Saturday, January 16, 2021

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State’s Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - JANUARY 16, 2021


Additional Case of UK Variant in Tompkins County Brings Total Cases to 17

8,888 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,580 Patients in the ICU; 983 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 5.77%

157 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. An additional case of the UK variant was identified in Tompkins County. To date, there are 17 known cases of the variant in New York State.

"New York is fighting to beat back COVID as we distribute the limited vaccine available as quickly as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "We're deploying all the tools in our toolbox—making sure hospitals have enough capacity and conducting ever-higher numbers of tests—to keep New Yorkers as safe as possible. But our actions as individuals and as communities to stay socially distanced, wear masks and wash our hands are of vital importance, as is the willingness of local governments to enforce the rules. When communities decide to slow the spread, it will slow down. It's purely a function of our actions."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 277,286
  • Total Positive - 15,998
  • Percent Positive - 5.77%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 8,888 (+80)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 1,144
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 1,580 (+10)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 983 (+21)
  • Total Discharges - 114,868 (+949)
  • Deaths - 157
  • Total Deaths - 32,725

Rochester, New York Man Arrested and Charged with Destroying Property and Obstruction of Congressional Proceedings


  WASHINGTON, D.C. – A New York State man was taken into custody and charged today with unlawful entry, destruction of government property and obstruction of an official proceeding. 

Dominic Pezzola, 43, also known as “Spaz” and “Spazzo,” of Rochester, New York, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c)(2); one count of destruction of government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1361; and one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section1752(a).  Following a hearing in the Western District of New York, Pezzola was ordered detained.

The affidavit in support of criminal complaint alleges that Pezzola unlawfully gained entry to the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, by breaking a window in the U.S. Capitol with a U.S. Capitol Police shield, as an individual in the crowd yelled “Go Go Go,” before entering the Capitol building. 

The affidavit also alleges that a video posted from inside the Capitol shows Pezzola smoking a cigar inside the building.  In that video, Pezzola can be heard saying words to the effect of, “Victory smoke in the Capitol, boys.  This is f***ing awesome.  I knew we could take this mother***er over [if we] just tried hard enough.” 

The affidavit alleges that Pezzola was photographed in December, 2020, at rallies in Washington, D.C., that included individuals wearing clothing consistent with the “Proud Boys.”

At some point after the incident at the Capitol had ended, the affidavit in support of criminal complaint alleges, Pezzola bragged about breaking the windows to the Capitol with a Capitol Police shield.  The affidavit also alleges that Pezzola and others stated that they would have killed anyone they got their hands on, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Michael Pence.  The affidavit alleges that, in the days after the event, members of the group said that the group would return to Washington, D.C., and kill every single “m-fer” they could. 

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct for purposes of establishing probable cause, not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Buffalo Field Office, Albany Field Office, and Washington Field Office.

The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email or submit information anonymously via

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at

Governor Cuomo Provides Update on New York’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution


New York's Health Care Distribution Sites Have Administered 83% of Doses Received from Federal Government

Administered an Additional 73,336 Doses Over Prior 24 Hour Period

All Vaccines Are By Appointment Only; Appointment Scheduling for Second Dose Occurs Immediately Following First Dose

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine after the first four weeks of availability for non-long term care facilities. The State's vaccine supply is determined by the federal government, and although more than 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible for the COVID vaccine, next week, the state will receive only 250,000 doses from the federal government. To date, New York's health care distribution sites have administered 83 percent of doses received from the federal government. These sites administered an additional 73,336 doses over the prior 24-hour period.

"We are in a footrace to get the vaccine into the arms of eligible New Yorkers as quickly and equitably as possible," Governor Cuomo said. "However, we now have 7 million New Yorkers vying for a fraction of doses made available to use by the federal government. We need Washington to step up and increase New York's supply to make sure everyone who wants the vaccine has the opportunity to get it."

Since federal supply severely limits the ability to distribute vaccines, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment. New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals far exceed the vaccine supply coming from the federal government. Next week, New York is only receiving 250,000 doses from the federal government for a universe of over 7 million people who are eligible.

**The total number above includes full weekly vaccine deliveries to NY for the first 4 weeks of the program. The week 5 allocation to NY's vaccination program (not including the federally run long-term care program) began being distributed 1/12 and continues through today when the full weekly distribution will be complete. The week 5 allocation will appear in tomorrow's total number of doses delivered to New York State.**

To date, New York's health care distribution sites have administered 83 percent of doses received from the federal government but due to the federal government's limited allocation, appointments have filled up quickly. New Yorkers are being urged to call your local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital for additional information and to schedule appointments. To determine eligibility and schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site, visit the 'Am I Eligible' website.

State Senator Gustavo Rivera - in Support of Hunts Point Produce Market Workers' Strike



"I want to express my unwavering support to the Hunts Point Produce Market's 1,400 Teamsters Local 202 drivers and loading dock workers who went on strike earlier today. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these brave essential workers have dutifully performed their duties, putting their health and that of their families at risk in an effort to keep us fed during this unprecedented crisis. 

These workers, along with their union representatives, attempted to negotiate in good faith a small raise on their salaries. However, their efforts were only met with plain hostility. 

I call on the owners of the Hunts Point Produce Market to go back to the negotiating table and urge them to do right by their workers.

To the workers and Teamsters Local 202, I stand in solidarity with you and thank you for the work that you do to keep our City running."


While we do not dispute the workers rights, we would remind Senator Rivera that the Hunts Point Produce Market is essential to the delivery of fresh produce and other foods to people who are having problems of their own. 

We would suggest that Senator Rivera and other Bronx elected officials should join the talks to stop or end quickly a strike where everyone loses, especially the people who need the food that will be in short supply.

NYS Office of the Comptroller DiNapoli: Tax Revenues Through December Were $2.5 Billion Lower Than Last Year


State tax receipts through the first nine months of the state fiscal year were $2.5 billion lower than last year, but were $1.8 billion higher than anticipated by the state Division of the Budget (DOB), according to the monthly State Cash Report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Tax receipts in the month of December totaled $8.4 billion, $422.5 million above last year, and $1.4 billion above DOB’s latest projections.

“December’s tax receipts were better than expected, but the revenue challenge is still with us,” DiNapoli said. “President-elect Biden’s proposed stimulus plan, with new aid to help states and localities fill gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic, is another hopeful sign. We still have a long way to go, and it’s essential that leaders in Washington act on a robust plan of assistance as quickly as possible.”

Comparison of State Tax Collections

Personal income tax receipts in December were $544.8 million, or 12.7 percent, above December 2019, due in part to an additional day of withholding in 2020. Sales tax receipts continued to fall short of the previous year in December, down $86.6 million, or 5.5 percent, from 2019. 

State Operating Funds spending through the first nine months of the fiscal year totaled $63.9 billion, which was $7.8 billion, or 10.8 percent, lower than last year. This is largely due to higher federal reimbursement for Medicaid spending, as well as the withholding of certain payments.  

As of December 31, the General Fund held a balance of $16.6 billion, $2 billion higher than DOB projections, and $8.4 billion higher than last year at the same time. The higher balance is driven partly by withheld payments as well as receipts from short-term borrowing that DOB anticipates repaying before the end of the fiscal year. The state has repaid $1 billion of that borrowing, with the remaining $3.4 billion due by March 31.

December Cash Report         




NYPD Discipline Matrix Part of Plan to Fulfill Obama Foundation Reimagining Policing Pledge

 Mayor Bill de Blasio today released the first NYPD Discipline Matrix, a major police discipline reform.


“For years, we have achieved major police department reforms and today’s announcement is just the start for the progress we will make together as a city in 2021,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With this new cutting-edge reform, the Police Department now has clear, fair and just discipline guidelines. This is about accountability, building trust and ensuring community engagement is centered in our approach.”


“This matrix, almost two years in the making, establishes clear and consistent presumptive penalties for specific offenses and eliminates the perception of favoritism or bias that can undermine our discipline process, as well as the department’s legitimacy in the eyes of the people we are sworn to serve and protect.  Moreover, the matrix reflects my commitment that every member of the service is held accountable for his or her conduct based upon reasonable standards. The matrix is meant to be a living document, open to further improvements as the needs of the police and the public naturally evolve,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.


"We appreciate this promising step the NYPD has taken to outline clearer rules of the road for their uniformed members of service,” said CCRB Chair Fred Davie. “The Board looks forward to reviewing the Department’s proposal, and engaging further with the public on the disciplinary matrix."


The matrix outlines presumptive penalties for instances of officer misconduct, which may be adjusted up or down in a set window based on aggravating and mitigating factors. Penalties escalate with repeated offenses. The reforms aim to increase fairness in the disciplinary system, and increase trust in the system among both members of the NYPD and the public, by improving:

  • Accountability with penalties that are fair and proportional to the misconduct.
  • Transparency, so that both members of service and the community know what discipline to expect when an officer breaks the rules.
  • Consistency, so similar actions are treated similarly, and there is greater concurrence between the CCRB recommendations and NYPD decisions on penalties.


The discipline reforms are part of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to fulfill the Obama Foundation Reimagining Policing Pledge. The pledge, in partnership with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, calls for Mayors to review, engage, report and reform. That multi-step process allowed the City to bring true community input into the formation of the discipline guidelines.


On August 30, 2020, NYPD released the draft disciplinary matrix for public comment. Feedback and input were solicited from the Department’s oversight organizations, as well as community and advocacy organizations. Over 400 comments were received and resulted in changes to strengthen and better adapt the guidelines to better reflect New Yorkers’ experiences.


The discipline guidelines are clear and simple to interpret for officers and community members alike. For example: 

· Use of excessive deadly force has a presumed penalty of termination.

· Racial profiling has presumed penalty of termination.

· Intentionally making a false official statement has a presumed penalty of termination.

· Insubordination has presumed penalty of 20 unpaid days.

· Recklessly operating a vehicle has presumed penalty of 20 unpaid days.

· Failure to report a lost firearm has presumed penalty of 10 unpaid days.


Any penalty could increase if there are aggravating factors like time allowing for deliberate reflection before the action, or if its motivated by personal interest.


All presumptive penalties can be viewed in the final Disciplinary System Penalty Guidelines here.




 The unionized workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market are scheduled to go on strike on Sunday, January 17th, at 12:01 am after negotiations broke down when management refused to budge from a stingy offer for workers who kept New Yorkers fed through the pandemic. Union members are taking a strike vote on Saturday and scheduled to walk picket lines starting Sunday.

The majority of the workers have an average base salary between $18 and $21 an hour. Employers in the market, who collectively bill billions of dollars in annual sales, received more than $15 million in forgivable PPP loans during the pandemic.

Leaders of Teamsters Local 202 will hold a press conference on Sunday, January 17th, at 11 am, outside the main entrance to the market at 772 Edgewater Road in the Bronx. Elected officials are expected to join the Hunts Point union leaders at the press conference. 

Question of wrongdoing at the DSA


This came to us from the attention of Assemblyman Jose Rivera and Theo Chino
Is there something rotten in the DSA?

DSA backed candidates need to answer this charge of alleged fraud.

Council Member Mathieu Eugene Fined $10,717 for 2017 Campaign Violations

The fine was for nine violations of campaign finance law, including failure to report transactions and making impermissible post-election expenditures from his 2017 campaign. Councilman Eugene when first elected did not move into the district within thirty days so another special election had to be held which he also won. 

Councilman Eugene is running for Brooklyn Borough President, and they say that Bronx politics is bad.
The link to the story from the BKLYNER is below. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Representative Adriano Espaillat Introduces The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2021


Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat released the following statement on the introduction of his comprehensive legislation to abolish the federal death penalty.

“The death penalty is a cruel relic of the past, and should have no place in our society,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “A government should not have the power to take the life of another person, and the death penalty is a deeply flawed and inherently unjust system.

“The death penalty is fundamentally racist, and its roots can be traced directly to America’s terrible history of lynching. Over 42 percent of those on death row and 34 percent of those executed in America are Black, but only 13 percent of America’s population is black. Furthermore, those convicted of killing White victims are seventeen times more likely to be sentenced to death than would be if the victim was Black. The racial disparities in the death penalty are beyond the pale, and we must amend this racist legacy of our criminal justice system," Espaillat continued.

“Human life is invaluable, and every human life is sacred. Yet, the death penalty forgets a core tenet of humanity – human beings change. Humans have an immense capacity to learn, to heal, and to grow. Executing someone denies this principle and gives no course for a person to grow. A person is not defined by the worst choice they made, but the death penalty only views someone’s life through this narrow lens. And what’s more, it undermines the core vision upon which this nation was founded. I am proud to introduce this legislation, and believe it is a critical step towards a more righteous, equitable, and just society for all Americans,” he concluded.

The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act of 2021 has been endorsed by more than 200 organizations nationwide, including:  NAACP, ACLU, Amnesty International USA, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Innocence Project, National Black Justice Coalition, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Death Penalty Action, 8th Amendment Project, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Vera Institute of Justice, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Southern Center for Human Rights, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Equal Justice USA, Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, Grassroots Leadership, Drug Policy Alliance.





NEW YORK, NY 10007

Mayor Bill de Blasio today said New York City is on pace to run out of vaccine supply next week and called on the federal government to send additional doses.


“We will run out of vaccine next week in New York City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The supply should go to where there is an infrastructure to get it into people’s arms. We know there is supply in this country not being used.”  


As of today, the City has under 186,000 first doses remaining. Two of the City’s largest hospital systems of NYU and Mt. Sinai are no longer booking appointments for the time being and we expect all systems to run out by the end of next week without resupply.


The City reported 33,847 doses yesterday and has already administered more than 337,500 doses to New Yorkers, including more than 42,000 second doses. The City has administered 71.3% percent of the 175,000 vaccines it aimed to distribute by the end of this weekend.

Abigail Martin Reports $39,360 Raised In First Filing with the Campaign Finance Board


Abigail Martin

City Council Candidate Abigail Martin today announced that she has raised $39,360 from 445 contributors in the first five months of her campaign. 163 of these contributors are District 11 residents, which is more than double the number required by the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) to qualify for its matching funds program.

Martin has raised $20,403 in matchable donations-- just $1,097 short of the $21,500 needed to receive the full match allowed by the CFB. Based on Martin’s fundraising totals thus far, she is already expected to receive at least $163,224 in matching funds before the June 22, 2021 Democratic primary, for which she is a candidate.

“The support this campaign has received is a clear sign that the people of the northwest Bronx want new leadership, and want a true political outsider representing us,” continued Martin. "In the City Council, I will fight for every member of our community, and I will work to rebuild a just and equitable New York that is more affordable for working families and those on fixed incomes.”

The average contribution to Martin’s campaign to date is $67.45, and 72% of her donations have been from people contributing $50 or less.

“I would like to thank my fundraising team and campaign staff for their hard work,” said Martin. “Most of all, I would like to thank each and every person who has joined this effort, including the hundreds of small donors who are helping to grow this grassroots campaign.”

Under the CFB’s matching funds program, all donations from New York City residents between $10 and $175 are eligible to be matched with $8 in public funds for every $1 raised, up to a total of $21,500.

Abigail Martin is a social worker and an adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, and a candidate in the Democratic Party Primary on June 22 for City Council in District 11. City Council District 11 includes the Northwest Bronx neighborhoods of Bedford Park, Kingsbridge, Norwood, Riverdale, Van Cortlandt Village, Wakefield, and Woodlawn.

Abigail’s website is

Statement From Governor Cuomo on FEMA Relief for New York


 "New York was blindsided by COVID-19 in the spring and it was a direct result of the failures and utter incompetence of the federal government under the Trump Administration. Now, as a result of that federal incompetence, New York is facing an unprecedented COVID deficit.

Nearly a year ago, President Trump promised FEMA would reimburse 100 percent of New York's expenses, but, like many of his promises, the President reneged and New Yorkers suffered.

I want to thank my friends President-Elected Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for reaching this agreement, living up to the federal government's previous promise, and proving that government can work." 

Brooklyn Man Indicted For Armed Robberies Of Cab Drivers


 Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Dermot F. Shea, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, and John B. DeVito, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), announced that KYMAHLI LYSIUS was indicted today in connection with armed robberies he carried out last summer against livery cab drivers.  LYSIUS was arrested last week and presented in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss stated:  “Kymahli Lysius allegedly carried out a spree of brazen gunpoint robberies of livery cab drivers in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Lysius’s alleged conduct includes chillingly pointing a gun at the back of drivers’ heads and demanding their money, then fleeing on foot under the cover of night. We thank the NYPD and ATF for holding Kymahli responsible for alleged acts that put his victims in fear for their lives.”    

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said:  “This individual allegedly targeted hard-working victims and exploited the nature of their job to lure them to a location for the purpose of a robbery. I commend the detectives and members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District, for targeting violent crime and their hard work which resulted in this indictment.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito said:  “As alleged, defendant Lysius committed several armed robberies of honest and hard-working New Yorkers who were trying to provide for their families in the midst of a pandemic. This indictment sends a clear message that ATF and our law enforcement partners remain committed to ensuring public safety and that those who violate federal law and threaten the safety of our communities and the citizens within will be dealt with swiftly."

As alleged in the Complaint unsealed last week in Manhattan federal court[1]:

Between on or about July 28, 2020, and August 7, 2020, LYSIUS committed eight gunpoint robberies and a ninth attempted gunpoint robbery against livery cab drivers.  Two of the robberies were in Manhattan; the others were in Brooklyn.  The robberies followed a simple but brazen pattern:  On each occasion, a livery cab was ordered for a pick up at a specific location.  Upon its arrival, LYSIUS would get into the back seat of the cab.  Shortly thereafter, he would pull out a firearm from a fanny pack strapped across his chest, place the firearm on the cab driver’s head or back, and demand all of the driver’s money.  After taking all the cash the driver had on him and any other cash in the cab, LYSIUS would get out of the cab and flee on foot.  Each robbery occurred on dark streets, late at night or in the very early morning hours. 

LYSIUS, 28, of Brooklyn, is charged with two counts of Hobbs Act robbery and two counts of using a firearm in connection with the two robberies that occurred in Manhattan.  The Hobbs Act robbery charges each carry a statutory maximum sentence of twenty years in prison.  The charges for using, carrying, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of the Hobbs Act robberies each carry a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other sentence imposed. 

The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York City Police Department, the ATF, and the Strategic Pattern Armed Robbery Technical Apprehension (“SPARTA”) Task Force..

The charges contained in the Complaint and Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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

350 Days and Counting


350 Days until a new Mayor takes over. He or she can't be any worse.

The Bronx Night Market is coming back, baby!



Well, well, well. 2021 is off to some start... we've gained 5 lbs from stress alone; add that to the holiday season/end of year shenanigans; we're talking sweatpants is the new dress code 😊 

The election is (sort of) over, the vaccine is in full blast, and we've all seen the same faces in our pods, again, and again (and again) - but we're not complaining. Are we? 

We were the only open-air market to open last year, because 1. We're from the Bronx, and we get sh#t done, and 2. Because we literally helped DOT, SBA, and other organizations write the book on how to do that while ensuring public safety.  

I am proud and happy to announce that we will be returning to Fordham Plaza on Saturdays, April-November, 2021, from 12-7 pm. We are starting with a similar structure to last years' and will increasingly punch it up, Bronx style, baby! 


  1. We're coming home to FORDHAM PLAZA starting April 3, 2021. 
  2. SATURDAYS ARE FOR THE BRONX means focusing on cuisine & culture  
  3. We support SMALL & LOCAL with a drizzle of Tri-state heavy-hitting food concepts.
  4. WEEKLY FEATURE of Bronx owned businesses.
  5. We heard ya, Bronx; we're working to bring more VEGAN FOOD OPTIONS
  6. We will apply the same COVID19 strict logic and expand the party as we go along. 
  7. We're working on a larger VENDOR ROTATION this year.
  8. Yes, you will need STRETCHY PANTS
  9. We're working with city/state organization on becoming more ECO-FRIENDLY.
  10. .. We have cultivated partnerships with various organizations to support MINORITY/IMMIGRANT/LGBTQIA entrepreneurship. 

In addition to the above, we've been working hard for you guys. We will be announcing The Bronx Night Market Popup Series soon. It's our "traveling show," visiting various neighborhoods in the BX, celebrating diversity, and supporting local small businesses. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams Receives the Endorsement of the Bronx African Muslim Community Led By Sheikh Musa Drahmmeh


Mayoral candidate Eric Adams came to the Bronx Wednesday to pick up the support of the Bronx African/Muslim leaders. Influential Sheikh Musa Drahmmeh one of the leaders in the Bronx African/Muslim community and creator of Peace December pledged his support to Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams. Other African, Muslim, and Hispanic leader were with Sheikh Musa Drahmmeh also pledging their support to the next Mayor of New York City they said.

This endorsement of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for Mayor took place on the steps of the Bronx County Courthouse on East 161st Street and the Grand Concourse. 

Above - Sheikh Musa Drahmmah gives an overview of why he and his supporters are endorsing Eric Adams for Mayor.

Below - Bishop Rosario speaks why he is endorsing Eric Adams for Mayor.

Above - Sheikh Musa Drahmmah welcomes Mayoral candidate Eric Adams to speak.
Below - Mayoral candidate Eric Adams goes over his platform for running for Mayor.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces $180 Million Settlement Of Suit Against Toyota Motor Corporation For Decade-Long Noncompliance With Clean Air Act Reporting Requirements


Toyota Admits Conduct and Accepts Responsibility in Consent Decree; Agrees to Injunctive Relief and $180 Million Penalty

 Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (“ENRD”) of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Susan Bodine, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), announced today that the United States has filed and simultaneously settled a civil lawsuit against TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, TOYOTA MOTOR NORTH AMERICA, INC., TOYOTA MOTOR SALES, U.S.A., INC., and TOYOTA MOTOR ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING NORTH AMERICA, INC. (“TOYOTA”) for systematic, longstanding violations of Clean Air Act emission-related defect reporting requirements, which require manufacturers to report potential defects and recalls affecting vehicle components designed to control emissions. 

Along with the civil complaint, the United States has filed a consent decree, agreed to by TOYOTA, that resolves the government’s complaint through TOYOTA’s payment of a $180 million civil penalty and the imposition of injunctive relief.  The $180 million penalty is the largest civil penalty for violation of EPA’s emission-reporting requirements.  The injunctive provisions require TOYOTA to follow compliance and reporting practices designed to ensure timely investigation of emission-related defects and timely reporting to EPA, and include training, communication, and oversight requirements.  The consent decree remains subject to a period of public comment and Court approval.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “For a decade, Toyota systematically violated regulations that provide EPA with a critical compliance tool to ensure that vehicles on the road comply with federal emissions standards.  Toyota shut its eyes to the noncompliance, failing to provide proper training, attention, and oversight to its Clean Air Act reporting obligations.  Toyota’s actions undermined EPA’s self-disclosure system and likely led to delayed or avoided emission-related recalls, resulting in financial benefit to Toyota and excess emissions of air pollutants.  Today, Toyota pays the price for its misconduct with a $180 million civil penalty and agreement to injunctive relief to ensure that its violations will not be repeated.”

Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark said:  “This settlement is yet another important milestone settlement for this Administration, and it continues our unwavering commitment to ensuring that our environmental laws as written, including EPA’s regulations, are rigorously enforced.

EPA Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine stated:  “For a decade Toyota failed to report mandatory information about potential defects in their cars to the EPA, keeping the agency in the dark and evading oversight.  EPA considers this failure to be a serious violation of the Clean Air Act.”

The complaint filed in Manhattan federal court today alleges that from approximately 2005 until at least late 2015, TOYOTA systematically violated Clean Air Act automobile defect reporting requirements designed to protect public health and the environment from harmful air pollutants.  

Clean Air Act regulations require manufacturers to notify EPA by filing an Emissions Defect Information Report (“EDIR”) when 25 or more vehicles or engines in a given model year have the same defect in an emission control part or an element of design installed in order to comply with emission standards and other EPA regulations.  The regulations also require vehicle manufacturers to file a Voluntary Emissions Recall Report (“VERR”) with EPA when they perform a recall to correct defects in emission-related parts, and to update EPA on the progress of such recalls through Quarterly Reports.  These mandatory reporting requirements are critical to the Clean Air Act’s purpose of protecting human health and the environment from harmful air pollutants:  They encourage manufacturers to investigate and voluntarily address defects that may result in excess emissions of harmful air pollutants, and provide EPA with important information about emission-related defects for use in its oversight of manufacturers.

For 10 years, TOYOTA routinely failed to comply with these reporting requirements.  During that time, TOYOTA materially delayed filing an estimated 78 EDIRs, filing many only when disclosing non-compliance to EPA in 2015, at which point some were as much as eight years late.  These EDIRs related to millions of vehicles with the potential to exhibit emission-related defects.  TOYOTA also failed to file 20 VERRs and more than 200 Quarterly Reports.

During the period of noncompliance, TOYOTA managers and staff in Japan knew that TOYOTA was no longer even attempting to determine whether it was aware of 25 instances of the same emission-related defect in a model year – the threshold requirement for filing an EDIR.  Rather than follow this legally required standard, TOYOTA unilaterally decided to file EDIRs principally when TOYOTA was required to file distinct reports with California regulators under a less strict standard – a standard that EPA had rejected as too lenient when TOYOTA had previously proposed to rely on it for federal reporting.  TOYOTA managers and staff in Japan repeatedly identified the discrepancy between TOYOTA’s procedures and the plain language of the federal requirements, but failed to bring TOYOTA into compliance. 

As a result of its conduct, TOYOTA deprived EPA of timely information regarding emission-related defects and recalls, and avoided the early focus on emission defects contemplated by the regulations.  TOYOTA’s conduct likely resulted in delayed or avoided recalls, with TOYOTA obtaining a significant economic benefit, pushing costs onto consumers, and lengthening the time that unrepaired vehicles with emission-related defects remained on the road.

In the consent decree lodged with the federal court today, TOYOTA admits, acknowledges, and accepts responsibility for the following:

  • Between approximately 2005 and late 2015, TOYOTA routinely filed emission defect reports to EPA materially late and, in many cases, failed to file such reports at all until a self-disclosure of non-compliance in late 2015.

Representations to EPA

  • In March and May 2002, at EPA’s request, TOYOTA and EPA representatives met to discuss TOYOTA’s internal process for identifying whether 25 instances of a specific emission-related defect exist in vehicles or engines of the same model year, requiring an EDIR filing.
  • At a first meeting in March 2002, TOYOTA described its EDIR process in which TOYOTA would investigate whether it had 25 defects only upon receiving 25 “product reports” from its dealers, but would supplement that review by filing an EDIR upon receiving warranty claims for an emission-related part in 4% of TOYOTA’s California fleet (a threshold requiring a separate filing to state authorities under California law).
  • At the meeting, EPA rejected this EDIR process as not timely considering warranty claims, despite the incorporation of the 4% California trigger. 
  • At a May 2002 meeting with EPA, Toyota presented its revised process.  Under that process, Toyota would commence an investigation to determine whether an EDIR filing was required when it had received warranty claims for an emission-related part for 1% of relevant vehicles nationwide; when it received 500 such warranty claims regardless of the percentage; or when it received 25 similar early warning reports.
  • TOYOTA noted internally that EPA seemed pleased with this approach, which EPA had described as “more stringent than California.”
  • In 2003, 2004, and 2005, as part of an annual review, TOYOTA submitted its May 2002 process in writing to EPA as an overview of its EDIR reporting program.

TOYOTA’s Conduct from Approximately 2005 to 2015

  • Without notifying EPA, in approximately 2005, TOYOTA stopped following the May 2002 EDIR process. 
  • In approximately 2005, TOYOTA began filing EDIRs primarily when filing the California reports triggered by the 4% threshold.  TOYOTA also filed EDIRs in a small number of instances when it was otherwise filing VERRs with EPA.
  • From approximately 2005 to 2015, TOYOTA stopped making any independent determination of whether 25 defects existed requiring an EDIR filing. 
  • Multiple times during this period, TOYOTA staff charged with preparing EDIRs identified that the plain language of the EDIR regulations called for filing an EDIR upon the identification of 25 defects, but that TOYOTA was not doing so.  These staff did not cause TOYOTA to change its practice.
  • As a result of this conduct, TOYOTA filed at least 69 EDIRs materially late.  Thirty-nine of these were filed materially late in the ordinary course of TOYOTA’s business.  In late 2015, TOYOTA self-disclosed another 30 that had not been filed at all.  Some EDIRs were ultimately filed as many as eight years after they were due.
  • Beyond EDIRs, TOYOTA also failed during this period to file 20 VERRs required for emission-related recall campaigns that it conducted and failed to file more than 200 Quarterly Reports related to such campaigns. 
  • Between 2005 and 2015, TOYOTA failed to provide its employees with adequate training, resources, or oversight to ensure that TOYOTA complied with its reporting obligations to EPA.
  • As a result of TOYOTA’s conduct, EPA did not timely receive mandated information regarding emission-related defects and recalls.

Notice of the proposed consent decree will be published in the Federal Register and the public will have the opportunity to submit comments on the consent decree for a period of at least 30 days before it is submitted for the Court’s approval.

Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss thanked the attorneys in EPA’s Air Enforcement Division, the program staff at EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, and the agents at EPA’s Criminal Investigative Division for their critical work on this case.  Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss also thanked the ENRD attorneys who assisted in the matter.

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic - January 14, 2921


8,823 Patient Hospitalizations Statewide

1,536 Patients in the ICU; 956 Intubated

Statewide Positivity Rate is 6.42%

202 COVID-19 Deaths in New York State Yesterday

 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today updated New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

"New York is pushing forward to conduct more tests, add to hospital beds and make it easier to get the COVID-19 vaccine across the state, but we need New Yorkers to stay vigilant and take safe precautions as the virus is still spreading," Governor Cuomo said. "Washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing are vital tools New Yorkers can use to stay safe, and local governments are bound to enforce state public health law. We're moving through a difficult period in our history, and I know COVID fatigue has set in and New Yorkers crave normalcy, but we will get through this together and come out on the other side." 

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 212,589
  • Total Positive - 13,661
  • Percent Positive - 6.42%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 8,823 (-106)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 1,120
  • Hospital Counties - 56
  • Number ICU - 1,536 (+35)
  • Number ICU with Intubation - 956 (+32)
  • Total Discharges - 112,979 (+956)
  • Deaths - 202
  • Total Deaths - 32,379