Sunday, May 12, 2013

In NY Even the Ethics Commission Designed to Fight Corruption JCOPE is Corrupt

Union and Wall Street Insiders Make Billions Off the City's Pension Fund Are Blocking Reforms
Pension politics(NYP)Losing out on $1B
About a year and a half ago, a minor miracle occurred in city government. Comptroller John Liu and Mayor Bloomberg put aside their long-held animosities and jointly proposed a restructuring of the city’s five pension systems under a single pension-investment board. When Liu, who came up with the idea, got mixed up in a federal investigation of his campaign, the plan was shelved. The model was based on the Toronto teachers pension fund, which routinely beats the returns of older and clunkier systems, such as New York’s.  As of June 30, 2012, the city pension funds have posted a 10-year rate of return of 6.63 percent. Meanwhile, the Toronto teachers fund, which reports by calendar year, generated 8 percent through the decade ending on Dec. 31, 2011. An important aspect is unstated: Pensions are pegged at 8% rate of return. Pensions consume growing share of budget.

Mayoral Candidates Promise More Services At Same Time They Protect Insider Pension Rip Offs
The Democratic mayoral candidates were given a chance to weigh in on the issue during the National Organization for Women forum last week. Except for Liu — who suggested that the change he’d proposed could yield as much as $2 billion extra a year — the others all punted. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio had a problem with “transparency.” The candidates vigorously denied that opposition by union chiefs — who have considerable clout in a mayoral election year — was a factor.* A cloud of corruption hangs Albany and Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins hopes it ends.* Albany is more or less divided on how to heal itself.

NYT Calls Corruption Normal

As US Attorney Preet Bharara Asks the Press to Investigate to Build Public Outrage
NYT's Gail Collins Today Tries to Normalize Corruption
Is Yours More Corrupt Than Mine?(NYT) With 32 state officials arrested, New York is setting quite a standard. But it has competition. All of this raises some interesting questions. Is everybody in Albany now operating under the presumption that everything they say is being secretly recorded for the F.B.I.? “We have three people in the State Legislature facing trial. Four of the last seven governors have gone to jail,” said Andy Shaw of Illinois’ Better Government Association. “And we’re a fiscal train wreck.”

WHAT'S ON THOSE TAPES? Local politicians scramble in Sen. Shirley Huntley undercover recording scandal(NYDN)
In a 2010 report by the state inspector general, Huntley and four of the politicians she recorded were accused of insider dealing in the selection process. The five politicians promoted Aqueduct

Entertainment Group, or AEG, a firm that included as a partner one of their allies, the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former Democratic congressman. The inspector general found that Sampson leaked an internal Senate document critiquing the other racino bidders to an AEG lobbyist, and that Sampson, Adams and Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) attended an AEG-funded victory party when AEG was selected. It was also revealed that Huntley, Sampson, Adams, Smith and Sen. Ruth Hassel-Thompson (D-Bronx) received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from contributors tied to AEG.* As New York debates how and where to build casinos, state officials in Illinois, too, are facing similar issues.

Catsimatidis Casey Yogi Berra Isms

Mayoral candidates say the darndest things(NYDN Ed)
A sampling of the wit and wisdom of John Catsimatidis
* Stop carping and open your ears.
* In December, while exploring a mayoral run, Catsimatidis said: “We can’t punish any one group and chase them away. . . . I mean, Hitler punished the Jews. We can’t have punishing the ‘2% group’ right now.” * In the same interview: “New York never felt the recession. New York never felt a depression.”
* At a News mayoral forum in March: Cops should be mobile in the community “either on a bicycle or a tricycle.”
* At an Asian-American community forum in April: “I love Asian food, my wife loves Asian food, my son loves Asian food.”
* At a forum on animal rights this month, speaking of a family cat: “My wife gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and rushed him to the hospital to try to keep him alive. . . . I just want to reflect the respect I have for animals.”
Lopez Silver Hush Fund Cover Up

JCOPE Government Ethics Puppet Civil War
NYP:JCOPE says it will publish the report this month. If it doesn’t it publish in full, we say abolish the commission, save the taxpayers the expense and stop wasting time.
Publish or perish(NYP)

This newspaper has always been skeptical about people saying the answer to New York’s corruption is some new watchdog. For a reason, just look at what’s happening in Albany now, where one ethics commission is fighting another ethics commission in an effort to keep state voters in the dark.* The release of JCOPE’s report on Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s alleged sexual harassment of legislative staffers remains bogged down in legal and bureaucratic morass.

 At issue is the coverup by powerful state legislators — using your tax dollars — of sexual-harassment charges against one of their own, Assemblyman Vito Lopez. It came out that Speaker Shelly Silver authorized a $103,800 settlement (your money, again) with two Lopez ex-staffers who claimed they’d been serially groped. And what else could the public conclude when it sees the co-chairman of that commission, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, inviting Silver — a leader he’s supposed to be investigating — to headline a Lavine fund-raiser? Albany Hush Fund Cover Up, Press Containment Timeline(True News)

And what else could the public conclude when it sees the co-chairman of that commission, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, inviting Silver — a leader he’s supposed to be investigating — to headline a Lavine fund-raiser?* Gropez-Shel prober is (fund-)raising doubts(March, NYP)

Yes for Speaker Silver No For Senator Sampson
Could've used this last night. Gov Alfred E. Smith: "Having a law degree means that you can take a bribe & call it a fee." H/t StarQuest

 Informed Public is the Only Way to Stop Political Corruption
Our view is simple: The system’s main check on legislative greed and corruption isn’t a prosecutor or an ethics commission. It’s an informed public helped by a vigorous free press. JCOPE says it will publish the report this month. If it doesn’t it publish in full, we say abolish the commission, save the taxpayers the expense and stop wasting time.

Cuomo, Skelos, Klein try to save the session (CrainsNY)

How Do Political Leaders Push For Women's Rights At the Same Time They Are Covering Up Lopez's Sexual Harassment and a Hush Fund Cover Up

Corruption Updates All Weekend
corruption or conspiracy? 'A conversation that goes on at everybody's kitchen table'

Embattled Eric Adams a no-show at Bay Ridge Democrats meeting(Brooklyn Paper)
Mayoral Campaign

As city celebrates topping of WTC 1, Joe Lhota brings 9/11 terror back into focus with mailer showing him with Mayor Guiliani just days following horrific attacks
* Wife of 25 yrs Tamra 11th-hour emails donors 4 , "a man who is trustworthy, honest + compassionate."

Three Parks Independent Dems, one of the Upper West Side’s major political clubs, delivered its support to Mr. Liu* An Out of Control Wealth Gap is Holding Back. Listen to full interview with

Winning With Weiner(NY Mag) Don’t laugh—it’s not impossible

To: Anthony Weiner
From: Acme Strategists, Inc.
RE: Weiner for Mayor 2013
It was terrific meeting with you last week. We are honored that you are considering hiring us at this incredibly complicated turning point in your life, as you wrestle with a final decision about jumping into this year’s race for mayor. No doubt it’s a tough, deeply personal call for both you and Huma. But we’re pretty sure that you, like us, were up late last night cheering as the returns came in from South Carolina. If Mark Sanford can hike the Appalachian Trail all the way back to Congress, why can’t Anthony Weiner tweet his way to City Hall?* Where Ed Koch and Michael Bloomberg didn’t want to go, Bill de Blasio and Anthony Weiner have been very open (for different reasons) when it comes to their spouses.

de Blasio Marriage

RT Breaking w Koch/Bloomberg tradition, de Blasio's wife and Weiner explain in detail their marriages

"I believe Bill has the right vision for the city." RT : Rev. Flake endorses Thompson in mayoral race
After backing Bloomberg in '09, Floyd Flake endorsing Thompson today 

Head of Teachers’ Union Tests Candidates’ Views(NYT)
 Michael Mulgrew, president of the teachers’ union, has been dangling a wish list of ideas to candidates who are hoping to win the backing of the powerful union.* NYC mayoral candidates to discuss education issues(WSJ) * Seeking Teachers’ Support, Mayoral Candidates Pledge Education Reform
* Mayoral Candidate Forum On Education Held At UFT Spring Conference(NY1) * NYC Mayoral Candidates Vie For Teachers' Support, Union Endorsement(Newsday)

Mayoral Debate
Head of Teachers’ Union, Mulgrew, Tests Candidates’ Views (NYT)
Quinn struggles as Mayoral candidates court city's biggest teacher's union(DNAINFO)
Mayoral Candidate Forum On Education Held At UFT Spring Conference (NY1)
"union busting"-- re: Bloomberg's handling of . * Sal Albanese misses no chance to remind crowd that he spend 11 years as public school teacher. * Trying to redeem herself Quinn does make it clear no one from Tweed will be Chancellor. *corruption or conspiracy? 'A conversation that goes on at everybody's kitchen table' Mulgrew: "there's no debate we disenfranchised parents." * wow. all the mayoral candidates said they'd oppose raising the cap on charter schools. * Standardized tests became "false idol" in Bloomber years de Blasio tells conference, emphasizes he fought against 3rd term . is nodding as gives answer about moving away from test obsession. *  

Quinn tells conference she supports state report cards more than city's bec less reliant on test scores . chides for repeatedly "bashing" Bloomberg & for . * . only candidate who said she'd allow "co-locations" without local approval. * DeBlasio, Liu rip Bloomberg for letting all union contracts expire - and link it to to Quinn's blessing of third term. *. nods as says there are some contracts Bloomberg is paying very close attention to. * : let's stop talking about what is wrong with teachers and talk about what's right and support them. . grins as launches into a diatribe against MRB's 3rd term. * "we're going to put everything on the table"--@Qunn4NY re: contract negotiations with unions. * good point. but they can lobby.*
Quinn differs from Bloomberg, says teacher evaluations should have "sunset clause."

A Bloomberg Moment

If you believe the demands of the UFT and the needs of children perfectly align than you will love the candidates running for NYC Mayor.

Debate Crowd Boos Duncan
 RT : yeah but raising the charter cap isn't the mayor's prerogative - state leg * "We are not talking about the UFT contract."--Mulgrew. . cough cough
Speaker Quinn praises Arne Duncan, gets booed, Prez Mulgrew goes disciplinarian: "Stop!"   * Sal at : I taught in our classrooms for 11 yrs, so I don't need a political consultant to tell me how important class size is! * Thompson says winter bus strike was simply the administration "union busting. That's what they do." * "fixed terms" for Panel for Educational Policy says . // what does that do to mayoral control? * Candidates all agree that school-closing policies have failed *Mulgrew jokes abut how often Dept of Education has been "restructured" by Bloomberg. : Carrion repeatedly calls school children "bambinos." ” really? * "once, and stick with it for 8 yrs"-- on how often he'd restructure the Dept of Education. * "more testig in the classroom…at the discretion of the teachers."

Mayoral candidates vie for teachers’ union support at UFT forum(NYDN)
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn tried to separate herself from Mayor Bloomberg, saying that standardized tests should have a small role in evaluating teachers’ performances, but faced boos for not insisting that an educator should head the school system. She, along with five other candidates, also slammed City Hall’s handling of this winter’s school bus strike.
--. it goes over well with crowd. * big applauds for -- her first one here -- for saying she wants a return of "networks" to help local schools. *Sal at : We know Bloomberg's 3rd term was bad & Quinn gave it to him. Lets stop rehashing that & focus on our ideas for the future* . says she can't offer a "final plan" on how to restructure Dept of Ed without "sitting down" with teachers, etc. * : Debate is high-stakes politics as likely to endorse candidate at June 12 delegate assembly: " 4 sure* . says Eva Moskowitz spent "most" of her time as Educ Chair "attacking" the , which "tore us" apart. * Sal at : Poverty causes kids to enter school far behind, then teachers get scapegoated for it. We need pediatric wellness centers.*  "it is the most important job in american society"-- re: teaching. cc: * "i remember all of my teachers."--. // feel free to ask him about all of them.after criticized Moskowitz, says it was who helped make her the chairperson. * ha! "They do not have to do this" Mulgrew says about mayoral candidates attending the forum. uh, ok.

Politically Correct Gifted Schools
An unwanted ‘gift’ for the gifted(NYP) Amid the failures of New York City’s system of public education, its Gifted & Talented program has been a shining exception. But now it’s taken two hits — one from sheer incompetence, and another from political meddling. The incompetence is easier to resolve. As The Post reports elsewhere today, the company responsible for the tests, Pearson, has made errors scoring them. Parents of children tested are understandably upset; if Pearson can’t fix the problem, the city should find someone who can. The other hit has more to do with mayoral politics. It’s also more insidious. It takes the form of a proposal from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to make the gifted-and-talented programs “reflect the diversity of our city.”

 Mother who discovered latest NYC G&T testing error: "I was wondering if they even proofread."
New Error Found in Scoring of Test for Gifted Programs(NYT) * Testing Firm Is Under Fire Due to Errors(WSJ) * After More Test Errors, City Considers Ending Pearson Contract (WSJ)The city Department of Education is thinking about scrapping a contract with Pearson PLC after the publishing giant said there was another scoring error on gifted-and-talented exams administered this year, officials said Friday. Testing Company Admits Further Mistakes With City Gifted And Talented Exams(NY1)
* City may drop testing agency Pearson(NYDN) * NYC may sever contract w/testing agency Pearson - but only for G&T services after FOURTH scoring error

Fourth No Confidence Vote for the President of N.Y.U.(NYT)
Panel Recommends Building New School at Site of Sandy Hook Elementary(NYT)

City Council

SNL Cold Open: GOP Congressmen Grill Jodi Arias And Cleveland Kidnapper Over Benghazi(NewsDay)

This Week in Corruption
For a more fuller story of the corruption this week

Friday May 3

Holly Shit the Huntley Tapes
How Do You Say Moreland Commissione
Former ex-Qns state Sen. Huntley wore FBI wire in expanding corruption probe(NYP)

Huntley's and Feds Major Catch Sampson
Breaking: State senator tied in court papers to bribery plot identified as John Sampson of Brooklyn 
2nd Legislator in Albany Secretly Taped Colleagues(NYT)

Boyland Again Indicted

William Boyland Jr. Indicted Yet Again(NYO)

Sunday May 5
Former Albany Senate Sampson Expected to Be Arrested This Week
Charges expected against Brooklyn state Sen. John Sampson: sources Sen. John Sampson (NYDN)

Monday May 5
Sampson's Insider Mole Incredible
Sampson Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Corruption Charges
Fmr Dem leader of NY Senate accused of having mole in prosecutor's office, in addition to corruption(NYT)
Sampon was accused of seeking information from an employee of the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn about whether he was under criminal investigation and for the names of any potential witnesses who could be used to testify against him.  
Sampson charged with two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements Feds allege Sen John Sampson used embezzled money in part to fund his campaign for Brooklyn DA.
 Indictment: Sampson had a mole within the U.S. Attorneys office!  Indictment: Sampson said he would arrange to "take ... out" witnesses helping the real estate developer, using info from his mole  Sen John Sampson allegedly tried to get inside info from US Atty's investigation by cultivating administrative employee as mole. * State Senator from Brooklyn Charged withEmbezzlement and Obstruction of Justice

I'll find informant and 'TAKE THEM OUT': Shocking vow revealed in corruption indictment of disgraced State Senator(NYDN)

State senator John Sampson was taken into custody this morning by FBI agents following a public corruption investigation, according to FBI.* Sen. John Sampson surrenders today after being caught in Huntley wiretap (NYP) * : State. Sen John Sampson, a Democrat, was taken into FBI custody on federal corruption charges. * Sen. John Sampson Taken Into Custody In Connection With Corruption Probe(CBS) * John Sampson Faces Charges After Corruption Inquiry(NYT * . says the Sampson indictment has made a bad situation worse. * State Senator Is Charged With Embezzlement(NYT)

 rooklyn state Sen. John Sampson is expected to be charged today in connection with a public corruption investigation related to accepting bribes from a businessman who wanted to expand his business at Kennedy International Airport
Pol will surrender after being caught in Huntley wiretap(NYP)
Embattled state Sen. John Sampson of Brooklyn is set to turn himself in to authorities today after being ensnared in a bribery scandal involving former colleague-turned-rat Shirley Huntley, sources said. Sampson told his aides over the weekend that he was preparing to surrender to the feds, reaching out to staffers to give them the news, the sources said.

Tuesday May 5
NYT “It will take more than public shaming to the Albany crowd to do things right.”

 NYT Should Call for the Moreland Commission
NYT "encourage the prosecutors to keep probing — and listening"
 Corruption in Albany(NYT Ed)
The indictment of yet another politician by federal investigators is one way to clean up New York’s rancid state government. Public financing of campaigns is another.

Prosecutors say that state Sen. John Sampson stole $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes to finance his unsuccessful Brooklyn district attorney campaign, and persuaded a real estate developer to give him $200,000 to cover up the theft
Senator in Corruption Case Spoke of Silencing Witnesses, Prosecutors Say(NYT)

Sen. Sampson pal in US Attorney's office quick to turn mole for corrupt pol: legal papers(NYP)
 Sampson Embezzled From Court Appointed Receivership's To Fund His 2005 DA Race


 Ed Ahmad faces over 10 years in jail, US$14M restitution

With “extreme arrogance and hubris,” a Brooklyn state senator who held one of the most powerful posts in Albany embezzled nearly half a million dollars of escrow money he was entrusted to safeguard — and then used a mole inside the US Attorney’s Office to keep tabs on witnesses who threatened to expose his scheme, authorities said yesterday.

When we talk, that’s how we talk.”The powerful pol had allegedly received a secret $188,500 “loan” from Ahmad in 2006 — which he then used to pay back a fraction of the $440,000 he allegedly embezzled from four foreclosure escrow accounts he controlled as a court-appointed referee to fund his 2005 primary challenge for Brooklyn DA, federal prosecutors claim.Sampson later “instructed” Ahmad not to disclose to prosecutors a check register page that revealed those payments to the senator, according to authorities.* With the arrest of another former state Senate majority leader, John Sampson, Albany has seen 32 state level officials snared in corruption cases in the past seven years* If you're keeping score at home: the 30 troubled NY lawmakers since 2000

Wednesday May 3
The rot at NY’s top(NYP) Why There’ll Be No Real Reform

NYT Yesterday
NYP Today
Book 'Em Danno

The Post’s Bob McManus argues that there can be no real reform against public corruption until investigators address the current legislative leadership and their obvious conflicts of interest

Those Huntley Wiretapped
Shirley Huntley also taped Melvin Lowe, former consultant of AG Schneiderman.
BREAKING: Huntley taped John Sampson, Eric Adams, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Jose Peralta, Malcolm Smith, Ruben Wills and Velmanette Montgomery.

Thursday May 3
Huntley used an ankle injury to lure Senate Democrats a Democratic City Councilman to her home, as the names were released of those officials she secretly taped 

Tea Party 
Albany Style 
Would you like a spot of tea? Now tell me more about your plans to fleece the taxpayer
NYC Senate sewerNYC Senate sewer (NYP)  Six state senators from New York City are under federal criminal investigation, a court filing revealed yesterday. The six Democrats — one-quarter of the Big Apple’s Senate delegation — as well as a former press adviser to one of the pols, and a highly paid political consultant, are being eyed by Brooklyn federal prosecutors.

Huntley: Bags of Cash Being Take  up Elevators at the Capital
Huntley’s attorney Sally Butler sought leniency from Judge Jack Weinstein, citing both the ex-lawmaker’s health and helpfulness to government investigators seeking to find more corrupt public officials. Butler detailed to court how Huntley knew of bags of cash being taken up Senate elevators at the Capitol and that she was able to have an unnamed senator admit being part of a bribery scheme. Huntley’s attorney also claimed the then-senator approach
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office about possible corruption in the Legislature.Butler detailed to the court how Huntley knew of bags of cash being taken up Senate elevators at the Capitol and that she was able to have an unnamed senator admit being part of a bribery scheme. Huntley’s attorney also claimed the then-senator approach Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office about possible corruption in the Legislature. Huntley Sentenced To A Year And A Day (YNN)

Adams BP: So Close But So Very Far
Buzz More Adams Scandal to Come
Sources told The Post that the Brooklyn Democratic Party nixed a scheduled a vote to endorse Adams for borough president last night. “I have not been contacted about any investigation,” Adams told The Post. “I believe deeply in transparency and the pursuit of justice — and that is why I committed 20 years of my life to law enforcement. I am more than willing to help with any investigation.”

Peralta Tap and $31,000 in Legal Fees
Peralta, meanwhile, is currently running for Queens borough president. The former assemblyman was elected to the Senate in a 2010 special election to replace Hiram Monserrate, who was ousted after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend.Jose Peralta Wire Tap Brings New Attention to Senate Seat's Corrupt History - Jackson Heights - DNAi
Peralta speaks to El Diario.

Sampson Kept the Surplus Funds From the Foreclosure, the Court and the Owner Clueless

Stevenson How to Be Arrested

Avoiding arrest, by Eric Stevenson(TU)

Friday May 3
Shirley Goes Down Swinging
And while her humble two-story home in Queens is no mystery mansion, the set-up sounds strikingly similar to the plot of the 1985 film “Clue,” which was based on the board game. In the movie, only one of the guests is truly innocent. And according to federal sources, six of the seven pols Huntley recorded are subjects of ongoing investigations, meaning there might be just one innocent party among them. So is there a good guy here? Maybe not. The sole politician in the Huntley recordings who isn’t the subject of an ongoing federal investigation is Ruben Wills — and it turns out he’s the subject of an ongoing state investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Wills is Huntley’s protegé and former chief of staff, and he’s under suspicion for a scheme involving Huntley herself. She steered $33,000 in state funds to New York 4 Life, a “nonprofit” group Wills heads. Only $980 has been accounted for. The rest — more than $32,000 — magically disappeared in Wills’ hands, and he pleaded the Fifth in a meeting with state investigators.

Asserted that Huntley helped federal officials put together a case on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
AG dirty, too: con (NYP)

 JCOPE Groundhog Albany Corruption Fighting Is Done By the FBI and the U.S. Attorney
In Wake Of Scandals, Cuomo Defends JCOPE(YNN)  The June 2011 news release announcing a deal between the governor and legislative leaders on that year’s ethics legislation described JCOPE this way: “The Joint Commission will have jurisdiction to investigate potential violations of law by legislators and legislative employees and, if violations are found, issue findings to the Legislative Ethics Commission, which will have jurisdiction to impose penalties.”Cuomo today added that lawmakers need to restore the trust in government by passing his latest ethics and anti-bribery legislation.  JCOPE, meanwhile, has indicated that it will release “in full” what is widely believed to be the report detailing allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment by Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

 Albany Transparency
Or How Silver Covers Up His Involvement In the Lopez Hush Fund Scandal

Now We Know Silver is Holding Up Release of the JCOPE Vito Lopez Report
The New York Times reported today that lawmakers on the Legislative Ethics Commission have sought to edit the document before its realease and have zeroed in on the areas critical of staff who helped arrange the settlement money for the women who worked with Lopez. Cuomo wouldn’t comment on the story or whether the full report should be released. “I didn’t see the stories and it’s not my place to comment,” he said.   Albany Hush Fund Cover Up, Press Containment Timeline(True News)

Albany's Has Corrupted A Nun

Reformers and Goo Goos Have No Answer for Smith and Liu's Campaigns Gaming Public Finance
Errol Lewis: You see something like John Liu and your ask a reformer how to fix the problem and the say campaign finance reform
Kate Pastor, the editor of The Riverdale Press: Yes the reformers have been waiting for an opportunity ........ Oh I see what you are saying (the rest of the answer was confused)

One old time reformer says these Pol bums corrupt a nun when they planed to cash in on public financing. Team Smith Plan Was To Rake in $$$ from the City's Public Finance System, Which Was Put in Place to Stop the CityTime Corruption in the Koch Administration.* The debate over using public funds in political campaigns will intensify this week as Senate Republicans hold a hearing into abuses of a similar system in New York City and advocates of the measure begin attacking GOP incumbents with mail advertisements.

Local pols would still be able to use campaign funds for legal fees w/ new campaign finance reform

Attack on Black Leaders: Corruption Vs Conspiracy
State Senator Speculates and Debates: ‘Attack on Black Leaders: Corruption or Conspiracy?’(NYO)
It is a question few in the New York political establishment dare to ask publicly: is the seemingly endless string of indictments and arrests of elected officials a conspiracy against minorities in power?
But there was Queens State Sen. James Sanders Jr., bellowing in a theater with a preacher’s rhythm, more than implying last night that the recent arrests of black elected officials like Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, State Sen. Malcolm Smith and State Sen. John Sampson were not coincidental. Even State Sen. Shirley Huntley, who admitted to stealing funds earmarked for her district’s underprivileged children and was sentenced Thursday for her crimes, could have been linked to a conspiracy, Mr. Sanders said.

Pushing the Middle Class Out

Fair and Toll Hikes is Just One Way NY Punished the Poor and Pushes the Middle Class, Business and Jobs Out of the City

The Forgotten New Yorkers
Now Water $$$ Increase
Water Board passes 5.6% water and sewage rate increase(NYDN)

Independent Budget Office Releases Wonderful List of Completely Impossible Ideas(Gothamist)

Health Care Costs Differ

Bitter ‘bill’ at some Big Apple hospitals (NYP) Treatment for chest pain at Bellevue Hospital costs the average patient $9,960. Two blocks up the street at NYU Langone Medical Center, the charge was $16,660. The cost for a major heart procedure at NYU was $125,392. At New York-Presbyterian,...
20 Years of Safe Streets

20 years of safer streets (NYP)  Now, here’s a rich statistic: Nearly every neighborhood in the city has fewer violent crimes today than the Upper East Side did 20 years ago.All but 1 NYC neighborhood is safer than Upper East Side was 20 yrs ago. The numbers compiled by the NYPD showed there were 1,708 violent crimes — murder, rape, robbery and felony assault — reported in the mayor’s swanky nabe in 1993. Last year, only East New York in Brooklyn recorded more crimes in the same category, 1,852. Second closest was Brooklyn’s Ocean Hill/Brownsville neighborhood, with 1,292.

Gangs? ZIP on past!(NYP) Last week, The Post revealed that some postal workers were scared to deliver to gang-infested Brownsville. “W” delivered mail for nine years in some of Brooklyn’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods

'Bloomberg' Cupcake Packs 35,800 Calories

Bike Share
Spotted: Citi Bike Bike At Greenwich Village Citi Bike Station(Gothamist)

New bike-share fixies are sturdy, but 'too slow to survive a New York minute' — Daily News' bike snob takes one for a hard spin


Storm Plans for Disabled Are Inadequate, U.S. Says(NYT)
Feds Sign Off On City's Sandy Relief Plan(NY1)
City given okay to spend $1.8 billion Hurricane Sandy a (NYDN)
Brooklyn Cyclones' ballpark ready for baseball after storm (Fox 5)
Manhattan Crane Broken During Sandy Being Replaced (Ny1)
Town Hardest Hit By Sandy Begins Razing Homes(Huff Post)

Lower Manhattan playground reopens after Sandy
Crane Damaged by Sandy Replaced in Midtown(NBC)
Workers repair crane that was hanging over Midtown during (Fox 5)
Gifts for Groms event to help Hurricane Sandy relief vi (Fox 5)
Crews Repair Manhattan Crane Broken During Sandy(NY1)
Pier 25 Playground Reopens After Suffering Hundreds Of Thousands In Damage During Sandy(NY1)

The queen of Queens (NYP) She lost it all to Hurricane Sandy — but this Queens mama is still in seventh heaven. Tyesha Whittenburg, 31, and her seven children have spent the last six months in a rat-infested shelter after the storm toppled their Far Rockaway home.

Top of the World(NYP)  That’ll stick it to the terrorists!  The spire was completed atop 1 World Trade Center yesterday, giving the tower a symbolic height of 1,776 feet and making it the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere. * Reaching 1,776 Feet(NYT)
A Parade of Vintage Trains, Unnoticed in the Harlem Night(NYT) * One World Trade Tops Out; What's Next?(WSJ)


When 'East Williamsburg' Stretches To Queens(Huff Post)

FYI: Ridgewood Is Now East Williamsburg, Also Bushwick(Gothamist)



Take a hip-hop tour of Brownstone Brooklyn
Brooklyn, the Remix: A Hip-Hop Tour(NYT )
The mean streets of the borough that rappers like the Notorious B.I.G. crowed about are now hipster havens, where cupcakes and organic kale rule.

Good Spring Reading

NYP Joins DN is Tits in Parks Movement 
Reading just got more fun! New York bookworms strip down for 'Topless Pulp Fiction' reading club in city parks (NYDN)

Tit-for-tot furor(NYP)
This kiddie park is being taken over by a bunch of boobs. Co-eds and sunbathing beauties are baring teeny bikinis in Stuy Town’s playgrounds — pushing out children and outraging soccer moms.

Stuy Town tenants fume over bikini beauties sunbathing in children’s playground(NYP)


Take the schlubway!(NYP)  If you see something, snap something. Straphangers are exposing slobs who have turned our trains into the New York City schlubway. Scores of Internet photos show slovenly passengers picking their noses, massaging their feet, clipping their toenails...  

Media Inner Circle
shutterstock_62264485 Sleeping With The Enemy: Media, Politicos, Once Adversaries, Now One Big Incestuous Circle

 Seth Meyers to replace Fallon on 'Late Night'
Seth Meyers followed in Jimmy Fallon's footsteps by taking a seat behind the desk of Satruday... 

With an Eye on College, Chinese Students Enroll in New York Private Schools(NYT)

ABC to Let App Users Live Stream Local Programming (NYT)

An anchor made on-air comments about tracking log in information more than a year ago. A big deal internally — but handled quietly.  Yikes. RT : Bloomberg customers now re-examinng contracts:

Fox: New Evidence Hillary Killed Lincoln(New Yorker)
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In what may be the most serious allegation ever made against the former Secretary of State, Fox News Channel reported today that Hillary Clinton was involved in the conspiracy to murder President Abraham Lincoln.
NBC Dumping Rock Center With Brian Williams
Brian Williams mourns the loss of 'Rock Center' (Huff Post)

Presidents of ABC and CBSNEWS Have Siblings Working at White House...
Columbia Journalism Review Loses Three Top Editors
Rupert Murdoch Pays Close Attention to the WSJ’s Real-Estate Stories(NY Mag)

Maureen Dowd: "Administration’s behavior before and during...Benghazi was unworthy of the greatest power on earth."When Myths Collide in the Capital(Dowd, NYT) It’s a glorious spring weekend of accusation and obfuscation as Hillaryland goes up against Foxworld * 2m
Can Obama avoid the 'second term curse'(wash post)
Pickering defends State Benghazi review, sees no reason to reopen probe (Hill)
Pickering defends not questioning Clinton(Politico)
Jennifer Rubin's excellent summary of the acutal known Benghazi facts -

TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads(Huff Post)

Hillaryland vs. Foxworld - Maureen Dowd, New York Times
RT : . - "nonsense" to think Benghazi makes Hilary Clinton unsuitable for higher office
. "I don’t think you can question that there was malevolence on the part of the president, the secretary of state"

To His Face: Amb. Pickering Refutes Darrell Issa’s Claim That He ‘Refused’ To Testify At Benghazi Hearing

IRS Scandal Is Expanding - John Hinderaker, Power Line
Benghazi: Incompetence or Malice? Both - Daniel Foster, National Review
Democrats' Poisonous Mismanagement - Joe Klein, Time
Republicans Can't Work with This President - John Dickerson, Slate
Hillary Clinton's Moment of Responsibility - Rand Paul, Washington Times
Clinton's Allies Come to Her Rescue - Michael Catalini, National Journal
Cleveland Miscarriages Aren't Murder - Michelle Goldberg, Daily Beast
Pessimism Clouds Immigration Debate - George Will, Washington Post
Facing Facts on Immigration - Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune
ObamaCare Propels Sanford Back Into Office - Bill Pascoe, RealClearPolitics
Countries Lobby for More Visas - Eric Lipton, New York Times
The News Media: Worse Than You Think - Brett Arends, MarketWatch
Can We Compromise on Guns, Abortion? - Charles Wheelan, Salon
How GOP Can Win Back Values Debate - Michael Wear, The Atlantic
How to Curb Military Sexual Assault - Monica Medina, Washington Post
Class of 2013: Overqualified & Underprepared - Jermaine Taylor, CNBC
Mark Sanford Asks Chris Wallace ‘Is This Fox News Or The National Enquirer?’ (VIDEO)

SNL Cold Open: GOP Congressmen Grill Jodi Arias And Cleveland Kidnapper Over Benghazi


Administration's Benghazi Lies Exposed - Boston Herald
IRS Scandal: Does the Rot Go to the Top? - Investor's Business Daily
Putin's Civil Society Witch Hunt - Washington Post
In Albany, You Can't Keep a Bad Man Down - New York PostSenior IRS Officials May Have Known About That Tea Party–Targeting Thing(NY Mag)
Collins: Obama apology needed for IRS:
Susan Collins slams Obama over IRS targeting of conservative groups(Wash Post)

Benghazi e-mail ‘coverup’(NYP)
Jay Leno: ‘Today at a Press Conference Even a Non-Fox Reporter Asked About Benghazi'
Maher, Joy Reid Clash With Glenn Greenwald Over Benghazi: ‘Obama’s Supposed To Micromanage’ The World?
O’Reilly: Jay Carney Threw Hillary ‘Under The Bus,’ Benghazi Will Haunt ‘Rest Of Her Political Life’
White House Reporter Slams Administration Over Secret Briefing
IRS Admits Targeting Conservatives - Goldfarb & Tumulty, Washington Post
Any Wonder Why People Are So Distrustful of DC? - Sarah Palin, Facebook
Benghazi: A Small Mess, Not a Scandal - David Corn, Mother Jones
The Benghazi Lie - Mark Steyn, National Review
President Got Pass, Thanks to Romney - Richard Benedetto, RealClearPolitics
Obama Has No Magic "Leadership" Wand - Robert Schlesinger, U.S. News
The Myth of a Moderate Obama - Robert Merry, The National Interest
Europe's Careless Dithering - Steven Rattner, New York Times
The Jobs Crisis: Bigger Than You Think - Walter Russell Mead, Am. Interest
Applying for ObamaCare -- Still Not Simple - Grace-Marie Turner, WSJ
Obama: Health Care Law "Is Here to Stay" - David Jackson, USA Today
Does More Regulation Prevent Tragedies? - Steven Greenhut, Reason
The Generals Don't Get It on Sexual Assault - Ruth Marcus, Wash Post
Immigration and Economic Growth - Larry Kudlow, Investor's Business Daily
Right-Wing Media Check Up: Still Crazy - Ana Marie Cox, The Guardian
This Time, the Press Cheered the IRS On - James Taranto, Wall St. Journal
A New Attitude Toward Adoption - Nina Easton, Washington Post


The Republicans' Benghazi Obsession - New York Times
Obama's Benghazi Video Tale Made a Big Difference - DC Examiner
The Military's Sexual Assault Problem - Los Angeles Times
President Obama's Biggest Deficit Is Trust - Investor's Business Daily
ABC’s Terry Moran On IRS Targeting Tea Party: ‘A Truly Nixonian Abuse Of Power By The Obama Administration…’

Wall Street

Bloomberg Insider Info What About Insider Trading?
JPMorgan: Bloomberg reporters tapped into our terminal data, too(NYP)
In A.T.M. Robbery Case, a Splashy Trail of Big Spending(NYT)
What Bloomberg employees can see when they snoop on customers
Big scoop: Bloomberg execs knew abt the “spying” in 2011, kept it quiet
Law and Order

More Brooklyn DA Problems

Ed Weintrob"Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live, and inherit the land which the Lord your God gives you." (Deut. 16:18-20).Some rules, apparently, don't apply in Brooklyn.
EXCERPT: Hynes' "office has for years aggressively fended off appeals and denied public records requests from inmates who believe they were wrongly targeted…"

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office has ordered a review of some 50 murder cases assigned to an acclaimed homicide detective, an acknowledgment of mounting questions about the officer’s tactics and the legitimacy of the convictions. The office’s Conviction Integrity Unit will reopen every murder case that resulted in a guilty verdict after being investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, a flashy officer who handled some of Brooklyn’s most notorious crimes during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.* Shady Past Of NYPD Detective Prompts Review Of 50 Murder Cases (Gothamist) * Brooklyn D.A. Reviewing 50 Murder Cases Investigated By One Very Unethical Detective(NY Mag)

Some of New York's 911 Call Center Operators Are Having a Bad Mother's Day(NY Mag)

WATCH: Video shows vicious train assault(NYP)

Pot City
‘High’ tolerance(NYP) New York City is going green — with ganja.  Pot arrests and seizures are plummeting as low-level offenders duck jail and cops ease off dealers, who are racking up record profits, police sources say.

Two High-Ranking Officers Testify In Week 7 Of Stop-And-Frisk Trial(NY1)

BROTHEL HORROR: East Harlem man accused of forcing two women and missing 17-year-old girl to prostitute themselves in his public housing apartment(NYDN)

5 bank hits in single day (NYP) A persistent bandit held up five Manhattan banks yesterday and made off with piles of cash from two, cops said. The biggest score — $12,900 — came at 2 p.m. at the Capital One branch at Fifth Avenue and 37th Street on the crook’s last job of the day..* Jets fan goes 0-for-4, robs bank on 5th try(NYDN) * Bank Robber in Jets Jersey Hits 5 Banks in 1 Hour(NBC)

Cleveland kidnap-and-rape monster Ariel Castro terrorized relatives with mannequin(NYP)

In A.T.M. Robbery Case, a Splashy Trail of Big Spending(WSJ)

Hate at the Garden (NYP) Two gay men were beaten early yesterday near Madison Square Garden by a gang of thugs who shouted homophobic slurs as they pummeled the victims to the ground, police said. * Two Arrested In Second Midtown Bias Attack(NY1)

CBS 2 Exclusive: NYPD Commissioner Committed To Solving 40-Year-Old Cop Killer Cold Case(WCBS) Then Sgt. Kelly Was Among The First To Arrive On The Scene Of A Brutal Slaying

Fortuneteller Pleads Guilty to Grand Larceny Charge(NYT)
Man Accused Of Carjacking, Robbery Spree Ordered To Undergo Psychiatric Evaluation(NY1)
7 Train Assault Caught On Video
Teacher fined for ordering student to strike back at bully(NYP)
Father Held for Letting His Children Fire BB Guns(NYT)
Police Make Arrests In Gay Bashing Near 33rd Street PATH(WCBS)
Missing Teen Held by Suspected Sex Trafficker: Police(NBC)
Man Attacks MTA Employee, Robs Subway Booth: Cops(NBC)

Manhattan Man Arraigned On Sex Trafficking Charges(NY1)
Video: Cops Seek Robbers Posing As Neighbors In Upper Manhattan

A man is wanted for robbing 2 people at gunpoint in the . More:
Police Arrest Man Accused Of Sex Trafficking Out Of Manhattan Apartment(NY1)
Woman, 2 men wanted in string of robberies(WABC)
Police Seek Suspect In Multiple Alleged Manhattan Bank Robberies
Police Identify Man Who Allegedly Stole $500 From 3-Year-Old In Bronx  
New York Heist Cell Didn't Have Much Experience(NY Mag)
 Police Seek 3 Suspects In Inwood Home Invasions, Robber (WCBS)

"Federal Aviation Administration estimates that 30,000 drones will be hovering above the United States within 7 yrs"

Smitten teen girls stir up #FreeJahar mania for Boston Marathon bombings suspect(NYP)

U.S.: Russia Withheld Intel on Boston Suspect(WSJ)