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VOL. 17 • NUMBER 30 • JULY 26, 2018


Impassioned Addabbo, Colleagues Lambaste de Blasio & Co. over Ozone Park Shelter Site

“As a person born, raised, and raising a family in Ozone Park, I’ve got to tell you: I’ve got to fight this,” State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. said on Thursday to area residents and City officials at a town hall meeting at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church.

See Story on Page 3 Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 30, JULY 26, 2018 | 1

Council Approves Bills that Would Affect Seniors, Waste Removal, and the Bail Bond Industry By Michael V. Cusenza The City Council recently voted in favor of several bills, including measures that would affect seniors, the private waste management industry, and bail bondsmen. Introduction 411-A would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct health inspections at senior centers and social adult day cares that are considered food-service establishments under the City health code and to publish the results of such inspections on DOHMH’s website. The bill would also require DFTA to annually provide DOHMH with a list of all senior centers and SADCs registered with the department, update any changes made to the list on a monthly basis, and provide information about any health inspection results on DFTA’s website. “For many of our city’s older New Yorkers, a meal at their neighborhood senior center or Social Adult Daycare is more than just a meal. It’s an entry point through which they can access specialized services, enriching programming and a supervised socialized setting – all of which are vital to maintaining full and healthy lives,” said City Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan), the bill’s sponsor. “By requiring annual Department of Health and Mental Hygiene inspections and calling on DOHMH and the Department for the Aging to make inspection results publicly avail-

Photo Courtesy of Emil Cohen/NY City Council

Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan) sponsored a bill that would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to conduct health inspections at senior centers and social adult day cares that are considered food-service establishments under the City health code, and to publish the results of such inspections on Health Department’s website.

able, Intro 411-A would strengthen our City’s efforts to expand seniors’ access to quality, nutritious meals that are in compliance with the New York City health code, and empower families and caregivers to make informed decisions for their loved ones.” Introduction 399-B would require DFTA to annually report to the Council Speaker, post on its website, and provide data about the participants, programming, services, costs,

and budgets of each of DFTA’s 249 senior centers. Introduction 157-C would reduce the permitted capacity of putrescible solid waste, containing organic matter, and non-putrescible solid waste for each transfer station in these overburdened districts. The permitted capacity for transfer stations in Community District 1 in Brooklyn would be reduced by 50 percent and the permitted capacity in Com-

munity districts 1 and 2 in the Bronx, and CD 12 in Queens would be reduced by 33 percent. Councilman Antonio Reynoso (DQueens and Brooklyn), the sponsor, called the passage of 157-C a “momentous achievement” that “will finally deliver environmental justice to frontline communities and ensure that no other neighborhood suffers the same fate, while setting a historic precedent for the fair share distribution of burdensome and polluting facilities in the City of New York. This is a first, crucial step toward reforming the city’s commercial carting industry.” Introductions 724-A and 510-A cover the bail bond industry. The former would require bail bond businesses to provide consumers with a “consumer bill of rights” prior to entering a contract and to post signage at the place of business. Introduction 510-A would require bail bond businesses to conspicuously post signage designed by the Department of Consumer Affairs. The sign will disclose: (1) the maximum premium or compensation that can be charged for giving bail bond or depositing money or property as bail; (2) that such premium or compensation represents the maximum amounts, excluding collateral, that a bail bond agent can charge for services; and (3) that a consumer may make a complaint to DCA or the relevant state agencies if such premium or compensation charged is in conflict with the State’s insurance law.

City Sues DOJ for Efforts to Force NYC Officials to Engage in Federal Immigration Enforcement By Michael V. Cusenza The City has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for what it has characterized as “unlawful efforts” to force NYC officials to engage in federal immigration enforcement, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter recently announced. Last year, DOJ placed “unprecedented” conditions on the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance public safety grant the City has relied on for years, according to the administration. DOJ has yet to release the $4 million grant, named after Edward Byrne, a Queens cop killed in Jamaica while protecting a Guyanese immigrant who was acting as a cooperating witness, and has also threatened to retract millions more from previous years. According to the complaint, the conditions are illegal and undermine City policies that protect all residents, including its immigrants, and keep crime low. The City has asked the court to deem the conditions illegal and compel immediate payment to the City. Until recently, the City has applied for and received its local allocation under the federal grant formula every year since the program’s inception in 2005. According to the administration, the Byrne grant supports public safety initiatives, including 911 emergency responders, diversion programs

Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter

for nonviolent felony drug offenders, and anti-cybercrime and identity theft efforts, to name only a few public safety initiatives. Carter ripped DOJ for abruptly altering “grant requirements in an attempt to force the City to abandon policies of constructive engagement with its immigrant residents that have proven effective in maintaining

2 JULY 26, 2018 • Number 30 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

Photo Courtesy of NYC Law Department

and enhancing public safety. The conditions DOJ seeks to impose are an unprecedented and unconstitutional intrusion on the City’s policy prerogatives, are inconsistent with the intent of Congress and diminish the city’s safety. As detailed in our complaint, DOJ’s efforts would cause immigrant communities to disengage from public services and

retreat into the shadows, to the detriment of their own safety and that of the public. We are asking the court to permanently enjoin DOJ from imposing the three conditions and compel immediate payment to the City.” On the same day that the City took DOJ to court, the State filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to block its efforts to punish so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions by putting immigration-related conditions on federal law enforcement grants. In the suit, a coalition of six attorneys general, led by NY AG Barbara Underwood, argue that the Trump administration’s conditions on the grants interfere with the right of states and localities to set their own law enforcement policies, and that DOJ lacks the authority to impose these new conditions. “Local law enforcement has the right to decide how to meet their local public safety needs – and the Trump administration simply does not have the right to require state and local police to act as federal immigration agents,” Underwood said. “Instead of allowing New York’s law enforcement agencies to determine how best to keep New Yorkers safe, the Trump administration is threatening to withhold vital public safety funds. This is a political attack on New Yorkers, at the expense of our public safety – and it is unlawful. So we will see the Trump administration in court.”

Pols Blast de Blasio Administration Officials at Ozone Park Shelter Town Hall Meeting By Michael V. Cusenza David’s jeers pelted Goliath before he even had a chance to sit down. Boos rained down on the six officials Thursday night before they made it to their seats on the dais on stage at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Ozone Park. The representatives—from the City Department of Homeless Services and Lantern Community Services—endured scorching-hot tongue lashings from elected officials and area residents who are fuming over the City’s plan to establish a homeless shelter for 113 single adult men with mental illness on 101st Avenue and 86th Street later this year. “This is not a Democratic is-

“We demand better. We deserve better. We are better,” Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said of his home community.

mayor and the way he’s handling the [homeless] issue,” said State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), who delivered an emotional two-minute diatribe and left a standing ovation in his wake. “Look what you’ve done here: You’ve created fear, animosity, and anger that I haven’t seen from any prior administration.” Addabbo noted that the City set an Aug. 5 deadline for the community to offer an alternate site for the shelter. The senator said that’s just not enough. “As a person born, raised, and raising a family in Ozone Park,

Forum Photos by Michael V. Cusenza

I’ve got to tell you: I’ve got to fight this,” Addabbo warned. Ulrich, who was born in a house three blocks from the proposed shelter site, praised Addabbo and then ripped de Blasio for his “gross mismanagement” of the city. “Take our voices, concerns, and demands back to the person who is responsible this mess in the first place,” Ulrich said before encouraging his constituents to keep fighting. “We demand better. We deserve better. We are better,” the councilman added.

Forum Photos by Michael V. Cusenza

City Department of Homeless Services officials and Lantern representatives sat on the dais on stage.

sue. This is not a Republican issue,” said Sam Esposito, Ozone Park native and former member of Community Board 9, who organized Thursday’s town hall meeting. “This is OUR issue.” Esposito’s introductory speech elicited raucous cheers from the 700-person strong throng packed into Nativity BVM. He rattled off a litany of recent examples of homeless violence as a possible portent of things to come for this part of Ozone Park. “It is about our quality of life being interrupted by murders, stabbings, shootings, urinating, sitting on our properties,” Esposito added. “It is about the City’s lack of respect for us and our opinion.” Upon hearing in May about a possible homeless shelter in the middle of 101st Avenue, Esposito said he bounded down to City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s (R-Ozone Park) district office.

Ulrich’s Chief of Staff Kevin Tschirhart reached out to DHS, pressing the speaker button on the phone so Esposito could hear the agency official promise that no shelter would be established in the heart of Ozone Park. “I believe DHS thought we would just roll over and play dead,” Esposito said. Last month, a City official indicated that DHS had already notified area elected officials and the community board that “we’re opening a new shelter [at] 85-15 101st Avenue, Ozone Park, for 113 single adult males with mental illness.” “We did not invest to stay here to live in fear,” Esposito said. “We must take a stand now or we’re going to lose Ozone Park.” Elected officials who delivered remarks on Thursday reserved their most scathing critiques for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Forum Photos by Michael V. Cusenza “The only reason we’re here The City has chosen this site, 101st Avenue and 86th Street, for the new shelter. is because of the ineptness of the THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 30, JULY 26, 2018 | 3

Sandy Work at Midtown Tunnel Completed ahead of Schedule

Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Superstorm Sandy restoration work at the Midtown Tunnel was completed more than nine months ahead of schedule.

By Forum Staff Restoration work at the Queens Midtown Tunnel and Hugh L. Carey Tunnel has been completed more than nine months ahead of schedule, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday. The two Superstorm Sandy projects “completely overhauled” the interiors and exteriors of the two tunnels—which were severely damaged by salt water from the storm surge—to improve resiliency, maximize public safety, and ease traffic flow, Cuomo noted. During and after Sandy, Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota toured the tunnels and saw the damage left in the wake of the historic near-9.5-foot storm surge that flooded the Carey Tunnel with 60 million gallons of contaminated salt water and the Midtown Tunnel with roughly 12 million gallons of flood water. The salt water severely damaged all tunnel systems including electrical, lighting, communication, traffic controls, drainage and finishes. According to the State, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges & Tunnels implemented long-term mitigation measures including installing massive 50,000-pound steel flood gates at all tunnel portals to protect against a Federal Emergency Management Agency 500-year flood event—four feet higher than the Sandy historic storm surge—as well as refurbished entryways. New state-of-the-art traffic control, communication, and drainage systems also were installed on the interiors of the tunnels. Roadway lighting was replaced with new energy efficient LED lighting, and new tiles, fire-rated ceiling boards, drainage gutters, pavement and catwalks were added. Plaza walls were restored and decluttered, removing conduits and unveiling original granite. “Superstorm Sandy was a wakeup call

about the urgency to rebuild better, stronger and more resilient,” Cuomo said. “We undertook an unprecedented and expedited transformation of these two iconic tunnels and in the process modernized New York’s infrastructure with cashless tolling—saving drivers millions of hours of travel time and creating a transportation system fit for the 21st century.” The governor also noted that both projects also included several public safety enhancements. Radiation detection equipment has also been installed at each tunnel entrance, and facial recognition equipment is currently being tested at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Situational awareness and security cameras have been installed at each tunnel entrance, including fixed cameras for traffic monitoring and incident management monitored by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority’s Operations Command Center. Pan, tilt and zoom cameras that automatically move to capture potential security issues as part of TBTA’s Electronic Security System were also added. In addition, 37 trucks—each weighing 10-tons and operated by the National Guard—are strategically deployed at all MTA crossings and ready to intercept possible security threats or terrorist attacks. The two tunnel restoration projects totaled more than $550 million and were largely funded by FEMA. To minimize impacts to the travelling public, all restoration work was integrated with other planned rehabilitation work as well as with the implementation of cashless tolling at both tunnels and the replacement of the decaying Morris Street pedestrian bridge at the Carey Tunnel. “With historic commitments, we are better, stronger, more competitive, and more resilient to weather any storms that may come our way,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said on Friday.

4 JULY 26, 2018 • Number 30 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

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Movie Night Delights Charles Park Crowd

Area families flocked to Frank M. Charles Memorial Park on Friday to catch up with Gru, Lucy, and of course, the Minions, in “Despicable Me 3.” The free Movie Night event was organized and sponsored by the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic, Howard Beach Kiwanis Club, and Charles Park Conservation Society. In addition to the fantastic animated

film, Movie Night featured free: popcorn thanks to Century 21; water and Marino’s Italian Ices thanks to Almonte’s Key Food of Howard Beach; safety IDs for children and seniors provided by the NY State Freemasons; bike etching and electronics registration provided by NYPD Crime Prevention; and summer event information distributed by National Park Service rangers. Photo Courtesy of NYPD

NY Pols Unveil Bill to Establish ‘Sanctuary State’


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Photo Courtesy of Sen. Peralta’s Office

Family separations, massive deportations, this is not what we are all about. This is why we, at the state level, must ensure we become the first line of defense against these ruthless policies,”said Senator Peralta.

By Forum Staff Two elected State officials on Thursday called for the approval of a bill that would establish New York as a “sanctuary state.” Under the measure, which has been introduced by State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), state and local enforcement agencies would be prohibited from acting as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, severely limiting the information they would be authorized to share with federal authorities. Additionally, the bill would restrict state and local agencies from cooperating with ICE to arrest or detain immigrants in the Empire State. “Now more than ever, we must protect immigrant New Yorkers from the cruel and inhumane policies ordered by the White House. Because of this current political climate, hard-working immigrants go about their daily lives with fear in their eyes. Family separations, massive deportations, this is not what we are all about. This is why we, at the state level, must ensure we become the first line of defense against these ruthless policies,” Peralta said at Corona Plaza. Peralta and Ortiz also urged their colleagues in D.C. to abolish ICE for its treatment of immigrants and separating minors from their parents. The legislators said they were outraged that ICE has been used to conduct raids in accordance with “zero tolerance” as ordered by the Trump administration. According to their proposed resolution, “ICE has become a nightmare… ICE’s mission is to enforce our laws but has turned into a force used to raid communities, detain hard-working people and to separate families.” The lawmakers’ resolution calls

to replace ICE “with an agency designed to protect our borders, ending ICE’s ability to conduct horrifying raids in our towns and cities.” Peralta and Ortiz noted that, according to a study released by the Fiscal Policy Institute, undocumented immigrants contribute about $1.1 billion to state and local taxes in New York. The analysis points out that undocumented immigrants are responsible for about $40 billion of the state’s Gross Domestic Product, or economic output. They account for 11 percent of the leisure and hospitality industry and 9 percent in agriculture and construction in New York. “It is absolutely critical for all New Yorkers to stand up with our immigrant neighbors and draw a clear line against federal immigration attacks against our cities and communities,” Ortiz said. “We cannot allow our own law enforcement agencies to assist these efforts without common sense guidelines.” Immigration advocates have rallied support for the Peralta-Ortiz bills. “The Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans fully supports State Senator Peralta and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz’s efforts to establish New York as a sanctuary state, and to urge Congress to replace ICE,” said CIANA Founder and CEO Emira Habiby Browne. “As the host society, it is our duty to fight against separation of children from their parents, and the detentions and deportations of hard-working immigrants, many running from violence and trauma in their home countries, seeking a safer and better future for their families. Instead, we must provide our new immigrants with the tools and opportunities to contribute their skills and talents and to build stronger communities,”

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Key Food Spruces up Adopted Cross Bay Green Space

Officials from Almonte’s Key Food of Howard Beach recently joined several community volunteers to help beautify a patch of emerald green grass on Cross Bay Boulevard near South Conduit Avenue. Almonte’s Key Food adopted the area two years ago. Every couple of months neighborhood volunteers fill bags with litter, dead tree limbs, and grass clippings. Last week they collected 23 bags that

were picked up by the City Department of Transportation. “We want to give back to the community that supports us,” Key Food owner Frank Almonte, who trimmed trees, swept, and mowed, said. “This fall we will plant trees and expand our landscape maintenance.” Photo Courtesy of Almonte’s Key Food of Howard Beach

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 30, JULY 26, 2018 | 5

EDITORIAL That’s one small step for the House of Representatives. One giant leap for flood insurance. The Lower Chamber Tuesday night passed legislation to establish an extension of the beset National Flood Insurance Program through hurricane season (Nov. 30). That’s the good news. The bad news: As of Wednesday evening the Senate had not followed suit. That aforementioned “good news” needs an asterisk. This besieged program, drowning in $25 billion in debt, does not need another stopgap measure, another band-aid for a gaping bullet wound. Yes, this is the seventh such short-term extension, and the NFIP desperately needs substantive action to properly reform it. But with the eleventh hour creeping up on the country—July 31 deadline to pass an extension—this is what’s needed right now, especially in the heart of hurricane season. Earlier this month, we reported how a coalition of organizations that scrutinize federal disaster policy blasted Congress for not taking proper, long-term action. SmarterSafer, which is comprised of conservation groups, taxpayer advocates, insurance


at some point. “The necessary overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program should include measures that promote mitigation against the threat of flooding; update and improve outdated flood-risk mapping techniques; ensure full communication of flood-risk data to communities and home-buyers; and ensure consumers can choose private flood policies,” SmarterSafer added. “Recent studies have found private insurance could offer cheaper premiums, giving Congress the opportunity to reduce premiums for a majority of policyholders nationwide—but Congress has not yet acted on this. These reforms will save taxpayers billions annually and contribute to a smarter, safer and interests, and housing and mitigation NFIP will not lapse, it is disheartenexperts, lamented how “continuous ing that our representatives have once more robust system of flood insurance that will better protect people and short-term extensions do not provide again declined to enact much needed property in harm’s way.” the certainty or the reforms the proreforms to NFIP, which has borrowed This isn’t about pining for another gram needs.” over $25 billion from U.S. taxpayers,” extension, securing it—then out of Bull’s eye. That’s the truth. But at the coalition said in a statement issight, out of mind. No. We’re not this moment we need an extension sued Wednesday. “We urge Congress about kicking the can down the road just so we’re covered for hurricane sea- to use the next 4 months to create a around here. We need substantive son. Remember: NFIP supplies more comprehensive legislative package that debate that will produce thorough than 5 million property owners with addresses ensures that the program solutions. flood insurance coverage. better protects people in harm’s way, It starts with the Senate. Do your “Though SmarterSafer is pleased the environment and taxpayers.” job. that the House took action so that We will need solutions, not blame,

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Far Rockaway Man Pleads Guilty in Vicious Cat Slay By Forum Staff A Far Rockaway man entered a guilty plea this week to answer charges against him for the brutal murder of a cat in September of 2016. Giovanni Olivo, 31, formerly of Beach 26th Street, pled guilty, in lieu of a jury trial, to aggravated animal cruelty and third-degree attempted intimidating a witness. Olivo entered his plea on the day that jury selection was to start in his trial. Justice John B. Latella set sentencing for September 12, at which time he indicated that he will sentence Olivo to ten months in prison. In addition, he will be banned from owning pets for five years and will be required to register with the New York City Department of Health as an animal abuser. The registration will prevent city shelters, rescue groups and/or pet stores from allowing the defendant to purchase or adopt a pet.

Photo Courtesy of Google

According to the charges, Olivo was observed tossing a cat from his third-floor balcony home on Beach 26th Street and watching the cat hit the ground.

Olivo admitted to violently killing a cat in September 2016, as well as to trying to intimidate a witness slated to testify against him in court. “In pleading guilty, the defendant admitted to stabbing a cat, throwing her from

a balcony and then stomping her to death. This was a cruel and vile act of brutality,” District Attorney Brown said. “These kinds of acts of aggression toward animals cannot – and will not – be tolerated.”

Authorities say that subsequent to his arrest, Olivo attempted to scheme his way out of trouble by attempting to intimidate a witness that saw him kill the cat. DA Brown noted that, "eyewitnesses to criminal acts must be protected from outside interference that might affect their testimony. The defendant is going to jail as punishment for the vicious killing of a cat and for trying to sway a witness to lie in court.” Charges in the case say Olivo was observed tossing a cat from the third-floor balcony home on Beach 26 Street and watching the cat hit the ground. He then went downstairs and repeatedly stomped on the pet stating aloud “you’re dead to this world.” Several people, including children, who were outside at the time witnessed the cat’s brutal death. After being arrested and charged with killing the cat, he tried to make the case go away by attempting to intimidate a neighborhood person, who had witnessed the incident on September 30, 2016.

Richmond Hill Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Rape of 14-Year-Old Girl By Forum Staff The Richmond Hill rapist who assaulted a teenage girl in February 2016 will spend three years in prison for his heinous actions. Albert Premnauth, 24, of Jamaica Avenue, was found guilty of second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a child. Acting Supreme Court Justice Peter Vallone Jr., presided at trial, and sentenced Premnauth to three years in prison, followed by ten years’ post release supervision and registration as a sex offender. Premnauth met the 14-year-old victim through an 18-year-old friend of hers who owed him money for marijuana. The two men then hatched an illicit plan to settle the debt with the girl providing sexual favors in exchange for the money owed. To coerce the girl, her friend threatened to post a nude video of her on the internet if she didn’t agree to have sexual intercourse with Premnauth. In a powerful statement, District Attorney Richard Brown warned against the dangers of taking and sharing such photo-

be trusted friends. Once an image is sent, the sender loses all control over where that image goes next. In this instance, the 14-year-old victim, as a joke, sent a naked video of herself to her 14-year-old female friend on Snapchat. That video then ended up in the hands of the 18-year-old male friend… The defendant in this case, forced the girl to have sex with him even though she cried and literally begged not to be raped.” The saga unfolded in early 2016, when the victim sent a nude video of herself to her 14-year-old female friend as a joke. She in turn shared the video with an 18-year-old friend, who owed the defendant money for marijuana. The 14-yearold girl was then coerced to either have sex with Premnauth or have the nude video posted online. A meeting was arranged and on February 20, 2016, the victim met the defendant at his home. The girl told PremnPhoto Courtesy of Starmark auth that she was just 14 and begged him to give her time to The awful series of events began when a Snapchat video ended up in the pay the money the friend owed. But the defendant refused, wrong hands forced her to have sex and then gave her $100 cash and a pair graphs. “This case tragically demonstrates how dangerous it is of Beats by Dre headphones as payment. Both the cash and for youngsters to take explicit photos or videos of themselves the headset were given to the 18-year-old, who sold them to and then send them to others - even those they consider to pay Premnauth.

Leader of Flushing-Based Meth Ring Nabbed by Feds By Forum Staff The alleged leader of a large, Flushingbased methamphetamine distribution organization was arrested on Thursday, according to federal officials. Anthony Pineda, 36, was arraigned and ordered detained pending trial. Fourteen additional members were previously arrested and arraigned on four indictments unsealed last month in Brooklyn federal court. According to charging documents, Pineda allegedly led the distribution organization from his illegal gambling parlors in Flushing. Pineda allegedly obtained large quantities of meth in California and transported the drugs to New York for wholesale and retail distribution. His co-defendants include large-scale and street-level meth pushers, as well as Pine-

cattle prod” that a co-conspirator could use to collect a debt. When Pineda was arrested on Thursday, federal officers recovered a pound of meth and approximately $27,000 in cash in the apartment in which he was residing. “Drug dealers are trying to turn New York into the next methamphetamine wasteland,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “Distributing on both a large scale and street level, Pineda and his co-defendants carelessly endangered our communities,” Photo Courtesy of Google added FBI-NY Assistant Director-in-Charge One of Pineda’s Flushing gambling dens was located on College Point Boulevard near Maple Avenue (second from Bill Sweeney. “These individuals operated on l.) opposite sides of the nation – but with the da’s partners in the illegal gambling operation, erations with threats and violence. In 2017, he help of our fellow law enforcement agencies, federal prosecutors said. threatened a competing gambling parlor own- [Thursday’s] arrests show that expansiveness Pineda allegedly protected his illegal op- er with a gun and referred to a “high-voltage never inhibits justice.” THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 30, JULY 26, 2018 | 7

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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 29, JULY 19, 2018 | 9

City looking to put a Dent in Truck Issues

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

Members of the 102nd Precinct Traffic Safety Unit recently conducted an overnight heavy tow operation in which two abandoned school buses were removed from Woodhaven Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue.

By Michael V. Cusenza The City has recently ramped up efforts to address the long-standing issue of commercial rigs conspicuously parked on Queens streets. “Idling trucks eat up parking spaces for hours on end, fill our air with harmful exhaust, and inflict asthma or other respiratory illnesses on residents,” noted City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), chairman of the Council Committee on the Environment. Last week, members of the 102nd Precinct Traffic Safety Unit conducted an overnight heavy tow operation in which two abandoned school buses were removed

from Woodhaven Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue; and several other commercial vehicles were “booted” within the command. In June, City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) introduced legislation aimed at cracking down on illegally parked commercial trucks. The Commercial Truck Abuse Act features two measures. Introduction 1011 would reduce time during which a tractor-trailer combination, tractor, truck trailer or semi-trailer can be parked to 90 minutes from 3 hours; Intro. 1010 would increase the penalty for such a violation to $400 from $250, and to $800 from $500 for subsequent violations within a six-month period. Miller called illegally parked 18-wheel

The Pharmacist’s Corner Presented by Frank Pantina, R.Ph

THE ACHES AND PAINS OF WEATHERWhat to do for relief We've all heard it before, most likely from grandparents or even our own parents, "This weather is killing me." As children we may have been left scratching our heads, but now, especially in weather like we've been experiencing, we know exactly what they meant. It might surprise you to learn how much havoc the weather can wreak on our bodies. But our joints have sensory nerves, called baroreceptors, that respond to changes in the weather. When the weather changes, so does the air pressure and so does our body. Rainy and damp conditions cause the barometric pressure to drop. When that happens our tendons, ligaments, and muscles expand. Baroreceptors come to our aid and help the central nervous system to regulate the resistance of blood vessels and the heart’s contractions. But people who suffer from muscle or joint pain, expansion in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can really bring misery. The kind of weather we've been having lately comes with high humidity which can thicken the blood, and increase pressure in blood vessels. Then our hearts have to work harder to pump blood through the body. Hot, humid days can also cause excessive sweating, which can be problematic because our bodies produce sweat

to keep us cool, but sweat has to evaporate for us to cool down. When it's very humid there is already a lot of moisture in the air and it does not readily absorb moisture from our skin. This can lead to a loss of body fluid and dehydration. Becuase joint cartilage and the discs in our spine have high water content, and dehydration can decrease the concentration of fluid, arthristis is subject to becoming very agitated and painful.Dehydration in the heat can also cause more serious conditions like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Your pharmacist can certainly lead you to a number of OTC preparations, often topical rubs that can help ease the discomfort from the painful and stifening conditions brought on by weather changes. To combat the effects of humidity drink lots of water. Drink 1-2 glasses of water for every hour you are outside. This will help you to restore your fluid levels and reduce water loss. Dehydration can also cause stiffened tissues in the back, because circulation is off. You should also take advantage of any opportunity you have to swim as it is great therapy for joint or back pain. If you have back or spinal pain, biking is also a great low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the back. Until next week!

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trucks a “nagging quality-of-life issue” that has been especially troublesome for his Southeast Queens constituents. “The ‘Commercial Truck Abuse Act’ will serve to make the cost of doing business more than the companies that own

these vehicles can afford to bear, which they have been all too willing to do at the expense of our community,” Miller added, “but we’re determined to change that attitude.”

Corona Pharmacist Gets Jail, Stole $1.5M+ from Medicaid By Forum Staff The owner of a pharmacy formerly located in Corona has been sentenced to six months in jail, five years’ probation, and 200 hours of community service for defrauding the NY Medicaid program out of $1.5 million, State Attorney General Barbara Underwood and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced on Friday. Arkady Goldin, 40, of Brooklyn, owns Value Pharmacy, Inc., which is now located in Lynbrook, N.Y. In addition to the aforementioned punishment, Goldin and Value Pharmacy will be required to pay $1.5 million to the state as restitution for the money stolen from Medicaid and an additional $1.5 million in financial penalties, for a total of $3 million, according to authorities. An investigation conducted by the attorney general and comptroller’s Joint Task Force on Public Integrity revealed that Goldin had entered into an unlawful kickback arrangement with a former hospital employee to steer prescriptions to Value. As part of the scheme,

Value Pharmacy, Inc. opened its doors in Corona, but evwentually moved to Long Island.

Value submitted false claims to the Medicaid program for medications that it never dispensed. The investigation uncovered that from January 2012 to November 2013, Goldin had a kickback arrangement with a former employee of Nassau University Medical Center who, earlier in the investigation, pleaded guilty to unlawfully accepting kickbacks related to

10 JULY 26, 2018 • Number 30 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

Photo Courtesy of Google

Medicaid services. In exchange for steering expensive cancer prescriptions from NUMC to Value, Goldin paid the hospital employee a monthly cash referral fee and provided him with other items of value, including tickets to sporting events, an iPad, and free meals. State law strictly prohibits all medical providers, including pharmacies, from paying or offering to pay kickbacks to another person in return for

the referral of medical services ultimately paid for by Medicaid. Additionally, as part of the scheme, Value did not purchase sufficient amounts of medication from licensed state drug wholesalers that would have been necessary if Value legitimately dispensed prescriptions for which Value billed Medicaid. As a result of the unlawful scheme, Medicaid ultimately paid Value over $1.5 million for unlawful claims for medications. Last month, Goldin pleaded guilty to health care fraud in the second degree, a class C felony, and to violating the Social Services Law prohibition on the payment of kickbacks related to the State’s Medicaid program, a class E felony. “Mr. Goldin’s jail sentence and order to repay millions to the State should serve as a warning,” DiNapoli said. “Mr. Goldin defrauded a program meant to help vulnerable New Yorkers and is being held accountable. My thanks to Attorney General Underwood for our ongoing joint efforts to protect the public’s money.”

Major Prison Sentence for Frequent Fraudster By Forum Staff A Little Neck con man was recently convicted for multiple schemes to defraud—including falsifying financial disclosures to avoid paying restitution to victims from a $5.4 million securities fraud scheme in which he was previously convicted, and stealing over $360,000 from his now 89-year-old mother, multiple exgirlfriends, and a military veteran, according to State Attorney General Barbara Underwood. Franklin Marone’s combined sentencings in upstate Greene County Court and Queens Supreme Court will result in a total state prison term of 10 1/3 to 29 years. Marone was also ordered to make reparations in excess of $1.5 million, Underwood noted. Marone was sentenced last week in Greene County to 2 to 4 years in prison for submitting fraudulent financial disclosures to conceal his assets from the court in order to avoid paying restitution to the victims of his $5.4 million securities fraud scheme for which he was convicted in 2004. Last

2004 sentence. According to statements made at sentencing, over the past two decades, Marone financially exploited more than 30 victims. Prosecutors described Marone as a “charismatic predator” who befriended others and then used them for financial gain. Instead of making meaningful efforts to repay his prior victims, Marone continued to defraud additional victims, and then deliberately concealed his ill-gotten gains from the court. Between November 1998 and January 2004, Marone, a former stockbroker, targeted his fellow members of the ski patrol at a Catskills mountain resort and fraudulently solicited them to invest more than $5.4 million in a series of fictitious equity funds that he dubbed “Patrollers Capital Funds.” In furtherance of his scheme, Marone created fraudulent stock certificates, prepared phony account statements, and Courtesy Photo sent emails to his victims touting the perFranklin Marone formance of the phony funds. In reality, all month, Marone was resentenced to 8 1/3 of the investors’ money was deposited dito 25 years for willfully failing to pay resti- rectly into Marone’s personal accounts. tution—a violation of the terms of his prior On June 22, 2004, Marone was convict-

American Legion Kicks off its Centennial Celebration by Swearing in 100th Commander

Photo Courtesy of American Legion

New American Legion Commander Gary Schacher

By Forum Staff Gary Schacher, a 26-year U.S. Navy veteran who served in Fallujah from 2004 to 2005 and has dedicated his post-military career to supporting Empire State veterans, was sworn in last weekend at the Centennial Celebration of the American Legion Department of New York as the 100th commander of the state’s largest veteran organization. The Cobleskill, N.Y., native succeeds Commander Rena Nessler, a fellow Navy vet who was also the first female commander of the American Legion.

During his military career, Schacher received numerous personal awards, including four Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, the Navy Expert Pistol Medal, the Navy Expert Rifle Medal and several campaign, service and unit awards. He is a recipient of the New York Conspicuous Service Star and the New York Medal for Merit. And in 2017, he was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. “It is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to lead this incredible organization as we pursue another 100 years of making a meaningful impact in the lives of veterans and their families,” Schacher said. “I joined the American Legion more than 25 years ago because of its commitment to service members of all ages and backgrounds and I am proud to say our commitment to all veterans is unwavering and stronger than ever before.” According to American Legion, Schacher joined the American Legion in 1991 and has held a number of leadership roles within the organization. He has previously served as New York vice commander from 2014 to 2015 and, most recently, as membership chairman from 2015 to 2018. He is a member of the American Legion Riders and an instructor at the American Legion Family College of New York. Among his goals, Schacher said he’s hopeful that the department can attract more female and minority veterans, as well as service members from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, over the next year.

ed in Greene County Court of two counts of first-degree grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree for perpetrating a massive investment fraud scheme. Marone was sentenced to 6 to 18 years in state prison and ordered to pay over $4.6 million in restitution to his victims. On June 11, 2018, a restitution hearing was conducted, resulting in a finding that Marone had willfully failed to pay restitution to his 29 prior victims. The court heard evidence that Marone only paid a total of $15,000 restitution between 2013 and 2017, while simultaneously: receiving in excess of $55,000 in checks payable to himself or cashed on his accounts; spending over $64,000 in upgrades to Jeep Wranglers for customized oversized tires, wheels, a light bar, and other equipment; spending over $18,000 for a gym and spa membership; spending over $4,000 on a cruise; and pawning over $9,000 worth of property. “After previously being convicted of fraud, the defendant has shown zeroremorse for his victims – and a complete disregard for the law,” Underwood said.

Woman Tried to Smuggle 10 Pounds of Heroin through JFK Airport: Feds

Federal agents four egg-shaped packages of heroin in the passenger’s luggage.

Photo Courtesy of CBP

four egg-shaped packages of heroin. In total, approximately 4.4 kilograms, or A U.S. citizen is now facing fed- 9.7 pounds, of dope were seized. The heroin has an estimated street eral narcotics smuggling charges after agents at John F. Kennedy Interna- value of more than $300,000, accordtional Airport earlier this month dis- ing to federal officials. “Our CBP officers’ and agriculture covered nearly 10 pounds of heroin in her bags after she arrived in NYC from specialists’ experience and vigilance Mexico City, according to authorities. were key components in this signifiU.S. Customs and Border Protec- cant narcotic seizure,” said Frank Rustion officers inspected Emma Soriano’s so, acting director of CBP’s New York luggage on Friday, July 15, and found Field Office. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 30, JULY 26, 2018 | 11 By Forum Staff

Former President, Chairman of Samaritan Village Dies By Forum Staff Richard Pruss, a pioneer in the field of substance use disorder treatment, died on July 14, 2018 at the age of 75. He was President and CEO of Samaritan Village from 1974-2008. During his tenure, Samaritan Village grew from a single outpatient clinic in donated office space of a factory in Richmond Hill, to one of the largest non-profit providers of community-based substance use treatment centers in New York State. In the summer of 1965, Pruss, then 22 years old, heard a public service announcement seeking volunteers to work with a local Episcopalian priest to aid troubled young men and women at what was then the Samaritan Halfway Society in Corona. By 1974, Pruss, working with other greats in the field, had successfully developed and opened one of the nation’s first therapeutic communities using community as method and offering methadone as one of its treatment options. That same year he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of what would become Samaritan Village. New York State was experiencing an influx of veterans returning from Vietnam, who were homeless, addicted to heroin and struggling with alcoholism. Pruss worked with a core group to develop a holistic treatment model for veterans where drug and alcohol use disorders, trauma and other mental health issues including “shell shock” and later PTSD, could be addressed simultaneously. In 1996 Pruss founded the first licensed

Richard Pruss was 75.

residential treatment program exclusively for veterans that would become recognized nationally for clinical excellence. Over the next three decades, Pruss guided Samaritan Village’s expansion from the acquisition of a two-family house that became a 12-bed residential therapeutic community, to a former resort on 100+ acres in upstate New York. In 1991, he launched the “On the Right Track” program at Grand Central Station for homeless addicts, many of whom were Vietnam vets. The Forbell Men’s Shelter followed in 1995, offering temporary shelter to homeless men referred by the City, while they got treatment. In 1992, Pruss partnered with the Brooklyn DA’s Office to develop treatment services for persons involved in the criminal justice system through innovative “alternatives to incarceration” pro-

12 JULY 26, 2018 • Number 30 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

Photo Courtesy of Samaritan Village

grams. In 1994, Samaritan Village began to confront the challenges posed by addicts in treatment living with HIV/AIDS and established the nation’s first nursing home for this population in conjunction with two other agencies. Cognizant of the need to foster personal and professional growth among its clients, Pruss introduced services to encourage residents to pursue education and career training while in treatment. Samaritan Village was also one of the first providers to offer primary health care services alongside treatment to address Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases facing clients. Throughout his career, Mr. Pruss was an active advocate on behalf of addicted individuals, spending countless hours educating legislators and policy makers about

the plight of those with substance use disorders. He was a founding member and past President of the national Therapeutic Communities of America and the New York Therapeutic Communities Association. He also helped found the New York State Association of Substance Abuse Providers and served as President from 1988-1992. Pruss was Chairman of the Board of Damian Family Care Centers, Inc., a primary medical health center and dental care services provider in New York State, as well as former member of the HELP/PSI Board. In 2007, Mr. Pruss was the recipient of the Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Pruss stepped down as President and CEO of Samaritan Village in 2008. He served as Board President of Samaritan from 20142017. As Chairman of the Samaritan Village Board, Pruss oversaw the historic merger of Samaritan Village with the iconic Daytop Village in 2015, preserving treatment programs throughout New York State, and forming what is now Samaritan Daytop Village. In addition to his wife of 18 years, Kathleen A. Riddle, co-founder of the Queens based treatment agency Outreach, he is survived by daughters Deena Mauro and Jenny Pruss, a brother Sheldon Pruss and his wife Christine, son-in law Thomas Mauro, granddaughters Montana Mauro, Paige Mauro, and Sydney Hain, a grandson Dalton Hain, eight nephews and six nieces. Contributions may be made to the Samaritan Daytop Foundation, or the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

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Legal Notices INTERNATIONAL TRENDZ LLC. Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 10/25/2016. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to THE LLC, 11922 204TH STREET, SUITE 2, QUEENS, NY 11412. Purpose: Any lawful activity.

Notice of formation of ATELIER FAUCHEUX LLC Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 05/21/2018. Office located in Queens County. SSNY has being designated as agent for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to, ATELIER FAUCHEUX LLC, 9912 65TH ROAD #6H REGO PARK, NY 11374. Purpose: any lawful purpose.

L’ARCENCIEL LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 05/09/2018. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to DENIZ KARAFAZLI, 2390 29TH STREET, APT 20, ASTORIA, NY 11105. Purpose: Any lawful activity.

Notice of Formation of LemonShark Poke Midtown East LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 06/21/18. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 38-19 223rd St., Bayside, NY 11361, Attn: Noel J. Shu. Purpose: any lawful activities.

Apple Tour LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 4/25/18. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 67-00 192nd St, Apt. 1100, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365. General Purposes.

Notice of formation of BLUE BUTTERFLY MASSAGE THERAPY LLC Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 06/08/2018. 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, 179-66 ANDERSON RD., JAMAICA, NY 11434. Purpose: any lawful purpose.

TO SPITI MOU, LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 4/12/18. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to The LLC 210-03 58th Ave Bayside, NY 11364. Purpose: Any lawful activity. THE INDUSTRY PROJECT LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 4/05/18. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to The LLC 19-25 22nd DR. Astoria, NY 11105. Purpose: Any lawful activity. 8/02

NOTICE OF FORMATION of EMPIRE RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS LLC Articles of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 5/21/2018. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to: THE LLC 132-70 SANFORD AVENUE, APT 3M,FLUSHING, NY 11355. Purpose: any lawful purpose. 8/09

Notice of formation of Los Marinillos, LLC. Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 04/16/2018. Office located in Queens County. SSNY has being designated as agent for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to, Los Marinillos, LLC. 141-08 Northern Blvd. Flushing, NY 11354. Purpose: any lawful purpose.

Notice of Qualification of Cinq Pictures, LLC. Appl. for Auth. filed with NY Dept. of State on 5/2/18. Office location: Queens County. NY Sec. of State designated agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served, and shall mail process to the LLC, c/o CT Corporation System, 111 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011. DE addr. of LLC c/o Corporation Trust, 1209 Orange St, Wilmington, DE 19801. Cert. of Form. filed with DE Sec. of State, 401 Federal St., Dover, DE 19901 on 7/27/17. Purpose: any lawful activity.


ELLE BEE MEDIA LLC rticles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 01/24/18. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to LAKEIA R. BROWN, 68-64 YELLOWSTONE BLVD. B46, FOREST HILLS, NY 11375. Purpose: Any lawful activity. HUSNIE MERRICK REALTY LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 06/26/18. 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, 480 Villa Ave., Staten Island, NY 10302. Purpose: Any lawful activity. 8/23

HEISER JEFFERSON LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/25/18. 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, 40-17 48th Street, Sunnyside, NY 11104. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.


25-26 38 St LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 7/11/18. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 25-26 38th St, Astoria, NY 11103. General Purposes. 3750 BARNES DEVELOPMENT LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 6/6/18. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to:JOSEPH XU, 38-14 30TH STREET, LONG ISLAND CITY, NY 11101. General Purposes.

JUST WORDS LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 07/19/2018. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC, 15-41 208th Street, Bayside, NY 11360. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. APRIL HAMILTON COACHING, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/04/2018. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: APRIL HAMILTON COACHING, LLC, 1037 48TH AVENUE, APT 5, LONG ISLAND CITY, NY 11101. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

Blackchain Banking and Marketing Advisors LLC, App for Auth filed with SSNY on 05/25/18, Cert of Frmn filed in DE on 03/23/18. 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: 3162 42nd St, Long Island City, NY 11103. The off add required to be maintained in the jurisdiction of its frmn is: 919 N. Market St, #950, Wilmington, DE 19801. The name and add of the Sec. of State in its jurisdiction of org where a copy of its art of org is filed is The Secretary of State of DE, 401 Federal St, #4, Dover, DE 19901. Purpose to engage in any lawful act. AG 41-05 LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/22/18. 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, 41-05 30th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11103. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. Urban Plaza LLC, Arts of Org filed with SSNY on 05/15/18. 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: The LLC, 7043 45th Ave, Woodside, NY 11377 Purpose: to engage in any lawful act.

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609 EAGLE ROCK AVENUE LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 06/25/18. 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 Alma Bank, 31-10 37th Avenue, Suite 400, Long Island City, NY 11101. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

67 FRESH LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 02/15/17. 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, 2222 75th Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11370. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

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