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VOL. 19 • NUMBER 7 • FEBRUARY 14, 2019

COP KILLED BY FRIENDLY FIRE

Hero Detective Shot to Death by Fellow Finest in Richmond Hill Store Robbery

See Story on Page 2

Det. Brian Simonsen (inset), who spent all of his 19 years on the NYPD with the 102nd Precinct, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest Tuesday evening as he responded to calls of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store on Atlantic Avenue and 120th Street. Photos Courtesy of Michael V. Cusenza and NYPD

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 19• Number 7 FEBRUARY 14, 2019 | 1


Detective Killed by Friendly Fire in Richmond Hill Store Robbery By Michael V. Cusenza A 19-year veteran City detective was killed on Tuesday evening in a friendly fire incident stemming from a chaotic cell phone store robbery in Richmond Hill that saw eight officers unload 40 rounds, according to the NYPD and published reports. Detective Brian Simonsen, 42, who has worked out of the 102nd Precinct in South Queens for all of his career, was shot once in the chest by a fellow officer around 6 p.m. after responding to a radio call of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store on Atlantic Avenue and 120th Street. Sergeant Matthew Gorman, who responded to the scene with Simonsen, was also shot by fellow Finest in the upper leg. Both were rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where Simonsen eventually succumbed to his injury. As of Wednesday morning, Gorman was listed in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery. According to reports, Gorman and Simonsen cautiously entered the store and immediately observed a man fitting the description of the suspect emerge from the back pointing “what appeared to be a hand-

Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

“Make no mistake about it, friendly fire aside, it’s because of the actions of the suspect that Detective Simonsen is dead,” Police Commissioner O’Neill said Tuesday night at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

gun” at them, said Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill. It later turned out to be an imitation firearm. With suspect Christopher Ransom advancing toward them, the veteran cops discharged their weapons and retreated out of the store. That was when Simonsen and Gorman were shot. Ransom, 27, labeled a “career criminal” by O’Neill , was shot multiple times in

the barrage. He was rushed to New YorkPresbyterian Queens Hospital in Flushing, where he is listed in serious condition. “Make no mistake about it, friendly fire aside, it’s because of the actions of the suspect that Detective Simonsen is dead,” O’Neill added. Detective Simonsen leaves behind a wife and two children. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the commis-

sioner spent time with Simonsen’s family at Jamaica Hospital, calling the shock his loved ones were feeling “so painful to see.” “I want to just note how difficult it is for our men and women in uniform to go into a situation like this one…to go into a situation where people’s lives are in danger, where there is someone with a weapon ready to recklessly use it at any moment; and our officers, our detectives, our sergeants go in selflessly to protect others and they know it’s a moment where they cannot hesitate, where even a moment of hesitation could mean a life is lost,” de Blasio added. “And that bravery and that resolve is something we all need to understand even though most of us have never experienced that kind of split-second decision. The sergeant, we visited as well. We wish him a speedy recovery but it’s so clear that—his bravery was so clear but his pain to have lost his colleague was so clear as well.” O’Neill on Wednesday sent a solemn note to all members of the NYPD. “This is heartbreaking. But we are not alone. Please remember that what you do every day for the people of this city matters a great deal,” he wrote. “And for that, I am humbled by you, I am infinitely proud of you, and I sincerely thank you.”

Bill to Ban Taking of Menhaden Passes Legislature By Michael V. Cusenza A bill that would prohibit the taking of the Atlantic menhaden fish species from area waters using a purse seine has passed both houses of the State Legislature, according to a cosponsor of the measure, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), and Senate records. Addabbo noted that seine fishing involves using a large fishing net, called a seine, cast off the side of large commercial fishing boats to collect fish. Menhaden fish are popular for seine fishing because they are used for fishmeal and fish oil-based products and local anglers use them as bait to catch larger fish that they can eat or sell. They are also a major food

ways and Broad Channel, “the single most important fish species,” and “the most important baseline food source for the entire ocean food chain.” “This bill is critical to stop large corporations from entering our waters with their massive vacuum ships that literally wipe out entire schools of these fish in single takes,” Mundy added. “We need to ensure that this species is protected from this type Photo Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of harmful practice and that our waters remain a home for the The Atlantic Menhaden whales and dolphins for future generations to enjoy.” According to the bill, the State Department of Environsource for whales, dolphins, seals, striped bass, blue fish, weak mental Conservation can issue a temporary order to take menfish, and other large marine life. Dan Mundy, Jr. of the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers called the haden with purse seines if the agency determines that there is menhaden, which can be found in the waters off the Rocka- an imminent risk of a fishkill.

Feds Use High Tech to Nab Impostor at JFK By Forum Staff Federal officers recently used new biometric technology to intercept an impostor at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. On Jan. 19, a 26-year-old woman traveling from Mexico City, Mexico, and toting a U.S. passport presented herself for inspection to a CBP officer. According to authorities, the officer suspected that the woman may be an imposter to the travel document, so he escorted her to another area for further inspection. The CBP officer then utilized a new technology which uses facial recognition to determine if the passenger was, in fact, the true bearer of the U.S. passport. Based on the results of the Photo Courtesy of CBP facial recognition and the officer’s interview, Customs officers recently used new biometric technology to intercept an impostor passenger at JFK the woman was determined to be an imposter Airport.

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to the travel documents she had presented. Using another person’s identity document is a serious violation of U.S. immigration laws that could result in criminal prosecution, CBP officials noted. In this case, the traveler was found to be inadmissible to the country and was returned to Mexico on the next available flight. “CBP has many tools at our disposal in our collective tool bag, but this case illustrates the value of the CBP officer on the ground,” said Troy Miller, CBP’s director of the New York Field Office. “This traveler was apprehended utilizing CBP’s layered enforcement strategy and technology coupled with the CBP officer’s expertise. This force multiplier is essential in apprehending those persons that would look to break our immigration laws and perhaps cause harm to the citizens of the United States.”


Even with Lean Economic Times Looming, City’s 2020 Preliminary Budget Soars to $92 Billion By Michael V. Cusenza Though economic indicators point to looming stagnation, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday presented a $92.2 billion Fiscal Year 2020 Preliminary Budget. In comparison, last June, de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced an agreement on a balanced $89.16 billion budget for FY2019. The mayor touted the new spending plan as one that demonstrates fiscal responsibility and caution in the face of uncertainty in Washington, D.C., potential cuts and cost shifts from Albany, and a possible economic slowdown. Additionally, de Blasio said, the budget “makes modest investments that continue to make New York City the fairest big city in America” while providing services to all residents. Hizzoner noted that the plan sets a savings goal of $750 million which he claimed will be achieved in part by deepening the City’s partial hiring freeze and implementing his administration’s first Program to Eliminate the Gap – a procedure used to close a budget gap when government expense eclipses revenue. De Blasio cautioned on Thursday that the City faces economic uncertainty from several angles. Albany is threatening to impose $600

Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

The FY2020 Preliminary Budget “makes modest investments that continue to make New York City the fairest big city in America” while providing services to all residents, Mayor de Blasio said.

million in budget cuts and shifts that may impact NYC’s ability “to educate our children, provide financial assistance to families in need, and deliver health services to vulnerable New Yorkers,” he said. Uncertainty in Washington D.C. also is a substantial concern, de Blasio warned. Additionally, tax revenues are coming in at a slower pace than last year, according to the mayor. The City now projects that Personal Income Tax revenue will be $935 million less than last year.

However, de Blasio also hailed his administration for the following “modest investments” featured in the FY2020 spending plan: • Guarantee healthcare access for 600,000 uninsured New Yorkers by investing $25 million, growing to $100 million at full ramp up, for NYC Care, which is set to launch in summer of 2019 in the Bronx and across NYC in 2021. • Invest $106 million in FY2020 for the Fair Fares program which provides half-priced MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers.

• Accelerate NYPD Crisis Intervention Training for patrol officers most likely to respond to mental health-related emergencies, totaling $5.3 million. • Deepen our investment in 3-K for All by adding $25 million for two new districts in the Bronx and Brooklyn, which will bring the total number of kids starting this fall to 20,000. With these two new districts, there will be a total of 14 3-K for All districts by September 2020. The City will now be serving the 10 highest-need districts in the city.

• Invest $2.7 million annually towards the goal of speeding bus service by 25 percent by December 2020. The Department of Transportation will give buses green light priority at 300 new intersections per year, helping them stay on schedule. “Even while recognizing the challenges, we also know this City’s economy is strong and we will fight for a fiscally responsible plan that protects the social safety net,” the City Council said of the FY2020 Preliminary Budget in a joint statement by Speaker Corey Johnson, Finance Committee Chairman Daniel Dromm, and Capital Budget Committee Chairwoman Vanessa Gibson. “The council will detail our priorities, ways to save money and ensure that critical past investments are not diminished.” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said smarter fiscal belt-tightening is needed. “To ensure we can always provide a strong social safety net means also preparing the City for potentially tougher times ahead. That’s why we cannot continue to spend $3 billion a year on homelessness—without reducing the homeless population. That’s why we cannot continue to spend more money at Rikers Island for fewer detainees—but see violent incidents rise ever higher,” he added.

Two Men Charged in South Ozone Park Cold Case Murders By Forum Staff Two men have been indicted for their roles in two murders committed in 1992 in South Ozone Park, federal prosecutors recently announced. Darin Hamilton, 60, of South Ozone Park, is charged with the intentional murder of Anthony Lloyd while engaged in narcotics trafficking; and Hamilton and Jerome James, 54, of West Virginia, are charged with the murder of Robert Arroyo while engaged in narcotics trafficking, as well as conspiracy to do the same, according to officials. As detailed in the indictment and the government’s detention memorandum, Hamilton and Jones were members of a Queens-based crew that called itself “Black Rain” and sold narcotics at several locations on Rockaway Boulevard in the early 1990s. Specifically, the crew sold heroin under the brand name “Black Rain,” cocaine under the brand name “White Lightning” and crack cocaine under the brand

Photo Courtesy of Google

Both murders took place in the vicinity of 128th Street and Rockaway Boulevard, where Hamilton and Jones managed a drug spot, according to federal officials.

name “Thunder.” The gang committed acts of violence, including homicide, to protect its profitable operation. Both murders took place in the vicinity of 128th Street and Rockaway Boulevard, where Hamilton and Jones managed a drug spot. As alleged, in June 1992, Hamilton

shot and killed Anthony Lloyd, whom he believed had stolen from Black Rain. Two months later, in August 1992, Hamilton and Jones recruited and paid two members of Black Rain to murder Robert Arroyo, whom they believed was a police informant. In their first attempt, the re-

cruits mistakenly shot another man they incorrectly believed to be Arroyo. The victim survived his wounds. On Sept. 8, 1992, at Hamilton and Jones’s direction, the two recruits located Arroyo on a crowded street and shot him multiple times, killing him. “Investigations grow cold with the passage of time, but investigators don’t stop searching for evidence they need to bring the suspects involved to justice,” said FBI NY Assistant Director-in-Charge Bill Sweeney, Jr. “Anthony Lloyd and Robert Arroyo were murdered nearly three decades ago, and their killers may have believed they were in the clear. However, the FBI New York Metro Safe Streets Task Force and our partners at the NYPD want this case to serve as a warning for those who believe they can let their guard down, we are still on the case and we won’t give up.” City Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill added, “Today’s charges prove that the best investigators in the world do not ever forget victims, and they do not ever forget the justice that is owed to those victims’ families.”

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 19• Number 7 FEBRUARY 14, 2019 | 3


Congestion Pricing is Only Way to Save MTA: Cuomo

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“Congestion pricing is the only logical and realistic option to fund the MTA’s capital needs,” the governor said on Thursday.

By Michael V. Cusenza Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called on the State Legislature to enact a congestion pricing plan to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital program in order to prevent a nearly 30-percent MTA fare hike or further deterioration of the transit system. In a speech delivered at the Association for a Better New York in Manhattan, Cuomo said the “only logical and realistic option” to provide an ongoing and dedicated revenue stream to the MTA is through congestion pricing, which he included in his 2020 Executive Budget proposal. “The MTA has been plagued by organizational dysfunction and disinvestment for decades, and we need better management and more money to turn it around,” Cuomo said. “Congestion pricing is the only logical and realistic option to fund the MTA’s capital needs and one person must have the authority to make decisions, hire and fire, and reorganize. Let the Legislature cast their vote on the real choice—congestion pricing or 30 percent fare and toll increases. It’s A or B because there is no C. If the public understands the critical choice their elected officials are making, congestion pricing will prevail.” In October 2017, Cuomo convened the Fix NYC Advisory Panel – a mix of community representatives, government officials, and business leaders from across the region tasked with developing recommendations to address the severe traffic congestion problems in Manhattan’s Central Business District and identify sources of revenue to fix the ailing subway system. According to the group’s proposal, released in January 2018,

all drivers would be charged to enter the CBD – an area of Manhattan bounded by 60th Street on the north and Battery Park on the south, the Hudson River on the west and the East River on the east – during weekday business hours. As Cuomo noted on Thursday, Fix NYC has a number of variable rates that would incentivize drivers towards noncongestion hours by reducing tolls at certain times and it would be implemented with electronic tolling. Funds would be put in a lockbox for MTA capital projects, Cuomo pledged. The governor isn’t the only one urging lawmakers to adopt a congestion pricing plan. On Monday, a coalition of advocacy organizations and straphangers from Queens rallied will pols in Albany, calling on Cuomo and the Legislature to include congestion pricing in the final State budget. “I implore my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to support congestion pricing and other effective and sustainable transit funding in order to fix the city’s subway system,” said Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Jackson Heights). “The people of New York deserve a more reliable and affordable public transit system, and need a commitment from elected officials that funding will be secured for long-term and systematic improvements to mass transit in our city.” In addition to congestion pricing, the governor also outlined on Thursday a set of proposed actions for the Legislature to establish accountability and fix the MTA system. The proposals include improving processes for the design and completion of major projects, addressing the mounting budget and operational deficiencies, determining the cost of a real capital plan, and overhauling the MTA’s archaic structure.

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American Airlines, British Airways Invest $344M in New JFK

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The airlines’ investment is part of the plan to transform JFK “into a state-of-the-art global hub,” Gov. Cuomo noted.

By Forum Staff American Airlines and British Airways will invest $344 million in John F. Kennedy International Airport to expand and improve the customer experience at Terminal 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced. According to the State, the Terminal 8 enhancements will be made pursuant to an agreement between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and American Airlines over the next three years in preparation for British Airways moving from their current location in Terminal 7, which will be replaced as part of JetBlue Airways’ plan to build a new terminal on the airport’s north side. No Port Authority funding is being committed to the Terminal 8 upgrade, Cuomo noted. “Only four months ago, we announced plans to transform JFK Airport into a stateof-the-art global hub, with new and unified terminals adding 4 million square-feet and increasing the airport’s capacity by at least 15 million passengers annually,” the governor added. “Today that transformation is well underway, with an extraordinary private investment that will turn JFK into a truly modern airport. This new investment is part and parcel with the State’s broader efforts to modernize airports all across New York. From JFK and LaGuardia to Ithaca and Rochester, we are making historic progress rebuilding our airport infrastructure for the future and ensuring New York State remains the nation’s front door.” The American Airlines and British Airways investment in Terminal 8 will improve the overall customer experience, according to the administration, with a total of 70,400

square-feet of added space including 33,000 square-feet of public space. Another 57,500 square-feet of existing space will be refurbished. New amenities include premium lounges for both airlines, enhanced baggage systems, premium check-in space and upgraded concessions. There will be five additional wide-body gates to allow for more transatlantic flights and four nearby on-airfield plane parking/ unloading areas to accommodate the added flights. As a result, passengers will have the increased flexibility of 14 daily flights to London from the same terminal. The Terminal 8 upgrade is expected to create 500 direct jobs and 750 total jobs over the project’s life, adding to the 9,600 new jobs in Cuomo’s original $13 billion JFK vision plan announced last October. “American Airlines and British Airways have joined the extraordinary efforts underway to make John F. Kennedy International the world-class airport our customers expect and deserve,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This is a turning point in JFK’s history. We are responding to record numbers of passengers with record levels of infrastructure investment. We also will ensure best-in-class customer service is part of these initiatives, as work begins on transforming JFK into a worthy gateway to the United States.” The State also noted that American Airlines has agreed to abide by new provisions regarding construction requirements, compliance directives, Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises participation, and local business participation consistent with new standards that are being established by the Port Authority as part of the airport’s redevelopment programs.

www.orderaplumber.com • (718) 522-0818 THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 19• Number 7 FEBRUARY 14, 2019 | 5


EDITORIAL Thank You for Your Service We were walking in the middle of the street along Atlantic Avenue away from the brilliantly lit crime scene Tuesday night, side-by-side, strangers in The World’s Borough, the ultimate melting pot. Our heads were hung glumly as we quietly ambled across the slush-covered asphalt, relentless droplets of freezing rain pelting us, when a street light caught the gold shield hanging from his neck. Detective. New York City Police Department. I found myself at a loss for words. I knew that I wanted to say something meaningful to him, something comforting, maybe. “Thank you for your service,” I muttered awkwardly, my gaze still trained on the street below. My plainclothes companion stopped— he had arrived at his vehicle. I kept going. “You know, I don’t hear that much,” he called out to me; I turned around as he added, “Thank you for that.” A simple, yet profound exchange between one grateful resident and a bona fide protector of our city, on one of the worst nights of his life. One of too many that he’s endured throughout his career, I thought to myself as I turned right to find my own vehicle, still double-parked where I left it. *** Thank you for your service, Det. Brian I thought about his family—blood and Simonsen. NYPD—well into the night. The 42-year-old married father of two Our borough is in mourning. gave his life for us on a bitter-cold Tuesday “The heart of Queens is with the wife night in Richmond Hill.

LEGALLY SPEAKING

As an attorney who has been practicing in the field of Workers’ Compensation for close to 30 years, it has been a privilege and an honor to represent the working men and women of New York. As the daughter of both a retired firefighter and retired teacher, I see the sacrifices that most working men and women make in order to provide for their families and create a better life for their children.We all have similar longterm goals of being able to earn enough of a nest egg to retire and enjoy our “golden years”. No one goes to work expecting that they will sustain an injury that will not only change the course of their employment, but may change the course of their lives. Even less expected is the bureaucratic maze most will have to navigate for benefits to which they are entitled. Injured workers in this country have seen their weekly benefits capped, their medical

Catherine M. Stanton is a senior partner in the law firm of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP. She focuses on the area of Workers’ Compensation, having helped thousands of injured workers navigate a highly complex system and obtain all the benefits to which they were entitled. Ms. Stanton has been honored as a New York Super Lawyer, is the past president of the New York Workers’ Compensation Bar Association, the immediate past president of the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and is an officer in several organizations dedicated to injured workers and their families. She can be reached at 800.692.3717.

benefits slashed, and their medications limited based upon the opinions of those who may not even examine them but only review records.Injured workers have been the pawn in political battles throughout the country. Benefits are seen as too expensive or excessive, and are described as the reason businesses cannot thrive or survive as premiums have become so expensive because of the high costs of claims.Injured workers are sometimes seen as “gaming the system” by fraudulently obtaining and keeping Workers’ Compensation benefits beyond their need.There could be nothing farther from the truth. One of the things I am proud of in my legal career is that I am past president of the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG), an organization of attorneys who have dedicated their practices to representing the needs of injured workers’ and their

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and family of Detective Brian Simonsen, an 18-year NYPD veteran killed in the line of duty while responding to an armed robbery in Richmond Hill tonight,” Queens

Borough President Melinda Katz said in a statement released around 11:30 p.m. “Detective Simonsen devoted his entire career to the 102nd Precinct here in Queens. We deeply mourn the loss of someone who selflessly put his life on the line without hesitation to protect the rest of us. We wish the wounded sergeant a speedy and full recovery. Detective Simonsen’s family will have the full support of this grateful borough and city.” City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (DSt. Albans) added, “The security our city routinely enjoys comes at considerable risk to the safety of the officers of the New York Police Department. Last night’s tragic death of Det. Brian Simonsen serves as a painful and sobering reminder of that sacrifice. On behalf of the 27th Council District, and as chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to Det. Simonsen’s family, his fellow officers at the 102nd Precinct, Patrol Borough Queens South, and every member of our city’s Finest. Our hearts are also with Sgt. Matthew Gorman and his family, as we pray for his swift recovery.” I found myself at a loss for words, again, as I sat down to pen this. Dumbfounded by the wanton depravity of the city I love; grateful for those who have volunteered to protect her every day. So I thought back to Tuesday night and the brief walk and exchange with that detective. And I finally smiled. Thank you for your service.

families.Our mission statement notes that “our members are committed to improving the quality of legal representation to those injured on the job or victims of occupational illness by superior legal education and my keeping informed of legislative and judicial proceedings”.We do this by keeping up with trends throughout the country that impact injured workers and might end up coming to the states in which we practice. While injured workers rarely have the finances to take on some of the very wealthy and deep-pocketed business and insurance industry groups, our organization has found that in many instances we can fight back by having knowledge and knowing the facts.My colleague and another past president of WILG, Leonard Jernigan, has for the last decade or so put the perception of “gaming the system” to the test.In his most recent report, he notes that the top

10 cases of fraud resulted in almost $100 million in lost revenue and that not one of those cases involved the actual worker.This is not out of the ordinary. While there are those workers who clearly fabricate an injury or exaggerate its seriousness, they are in the minority.Most men and women do not want to be injured, nor do they want to stay out of work when they are. As the recent government shut down showed, there are many people in this country who live paycheck to paycheck. Any loss of income creates major financial hardship for injured workers and their families, not to mention the psychological impact created by the mere thought of losing their places of residence or their dreams for their future.We must remember that while injured workers in this country are a minority of the population, in the blink of an eye, we too can become a part of this very unfortunate club.


THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 19• Number 7 FEBRUARY 14, 2019 | 7


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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 19• Number 7 FEBRUARY 14, 2019 | 9


MTA Misled Public on Train Delay Data: Stringer

The Pharmacist’s Corner Presented by Frank Pantina, R.Ph ADVANCES IN DIABETES Letting Technology Help

Photo Courtesy of Comptroller Stringer’s Office

“While the new leadership deserves credit for trying to clean things up, the MTA still has a long way to go to ensure accuracy and reliability and to regain the public’s trust,” Comptroller Stringer said.

By Forum Staff The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has misrepresented its performance and delay data for years and shifted the focus from the subways’ real operational problems, according to an investigation released on Friday by City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Relying on internal documents primarily prepared by the MTA’s Performance Analysis Unit, as well as interviews with key agency officials, Stringer’s staff found that the MTA failed to provide clear guidance on how to identify the causes of millions of delays, relied on distorted metrics to report system progress, and hid delay data where causes were unknown. “It is an insult to anyone who has ever been late to work or stranded at the station that MTA leadership passed along bogus delay data just to make the agency look good, even as its own staff were raising red flags,” the comptroller said. “While the new leadership deserves credit for trying to clean things up, the MTA still has a long way to go to ensure accuracy and reliability and to regain the public’s trust. For too long the MTA has failed to transparently report what is actually going on underground, a problem which can only mean more delays and more frustration for the working New Yorkers who rely on the subway every day.” Stringer indicated that he’s calling on the beleaguered MTA to: • Structure public reporting of delay data to maximize transparency, reliability and accountability. • Publicly define all delay categories, specifically indicating what each one includes and, as necessary, omits. • Ensure that all protocols relevant to performance reporting are formally codified in official policies and procedures, in-

cluding establishing written definitions and instructions for all key terms, data categories, and work protocols. • Adequately train all relevant personnel on protocols relevant to performance reporting. • In the context of public reports of “Major Incidents,” provide the public with information about all categories of service disruptions tracked as incidents within its Subway Incident Reporting System that cause 50 or more delays, including specifically “Planned Work.” • Transparently disclose in each Monthly Operations Report and on the MTA’s subway performance dashboard, the methodologies used to calculate performance metrics, including all exceptions and revisions to those methodologies, and including methodological weaknesses. • Make available on the MTA’s website or through an Open Data portal each month all data in the SIRS database and any other databases relied on for public reporting. Stringer noted that at the December 2018 Transit Committee meeting, MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford conceded that the MTA’s recent success reducing delays was the result of “things that could and should have probably been done a long time ago. No brainers. Things that actually don’t necessarily cost very much but just I hope demonstrate greater attention to detail.” As the MTA has attributed approximately 30 percent of all delays in December 2018 to “Operating Environment,” work to address these delays must continue, Stringer said. The comptroller also pointed out that under Byford, the MTA has acknowledged some of these issues, introduced reforms, and begun to reduce delays.

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Pharmacists share the same responsibility as doctors who need to keep reading and studying to keep up with medical advances for the good of their patients. On of the most prominent diseases that face a majority of our patients is diabetes. The monitoring of glucose is a critical component for these patients and as diabetes technology continues to advance, more and more tools are becoming available to patients to help them manage their disease. Glucose monitors, insulin pens or pumps are all available on the market and advances in these devices are helping patients deal with the stresses of keeping diabetes under control. One such device introduced by Abbott in 2017 was the FreeStyle Libre Glucose Monitoring System, a cutting edge device that uses a sensor placed on the upper arm allowing patients to trace their blood glucose levels throughout the day. Market executives expect that more patch pumps will hit the shelves over the next few years as well. Another innovative technology is the ability to electronically track patient data. Patients and health professionals can keep diaries and logs for insulin, diet, activity and blood glucose levels through the use of wireless glucose meters which are compatible with their Smartphone’s.

Patients will be able to keep better records through the use of smart insulin pens that track time, date and insulin doses delivered. The role of pharmacists is expected to increase with the advent of these new technologies, helping patients navigate their way through a bevy of treatment options that can make their lives much more livable while providing safe, effective and cost conscious options for living with diabetes. In the future medical experts expect that their industry will advance toward what are known as closed loop systems or artificial pancreas systems whose goal is to copy the activity of a normal, healthy body. Technologists are working on non invasive ways to monitor glucose and Apple is included in the industry giants said to be working on this type of device, although no plans have been disclosed as of yet. If you have questions on any of these technologies and would like to find out how one or more of them may fit into your lifestyle, you are welcome to bring your questions to us. Counting on your local pharmacist for management of your diabetes is something you should not be afraid to take advantage of. Until next week…

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Enforcement on the Expressway

The 106th Precinct’s Traffic Safety Unit on Monday was out once again enforcing No Stopping/Standing on the Nassau Expressway shoulder in Howard Beach for drivers waiting to pick up passengers from John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Idling autos have been a persistent and dangerous problem on the span for decades. Last summer, Capt. Mike Edmonds, precinct executive officer, noted that the command’s traffic team conducts such initiatives on the expressway at least once per month. Photo Courtesy of NYPD


Married Couple Sentenced to up to 25 Years in Prison for Pimping Woman in Queens By Forum Staff A Brooklyn woman and her husband from Pennsylvania have been sentenced on multiple counts of sex trafficking and promoting prostitution for their respective roles in an illicit pimping operation they ran in Flushing from October 2016 through January 2017, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced on Friday. Elizabeth O’Sullivan, 31, and Lee Vargas, 34, were convicted last October following a five-week jury trial of three counts of sex trafficking and second- and third-degree promoting prostitution. They were sentenced on Friday to an indeterminate term of 8 1/3 to 25 years on the two non-violent sex trafficking charges and a determinate term of 17 years on the violent sex trafficking charge. According to trial testimony, in October 2016, O’Sullivan and Vargas picked up the 21-year-old victim from an undisclosed location in Massachusetts and drove her to Queens. The victim was under the impression that the pair hired her to be an ex-

File Photo

The couple advertised the victim, along with several other females, as being a prostitute on the now-defunct Backpage.com.

otic dancer and stripper. Instead, the couple forced the victim to have daily sexual encounters with multiple men in exchange for money. The victim was then forced to turn over the cash to O’Sullivan and Vargas. The couple advertised the woman, along with several other females, as being a prostitute on the now-defunct Backpage.com. When she could no longer stand the brutal treatment she endured, the victim cried and told O’Sullivan and Vargas that she did not want to work for them. Vargas ordered the young woman to call him “Daddy” and

slapped her repeatedly, choked and threw her to the floor her when she overslept and missed scheduled dates with her clients. Vargas further humiliated the young woman by urinating on her to signify that she belonged to him. According to trial testimony, the victim tried to leave the Flushing hotel where she was held on numerous occasions only to be met at the door by O’Sullivan, who physically attacked and forced her to remain inside the room. According to trial records, in an act of

desperation the victim managed to reach out to her family, who notified police. An undercover rescue operation began on Jan. 7, 2017, when a law enforcement official responded to one of the Backpage.com advertisements. The officer, who was summoned to the Main Street location, met the victim and agreed to engage in sex in exchange for $200. At approximately 4 a.m. the following morning, officers returned to the hotel and apprehended the O’Sullivan and Vargas as they were sitting in a vehicle outside of the hotel. “The victim in this case—a young woman forced into prostitution—endured both emotional and physical trauma at the hands of these two defendants. The two used physical force and intimidation to make her have sex dates with strangers and turn over the cash to them,” Brown said. “They have both been convicted and will serve a lengthy term in prison for their predatory actions.” This conviction marks the first violent felony sex trafficking conviction in Queens since the Legislature increased the penalties in 2016.

LIC Man Charged with Brutalizing Dog during Dispute with Former Friend By Forum Staff A Long Island City man has been indicted on animal cruelty charges for senselessly striking a Chihuahua-type dog named Gigi following a physical altercation with a former acquaintance in December, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown recently announced. Luis Jimenez, 26, was arraigned last week on a threecount indictment charging him with second-degree criminal mischief, overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide sustenance and aggravated cruelty to animals. Bail was continued for Jimenez in the amount of $15,000 and he was ordered to return to court on May 3. According to the charges, shortly after 9 p.m. on Dec. 20, Jimenez was involved in a fight with the brother of Gigi’s owner. After the fight, the dog owner’s mother witnessed the 8-pound Gigi walk toward Jimenez. Surveillance video then allegedly captured Jimenez strike the tiny dog on the head with a metal rod. The blow caused the dog to yelp out

Cruelty to Animals on Dec. 21, where a veterinarian completed a comprehensive examination on the pup. The analysis allegedly showed that the 2-year-old dog suffered severe damage to her right eye and a broken right cheekbone. Her injuries were consistent with having suffered blunt-force trauma to the head. As a result of Jimenez’s alleged actions, Gigi now lives with excruciating pain and is permanently blind in her right eye, Brown said. The dog is still undergoing treatment at the ASPCA and may require surgery to remove the damaged eye. “The defendant allegedly whacked a small, defenseless animal that approached the man when he and a former friend got into a physical altercation. The 2-year-old pup Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/oraxim suffered severe injuries to her face and right eye,” Brown Jimenez allegedly struck the tiny Chihuahua-type dog (similar to the one added. “This kind of alleged brutality against an 8-pound pictured) on the head with a metal rod. dog is both senseless and heartless. The defendant will be held accountable for allegedly inflicting immeasurable pain in apparent pain, Brown noted. According to the charges, detectives investigating the on this poor animal.” If convicted, Jimenez faces up to seven years in prison. incident took Gigi to the Association for the Prevention of

Woodhaven Man Gets 18 Years for Beating Richmond Hill Resident to Death By Forum Staff A Woodhaven man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to beating a Richmond Hill man to death during a robbery in July 2014, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced on Friday. Nestor Rodriguez, 25, pleaded guilty last month to first-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced on Friday to 18 years in prison to be followed by five years’ post-release supervision. According to the charges, Rodriguez and his co-defendant attacked Nazmul Is-

on the ground, Islam had money taken from his pocket. He was rushed to an area hospital where he died from his injuries. “This defendant—a young man who could have had a productive life in front of him—instead chose a path of senseless violence and criminal activity,” Brown said. “Sadly, a 55-year-old leader in the Bangladeshi community was beaten to death and robbed. In pleading guilty, the defendant has admitted Photo Courtesy of Google to this heinous crime and will be imprisoned Rodriguez and his co-defendant attacked Nazmul Islam, 55, at the intersection of 76th Street and Atlantic Avenue. as punishment and to keep society safe.” lam, 55, at the intersection of 76th Street a.m. on July 9, 2014. The victim was repeatRodriguez’s co-defendant’s case is and Atlantic Avenue at approximately 4:30 edly punched and choked. Incapacitated pending, Brown noted. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 19• Number 7 FEBRUARY 14, 2019 | 11


Schumer Unveils ‘Fentanyl Sanctions’ to Hold China Accountable for Illicit Drug Trafficking By Forum Staff Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer on Sunday unveiled a first-ever fentanyl sanctions bill to, as New York’s senior senator put it, hold the Chinese government accountable for “frustrating inaction” on the trafficking of the illicit synthetic opioid pain reliever to the United States. According to Schumer, the Fentanyl Sanctions Act would give law enforcement and the intelligence community more tools to combat the opioid epidemic, empower the President to call-out foreign traffickers and use economic sanctions, similar to the kinds used to respond to Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs, to cripple foreign labs and apply economic pressure to countries turning a blind eye to fentanyl drug production and trafficking. The measure would direct the President to publically identify foreign traffickers of opioids on a semiannual basis and use a number of economic policy tools to debilitate their operations, including denying access to U.S. markets, blocking transactions with U.S. financial institutions and denying visas. The legislation broadly defines “traffickers of opioids” to hold accountable manufacturers in China and other countries who make fentanyl analogues and ship them illicitly to the U.S.; transnational criminal organizations like those in Mexico, who mix fentanyl with other drugs and smuggle them into the U.S.; and financial institutions that aide these entities, Schumer said.

A microscopic amount of fentanyl can be lethal.

While the sanctions are mandatory, the legislation would only allow the President to waive certain sanctions on state-owned enterprises if a country, like China, scheduled the entire category of fentanyl-type substances as controlled substances and initiated substantial regulatory reforms or substantially increased the number of prosecutions of opioid traffickers, Schumer noted. Additionally, the legislation establishes a Commission on Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to monitor U.S. efforts and report on how to combat the flow of synthetic opioids from China and Mexico. The legislation would also direct the President to commence diplomatic efforts to establish an inter-

Boyfriend Charged in Slay of Pregnant Woman

Photo Courtesy of Go Fund Me

Victim Jennifer Irigoyen

By Forum Staff A Rego Park man has been charged with fatally stabbing his pregnant girlfriend in the stairwell of her Myrtle Avenue apartment building earlier this month, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced on Friday. Anthony Hobson, 48, was arraigned on Friday on a complaint charging him with second-degree murder, second-degree abortion, tampering with physical

Photo Courtesy of DEA

evidence, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He was remanded to City Department of Correction custody and ordered to return to court on Feb. 15. According to the charges, shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, surveillance video captured Hobson as he allegedly dragged the victim, Jennifer Irigoyen, 35, from the hallway of her third floor apartment into the stairwell of her Myrtle Avenue building. Shortly thereafter, Hobson allegedly stabbed the expectant mother—who was 14 weeks pregnant—multiple times in the torso, neck and abdomen. Irigoyen, who is survived by a young child from a previous relationship, was transported to a local hospital where she and the unborn child died. “This was a heinous crime,” Brown said. “A woman was brutally stabbed— killing her and the unborn child. The defendant is alleged to have shown no mercy and no regard for human life when he repeatedly and purposely plunged a knife into this expectant mother’s abdomen, torso and neck. The defendant, now in custody, faces spending the rest of his days locked behind bars.” If convicted, Hobson faces up to 25 years to life in prison. As of Tuesday evening, a Go Fund Me page created on Feb. 4 and dedicated to Irigoyen had garnered nearly $25,000.

12 FEBRUARY 14, 2019 • Number 7 VOL. 19 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

national opioid control regime and provide new funding to law enforcement agencies to combat the trafficking of synthetic opioids. The legislation would authorize additional funding to departments and agencies to ensure robust collection of intelligence and enforcement of these new sanctions. “For years, Chinese laboratories have been cookingup formulas of death and freely trafficking lethal fentanyl across New York, and to many other places across America, where it is killing tens-of-thousands of people—and it has to stop,” the senator added. “When it comes to taking genuine action to address this crisis, China continues to kick the can down the road while American lives are kicked to the curb, enveloped by addiction or cut all too short by tragedy.” According to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, insufficient regulation of synthetic opioid production in China continues to contribute to a flood of opioids into the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that from June 2017 through June 2018 more than 48,000 people in the United States died from an opioid overdose, with synthetic opioids, excluding methadone, contributing to a record 31,500 overdose deaths. While drug overdose deaths from methadone, semi-synthetic opioids and heroin have decreased in recent months, overdose deaths synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl and its derivatives, have continued to increase, Schumer said.

MS-13 Members Charged in Jail Assault By Forum Staff

Three members of La Mara Salvatrucha, commonly known as MS-13, have been indicted for allegedly beating and stabbing a suspected rival gang member while incarcerated last year at the Manhattan Detention Complex, federal prosecutors announced on Friday. Luis Rivas, 23, from Jamaica; Javier Rodriguez, 33, a Flushing resident; and Dennis Cabrera, 27, of the Bronx have been charged with assault-in-aid-of racketeering. According to court filings, on Oct. 22, while the defendants were incarcerated on state charges at MDC, they allegedly assaulted a fellow inmate who they suspected to be a member of the rival Latin King gang—punching, kicking, and stabbing him with a makeshift knife, first in his cell and then in a hallway of the facility. The attack was captured on video surveillance footage. At the conclusion of the assault, Rivas allegedly flashed an MS-13 hand sign at the victim, who suffered multiple puncture wounds to his back, torso, and arms, including two deeper lacerations that required stitches. “As alleged, the defendants are members of the MS-13, an international gang known for its culture of violence,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “Unprovoked, they assaulted and stabbed an inmate housed with them for no other reason than the inmate’s suspected affiliation with a rival gang.” If convicted, Rivas, Rodriguez, and Ca-

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Reputed MS-13 member Luis Rivas (c., navy blue T-shirt) has been charged in the Oct. 22, 2018 attack.

brera face a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment. “The gang members charged in this investigation displayed once again their disregard for obeying the law and for human life, allegedly stabbing and beating another inmate while incarcerated for other crimes,” added Bill Sweeney, Jr., assistant director-incharge, FBI New York.


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Legal Notices Notice is hereby given that a license, number(PENDING) for on-premises Liquor has been applied for by the undersigned to sell liquor at retail in a Restaurant under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law at 32-10 37th Avenue, Long Island City, NY, 11101 for on premises consumption. POB 354 INC. MASPETH STABLES II LLC. Arts. Of Org. filed with Secy. Of State of N.Y. (SSNY) on 01/11/2019. Latest date to dissolve: 12/31/2079. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to the LLC, 69-34 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378. Purpose: Any lawful activity. Notice of formation of KRISTEN RIANI MOVEMENT LLC Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 10/03/2018. Office located in Queens County. SSNY has being designated as agent for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to, KRISTEN RIANI, 88-10 Whitney Ave. Apt 6-A, Elmhurst, NY 11373. Purpose: any lawful purpose. Notice of formation of Limited Liability Company (“LLC”). Name: BGD III Manager, LLC. Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of the State of New York (“SSNY”) on December 19, 2018. N.Y. office location: Queens County. The SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. The SSNY shall mail a copy of any process to BGD III Manager, LLC, c/o The Bluestone Organization, 90-11 160th Street, Suite 100, Jamaica, New York 11432. Purpose/character of LLC is to engage in any lawful act or activity.

Notice of formation of MAXINE SERVICES, LLC Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 12/17/2018. Office located in Queens County. SSNY has being designated as agent for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to, THE LLC 50-57 47TH STREET, WOODSIDE, NY 11377. Purpose: any lawful purpose.

Notice of Formation of Alabama Avenue Manager LLC. Arts. Of Org. filed with Secy. Of State of N.Y. (SSNY) on 01/28/2019. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: c/o CB Emmanuel, 221-10 Jamaica ave, Lower Level, Queens Village, NY 11428. Purpose: Any lawful activity.

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QL REALTY LLC, Arts of Org filed with SSNY on 01/23/19. Off. Loc.: Queens County, SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to: QL REALTY LLC, 47-26 JUNCTIOIN BLVD, CORONA, NY 11368. Purpose: to engage in any lawful act. CLIFTON #1 NOTE LLC Arts of Org filed with SSNY on 10/04/19. Off. Loc.: Queens County, SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to: ELLEN CHARLESBOIS, 20-43 143 STREET, FLUSHING, NY 11354, NY 11368. Purpose: to engage in any lawful act.

Notice of Qualification of SAS PROPERTIES, LLC Appl. for Auth. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/04/19. Office location: Queens County. LLC formed in New Jersey (NJ) on 12/28/18. Princ. office and NJ addr. of LLC is: 240 Middlesex Tnpk. #422, Iselin, NJ 08830. NYS fictitious name: SAS NY PROPERTIES, LLC. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC at the princ. office of the LLC. Cert. of Form. filed with State Treasurer, State of NJ, Dept. of Treasury, 33 W. State St., 5th Fl., Trenton, NJ 08608-1214.Purpose: Any lawful activity.

HPR UNITE LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 12/14/2018. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: HPR UNITE LLC 40-28 COLLEGE POINT BLVD, PH110, FLUSHING, NY 11354. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

LEXINS38 LLC. Arts of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/04/19. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to the LLC, c/o Serena Lee, 23-69 38th Street, Astoria, NY 11105. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

Black Star Marketing Group LLC. Art of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/15/2018. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to the LLC, 98-23 HH expwy Unit #4E Corona, NY 11368 Purpose: Any lawful purpose

Guoco Properties LLC Arts. Of Org. filed with Secy. Of State of N.Y. (SSNY) on 01/15/2019. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC, 24621 52nd Ave., Little Neck, NY 11362. Purpose: Any lawful activity.

MICHELG TAX SERVICES LLC Art. OF Org. Filed Sec. of State of NY 9/10/2018. Off. Loc. : Queens Co. United States Corporation Agents, Inc. designated as agent upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY to mail copy of process to The LLC, 7014 13th Avenue, Suite 202, Brooklyn, NY 11228. Purpose: Any lawful act or activity.

GRANGER 5750 LLC. Arts of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/03/17. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to the LLC, 133-38 Sanford Avenue, Flushing, NY 11355. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

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