Tag Archives: NYC

De Blasio aides pressures council members to withdrawal objections to city budget

bunny popcorn

From NY Post: Mayor Bill de Blasio likes outspoken Democrats — until they criticize him.

Top mayoral aides pressured nearly a dozen City Council members who signed a letter critical of de Blasio’s fiscal 2019 executive budget this week, in an attempt to get them to withdraw their opposition, sources said.

The mayor’s chief of staff, Emma Wolfe, and legislative affairs director, Jeff Lynch, put the squeeze on legislators both by phone and in person — even threatening to pull the mayor’s political support down the road if they persisted, council sources said.

“When you’re forced to start using pressure tactics to protect your $89 billion boondoggle, you’ve clearly abandoned the high road,” said Reginald Johnson, a spokesman for Bronx Councilman Mark Gjonaj, who crafted the anti-budget letter signed by 27 members.

It’s a budget built on the backs of struggling homeowners, renters and business owners by raising property taxes by $1.6 billion, neglecting the city’s reserves, doing little to help the neediest with access to affordable mass transit — and it comes complete with [drug] injection sites and neighborhood prisons,” he added.

“Good luck selling that to New Yorkers.”

Ironically, it was only last month that the mayor criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for engaging in a similar pressure tactic, when he allegedly twisted the arms of elected officials in a bid to have them skip an anti-Cuomo rally.

“You shouldn’t threaten organizations that are doing good work at the community level because they have different political views,” the mayor said in mid-April. “That’s the kind of things that happened in dictatorships, not in democracies.”

Council members, who have been on an independent streak since electing Corey Johnson as their speaker in January, said that same logic should apply to the mayor’s strong-arm tactics against them.

“An administration that professes to be progressive should have greater respect for the free conscience of council members,” said Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres, chair of the new Oversight and Investigation Committee.

“The role of council members is to advocate for what’s best for the public, not to do the bidding of our mayor,” added Torres. “Bill de Blasio is the mayor, not the messiah. We are independent council members, not his disciples.”

With a majority of members having signed the letter, this year’s budget battle is shaping up to be more acrimonious than usual.

City Hall officials said any phone calls made to council members are part of normal budget talks. “It’s our job to lobby other elected officials for the benefit of New Yorkers,” City Hall spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein said.

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Cheapskate: Tax returns show de Blasio paid more for tax preparation than he gave to charities in 2017

bill de blasio

Shocker, not.

The mayor has a net worth of $1.5 million.

From NY Post: Charity starts at home, but not if that home is Gracie Mansion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife gave a grand total of $350 to charity in 2017 on an adjusted gross income of $223,449, according to tax returns they released Tuesday.

It marked a significant drop from the first couple’s charitable giving in 2016 — when de Blasio was up for re-election — of $2,088 to charity.

Asked about the donation gap, mayoral spokesman Austin Finan responded that “the mayor is not a rich man.”

“He and the first lady help their son pay tuition to one of the most expensive schools in the country,” Finan added. The couple listed the tuition payments at Yale University for their son, Dante, as $51,400 in 2017.

They also listed their two Park Slope rental properties as generating tax losses of more than $12,000, despite collecting a combined $104,000 in rent last year.

The fee for their tax preparer was $500.

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Gonna be tough on crime? De Blasio aide arrested with gun was riding in SUV that reeked of marijuana

De Blasio aide busted with gun in car

Suspended de Blasio aide, Reagan Stevens

I’m sure anti-gun advocate de Blasio will not let his aide plea bargain her way out of this gun crime, right?

From NY Post: The Mayor de Blasio aide charged with riding around with a loaded gun was nabbed in an SUV that reeked of marijuana, according to a criminal complaint.

Reagan Stevens, 42, was in the back seat of the 2002 Infiniti when she and two others were allegedly caught with the loaded 9mm Hi-Point semiautomatic pistol tucked in a green velvet bag in the glove compartment, court papers said.

Cops noticed there was a “strong odor of marijuana” wafting from the SUV, which was double parked in Jamaica, Queens, near the scene of a shooting Saturday night.

Stevens — whose mother, Deborah Stevens, is a Queens Criminal Court judge and whose stepfather is an acting Queens Supreme Court justice — works as a deputy director in the mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

The Bay Ridge resident manages youth and strategic initiatives, including implementing a state law that will raise the age at which kids can be prosecuted as adults for nonviolent crimes from 16 to 18.

The gun, which had its serial number scratched off, was loaded with two rounds of ammunition, and a spent round was found on the driver’s side floor.

Cops also found a paintball gun and carbon dioxide cartridges from the rear cargo area of the vehicle and a gravity knife in 25-year-old driver Caesar Forbes’ waistband.

Another man, Montel Hughes, 24, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was charged with marijuana possession after cops allegedly found five Ziploc bags of pot in his coat pocket, the complaint said. A gravity knife was also recovered from the pocket of his pants.

Stevens, Hughes and Forbes were each charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Forbes and Hughes were charged with criminal possession of a weapon related to the gravity knives and Forbes was ticketed for double parking.

Stevens was suspended without pay.

Their arrests followed a burst of five gunshots that activated an NYPD ShotSpotter gunfire-detection device at 9:42 p.m. Saturday at 174th Street and 109th Avenue, sources said.

The trio was parked near the corner of 177th Street and 106th Avenue and arrested around 10:25 p.m.

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College dropout refuses to leave her NYC dorm room

lisa s palmer

Future demorat politician in the making.

From NY Post: She loves the college life — just not the classes. Hunter College is waging a court battle to evict a stubborn student who refuses to leave her dorm room some two years after dropping out.

Delaware native Lisa S. Palmer — who has not paid rent since 2016 — refuses to leave Room E579 at the school’s 425 E. 25th St. co-ed dormitory, according to an eviction lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The 32-year-old “racked up a staggering $94,000 in unpaid residence hall charges on account of her continued occupancy, all the while ignoring Hunter College’s service of additional vacate notices,” said the suit.

“As of today, June 7, 2016 you are still in occupancy of the aforementioned room,” Michell Quock, assistant director of residence life, wrote to Palmer two summers ago.

Last fall a Hunter attorney continued the battle to get rid of Palmer, sending her an eviction notice that said in bold-faced type: “THIRTY DAY NOTICE OF TERMINATION.”

“You are required to vacate and surrender the premises on or before Oct. 31, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.,” the attorney wrote.

But the former geography major, who now works for an architecture firm, refused to budge. “I plan on fighting the lawsuit and while I fight it, I’m going to stay,” Palmer told The Post from outside her messy, 100-square-foot single, which is adorned with a lava lamp, a dream catcher and piles of dirty dishes.

Though school officials say Palmer dropped out, she insists Hunter refused to let her register for fall 2016 classes after she disputed her housing and tuition bill.

“I felt that it was a miscommunication initially, but after I met with the dean I felt that they were starting to treat me unfairly. It was like, ‘Get out,’” she said.

Only full-time students who maintain a minimum grade point average and keep current on their room and board fees can stay in the dorms, the suit says.

Palmer, who first enrolled in Hunter in 2010 after a stint at St. John’s University in Queens, said dorm life is “really lonely” for someone in her 30s. “I feel very isolated,” she said, noting that Hunter moved her to a wing that’s only occupied by a middle-aged nurse, whom the college is also trying to evict.

The college wants to boot a total of nine nurses who were given rooms in various wings of the E. 25th Street building when it was owned by Bellevue Hospital. The resident nurses include 67-year-old Derek DeFreitas who kept a dormitory room “crash pad” at the address for decades.

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NYC tax dollars at work: School bus driver fired after racking up 37 complaints

sumatie kalladeen bus driver facebook

Former bus driver Sumatie Kalladeen/Facebook photo

Via NY Post: City school-bus driver Sumatie Kalladeen’s scoldings terrified a little girl to the point where she was too afraid to ride the bus. The city Department of Education fired Kalladeen — but not before she racked up 37 complaints since 2001, seven of which were “substantiated,” records show.

She was suspended at least twice before, once after leaving 24 kids and teachers behind on a field trip, and once after she was arrested for assaulting her husband.

That a driver with so many offenses could remain behind the wheel for so long illustrates the city’s lax and ineffective disciplinary system for school-bus personnel, insiders charge.

The DOE’s Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) has gone too easy on some bad bus drivers and attendants because it caters to the school-bus companies it contracts with to hire the workers, one OPT investigator alleged.

“They make sure the bus companies don’t lose too many drivers due to disciplinary decisions,” the investigator said.

The OPT worker said a seasoned supervisor who tried to get rid of lenient investigators was stopped by his boss. DOE contract officials even pressure investigators on behalf of the bus companies, he charged.

Making it worse, the number of bus investigators has dwindled from 12 to five since last summer, and each one struggles with more than 200 open cases at a time.

Kalladeen denied wrongdoing. “To my knowledge, no one was crying,” she said of the little girl.

In another disturbing case, attendant Patricia DiBenedetto was accused of throwing a boy off the bus before his regular stop — and later using a racial slur. “He’s a “troublemaking n—-r,” DiBenedetto told the kid’s mother when asked why her son was abandoned, records state.

The city Department of Education suspended DiBenedetto, but she kept her job.

DiBenedetto generated a dozen complaints for “obscene language.” Last May, she rang a school’s exit bell for 30 to 40 seconds — so long that administrators thought it was an emergency. The principal described DiBenedetto as “very aggressive and angry with the children.”

The Department of Education insisted all was done by the book. “All bus drivers involved in misconduct were appropriately disciplined,” a DOE rep said.

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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

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.

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