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VOL. 21 • NUMBER 24 • JUNE 30, 2022

POLL POSITIONS After Primary Night Victories,

Hochul and Zeldin Set to Face off in NY Gubernatorial Election in November

See story on page 2

On Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul won the Democratic Primary, while Rep. Lee Zeldin prevailed in the GOP contest. In Queens, incumbents emerged victorious in Assembly Democratic Primary races. Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24• JUNE 30, 2022 | 1

Hochul, Zeldin Cruise to Primary Night Victories

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi won handily on Tuesday night.

By Michael V. Cusenza Photo Courtesy of Hochul Campaign

Gov. Kathy Hochul votes on Tuesday.

Photo Courtesy of Zeldin Campaign

Rep. Lee Zeldin on the campaign trail.

Governor Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin on Tuesday cruised to victory in the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary and the GOP Gubernatorial Primary, respectively. Hochul (66 percent) drubbed Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (19 percent) and Rep. Tom Suozzi (13 percent). Zeldin (41 percent) comfortably defeated Andrew Giuliani (23 percent), Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (19 percent), and businessman Harry Wilson (16 percent). “For the first time in history, a woman is the Democratic nominee for governor of New York. I’m here because of my family, hardworking New Yorkers, tireless organizers, and the generations of women before me who shattered glass ceilings. Let’s win

Photo Courtesy of Assemblyman Hevesi

this in November,” Hochul said. “On Nov. 8, Kathy Hochul will be FIRED as governor of New York. She’s in over her head and a walking identity crisis, pandering to the far-left tax and spend, procriminal elements of her party. Hochul is out of step with NYers on the issues they say are most important to them,” Zeldin said. As for Assembly Democratic primaries, borough incumbents emerged victorious, including in District 24, where Assemblyman David Weprin (D-South Richmond Hill) didn’t break a sweat Tuesday night, taking 63 percent of the votes. Both of his opponents earned 16 and 15 percent. And in District 28, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) garnered 65 percent of the votes, while his lone opponent, Ethan Felder, took 29 percent.

Richmond Hill Man Convicted of Operating Large-Scale Opioid Pill Mill By Forum Staff A federal jury in Brooklyn returned a guilty verdict on Monday against Ezhil Sezhian Kamaldoss on all counts of a superseding indictment charging him with conspiring to distribute millions of opioid pills and other illegal controlled substances imported from India and money launder-

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District

Some of the pills Kamaldoss imported.

of New York

ing conspiracy, prosecutors announced. According to federal officials, the evidence at trial proved that between May 2018 and August 2019, Richmond Hill resident Kamaldoss, 43, participated with others in a transnational drug-trafficking conspiracy, which involved the importation of misbranded prescription drugs, including Tramadol, a synthetic opioid, into the United States from India, re-packaging the drugs at a pill mill operating out of a warehouse in Jamaica, and shipping the drugs via U.S. mail to customers throughout the country. During the course of the charged conspiracy, Kamaldoss and the men who worked for him distributed millions of Tramadol pills sometimes purchasing hundreds of thousands of pills at a time. Additionally, Kamaldoss conspired to launder the proceeds of the drug-trafficking operation by using the illicit profits to reinvest in the business, including by paying shipping costs incurred by his coconspirators—including nearly $200,000 in Federal Express costs paid off in exchange for additional pills. The government’s evidence included testimony from a cooperating witness, who admitted to bribing workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport to evade detection by law enforcement authori-

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ties; members of law enforcement, one of whom testified that he witnessed Kamaldoss shipping packages and seized some of the drugs mailed by the defendant; testimony from an expert in forensic chemistry that the drugs mailed by Kamaldoss contained Tramadol and Alprazolam; documentary exhibits, including hundreds of emails, text messages, and spreadsheets recovered from email accounts and electronic devices of the defendant and his co-conspirators reflecting their daily receipt of dozens of drug orders, and their responses including tracking numbers of the shipments fulfilling the orders; and an audio recording made by a confidential informant of co-defendant Velaudapillai Navaratnarajah discussing the number and type of pills to package into envelopes. Navaratnarajah pleaded guilty in June 2022 to the drug conspiracy charges and is awaiting sentencing. “The defendant is now a convicted drug dealer. He lined his pockets off the blackmarket sales of millions of illegal opioids and misbranded prescription pills without regard for the harm caused by the abuse of these highly addictive and dangerous drugs,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Breon Peace. “With today’s verdict, the defendant is held

File Photo

“The defendant is now a convicted drug dealer,” U.S. Attorney Peace said.

accountable for having a hand in every aspect of his pill mill, from the importing of unapproved medications from India, to personally filling orders for these drugs for customers throughout the country.” When sentenced, Kamaldoss faces up to 50 years in prison.

Problem Gambling Bill Heads to Gov’s Desk By Forum Staff The State Senate and Assembly have approved a bill that would establish the Problem Gambling Advisory Council to identify issues affecting those suffering from a problem gambling disorder and recommend ways to make prevention and treatment more accessible, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), the legislation’s co-sponsor, announced Monday. The Problem Gambling Advisory Council will make findings and recommendations to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Legislature on how to prevent and treat problem gambling in New York. The council will consist of 13 members including the commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the chair of the Gaming Commission, and eleven additional members: • Four members appointed by the Temporary President of the Senate, • Four members appointed by the Assembly Speaker, • One member appointed by the Senate Minority Leader, • One member appointed by the Assembly Minority Leader, • One member appointed by the governor. The Temporary President of the Senate and the Assembly Speaker must appoint at least two representatives of community-based behavioral health services providers. The council can meet as often as necessary, but no less than two times per year. The council will develop and recommend strategies to ensure availability and access to problem gambling programs and resources, including information and resources regarding the prevention of problem gambling, for individuals throughout the state. They will examine the impact of mobile sports betting on problem gambling services, including

whether there was an increase in the number of calls placed to the problem gambling HOPEline or outreach to local problem gambling resource centers, the need for additional staffing, or whether there was an increase in the number of individuals placing themselves on the list of selfexcluded persons at gaming facilities. Finally, the council will develop an annual report due by Oct. 1 to the governor and legislature containing its findings and recommendations concerning problem gambling. A survey by OASAS found that five percent of adults exhibited problem gambling behaviors within the past year, while ten percent of 7th through 12th grade students showed signs of problem gambling or required treatment for the same. As part of the enacted legislation that established the ability for new casino development in New York, the legislature required casinos to deposit $500 annually into the Commercial Gaming Revenue Fund for every slot machine or table approved by the Commission. These funds are required to be used exclusively for problem gambling education and treatment purposes. “As co-sponsor of this bill and chair to the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, I am pleased that we are fulfilling a promise to provide additional resources and raise public awareness for problem gambling in our state,” said Addabbo. “The legalization of mobile sports betting brought higher-than-forecasted educational funds and revenue to our State, and the recent approval of downstate casino licenses will create jobs and additional resources, but this legislation demonstrates that we have not forgotten that we must prioritize problem gambling and address it in a timely, proactive manner.” The bill now awaits action by the governor; if approved, the law will take effect 180 days after it is signed.

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Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July as we proudly celebrate and cherish our patriotism and independence.

Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. New York State Senator District 15

District Offices:

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“I am pleased that we are fulfilling a promise to provide additional resources and raise public awareness for problem gambling in our state,” Sen. Addabbo said.

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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24• JUNE 30, 2022 | 3

Governor Convenes Special Legislative Session in Wake of Supreme Court Decision

“Until Albany does the right thing, New Yorkers will continue to pay with their lives,” Councilman Gennaro wrote in his letter to Gov. Hochul.

By Michael V. Cusenza Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday announced she will convene an extraordinary session of the State Legislature on Thursday, June 30, to pass new gun safety legislation in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down New York’s concealed carry law. In its 6-3 decision, the highest court in the land ended a 100-year legal precedent requiring individuals to demonstrate “proper cause” to obtain a license to carry a concealed fire-

arm. It deemed New York State’s existing law unconstitutional because it gives too much discretion to the State and its licensing officers in determining “proper cause.” The case now returns to New York’s 2nd Circuit Court — which must issue a ruling that aligns with the Supreme Court opinion. “The Supreme Court’s reckless and reprehensible decision to strike down New York’s century-old concealed carry law puts lives at risk here in New York,” Hochul said. “Since the decision was released, I have been working around the clock with our partners in the

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Photo Courtesy of Councilman Gennaro

legislature to craft gun safety legislation in response to this ruling that will protect New Yorkers. My number one priority as Governor will always be to keep New Yorkers safe.” At least one borough pol has reached out to Hochul this week, urging her to use the special session to also address “the most glaring deficiency” in the State’s criminal justice system: Judges are still not able to remand defendants based on the potential threat they pose to the public. “[A]s you and the Legislature convene to pass legislation during the special session as needed to address the ramifications of the

concealed carry decision, it is also imperative that you use your position as governor to address the most glaring deficiency in the State’s criminal justice system—the lack of a ‘dangerousness’ standard for the remand of defendants,” City Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Hillcrest) wrote on Tuesday in a letter to Hochul. "New York is the only state in the country where judges cannot remand defendants based on the potential threat they pose. The lack of a dangerousness standard has led to New York City and the entire State to be trapped in an endless cycle of violence in which dangerous defendants are released to perpetrate deadly violent crimes again and again as they await trial.” Additionally, Gennaro noted that major crimes in New York City are spiking at a tremendous rate, and the State has “the most shameful and preventable distinction of having the most cities on the list of the 24 cities nationwide with the highest number of homicides per capita.” Four cities in New York are on this ranked list, including Rochester (#5), Buffalo (#13), Syracuse (#14), and New York City (#24) – according to the Center for Public Safety Initiatives. “Please put the aforementioned reforms on the docket for the special session on public safety, and if they don’t pass, call another special session,” Gennaro wrote. “Until Albany does the right thing, New Yorkers will continue to pay with their lives.”

Four Charged in Aircraft Part Scheme

Photo Courtesy of JetBlue

Keily Nunez allegedly accepted more than $1 million in kickbacks in exchange for steering JetBlue aircraft part purchase orders to two aviation supply companies.

By Forum Staff An indictment was unsealed on Tuesday in federal court in Brooklyn charging Keily Nunez, Julien Levy, Ivan Santos and Ramnik Soni with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The charges arise from a scheme in which Nunez, a Jamaica resident and former employee of JetBlue (Company 1), accepted more than $1 million in kickbacks in exchange for steering Company 1 aircraft part purchase orders to Summit Aviation Supply LLC (Summit LLC), a New Jersey-based company controlled by Levy and Santos; and to Alaris Aerospace Systems LLC (Alaris), a Florida-based company controlled by Soni. Summit LLC and Alaris secured more than $1.5 million and more than $8.5 million, respectively, in purchase orders from Company 1 during the conspiracy. As alleged in the indictment, between approximately July 2017 and June 2021, Levy, Nunez and Santos conspired to defraud Company 1 of the honest services of its employees, including Nunez and another Company 1 employee (“Co-Conspirator 1”). In their roles with Company 1, Nunez and Co-Conspirator 1 were responsible for contacting after-market aircraft parts sellers on behalf of Company 1 and filling Company 1’s part requisitions using a solicitation process that typically involved three price quotes and a comparison to historical prices Company 1 had paid for a given part. In their roles, Nunez and Co-Conspirator 1 could request that Company 1 add new aircraft part sellers as business partners to Company 1’s internal ordering system. Upon making such a request, Nunez and Co-Conspirator 1 were required by Company 1’s policies to disclose whether they had a business or financial relationship with the new business partner.

In order to carry out the scheme, Nunez allegedly used his position within Company 1 to establish Summit LLC as a Company 1 business partner and falsely represented to Company 1 that Summit LLC was another entity, Summit Corp., that Company 1 had previously partnered with. In reality, Santos established Summit LLC and opened bank accounts in its name, and Levy created an email account in the name of an individual who had been associated with the defunct Summit Corp., that was used as an alias to communicate with Company 1 on behalf of Summit LLC. Nunez approved approximately 37 purchase orders between Summit LLC and Company 1 valued at over $1.5 million. In exchange, Nunez received multiple kickback payments representing a percentage of the purchase orders directed to Summit LLC. In addition, following the termination of Nunez’s employment with Company 1, Nunez contacted Co-Conspirator 1 about steering Company 1’s purchase orders to Summit LLC and Alaris in exchange for a portion of the invoiced amounts. Co-Conspirator 1 agreed and subsequently directed Company 1 purchase orders, at inflated prices, to Summit LLC and Alaris in exchange for a percentage of some of the invoices CoConspirator 1 approved. Nunez carried out a similar scheme with Soni and Alaris. Between approximately March 2017 and July 2019, Nunez allegedly approved approximately 109 invoices between Alaris and Company 1 valued at over $8.5 million. In exchange, Nunez received wires totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars sent from Alaris to bank accounts held in the name of FI USA Consulting LLC (FI USA), an entity controlled by Nunez. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison.

The Pharmacist’s Corner

Presented by Frank Pantina, R.Ph

CELEBRATING THE FOURTH: Stay safe! This week we'll stray a little from the world of pharmacy to give you some tips on basic summer safety, first and foremost those dealing with fireworks. The Fourth of July is upon us. As in years before, the use of fireworks increases dramatically in the week before the actual holiday. Although you may think you are dealing with a reputable source, when purchasing fireworks to use in our area is first, illegal and secondly, you may be buying offshoot goods, which have a high tendency to misfire causing burns and eye injuries. Fireworks cause more than 50,000 fires every year. So please, by all means enjoy your upcoming Fourth of July, watch professional displays but above all else, BE CAREFUL! Never disassemble or try to make your own fireworks. Don’t point sparklers, or fireworks at yourself or others, especially while they’re being lit. Only light fireworks on the ground and in areas that are dry and fire resistant. Don’t attempt to light multiple devices at the same time. Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers. Always keep a portable fire extinguisher close by. Also keep

a water hose or buckets of water nearby to put out fires. Firework celebrations go hand in hand with food and grilling and July is a month when more grilling fires occur than any other months. Enjoy grilling your favorite meals but always keep your family safe. Check gas grill hoses for cracks, holes and leaks. Keep kids away from grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions. Never grill indoors, in the garage, or in any enclosed area. Keep the grill at least two feet away from decks, siding, branches and any outdoor equipment that can catch fire quickly. And if you're lucky enough to participate in water activities keep these tips in mind: Review safe boating practices. Never consume alcohol while driving a boat. Before boating, check that you have enough life preservers for every passenger. Pools should be restricted and fenced in. Pools should be enclosed with a fence to restrict access to the pool area. Keep a first aid kit near the pool. Be safe and celebrate! Until Next Week…

For your family’s prescription needs, please call

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Ariola Pledges to Fight for More Education Funding

City Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) this week ripped the reduction in City schools’ budgets and promised to “fight for every penny needed during budget modifications to ensure that every student has what they need to succeed.” In an open letter to all District 32 school families, Ariola indicated that she is “working with the principals of each school throughout District 32 to identify where

the gap in funding is… We are suggesting that every school that had received a budget cut that does not reflect their enrollment to request register growth funding.” Ariola called education a “top priority.” “Discussions need to be had about how we are going to fix our schools and how we can draw parents and students back with better academic programs and more specialized education,” she wrote. Photo Courtesy of Councilwoman Ariola

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24• JUNE 30, 2022 | 5

City Celebrates New Investments in Cleanliness By Forum Staff Mayor Eric Adams and City Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch on Monday celebrated investments in cleanliness in the Fiscal Year 2023 Adopted Budget. The FY23 plan boasts significant new funding for cleanliness initiatives at DSNY. These include: • $22 Million in new funding for litter basket service, baskets to be emptied approximately 50,000 more times per week citywide. This means more service than ever, fewer overflowing baskets, and less trash on the sidewalk. • $7.5 Million for Precision Cleaning Initiatives — targeted work that addresses conditions like illegal dumping and persistent littering. Anyone who knows an area in need of precision cleaning is encouraged to call 311; this funding means calls can get results faster than ever before. • $4.5 Million for cleaning of vacant lots — allowing a return to prepandemic staffing levels at the DSNY Lot Cleaning Unit. This funding will stop vacant lots across the city — largely located in traditionally underserved neighborhoods — from turning into de facto dumps and will make the city’s recovery more equitable. In addition to these efforts, DSNY is engaging in the following previously an-

Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Adams and DSNY Commissioner Tisch talk cleanliness initiatives on Monday.

nounced new initiatives under Adams’ leadership: • The July 5 return of full pre-pandemic street sweeping, as New Yorkers once again move their cars to allow the mechanical broom — the strongest tool in the street cleaning arsenal — to do its job. • A five-borough pilot on containerization of waste, keeping bags of trash off

the sidewalks and testing what works to improve aesthetics and reduce opportunities for pests to feed. • New equipment and staff for sweeping protected bike lanes at least once per week. DSNY is also engaging in a major increase of enforcement, particularly against illegal dumping — a theft of public space

by private entities that carries a $4,000 fine for the first offense, and during which the offenders’ vehicles are impounded. All residents have a role to play in keeping New York City clean, either by reducing their waste, by calling 311 to report conditions in need of service, or by simply following the law. “New Yorkers tell it like it is, and everywhere I’ve gone in the last couple of years, they’ve told me the streets don’t look the way they should,” said Adams. “We have heard the complaints loud and clear; we need to get trash off our streets and kick littering to the curb, and, today, we are throwing those conditions in the bin. Sanitation workers want and deserve the tools to clean up this town and revitalize the city they love, and the tens of millions of dollars invested in this budget will let them ‘Get Stuff Done’ for our neighborhoods.” “The Sanitation Department has three core functions — curbside collection, snow removal, and cleaning,” Tisch added. “At the start of the pandemic, though, the budget for cleaning programs was decimated, and anyone who took a walk outside could see the difference immediately. Overflowing litter baskets, dirty streets and lots, piles of illegally dumped material; that’s not New York. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. And under this budget, New Yorkers will see a meaningful difference.”

Hochul Signs Legislation Expanding Protections for Transit Workers against Assault By Forum Staff

on schedule, that terminals and stations are clean, and that passengers can obtain tickets and information. These employees are vulnerable to harassment or assault by any individual using transit or transit facilities, and this bill will toughen laws to protect additional transit employees from attacks. By charging individuals who physically injure transit workers with second-

Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday signed legislation to protect roughly 11,000 more transit workers against assault and harassment. The bill will expand current law that charges individuals who attack or harass transit workers with second degree assault. It will extend criminal charges to individuals who assault station customer assistants, ticket or revenue collectors, maintenance workers, repairers, cleaners, and their supervisors, who are not protected by existing law. “During the pandemic, our transit workers were heroes, showing up while everyone was staying home — putting not only their health and the health of their families at risk, but also risking their lives as subway crime increased,” Hochul said. “New York's transit workers have always been there for us and now it is our job to be there for them. No one should be subjected to physical violence or harassment in the workplace, and today we are taking an important step in protecting the men and women who keep our subways and buses running.” Station customer assistants, ticket or revenue collectors, maintenance workers, and supervisors employed by transit agencies or authorities work with and among the public to ensure that transit is running Governor Hochul signed the bill into law on Monday.

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degree assault, the legislation will serve as a deterrent to those seeking to harm transit employees. “Today I celebrate alongside thousands of transit workers as Governor Hochul signs this critical legislation into law. Transit workers kept our city moving during the height of the pandemic and beyond, at great risk to themselves and their

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Coughlin/Office of the Governor

families. These heroes deserve safe workplaces and those who assault transit workers deserve to face penalties commensurate with their crimes. Recent events have made it clear how serious we have to be with regard to transit worker safety and I commend transit leadership, organized labor, and advocates who have all been key partners in making this a priority. I am grateful for their partnership and I am also grateful to my colleagues for their support, Assemblymember Cook for championing this in the Assembly, and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for their leadership. We all benefit when transit employees can focus on delivering safe, reliable service." DC37 Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I said, “The treatment of transit workers by the public needed to be addressed, they all deserve protection under the law. I am so happy that Governor Hochul is signing this legislation today showing her support for these heroic frontline workers. This sends a clear message to keep your hands off of transit workers while they keep New York moving. We look forward to working with the legislature to ensuring more public facing members are protected." ATU Local 1056 President Mark Henry added, “This legislation is needed to serve as a deterrent to those who think it’s okay to attack a transit worker.”

Cops Still Probing Belt Pkwy. Crash

Two crash victims were rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center with severe head trauma.

By Michael V. Cusenza Cops assigned to the City Police Department Highway Collision Investigation Squad are still looking into Monday’s multiple-vehicle accident on the Belt Parkway that left at least two people in critical condition. According to the NYPD, on Monday at approximately 1:25 a.m. police responded to a 911 call of a vehicle collision on the westbound Belt Parkway at Cohancy Street. A preliminary investigation determined that a 2013 BMW 328 and a 2018 Honda Accord were traveling westbound on the Belt Parkway in the left lane when the Honda struck the rear of the BMW. The Honda then veered to the right, coming to a rest on the right shoulder of the parkway. As a result of the collision, the Honda erupted into flames. The BMW came to a

Photo Courtesy of Google

rest across the left lane. A 2017 Infiniti Q50 also travelling westbound on the parkway struck the front of the BMW and the rear of a 2007 Subaru Forester that was travelling westbound in the middle lane. The Infiniti driver fled the location on foot and is being sought. The driver of the Honda, a 28-year-old woman, was rushed by EMS to Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in stable condition. A 28-year-old passenger was rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in stable condition. The operator of the BMW, a 24-yearold man, and a 25-year-old male passenger were both transported to JHMC with severe head trauma, where they are both listed in critical condition. The operator of the Subaru, a 55-yearold man, was transported to Brookdale in stable condition.

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Mayor Releases Blueprint for Child Care and Early Childhood Education By Forum Staff

Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday released “Accessible, Equitable, High-quality, Affordable: A Blueprint for Child Care & Early Childhood Education in New York City,” outlining essential steps to provide high-quality, equitable, and accessible child care for thousands of New York City families. From increasing outreach for families in temporary housing to expanding opportunities for early childhood professionals to cutting red tape for background checks, this interagency effort will move away from making critical decisions in silos to investing in holistic programming to support New York City’s youngest. By expanding access to care for the city’s 500,000 children under five years old, supporting parents, and reversing the economic impact for parents of color, the blueprint aims to support working families and allow parents to get back to work which will simultaneously add to the economic pulse of this city. Over the next four years, the Adams administration will make an additional $800 million in investments, combined with existing spending on child care — representing a total of approximately $2 billion allocated to child care spending. The plan outlines steps the administration will take to: • Offer an accessible child care experience rooted in equity to New York City families and increase enrollment across the city, • Prioritize 17 high-needs neighborhoods across New York City targeted to increase engagement with families and drive an increase in enrollment through the New York City Administration of Children Services (ACS), • Create a tangible career training and professional development pipeline through The City University of New York (CUNY); and • Take bold steps to include undocumented families, who have long been excluded from these opportunities, in new funding to create and expand child care benefits and make certain that all New York families re-

Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Adams released “Accessible, Equitable, High-quality, Affordable: A Blueprint for Child Care & Early Childhood Education in New York City,” on Tuesday.

ceive the support needed to provide for their families. Under the blueprint, the administration will cut red tape and alleviate the frustrations of the application process for families by launching a new application portal designed specifically for child care, allowing families to navigate this process easier. Through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the administration will streamline the background check process to work for a child care provider, reducing administrative burden and clearing the agency’s backlog. DOHMH will also hire an additional 40 staff members to expedite results and make it significantly easier for providers to make new seats available, all while maintaining thorough checks on all staff and employees.

According to the administration, the current inaccessibility of child care threatens household financial stability, especially for women-led and low-income families in New York City. Research has shown that the most impactful povertyfighting investment the nation can make starts in infancy, providing returns to society that far outweigh the costs. Currently, though, more than half — 52 percent — of New York City families with children under age four cannot afford child care and, since the start of the pandemic, one in four parents have had to turn down a job, change jobs, or take leave due to child care needs. Currently, there is only one available child care slot for every five infants in New York City.

FCC Chairwoman Visits Fresh Meadows School By Forum Staff Public School 154 in Fresh Meadows on Monday welcomed Federal Communications Commission FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for a roundtable discussion with high school and junior high school students to highlight the success of City schools and libraries recently receiving federal funding to increase internet access for students, particularly the many children who lacked an internet connection at home, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congresswoman Grace Meng (DFlushing), who hosted the event, helped create the program that provides this money, known as the Emergency Connectivity Fund, and she helped secure more than $7.1 billion for it. The funding was included in the American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief package that was passed by Congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021. In June 2021, Meng encouraged City schools in Queens to seek funding when the application period opened. And in the fall of 2021, schools and libraries across the nation – including in Queens and throughout New York City – began receiving the money, which has paid for Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, internet service and internet-enabled devices.

“In Congress, I have been proud to champion the vital issue of improving internet access and combatting the homework gap, and I was thrilled to welcome Chairwoman Rosenworcel to my congressional district for an important discussion on this crucial topic,” Meng said. “She and

But millions of kids have lived in homes without any internet connection, and that has created an unacceptable obstacle to education in our country and throughout New York. From remote learning during the coronavirus crisis to completing schoolwork and assignments, access to the

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel (center l.) and Rep. Meng talk with students at PS 154.

I have worked closely together on this issue, even before she rose to the top spot at the FCC, and this continues to be a top priority for her and her agency. Internet connectivity is part of our daily lives.

Photo Courtesy of Rep. Meng

internet is essential for today’s students to succeed in their studies. As the mother of two school-aged boys, I am passionate about this issue, and know firsthand how crucial it is. Fortunately, we have seen

the Emergency Connectivity Fund begin to address this problem by providing internet access to millions of students, and its success has put us on the road towards closing the digital divide. Our kids are our future. We must make the needed investments to ensure the next generation’s success which in turn ensures the future success of our nation.” The homework gap refers to students unable to complete their schoolwork due to the lack of access to the internet. “Too many children across the country, including right here in Queens, are still struggling to keep up with their schoolwork because they lack internet access at home. That’s unacceptable. The Homework Gap is one of the cruelest parts of the digital divide, but we have the power to fix it,” said Rosenworcel. “Thanks to the support of leaders like Congresswoman Grace Meng, the FCC received funding to create the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which will now help millions of students nationwide with the broadband connections and devices they need for homework and more. We still have more work to do to make sure every kid across the country has the internet access they need, but I’m more optimistic than ever that working together we can make this a reality.”

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24• JUNE 30, 2022 | 9

Hochul Invites Small Businesses to Check Eligibility for $250M COVID Capital Costs Tax Credit Program By Forum Staff Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the opening of the initial intake tool to help small businesses determine their eligibility for the COVID-19 Capital Costs Tax Credit Program. The $250 million COVID-19 Capital Costs Tax Credit Program will support small businesses that made investments to comply with emergency orders and regulations or to increase public safety in response to COVID-19. If deemed eligible by the screening tool, a link to the application will be provided when the program application opens. Small businesses were hit particularly hard by the pandemic downturn. Announced as part of Hochul's Executive Budget to continue the State’s support for small businesses, this new refundable tax relief program targets COVID-19-related expenses. Eligible COVID-19-related costs include, but are not limited to: • Supplies to disinfect or protect against COVID-19 transmission • Costs associated with expanding, or defining space to accommodate social distancing • HVAC equipment • Expenses related to increased out-

Courtesy of Empire State Development

The screening tool is located at

door activity and outdoor space expansions • Machinery and equipment to facilitate contactless sales Tax credits will cover 50 percent of eligible costs, up to $50,000, for a maximum tax credit award of $25,000, and credits will be awarded on a first come first serve basis until program funds are depleted. Eligible businesses must operate a location in New York State, have 100 or fewer employees, $2.5 million or less of gross receipts in the 2021 tax year, and at least $2,000 in eligible costs

between Jan. 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2022. Businesses are still encouraged to apply for the New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program which provides flexible grants of $5,000 to $50,000 for small businesses for COVID-19 expenses. However costs incurred between Jan. 1, 2021 and April 1, 2021 that were paid for with proceeds from this grant program are not eligible for a tax credit under the COVID-19 Capital Costs Tax Credit Program. To receive a tax credit for their 2022 tax

return, businesses must receive a tax credit certificate from ESD on or before Dec. 31, 2022. Potential applicants are urged to complete the screening tool and apply as soon as the program is launched, as any tax credits issued on or after Jan. 1, 2023 cannot be claimed until a business's 2023 tax return. “The pandemic has hit New York's small businesses especially hard, forcing many to close and others to incur significant financial burdens to protect their employees and customers from COVID-19,” Hochul said. “Small Businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy, and in order to truly recover from the COVID-19 crisis, we must lend a helping hand. This tax credit will be a crucial lifeline to New York businesses and I encourage all who are interested to apply for this much-needed aid.” Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight added, “Businesses have been burdened with many expenses during the pandemic that were necessary to keep their employees and customers safe. This tax credit will ease the burden that the business community incurred during COVID and help it continue to get steadily back on its feet. I am grateful for Gov. Hochul’s support and also for all of New York's business owners who are working every day to rebuild our economy.”

New FEMA Agreement will Unlock $250M+ in Fed COVID Reimbursement for NY Hospitals By Forum Staff

cent of the country’s confirmed deaths. When the pandemic hit, it quickly became clear that emergency child care was needed to meet the needs of healthcare professionals as schools were closed. Child care allowed healthcare professionals to fulfill work responsibilities during the pandemic’s early days. In New York, over 270,000 healthcare professionals needed child care support to continue working during

the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, healthcare professionals needed alternative housing to protect their families from exposure and additional transportation options during the early days of the pandemic. The pandemic drained resources from New York hospitals, and many exceeded their normal and assisted operating budgets as they undertook emergency protective activities to fight the COVID pan-

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday announced he has secured a first-ever agreement from Federal Emergency Management Agency that creates a pathway for reimbursement on previously rejected expenses incurred by hospitals in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, costs like transportation, child care, and housing will now be eligible for reimbursement. It is estimated that this flexibility will unlock approximately $250 million for New York’s hospitals, which otherwise would have been shouldered by the hospitals amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Schumer explained that FEMA will allow the state and impacted hospitals to enter into an agreement, like a Memorandum of Understanding, stating that the actions hospitals took to protect heroic doctors, nurses, support staff, and their families, were in service of the state’s legal responsibility to protect all New Yorkers, making those hospital expenditures eligible for FEMA’s funding. Without this flexibility, hospitals alone would have shouldered the expense of protecting our frontline healthcare workers, all while fighting to stay afloat and continuing the battle against COVID-19. Photo Courtesy of Sen. Schumer In the early days of the pandemic, New “This flexibility will unlock hundreds of millions in federal funding for New York hospitals, as well as hospitals across York accounted for over 20 percent of the the country, who took the necessary actions to protect heroic doctors, nurses, staff, and their families,” Sen. Schumer country’s confirmed cases and over 33 per- said.

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demic. FEMA’s Public Assistance program reimburses hospitals and medical facilities for these activities as they work day and night to protect our communities against COVID. “I worked hard to secure this agreement with FEMA to provide additional flexibility to hospitals hit hardest during the early days of the pandemic so they are rightfully reimbursed for the massive costs needed to respond to the COVID crisis,” said Schumer. “This flexibility will unlock hundreds of millions in federal funding for New York hospitals, as well as hospitals across the country, who took the necessary actions to protect heroic doctors, nurses, staff, and their families. With this agreement and increased flexibility, our hospitals will not have to shoulder these expenses alone, enabling them to be better equipped to handle future COVID-19 surges.” “New York’s hospitals incurred enormous emergency expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic while delivering lifesaving care, including costs for employee transportation, housing, and child care expenses,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth Raske. “Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been relentless in his efforts to ensure that FEMA reimburses our hospitals for these emergency expenses. We are deeply grateful to Senator Schumer for his leadership and unwavering support for New York’s hospital community.”

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Legal Notices SNT TAXI LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/19/2022. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Mohammed Z. Hossain, 40-16 Crescent St. 54, Long Island City, NY 11101. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

BABA ESTATE 1 LLC filed Arts. of Org. with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 2/2/2022. 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, 71-05 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, NY 11385. Purpose: any lawful act.

AL-YEMANI, LLC filed Arts. of Org. with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 5/13/2022. 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:KAREEM ALMATHRAHI, 666 WOODWARD AVE, RIDGEWOOD, NY, 11385, USA. Purpose: any lawful act.

Notice of Formation: CLF PROPERTY HOLDING LLC Articles of Organization filed with Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 06/07/2022. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY designated for service of process. SSNY shall mail copies of any process served against the LLC to 38 MONROE ST. PHA, NEW YORK, NY, 10002, USA Purpose: Any lawful purpose or activity Notice of Formation: GERAGHTY CONTNENT CONSULTING LLC. Articles of Organization filed with Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 03/13/2022. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY designated for service of process. SSNY shall mail copies of any process served against the LLC to MATT GERAGHTY, 3637 31ST STREET, AP. 2A, LONG ISLAND CITY, NY, 1106 Purpose: Any lawful purpose or activity Nikpar LLC, Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) 9/22/2021. Cty: Queens. SSNY desig. as agent upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to 2315 24th Ave., Astoria, NY 11102. General Purpose.

Notice of formation of DAILEY’S VETERANS SERVICES, LLC Art. Of Org. filed with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 05/18/22. Office in Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the 131-72 231st STREET, LAURELTON, NY 11413 USA. Purpose: Any lawful purpose 34-26 76th Street LLC, Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) 5/11/2022. Cty: Queens. SSNY desig. as agent upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to Stephan Mignot, 34-26 76th St., Jackson Heights, NY 11372. General Purpose Notice of formation of 80-10 209TH ST LLC. Notice of formation of 80-10 209TH ST LLC. Art. Of Org. filed with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 06/08/22. Office in Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC, 7307 194TH ST FRESH MEADOWS, NY, 11366. Purpose: Any lawful purpose Notice of formation of SUPER RISE REALTY LLC. Arts of Org filed with Secy of State of NY (SSNY) on 6/10/22. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent upon whom process may be served and shall mail copy of process against LLC to: 9224 Queens Blvd., Ste. 740293, Rego Park, NY 11374. Purpose: any lawful act. Notice of formation of 35 AVE XU OPERATOR LLC Arts of Org filed with Secy of State of NY (SSNY) on 1/06/22. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent upon whom process may be served and shall mail copy of process against to: THE LLC 35-06 LEAVITT ST., SUITE CF-A, FLISHING, NY, 11354, USA. Purpose: any lawful act. BROKERHEDGE.COM LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 03/11/2022. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Isaac Cohen, 9955 65 Avenue, Rego Park, NY 11374. Reg Agent: Isaac Cohen, 9955 65 Avenue, Rego Park, NY 11374. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

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