Tag Archives: NYC

Demorat Brooklyn assemblywoman indicted on fraud, witness-tampering charges

pam harris

Pam Harris and her buddy NYC mayor Bill de Blasio

With all her scheming, it’s a wonder Pam Harris was able to find the time to “work her butt off” protecting her constituents.

From NY Post: This is about as brazen as it gets. A Brooklyn assemblywoman bilked the city out of money meant for a children’s non-profit, lied under oath to extract cash from federal disaster-relief programs, and instructed witnesses — as a sitting assemblywoman — to lie about it to investigators, a bombshell 11-count indictment unsealed today (1/9/2018) alleges.

Officials say Assemblywoman Pam Harris, 57, accepted tens of thousands of dollars in City Council discretionary funds for a non-profit she ran before taking office — but instead funneled the dough into her personal bank account, before splashing the cash on lingerie from Victoria’s Secret, paying down the mortgage on her Coney Island home, and dropping $10,000 on airfare and cruise tickets for herself and her husband, a federal indictment alleges.

Harris forged a lease stating she was renting space for her Coney Island Generation Gap youth non-profit — in reality, she ran the group out of her own home and pocketed the money, the indictment states.

Council gifted her $42,740 on March 10, 2015 for rent, and one month later on April 10, 2015, she cut herself a $22,800 check from the group’s bank account with “rent” in the memo line and then deposited it into her personal bank account, investigators say.

She repeated the scheme the following year and obtained $33,450 from Council, but she and an unnamed co-conspirator “diverted the funds for Harris personal use,” the indictment states.

Harris is also accused of profiting off federal programs to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Her Neptune Avenue home was not damaged after the historic storm devastated Southern Brooklyn, but that didn’t stop her from collecting nearly $25,000 in temporary housing assistance money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

She allegedly fabricated a lease agreement between herself and a Staten Island landlord claiming he was charging her $1,500 a month to stay on the first floor of his building, and lied under oath by submitting it to the feds, prosecutors say. She repeated the lie when she applied for housing assistance through the city’s federally funded Sandy-recovery program Build It Back. Harris, a retired city correction officer, even complained the program was taking too long to fix her home — as she was milking it for taxpayer cash.

“I worked my butt off protecting this city for 24 years, and now, when I need help, I can’t get them to answer an email,” Harris whined to BrooklynDaily.com at the time. “I should be on the island of Bali right now, living it up, but I spent my 401-k to get my house back.”

Harris also schemed to defraud bankruptcy court by hiding investments and lying about her income when she filed for Chapter 13 protection in November 2013, prosecutors say.

Despite using taxpayer money to pay down her mortgage, she and her husband claimed they owed $60,000 on the property when they filed for bankruptcy in November 2013. But Harris failed to disclose a $10,000 money market account in her name that she created and filled in one fell swoop just seven months before, according to the indictment.

She also lied about the fake Staten Island rent payments — falsely testifying they were lower than the $1,500 she claimed top FEMA in order to obtain a favorable ruling from the bankruptcy court, which requires debtors prove they have the income to continue mortgage payments after bankruptcy.

Harris, who has represented Coney Island and Bay Ridge in the Assembly since 2015, caught wind of 2016 FBI investigation into her shady dealings and instructed two witnesses, including the Staten Island landlord, to lie to the feds amid their grand jury investigation, prosecutors allege.

“The brazen corruption charged as a result of this investigation tramples on the very definition of a public servant,” Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters said in a statement. “This elected official exploited the public she was elected to serve by stealing from City and federal programs and then concealing the fraud with false statements and asking witnesses to obstruct the investigation, according to the indictment.”

Harris was elected in a 2015 special election to fill a vacancy after Alec Brook-Krasny (another demorat) stepped down to take a job in a private-sector pharmaceutical company. He was later indicted for pumping $6.3 million in pain pills onto the black market.

Her finances raised red flags the following year when she ran for re-election, when The Post reported that she was claiming her Coney Island Generation Gap non-profit was based out of her home, despite accepting $26,000 that year in Council subsidies for “rent.”

Political mentor and Coney Island Councilman Mark Treyger has directed at least $65,000 in Council funds to Harris’s non-profit since 2014, public records show. Treyger, who is not named in the indictment, allocated $20,000 to the group from Council’s fiscal-year 2015 expense budget, city records show.

Her also sent $25,000 to Harris’s Coney Island Generation Gap the following year — along with $10,000 from the Brooklyn Delegation, which he co-chaired with Councilwoman Darlene Mealy. He gave her group $2,365 from his campaign coffers since 2014, records show.

“The allegations against Assemblywoman Harris are serious and troubling, and are deeply disappointing if true,” said Treyger campaign spokesman Aaron Hecht. “As elected officials, any breach of the public trust is a serious offense and must be fully investigated.”

Hecht said Treyger was not interviewed by investigators and has not been subpoenaed.

If convicted, Harris faces 30 years imprisonment for making false statements to FEMA; 20 years each on wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice conspiracy charges; and 5 years on five other fraud and false-statement charges, prosecutors said. She could also be required to pay back the ill-gotten gains, the indictment states.

A man answering Harris’s cell phone said she was not immediately available for comment. Her lawyer Joel Cohen declined to comment.

DCG

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Commie bastardo: FALN terrorist, Oscar Lopez Rivera, tells mainlander Americans to get out of Puerto Rico

melissa mark and terrorist oscar

NYC council member Melissa Mark-Viverito and convicted terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera

Along with support from a NYC council member, Bill de Blasio also embraced this terrorist. And of course, Obama was the president who commuted the terrorist’s sentence.

Via NY Post: Convicted terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera is at it again, demanding that mainland Americans helping hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico return home.

Lopez Rivera, who just celebrated his 75th birthday, leveled the Yankee-go-home rant Sunday in remarks broadcast on the Spanish-language TV station Telemundo.

“They should go. Just go. Just go,” he said. “We don’t need anything from them. We don’t need them to govern. They need us, and they have needed us since 1898.

The year he cited is when the US invaded Puerto Rico and it became an American possession. Lopez Rivera also accused President Trump of being corrupt.

Lopez Rivera, who has received unwavering support from former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, did not immediately respond. She infamously accompanied Lopez Rivera over the summer on a Puerto Rican Day parade float.

The Post revealed in July that a Harlem non-profit bankrolled with taxpayer funds from Mark-Viverito helped construct the float.

Lopez Rivera was a member of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN and spent 35 years in prison for seditious conspiracy. Many sponsors boycotted the Puerto Rican parade when they heard Lopez Rivera would march in it and be honored.

DCG

De Blasio’s 2018 salary increase not sitting well with folks

deblasio

When’s the last time you received a 15 percent raise and were authorized to gift yourself that raise? It’s good to be a public servant!

From Fox News: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will kick off 2018 with a roughly 15 percent salary increase. The progressive Democrat, who currently makes $225,000 per year, will be sworn in to his second term on January 1.

Under legislation authorized by the mayor in 2016, he will see a $33,750 increase to $258,750 per year.

De Blasio’s pay hike alone is more than the annual salary of a minimum-wage worker in the city, the New York Post reported. The $33,750 boost is more than the annual salary of a full-time worker making the city’s roughly $13 minimum wage.

“Oh, that’s way, way too much money for the mayor,” said David Schermerhorn of VOCAL New York, a group that works with low-income New Yorkers. “That’s corporate America money.”

De Blasio authorized his cushy new salary two years ago by signing legislation that gave city pols a retroactive raise starting January 2016.

But he refused to accept any pay hike during his first term because he convened the advisory commission that recommended higher salaries for the city’s elected officials. When he signed the City Council legislation in February 2016, he said raising the mayor’s salary “is appropriate for the next term.”

City Council members ended up going $10,185 above the recommendation for their own salaries to give themselves a whopping 32 percent raise, from $112,500 to $148,500.

De Blasio’s billionaire predecessor Mayor Bloomberg took $1 a year in pay.

“The new salary is not out of line,” said E.J. McMahon, research director at the Empire Center for Public Policy, noting $258,000 is about equal to the $130,000 Mayor Koch got his last year in office after adjusting for inflation. “Koch, in retrospect, was worth it,” McMahon said. “Whether that applies to Bill de Blasio obviously is a matter of opinion.”

Cops’ union boss Pat Lynch is of the opinion that he is not. “Mayor de Blasio has once again demonstrated the height of hypocrisy,” the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president fumed. “While he is among the highest paid mayors in the country, his police force is near the bottom. While he takes a 15 percent raise … he has offered the women and men who keep our streets safe 42 months of no raises.

De Blasio’s office had no comment.

DCG

Students wearing MAGA hats booted from “safe space” coffee shop

maga

The real world is going to be a bit challenging for certain snowflakes.

From NY Post: A social justice warrior booted her fellow Fordham University students from a Bronx campus coffee shop because their pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” hats violated its “safe space” policy.

“It was absolutely insane,” Fordham junior Aaron Spring, 20, told The Post of the Thursday incident. “We weren’t even talking politics — we were talking about finals.”

A video of the encounter appeared Friday on the conservative CampusReform website.

Students wearing Trump’s trademark MAGA ball caps were accosted by a student worker at Rodrigue’s Coffee House, which is run by volunteers and is organized as a club.

“Get out! Five minutes,” the worker barked. “I’m protecting our customers … you are wearing hats that completely violate safe space policy. You have to go. ”

She exploded when Michael Esposito, 19, asked her to explain. “Fascism, Nazis!” shouted the snowflake. “You have three minutes.”

“I do not see fascism, Nazis on this hat,” Esposito answered. “I see America.”

“It was humiliating to be called a Nazi in front of so many people I go to school with,” Esposito told The Post. “It’s almost scary.”

The students said they were not seeking trouble. “It’s not like we’re here reading off a manifesto,” said Sebastian Balasov, 21.

The cafe has a lengthy set of “safer space” rules, including “Do not make assumptions about someone’s gender, sexuality, race, class, or experiences” and “No racism – No sexism – No homophobia.”

The rules do not mention headgear.

“They try to say that all are welcome,” Spring said. “But if you talk about diversity, that has to include diversity of thought and opinion, too.”

DCG

Embattled NYC housing authority chair makes staffers lobby to keep her job

shola olatoye

She’s a Bill de Blasio appointee (February 2014).

From NY Post: Embattled Housing Authority chair Shola Olatoye is working overtime to keep her job — by getting paid underlings to mount a public relations campaign on her behalf before an oversight hearing next week. A form letter created by two New York City Housing Authority staffers has been circulated to tenant associations, urging that they sign a petition praising Olatoye as a great leader.

Tenant leaders also say they’ve received phone calls as part of the unprecedented PR push after NYCHA was found to have falsely claimed for years that it had been inspecting apartments annually for lead paint.

“NYCHA residents overwhelmingly support Chair Shola Olatoye because she has improved public housing and is making a significant difference in our lives as well as the lives of our children and grandchildren,” reads the form letter. Anyone who is standing-up for NYCHA residents and has any knowledge of public housing understands that the Chair is the right person to continue leading the Authority.”

The letter also takes a shot at the Council ahead of what’s sure to be a heated oversight hearing on Tuesday, warning that tenants supposedly fear it’s going to devolve into “political theatre [sic]” and grandstanding.

Even after NYCHA officials discovered in mid-2016 that they had been violating city and federal laws requiring lead paint inspections since late 2012, they never informed tenants about the dangerous lapse.

This includes four years without inspections at more than 4,200 units that house children younger than 6, who are most susceptible to the health dangers of elevated lead levels.

Mayor de Blasio also knew about the failings as early as April 2016, but has suggested the city wasn’t obligated to inform residents about it — characterizing doing so as going “an extra mile.”

He also didn’t move to discipline any employees until after the city’s Department of Investigation issued a scathing report on the scandal earlier this month.

The City-Wide Council of Presidents, a tenant group that represents NYCHA developments, was quick to issue a harsh condemnation of the self-serving petition. “The residents of NYCHA will not be used as pawns to further NYCHA’s self-interest,” the group wrote in a statement obtained by The Post.

The City-Wide Council of Presidents will not stand by while NYCHA attempts to ‘spin’ the lead paint fiasco into something else. NYCHA has severely jeopardized the health and safety of the residents and while this is far from their first offense, it is certainly the final straw.”

Council member Rafael Salamanca (D-Bronx) also slammed the NYCHA outreach efforts as “spin.”

“The reality is that lead paint testing is a serious issue in my mind and the minds of my public housing constituents,” said Salamanca, who has previously called for Olatoye to resign in the wake of the scandal. “We want answers and progress instead of a letter seeking support.”

Data embedded in the circulating letter indicates it was created by NYCHA community coordinators Makeba Price and Denise Guess. NYCHA officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The mayor has been downplaying the fiasco by claiming just four children in NYCHA units tested positive for lead poisoning since 2014. But the city has no idea how many children living in public housing were never tested.

Health Department data from 2016 shows that only 51 percent of children citywide were tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2, despite being required by state law.

DCG

De Blasio “doesn’t recall” $100,000 donation in alleged pay-to-play scheme

deblasio

How convenient…

From NY Post: Mayor de Blasio claimed Sunday that he can’t remember calling donor-turned-felon Jona Rechnitz to beg him for a $100,000 donation — contradicting sworn testimony the deep-pocketed pal gave in court last week.

“I don’t recall if I talked to him directly about that,” de Blasio said during an unrelated press event Sunday.

Asked how he could forget making a personal appeal for such a large sum of money, de Blasio said he has his hands out so often that he can’t remember each time he asks for cash.

“I for years was raising money for different causes — the mayor’s fund, when we were trying to get the DNC to come to New York City — the convention, the effort to win back the state senate, all sorts of different things,” he said. “I don’t remember when i asked someone specifically, what I asked them — just way too much has happened.”

Rechnitz is a witness in the bribery trial of former New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook, who Rechnitz allegedly convinced to invest $20 million in union pension money in an associate’s failing hedge fund.

Hizzoner’s denial comes after Rechnitz testified that de Blasio pursued him relentlessly for cash to help flip upstate Senate seats for Democrats in 2013.

De Blasio underlings first hit him up for cash, but Rechnitz balked at dishing out the dough because he felt the city wasn’t responding fast enough to his requests for personal favors — that is, until de Blasio called him personally, he said.

“Once the mayor called me, I felt it was a personal favor to him,” Rechnitz said Friday of the donation.

The mayor’s “I know nothing” comments also come the day after he copped to not remembering an e-mail from Rechnitz about de Blasio’s troubles with Seabrook.

Seabrook was feuding with de Blasio’s jail commish, Jospeh Ponte, at the time, and Rechnitz has said he offered to broker peace between the men to help his buddy the mayor. Rechnitz said he intervened and then wrote an e-mail to Hizzoner that said, “Norman under control.’’

De Blasio said Saturday that he had no recollection of the e-mail.

The e-mail was also left out of the trove that City Hall released earlier this year between the mayor and Rechnitz.

DCG

NYC mayor candidate Malliotakis wants to bring back suspensions for kindergartners

nicole malliotakis

Sounds good to me. Teach kids early on that bad actions have consequences.

From NY Post: GOP mayoral nominee Nicole Malliotakis on Thursday said she would enforce stricter disciplinary measures in schools — including making it easier to suspend kids as young as 5.

Mayor de Blasio last year called for eliminating suspensions for students in kindergarten to grade 2 and instead focus on more appropriate ways to discipline kids that young.

But, in the face of strong opposition by the teachers’ union and others, the city has instead tried to reduce those types of suspensions to all but the most extreme cases.

Malliotakis wants to set the bar lower. “If a kid is being nasty or disrespectful to another student, maybe that’s not what we’re going to [go after],” Malliotakis said at a press conference outside the Department of Education headquarters near City Hall.

“But if they are disruptive to the classroom and the learning environment, then I do believe there is a place for suspension.”

In the 2015-16 school year, there were 801 suspensions of students in grades K to 2 — down 45 percent from the previous year, when there were 1,454.

The administration’s latest policy barring most suspensions for kids in those grades was instituted only this school year.

Malliotakis presented the reforms as part of a wider policy to bolster school discipline and safety in the wake of a stabbing by a Bronx high school student last week that left one teen dead and another injured.

There were no metal detectors at the school, which the NYPD said would have found the knife used in the stabbings before it was brought into the school.

With just 6 percent of schools protected by permanent metal detectors, Malliotakis said she’d work with the NYPD to identify more schools that need the devices to protect students and teachers. “I think we need to have metal detectors at our schools that are troubled,” she said.

Last month, de Blasio announced that schools are safer than ever — citing a reduction in major crimes reported to the NYPD.

But state data, which records a much wider range of school incidents, show that schools have seen the number of incidents categorized as “violent” increase each year under the de Blasio administration.

The NYPD also said this week that weapon seizures in schools are up by 48 percent in the first quarter of the school year — from July 1 to Sept. 30 — compared to the same time period last year.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG