Friday, August 26, 2016

True News

   BombShell 5 Million $ Lawsuit filed Against Brooklyn Boss Seddeo, His Judicial Screening Pannel and Flack Arzt 
"To protect & defend the Constitution, Judicial Independence is necessary for the Third Branch to be co-equal with the two political co-branches in our Separation of Powers regime. This lawsuit honors, by deed, a lawyer's perpetual duty to protect and defend the noble judiciary and the Constitution - here, it is painful, as it seeks to prevent destructive overreach by persons one would easily have a friendly drink and break bread with." Ravi Batra

Where did the NYP Get the Information From?
Was not getting reappointed by the Brooklyn Bosses Screening puppet revenge for Jacobson Ruling to Keep LICH Hospital Open 

Details to Follow All Weekend  

Silver Avoids Jail  . . .  Did Anyone Expect Him to Be Lock Up?
Sheldon Silver avoids jail for at least another year (NYP) Crooked former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver caught the break of a lifetime Thursday when a judge ruled that he can stay out of prison while he appeals — likely buying him at least another year of freedom. The powerful puppet master, who used his position to swindle $5.4 million in kickbacks and bribes, was supposed to surrender Wednesday to begin serving his 12-year sentence.
But Manhattan federal Judge Valerie Caproni, who presided over Silver’s trial, instead granted the Manhattan Democrat’s request that he remain free on bail.

Caproni made it clear in her ruling that she thinks Silver, 72, was guilty — even under a new and far narrower definition of “official acts” constituting corruption established by a June 27 Supreme Court ruling. In that case, the court tossed the conviction of ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who had accepted cash, loans and pricey gifts from a rich businessman looking for favors, ruling that simply arranging meetings did not constitute official acts. “As stated previously, this case differs from McDonnell because most of the official acts presented to the jury — the provision of state grants, approval of tax-exempt state financing, and voting on legislation — are undoubtedly official acts under McDonnell,” Caproni wrote. She granted Silver bail, however, over concerns that her instructions to the jury may have been inadequate under the new standards set by the high court. * Justice delayed for Shelly Silver(NYP Ed) * Silver, Like Skelos, Can Remain Free While Appealing Graft Conviction (NYT) Sheldon Silver, the former State Assembly speaker, and Dean G. Skelos, the former Senate majority leader, have moved aggressively to stave off the day they had to begin serving their sentences.* In a ruling that appears to bolster Sheldon Silver’s appeal of his public-corruption conviction, a federal judge said that the former Assembly speaker can stay out of prison at least until Oct. 27 while he awaits a decision, The Wall Street Journal reports.  * The Times’ Lawrence Downes knocks Silver’s successor for his Assembly seat, Alice Cancel, and writes the quality of new candidates running in the September primary have an opportunity to move beyond Silver’s legacy and bring real change and reform to the district.

Critics Say Ethics Reform Bill Passed in Albany Does Little to Pursue Actual Corruption(NY1) * One day after signing his fourth ethics bill into law since taking office as governor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is facing criticism from both sides, said there's still more work that's needed to be done, Time Warner Cable News reports.

 Bo Going After de
Bo Dietl will run against de Blasio for mayor in 2017(NYP) His platform; to clear the streets of homeless people who have turned the city into a “giant toilet bowl,” to personally drive a bulldozer to take out bike lanes, and free cops so they can go after even petty crooks who openly sell and shoot up drugs in Washington Square Park and elsewhere. He says he declared his intention directly to the mayor last Saturday while riding on a friend’s boat in Sag Harbor. * 'YOU’RE DESTORYING THIS CITY': Bo Deitl mulls challenge against 'Big Bird' Mayor de Blasio (NYDN) * The Coalition for the Homeless found a shortage of supportive housing has helped drive homelessness for single adults to record highs and blames Cuomo for his failure to follow through on a pledge to create 20,000 such units, the Daily News writes.

Shady Nursing Home Partner Pulls Out of Bedford Armory Deal
Firm involved in shady nursing home deal pulls out of major project(NYP) The company that riled City Hall by hushing up its purchase of a Lower East Side nursing home has pulled out of a major project under pressure from the administration, sources said Wednesday.The Slate Property Group sold its interest in the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights to its collaborator on the project, BFC Partners, just two weeks after Mayor de Blasio said he was taking a “hard look” at its role. Slate and BFC in December were awarded a long-term lease to build 330 units of housing along with recreational and office space on the city-owned site. But the mayor ordered a review after two investigations found that Slate officials had instructed subordinates to keep quiet about the firm’s interest in purchasing the decades-old Rivington House nursing home on the Lower East Side.
The seller, the Allure Group, at the time was still working to get the city to lift deed restrictions governing the use of the property. “Guys, please make sure we do not discuss this deal with anyone on the outside right now,” Slate founder Matt Nussbaum wrote in an e-mail to 10 company officials in May 2015.“The seller is very concerned that the city and [the nursing-home] union will find out that he is in contract to sell at the price that we are buying it, which will directly
impact his ability to have the deed restriction removed,” the e-mail continued. “Once he has it removed, we can do whatever we want.”

Something About the Brooklyn DA's Office
Mr. Thompson used police officers to get his meals and pay for them before being reimbursed with office funds, said the Conflicts of Interest Board, which levied a $15,000 penalty. * Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson must pay $15G fine for taxpayer-funded lunch and dinners totaling more than $5,000(NYDN) * Ken Thompson’s $15K fine may not be end of free meal drama (NYP) Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson refused to say Thursday whether he’d been privately admonished for misconduct before getting blistered by the city Conflicts of Interest Board — and it could spell trouble for his law license if he was, an expert on legal ethics told The Post.* Investigator: Ken Thompson fired me because I’m former DA’s ally(NYP) * ‘Imperial Ken’ Thompson, the perk-crazed Brooklyn DA(NYP Ed) * Sister of 1986 hate attack victim sues Brooklyn DA for $15M, saying she was fired due to political ties(NYDN)  * According to a new $20 million lawsuit, a longtime investigator is calling out Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson for firing her because she’s a close ally of his predecessor and claims she was demoted and replaced by someone who worked on his campaign, the Post writes.  

SHIELDING THE COPS: NYPD suddenly stops sharing actions taken against disciplined officers, citing obscure law; watchdogs call new secrecy move a blow to transparency
New York Police Dept., Citing Law, Stops Sharing Personnel Data (NYT) Some criticized the department’s decision to shield information from journalists as a step away from transparency. * Citing a clause in a 40-year-old law, the NYPD has suddenly decided to keep records regarding the discipline of officers under lock and key — and will no longer release the information to the public, the Daily News reports.* Mayor de Blasio has no problem with keeping cops’ disciplinary records sealed, but once blasted NYPD’s lack of transparency (NYDN)

Chartock Yes Albany is Rigged and Losing Bharara Make Me Queasy 
ALAN CHARTOCK: Yes, Donald, the political system is rigged (Daily Freeman) Donald Trump suggests that the system is “rigged.” He should know — he’s been playing the system for years, as giant real estate developers are known to do. Let’s stop for a moment and examine whether New York’s political system is rigged. It is, of course, and I can prove it.  Take, for example, the gerrymander that goes on when we draw the districts from which the legislators run. We all know that the majority party in each house draws the district lines to give themselves maximum advantage. They use complex computers to help them in this evil work which really does subvert democracy. They shove as many bodies as they can into one district so that the surrounding districts have a better chance of going their way. We send our kids to foreign countries to “fight for democracy” yet we rig elections right here at home. As my son often says to me, “That ain’t right.”

Then, too, the system is rigged in favor of those people who have the most money. Big corporations and well-heeled people invest millions to make things come out the way they want them too. It’s not surprising some of these people can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to lobby the Legislature. They know that the money they invest in campaigns will bring them a great return on their “investment” into controlling the way things go. That’s a pretty good investment — a lot better than your stock broker can get.  The rigging goes even further when we consider the fact that so few politicians in both houses ever lose their seats. Once the gerrymander and the money kick in, there is little or no chance that anyone will be defeated. Now they want a whopping pay raise when so many of them work so little. Not only that, they make a lot of money on the outside because of their legislative titles. We all know it and the time has come to put a stop to it by limiting outside income. Hey, they even do that in the United States Congress. Voters know when they are being had but they opt out because of sheer frustration. My students tell me that their parents often say, “They’re all crooks.” They may not be but they sure rig the system. That’s why, whenever New York City residents have had the opportunity to vote for term limits, they’ve done so overwhelmingly. If the rest of the state was ever given a chance to vote on term limits, they would, too, despite the fact most people like their own representatives. Now they want to saddle us with a constitutional convention that will be controlled by the same people who bring us the New York State Legislature. If people vote for that pig in a poke they ought to have their heads examined. Politicians tend to speak with forked tongues and that’s a big problem. Take Governor Andrew Cuomo, who always insists that he wants to reform the system. Now he is surrounded by aides, including his so-called best friends, who are under investigation. He claims to be a Democrat but insiders have known for years that he is very comfortable with having Republicans in control of the State Senate. This year he knows he’ll face a primary if he continues to do that so there are signs that his duplicity in this area will have to be modified. What are you going to do when a guy says one thing and does another? There is so much rigging in our state system that it will take more like Preet Bharara to put Humpty back together again. Not surprisingly, the big fish pols, including Hillary Clinton, seem disinclined to reappoint him as prosecutor. I am going to vote for Hillary Clinton as the lesser of two evils. The whole thing makes me queasy.* * Contributing to political nonprofits through a law firm or other entity allows donors to hide their identities, and the Legislature that ought to be closing such loopholes as quickly as lawyers find them instead leaves them gaping for years, the Times Union writes.

What Do You Do When Facing 7 Federal Investigations Leave Town
De Blasio would rather be on vacation than deal with New York(NYP)

Maybe Mayor de Blasio should take even more vacations …(NYP Ed)

Crown Heights Developer Generated Gentrification is Replacing the the Community That Blew Up 25 Years Ago  
A quarter-century after Crown Heights riots, the Brooklyn neighborhood battles to hold onto its territory (NYDN) Crown Heights today is not defined by racial tensions between blacks and Hasidic Jews. Today it is seen as the ground zero of gentrification, which is bringing into the area a steady influx of upwardly mobile whites from all over the world. Real estate developers and apartment building owners see these newcomers as growing bank accounts. And the rich get richer as the poor and the unemployed (mostly blacks) are forced to leave long-time dwellings for cheaper residences, often outside the city.  Look along Franklin Ave. just west of the Hasidic section, which is centered at Kingston Ave. and Eastern Parkway, the headquarters of the Chabad-LubMitch movement. See the cafés and hipster eateries there. Sometimes it's hard to find a black face among those on Franklin Ave. these days, except for the lowest-wage workers in the businesses there. And even they worry that they soon will be forced to leave the area. To those of us who see rapid gentrification as an affront to the history and character of our neighborhoods, Crown Heights is a historical template and a cautionary tale. Its earliest years, some two centuries ago, reflect the black presence in America and it foreshadowed the gentrification we are experiencing now. It was not a comfortable story for black people, and the future doesn't look too comfortable either.  Thus we witnessed our first explosion of Brooklyn gentrification, way before the term came into use. As the whites came in, the blacks left. The portion of African Americans in Brooklyn dropped from one-third to 1% by 1900. This story of early Crown Heights should be scary to struggling black New Yorkers today. History seems to be repeating itself. Following the Great Migration of blacks from the South and immigration from the Caribbean, the black population of Brooklyn zoomed back up to one-third again, which it is currently. Now the question is: Will blacks all but disappear again, as they did 100 years ago?  At this rate, it's not unlikely. Shamefully, rather than examining the past and trying to learn, our leaders are showing stunning disregard for our history and its relics. They have handed the future of the city over to developers.   By far the loudest voice in Crown Heights against developers is Alicia Boyd. She's the founder of a group called the Movement to Protect the People. Boyd shows up at Community Board 9 meetings and rails against construction of new apartment buildings, while she alleges elected officials are receiving money from builders. It's time to "kick their asses out of office," she has said of black elected officials in Brooklyn. On at least one occasion, community board administrators called police, who handcuffed and arrested her.  Harboring anger also is Evelyn Tully Costa, who said she believes Mayor Bill de Blasio should be challenged face to face by every righteous citizen who runs into him. He's in cahoots with the developers, she believes, and she contends the best weapon against the rash of construction and displacement is the designation of more historic districts and buildings.
That could save precious properties from bulldozers and greedy landlords.  Costa, founder of Crown Heights South Association, has been aiming her outrage lately at the city's plans for a century-old former armory on Bedford Ave. The city has said it would let developers known as Bedford Courts take over the structure and build luxury units. Half of the approximately 300 units would be "affordable," and of those 99 would rent within the price range of a family of three that earns $85,400 a year. Just 67 apartments would be affordable to households earning less than $40,000.  That's just another way of telling current Crown Heights residents to get the heck out of the neighborhood, Costa and others say. The median income for all households in Crown Heights South, where the armory is located, is under $42,000.
Where Do the People Go After They are Push Out of Their Homes by Gentrification?

Luxury hotel now doubles as city homeless shelter(NYP)
Cops: De Blasio to blame for homeless encampment(NYP)A homeless couple has been living for months outside a vacant, city-owned building in Upper Manhattan — ​with one cop “explicitly” blaming the problem on Mayor de Blasio, neighbors told The Post on Tuesday.​A finance worker who lives around the corner said he’s called 311 and the NYPD at least 20 times during the past year, and had three “lengthy conversations” with desk officers at the 28th Precinct who said there was nothing they could do. “One of them explicitly blamed Mayor de Blasio, saying something along the lines of, ‘Look who our boss is and the directives we’re getting from the top,’” said the 41-year-old married father of two.


The Reformers and Progressives Have Abandoned the Judicial Reform Started by Robert Kennedy  The Jacobson Case Will Show How Much the Democratic Party Machine Controls the Courts 

In the 1966 Senator Robert Kennedy started a judicial reform movement when he went after the democratic machine control of the Manhattan Surrogate Court. Kennedy called the Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute from Widows and Orphans.  Kennedy and his candidate judge Samuel J. Silverman running on a platform to end patronage and cronyism in the awarding of lucrative assignments to serve as executors, guardians and estate trustees beat the machine.  After Kennedy death the reform movement fueled in membership by the anti-Viet Nam War Movement took up the senator’s mission to reform the machine ability to control the courts and elected dozens of reform judges against the machine.  In recent years the reformers or as they like to be called progressives have abandoned Kennedy’s mission to break the machines control of the courts.  The lawsuit of Judge Laura Jacobson will show just how deep the machines control of judgeship and the courts are in this city. "The reformers and progressives just don't care anymore about judicial reform" said judicial gadfly Alan Flacks. Flacks' continued "the reform screening panel system started in the 1960's by the Geller panels, in the 70's by the New Democratic Coalition and and incorporated into the NY Democratic Party in 1977 is dead." According to Flack's Manhattan county leader Wright has destroyed the Panels. The selection of judges in the 4 outer boroughs is totally controlled by the democratic party leaders. Nobody cares anymore about judicial reforms, "the new young leaders just don't care," said New York's one man judicial watchdog.


Why is the AG Going After A Corrupt Charity First Exposed in 2010? Ruben Wills Delays

Authorities to probe charity tied to Assemblywoman Cook(NYP) New York’s attorney general is investigating a charity tied to Queens Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, The Post has learned.  The AG’s Office dispatched a team of investigators last week to a parking lot owned by the Rockaway Boulevard Local Development Corp., a source familiar with the investigation told The Post. “I don’t know nothing about the attorney general,” Cook told The Post last week. The probe comes a week after The Post revealed that the defunct charity, founded by Cook in 1979, is collecting thousands from the rental of the once-empty and derelict lot — purchased with millions in public funds — to construction companies for vehicle storage. Who is pocketing the rental money remains a mystery.
Cook’s charity shut down in 2010 after The Post exposed its wasteful spending.

Judge Jacobson Lawyer Letter to Brooklyn Boss Seddio to Dismiss the Brooklyn Judicial Screening Committee

Hon. Frank Seddio
Democratic County Leader, Kings County
Re: Justice Laura Jacobson
Dear Frank,
I have the high honor and sacred duty to represent Justice Laura Jacobson, and to protect her judicial independence.
As I'm "old school," respect is due to a Leader. So, I called you first to remedy the wrong that your appointed Judicial Screening Committee has caused out of personal malice or reckless disregard of the truth. That they exacerbated their discretionary injury with violation of statutory confidentiality under color of law is inexcusable - as the reputational damage is total.
I respectfully request that you dismiss your Committee and institute a new committee which does not carry out contract-kills and/or pierce necessary confidentiality required for judicial screening; and then re-interview Justice Jacobson - as Judicial Independence is the alter upon which Lady Justice presides, something every Screener, aware of their "Officer of the Court" status, ought cherish.
Let me know if you will dismiss the Screening Committee for cause by Monday, August 15, 2016 4pm. The law is a many splendored thing and it can remedy many wrongs, including, what has been done to my client - Justice Jacobson. I include a copy of my September 9, 2004 Letter to Chairman Marty Edelman, when the late Justice Louis Marrero, fiercely independent and a republican, was a victim of Screener-misconduct.
Warm personal regards to Joy and yo
Ravi Batra
Sent from my iPhone - excuse typos
Follow on Twitter @ravibatra

Judge Jacobson Lawyer Letter to the NY Post

From: Ravi Batra <>
Date: August 16, 2016 at 11:56:32
Subject: J. Jacobson

"I have the high honor and sacred duty to defend the judicial independence of Justice Laura Jacobson from those who have maligned her in excess of their First Amendment rights, motivated by pecuniary, retributive or political interests. Sadly, it appears that Kings County Democratic County Committee's Judicial Screening Committee has ignored its obligation to be independent and to honor its statutory obligation to keep its process and conclusions confidential - on threat of being charged civilly and criminally.

That this Committee found a distinguished hardworking judge anything but, may speak to some members of that Committee who had illegal and dishonorable motives.

That NY Post was given false information, is besides the point - as no information should have been disclosed because it's confidential by law.

That some engaged in an orgy of insult to destroy Justice Jacobson's hard earned reputation of judicial independence is beyond the pale and defamation per se - as the damage to her reputation is total.

Since the Honorable Frank Seddio did not honor my request to fire the County's Judicial Screeners for obvious cause, we will be filing suit in federal court and inter alia naming the Screening Committee for its misconduct, and asking for all relief and remedies to protect judicial independence and judicial reputation from ignoble attack.

The Kings County Judicial Screening Committee has a history of contract-kills - I know, as I've witnessed them and blocked them repeatedly - be they for petty retribution reasons, or worse, serving pecuniary interests or "doing as told." But this gross confidentiality breach is a new low that cries out for appropriate federal rebuke that stings well and long.

Any honorable member of this Judicial Screening Committee ought resign now - and any such resignation will inform the lawsuit that will be filed. Of course, the Committee could disclose the Leakers for direct legal targeted action.

Given its complexity, and effect on the Judicial Convention, we will work overtime to get it filed in court before end of next week.

Ravi Ba;postID=4884909970391311010;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=linktra
Sent from my iPhone - excuse typos
Follow on Twitter @ravibatra

Jacobson Lawyer Batra Letter to the Head of 

Seddio Screening Committee and Op-Ed On 

the Need for Judicial Reform

A Law Suit By A Brooklyn Judge Against the Brooklyn Party Screening Committee is Explosive
Judge ‘unqualified’ for re-election to file suit against party (NYP)  A veteran Brooklyn Supreme Court judge deemed “unqualified” for re-election by a Democratic Party screening committee plans to file a lawsuit claiming the label was politically motivated. Ravi Batra, a lawyer representing Justice Laura Jacobson, told The Post he is drafting a suit to file next week in Brooklyn federal court against the Brooklyn Democratic Party Judicial Screening Committee. He said the suit seeks to have the committee’s 24 members replaced, so new ones can give a second chance to Jacobson, who has 25 years of experience on the bench, to get on the ballot this year on the Democratic line. Committee approval is usually routine for sitting judges, he said. Martin Edelman, the screening committee’s chairman, called Batra’s remarks “defamatory” and unfounded, adding that the committee “will not be intimidated into rescinding its decision and will vigorously fight” any lawsuit filed. * 'Greedy' NYC lawyer, paralegal who bribed court employees sentenced to nine years behind bars (NYDN)
City judge deemed incompetent in ‘unheard of’ move (NYP) This is a precedent no judge wants to set.  In a first-of-its-kind rebuke, a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge with 25 years experience on the bench has been found unqualified by a Democratic Party screening panel — a move that will likely doom her chances for re-election this fall.  “She’s not the brightest bulb in the courthouse to begin with,” said one party source, explaining the Brooklyn Democratic Party Judicial Screening Committee’s decision last month to find Justice Laura Jacobson unqualified to run on the party line. “They looked at her track rec­ord, and they found an abnormal percentage of cases were overturned by higher courts,” said the party source. “And when also factoring in she has a poor reputation, she was found unqualified.” Said another party official, who like the others asked not to be named, “As far as we know, this is the first time in Brooklyn’s history the committee did not reappoint a sitting Supreme Court judge — it’s unheard of.” *  Nurses’ court order throws wrench into NYU’s LICH plans in Brooklyn (Daily Eagle, 20114)  SUNY attorney Frank Carone told Justice Jacobson that SUNY “tried to meet with NYU yesterday, but were unsuccessful.” He assured the judge that SUNY was “committed to the content and objectives of the RFP,” and supports the “full employment of the nurses.” “I’m sure the nurses in the courtroom are very happy to hear that,” Justice Jacobson said.* Here comes the judge? Waiting for Cuomo to appoint an appellate judge (NYDN Ed)
8h8 hours ago
Judge 'unqualified' for re-election to file suit against party - must not be killed.

Bharara Send Silver to Jail Now

Preet Bharara wants Sheldon Silver to go straight to jail (NYP) Convicted former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should go straight to jail, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara argued in a letter to a federal judge.  The filing late Wednesday by Bharara’s prosecutors cited an appeals court’s action hours earlier in upholding the punishment to one of Silver’s corrupt colleagues: ex-Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson. “The Second Circuit’s decision in Stevenson further demonstrates why Silver’s . . . argument raises no substantial issue for his appeal,” prosecutors wrote Judge Valerie Caproni.* Convicted former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should go straight to jail, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara argued in a letter to a federal judge citing an appeals court ruling in the case of former Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, the Post reports.
Sheldon Silver's $80K Yearly Pension Could Be Up For Grabs By Feds(DNAINFO)
A new court ruling could stop corrupt New York politicians from keeping their pensions.

Now the Gov Wants to Subsidized 421-A Workers to Push Gentrification?
De Blasio: Subsidized wages for construction workers are fine — if it doesn’t cost city (NYP) Mayor de Blasio said he’s fine with the state subsidizing higher wages for construction workers who build affordable housing in the five boroughs – as long as it doesn’t impact the city’s bottom line. Asked about a report in the New York Times that Gov. Cuomo was considering reviving a suspended real estate tax break program with a proposal that would see tens of millions of state tax dollars going to ensuring union-level wages, de Blasio said “God bless ’em.” “If that’s what the state thinks is the right thing to do with state money, of course we can work with that,” he said at an unrelated press conference on parks in The Bronx. “What’s not acceptable to us is to add to the cost of the city’s affordable housing program, which is already stretched very thin and trying to reach half a million people.”* De Blasio cautiously supports affordable housing tax break for developers — as long as it doesn’t drive up costs(NYDN) * In Attempt to Convince Lawmakers to Vote for Affordable Housing Project, Mayor Appears to Anger Queens Councilman(NY1) * Allies of Bronx Borough President Wonder if Politics Played Role in Lack of Funding for Orchard Beach Pavilion Repairs(NY1)
* De Blasio, who has made creating more affordable housing a priority, has faced fierce community opposition on specific projects, slowing his plans to build more units as a larger push to keep New York affordable for working class people, The Wall Street Journal writes * Critics rip Cuomo plan that combines tax and wage subsidies (NYDN) * A proposal to revive the lucrative 421-a affordable housing tax credit for developers by providing government wage subsidies for the workers they hire is being blasted by business groups, nonprofit providers and economic experts, the Daily News reports. * Cuomo wants the government to pay union workers higher wages (NYP)

Cuomo Wants to Use Government Money to Revive Gentrification Causing 421-a
Cost of a good intention on 421-a fix (NYDN) At the urging of construction unions, the governor smashed the renewal of a property tax break, called 421-a, that is crucial to building housing, including affordable units, in the city.  By demanding a so-called prevailing wage rate, Cuomo threw the economics entirely out of whack. He prevailed on the state Legislature to bake into law an unusual mandate for the Real Estate Board of New York, representing developers, and the construction unions to work out wage rates both could live with. Without such an agreement, the law fated 421-a to die.  The two sides failed to reach a deal, and no wonder: financing higher wages on top of the affordable housing would bust the developers’ tight budgets, rendering many projects unbuildable. To break a months-long logjam, Cuomo now looks to dedicate potentially tens of millions of dollars of state taxpayers’ money to achieve private sector wage hikes that are acceptable to the unions.He pledges to kick in $15 an hour on wages of up to $65 for workers on large rental towers in Manhattan south of 96th St. and $50 on the booming Brooklyn-Queens waterfront.
At a time when New York desperately needs housing, affordable housing most of all, the governor has boosted the cost and put the taxpayer on the hook.


The Courts Took Away Corrupt Pols Pension Which Albany Would Not Do 
Court’s ruling on corrupt NY pols’ pensions is long overdue (NYP)  Corrupt New York pols who dream of retiring with fat, taxpayer-provided pensions just took a big hit in court.  Score one for justice and common sense. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 2d US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that pensions of convicted lawmakers can be seized — even though the state Constitution prevents those egg nests from being “diminished or impaired.” US Attorney Preet Bharara has been targeting the retirement pay of legislators he’s convicted, rightly calling it a “galling injustice” that crooked pols continue to collect cushy pensions until “their dying day.” The two corrupt former legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, are in line for $80,000 and $96,000 respectively. But the judges said disgraced former Assemblyman Eric Stevenson must surrender the $22,000 he paid into the system because the state Constitution is “pre-empted” by federal law, which allows “forfeiture” of property derived from a crime “irrespective of any provision of State law.” In 2011, Albany stripped newly elected legislators of their pensions if convicted. But they couldn’t touch those already in office, like Silver and Skelos, because of the state Constitution. This year, after much kicking and screaming, the Legislature OK’d a constitutional amendment to allow the pensions of corrupt veteran pols to be seized retroactively. But it wouldn’t take effect for at least several years. Which makes the 2d Circuit’s ruling all that more important. Crooked pols have long rested easy knowing they had a taxpayer-funded cushion to fall back on if they got caught. That cushion was just yanked from under them.*
* A federal Court of Appeals ruled that disgraced former Assemblyman Eric Stevenson’s pension contributions are available to the feds as they seek to recoup $22,000 in ill-gotten gains, the Times Union reports.

An Amego Makes A Comeback
Disgraced former state senator Hiram Monserrate is looking to return to politics.*

de Blasio Limits the Press

1199 Close to the Mayor Pushed the Rivington Deed Lifting
Emails and texts show 1199 SEIU helped a for-profit company build relationships with the de Blasio administration as it persuaded the city to modify deed restrictions on a nonprofit health facility in the Lower East Side, The Wall Street Journal reports  Newly Released Documents Underscore Influence of Health-Care Union (WSJ) * While many New Yorkers are upset with the way de Blasio runs the city, emails made public by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer show that union bosses are the ones really calling the shots in City Hall, the Post writes.
Smoking-gun evidence that union bosses run New York (NYP Ed) Many New Yorkers don’t like how Mayor de Blasio runs the city — but he’s not really the one calling the shots: Unions are. That became crystal clear from e-mails and documents City Comptroller Scott Stringer released this week linked to the city’s decision to lift deed restrictions from the Rivington House nursing home. When a top de Blasio staffer asked “how critical” the decision was, the reply from an aide, Sarah Samis, was telling: “Very critical b/c it involves 1199 jobs and they want this done,” said the e-mail, in a reference to the health-care workers union, 1199SEIU.

As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration weighed whether to remove deed restrictions at a Manhattan nursing home—a matter now under state and federal investigation—a top economic development aide asked “how critical is this? “Very critical b/c it involves 1199 jobs and they want this done,” wrote Sarah Samis, an aide to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, in an email, referring to 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Newly released emails, text messages and other documents show 1199, the nation’s largest health-care union and one of the most powerful in New York City, played an integral role helping the Allure Group, a for-profit nursing care provider, build relationships with Mr. de Blasio’s administration as the firm successfully persuaded the city to modify the deed restrictions on Rivington House.  The deed change led Allure to sell Rivington House, located on the Lower East Side, for what appears to be a $72 million profit to developers who plan to build luxury housing, prompting several investigations. The union wanted Allure to operate Rivington as a for-profit nursing home, saving the jobs of some members, according to emails. The emails and other documents, which were produced as part of the city comptroller’s investigation into the Rivington House deed change, underscored the outsize influence 1199 has in Mr. de Blasio’s administration and the degree to which city officials assess the union’s interests when making policy decisions. The union was the only major organized labor group to endorse Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 bid for the Democratic mayoral nomination. The union was one of the two largest contributors to the Campaign for One New York, a now-disbanded political nonprofit supporting the mayor. The nonprofit received $500,000 from 1199, records show.  A number of Mr. de Blasio’s top aides once worked for the union and one of his closest friends, Patrick Gaspard, formerly served as the union’s political director. “They are very influential,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Manhattan Democrat who once worked there. “There has been a weakening of the unions on the national level, but unions in New York remain strong…and 1199 is among them.” The union has long held considerable power in New York politics, with a member-mobilization operation and a large political-action committee to contribute to candidates during election years. Jennifer Cunningham, a former political director at the union, is credited with helping resuscitate the political career of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he lost his first bid for governor in 2002. The union helped fund Mr. Cuomo’s publicity campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The union strategized with Mr. de Blasio in connection with the sale of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. The mayor initially promised to keep healthcare on the site but later backed a plan by Fortis Property Group, a real-estate company, to develop it into high-rise towers with some health-care services. Neighborhood activists tried to block Fortis because other bidders were offering more health-care services. The union received a subpoena in connection with a federal probe into the closure of the hospital and the property’s sale, a person familiar with the matter said.  In the effort to lift the deed restrictions at Rivington House, Joel Landau, an executive at the Allure Group, often talked to 1199’s then-political director Kevin Finnegan, an ally of Mr. de Blasio, in hopes of getting the union’s help to influence the city, according to the emails and text messages. “Heard the mayor stood you up today,” Mr. Landau wrote in a text to Mr. Finnegan.  “He showed up late as usual,” Mr. Finnegan replied. In one text from October 2014, Mr. Landau praised Mr. Finnegan’s success advancing the union’s interests in connection with the Brooklyn hospital sale. In a December 2014 email, Emma Wolfe, the mayor’s top political aide who once worked for the union, wrote that officials at 1199 were upset and “urgently” requesting that the city help Mr. Landau on Rivington House.   A September 2014 memo prepared by city aides on Rivington included a chart comparing the interests of various stakeholders affected by the deed change. The union was one of four groups represented in the chart.
Officials at the local community board on the Lower East Side also appeared aware of the sway that the union held with the mayor’s administration. The union is “very close” to the mayor and that is an “understatement,” wrote Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, in an email. In an interview, Ms. Stetzer said the community board’s concern was transparency, and the community’s interests had been left out of the discussion.  * Investigators have obtained the emails of Ross Offinger, a de Blasio fundraiser who connected him to wealthy donors but is now under scrutiny as part of a federal and state investigation examining the mayor’s fundraising activities, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Putting Students First is Always Printed on Pols Campaign Lit But Not A Reality Once Elected
Take the teachers union. It makes sure incompetent teachers can’t be fired and blocks kids from attending better-performing non-union charter schools. (Who can forget when City Council members actually read off a teachers-union cue card at a public hearing some years ago?) In Albany, Gov. Cuomo repeatedly bows to union demands — from holding up a tax credit needed for low- and middle-income housing to pushing his $15 minimum wage. The Legislature, too, takes orders from the unions. Just this week, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie asked Cuomo not to back a plan to let city charters use public funds for pre-K without city oversight. Why do pols cede power to the labor bosses? Because the bosses control big blocks of votes — and donate handsomely to the pols’ causes. De Blasio’s Campaign for One New York got $500,000 from 1199. Surely the union expected something in return.* De Blasio should rethink his city schools better test scores victory lap via

Federal Investigation Upstate Updates

 In court filings, attorneys for G. Steven Pigeon, a Buffalo political operative indicted on nine counts of bribery and extortion, argue the case should be dismissed because evidence was illegally collected during a 2015 raid on his home, The Buffalo News reports.  * COR Development, a firm reportedly at the center of a federal investigation involving Cuomo development projects, is suing Todd Howe, a former lobbyist who is part of the probe, over an $85,000 loan the company says it made Howe, The Syracuse Post-Standard reports. * * In the ongoing court battle over “pay to play” allegations by a Cleveland developer, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is shaking up his legal defense team, replacing one big name with another, apparently to avoid a conflict of interest, The Buffalo News reports.

Ferrer Revenge Kicks Ass of the Ass Kisser Green Plotter Running for the Senate
Fernando Ferrer delivers payback for 2001 attack fliers(NYP)  Fernando Ferrer is delivering payback to a state Senate candidate who he believes wronged him 15 years ago by distributing a campaign flier that included a New York Post editorial cartoon of Ferrer kissing Al Sharpton’s butt.  Micha Lasher, who is running to represent upper Manhattan, is believed to have had a role in producing the flier when he was a young staffer in 2001 for Mark Green, who was battling Ferrer for the Democratic mayoral nomination.On Wednesday, Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president, will endorse Marisol Alcantara for the seat, which is being vacated by Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who won the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Charles Rangel in Congress.  A campaign aide to Green, who lost to Mike Bloomberg in the general election, said Ferrer’s decision to weigh into a local race is clearly payback. “All politics is personal. Politicians have long memories. Ferrer doesn’t get involved in a lot of local races,” the source said.*

Espaillat's Chosen Successor Gets Backing That Reopens Old Political (DNAINFO)

WoundsFernando Ferrer backed Espaillat's chosen candidate after a personal history with opponent Micah Lasher.

Daily News Calls It Bizarro World That New Housing Causes Gentrification Displacement . . . The Paper Should Interview the Long Term Residents of Crown Heights About the Effects of New Construction

Yes in their backyards: Affordable housing now (NYDN) Construction of affordable housing faces doom in New York at the hands of the very City Council that cries how desperately needed it is.  The vote confirmed that a key component of Mayor de Blasio’s drive to spur affordable housing is in deep trouble. While the plan is widely lauded, Council members balk at construction in their communities. The committee vote killed a project slated for Inwood, which is represented by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, usually a loyal de Blasio ally. Rodriguez bowed to an uproar by constituents who are convinced — in a Bizarro World interpretation of the laws of supply and demand — that new apartments would hasten displacement of longtime tenants. By Council custom, fellow members defer to the desire of their local colleague. So, down went the development. Message received: Each Council member has veto power over new construction, rendering the entire Council captive to anti-development agitators while depriving places to live to New Yorkers hungry for housing.

Daily News Dump Gibson As Public Safety Chair for Dangerous Driving NYPD Cover-Up 

Ticket outta there: Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson should fall from public safety chair (NYDN Ed) Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson let stand a report that she called a precinct commander to quash a ticket for dangerous driving — in string-pulling that demonstrates unfitness to continue as chair of the City Council Public Safety Committee. Officer Michele Hernandez says she pulled Gibson over after spotting her talking on the phone behind the wheel in 2014, a scant three months into Gibson’s term.  Gibson faced a fine of up to $200 and five license points. But, unlike typical New Yorkers, she had the pull to dodge accountability, Hernandez revealed in a lawsuit that accuses the NYPD of retaliating against her for failing to meet summons quotas.  The NYPD denies such quotas exist but has said nothing to dispute its officer’s account of the Gibson encounter. Hernandez says Gibson used the cellphone to call a precinct commander , sparking an order to nix the ticket. Gibson even put Hernandez on the phone with him to make sure she got the message. Asked for comment by The News, Gibson refused the chance to call the cop’s account false. She said that she “does not recall” any such incident, but “always takes very seriously and complies with all of our traffic laws.” Amnesia sets in with disclosure of a double dereliction. Dereliction one: Gibson anointed herself above the law by virtue of her position and special access to NYPD brass, demanding special treatment unavailable to her constituents. Dereliction two: Driving while speaking on a phone is not just a violation of state law; it is downright deadly, increasing fourfold the chances of a crash. Gibson well knew how deadly, because just two weeks prior to her NYPD run-in she had presided over a City Council hearing on Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities. Her opening remarks spoke of safety’s urgency: “ We must do more to ensure that these horrific accidents no longer happen across our streets.” Family members of pedestrian crash victims then tearfully recounted their loved ones’ horrifying last moments. Said the uncle of a child mowed down by a cabbie: “There’s no moral difference between driving drunk and driving in an incompetent manner for another reason, whether you’re smoking pot, using a cell phone, road rage, impatience or turning into a crosswalk without looking.” Gibson might not recall that lacerating message, however. She had left the Council chambers. Now, she should leave her committee chair.

Cuomo Bites Back Hard

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his aides have developed a reputation for responding with searing personal attacks when criticized by those who disagree with his policies, which has left even political veterans jarred, The Wall Street Journal reports.

NYT Crime in the Parks Up Don't Worry . . . 
The Times writes that New Yorkers should not be worried about an analysis showing crime has increased in parks, and that after years of increasing safety, New Yorkers have rediscovered the ability to be shocked by crime, not numbed by it.  

Spinning Education Numbers is the New Normal 
The Post writes that the New York City schools’ relaxed promotion policy has led to thousands of students being moved up even when they should have passed summer classes or repeated a grade.*
De Blasio should rethink his city schools better test scores victory lap (NYP Ed) Mayor de Blasio might want to rethink the wisdom of that victory lap he took after state-test scores showed slight improvements for the city’s public-schoolkids. Especially since Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa on Wednesday dumped a bucket of ice water on his boasts of “progress,” noting that scores this year couldn’t be compared to those from last year because the testing changed so markedly. “The whole idea that we put the asterisk there . . . is that we really didn’t want people taking a victory lap,” she said. Ouch.

The NYP Blames the Homeless Not the Loss Of Hundreds of Thousands Affordable Housing to Gentrification and Airbnb

Stuck-in-the-past Bill de Blasio still thinks more housing will end homelessness (NYP) Like most left-wing Democrats, Mayor de Blasio remains hopelessly mired in the past, declaring — as he did again just last week — that “the solution to homelessness” is more housing. De Blasio touted new figures he says show the success of the city’s programs — including emergency rental assistance and curbing evictions — in moving the homeless to permanent housing. Except for one missing detail: There are now more homeless families living in city shelters than ever before. But the reasons for this are not always strictly economic. In some cases, the same kind of substance-abuse and mental illness that leads to street homelessness among single men are at play.Also, some families claim homelessness because they know by law they are guaranteed an automatic right to shelter and will be given preferred access to public housing.*
The New York City Planning Commission declined to impose a zoning plank requiring affordable housing on a boutique condo proposed in Manhattan, and the borough president filed a letter objecting, which will send the matter to the Council, the Times reports.

Developer Wants to Test Mayor's Inclusionary Zoning in Inwood, Councilman Opposes Project (NY1) * City Council Votes Against Sherman Plaza Development in Inwood, Which Would Have Been the First to Use New Affordable Housing Regulations (NY1) *

The New York City Council voted against an apartment project in Inwood, which would have been the first private development proposed under de Blasio’s new zoning rules that require affordable units in any project that needs city approval, the Daily News reports.

The Times Union writes that most state lawmakers running for re-election would say they oppose a massive pay hike for themselves, and if they get one, there’s nothing they could do about it, but that’s not being entirely honest.

The Daily News writes that the council’s vote against an Inwood project shows a key component of de Blasio’s drive to spur affordable housing is in deep trouble, and that the speaker should disabuse lawmakers of the idea that they have veto power over new construction.


Sign A Petition to Stop Pay Raises to Lawmakers Until They Pass an Ethics Bill

Post reader starts petition to stop lawmakers’ 47 percent raise (NYP) A Post reader, spurred to action by a report about state lawmakers possibly getting a 47 percent raise, has started an online petition opposing the hike that has drawn more than 7,000 signatures in less than a week.

Pay Raises for His Staff to Keep Them From Walking? Keep Them Quiet?
COOKING UP SOME CONTROVERSY! Mayor de Blasio dishes out $2M in raises to staff — including his chef — as poll numbers keep plummeting amid scandals (NYDN)
De Blasio helps cronies but slashes pay for Bloomberg hires (NYP) *

Why City Hall staffers are getting big pay raises (NYP) The Mayor’s Office essentially admits the problem: The payouts are needed to “retain skilled staff,” it argues. But maybe the sums wouldn’t need to be as much if staffers better liked working for this administration.Start with the fact that Hizzoner is facing as many as seven different investigations into his team’s actions, including the Rivington nursing-home flap and his fund-raising for state Senate races. Then there are the reports of the mayor humiliating and upbraiding staffers at meetings and in “teachable moments.” And, of course, his ailing poll numbers and the (well-deserved) criticism of his mayoralty from so many voices (like ours). Refugees include Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Press Secretary Karen Hinton and his short-lived social-media director. Environmental Commissioner Emily Lloyd, Sustainability Director Nilda Mesa and counsel Maya Wiley also gave notice.

de Blasio's Public School Report Card Grade F and Lying About Charter Success

Bill can’t handle the truth: De Blasio's continued dismissal of charterschool achievement  (NYDN Ed) Someone smart in City Hall (no joking, now) would do Mayor de Blasio a favor with a frank talk about embarrassing himself. For two days running, Wednesday and Thursday, the mayor looked downright foolish in trying to belittle the gains achieved by charter school students on the latest English and math standardized tests. Charter kids, who make up one-tenth of the city’s public school enrollment, markedly outpaced children enrolled in traditional district schools. On the math test, district proficiency rose from 35% to 36% (a one-point rise), while charters moved from 44% to 49% (a five-point gain). “It’s not a state secret that some substantial piece of that is based on charters that focus on test prep. And if that’s where they put a lot of their time and energy, of course it could yield better test scores. But we don’t think that's good educational policy. So we’re going to do it the way that we believe is right for our children.”
Mayor de Blasio’s lame excuses for charter schools’ success  (NYP) harters did better, de Blasio said, only because they focus on “test-prep.” He also (falsely) claimed charters have a “history” of “excluding” lower-performing kids. The mayor insisted his approach is outperforming charters in terms of “actually teaching kids.” And that union-run schools are “doing better” — despite their lower scores. (The proof? There isn’t any.)  Note the hypocrisy: Even as he downplayed the value of test scores at charters, he emphasized it for district schools. The results “represent important progress” and “real improvements,” he said, noting an eight-point jump in the percentage of English-proficient kids at the districts, and a one-point uptick in math.
De Blasio fires back at Success Academy boss over school's rising test scores, claims they're based on ineffective 'prep-heavy' models (NYDN)
De Blasio's agreement with teachers and principals doesn't ax enough bad educators 'to help kids' (NYDN)

Letter to Cuomo Reveals State Senate’s Plan to Help Success Academy   (NYT) In the letter, John J. Flanagan, the Senate majority leader, urged the governor to do something about the “regulatory burden imposed” by the city’s universal pre-K program.

Fariña must tell judge why computer failed special-education students (NYP) D epartment of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña will have to tell a judge why the city’s school system has failed special-education students, a new ruling says.  Manhattan Judge Lynn Kotler ordered the special tribunal in response to a suit filed by Public Advocate ­Letitia James in February. James had found that a $130 million computer program that monitors the city’s 200,000 special-education students is “incapable of providing citywide data.” As a result, disabled students have missed out on services and the city has had to pay $38 million in overtime, according to James’ lawsuit.  Fariña has resisted an inquiry into the $130 million program, known as the Special Education Student Information System, or SESIS.

de Blasio to "Take A Look At" Another City Deal With the Rivington Nursing Home $72 Million Owners 

De Blasio will take a ‘hard look’ at Rivington firm’s newdeal (NYP) Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday the city is re-examining a deal that gave development rights for a Brooklyn armory to the company that hushed up its purchase of the Rivington House nursing home earlier this year. “We’re going to take a very hard look at that situation — the contract has not been finalized,” the mayor said at an unrelated press conference on the Upper West Side. “I think what they did was inappropriate,” he added. “And I think anyone who seeks to do business with the city of New York and misleads us needs to know that there will be consequences.” Slate Property Group won the right to convert the Bedford Union armory in Crown Heights into 330 apartments just before it quietly clinched the nursing-home purchase in February. The property was sold over community objections after the city lifted a deed restriction. That sale is now under investigation. Just two days ago, the mayor’s own Economic Development Corporation defended Slate’s role at the armory, saying the firm won the contract fairly. *De Blasio reconsiders if 'inappropriate' Rivington House developer should keep city-backed Brooklyn project (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio said he'll take a "hard look" at whether a developer implicated in the Rivington House scandal should get to keep a big city-backed project in Brooklyn. Slate Property Group was tapped by the city to develop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights — but de Blasio said Wednesday he's reconsidering the deal. "We're going to take a very hard look at that situation. That contract has not been finalized," he said. Slate bought Rivington House, a former Lower East Side nursing home, to turn it into luxury condos — and investigators found they plotted with the seller to keep the plan secret until the city had lifted a deed restriction requiring the property to be used for health care. "I think what they did was inappropriate," de Blasio said. "Anyone who seeks to do business with the city of New York who seeks to mislead us needs to know there will be consequences. So we'll take a hard look at that situation." Activist groups have called on the city to yank the armory project from Slate. As the Daily News reported, they're also asking Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, whose foundation is helping to pay for a rec center at the site, to drop out.

Schumer Hillary Not Clear on Political Corruption Fighter Bharara's Future 
Chuck Schumer says Preet Bharara is doing a great job,but won’t reveal if he wants the prosecutor back under next President (NYDN) *
Time For Preet to Clear His Plate (Manhattan Institute) The multiplying investigations of the de Blasio administration need resolution.
Hillary Clinton won’t commit to reappointing U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (NYDN) b Clinton during an appearance before the Daily News Editorial Board on Saturday would not commit to re-appointing Bharara should she win  "I will take all that into account if I'm lucky enough to be elected President," Clinton said when asked about Bharara's performance in cracking down on government corruption. "I obviously want the very best people to be U.S. attorneys," she said. "I want them to give no favor to anybody. If there are cases to be investigated and made, they should do it." But she quickly added that "I'm not going to comment on any particular personnel decision."
Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation

How the Rivington Nursing Home Owners Played the State's Economic Development Corp for Another Development
City urged to scuttle project over developer’s ties to nursing home scandal (NYP) The city should scuttle a project on publicly owned land in Crown Heights because one of the developers was involved in the Lower East Side nursing-home fiasco, community advocates said Monday Groups including New York Communities for Change and the Crown Heights Tenant Union plan a protest Wednesday to try to block the Slate Property Group. Slate bought the Rivington House nursing home for $116 million in February with plans to turn it into luxury housing — but only after the seller got the city to remove a deed restriction in place for decades. The deal has embroiled Mayor de Blasio in a storm of criticism. Slate founder Matt Nussbaum warned company officials in a May 2015 e-mail to keep silent until the restriction was removed and then “we can do whatever we want. Seven months later, the city’s Economic Development Corp. awarded Slate and BFC Partners a lease to develop the building. “Slate has proven they cannot be trusted — they’re a deceitful developer,” said Renata Pumerol, a spokeswoman for NYCC, whose protest was first reported by Crain’s.

When Will the Media and Pols Blame Airbnb and Gentrification for Loss of Affordable Housing and Increase In Homelessness? 
Bill’s losing battle: Accounting for record numbers of homeless families (NYDN) On Sunday, a record 12,750 families, including 23,207 children, spent the night in a city-sponsored hotel or shelter. So did an additional 2,378 couples, also an all-time-high number. “The usual summer increase,” a Department of Homeless Services spokesperson shrugged, alluding to an annual rush of parents to seek shelter in between school years to minimize further disrupting their children’s lives. Mayor de Blasio is spending an astounding $1.7 billion this year to house and aid the homeless, filling what he describes as an economic gulf between how much money poor New Yorkers make and rent they must pay to stay housed. Some of that money pays for legal services designed to forestall evictions; by the city’s reckoning this has prevented a still worse surge into shelter.

We Will Have to Wait for the Indictments to Find Out About the Real Deal to Close LICH

Groundhog Day: Rivington Nursing Home, Special Agent Cover-Up At City Hall Continues
Piercing the fog of de Blasio’s cover ups (NYP)Mayor de Blasio’s damage-control efforts in two separate scandals took heavy hits last week. What’s next? Start with the removal of deed restrictions on that Rivington Street property — a mess de Blasio insists he first learned of when the scandal hit the headlines in March. Oops: Politico reports that a trove of e-mails and documents showing the push to lift the restrictions started in early 2014. The pressure came from powerhouse union 1199, and all the mayor’s top aides were involved.  Documents show that throughout 2014 and 2015, top City Hall aides — Deputy Mayors Alicia Glen and Anthony Shorris, plus de Blasio chief of staff Emma Wolfe — were involved in talks on lifting the requirement that a nonprofit run the site. That much high-level attention — and 1199’s role — sure should’ve put the issue on the mayor’s radar. Meanwhile, the “agents of the city” gambit is falling apart. This, recall, is the excuse for shrouding Team de Blasio’s communications with key political consultants who also lobby city government: The mayor insists that when he’s asking these folks to help with his business, he has a right to keep the public in the dark about what’s said. Not so, says the Commission on Open Government — the state’s official transparency monitor. Its advisory opinion argues that, since the consultants got no city pay for this work, they’re not like agency staff whose communications are shielded. That finding will carry weight in court , so it’s likely that a judge will soon be forcing de Blasio to cough up the goods. Recent filings show payments of more than $2 million to the “agents of the city” from de Blasio’s pet nonprofits. And their ties to him also let the lobbyists earn big from private interests seeking favors from the city — lifting deed restrictions, for example. De Blasio World is one giant web of favors, cash and political cronyism — hidden by a fog of double-talk and lame excuses. Here’s hoping the army of prosecutors now on the case can pierce the fog and map it all out.

One Brooklyn PAC is Brooklyn BP Adams One NY Slush Fund
Feds probe Eric Adams’ non-profit over donor favor claims (NYP)A nonprofit created by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to advance his pet projects is being probed by both federal authorities and the city’s Department of Investigation, The Post has learned. The feds are scrutinizing the fund-raising of Adams’ One Brooklyn Fund, to see if it is being used to dish out pay-to-play favors, sources briefed on the matter said. One source said the investigation is “similar” to a probe by Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara into Mayor de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York nonprofit. Like CONY, One Brooklyn has solicited cash from entities under review by authorities and that have business before the city. The DOI is investigating whether Adams violated any city laws by routinely asking outside groups to cut checks directly to his nonprofit to rent space at Borough Hall, rather than have payments go into the city coffers, sources said. Those payments slip under the radar because city-affiliated organizations like One Brooklyn aren’t required to report donations and other types of revenue under $5,000 with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board. Since its formation two years ago, One Brooklyn has reported $315,000 to $860,000 in donations, disclosure forms show. It has pulled in another $344,000 in City Council funds.

Brooklyn BP Lobbyists Capalino and Another Slush Fund PAC
Capalino Buying Silence 
Airbnb Lobbyist's Firm Met 29 Times With Brooklyn Borough President, Staff (DNAINFO)  The city's top lobbyist met 29 times with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and his staff since he took office — and those chats made the politician a big believer in Airbnb. Adams became a cheerleader for the apartment-sharing website in 2015 after lobbyist James Capalino and his staff met with him and his staff, according to lobbying records. The borough president even lauded the tech firm in a June 4, 2015, keynote address he gave at the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute's Brooklyn's most prominent politicians, including Public Advocate Letitia James and councilmembers Jumaane Williams, Brad Lander and Carlos Menchaca, have all publicly opposed Airbnb because of its negative effect on affordable housing."Building Brooklyn" conference.A 2015 report from New York Communities for Change and Real Affordability for All found that Brooklyn has eight of the city's top 20 neighborhoods for Airbnb. While the city's average rent increased 32 percent from 2002 to 2014, the average increase in the top Brooklyn Airbnb neighborhoods was 45 percent.Adams' praise came at a time when Airbnb had already been investigated by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and was facing scrutiny from local elected officials about the service's users skirting rental laws and occupancy taxes. Airbnb, which paid $150,000 to Capalino's firm in 2015 to lobby Adams and City Council members, also made a hefty donation to the Brooklyn borough president's nonprofit, the One Brooklyn Fund, according to disclosures made to the city's Conflicts of Interest Board. Adams met personally five times with Capalino's firm and two of those meetings were about Airbnb and had Airbnb representatives present, according to the borough president's office. Adams' staff met with Capalino's firm an additional time regarding Airbnb. For comparison, Mayor Bill de Blasio met with Capalino twice since taking office. Airbnb gave One Brooklyn's general fund a check for $32,000 on Aug. 20, 2015.Tom Cayler of the West Side Neighborhood Alliance, which opposes Airbnb, said he was disappointed to hear about its donation to the Brooklyn Borough President's office. "I'm shocked that as the borough president of Brooklyn that his first concern and commitment isn't to affordable housing for his constituents," Cayler said. "It's very clear to anyone dealing with housing issues that illegal hotels remove valuable housing stock from the market." One Brooklyn has received more than $900,000 in donations from more than 30 donors since it formed in 2014. Adams’ office said One Brooklyn was set up to solicit donations to pay for things such as his “International Day of Friendship" and his New Year's Eve "ball drop" in Coney Island. An advisory letter Adams' office obtained from the Conflicts of Interest Board said that he and his staff must make it clear that the One Brooklyn donor "will receive no special access to the Borough President or to the Office or preferential treatment as a result of the donation." Good government groups said One Brooklyn has similarities with the Campaign for One New York, the nonprofit formed by de Blasio to push his political agenda. "They raise money from people who do business with the city and the borough, which is a problem," said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union. City records show Capalino has raised about $45,000 for de Blasio's re-election campaign. Capalino's firm also donated $10,000 to the Campaign for One New York. Other One Brooklyn donors were Brooklyn developer Two Trees Management's philanthropic arm the Walentas Foundation and film production firm Broadway Stages, which has drawn scrutiny over its donations to de Blasio's campaigns.* Judge stops short-term rentals in single-room occupancy hotel (NYP) * Upper West Side apartment building that rented rooms to tourists ordered to stop taking reservations (NYDN)

As Airbnb Warehouse Apts Driving Up 

Prices Media and Pols Support them

 A bill that would make advertising short-term rentals illegal is the latest example of New York officials trying to strangle the “sharing economy” when it should be embraced, since these companies satisfy a demand, the Cato Institute’s Matthew Feeney writes in the Post.* Airbnb and the Battle of Suitcase Alley  (NYT)  In New York and other cities with steep housing costs, a longstanding objection to home-sharing sites is that some listings remove units from the residential market.

Lobbyist Howe Turns Federal Rat On Percoco and Cuomo
Cuomo cronie spills for leniency deal in corruption probe (NYP) The corruption probe of Gov. Cuomo’s two longtime associates has taken a critical turn with Todd Howe, onetime lobbyist and longtime Cuomo family confidant, signing a “cooperation agreement’’ with US Attorney Preet Bharara, a source close to the investigation told The Post. The agreement promises Howe, whose ties to Cuomo go back three decades, “favorable treatment’’ and “leniency’’ in the event that he’s criminally charged, in exchange for full details of his lobbying activities on behalf of several major state contractors with senior Cuomo administration officials. Those officials include Joseph Percoco, Cuomo’s closest friend and top aide who is currently senior vice president at Madison Square Garden, the source said.
Howe, who as a lobbyist had access to the highest levels of the Cuomo administration, and Percoco, who Cuomo has described as being like “my father’s third son,’’ were cut off from access to the administration after Bharara served a sweeping subpoena related to the activities of both men on the governor’s office in late April.  The subpoena, which was followed by a state attorney general’s raid on Howe’s Albany office — located at the SUNY’s Polytechnic Institute, which he once represented — and a federal raid on Percoco’s Westchester home, was part of Bharara’s ongoing probe of Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion project, contractors for which hired Howe and at various times paid Percoco and Percoco’s wife “consulting” fees.*Comptroller rips Cuomo’s jobs program for its ‘lowered goals(NYP)

A New President Could End the Era of Bharara Corruption Fighting in NY
There's a reason Preet Bharara may feel pressure to finish politician investigations (NYDN)With time possibly running out on crusading U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's term, many in New York's political and legal circles are bracing for a frenzy of activity as his office works to finish up ongoing cases into the Cuomo and de Blasio administrations before the next President takes office. "When a U.S. Attorney is about to leave office, there's a lot of pressure on the assistants to finalize cases and indictments and bring them to fruition," former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon said. "In this case, he's concerned about his legacy and he's going to want all unfinished business completed." Simon said there's always a concern the next U.S. attorney may not place the same emphasis on particular cases. "The existing U.S. attorney doesn't want to take chances or see all their hard work going out the window," he said. "Once there is an indictment, a new US attorney can't go and pull it."

More SUNY Hospital Wasted $$$
Struggling hospital spends thousands on lavish travel, dinners(NYP) Struggling SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn allowed a top “restructuring” consultant to bill the state for $83,000 in lavish travel, lodging and dining expenses, a scathing audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reveals. The expenditures included pricey rooms at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side, a booze-infused “team dinner” at the Docks Oyster Bar in Midtown, and sticker-shock limo bills, the audit found. Baton Rouge, La.-based Pitts Management Associates was hired in 2011 to find ways to cut costs at the financially ailing state university-run hospital. But the consultants themselves were living large, with SUNY Downstate staffers approving eye-popping reimbursements for expenses, according to the audit of expenses from March through August 2014.

So, Again Rivington Deed Change Whodunit? Shorris?, Capalino", Wolfe?  and Why? Politico $upport For Reelection
City Hall mystery: Burning questions on the Rivington deed swap
 (NYDN) Two investigations into how the de Blasio administration enabled a real estate developer to reap a $72 million windfall on property once owned by the city have left unanswered the big questions: whodunit and why. Probes by the Department of Investigation and Controller Scott Stringer failed to identify who in City Hall gave a critical go-ahead that propelled the city bureaucracy into completing the transaction. Prime suspect: First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris. With the help of James Capalino, a lobbyist with close ties to Shorris, VillageCare asked the city to lift the deed restrictions in order to facilitate a sale.  The request triggered high-level City Hall deliberations. On July 25, 2014, Shorris discussed Rivington with Stacey Cumberbatch, then commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the agency that manages deed restrictions. That same day, Cumberbatch spoke to Capalino, an internal DCAS email indicates: “She told him that the City was reviewing options with regard to the property, and that DCAS will not remove the restriction at this time.” Stringer thus described the city as “putting VillageCare’s request on hold.” n September, the administration’s review, led by Shorris and Deputy Mayors Alicia Glen and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, concluded the building should be targeted for affordable housing and retail. All the while, the union representing AIDS home workers sought to save their jobs, as well as $18 million owed by VillageCare to the union pension fund.

A Dec. 2014 email to Shorris and Glen from top mayoral aide Emma Wolfe suggests that Shorris worked with 1199SEIU to identify a nursing home operator to take over the site. The union has the distinction of being de Blasio’s most generous backer — giving $500,000 to his Campaign for One New York.Despite the consensus that the building should be used for housing, Shorris told both the controller and DOI that he decided to keep Rivington House a health facility. He said he couldn’t recall if, when or how he informed DCAS of his decision. The City Hall line on what happened next holds that DCAS bureaucrats mobilized to lift the deed restrictions: 1) completely on their own, 2) despite Cumberbatch’s hold on doing so and 3) at the insistence of prospective buyer Joel Landau months before he owned the property.

“We need to move this,” one DCAS bureaucrat emailed another on Nov. 18, 2014. The key unanswered question: On whose orders? With Landau blustering that he would bail on a deal wanted by 1199, a union official prevailed on Wolfe to lean on DCAS to fast-track key paperwork — which DCAS did, according to emails. DCAS also ordered an appraisal that valued the property at $64 million — even as the buyer’s private estimate put it at $90 million. Under the city’s 25% formula for pricing deed restrictions, Landau paid $16 million, millions less than he should have. He then sold the property to a condo developer for $116 million. Shorris has professed ignorance of everything that happened after his phantom decision that the building should be maintained for health care. He says he does not recall seeing any of Cumberbatch’s three memos that updated progress. So, again, whodunit and why?

Silver Thinks Skelos McDonnell Will Keep Him Out of Jail Also
Silver cites Skelos ruling in bid to remain free on bail (NYP) Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue (NYDN) * Sheldon Silver should start 12-year prison term at the end of the month, prosecutors argue (NYDN)

Skelos to Stay Out of Jail Until Appeal Ruling Thanks to SC's McDonnell Ruling
Dean Skelos will be able to stay out of prison pending his appeal (NYP) Disgraced former state Sen. Dean Skelos will be able to stay out of prison pending an appeal of his corruption convictions, a Manhattan judge ruled on Thursday. Skelos and son his son, Adam, are seeking a new trial thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s conviction, also on corruption charges. Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood wrote that she’ll let the Long Island father and son stay out on bail because they’ve “shown that their appeals present a substantial questioning regarding whether this court’s jury instructions were erroneous in light of the United States Supreme Court’s holding in McDonnell v. United States.”

Not One Elected Officials Has Demanded That de Blasio Release Lobbyists "Agents of the City" Emails
Get the message, Bill? 'Agents of the city' emails must go public (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio can call his email buddies friends, he can call them advisers, he can call them Ishmael — but “agents of the city” exempt from public revelation of their correspondence, he can’t. So concludes Bob Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government and New York’s top authority on the Freedom of Information Law. Responding to a request for his opinion from lawyer Norman Siegel on behalf of the Village Voice, Freeman wrote Wednesday that de Blasio cannot “deny access to the communications” by claiming that unpaid outside advisers are the equivalent of City Hall aides. De Blasio’s former counsel concocted the “agents” fiction to block disclosure of emails to and from political consultants enmeshed in investigations of the mayor’s fundraising maneuvers. Which is why agents, going by the letters F-B-I, are rifling through City Hall emails and much more.