Saturday, November 7, 2020
Based on Progress Controlling COVID Spread, Zones Change in Brooklyn, Queens - Far Rockaway, and Rockland and Orange County
Fishing License Requirement Waived to Honor New York's Veterans and Encourage New Yorkers to Get Outdoors and Enjoy State's Fishing Opportunities
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that New York residents and non-residents can fish for free without a license on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11. New York's Free Fishing Days encourage more people to get outdoors and enjoy the state's world-class fishing opportunities. Legislation signed by the Governor in 2015 allowed an increase in the number of authorized statewide Free Fishing Days. Every year since, Veterans Day has been designated as a Free Fishing Day.
Sotheby’s Helped Wealthy Clients Evade Taxes to Boost its Own Sales
New York Attorney General Letitia James today filed a lawsuit against the international auction house Sotheby’s for defrauding the state of New York and its taxpayers out of millions of dollars in unpaid sales tax. The complaint alleges that Sotheby’s violated the New York False Claims Act by facilitating the creation and use of false tax exemption certificates — known as resale certificates — for an art collector and major client, even though it knew the art collector was not eligible to claim the exemption.
“Millionaires and billionaires cannot be allowed to evade taxes while every day Americans pay their fair share,” said Attorney General James. “Sotheby’s violated the law and fleeced New York taxpayers out of millions just to boost its own sales. This lawsuit should send a clear message that no matter how well-connected or wealthy you are, no one is above the law.”
In 2018, the collector’s company, Porsal Equities, entered into a settlement agreement with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in which Porsal admitted it had improperly used resale certificates in violation of the New York False Claims Act. The OAG investigation found that Porsal Equities admitted that it and its owner certified that they were purchasing artwork for resale when, in reality, they were purchasing the artwork for personal purposes — namely, for display and enjoyment at the collector’s private residence.
Today’s lawsuit — filed in New York County State Supreme Court — alleges that Sotheby’s knew that the collector and his company were not purchasing art for resale as art dealers in the normal course of business, but accepted their resale certificates anyway, and, in fact, facilitated the creation and use of these resale certificates. In 2010, Sotheby’s advised the collector he could use a resale certificate and helped complete the certificate, including adding the false declaration that he was an art dealer even though, in reality, the collector had not told Sotheby’s he was an art dealer and Sotheby’s knew he was actually in the shipping business. Sotheby’s not only accepted this resale certificate, but, by 2015, had accepted three more equally false certificates from Porsal Equities facilitated by Sotheby’s employees, despite overwhelming evidence that the collector and Porsal Equities were not art dealers and were only buying art for personal use.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today made the following statement on the special election in the New York City Council’s 24th District:
“I am declaring Tuesday, February 2, 2021 as the date for the 24th City Council District special election to elect a Council Member to serve until December 31st, 2021. This date, within the window allowed by the City Charter, will facilitate maximum voter participation. I encourage all eligible Queens residents to vote early, in person, or by absentee ballot in the upcoming special election.”
Thursday, November 5, 2020
For the month of October 2020, the number of gun arrests increased by 102.4 % (502 v. 248). Year-to-date, the number of gun arrests have increased by 15% (3,308 vs. 2,876). For the month of October, gun arrests have increased in every borough.
Between October 1 and October 31, there was a 121% increase in the number of shooting incidents across the city (137 v. 62). The number of people murdered citywide decreased to 35 v. 36, (- 2.8%) for the month, while the number of burglaries increased to 1,363 v. 1,031 (+32.2%) and the number of auto thefts increased to 933 v. 522 (+78.7%) citywide.
From the COVID-19 outbreak through upticks in violent crime to the continuing work of facilitating peaceful protests throughout the city, the 2020 calendar year has confronted our officers and the city’s residents with unprecedented challenges. Through it all, our mutual resiliency has come through.
Today, our NYPD officers continue to display the best of the NYPD traditions, responding in real-time to crime spikes by gathering timely intelligence and analyzing crime trends. In addition, there is a new class of recruits who have entered the Police Academy and the NYPD’s work to keep all New Yorkers safe continues.
“Our tireless men and women officers are here to serve New Yorkers and keep everyone across all neighborhoods safe,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “We will continue to be relentless in our mission to ensure public safety by working hand-in-hand with those we are sworn to serve and to deliver fair and exceptional police services.”
Key highlights from this month's crime statistics:
- Murder is up +37.2% (387 v. 282) for the first ten months of 2020 when compared to the first ten months of 2019.
- There were 137 citywide shooting incidents in October 2020, compared to 62 shooting incidents in October 2019, a +121% increase. Year-to-date, through October 31, there is a +93.9% spike in citywide shooting incidents (1,299 v. 670).
- Burglary increased +32.2% (1,363 v. 1,031) in October and is up +41.6% (12,673 v. 8,951) year-to-date through October 31.
- For the month of October, rape decreased by -17.5% (127 v. 154). Rape continues to be underreported. If you have been a victim of sexual assault, please come forward. The NYPD Special Victims Division's 24-hour hotline is 212-267RAPE (7273).
- Year-to-date, through October 28, citywide hate crimes declined -34% (237 v. 359).
We did it!!! Our opponents raised over $13 million from Trump donors, corporations and billionaires, but we still re-elected Alexandria to Congress with a groundswell of support.
And that’s not all we did. Thanks to your help, we cemented our movement’s values and vision into a gigantic, growing force in the fight for working-class families across the nation. Specifically, because of your support, we:
- Delivered 80,000 meals
- Donated more than 100,000 masks
- Organized over 3,600 volunteers
- Fundraised $1.1 million to provide COVID-19 relief to excluded workers and families in-need
- Empowered our communities through workshops on childcare collectives, eviction defense, workplace safety and more
- Launched a virtual homework helper program to support students and families in our district
- Organized a $1 million census outreach program, which resulted in over $52.6 million returned to our district
- Recruited over 1,000 volunteers to help get out the vote in key swing states
We couldn’t have done that without you!
Progress doesn’t happen without your work. We appreciate you more than words can capture.
But listen. We can’t skip a beat. The work we have ahead of us is deep and transcends elections. It always has been. We are called to do it.
Donald Trump’s premature claims of victory are illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian. We need to organize like crazy to count the votes and respect the results.
And as long as working-class families are under siege from corrupt politicians and greedy corporations, we have an obligation to do everything we can to level the field.
This struggle will continue to be a challenging one. But right now, we are showing that we have the grit and determination to overcome the odds. A better world is not only possible – she is in our hands.
So yes, we should take a moment to celebrate what we have worked so hard to achieve – and then get right back to work.
With infinite gratitude,
Mayor Bill de Blasio: What a beautiful, powerful story, reminding us of the strength of this place, reminding us of what we love about New York City – the power of New Yorkers, the resiliency of New Yorkers, the faith that New Yorkers bring to everything we do and why after everything – and Elizabeth, what you said – remember, everyone, when she said – after hurricanes, after storms, the green markets come back. No matter what happens, people come back and they gathered together to bring our city back. Even after 9/11 – what a poignant thought that after 9/11, there you were, bringing things to help people, bringing food to help people. This is a reminder of who we are.
So, we're gathered here in the middle of a crisis, but it's a crisis we will overcome. That's what we do as New Yorkers. You look around you today and you see people who are ready to move forward. It's not a ghost town, is it? It's a place filled with joy and hope and people making something happen. So, this Holiday Market is more evidence of the strength of the city. You know, some people might say, well, let's not have it – but, we're New Yorkers. In fact, we said, yes, let's have the Holiday Market. Let's celebrate together. Let's help our small businesses. Let's do it in a way that's safe, right? We could do it and we could do it in a way that's safe, and that's what we have done here.
Now, everybody, here’s the most important message. You need to spend your money here. Okay? Let's make it really clear. New Yorkers like straight talk. You need to spend your money here. It's nice to buy things online, but it's a lot nicer to buy things from the person who's actually created them. It's a lot nicer to help a small business and help your fellow New Yorker, help someone who built a small business from scratch, help the people that live here in our own community, help them to have jobs. So, this holiday season, we know a lot families are hurting. We know there won't be as much to spend, but what you do choose to spend, buy local, buy from a small business, buy from a real human being. Come here to the Holiday Market, and every single purchase you make will help the city you love and help your fellow New Yorkers.
So, everyone, with that, look, this Winter Village, it's not only a great thing itself, it helped inspire something we're doing now our Open Storefronts initiative, where we're going to allow businesses to use the sidewalks in front of their stores, so people can purchase things outdoors, where they're going to feel safe, give small businesses a chance to come back. This market and others like it helped inspire that vision. So, all the good here and all the good that will come from this, and now I just want to take a moment, I want to turn to a man who had a lot of partners, but he was the genius behind this – saw what could happen here in Bryant Park years ago and made it one of the truly magical places in this city. Mr. Dan Biederman.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Dermot Shea, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the arrest of AQUILINO TORRES in connection with the kidnapping of his girlfriend and her 7-year-old son. TORRES was arrested yesterday and will be presented in Manhattan federal court later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.
Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ANTHONY ELLISON, a/k/a “Harv,” was sentenced to 288 months in prison in connection with his participation in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods (“Nine Trey”), the July 22, 2018, kidnapping of Daniel Hernandez, a/k/a “Tekashi 6ix 9ine,” and the October 24, 2018, slashing of a victim in furtherance of the Nine Trey enterprise. ELLISON was convicted following a three-week jury trial in October 2019 before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, who imposed today’s sentence.
Gov. Cuomo: "New York State's progress is threatened by national surge in cases - we must remain NY Tough."
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Per New York State Law, BOE Must Give Reason for Ballot Rejections
For Questions and Concerns Regarding Errors With Your Absentee Ballot,
“Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Attorney General James. “Every voter has a right to have their voice heard, and it’s important that they are empowered with information to make sure their voice is heard. With the record number of first-time absentee ballots, we hope this information proves useful to voters who may need to fix an inadvertent error with their ballot.”
Local Boards of Election must notify voters as soon as possible if their ballots have deficiencies, which would need to be corrected, or “cured,” in order for their vote to count. Among other clerical-type errors, deficiencies could include:
- The oath envelope is unsigned;
- The oath envelope signature does not appear to correspond to the signature on file;
- The oath envelope does not have the required witness to a mark where voter assistance is provided;
- The ballot is returned in the return envelope either with an unsealed oath envelope, or completely without an oath envelope;
- The oath envelope is signed by the person that has provided voter assistance, but is not signed or marked by the voter; or
- The voter has failed to sign the oath envelope and someone else has signed the oath envelope (i.e. power of attorney).
Under the legislature’s amendments to the Election Law, as modified by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.58, the Boards of Election are encouraged to count ballots “as soon as possible.” However, it is likely that people will receive these notices of deficiencies after Election Day, given the record number of absentee ballots to be processed this year. If voters received a notice of deficiency between October 27 and November 3, they have seven days to address the issue to ensure their vote is counted. If the ballot is received on or after November 3, voters have five days from when they receive notification by email, mail, or phone to cure any deficiencies.
Attorney General James encourages voters with questions or concerns about the absentee ballot notice and cure process to call the office’s Hotline at 1-800-771-7755, submit complaints online, or email email@example.com.
In addition to providing this guidance to voters, Attorney General James also issued guidance to Board of Election offices and law enforcement entities throughout the state to protect New Yorkers from voter intimidation on, and before, Election Day in October.
1 - Prediction - Presidential race will be to close to call Well it is now more than 24 hours after the election (on the East Coast), and there is still no winner announces for President. Law suits have been filed, it is alleged that several states had more people vote than were registered to vote, and it is also claimed that numerous dead people voted either in person or by mail.
Outcome - With all the law suits we may get ti\o know who the president is by Thanksgiving.
2- The AOC - Cummings race. Cummings will do better than expected, but fall short. Also AOC's primary opponent will ne no factor.
Outcome - Right on the money
3 - 80th A.D. race Gene De Francis will be the winner.
Outcome - Wrong on this one.
Two out of three is not bad, and the Yankees would love to have a winning percentage of .667 every season.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
The race to watch is the 80th Assembly race where in 2012 now Councilman Mark Gjonaj received more votes than all three of the other candidates including the incumbent (at that time) assemblywoman. Gjonaj then won election to the city council in 2017, and in April of 2018 a special election was held that handed the assembly seat to Gjonaj's former Chief of Staff with a total vote count which was less then the number of votes Gjonaj alone received in 2012. Said assembly member did not have a primary in 2018 or in 2020, and announced her decision to run for Bronx Borough President next year months before her November election which has angered many people that she is taking the people of the 80th A.D. for granted, while she campaigns for Bronx BP. Her leading an anti police march through the district right past the park where hundreds of people showed to support the police has angered others in the 80th A.D.
Mr. Gene De Francis is the head of the Allerton Merchants Association, an officer of the 49th Precinct Community Council, and former Veteran of the armed forces which makes him a formidable opponent to the weak incumbent. The fact that candidate Gene De Francis is running with Conservative minded John Cummings in a conservative minded district is an added plus, including the two Democratic Clubs on the West side of the 80th Assembly District that have endorsed Gene De Francis. We see another Mark Gjonaj type person in Gene De Francis, and for that reason with the added minuses of the weak incumbent who also lost both of the District Leaders on her slate in the June primary we call this race for Gene De Francis by a margin of 54% to 46 %.
In the 14th Congressional race in 2018 current Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a surprising victory over the long time incumbent, and she is now the incumbent. When all the votes are counted I expect AOC to be the winner, but her opponent John Cummings will have come closer than many expect him to, at least in the Bronx. It is the Queens part of the district that will provide the safe margin of victory for the incumbent congresswoman. AOC's primary opponent who is running on a minor third party line should be of no significance in the race.
The biggest race is that of President of the United States. Four years ago I was the only Bronx political reporter to openly call the race for Donald Trump. During the past four years Donald Trump was cruising to an easy victory, that is until the Corona Virus started in China. That virus made its way across Asia into Europe, and finally to the United States. Now every Democrat who blamed Trump from anything to everything blames him for the Corona Virus.
Only four incumbent presidents in post 1900 United States history who served a full four year term were not reelected to a second term. They were William Taft 1909 - 1913, Herbert Hoover 1929 - 1933, Jimmy Carter 1977 - 1981, and George Bush Sr. 1989 - 1993. Only four Vice Presidents have been elected President, George Bush Sr. in 1988, Martin Van Buren in 1856, Thomas Jefferson in 1800, and John Adams in 1796.
While certain people admonish Trump for his friendships with certain foreign countries he is the only president since Jimmy Carter not to have participated in a war with another country. The national economy has continued to grow even with the pandemic, and Trump is the first U.S. President to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
As I did four years ago I predict that Donald Trump will be elected, this time to a second term as president of the United States. As was the case four years ago the race is too close to call, and may not be fully determined until sometime in December. Four years ago Donald Trump won one election district in the 80th A.D. This year Donald Trump should win seven election districts in the 80th and 82nd assembly districts combined.
The writer Robert Press has an excellent record of calling close political races either exactly or within the margin of error.