THE FORUM NEWSGROUP | FEBRUARY 15, 2024

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VOL. 24 • NUMBER 7 • FEBRUARY 15, 2024

HAPPY ENDING Missing Ozone Park Man Returns Safely

See Story on Page 2

Shams Uddin Ali, 71, who suffers from dementia and diabetes, was located on Monday after disappearing on Sunday morning. Photo Courtesy of Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 24 • Number 7 • FEBRUARY 15, 2024 | 1


Missing Ozone Park Man Returns Safely to Family By Michael V. Cusenza A missing Ozone Park man suffering from dementia was located on Monday and returned to his family. Shams Uddin Ali, 71, who also suffers from diabetes was last seen on Saturday morning leaving his Ozone Park residence. He was wearing black traditional clothing, has a white beard, and was driving a 2012 blue Honda Pilot at the time of his disappearance. On Sunday, Ali’s son, Adam Samad, reached out to the media. “Given the circumstances of his disappearance and his medical condition, the New York Police Department has classified him under a special category of missing

persons,” Samad wrote in an email. “We implore you to share this information through your channels to help us reach a wider audience and increase the chances of locating him safely. Any information, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, could be crucial in bringing him back to his family. Please contact the New York Police Department immediately if you have any information regarding his whereabouts.” The Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol shared the incredible news of Ali’s location on social media. “Shams Uddin Ali has been found safe,” COP wrote around noon on Monday. “A huge thank you to all who shared info, hung Photo Courtesy of Google flyers, and joined the search. Your support Ali, 71, who suffers from dementia and diabetes was last seen on Saturday morning leaving his Ozone Park residence near 78 th Street and Sutter Avenue. means everything.”

Courtesy of COP

The Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol posted a Missing Persons flyer on social media.

Photo Courtesy of Honda

The flyer noted that Ali He was driving a 2012 blue Honda Pilot at the time of his disappearance.

Council Common Sense Caucus Leads Rally for Unvaccinated Workers By Michael V. Cusenza The City Council Common Sense Caucus on Thursday led a rally for unvaccinated City workers on the steps of City Hall. Nearly a hundred civil service employees, healthcare workers, and their supporters turned out, rallying in support of Resolution 5—a resolution seeking to support S7466-A in the State Legislature, which would allow workers fired for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine to return to

work without first signing any waivers forfeiting back-pay. “Today’s resolution will seek to bring long-overdue justice for countless city employees,” Councilwoman Joann Ariola (ROzone Park), a member of the Common Sense Caucus, said after Thursday’s rally. “These people have been out of work for much too long. It is due time that they return to the jobs they love.” Ariola added on Twitter, “Today, I am introducing Resolution 5, which is seeking

Photo Courtesy of Council Common Sense Caucus

“Today’s resolution will seek to bring long-overdue justice for countless city employees,” Councilwoman Ariola said.

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to right this wrong and ensure that our city workers can get back to their jobs without first having to sign any waivers that would forfeit their back pay. This Resolution is supporting a larger initiative in Albany to get our workers back to their jobs, and would help to finally close this dark chapter in our history once and for all.” Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (RWhitestone), a member of the Common Sense Caucus, added, “I have been beating this drum for over two years now

and I’m proud to co-sponsor Reso 5, a resolution calling on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the governor to sign, S. 7466-A, and a companion bill, to reinstate New York City employees who were terminated due to non-compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. This legislation is a crucial step in making amends to the disastrous polices of the COVID-era and I look forward to seeing my colleagues in Council embrace this legislation.”

Nearly a hundred supporters turned out for Thursday’s rally.

Photo Courtesy of Council Common Sense Caucus


Boro Men Get Prison Time for JFK Taxi System Hack

Your problems are our job. Let us begin helping you with a free consultation.

Photo Courtesy of JFK Airport

U.S. Attorney Williams said that Abayev and Leyman “wrought havoc on JFK’s electronic taxi dispatch system, impacting fair order and creating chaos for honest taxi professionals.”

By Forum Staff Two borough residents have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a scheme to hack the electronic taxi dispatch system at John F. Kennedy International Airport, federal prosecutors announced on Monday.

unauthorized access to the Dispatch System via a Wi-Fi connection, and stealing computer tablets connected to the Dispatch System. The members of the Hacking Scheme also sent messages to each other in which they explicitly discussed their intention to hack the Dispatch System. For example, on or about Nov. 10, 2019, Abayev messaged Derebenetc in Russian: “I know that the Pentagon is being hacked[.]. So, can’t we hack the taxi industry[?]”

Daniel Abayev, 47, was sentenced to four years in prison and Peter Leyman, 49, was sentenced to two years in prison. Both were sentenced to three years of supervised reAt various times between November lease and each ordered to pay $161,858.26 2019 and November 2020, the memin forfeiture and $3,456,169.50 in restitu- bers of the Hacking Scheme successfully tion. hacked the Dispatch System. They used On Oct. 4 and Oct. 30, 2023, respec- their unauthorized access to alter the Distively, Leyman and Abayev each pleaded patch System and move specific taxis to guilty to one count of conspiring to com- the front of the line, thereby allowing drivers of those taxis to skip other taxi drivers mit computer intrusion. waiting in the line. Abayev and Leyman According to the charging documents charged taxi drivers $10 each time they and other filings and statements made in were advanced to the front of the line and transferred part of their profits to Shipulin court: and Derebenetc. From at least September 2019 through Abayev was the leader of the HackSeptember 2021, Abayev and Leyman, who are U.S. citizens residing in Queens, ing Scheme and recruited the other parand Aleksandr Derebenetc, a/k/a “Sa- ticipants. Abayev and Leyman’s scheme sha Novgorod,” and Kirill Shipulin, a/k/a resulted in large numbers of taxi drivers “Kirill Russia,” who are Russian nationals skipping the taxi line. Over the course residing in Russia, engaged in a scheme of the scheme, they enabled as many as (the “Hacking Scheme”) to hack the Dis- 1,000 fraudulently expedited taxi trips a day. patch System at JFK. At all relevant times, taxi drivers who sought to pick up a fare at JFK were required to wait in a holding lot at JFK before being dispatched to a specific terminal by the Dispatch System. Taxi drivers were frequently required to wait several hours in the lot before being dispatched to a terminal and were dispatched in approximately the order in which they arrived at the holding lot.

“Daniel Abayev and Peter Leyman, allegedly assisted by Russian hackers, wrought havoc on JFK’s electronic taxi dispatch system, impacting fair order and creating chaos for honest taxi professionals. Their actions enabled up to 1,000 fraudulent taxi trips daily, underscoring the serious threat cyber hacking poses to critical infrastructure,” Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of NY, said. “Through our collaborative efforts with law enforcement partners, their scheme was dismantled, and the defendants have been rightfully sentenced.”

Beginning in 2019, Abayev, Leyman, Derebenetc, and Shipulin attempted various mechanisms to access the Dispatch System without authorization, including bribing someone to insert a flash drive Derebenetc and Shipulin remain at containing malware into computers connected to the Dispatch System, obtaining large.

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Boro Men among 70 Current and Former NYCHA Employees Charged with Bribery, Extortion Offenses By Michael V. Cusenza Two borough residents recently found themselves among the 70 current and former NYC Housing Authority employees charged with bribery and extortion offenses.

Jose Espinal, 57, of Howard Beach, and Nirmal Lorick, 58, of South Richmond Hill, each have been charged with solicitation and receipt of bribe, and extortion under color of official right. The bribery charge carries the potential maximum prison term of 10 years. The extortion offense carries the potential maximum prison term of 20 years. According to the allegations in the Complaints and publicly filed documents in these cases:

Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY

The map below shows the developments affected by the alleged conduct.

NYCHA is the largest public housing authority in the country, providing housing to 1 in 17 New Yorkers in 335 developments across the city and receiving over $1.5 billion in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development every year. When repairs or construction work require the use of outside contractors, services must typically be purchased via a bidding process. However, at all times relevant to the Complaints, when the value of a contract was under a certain threshold (up to $10,000), designated staff at NYCHA developments could hire a contractor of their choosing without soliciting multiple bids. This “no-bid” process was faster than the general NYCHA procurement process, and selection of the contractor

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required approval of only the designated the largest single-day bribery takedown staff at the development where the work in the history of the Justice Department. NYCHA residents deserve better. My was to be performed. Office is firmly committed to cleaning up The defendants, all of whom were the corruption that has plagued NYCHA NYCHA employees during the time of for far too long so that its residents can the relevant conduct, demanded and re- be served with integrity and have the ceived cash in exchange for NYCHA con- high-quality affordable homes that they tracts by either requiring contractors to deserve. The culture of corruption at pay up front in order to be awarded the NYCHA ends today.” contracts or requiring payment after the City Department of Investigation contractor finished the work and needed a NYCHA employee to sign off on the Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber added, completed job so the contractor could re- “As charged, these 70 current and former ceive payment from NYCHA. As alleged, NYCHA supervisors and other staff used the defendants typically demanded ap- their positions of public trust and responproximately 10 percent to 20 percent of sibility to pocket bribes in exchange for the contract value—between $500 and doling out no-bid contracts. The exten$2,000 depending on the size of the con- sive bribery and extortion alleged here tract—but some defendants demanded calls for significant reforms to NYCHA’s even higher amounts. In total, these de- no-bid contracting process, which DOI fendants demanded over $2 million in has recommended and NYCHA has accorrupt payments from contractors in cepted.” exchange for awarding over $13 million If you believe you have information worth of no-bid contracts. related to bribery, extortion, or any other U.S. Attorney for the Southern Dis- illegal conduct by NYCHA employees, trict of NY Damian Williams said: “In- please contact OIGNYCHA@doi.nyc.gov stead of acting in the interests of NYCHA or (212) 306-3356. If you were involved residents, the City of New York, or tax- in such conduct, please consider self-dispayers, the 70 defendants charged today closing through the SDNY Whistleblower allegedly used their jobs at NYCHA to Pilot Program at USANYS.WBP@usdoj. line their own pockets. This action is gov.


The Pharmacist’s Corner

Presented by Frank Pantina, R.Ph

YOUR COMMUNITY PHARMACY: WE’RE HERE FOR THE FUTURE

Detective/First Grade Brian Simonsen

Photo Courtesy of the Detective Brian “Smiles” Simonsen Foundation

Borough Remembers Det. Brian Simonsen By Michael V. Cusenza On Monday, Queens celebrated the life and monumental sacrifice of Det. Brian Simonsen, who was shot and killed on Feb. 12, 2019, by friendly fire in the line of duty. “We will never forget the sacrifice made by Det. Simonsen. Despite his passing, his legacy continues to live on in the Detective Brian Simonsen Memorial Foundation— an organization I am honored to work with, that does so much to improve the communities that Det. Simonsen served,” City Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) said on Monday. Simonsen spent his entire 19-year-career in the 102nd Precinct. Simonsen was shot and killed when responding to a report of an armed robbery at a T-Mobile store on 120th Street and Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill. He was 42. According to court documents, on that Tuesday, the two men indicted in Simonsen’s death—Christopher Ransom and Jagger Freeman—arrived together at the T-Mobile. Shortly after 6 p.m., Freeman walked past the store, peered through the windows, and then communicated via cell phone with Ransom. Moments later, Ransom—wearing a dark hoodie slung over his head with a mask covering part of his face—entered the store. While Freeman was allegedly posted outside as a lookout, Ransom is alleged to have brandished a black pistol and ordered the two employees inside the store to remove the cash from the registers and remove the iPhones and cash from the back room safes. Shortly thereafter, according to charging documents, Ransom allegedly exited the back room and re-

entered the main store area—still holding what appeared to be a gun—as members of the NYPD entered the location. According to the charges, after Ransom spotted the cops retreat from the store, he allegedly exited with the phony weapon in-hand and pointed it at police officers, who immediately began to discharge their weapons. In October of 2021, Ransom pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 33 years in prison. He had 25 prior arrests, including one for impersonating a police officer. On July 7, 2022, in Queens Supreme Court, Jagger Freeman received 30 years to life for his role in Simonsen’s death. Freeman was convicted of murder, robbery, assault, and other charges for his role in the deadly shooting. His sentencing includes the conviction for robbery in the second degree and grand larceny in the third degree related to Freeman’s participation in a separate cell phone store robbery on Feb. 8, 2019. In 2022, the New York Police Department rolled out a new protective vest for the Detective Bureau so that the lighter weight, less bulky vest could be worn more easily under a business suit. Named after Simonsen, the vests were developed by the Detectives’ Endowment Association, Inc. with seed money from the union, and were chiefly financed by the New York City Police Foundation. On June 15, 2019, a street was renamed in the Town of Riverhead as Det. Brian Simonsen Way. On Oct. 8, 2022, another corner at the intersection of 118th Street and Jamaica Avenue was named in his honor.

We’ve noticed that many of our customers are expressing concern over the future of community pharmacies. Folks are genuinely concerned with the feasibility of our survival. Their concerns stem from the struggle against chain drug stores and the surging online presence of Internet giants, suddenly so taken with dabbling in pharmaceuticals. What can be difficult for some customers to perceive, is that pharmacists operating community pharmacies, do so with a level of dedication and commitment which can never be matched by chains or online competitors. For many, owning a business is primarily tied to one concept–earning money. But for us, that is a consideration which naturally holds a place within the practical realm of life, but is relatively small when weighed against the bigger picture–– the health and well being of our customers and their entire families. Owning a community pharmacy and serving the population at large is not merely a business. It is a pledge–to provide the best, most comprehensive care in dispensing medications, monitoring progress and constantly making sure every "i" has been dotted and every "t" crossed. It is a promise–to go to whatever extent we must, to make sure you feel secure with us managing such a critical aspect of everyday life. But most of all, it is a privilege to be entrusted with maintaining the standard of health care that saves lives and protects families. With the advances of the medical community steering the pharmacy seg-

ment of health care to be directly involved in a patients medical care, our roles have become greatly expanded. Our responsibility has increased tremendously. There is no denying that the competition of big retailers, shrinking profit margins, the ever decreasing reimbursement schedules from insurance providers– accompanied by consistent increase of various fees from one in the same– and the advent of online drug sales, all contribute to painting a less than a bright horizon. But the somewhat intangible factor, that can go unnoticed, is the thing that will help bolster and maintain the community pharmacy in its present state, for the foreseeable future. Very simply, it is the fact that you, our customers and patients, recognize the fact that we are not just the people who count pills and put them in bottles for you. We are the people that carefully note every detail of what you need to make sure you get the maximum benefit from your medication. We are the people who know your names and ask how your kids and grand kids are. We are the people who answer your questions and call to check on you. We are the people you trust with your lives. We are the friendly faces and the personalized service you’ll not find behind the counters of the state of the art, impersonal chain stores or staring back at you from a glaring computer screen. We are your community pharmacists. And we are not going anywhere! Until next week...

For your family’s prescription needs, please call

CROSS BAY CHEMIST at 718-659-9500 or 718-880-1644 157-02 Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm. Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. or 96-05 101st Ave. in Ozone Park: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm. Sunday: Closed.

Span Closure to Bring More Cars to Cross Bay Bridge MTA Bridges and Tunnels on Monday announced a full closure of the Marine ParkwayGil Hodges Memorial Bridge for the replacement of roadway deck panels. The bridge, which connects Brooklyn to the Rockaway Peninsula, will be closed in both directions to all traffic from 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, through approximately 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. Motorists can use the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge as an alternate route. Service on the Q35 bus will be re-routed via a detour over the Cross Bay Bridge. Photo Courtesy of Patrick Cashin/MTA

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DA Katz Hosts Lawmakers at Annual Legislative Breakfast

The Queens DA’s Office hosts the annual legislative breakfast every February.

By Forum Staff Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz on Friday hosted city, state and federal lawmakers for her office’s annual legislative breakfast. “I talked about my office’s many achievements in the last year and our continued efforts to do right by the people of Queens,” Katz said. Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (RWhitestone), a member of the Council

Photo Courtesy of DA Katz

Common Sense Caucus, noted, “We discussed how elected officials can work with the DA’s office to promote public safety as well as law and order. We also spoke about our shared legislative priorities to protect the people of Queens including strengthening laws relating to vehicular violence, safety in our transit system, improving prosecution of sex crimes against children. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and DA Katz to ensure pub-

Photo Courtesy of Councilwoman Vickie Paladino

“I talked about my office’s many achievements in the last year and our continued efforts to do right by the people of Queens,” DA Katz said.

lic safety for my constituents and all residents of Queens.” Common Sense Co-Chairman Bob Holden (D-Maspeth) said, “I attended the legislative breakfast this morning with colleagues across city, state, and federal levels. This was an excellent opportunity to address several issues directly with the DA and lawmakers. Thanks for having us, DA Katz!”

Katz has continued the tradition of the legislative breakfast started by her predecessors, including Richard Brown, who held the office from 1991 until his death in 2019. In closing the 2015 breakfast, Brown said his “office has the respect of our law enforcement colleagues and the confidence of the 2.3 million residents of Queens County whom we represent.”

Adams Recommends Deputy Mayor Joshi, City Planning Director Garodnick to Serve on MTA Board By Forum Staff Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday announced the recommendation of Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi and Department of City Planning (DCP) Director and City Planning Commission (CPC) Chairman Dan Garodnick to serve on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board. Currently overseeing the Adams administration’s transportation and infrastructure portfolio, Joshi spearheads the administration’s street safety work — which helped make 2023 New York City’s second-safest year for pedestrians since Vision Zero began in 2014 — while also creating vibrant public spaces in all five boroughs and preparing the city for congestion pricing. Garodnick leads the city’s land use priorities, including neighborhood plans in every borough and three citywide zoning text amendments focusing on the environment, economic development, and housing. Prior to joining the Adams administration, Joshi was President Joe Biden’s nominee for administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency responsible for regulation of interstate trucking. In this role, she led initiatives aimed at improving roadway safety, the working conditions of truck drivers, and accountability mechanisms

Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Over his two years in office, Adams said he has prioritized making the City’s transit system safe, reliable, and accessible.

to integrate automation. Joshi was previously chair and CEO of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission — the nation’s largest for-hire transportation regulator — where she spearheaded Vision Zero campaigns, keeping high risk drivers and unsafe vehicles off the road. She led landmark policy changes, including establishing robust open transportation data standards, enacting the nation’s first for-hire driver pay protection program, and providing

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broad and on-demand access to for-hire transportation for passengers who use wheelchairs. In addition to her roles in transportation oversight, Joshi was previously the inspector general for the City Department of Correction, responsible for investigations of corruption and criminality at all levels of New York City’s jail operations between 2002 and 2008; and the first deputy executive director of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board,

leading investigations of civilian allegations of police misconduct. Garodnick previously served as a lawyer, not-for profit executive, and 12-year member of the City Council. “Perhaps nothing impacts the smooth operations of New York more than its public transit system; it is the backbone around which our economy functions and our identity as New Yorkers is built. Supporting the MTA’s fiscal and operational wellbeing through this moment of transition would be a great honor and privilege,” said Joshi. “From delivering needed upgrades to effectively operationalizing congestion pricing, I am committed to faithfully serving the people of New York as a member of the MTA’s Board of Directors. I am deeply grateful for Mayor Adams’ nomination and look forward to the State Senate’s review.” “Our mass transit system is the lifeblood of New York City and our entire region. I’m honored to be recommended by Mayor Adams to this important role, and I will work every day to deliver the safe and reliable transit system that New Yorkers rely on and deserve,” said Garodnick. “Transportation is a critical part of smart planning and land use, and this is a tremendous opportunity to advance even stronger housing, job, and transit efforts in the years to come.” All MTA board nominations are subject to State Senate confirmation.


More Illegal Scooters Seized by DA’s Office and NYPD

Of the 133 scooters confiscated last Tuesday and Thursday nights, 103 were unregistered.

By Forum Staff Over the past week, in three separate operations, the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the City Police Department seized a total of 176 scooters as part of an ongoing joint operation between her office and local police precincts to address the vehicles’ persistent involvement in crimes such as drive-by shootings and robberies. The scooters were confiscated for being

Photo Courtesy of DA Katz

illegally parked. The vast majority were unregistered and uninsured. Detectives from the District Attorney’s office working with officers from the NYPD’s 108th and 114th precincts searched 18 locations in Woodside and Long Island City last Tuesday and Thursday nights. Of the 133 scooters confiscated, 103 were unregistered. The joint operation previously resulted in the seizure of 43 scooters. “Unregistered scooters are being used to commit violent crimes, including shoot-

Photo Courtesy of DA Katz

“With nearly 200 scooters seized in Queens so far this month, the positive effect on quality of life is tangible,” said City Police Commissioner Caban.

ings and robberies,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “Through our proactive enforcement efforts in collaboration with the NYPD, we have taken close to 200 of these illegal vehicles off our streets in just one week. We will continue working with the NYPD to eliminate the threat illegal motorbikes represent to our communities.” Additional operations are planned in Queens as part of an enforcement effort to get illegal unregistered motorized scooters off the road.

NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban added, “The men and women of the NYPD, in close collaboration with our law enforcement partners, continue to make headway in reducing the illegal use of motorized scooters in New York City. With nearly 200 scooters seized in Queens so far this month, the positive effect on quality of life is tangible. Together, we are providing the public safety that New Yorkers expect and deserve.”

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 24 • Number 7 • FEBRUARY 15, 2024 | 7


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Hochul Announces $55M+ in Opioid Settlement Funding Awarded to Support Services across State By Forum Staff Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday announced more than $55 million awarded and an additional $20 million in procurement opportunities made available through New York State’s Opioid Settlement Fund to support a range of addiction services across New York State. The funding builds on ongoing efforts to distribute the millions of dollars awarded through a series of agreements with opioid manufacturers and distributors, and address the impact of the opioid and overdose epidemic throughout New York State. Additional funding is also being made available for two separate initiatives to increase access to addiction treatment, and support the addiction workforce. The initiatives supported through the $55 million include: Non-Medical Transportation Funding provided through this initiative will assist providers in developing a transportation program for individuals who are enrolled in or are seeking treatment, prevention, recovery, or harm reduction services for a substance use disorder. This initiative will assist individuals by providing them transportation to and from a variety of destinations that support their individualized recovery efforts and goals. In addi-

tion, this initiative will assist the individual in developing their own transportation plan to promote long-term transportation independence. The funding awarded through this initiative will fund one year extensions to their current contracts. Recipients are listed below by their State Opioid Response (SOR) Regional Network. Each recipient is receiving $240,000 from this initiative. • Brooklyn: Advanced Health Network, Inc. • Citywide: Coordinated Behavioral Care Inc. • Queens: Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities, Inc. Recovery Community and Outreach Centers An additional $6 million is being awarded to all OASAS Recovery Community and Outreach Centers to enhance and expand recovery support services. This is an extension of existing funding which was made available last year to bring the annual budget of all recovery centers to $535,000. This funding can be used for a variety of purposes, including staffing, improving infrastructure and technology, equipment, trainings, and minor renovations. Local Impact Initiatives Round 1 and 2 This initiative provides funding for small non-profits to receive up to $9,500 to support

Photo Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Governor Hochul said that NY “is leading the way in getting settlement funds out to providers and communities that have been impacted by the opioid and overdose crisis.”

their community-based work. Providers that are eligible are small nonprofits with revenue of less than $750,000 annually. In total, there are 34 recipients (18 in round one and 16 in round 2) that received $322,075 in total. Regional Abatements More than $46 million from the 2024 OSF appropriations has been paid to municipalities and local governments per the terms of the settlement agreements. The use of these dollars is at the discretion of the entity and guided by the allowable use documents under the settlement agreements, which are available to view on the OASAS website. Last year, more than $64 million was provided to municipalities through the 2023 OSF regional abatement fund. Additional procurements and application opportunities now available through OASAS include:

Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment Programs - RFA To support treatment expansions across New York State, OASAS has issued a request for applications for $9.5 million to fund new Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment Programs. The programs provide more opportunities to access person-centered, comprehensive treatment services, including medication treatment for opioid use disorder around the state. Programs receiving this funding will operate both an outpatient treatment program and an opioid treatment program at the same site. “New York State is leading the way in getting settlement funds out to providers and communities that have been impacted by the opioid and overdose crisis so that they may continue their work to save lives,” Hochul said.

Members of MS-13 Killed 16-Year-Old Victim in Alley Pond Park, Participated in Robberies By Forum Staff On Thursday, in federal court in Brooklyn, Luis Rivas, 28, a member of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas (CLS) clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS13, a transnational criminal organization was sentenced by United States District Judge Rachel P. Kovner to 35 years in prison for the May 16, 2017 fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Julio Vasquez in Alley Pond Park, and Hobbs Act robberies in Jamaica, after pleading guilty on July 14, 2023. Previously, co-defendant Josue Leiva, 27, also a member of the CLS clique was sentenced on Jan. 23, 2024 by Judge Kovner to 35 years in prison for the murder of Vasquez and Hobbs Act Robberies. Their co-defendant, and the leader of CLS, Melvi Amador-Rios, was convicted of the murder, the robberies and other charges after a three-week jury trial August 2023, and was sentenced to life in prison plus 38 years in November 2023. As proven at Amador-Rios’ trial, beginning in fall 2016, the CLS clique, led by Amador-Rios, decided to kill John Doe 3, a CLS chequeo, or low-level MS-13 member, who had been violating the clique’s rules, including by associating with members of the rival 18th Street gang. AmadorRios ordered Julio Vasquez, also an MS-13

Photo Courtesy of Alley Pond Environmental Center

On May 16, 2017, Rivas and Leiva lured Vasquez to a wooded area of Alley Pond Park where they stabbed him more than 30 times, nearly decapitating him and ultimately killing him.

chequeo, to carry out the killing of John Doe 3. Vasquez was tasked with killing John Doe 3 because Vasquez had been violating the clique’s rules and was suspected of cooperating with law enforcement. After Vasquez failed to kill John Doe 3, Amador-Rios ordered Vasquez to be killed. On May 16, 2017, Rivas and Leiva lured Vasquez to a wooded area of Alley Pond Park where they stabbed him

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more than 30 times, nearly decapitating him and ultimately killing him. Vasquez’s body was discovered by a bird watcher in the park on May 21, 2017. Leiva and Rivas pleaded guilty on July 14, 2023 to racketeering charges, including Vasquez’s murder. Leiva and Rivas also each participated in separate armed robberies of small businesses in Jamaica. In 2017, Rivas, accom-

panied by Amador-Rios and other gang members, robbed at gunpoint a money transfer business, during which Rivas pistol whipped an employee in the face. In 2018, Leiva, accompanied by AmadorRios and other gang members, committed a robbery involving holding the owner and a customer of a convenience store at gunpoint. “The sentencings send a powerful message to the defendants, other MS-13 members, and the community that gratuitous and senseless violence of this nature will not be tolerated in our district,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace. “We hope that today brings some measure of closure to the victims and their families.” “There is no place in our communities for barbaric violence being used to threaten and intimidate. Luis Rivas and Josue Leiva were rightly sentenced today for their roles in a senseless murder and other callously violent actions in the name of MS-13. The FBI’s New York Safe Streets Task Force is determined to ensure members of MS-13 or any other gang using violence in an attempt to control territory and people face significant punishment in the criminal justice system,” added James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.


Adams Launches Program to Create 1,500 Permanent Affordable Homes for New Yorkers in Shelter By Forum Staff Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner Molly Wasow Park on Thursday launched the Affordable Housing Services (AHS) initiative — a new effort that, according to the administration, will create 1,500 permanent affordable homes for New Yorkers in the shelter system with City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) vouchers. Through an emergency declaration issued today, DSS will fast-track 1,000 of those units With 10,600 households with CityFHEPS vouchers currently in the City’s shelter system unable to find housing due to the city’s severe housing shortage, the program will create a much-needed and scalable pathway out of shelter. Through the Affordable Housing Services program, the city will help nonprofits purchase or enter long-term, building-wide leases on affordable housing sites — locking in long-term affordability with strong tenant protections for CityFHEPS voucher holders. The emergency declaration issued today will allow DSS to fast-track the creation of 1,000 units of affordable housing by cutting down time required to register contracts with non-profit providers, ultimately al-

Photo Courtesy of OSD

The program also includes the first-of-its-kind project to convert the former JFK Hilton Hotel to affordable housing.

lowing providers to quickly move voucher holders into affordable units that are ready for immediate occupancy. The 1,000 fasttracked units will all use the AHS long-term leasing model and take advantage of newto-market buildings and existing housing stock ready for clients to move into. The additional 500 units in the AHS pipeline will be acquired by non-profit providers. In total, the city’s pipeline for the program will create 1,500 units of subsidized housing for households with CityFHEPS vouchers. DSS has already finalized contracts with various nonprofit providers to

create subsidized housing for nearly 700 households in shelter that are eligible for CityFHEPS vouchers. More than 150 households have already been placed in permanent housing made available through the program in 2023. The program also includes the first-of-its-kind project, done in partnership with Riseboro Community Partnership, to convert the former JFK Hilton Hotel to affordable housing. “Time and time again, our administration has taken action to help New Yorkers in our shelter system move into permanent affordable homes, and our strategies have

proven effective,” Adams said. “As 10,000 households eligible for CityFHEPS are currently living in shelters, the Affordable Housing Services initiative will create over 1,500 much-needed permanent affordable homes for New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. And as we act now to connect New Yorkers to the homes they need, we will continue to advance our historic ‘City of Yes’ proposal to build housing in every neighborhood and advocate for Albany to truly meet the need.” DSS Commissioner Wasow Park added, “After taking significant steps to expand access to city-funded rental assistance for households in shelter, we are pursuing bold housing solutions and leveraging social service dollars to create critical permanent housing opportunities for them. The emergency use of the Affordable Housing Services initiative will fast-track connections to deeply affordable housing for 1,000 households in shelter while positioning them for long-term stability. This initiative will also be instrumental in helping build on the vital progress we’ve made increasing permanent housing placements from shelter last year. We are also grateful for Comptroller [Brad] Lander’s partnership in this critical effort as we work collaboratively to realize new and innovative ways to deliver for some of our most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

Adams Administration Releases Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill of Rights By Forum Staff Mayor Eric Adams on Monday announced the City is releasing the Sexual and Reproductive Bill of Rights. The document defines health as inclusive of access to sexual health care, birth control, gender-affirming health care, and abortion services, and will help ensure that all patients in New York City are protected from discrimination and harassment related to their sexual and reproductive health care decisions. The Sexual and Reproductive Bill of Rights will be distributed to the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s network of health care providers, advocacy groups, and partner organizations across the city to share with patients. In 2022, in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal right to access safe, legal abortion care nationwide. Since that decision, NYC has introduced a range of services to protect and fulfill the local right to access abortion care. Since launching the New York City Abortion Access Hub in November 2022, more than 3,500 callers and over 790 chatters have been directed to reproductive health services and resources through NYC Health + Hospitals and providers throughout New York City: • More than a third of all callers request a Spanish-speaking navigator and a majority of callers identify as Hispanic or Latino. • A majority of callers shared that they make less than $25,000 a year. • Most callers live in New York City.

• Over 600 callers reported living outside the state and more than a third of those callers were from Texas. Anyone in need of abortion services or support in accessing care can receive referrals by calling 877-NYCAHUB (877-692-2482). For those who might prefer to start the conversation over text, there is now a chat feature to connect them to a phone operator. The City — alongside health care providers, patients, and dedicated supporters of reproductive care — has weathered ongoing attempts to restrict access to mifepristone, one of two drugs used for the past 23 years in medication abortion and has continued to support unfettered access to this safe and effective medication. In August 2022, Mayor Adams signed legislation enabling access to no cost medication abortion at DOHMH sexual health clinics. The service has expanded to the Jamaica and Central Harlem Sexual Health clinics after launching in Morrisania in January 2023. As a result, in 2023: • 627 medication abortion services were provided at the city’s sexual health clinics, • Most patients were New York City residents, with residents of the Bronx and Queens representing half of all medication abortion visits, and • More than 60 percent of medication abortion patients were uninsured. In October 2023, NYC Health + Hospitals launched telehealth abortion access through Virtual ExpressCare — becoming the first public health system in the nation to do so. Patients in New York City seeking abor-

tion care can schedule a Virtual ExpressCare appointment to speak with a New York state-licensed health care professional by video or phone, on-demand, for an assessment and counseling. If clinically appropriate and prescribed, patients will be able to receive a medication abortion kit at their New York City address within a few days. This service is available seven days a week, between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, and will provide patients with access to safe, legal abortion care. Patients can access telehealth abortion care online at https://expresscare.nyc/abortion-care/?utm_medium=email&utm_ name=&utm_source=govdelivery or by calling (718) 360-8981.

The Sexual and Reproductive Bill of Rights

Courtesy of NYC

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 24 • Number 7 • FEBRUARY 15, 2024 | 11


12 | FEBRUARY 15, 2024 • Number 7 • VOL. 24 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP


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Legal Notices Notice of Formation of GERALDINE 240 128 LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State (SSNY) on03/10/23. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail/email process to: MICHAEL SCOTT, 240 128 RD., ROSEDALE, NY, 11422, USA. Purpose: any lawful purpose. SHANTOM LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/02/24. 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, 267 East Townline Road, West Nyack, NY 10994. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. Notice of Formation of HOLLIS CUTZ LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State (SSNY) on 11/24/23. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail/email process to: Hollis Cutz LLC, 202-13 Hollis Avenue, St. Albans, NY, 11412, USA. Purpose: any lawful purpose. Cassena Dietary Services LLC filed Arts. of Org. with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 12/1/2023. Office: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served and shall mail process to: The LLC, 225 Crossways Park Dr, Woodbury, NY 11797. Purpose: any lawful act. JOANNA BURY DESIGN STUDIOLLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/04/2024. 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, 98 Walnut Street. Forest Hills , NY, 11375, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. MAXIM SCHIDLOVSKY STUDIO LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/15/2024. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: ZENBUSINESS INC. 41 STATE STREET, SUITE 112, ALBANY, NY, 12207, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. EASTRIDGE HOLDINGS LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/10/2024. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Jiashu Xu, 112-15 Northern Blvd, #2, Corona, NY 11368. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. JAB CONSULTING NYC LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 11/13/2023. 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, 2180 38TH ST APT A3, Astoria, NY 11105, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

PEACE LOVES COMPANY LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/12/2024. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: ZENBUSINESS INC. 41 STATE STREET, SUITE 112, ALBANY, NY, 12207, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

THE INPOWERMENT COMPANY LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/23/2023. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: DIKRAN KRIKORIAN, 208-15 42ND AVE, BAYSIDE, NY, 11361,USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

BEX IMPORTS LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 12/20/2023. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: MICHELLE BECKER, 558 OAK DRIVE, FAR ROCKAWAY, NY,116915411, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

VNB FUNDING, LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/18/24. 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, 2645 213th Street, Bayside, NY 11360. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

LMO EVENTS LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/17/24. 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 MICHAEL CHOI, 8451 BEVERLY RD. , 5E, KEW GARDENS, NY, 11415, USA. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. Notice of Formation of M&J SUKENIK FAMILY LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/09/24. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 84-14 118th St., Kew Gardens, NY 11415. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to Julie Kessler LLP, 60 E. 42nd St., 46th Fl., NY, NY 10165. Purpose: Any lawful activity. WEWALLET LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/15/24. 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 ZENBUSINESS INC. 41 STATE STREET, SUITE 112, ALBANY, NY, 12207, USA. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. ATELIER XIA DONG ARCHITECTURE PLLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/13/2023. 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, 318 EAST 112TH STREET, 7A, NEW YORK, NY 10029,USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. Notice of Formation of M&J SUKENIK FAMILY LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/09/24. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 84-14 118th St., Kew Gardens, NY 11415. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to Julie Kessler LLP, 60 E. 42nd St., 46th Fl., NY, NY 10165. Purpose: Any lawful activity. Notice of Formation of LISTO MANAGEMENT CONSULTING, Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 02/26/23. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 84-14 118th St., Kew Gardens, NY 11415. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to LISTO MANAGEMENT CONSULTING, LLC, 6838 140TH STREET, FLUSHING, NY, 11367, USA, Purpose: Any lawful activity.

14 | FEBRUARY 15, 2024 • Number 7 • VOL. 24 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

Notice of formation of BARONGI CAPITAL LLC Arts of Org filed with Secy of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/09/24. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent upon whom process may be served and shall mail copy of process against LLC to: STEPHEN BARONGI, 1543 146 PLACE, WHITESTONE, NY, 11357. Purpose: any lawful act. DREAM-AWAKEN LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 01/24/24. 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: DREAMAWAKEN LLC, 58-12 QUEENS BLVD., SUITE 2 #1073, QUEENS, NY, 11377, USAthe LLC, 26-45 213th Street, Bayside, NY 11360. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. Notice of Formation of FLUSHING MAIN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 02/05/24. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 41-60 Main St., #208B, Flushing, NY 11355. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to Wai Ying Lam at the princ. office of the LLC. Purpose: Property management.

Notice of formation of MELVILLE MONTESSORI LLC Arts of Org filed with Secy of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/29/24. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent upon whom process may be served and shall mail copy of process against LLC to: THE LLC, 8026 GRENFELL ST., KEW GARDENS, NY, 11415, USA. Purpose: any lawful act. J & P Depot Second LLC filed 10/23/23. Cty: Queens. SSNY desig. for process & shall mail to: 73-03 244th St., Douglaston, NY 11362. Purp: any lawful. Notice of formation of BARONGI CAPITAL LLC Arts of Org filed with Secy of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/09/24. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent upon whom process may be served and shall mail copy of process against LLC to: STEPHEN BARONGI, 1543 146 PLACE, WHITESTONE, NY, 11357. Purpose: any lawful act. Notice of formation of DREEM HOMES LLC Arts of Org filed with Secy of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/25/24. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent upon whom process may be served and shall mail copy of process against LLC to: DENY MINAYA, 93-09 212TH PLACE, QUEENS VILLAGE, NY, 11428, USA. Purpose: any lawful act. Notice of Formation of FLUSHING MAIN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 02/05/24. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 41-60 Main St., #208B, Flushing, NY 11355. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to Wai Ying Lam at the princ. office of the LLC. Purpose: Property management.


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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 24 • Number 7 • FEBRUARY 15, 2024 | 15


At last . . .

Dinner is served at

Nanas

Please join us on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 P.M. until 10 P.M. Our culinary creations are centered around prime beef, wild seafood, and premium shellfish We are serving house crafted cocktails, wines and spirits and desserts

It’s not just dinner, it’s an experience View our menu at the website listed below

Nana’s

164-26 Crossbay Blvd., Howard Beach, NY, 11414 e-mail: nanasbb164@gmail.com website: nanaseats.com phone 917.994.2454

16 | FEBRUARY 15, 2024 • Number 7 • VOL. 24 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP


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