Saturday, July 24, 2021

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress Combating COVID-19


46,940 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

1 COVID-19 Death Statewide Yesterday—Matches Fewest Since Pandemic Began for Second Consecutive Day 

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

"New Yorkers continue to fight COVID-19 by getting vaccinated across the state, but we need to get even more shots in arms to put this virus behind us for good," Governor Cuomo said. "I urge everyone who hasn't gotten their shot yet to do so immediately—the vaccine is widely available and taking it is easy, safe and free."

Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 99,178
  • Total Positive - 1,846
  • Percent Positive - 1.86%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 1.66%
  • Patient Hospitalization - 494 (+2)
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 81
  • Patients in ICU - 118 (+9)
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 42 (+6)
  • Total Discharges - 186,216 (+75)
  • Deaths - 1
  • Total Deaths - 43,046
  • Total vaccine doses administered - 21,998,611
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 46,940
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 243,278
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 71.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 66.3%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 74.3%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 67.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 59.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 55.1%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 62.0%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 56.3%

Horse Doping Drug Company’s Sales Director Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court


Michael Kegley Jr. Promoted and Sold Prohibited Performance Enhancing Drugs

 Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that defendant MICHAEL KEGLEY JR. pled guilty to his role in the distribution of adulterated and misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud and mislead, in connection with the charges filed in United States v. Navarro et al., 20 Cr. 160 (MKV).  KEGLEY pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, and will be sentenced by Judge Vyskocil on November 22, 2021.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “Michael Kegley promoted and sold unregulated performance enhancing substances intended for use by those engaged in fraud and unconscionable animal abuse in the world of professional horseracing. This conviction underscores that our Office and our partners at the FBI are committed to the prosecution and investigation of corruption, fraud, and endangerment at every level of the horse racing industry.”

According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Information, the prior Indictments[1], other filings in this case, and statements during court proceedings:

The charges in the Navarro case arise from an investigation of widespread schemes by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, performance-enhancing drug (“PED”) distributors, and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses competing at all levels of professional horseracing. By evading PED prohibitions and deceiving regulators and horse racing officials, participants in these schemes sought to improve race performance and obtain prize money from racetracks throughout the United States and other countries, including in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, and the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), all to the detriment and risk of the health and well-being of the racehorses.  Trainers who participated in the schemes stood to profit from the success of racehorses under their control by earning a share of their horses’ winnings, and by improving their horses’ racing records, thereby yielding higher trainer fees and increasing the number of racehorses under their control. Veterinarians and drug distributors, such as KEGLEY, who worked as the director of sales for an unregistered distributor of equine drugs, profited from the sale and administration of these medically unnecessary, misbranded, and adulterated substances.

Among the misbranded and adulterated PEDs marketed and sold by KEGLEY was the drug “SGF-1000,” which was compounded and manufactured in unregistered facilities. SGF-1000 was an intravenous drug promoted as, among other things, a vasodilator capable of promoting stamina, endurance, and lower heart rates in horses through the purported action of “growth factors” supposedly derived from sheep placenta. Despite marketing, selling, and administering SGF-1000, KEGLEY acknowledged in intercepted calls that he, along with a co-defendant involved in the sale of SGF-1000, did not know the actual contents of SGF-1000. Nevertheless, KEGLEY’s sales of that drug persisted, aided by the claim that SGF-1000 would be untestable in horses by law enforcement.

U.S. Attorney Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI New York Office’s Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force and its support of the FBI’s Integrity in Sports and Gaming Initiative.

[1] As to Kegley’s co-defendants, the entirety of the texts of the Indictments and the descriptions of the Indictments set forth herein constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Attorney General James Delivers $600,000 to Survivors of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination at Restaurants Owned by Famed Chef Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich


Investigation Found That Restaurants Fostered Hostile Work Environments For Years

 New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an agreement with celebrity Chef Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich, their management company B&B Hospitality, and their restaurants Babbo, Lupa, and the now-closed Del Posto for fostering a hostile work environment that permitted a sexualized culture of misconduct and harassment at their restaurants in New York City. Following allegations of sexual harassment against Mario Batali in 2017, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) opened an investigation into these claims and found that B&B, Batali, and Bastianich had engaged in unlawful sex discrimination and retaliation, in violation of state and city human rights laws. The allegations reported unwanted touching, sexual advances, and explicit comments made by managers and coworkers to other employees of the restaurants. As a result of this investigation, B&B, Batali, and Bastianich must pay $600,000 to at least 20 former employees, revise training materials in all B&B restaurants, and submit biannual reports to the OAG to certify compliance with the agreement.

“Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law. Sexual harassment is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere — no matter how powerful the perpetrator,” said Attorney General James. “Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting. Every individual deserves to work in a safe environment, and today's agreement marks one more step towards remedying workplace harassment. I thank the men and women who reported this abhorrent behavior for their bravery, selflessness, and commitment to accountability.”

“When my female coworkers and I were being sexually harassed by multiple people at Del Posto, the restaurant’s leadership made us feel as if we were asking for it — as if it is a rite of passage to be harassed at work,” said Juliana Imperati, a former line cook at Del Posto. “Sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation should never be normalized in any industry or workplace. This settlement is an important step in holding the powerful accountable, and I thank Attorney General James for continuing to right the wrongs done to countless workers in the restaurant industry every single day.”

“Throughout the course of my employment at Del Posto, I endured constant, escalating sexual harassment,” said Brianna Pintens, a former server at Del Posto. “Management routinely ignored these behaviors, made excuses for the perpetrators, and often used victim blaming as a way to avoid having to deal with a workplace culture rooted in fear and humiliation. While I can’t speak for the countless other victims who faced ongoing harassment and discrimination, I can say that my time working for B&B permanently tarnished my goals and passions for hospitality. I have immense gratitude for the Attorney General’s Office for believing us, taking us seriously, and giving hope that this industry is on its way to healing and repairing a deeply flawed history.”

Today’s agreement was the culmination of a four-year investigation into allegations against Batali and Bastianich both individually as employers and on behalf of B&B and their restaurants. More than 20 employees were subjected to a hostile work environment in which female and male employees were sexually harassed by Batali, restaurant managers, and other coworkers. Between 2016 to 2019, multiple employees witnessed or personally experienced unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching, and sexually explicit comments from managers and coworkers, and several female employees were forcibly groped, hugged, and/or kissed by male colleagues. Batali himself sexually harassed a female server by making explicit comments to her and grabbing her hand while she was serving him and pulling it towards his crotch. On another occasion, Batali showed a male server at Lupa an unwelcome pornographic video.

Female employees specifically made complaints that chefs and managers blatantly favored male employees and made misogynistic comments degrading women in the workplace. In several instances, a manager made comments about the female employees’ appearance, including observations about their height and weight. They were told to wear makeup and even to get breast implants. The manager also referred to several female employees in front of dining guests as “little girl” and “sensitive,” and said that “females should not work in the mezzanine,” which was a main part of the restaurant.

The B&B employers failed to take appropriate action when confronted with reports of sexual harassment, often failed to investigate complaints, and discouraged the reporting of such incidents. Complaints to management were generally dismissed with minimal or no action taken against the harassers. The OAG found that, on at least two occasions, when employees complained of sexual assault incidents outside of the workplace by male colleagues, B&B’s human resource department initially responded that the company could not take any action because the assault took place outside of the workplace, or could not take action unless the complainant filed a police report.

In addition to paying $600,000 to the workers, the agreement stipulates the revision of training materials in all B&B restaurants, as well as biannual reports to certify compliance with the agreement. Batali, Bastianich, and B&B have agreed to implement more comprehensive training geared towards fostering a safe, healthy work environment. They will also submit biannual reports to the OAG to certify compliance with this settlement, including records of harassment and discrimination trainings and policies for the next three years.

The settlement is part of Attorney General James’ ongoing efforts to address harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The OAG is continuing to review and evaluate claims. If you believe you were a victim of sexual harassment or discrimination that occurred at any of these restaurants since at least 2016, please contact the office at 212-416-8250.

Councilman Mark Gjonaj's NYC Moving Forward Week in Review - 7/23/2021


Dear Friends,

I hope you and your families are doing well, as we are doing our best to return to normalcy after an unprecedented pandemic that affected all walks of life. About 54% of NYC residents are now fully vaccinated, with lower numbers for the borough of the Bronx, currently at 44%.

Vaccines are a critical tool in protecting you and your community from severe illness, hospitalization and death. They are proven safe and it has never been easier to get vaccinated. Please encourage everyone in your family and community to get vaccinated and get more information at

Last week we announced we are working on legislation to increase fines and penalties on individuals that illegally and recklessly operate dirt bikes and off-road vehicles and unfortunately a 4-year-old child is still in critical condition after being struck by a dirt bike in Queens- a sad reminder of the recklessness and havoc these dirt bikes create in our streets and the need to regulate them.

Since the opening of Senior Centers for indoor activities on July 15th, Team Gjonaj has visited four senior centers as part of our Weekly Visits and donated over 200 oximeters, masks and hand sanitizer.

Our Mobile District Office Hours at the local libraries are the perfect opportunity to connect with constituents, hear from them and address their issues. This week Team Gjonaj was at the Morris Park Library and we are looking forward to visit with constituents at the City Island Library this upcoming week.

This week we also wrapped up our Pet Food Giveaway events in partnership with ACC, where we gave out over 1000 bags of cat and dog food all around the district from Allerton Avenue to Edgewater, Morris Park, Throggs Neck, Holland Avenue and more.

Please note, next week City Hall in your Borough Resource Fair is coming to the Bronx. This is an opportunity for constituents in our District to meet with City commissioners and senior staff to address concerns, including, quality of life, public health, safety and much more on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 12:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. at the Roberto Clemente Plaza 530 Willis Avenue Bronx, NY 10455.

Please remember we are here for you, contact my office with issues or concerns at 718-931-1721 or email at


NYC Councilman Mark Gjonaj
District 13, Bronx

SUNDAY: Mandela Barnes joins the WFP Assembly for a special conversation


Working Families Party


Tomorrow night at 8pm ET, we're holding an extra special WFP Assembly featuring a special one-on-one conversation with WFP's Maurice Mitchell and Wisconsin's Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes — who just this week announced that he's running for Senate against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

We'll hear how Mandela is running for Senate to fight for opportunity for all, by championing jobs, education, health care and the environment.

RSVP for the WFP Assembly, this Sunday, July 25th at 8pm ET to join the conversation.

May be an image of 1 person, beard, wrist watch and indoor

Mandela Barnes
Sunday, July 25, 2021
8:00 PM EDT/5:00 PM PDT
RSVP for the link to join

RSVP now

Mandela Barnes is running for the United States Senate because he knows that when things get tough, we shouldn’t lower our expectations. Instead of changing our dreams, we need to change the game.

Are you ready to join Team Mandela and send a champion for economic, environmental, and racial justice to Washington?

Hear more about his plan to win and fight for working people in the Senate this Sunday, July 25, at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.

RSVP now

In solidarity,

Team WFP

Senator Biaggi's Week in Review: 7/19/21-7/23/21

Senator Alessandra Biaggi 

Dear Community,

Throughout the last few weeks, it has been impossible to ignore the consequences of the climate crisis impacting communities across the globe and here in District 34. 94% of the Western US is in drought, China and Germany are flooding, New York City has been covered in smoke from the West, and we have experienced nothing but extreme heat, rain, and storms this summer. Just this month, New York City was heavily impacted by extreme weather conditions and communities – in particular Black and Brown communities in upper Manhattan and the Bronx – were devastated by flash flooding. 

This is a wake up call. As the threat of climate change continues to grow and cause an increase in sea levels, extreme weather such as what we witnessed both here and abroad will only become more and more prevalent. Climate change can no longer be a topic of debate— it is an emergency. These instances serve as a reminder that we must take greater actions to combat climate change and build greener infrastructure, on both a state and federal scale.

Unfortunately, the state legislature failed to pass any substantial legislation on climate change this past legislative session. If we want to combat this problem and ensure that our infrastructure can withstand the effects of it, then we must pass legislation that properly addresses climate change. One piece of legislation that must be prioritized next session is the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA). The CCIA aims to tax corporate polluters to raise billions of dollars to create green jobs and invest in climate justice. The passage of this bill would allow for us to achieve our climate goals and ensure that New York is a national leader in combating climate change. 

Until we prioritize these pressing matters at a federal, state, and city level, we will only continue to witness the disastrous effects of the climate crisis. I am committed to collaborating with legislative and community leaders to tackle this issue and fight for climate justice. 

With Gratitude,

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

163 Days and Counting

 I better party now while I have a few months left as your mayor. Let me site those final homeless shelters, and let my developer friends get those zoning changes so they can build higher than allowed. I am going to have a lot of appointments to make before I leave office. You know those December 31st appointments of city judges, sheriffs, marshals, and whatever. I have to go through the resumes, or better yet my list of friends and donors to whom I owe.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Governor Cuomo Updates New Yorkers on State's Progress During COVID-19 Pandemic


40,582 Vaccine Doses Administered Over Last 24 Hours

1 COVID-19 Deaths Statewide Yesterday - Matches Fewest Since Pandemic Began 

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

"The vaccine is our fast track to the end of the tunnel and those who haven't taken advantage of its availability should do so immediately," Governor Cuomo said. "Vaccination is safe, effective and it is the best way to keep the people you love safe. Don't wait until it's too late." 
Today's data is summarized briefly below:

  • Test Results Reported - 102,866 
  • Total Positive - 1,830 
  • Percent Positive - 1.78% 
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive - 1.58% 
  • Patient Hospitalization - 492 (+9) 
  • Patients Newly Admitted - 90 
  • Patients in ICU - 109 (+4) 
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation - 36 (+2) 
  • Total Discharges - 186,141 (+66) 
  • Deaths - 1 
  • Total Deaths - 43,043 
  • Total vaccine doses administered - 21,951,671 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours - 40,582 
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days - 230,997 
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose - 71.5% 
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series - 66.1%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 74.3%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 67.7%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose - 59.7% 
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series - 54.9%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) - 62.0%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) - 56.3%

Bronx County Redistricting Public Hearing Monday July 26 - 2 PM