests for allocation and distribution based on need.

Expanding City’s Healthcare Workforce:
The City is exploring all ways to expand its healthcare workforce, beginning with City workers.  H+H hospitals will divert more staff and resources towards emergency services and away from elective surgeries and non-essential functions. Additionally, the City will expedite credentialing for City doctors, nurses, and other volunteer healthcare workers, including retirees, across other City agencies who may be needed in an emergency to work at H+H.

New Telework Guidance for City Employees:
DCAS has sent out a Temporary Citywide Telework Policy to all agencies to encourage social distancing strategies in the workplace. In order to allow for at least 10% of the workforce to telework, agency heads will immediately work to implement a plan that identifies appropriate staff to work from home while keeping all city services running.


  Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Joni Kletter as Commissioner and Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). OATH is the City’s central, independent administrative law court that adjudicates summonses issued by 25 different City enforcement agencies for alleged violations of law or City rules. As Commissioner, Kletter will work to ensure that even more New Yorkers have equal access to justice and that the City remains a clean and safe place to live for all. Kletter currently serves as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Appointments, and brings over 15 years of legal and government experience to the position.

“Joni is a one-of-a-kind public servant who has helped build a team of leaders who are dedicated to our key mission: making this city fairer for all. Now, I am thrilled to welcome her as Commissioner and Chief Administrative Law Judge of OATH, where she will continue her good work by ensuring our administrative courts are just and fair, and all New Yorkers are heard,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio

“I am honored to be named Commissioner of OATH in the greatest city in the world.  OATH is emblematic of everything that this Administration cares about: access to justice, fairness and equity.  Every day, the work at OATH helps to make this city a safer, cleaner and better place to live.  I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for this incredible opportunity,” said Joni Kletter. 

OATH hears about 100 times more cases than all the criminal courts in the city put together.  In addition, the OATH trial division adjudicates a wide range of issues that can be referred by City agencies, including disciplinary hearings and licensing issues.  OATH also houses The Center for Creative Conflict Resolution, which serves as a conflict resolution resource for New York City government, its agencies, employees, unions and the public they serve.

“Joni Kletter is the kind of lawyer we can be proud to have administering justice in our city,” said Melanie Leslie, Dean of Cardozo School of Law. “Her intelligence, sound judgement, extensive experience and commitment to fairness and equity for all New Yorkers will make her an outstanding commissioner. We are proud to count her as a member of our alumni community.”

“Meyer Suozzi congratulates Joni on her promotion.  Her boundless energy, superb legal acumen and enthusiasm is sure to serve the City well,” said Patricia Galteri, Esq., Managing Attorney, Meyer Suozzi.

About Joni Kletter

Kletter currently serves as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Appointments, where she oversees and coordinates candidate recruitment, sourcing, vetting and interviewing for the Mayor’s agency Commissioners and senior-level staff, as well as the Mayor’s appointees to over 200 Boards and Commissions. She is also the Principal EEO Officer for the Mayor’s Office.

Before serving as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Appointments, she served as First Deputy Director and Counsel in the Mayor’s Office for City Legislative Affairs. In that role, she played a central role in shaping the Administration’s public policy; advancing the Administration’s local legislative agenda; negotiating City Council legislation; and preparing agencies and Commissioners for City Council hearings. 

Kletter previously served as a labor and employment attorney at Meyer Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. Prior to that, she was a Federal Law Clerk for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York. Kletter received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D., cum laude, from Cardozo School of Law. She is an active participant in Park Slope, Brooklyn civic life where she has lived since 2006.


 Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea, Troy A. Miller, Director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) New York Field Office, Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark announced charges against 14 members of a large narcotics trafficking organization following a long-term wiretap investigation into a conspiracy to sell heroin and cocaine.

An indictment filed today by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor charges Jack ACEVEDO, aka “Tone,” with Operating as a Major Trafficker as the alleged leader of a large narcotics organization which controlled drug activity in the vicinity of 3rd Avenue in Mott Haven. Nine “managers” who allegedly worked under ACEVEDO are charged in the indictment, as well as several narcotics suppliers and distributors.
Arrests occurred this morning in the Bronx, Manhattan, Jersey City, N.J. and Everett, Mass. Arraignments for those defendants arrested in New York City are scheduled for this afternoon before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Felicia Mennin, Part 61, 111 Centre Street, 9th floor. Extradition proceedings are pending for defendants arrested in New Jersey and Massachusetts. The indictment contains charges of Operating as a Major Trafficker, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First, Second and Third Degrees and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. reviewed and submitted wiretap applications for court authorization. The wiretap investigation was conducted by the New York Strike Force, a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
The Strike Force is housed at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA; the New York City Police Department; the New York State Police; Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; New York National Guard; the Clarkstown Police Department; U.S. Coast Guard; Port Washington Police Department; and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The investigation was initiated in response to community complaints about the open and notorious sale and consumption of narcotics along a busy commercial stretch of 3rd Avenue in Mott Haven, as well as violent incidents. During the time frame of the charged conspiracy, which ran from August 21, 2019 to February 12, 2020, members of the drug organization routinely discussed narcotics sales, proceeds of these sales and police activity by phone.
ACEVEDO’s organization took over a legitimate business, a bakery located at 2785 3rd Avenue, and used it as a hub for narcotics sales. This business suffered as a result of persistent drug activity. Members of Strike Force Group Z-42 conducted surveillance and observed drug sales occurring openly on the sidewalk as well as inside the bakery. Members of the drug network conducted alleged drug sales from early morning until late in the evening and hid drugs and money inside the bakery. Drug customers frequently used narcotics in the immediate vicinity after the sales.
The investigation revealed that ACEVEDO maintained a strict hierarchy within his organization.
When narcotic supplies ran low at the bakery, the alleged managers made trips to ACEVEDO’s nearby residence at 383 East 143rd Street, located within the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Mott Haven development. The residence served as an alleged stash location for narcotics and cash. Defendant Eugene SHEPHERD, aka “Gene,” allegedly packaged narcotics for the organization at this location. On September 18, 2019, ACEVEDO and defendant Mark RODRIGUEZ, aka “Theo,” discussed the theft of a large quantity of narcotics and cash proceeds from ACEVEDO’s residence. Approximately $80,000 in narcotics and cash was stolen.
An alleged top manager within the organization, Victor ALOMAR, aka “O,” was arrested on September 30, 2019 at 385 East 144th Street by members of Strike Force Group Z-42 after meeting with ACEVEDO. He was found to be in possession of a “register” of narcotics consisting of 100 bags of cocaine and 100 glassine envelopes of heroin.
The investigation revealed that ALOMAR continued to participate in the drug organization’s activities while awaiting trial on two pending criminal cases. In a phone call on November 6, 2019, ALOMAR requested to regain his “senior status” within ACEVEDO’s organization.
In a court authorized search of ACEVEDO’s residence this morning, agents and officers recovered  approximately $50,000 cash and hundreds of glassine envelopes and ziplock bags containing suspected heroin and cocaine.
Defendants Damon ELLIS, aka “Roc,” Antonio PAIGNE, aka “Santi,” and Wilfredo ROJO ROCA are charged with supplying narcotics to ACEVEDO for distribution by members of his network from locations in the Bronx and Manhattan. PAIGNE also allegedly supplied narcotics to Ramon BANREY. On October 17, 2019, members of Strike Force Group Z-42 arrested defendant BANREY in the vicinity of 982 Prospect Avenue in Manhattan following a meeting with PAIGNE. BANREY was in possession of 200 glassine envelopes of heroin.
Court authorized searches of two locations associated with PAIGNE at 540 East 169th Street in the Bronx and 365 Edgecombe Avenue in Manhattan resulted in the seizure of two loaded guns and nearly a kilogram of suspected heroin and cocaine. The narcotics have been submitted to the DEA laboratory for testing.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Special Investigation Bureau, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and New York Strike Force Group Z-42, including members of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New York Division, the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) New York Field Office, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York and all of the other partner agencies for their work on the investigation.
”We hope these arrests bring relief to the beleaguered residents and business owners of Mott Haven who have endured brazen drug trafficking in this area for far too long,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Brennan said.
“Throughout this case, our efforts focused on taking the community back from violent criminals whose drug trafficking and intimidation overflowed into the streets, homes, and local businesses,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.  “When it comes down to it, every New Yorker has a right to live without fear of drug traffickers and the violence associated with their criminal trade.  Law enforcement’s strategic collaboration, including the indictment of these 14 defendants, continues our pursuit to dismantle more and more local drug trafficking networks in New York and the Northeast.”
“With tenacious investigative work, we have taken down a sprawling narcotics operation that preyed on a Bronx neighborhood. I commend the police officers, federal agents and prosecutors who brought this case and work every day to stop those engaged in selling illegal drugs,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is proud to partner with DEA, HSI, NYSP, and NYPD to help apprehend criminals posing a threat to the United States. CBP does its part in keeping these drugs off the streets and we are determined to protect our youth from these illicit substances,” said Mr. Troy Miller, Director of Field Operations New York.
 “This case is one of many examples of how local, state and federal partners work together to combat drug traffickers and distributors of these deadly drugs,” said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh. “Supporting our federal, state and local partners will remain a top priority for HSI.”
Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “A long-term investigation has resulted in taking dangerous individuals off our streets and shutting down a large drug ring. These individuals had zero regard for the dangers they posed to our community; selling deadly drugs or the added, associated crimes that come with this illegal trade.  I want to thank our partners for their continued dedication and hard work on these cases. We will continue to work together to make our streets and neighborhoods safer.”
 Indicted DefendantsCharges
1Damon Ellis, aka “Roc” Barnegat,
NJ 11/20/1972
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct CSCS 1st –
1 ct CSCS 2nd – 1 ct
2Eugene Shepherd, aka “Gene”
Bronx, NY 9/19/1965
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
3Jack Acevedo, aka “Tone”
Bronx, NY 11/29/1978
Operating as a Major Trafficker – 1 ct
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct CPCS 3rd – 3 cts
4Victor Alomar, aka “O” Bronx, NY
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct CPCS 3rd – 3 cts
5Mark Rodriguez, aka “Theo” Bronx,
NY  3/9/1968
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
6Oraya Evans, aka “Rhea” Bronx, NY
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
7Julio Rodriguez, aka “Chubs” Jersey
City, NJ 6/21/1981
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
8Durice Jones, aka “Jerry” Bronx, NY
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
9Feliz Medina, aka “Gordo” Bronx, NY
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
10Antonio Paigne, aka “Santi”
New York, NY 1/17/1959
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct CSCS 3rd – 1 ct
11Jesus Rivera, aka “Choco”
Bronx, NY 3/27/1970
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
12Wilfredo Rojo Roca Bronx, NY
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
13Ramon Banrey Bronx, NY
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct CPCS 3rd – 1 ct
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Defendant Awarded Millions in Contracts to Upgrade City Schools; Allegedly Submitted Faked Payroll to Pocket Cash; Nearly a Dozen Victims Cheated

  Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, along with the New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett, announced today that a Queens County grand jury has indicted a business owner and his company, Laser Electrical Contracting Inc., of grand larceny, failure to pay prevailing wages, scheme to defraud and other crimes for underpaying employees assigned to work on public works projects in New York City public schools. From 2014 through 2018, the defendants had contracts with the New York City School Construction Authority and the New York City Department of Education worth millions to do electrical work in City schools.

 District Attorney Katz said, “This business owner allegedly bilked his hard-working employees out of more than $1.5 million in wages. Thanks to a number of employees coming forward to report the alleged wrong-doing, the matter was investigated and 11 workers in all were allegedly cheated. The defendant will be held accountable for this alleged malfeasance.”

 Commissioner Garnett said, “Workers on government projects must be fairly compensated for their labor and paid the prevailing wage. These defendants underpaid employees through a variety of schemes, including falsely inflating the hourly rate paid, failing to pay benefits, and then submitting hundreds of materially false certified payroll reports to the New York City School Construction Authority and the City Department of Education, resulting in the theft of more than $1.5 million in workers’ wages, according to the charges and court documents. This kind of criminal behavior is a priority for DOI because it exploits workers, wastes government money, and harms competing businesses who are playing by the rules. DOI thanks the Queens District Attorney’s Office for its partnership on this matter.” 

 The Queens District Attorney’s Office identified the defendant as Jagdeep Deol, 36, of 262nd Street in Glen Oaks, Queens, and his company Laser Electrical Contracting Inc. The defendant is charged in a 66-count indictment with grand larceny in the second degree, failure to pay prevailing wages, scheme to defraud in the first degree, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and falsifying business records in the first degree. The defendant was arraigned yesterday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry S. Kron who released the defendant on his own recognizance and ordered him to return to court on April 6, 2020. If convicted, Deol faces a minimum of probation to up to 15 years in prison.  

 According to the charges, said District Attorney Katz, the defendant had numerous public works contracts with the SCA and the DOE and additionally worked as a subcontractor for the SCA. For the time period of 2014 through 2018, under all the contracts the defendant failed to pay at least 11 employees the proper prevailing wage totaling more than $1.5 million.

 Continuing, according to the charges, said DA Katz, in February 2018 a number of employees reported that they had allegedly been underpaid. An investigation followed with reviews of payroll records and interviews with employees. It was determined that the workers’ checks were missing a sum totaling more than $1.5 million

 The DA added that, according to the charges, the defendant and the company submitted hundreds of payment requisitions that had been falsified.

 The investigation was conducted by Detective Robert Magrino of the New York City Police Department’s Asset Forfeiture Unit, under the supervision of Sergeant Adam Bruno, Lieutenant Alfred Batelli, and under the overall supervision of Assistant Chief Christopher McCormack, Commanding Officer-Criminal Enterprise Division

 It should be noted that an indictment is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Statement from New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer

Out of an abundance of caution, and in an effort to maintain the health and safety of our employees, effective Friday, March 13, 2020 all Comptroller’s Office staff are to work from home until further notice. Additional information regarding telecommuting will be provided to all Comptroller’s Office employees via email. All functions of the office will continue.

Changes to Services:

The New York City Office of the Comptroller is unable to accept notices of claim by personal service.
To file a notice of claim against the City of New York, please serve your claim electronically ( or by registered or certified mail.

Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr - Our Seniors Deserve Protection from the Corona Virus

What You Should Know
February 28, 2020
Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr

Our Seniors Deserve Protection from the Corona Virus

You should know that during today’s Aging Committee Hearing in the New York City Council, I asked the Commissioner to provide details about the City’s plans to protect our senior centers from the Corona Virus. To my shock, I was told that so far, no funding has even been requested. Nothing!

My dear reader, while our subways are being scrubbed and our schools are awaiting government resources to make them safe environments for our children, why is New York City ignoring the needs of the most vulnerable group of people who are most susceptible to the Corona Virus?

I invite all seniors - and all who love our seniors - to raise your voices and demand for our tax dollars to be immediately allocated so our elderly women and men who use these senior centers will be in clean and safe environments.

I am Councilman Rev. Rubén Díaz, and this is what you should know.


What did he know?

Temporary Closure of The Bronx Museum of the Arts

2 Cover page Bottom photo Bronx Museum of the Arts 04 C Norman McGrath

Dear friends, colleagues, and the Bronx Community,
The Bronx Museum of the Arts will temporarily close 
to the public starting Friday, March 13. All upcoming 
programs are cancelled. We will continue our increased 
sanitation efforts and will undergo extensive professional 
deep cleaning during our closure.
The health and well-being of our staff, community, and 
visitors is our number one priority. We are closely 
monitoring the situation, and will continue to 
update the museum’s status at
There are no known cases of coronavirus among the 
museum staff. Please refer to the NYC Department 
of Health website for more information and best practices. 
We look forward to reopening the museum and welcoming 
back our community. 
Klaudio Rodriguez, Interim Director, 
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
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at 165th St | Bronx NY | 10456