VOL. 21 • NUMBER 24 • OCTOBER 14, 2021
JOE SCHOOL Addabbo Blasts Mayor’s
Decision to Phase out Gifted and Talented Program as ‘Shortsighted and Inappropriate’
See Story on Page 2
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) suggested that improvements should be made instead to make the program more accessible to all children, including better outreach into all communities. File Photo
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24 • OCTOBER 14 2021 | 1
Improve—don’t Eliminate—Gifted and Talented Program: Addabbo By Michael V. Cusenza State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) on Friday blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter for their decision to phase out the City Department of Education’s Gifted and Talented program in the final months of the de Blasio mayoralty. Addabbo, a member of the Senate Education Committee, suggested improvements should be made instead to make the program more accessible to all children, including better outreach into all communities. “Mayor de Blasio’s decision to phase out the Gifted and Talented program instead of making it more inclusive with improved resources, is shortsighted and inappropriate, especially as his term ends in a couple of months,” said Addabbo. “I believe the Gifted and Talented program should be improved to make it more accessible to all children, provide better outreach into all communities and to ensure every student has fair access to preparatory classes and tutors. At this point any decisions should be left up to the next mayoral administration, with extensive input from citywide communities, especially from concerned parents, to determine what is appropriate for the future of our school children.” Addabbo currently sponsors legislation to expand and improve gifted and talented programs. This legislation would create more Advanced and G&T programs and classes, creating a pathway for top students
Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Senator Addabbo called Mayor de Blasio’s decision “shortsighted and inappropriate.”
to develop throughout their time in elementary and intermediate schools. Further, this bill would allow students to be admitted to Advanced classes at the elementary school level via academic merit, rather than an admissions examination giving some gifted children, who may not perform well in a test setting, an avenue for admission to these programs. Passage of this bill will give children in the city of New York a leg up and improve
the educational quality of our schools at a time when many are calling for a decrease in standards rather than an increase in resources for our children. While NYC schools are filled with some of the brightest children in the country, too often the schools they attend do not have the proper programs to challenge them and develop their cognitive skills. Gifted & Talented programs are one way that NYC supports the educational
needs of exceptional students. While some schools currently have G&T Programs, not all do, often a disadvantage to the students who need these classes the most. Accelerated learning programs provide children the opportunity to learn at their pace and encourage students to challenge themselves amongst their peers so they can reach their full potential. Mayoral candidate Eric Adams supports building up existing accelerated learning programs and instituting new programs throughout the five boroughs. Several fellow pols, including U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), echoed Addabbo’s sentiments. “Gifted and Talented curriculums have provided students with crucial challenges that help them reach their full potential in the classroom. Phasing out this program is a mistake. Families in my district and across New York City have anxiously waited for when the promised public engagement process would begin,” Meng said. “Reforming the process would be the harder choice, and instead of making any adjustments, the City is taking the easier way out by implementing a mass elimination of the program. G&T seats should be expanded to all communities throughout New York City and the testing process should be improved. All students deserve to benefit from them. They should be an option for every child, regardless of where students reside, and regardless of their family’s socioeconomic status. I urge the City to immediately reconsider its decision.”
After DOT Report on Fatalities in Speed Camera Zones, de Blasio Urges Albany to Allow 24/7 Operation By Forum Staff Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday highlighted findings from a landmark Department of Transportation report on the City’s speed camera program as he urged State leaders to allow New York City to operate the cameras 24 hours a day. The DOT’s annual Automated Speed Enforcement Program report, which covers data from the speed camera program’s inception in 2014 through December 2020, highlights its continued success at curbing speeding by over 70 percent. However, analysis of 2020 fatalities showed that nearly 30 percent of all fatalities occur in speed camera zones during the hours they are not allowed to operate: overnight and on weekends. In 2019, NYC DOT received State authorization to expand its speed camera program and operate cameras in 750 school speed zones, on all weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and at any location within a quarter-mile radius of the school building. As outlined in this year’s report, speeding at fixed camera locations had dropped, on average, 72 percent as of December 2020. The program currently has 1,647 cameras in all 750 school speed zones. DOT will install an average of 60 new cameras per
month, with the aim of reaching a total of 2,220 cameras in 2022. Excessive speed is one of the leading factors in serious crashes in New York City. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more time and space a driver needs to react to circumstances to prevent a crash. Speeding also worsens the damage caused upon impact when a collision happens – a pedestrian who is struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 MPH is twice as likely to be killed as a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 MPH. Highlights from this year’s report include: • A total of 4,397,375 Notice of Liabilities (NOLs) issued in 2020 • Average weekly violations in newly installed school speed zones declined by about 45% from a camera’s first week to its 18th week • Average daily speed violations declined between 81 percent and 89 percent in school speed zones along key corridors like Grand Concourse, Union Turnpike, Hylan Boulevard, and Fourth Avenue (Brooklyn). Since the speed camera program began, just under half of vehicles receiving a NOL have not received a second. In 2020, 52 percent of vehicles received only one violation, even as the number of cameras increased due to the program’s expansion.
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Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
“Speed cameras are an essential tool to fight back against dangerous driving, and State law should not force New York City to keep our city safe only some of the time,” Mayor de Blasio said.
“Speed cameras are an essential tool to fight back against dangerous driving, and State law should not force New York City to keep our city safe only some of the time,” de Blasio said. “We’re proud to have one of the biggest speed camera programs in the world, and it’s time for Albany to let us operate them 24 hours a day. Anything
less is unfair to everyone else who uses our streets.” “While 2020 brought its own set of challenges with COVID-19, it also brought a second epidemic of reckless driving,” DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman added. “We know our speed camera program works to deter speeding, but we can do more.”
City Updates Construction, Building Codes
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Photo Courtesy of DOB
Code requirements set forth in this updated revision will go into effect next year, with some regulations taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022.
height for two-family homes to 7ft to increase affordable housing opportunities. Construction Safety Enhancements The City Department of Buildings on Thursday marked the official passage of major legislation in • Permits the use of netting, low barriers, and chain link fencing in lieu of requiring only solid fencing the City Council to update the city’s Construction that creates blind tunnels for pedestrians. Codes. This sweeping revision to the codes contains • Creates a new license type for advanced crane technology, such as articulating boom cranes and over 600 major updates, and thousands of smaller roto-telehandlers, to ensure these cranes are opchanges, intended to improve safety for our fellow erated in a safe manner. New Yorkers, and incorporate the latest in building technologies. The new codes use the highest inter- • Improves the safety and consistency of the underpinning of existing buildings. national standards for the design, construction and maintenance of buildings as a baseline, while conBuilding System Construction and Inspection Entinuing our city’s proud tradition of implementing hancements additional enhancements to ensure we have among the strongest building regulations anywhere in the • Requires smoke tests for special gas vents to ensure the safety of building occupants. world. • Requires all pipes, tubings, and fittings in the meRevision highlights included in the updated chanical system to comply with the applicable codes: reference safety standard. • Codifies maintenance, condition assessment, and Emergency Response Enhancements reporting requirements for parking structures. • Increases the minimum required dimensions of Sustainability and Resiliency Enhancements the elevator emergency hatch. • Expands the applicability of flood zone re• Permits the use of batteries as the required secquirements of the 100-year flood hazard area ondary power source for the FDNY endorsed to all critical facilities (including fire, rescue, Auxiliary Radio Communication System ambulance, police stations, and designated (ARCS). emergency shelters) located in the 500-year • Expands number of high-rise residential buildflood zone. ings that require emergency voice communica• Mandates annual visual inspections of dry floodtion systems. proofing systems and triennial full-scale deployment of dry floodproofing in the presence of a Fire Protection Enhancements special inspection agency. • Mandates that whenever exits discharge directly outside and not through a protected area or ves- • Permits and supports the use of alternative energy production processes, including hydrogen fuel tibule, that FDNY access be provided to the exit cells. stairway either from the protected area or within • Increases the material choices available to builda minimum distance of it. ers by expanding the use of sustainable building Protecting Tenants, Streamlining Building Occumaterials such as cross-laminated timber and pancy and Promoting Increased Affordable Housing structural composite lumber. • Requires new special inspection of buildings unCode requirements set forth in this updated revidergoing construction to ensure the protection of sion will go into effect next year, with some regulatenants. • Clarifies what construction documentation is re- tions taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022. To support the quired to receive a new Certificate of Occupancy implementation of the code updates, DOB will be conducting training and outreach regarding the new (CO). • Reduces the required 8ft basement clearance requirements. By Michael V. Cusenza
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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24 • OCTOBER 14 2021 | 3
Education Committee on Right Path with Hearing to Review Spending of Fed Aid: Addabbo By Forum Staff State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) recently joined his fellow colleagues on the Senate Standing Committee on Education for a public hearing to review how school districts are spending Foundation Aid increases and funds from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act. The adopted 2021-22 Enacted Budget includes a historic commitment to public education by increasing Foundation Aid by $1.4 billion, a bump of 7.6 percent, and committing to full Foundation Aid funding over the next two years. Additionally, there is $12 billion in federal COVID funding, which was approved to pass directly to school districts, including $3.85 billion in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and $8.2 billion in the ARP. According to Chapter 56 of the laws of 2021, a school district receiving a Foundation Aid increase of more than 10 percent or $10 million is required to adopt a plan on how these funds will be used. This committee meeting was established to see how the Department of Education is allocating those funds. “This is a historic investment into our public education system across the state of New York. In addition to securing billions of
City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter
dollars for education, we need to make sure that these funds are being allocated properly,” the senator said. “This is a large sum of money, and it is imperative that the money is going to programs and school districts that need it the most.” City Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter noted that the Fiscal Year 2022 Adopted Budget for the DOE is $37.8 billion, which
4 OCTOBER 14, 2021 • Number 24 • VOL. 21 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP
Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
will be used for investments for the entire school system that will benefit students now and in the future. Through the Foundation Aid funding, DOE is able to provide 100% Fair Student Funding (FSF) to all schools. This will affect over 700,000 students in more than 1,000 schools to ensure that schools can support their families and staff.
Porter noted that safety is the DOE’s top priority, and has required all DOE employees provide proof that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. All schools are also following multi-layered safety protocols including mandatory masking inside buildings, safe ventilation, physical distancing, and month-long supplies of PPE in every school. “I am pleased to see that our schools are taking the steps needed to keep students, faculty and staff safe during the pandemic,” Addabbo said. “Over the last school year we saw just how important in-school learning is, and it is vital that we do everything in our power to make sure that everyone is safe inside our schools so we do not have to go back to the virtual learning model.” Another way DOE is investing in the health of students is through $80 million in funding for the mental health and well-being of students, by adding over 600 new social workers, school psychologists and family support workers in schools. “Our main focus now needs to be watching how these programs move along and how helpful they are to students and teachers alike. By monitoring and funding the programs that are successful, we can continue to best serve our students,” Addabbo added.
Other Sources can Help Cover Ida Loss: FEMA
The Pharmacist’s Corner
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Photo Courtesy of GAO
FEMA provides assistance to applicants for their uninsured or underinsured disaster-caused expenses and serious needs.
By Forum Staff Many New Yorkers who suffered losses from Hurricane Ida are covered by their insurance. But even the best coverage may not satisfy every need, which is why state, federal and nonprofit programs are available. The Federal Emergency Management Agency may send you a letter saying you are not eligible for federal disaster assistance or requesting additional information. FEMA provides assistance to applicants for their uninsured or underinsured disaster-caused expenses and serious needs. Applicants are required to inform FEMA of all insurance coverage that may be available to them including flood, homeowners, vehicle, mobile home, medical, burial, etc. Insured applicants must provide documentation that identifies their insurance settlements or benefits before FEMA will consider their eligibility for categories of assistance that may be covered by private insurance. Reasons you may receive FEMA determination letter include: • Occupancy has not been verified; • Ownership of the damaged property has not been verified; • Proof of identity has not been verified; • FEMA did not receive insurance settlement documents.
Many New Yorkers who suffered losses from Hurricane Ida are covered by their insurance. But even the best coverage may not satisfy every need.
You should read the letter carefully so you can provide the information or documents FEMA is requesting. If you have any questions about the letter or about FEMA’s decision, have your FEMA registration number available when you call the FEMA Helpline at (800) 621-3362 (711/VRS). Lines are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, and operators can connect you to a specialist who speaks your language. If you use a relay service such as video relay service, captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Under federal law, FEMA cannot duplicate payments to individuals or households for losses covered by insurance. If you are insured, you should contact your insurance company to file a claim right away and ask for documents that inform about your insurance coverage, benefits, and settlements, documents detailing exactly what is covered and is paid under your claim. Then mail the information to FEMA, Individuals & Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 207827055, or fax it to (800) 827-8112. Include your FEMA registration number on all the documents. You can appeal any decision within 60 days from the date of FEMA’s decision letter. Guidelines for appeals can be found in that FEMA letter. You are strongly encouraged to return a completed U.S. Small Business Administration loan application if you received one. This is a necessary step to be considered for some other forms of disaster assistance. You may submit your SBA application at https://DisasterLoanAssistance. sba.gov or call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 for more information. You may also visit any Disaster Recovery Center. Find one at DRC Locator (fema.gov). The deadline to apply for FEMA disaster assistance is Sunday, Dec. 5.
your pets are an extremely integral and imYou should surely consult with your vet portant part of our customer’s lives. To that for the best route to introducing CBD into end we have added a line of CBD products your pet’s long-term healthcare plan. for both out customers and their pets. We are happy to go over any concerns One of the most difficult parts of owning a that you may have over the use of any of dog is having concerns about their health. See- these products. And we are happy to report ing them in pain or distress causes great emo- that customers already utilizing the oils are tional hardship for many of our customers. reporting tremendous improvement in many Dogs can suffer from many of the same aspects of their pets’ lives. painful and threatening conditions as we do. For many disabled and senior dogs, pain Anxiety, arthritis, cancer, epilepsy and sleep management is a key component of maintainproblems can all plague your furry friends. ing their quality of life. Pain from injury, surgery, We believe that CBD oils and products and chronic and progressive disease such as can help your dog feel like his/her old self IVDD, hip dysplasia, and arthritis is debilitating again with regular use. to animals. Just as it is in our own lives, reducing Cannabidiol –CBD Oil- is a substance ex- pain is vital for improved quality of life. tracted from hemp and known for its therapeutic properties. It’s also non-psychoactive, and doesn’t contain any THC, which can be toxic to dogs in large doses. It is known for many things including calming anxiety, easing pain, lessening the intensity and frequency of seizures.
Please be very mindful when choosing the right CBD Oils for your pets. The market is so new that it is struggling to keep up with overwhelming demand for the product, unfortunately making way for many pop-up produces that market inferior or dangerous CBD oil can also improve sleep quality and preparations to satisfy demand. duration for those who struggle with insomnia Despite the fact that these products are and other sleep disorders. Humans have been available without prescription, consult with using the oils for centuries and recently pets your vet or with us before making any purhave been introduced to using CBD. chases. Again we are here to answer you quesFor senior and disabled dogs the benefits tions and we look forward to being part of of CBD are many. They are proven to ease keeping your best friends in top health along pain, fight inflammation, reduce the use of with their owners! opioids and NSAIDS and increase mobility. Until next week! For your family’s prescription needs, please call
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Hundreds Recycle Electronics at Forest Park
Earlier this month, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Woodhaven), and Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) helped usher in over 150 cars to the Forest Park Bandshell Parking Lot to recycle their electronics.
Participants were able to properly recycle computer monitors, televisions, keyboards, and other devices to keep those materials and components out of landfills. Additionally, Addabbo said, if anyone wasn’t able to make it to Forest Park event, Addabbo’s Middle Village and Howard Beach offices are acting as e-waste drop off locations for the DSNY e-cycle NYC program. Just bring your small electronic devices (laptops, computer monitors, cell phones, small televisions) to one of the offices on any weekday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and they will be properly recycled. Photo Courtesy of Sen. Addabbo
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24 • OCTOBER 14 2021 | 5
City Adopts Zoning Rules to Advance Transit Accessibility
Photo Courtesy of MTA
Elevate Transit: Zoning for Accessibility is a collaboration between the MTA, City Council, the Department of City Planning and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to boost New York City’s push to make its transit system fully accessible.
By Forum Staff Mayor Bill de Blasio, the City Council, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday announced the approval of Elevate Transit: Zoning for Accessibility, a collaboration between the MTA, City Council, the Department of City Planning and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to boost New York City’s push
to make its transit system fully accessible. The initiative will allow the MTA to leverage planned private development to achieve a fully accessible transit system faster, while saving taxpayer dollars as the MTA faces financial challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic. Zoning for Accessibility incentivizes private developers to design their buildings to incorporate public station accessibil-
ity projects or build the improvements at nearby MTA stations. It creates a new set of tools – and strengthens existing ones – that build off the MTA’s commitment of over $5 billion of funding for 77 accessible subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway station projects within New York City in the 2020-2024 MTA Capital Plan. The proposal allows developers to help deliver transit station accessibility throughout the city in two ways: Easement Certification This provision requires developers of most mid-or-high-density sites adjacent to subway, Staten Island Railway, Long Island Rail Road, and Metro-North Railroad stations within New York City to consult with the MTA first to determine whether the MTA needs an easement (permanent access to a small piece of property) for future accessibility projects at the adjacent station. Easements can play a critical role in helping to reduce expensive, time-consuming barriers to constructing elevators, such as underground utility relocations, and allow for station designs that better serve riders. If an easement is necessary, the developer would receive targeted zoning relief to offset the creation of an easement. Transit Improvement Bonus This provision expands the existing “transit improvement bonus” from central business districts to other high-density
areas in the city. This program incentivizes private developers to directly fund and build new transit station access improvements, such as elevators or other circulation improvements at already accessible stations, in exchange for a floor area bonus of up to 20 percent. Accessibility improvements attained through the bonus mechanism are achieved at no cost to the MTA and will be in addition to projects funded through the MTA’s Capital Plan. Each bonus application will still require a public review and approval process. These provisions will help free up funds for the MTA to make more stations accessible on a faster timeline and provide more accessible routes for its customers. Today, only about 30 percent of the 493 subway and Staten Island Railway stations in New York City are fully ADA-accessible. “The approval of Zoning for Accessibility is a significant milestone in our efforts to make New York the most accessible city in the world,” said Victor Calise, commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, MTA Board Member, and Ozone Park native. “The MTA is already working hard on the design and construction of additional accessibility projects. With the introduction of new private dollars through Zoning for Accessibility, the MTA will be able to complete more accessibility projects on a faster timeline.”
Cycling in City Continues to Boom: Report By Forum Staff The City Department of Transportation on Thursday released its 2021 Cycling in the City report, which provides a comprehensive look into cycling trends in the five boroughs. The report shows continued growth in cycling, and highlights how cycling has become an integral part of our transportation network. As part of today’s announcement, Citi Bike also released data showing September as its biggest ridership month in history and on track to make 2021 its biggest year yet. Using data from The Decennial Census and the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene annual American Community Health Survey and both automated and manual counts, the Cycling in the City report provides a holistic view of cycling trends in the city. Key findings of the report include: • Approximately 530,000 daily cycling trips in 2019, up from 510,000 daily trips in last year’s report. Since 2014, there has been an overall 26 percent growth in daily cycling. • A 21 percent growth in cycling over the East River Bridges between 2019 and 2020 • A 61 percent growth in cycling in the Midtown core from 2015 to 2020 • Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers ride a bicycle regularly in 2020
• Cycling to work has grown more than 5 times faster than that of our peer cities since 2014 • Over 6 percent growth in female cyclists – including 28% of all Citi Bike subscriber trips (5.5 million) in 2020 Citi Bike, the nation's largest bike share program that first launched in the city in 2013, was a major contributing factor to this past years’ cycling growth, according to DOT officials. This September, Citi Bike broke its record for highest ridership in a single month with 3.3 million rides. September is the fourth month in a row where Citi Bike has had over 3 million rides. Additional cycling milestones for Citi Bike this year include: • Citi Bike also released data showing September as its biggest ridership month in history and that 2021 is already its biggest year yet, breaking its annual record on Sunday, Oct. 2 with nearly three months left in the year • 2021 ridership has consistently been about 30 percent higher than 2020 • Ridership in Citi Bike's phase three expansion areas, part of a $100 million five year investment by Lyft, has more than doubled since last year “This cycling boom is yet another reason why we must continue expanding protected bike lanes, bike racks, and Citi Bike
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stations all across the city. Our work is only just beginning, but we must take a moment and celebrate this achievement and make sure that pedestrian and cyclist safety continues to be our top priority,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chairman of the Transportation Committee. “This couldn’t have been possible without the advocacy of organizations like Transportation Alterna-
tives, Families for Safe Streets, and Riders Alliance among many more. The support of Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Corey Johnson, and DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman was also instrumental. I look forward to continuing to work alongside such great partners as we continue to make New York City the safest, most pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly city in the nation.”
Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
“This cycling boom is yet another reason why we must continue expanding protected bike lanes, bike racks, and Citi Bike stations all across the city,” Councilman Rodriguez said.
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Manhattan Man Charged in Hoffman Park Stabbing
Photo Courtesy of Google
According to the charges, on Sept. 21 at approximately 10 p.m., the victim was in Hoffman Park at Woodhaven Boulevard and Hoffman Drive when Deloir began to argue with him and then allegedly attacked him.
By Forum Staff A Manhattan man has been charged with allegedly attacking a man last month in an Elmhurst park, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday. Daniel Deloir, 37, has been arraigned on a complaint charging him with attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the
first, second and third degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and harassment in the second degree. According to the charges, on Sept. 21 at approximately 10 p.m., the victim was in Hoffman Park at Woodhaven Boulevard and Hoffman Drive when the defendant began to argue with him and then allegedly attacked him.
The 43-year-old man was pushed to the ground and then felt a sharp object pierce his skin. The victim sustained a puncture wound to his upper chest and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he needed emergency surgery. “Violence is never an acceptable way to resolve a dispute. The defendant in this case argued with a man, then allegedly punched and stabbed him. He will now face justice in our courts,” Katz said. The investigation was conducted by Detective Justin Smith, of the 110th Precinct Detective Squad. Assistant District Attorney Nia Tai Fung, of the District Attorney’s Felony Trials IV Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Karen Rankin, Bureau Chief, Robert Ferino and Timothy Regan, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Felony Trials Pishoy Yacoub. File Photo If convicted, Deloir faces up to 25 “Violence is never an acceptable way to resolve a dispute,” DA Katz said. years in prison.
Three Former NYPD Cops Plead Guilty to Bribe Scheme a third defendant, retired NYPD Officer Robert Smith, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in connection with his participation in the Tow Truck Scheme; Smith also pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of at least one kilogram of heroin. As part of his plea, Smith also admitted that he participated with Hassett in the Victim Database Scheme. At the time that they participated in the tow truck scheme and the victim database scheme, the defendants were NYPD officers assigned to the 105th Precinct in Queens Village. According to court filings and facts presented at the plea proceeding, between 2016 and 2017, Hassett and Smith received thousands of dollars of bribe payments in exchange for referring business to a towing company, contrary to DARP. Smith resumed the corrupt scheme without Hassett in late 2019 and when Smith retired from the NYPD in March 2020, Smith enlisted Busch to take his place in the scheme. In early 2020, Smith and Hassett also sold the names and contact information of automobile accident victims whose
accidents occurred within the confines of the 105th Precinct for thousands of dollars in bribe payments, ostensibly so that the purchaser could resell that personal information to physical therapy businesses and personal injury lawyers who would contact the automobile accident victims as prospective customers. After Smith’s retirement in March 2020, he also agreed to transport what he believed to be one kilogram of heroin for a drug-trafficking organization. Since their arrests in May 2021, Busch and Hassett have resigned from the NYPD. When sentenced, Smith faces up to 25 years in prison, while Hassett and Busch each face up to five years in prison. As part of their respective pleas, Smith has agreed to forfeit $20,000, Hassett has agreed to forfeit $10,000 and Busch has agreed to forfeit $6,000. “The defendants’ guilty pleas to accepting bribes are also acknowledgements that they abused the public trust and dishonored the NYPD by their actions,” said Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis.
Photo Courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of NY
“The defendants’ guilty pleas to accepting bribes are also acknowledgements that they abused the public trust and dishonored the NYPD by their actions,” said Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Kasulis.
By Forum Staff On Thursday, in Brooklyn federal court, Robert Hassett, a former City Police Department officer, pleaded guilty to conspiring to participate in a scheme to sell the personal information of automobile accident victims in exchange for bribes. Hassett, 36, also admitted that he participated in a scheme to steer vehicles damaged in automobile accidents to a tow truck company in contravention of NYPD’s Direct Accident Response Program in exchange for bribes. On Aug. 5, 2021, former NYPD Officer Heather Busch Photo Courtesy of Google pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in connection with her At the time that they participated in the tow truck scheme and the victim database scheme, the defendants were NYPD officers assigned to the 105th participation in the tow truck scheme. On Oct. 6, 2021, Precinct in Queens Village.
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Long Island Man Indicted for St. Albans Cold Case Slay By Forum Staff A Long Island man has been indicted by a borough grand jury for allegedly shooting a man from a passing vehicle in St. Albans in September 2018, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Friday. Michael Brown, 37, has been charged with murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. According to the charges, at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 25, 2018, the victim, Khipplyn Rhodd, was standing
near his work van in the vicinity of 118th Road and Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans when he was struck in the torso by a gunshot fired from a silver four-door sedan travelling southbound on Farmers Boulevard. The victim died of his injuries at a local hospital.
“The defendant tried to elude identification and responsibility for his alleged crimes but he will now stand in court to answer for this shooting,” DA Katz said.
The victim was shot while standing near his work van in the vicinity of 118th Road and Farmers Boulevard.
Photo Courtesy of Google
“Securing this indictment demonstrates exactly why I formed the QDA Cold Case Unit,” Katz said. “We will work tirelessly to bring closure to grieving families and assure them they are not forgotten. Justice will be pursued and sought in a court of law regardless of how much time passes. The defendant tried to elude identification and responsibility for his alleged crimes but he will now stand in court to answer for this shooting.” If convicted, Brown faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
Queens ‘King’ Charged with 2017 Murder A reputed member of the Latin Kings has been indicted for his role in a May 2017 murder, federal prosecutors recently announced. Borough resident Jonathan Garcia, 27, is charged with (1) conspiracy to commit racketeering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1962(d) and 1963, which carries a maximum term of life in prison; (2) murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1959(a)(1) and 2, which carries a mandatory term of life in prison or death; (3) murder through the use of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 924(j)(1) and 2, which carries a maximum term of life in prison or death; (4) narcotics conspiracy, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846 and 841 (b)(1) (A), which carries a maximum term of life in prison and a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison; and (5) use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 924(c) (1)(A) and 2, which carries a maximum term of life in prison, and a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, which must be served consecutively to any other term of in prison. As alleged in the five-count superseding indictment unsealed earlier this month, Garcia is a member of a racketeering enterprise known as the Latin Kings, and specifically, the set or “tribe” of the Latin Kings known as the Black Mob, which operates in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. In order to enrich the enterprise, protect and expand its criminal operations, enforce discipline among its members, and retaliate against members of rival gangs, members and associates of the
Black Mob committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence; distributed and possessed with intent to distribute narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and crack; committed robberies; and obtained, possessed, and used firearms. In December 2019 and April 2021, several members and associates of the Black Mob, including its senior-most leaders, were charged with racketeering offenses, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms offenses. Since at least in or around 2012, Garcia has been a member of the Latin Kings. On or about May 18, 2017, Garcia shot and killed Joshua Flores. The murder elevated Garcia’s status within the Latin Kings, including the Black Mob. “Latin Kings, like other gangs, solve disputes with intimidation and violence, as Jonathan Garcia allegedly did when he shot and killed Joshua Flores in 2017,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. “Acts such as this endanger the public and wreak havoc on the neighborhoods where gangs have entrenched themselves.” FBI New York Assistant Director Michael Driscoll added, “Violent street gang like the Latin Kings use brutal tactics in their pursuit of illegal drugs and firearms, terrorizing all those who stand in their way. Basing status within the gang on a member’s violent acts is a stark illustration of their utter lack of respect for human life. For his alleged Photo Courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of NY acts of violence, Mr. Garcia now faces a possible “Acts such as this endanger the public and wreak havoc on the neighborhoods where lifetime in federal prison.” gangs have entrenched themselves,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Strauss said. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 21 • Number 24 • OCTOBER 14 2021 | 11
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Legal Notices NYC EV MOBILITY LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 6/30/21. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to 33-24 Northern Blvd., 5th Fl., Long Island City, NY 11101, which is also the principal busines location. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. WANG & MEI ENTERPRISE LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 09/09/21. 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, 2820 214th Pl, Bayside, NY 11360. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. WEDNESDAY NIGHT FILMS, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 07/29/2021. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to:WEDNESDAY NIGHT FILMS, LLC, 1624 BELL BLVD.,BAYSIDE, NY 11360, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. LW REALTY LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 07/1321. 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 LW REALTY 0528, LLC, 136-31 41ST AVENUE, 4A, FLUSHING, NY, 11355, USA.Purpose: Any lawful purpose.
Notice of Formation of blue beaver publishing LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 09/05/21. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 65-75 Woodhaven Blvd., Rego Park, NY 11374. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to ARDLEE SIMON, 251-21 JERICHO TURNPIKE, BELLROSE, NY, 11426, USA. Purpose: Any lawful activity. 6030 55TH ST. LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 09/21/21. 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, 244-06 Van Zandt Avenue, Douglaston, NY 11362. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. SALINAS LLC filed Arts. of Org. with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 9/17/2021. 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, 2700 215th St, Bayside, NY 11360. Purpose: any lawful act. J&N RENOVATIONS GROUP, LLC filed Arts. of Org. with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 7/29/2021. 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: Juan Camilo Quintero, 201-29 119th Avenue, Saint Albans, NY, 11412 USA. Purpose: any lawful act.
T & Z LAUNDRY LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 7/06/21. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to THE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, 8935 155TH AVENUE #4E, HOWARD BEACH NY, 11414, USA.. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.
LIC KAITEN ZUSHI LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 9/14/21. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to Kyung Rae Kim, 42-20 27th St Long Island City, NY 11101. Purpose: Any lawful activity.
DALEY DENTAL GEMS STUDIO BOUTIQUE, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 07/8/2021. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: STACY DALEY, 80-11 161st. ST., JAMAICA, NY,11432, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.
LEMAHD LLC filed Arts. of Org. with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 8/26/2021. 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: JACOB MILLER, 4705 CENTER BLVD APT 401, LONG ISLAND CITY, NY, 11109, USA. Purpose: any lawful act.
MIRACLES MADE PUBLISHING LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 09/14/2021. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: BARBARA CASTRO, 25504 61st AVE., LITTLE NECK, NY, 11362, USA. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.
NEWSHENK LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/07/2021. 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, 51-02 199th Street 2nd Floor, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.
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Notice of Formation: BEST REALTY ONEONTA LLC Art. Of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 08/27/2021. Office Loc: QUEENS COUNTY. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 224-22 76TH AVE, OAKLAND GARDENS, NY, 11364. Purpose: Any lawful activity.
RUKHSHANA LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/07/2021. 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, 8505 35th Avenue, Apt 5G, Jackson Heights, NY 11372. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.
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