Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mayor de Blasio Throws out First Pitch at Castle Hill Little League

  It may not have been Yankee Stadium, but at the Castle Hill Little League field on Zerega Avenue Mayor Bill de Blasio took part in the opening ceremonies and threw out the first pitch. The Little Leaguers marched to the Zerega Avenue field all the way from Lafayette Avenue, with a police escort and led by State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr. Many people including Congressman Jose Serrano, State Senator Jeff Klein (who came with a surprise gift), were on the field waiting for the players and the mayor. The photos below should tell the rest of the story.

Above - State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr. who lead the parade awaits to meet all the marchers.
Below - It is the 60th Anniversary of the Castle Hill Little League.

Above and Below State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr. greets each team, and asks 'Who is going to win'?

Above and Below - You can see the marchers were not only baseball players.

Above - The EXIT Reality team brought its team mascot.
Below - Mayor Bill de Blasio arrived at the perfect time.

Above - The mayor make the rounds shaking hands, like that of Commissioner Joe Ramos.
Below - Everyone is seated as the ceremony begins. 

Above - The mayor congratulates Brendan Hernandez on a fine job of singing the National Anthem.
Below - Congressman Jose Serrano says that he told his fellow house members to finish work Friday so that he could attend this event.

Above - Michelle Dolgow of State Senator Jeff Klein's off ice holds a check for $172,000 for maintenance of the Castle Hill Little League field, which Below Senator Klein gives to Ms. Christina Martinez the President of the league.

Above - While he said he did not have a check like Senator Klein that he has supported the little league all the years he has been in office.
Below - The mayor gives Ms. Martinez a proclamation as he proclaims Saturday April 27th Castle Hill Little League Day.

Above - The mayor speaks of the importance of programs such as little league to growing children.
Below - The mayor points to Congressman Serrano, and speaks of the important work that has to be done in Washington to help New York City. 

Above - The mayor throws out the first pitch, which would of been called a strike.
Below - The mayor congratulates Catcher Thomas Velazquez on the fine catch, and later signs the ball for this college bound catcher.

Why Are These Two Con Edison Workers Digging on West 238th Street?

  It appears that our story begins with the building in the background known as 640 West 238th Street. I have covered the demolition of a one story building on the site to make way for the current eight story fifteen unit apartment building now for over one year in this blog. I have put up photo after photo of items that I thought were wrong by the contractor or his workers. It started with drawings of the street with the one fire hydrant placed on the wrong side of the street. 
  Well the building has gone up, and like I said I have placed photos like this here on this blog. So let's answer the question - Why are these two Con Ed workers digging in the middle of the street?
  With 640 West 238th Street almost finished the building has to be hooked up to the water, sewer, gas, and power lies all of which are underground. The generator in the background in front of the building belongs to a contractor who was trying to hook the building up to the water and or sewer lines. Apparently said building contractor did not know or care about the old cast iron gas line which was compromised (according to a Con Edison supervisor) while trying to hook up 640 West 238th Street to the water and or sewer line. Con Edison had to dig up the street to find the gas main so it could be shut off until a new gas line is put in. Apparently only the four small buildings and the mini apartment building East of 640 West 238th Street (the Blackstone Avenue side) will be without gas until the matter is taken care of by Con Ed, which I was told should be no more than a few days, hopefully. 
  Below are some more photos taken today by me of the condition of West 238th Street.

Above - Is West 238th Street with street cuts at the Independence Avenue side, and many street cuts in front of 640 West 238th Street, not to mention the metal plates left by the building contractor and his generator.
Below - The supervisor from Con Edison said that this cut in West 238th Street was not done by Con Edison, so one would wonder just who cut the street?

Above - You can see part of the covering of a Con Edison electric grate cover sticking out on the right side of the photo covered over by several metal plates. As I have shown the electric grating sinking due to the heavy weight of the construction vehicles, it apparently has to be fixed. 
Below - The work permit for 640 West 238th Street issued to Asher Neuman, CIPCO Developers of N Y IN.

The Bronx Democratic Party - Annual Gala Dinner - Thursday July 20

Join the Bronx Democrats for an evening of dining, networking, and celebrating the contributions and achievements of remarkable past and present.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Seven Members Of Bronx Drug Trafficking Organization Charged In Federal Court With Narcotics Trafficking

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James G. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging seven members of the “MMOB” drug trafficking organization with participating in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy.  The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Paul G. Gardephe.  Six of the defendants are currently in custody, and were presented before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox later this afternoon. 
Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “With today’s indictment of seven alleged members of a drug trafficking organization, we seek to stem the flow of drugs and the havoc they wrought on the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx. As the Indictment alleges, these defendants trafficked in all types of drugs, including crack cocaine, cocaine, oxycodone and marijuana, and peddled them on the streets, by delivery, and out of apartment buildings in the area. I thank our partners at the NYPD and DEA for their continued commitment to combatting drug trafficking and making our city safer.”  
Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said:  “Law enforcement’s collaboration since last summer has led to the indictments of members of the MMOB crew on narcotics conspiracy charges. The Norwood section of the Bronx has been plagued by these individuals for some time and today’s efforts are a step in reclaiming this neighborhood for the community. These gang members allegedly trafficked a myriad of drugs to include strong prescription narcotics, which is a focus of our current investigative efforts, as these drugs are causing serious issues for our citizens.”        
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “This indictment is another example of the NYPD’s commitment to hold responsible those who distribute narcotics into our communities. I commend the work of the NYPD investigators involved and our federal partners who continue to work tirelessly to protect our communities.”
As alleged in the Indictment and in other court papers[1]
The MMOB crew (“Mosholu Money Over Bitches”) is a group of individuals who are engaged in narcotics trafficking in the vicinity of Gates Place, Knox Place, and Mosholu Parkway, in the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx (the “MMOB DTO”).  From July 2016 up to April 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, JOSHUA PEREZ a/k/a “Link,” JAVIER COLLAZO, HIRAM COLLAZO, a/k/a “Alex, NATALIE JUSINO, KEVIN MIESES, AMAURY MODESTO, and ANDREW PEREZ conspired to distribute significant amounts of narcotics, including crack cocaine, cocaine, oxycodone, and marijuana, in and around the Norwood neighborhood of the Bronx, on a daily basis.  The MMOB DTO controlled narcotics sales between Gates Place and Knox Place, primarily between Mosholu Parkway and West Gun Hill Road, including by selling on the streets and in and around apartment buildings in that area. 
Each defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.  The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.  A chart with the defendants’ ages and residences is below.
All of the defendants except for JOSHUA PEREZ, who remains at large, are in custody.    
Mr. Kim thanked the DEA and the NYPD for their work on the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eli J. Mark and Jilan J. Kamal are in charge of the prosecution. 
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
JOSHUA PEREZ a/k/a “Link”
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
HIRAM COLLAZO, a/k/a “Alex”
Bronx, New York
NATALIE JUSINO, a/k/a “Papo”
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment constitutes only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Former New York Resident Pleads Guilty To Preparing False Tax Returns

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Stuart M. Goldberg, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and James D. Robnett, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (“IRS-CI”), announced that DAMYON SHULER pled guilty today to charges relating to his preparation and filing of federal income tax returns that sought refunds based on the fraudulent claim that the taxpayers were entitled to slave-reparations payments.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Damyon Shuler stole from the U.S. Treasury by preparing and filing false tax returns. We thank our partners at the Justice Department’s Tax Division and IRS Criminal Investigations for their work in bringing Shuler’s crimes to light.”

Tax Division Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg said: “Just about a week ago, many Americans did their civic duty and sent off their returns to the IRS, enclosing checks for taxes duly owed. They have the right to expect that those like Damyon Shuler who threaten the integrity of the tax system by preparing fraudulent returns and submitting false refund claims will be fully prosecuted.”

IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge James D. Robnett said: “People who create and promote fraudulent tax schemes against the United States will be held accountable. Today’s guilty plea by Mr. Shuler again emphasizes that IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who would attempt to defraud America’s tax system.”

According to the Indictment and other documents filed in the case, as well as statements made during the plea proceedings:

In January 2011, SHULER prepared a 2010 federal income tax return for a client claiming a bogus refund of $61,300. To generate the fraudulent refund, SHULER reported a fake capital gain of $60,575 and a tax paid on that income in the exact same amount. He also attached to the return a form falsely reporting that a Treasury Department office or program identified as “Overpayment of Taxes Black Investme (sic)” had paid the taxes to the IRS. To conceal that he prepared this return, SHULER did not list himself as the preparer.

In February 2010, SHULER also prepared a 2009 federal income tax return for himself that included a false Form 2439 claiming that taxes had been paid to the IRS on his behalf in the amount of $50,575 and fraudulently claiming a refund of $46,685.

SHULER has agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,233,130 for this tax scheme.

SHULER, 47, pled guilty to the filing of his own false income tax return and the preparation and filing of a return on behalf of one of his clients. SHULER faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the two counts to which he pled guilty, and will be sentenced before United States District Judge Nelson S. Román on September 14, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding work of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. He also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division for its significant assistance in the prosecution.

Federal Contractor Arrested For Violating Civil Rights Of A Visitor At The Social Security Administration

Social Security Administration Security Guard Alleged to Have Assaulted a Member of the Public and Made False Statements as Part of a Cover-Up

  Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Anthony Levey, Region 2 Director of the Federal Protective Service (“FPS”), announced today the unsealing of criminal charges against EDWIN CABAN, a Protective Security Officer, in the assault of a member of the public at a branch of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). CABAN was charged with violating the civil rights of the victim by pushing the victim over a desk and then repeatedly punching the victim in the ribs without physical provocation. CABAN also is charged with filing a false report and making false statements to FPS agents to cover up the incident. CABAN was arrested this morning and is expected to be presented in federal court later today.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “The Federal Protective Service’s mission is to protect federal facilities, including employees and visitors. But in this case, we’ve alleged, an innocent visitor needed protection from a violent and unprovoked attack by Protective Security Officer Edwin Caban, which fractured the visitor’s ribs. Officer Caban then allegedly lied about the incident, falsely claiming the victim was disruptive and required removal from the building.”

FPS Region 2 Director Anthony Levey said: “The Federal Protective Service relies heavily on security guard contract vendors and the security guards they employ to assist in our mission of securing federal facilities throughout the nation. We recognize the importance of citizens being able to conduct business with their government safely and free from mistreatment, and will not tolerate conduct that infringes on this ability. We are taking these allegations of misconduct seriously. As soon as FPS learned of the allegations, we immediately took steps to remove this PSO from his position at the SSA building, and FPS agents were assigned to investigate further. FPS agents conducted interviews, collected evidence, and as a result, a complaint was filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. SDNY issued an arrest warrant which was promptly executed, safely and professionally, by FPS law enforcement members. We would like to thank our colleagues in the United States Attorney’s Office for their guidance, assistance, and support throughout the course of this investigation.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

The SSA has multiple branch offices located throughout New York City, where claimants may request SSA services and make inquiries regarding social security benefits and Social Security cards. One branch office is located at 123 William Street (the “123 William Office”), in Manhattan. The 123 William Office is staffed by two Protective Security Officers, who are employees of a contractor for the Federal Protective Service of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The 123 William Office has several surveillance cameras, which captured the assault.

The Assault and Cover-Up

At approximately 12:37 p.m. on June 22, 2016, the victim (“Victim-1”) entered the 123 William Office, wheeling an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair into the reception area. CABAN attempted to move the wheelchair, which Victim-1 asked him not to do. After CABAN stepped away, Victim-1 withdrew a cellphone from his pocket. CABAN then walked back to Victim-1 and repeatedly accused him of taking a picture with his cellphone, which Victim-1 denied.

As recorded by security camera footage obtained from the SSA, CABAN at this point reached out toward Victim-1, and Victim-1 put both of his hands up in the air, with his palms facing CABAN. CABAN then took hold of Victim-1’s waist with both hands, pivoted, turned Victim-1 around, and then pushed Victim-1 backward toward the elevator bank. CABAN continued to push Victim-1 backward, toward a desk adjacent to the opening to the elevator bank, until Victim-1 fell backward over the desk. CABAN then took hold of Victim-1’s arms, and, as Victim-1 struggled to shake free of CABAN’s hold, CABAN took Victim-1 into the elevator bank.

After a brief struggle in the elevator bank, CABAN pushed Victim-1 up against a wall. Placing his left hand at the base of Victim-1’s throat, CABAN pinned Victim-1 against the wall. As Victim-1 stood there, not moving, with his hands up in the air in a gesture of surrender, CABAN punched Victim-1 four times in the chest and ribs. Victim-1 collapsed forward, and CABAN continued to hold on to Victim-1 as Victim-1 remained bent forward, clutching his abdomen.

At this point, CABAN’s partner, another Protective Security Officer (“PSO-1”), arrived in the elevator bank from a back area of the office and approached CABAN and Victim-1. CABAN let go of Victim-1, who remained against the wall, not moving. As PSO-1 stood a few feet away, CABAN punched Victim-1 again in the chest. After several minutes passed, CABAN and PSO-1 escorted Victim-1 out of the elevator bank and back into the main floor area, back toward where the man in the wheelchair was waiting.

As a result of the attack, Victim-1 suffered bodily injuries, including fractured ribs, bruising, and physical pain.

Shortly after the assault, Victim-1 called 911 and two New York City Police Department officers responded. One of these officers (“Officer-1”) entered the 123 William Office and spoke with CABAN about Victim-1’s allegations. CABAN stated to Officer-1 that he put his hands on Victim-1 to remove him from the office, at which point Victim-1 “flopped” onto the desk, knocking things over. CABAN denied touching Victim-1 after that point and denied entering the elevator bank during the incident.

That same afternoon, CABAN placed a telephone call to an FPS reporting center, in which CABAN made an oral report about the incident. CABAN stated that there was “a disruptive client in here that needed to be escorted out;” he did not disclose that he struck Victim-1.

After the incident, CABAN and PSO-1 discussed the event. PSO-1 wrote and submitted a Security Incident Report. CABAN asked PSO-1 to show him the report, which PSO-1 did. In that report, the only reference to use of force is PSO-1’s note that CABAN was “attempting to detain [Victim-1]” when PSO-1 arrived in the elevator bank. PSO-1 did not state in that report that CABAN struck Victim-1.

CABAN also wrote and submitted a Security Incident Report. In that report, CABAN stated that, as he “attempted to guide [Victim-1] out” of the office, Victim-1 “yelled and jumped onto the security desk flairing [sic] arms and legs knocking equipment around.” CABAN then stated that he placed Victim-1 in an “arm bar” and “took him by the elevator banks,” that Victim-1 “tried to break [his] hold” at which point CABAN “grabbed him under his chin” and “mainta[ined] a hold of his arm.” CABAN stated that PSO-1 then arrived. CABAN reported no other use of force against Victim-1. In particular, nowhere in the report did CABAN state that he struck Victim-1.

CABAN was interviewed twice by FPS agents. During the course of the first interview, CABAN hand-wrote and signed an affidavit. In those interviews and in that affidavit, CABAN denied that he spoke with PSO-1 about the incident after it occurred and denied seeing PSO-1’s report, though he did both. CABAN also falsely stated that Victim-1 threw himself over the desk, when in fact CABAN pushed Victim-1 over the desk, and that Victim-1 was resisting detention when CABAN struck him, when in fact Victim-1 was not resisting at that time.

CABAN, 55, of Astoria, New York, is charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of filing false forms and making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the FPS.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On Decision Regarding Merger Between Health Insurers Anthem And Cigna

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released the following statement on the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to deny Anthem, Inc.’s appeal of the D.C. District Court’s decision to enjoin Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna Corp.:
“Today’s decision is a win for consumers in New York and across the country.  We are very pleased that the Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court’s finding that this merger would violate antitrust laws by substantially lessening competition in commercial health insurance markets, likely leading to increased health insurance premiums and reduced quality and innovation.  I again thank my federal and state partners for their work to protect patients and ensure that competition in the health insurance industry remains vibrant across the country.”
On July 21, 2016, Attorney General Schneiderman, the Department of Justice, ten other states, and the District of Columbia filed a joint lawsuit, which sought a court order to block the merger between the two companies, arguing that it would substantially lessen competition in the sale of commercial health insurance both nationally and in various local markets, including New York. On November 21, 2016, the plaintiffs proceeded to trial against Anthem and Cigna before U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the D.C. District Court. Judge Jackson issued her opinion and order enjoining the proposed merger on February 8, 2017. 
The case is captioned United States et al. v. Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp., and is docketed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia under Civil Action Nos. 17- 5024 (L), 17-5028 (Con.).


Defendant Also Sentenced to 20 Years Post-Release Supervision; Will Register as Sexual Offender 

  Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a counselor in a Bronx residence for mentally handicapped adults has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for first degree Rape of a severely disabled woman who was unable to cry for help. 

  District Attorney Clark said, “This defendant’s crime was horrendous and cruel. He raped a non-verbal, severely mentally disabled woman for whom he was supposed to be caring. For this heartless act on such a helpless person, he will spend 12 years in prison, have 20 years post-release supervision and register as a Sexual Offender.” 

  District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Thomas Lang, 62, of Bridgeport, Conn., was sentenced today by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Ralph Fabrizio to 12 years in prison and 20 years of post-release supervision and must register with the state’s Sexual Offender Registry. Lang also waived his right to appeal. 

  Lang pleaded guilty on March 29, 2017 to one count of first-degree Rape. According to the investigation, Lang raped the 33-year-old woman, a resident at Abbott House, where Lang worked as a counselor. DNA testing proved the defendant had had sexual intercourse with her.

  District Attorney Clark thanked NYPD Detectives James Barrenger and Reiner Fehrenbach of the Bronx Special Victims Squad for their assistance in the case.


Defendant Offered Fast Food And Other Goods In Exchange For Sex Acts 

 Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced that a former physician’s assistant employed by Corizon Health to work in a Rikers Island jail has been indicted on 43 counts of Rape, Sexual Abuse and related crimes for sexual acts allegedly committed against four inmates spanning more than a year. 

  District Attorney Clark said, “The defendant allegedly used his position of trust to sexually abuse female inmates who came to him seeking medical attention. We will prosecute any staff member who commits crimes against inmates in our push to stem corruption and fear in our jails.” 

  Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters said, “This is the second arrest from DOI’s intensive investigation into sexual assault at Department of Correction facilities. As charged, this defendant exploited his position as a medical professional, soliciting sexual favors from his inmate patients in exchange for providing contraband. Our investigations into sexual assault at DOC facilities are continuing.” 

  District Attorney Clark said the defendant, Sidney Wilson, 60, of 6506 Avenue N, Brooklyn, was arraigned today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Ralph Fabrizio. Bail was set at $7,500 and he is due back on July 18,2017. He was indicted on two counts of third degree Rape, two counts of third-degree Criminal Sexual Act, 12 counts of second-degree Sexual Abuse, 12 counts of third-degree Sexual Abuse, 13 counts of Official Misconduct, Forcible Touching and second-degree Promoting Prison Contraband. He faces up to four years in prison for each top charge.

  According to the investigation by DOI, between October 2013 and December 2014, Wilson exchanged items such as gum, socks and fast food for sexual acts from four female inmates housed at the Rose M. Singer Center. A person is incapable of consent to sexual acts if he or she is in the custody of a correctional facility. Wilson resigned from his job in 2015, unrelated to this case.

  District Attorney Clark also thanked Analyst Christine Schaefer of the Bronx District Attorney’s Crime Strategies and Case Enhancement Unit. 

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.


   Mayor Bill de Blasio today presented Dwight “Doc” Gooden with the key to the city. Gooden helped lead the New York Mets to the World Series in 1986 but was unable to attend the ticker-tape parade following their victory.

“We will never forget the 1986 Mets, who played with the kind of passion and personality that personifies New York,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Their come-from-behind win in the World Series was celebrated in tremendous fashion with a parade down the Canyon of Heroes, but Doc Gooden, an integral part of the Mets’ success, wasn’t there. It’s important that our city right that wrong and celebrate Doc and his teammates together, just as they always played the game."

"Today is a day I never thought would happen,” said Dwight “Doc” Gooden. “It’s been a long journey and I am grateful to be here." 

Other members of the 1986 New York Mets were also in attendance, including John Franco, Barry Lyons, Bob Ojeda, Jesse Orosco, Darryl Strawberry and Mookie Wilson.

"I am so thankful that Amy brought Doc and I back together,” said Darryl Strawberry. “To have this day with my friend and the Mayor and the city we love means the world."

This event is part of a documentary film about Gooden and Strawberry, produced by sports journalist and host Amy Heart.

"I had a full career of unfolding some of the best sports stories,” said Amy Heart. “This is one for the books. Darryl has been a longtime friend and together we wanted to make this dream happen for our friend Doc. For me, it’s not about the sport but rather the heart of the player that makes the game.”

The National Anthem was sung by Tony award nominated actress and singer Liz Callaway.


  On April 27, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, chaired an oversight hearing on the Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) program. The Committee on Housing and Buildings received testimony from representatives of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), housing advocates, legal service providers, and other interested members of the public.

The TIL program offers below-market rents to tenants who manage city-owned buildings, with the understanding that eventually they will be able to buy their apartments for as little as $250. However, there have been allegations of mismanagement and fraud.

"In a City where affordable housing is hard to come by, it's troublesome that a program that was intended to help low-income New Yorkers maintain affordable homes is not working to its fullest capacity," said Council Member Williams.  "It's our responsibility as legislators to ensure that the safeguards and initiatives we have in place to help vulnerable New Yorkers are effective and managed properly. Our failure to do so has the ability to impact thousands negatively. I look forward to working with the Administration and tenants in finding a long-term solution to improve the Tenant Interim Lease program." 

During the hearing, the Committee sought information on the financial status of buildings which have recently exited the TIL program and the history of buildings which returned to City ownership following the transition to co-op buildings; information about the services or resources that HPD provides to TIL tenants during the relocation process; and how the reforms which were agreed to following a 2014 Department of Investigations (DOI) report have been implemented, and whether those reforms have been effective in improving conditions in TIL buildings.

The issues with TIL came to light during a housing hearing Council Member Williams chaired last month. During the hearing, Council Member Williams raised question regarding the efficiency of the program and whether the tenants had benefited from their participation in it. 

P.A'L.A.N.T.E, a tenants' rights group, issued a 50-page report titled, "Broken Promise: New York City's Tenant Interim Lease Program and Those Left Behind," which highlighted how the City failed to provide the necessary resources to TIL buildings, consequently blocking the ability for tenants to become homeowners under the program. 

According to testimony received by the Committee during the March 2017 hearing, a tenant association entered the TIL program in 1996, and was told in 2008 that the building would be able be renovated. However, when tenants were relocated in 2008, they were told that there was no more money left in the budget for such renovations, and in 2012, the building was transferred to the Affordable Neighborhood Cooperative Program (ANCP). 

Despite the long delays for rehabilitation of TIL properties, HPD rules did not grant successor rights to tenants of TIL buildings until adoption of such rule in October 2014. As a result of the length of time before a building renovation can be commenced and the previous lack of succession rights, according to testimony received by the Committee, some apartments in TIL buildings undergoing repairs are vacant. 

In addition to the delays leading to vacancies in such buildings, tenants have also complained that because of their relocation, their belongings were moved into storage nearly ten years ago and that they cannot access those items.

"For many of these tenants at the hearing, this was an opportunity to express frustration and grievances that have been pent up for awhile," said Council Member Williams. "My hope is that out of this hearing, the promises and agreements made to impacted tenants are followed through on."

In 2014, the DOI issued a report, which uncovered a lack of oversight of the TIL program by HPD, leading to fraud and corruption in a TIL building. Tenants of TIL buildings have complained about the length of time it takes for HPD to complete repairs and sell the apartments to the owners, as buildings remain in TIL for extended periods of time despite the intent of the program to stabilize distressed buildings within three to five years.

During the late 1970s, following a period of abandonment, the City took ownership through tax foreclosure of more than 100,000 vacant and occupied units, many of which were in distressed buildings. These units were commonly referred to as in rem housing, named after the legal action that allowed the City to obtain title over these properties when such properties' taxes were unpaid for an extended period of time.

In the 1980s, Mayor Edward I. Koch, in an attempt to address a shortage of affordable housing and revitalize neighborhoods that were subject to high vacancy rates, announced a Ten Year Plan for housing, which included rehabilitating certain vacant and occupied in rem units. One of the programs that grew out of the Mayor's Ten Year Plan for housing was the Tenant Interim Lease ("TIL") program.

The TIL program, which was started in 1978, was intended to be a pathway for renters in City-owned buildings to become homeowners. 

As of March 2017, there were 150 buildings in the TIL program.


Adjustment would benefit more than 32,000 households

   Mayor Bill de Blasio and state and city lawmakers joined senior homeowners today to support the passage of state legislation, sponsored by State Senator Diane Savino (S4628) and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh (A7463), that would expand property tax exemptions for senior citizens and disabled New Yorkers. Current State law enables senior citizens and disabled individuals making up to $37,400 annually to qualify for property tax relief under the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE) or the Disability Homeowners’ Exemption (DHE) programs. Changes proposed in this legislation would raise the maximum income threshold to $58,400, which would constitute the first change to the cap since 2009. Currently, over 57,000 New York City homeowners are enrolled in these programs. This adjustment would benefit more than 32,000 households.

“Since the creation of these programs, life has changed significantly in New York City. We’ve watched the cost of living increase, but the income requirements for SCHE and DHE have remained stagnant,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New York City’s seniors should not be worrying about how they’ll afford to stay in their homes. At a time when we’re facing tax cuts for billionaires by billionaires, it is our duty to do all we can for those most deserving of some assistance. I want to thank the sponsors of this legislation, Senator Diane Savino and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, for their strong advocacy on behalf of seniors and disabled New Yorkers and look forward to working with them to pass this bill this session.”

"Our seniors and disabled New Yorkers, who live on fixed incomes, deserve to reside in their communities without the fear of losing their homes. Many of our senior citizens choose to age in place in the neighborhoods where they’ve raised their families, worked and enjoyed throughout their lives. I’m so proud to carry legislation that will bring much-needed property tax relief for our seniors and disabled homeowners through the SCHE and DHE programs. I thank Mayor de Blasio for helping keep their homes affordable,” said State Senator Diane Savino.

"New Yorkers understand that in order to sustain vibrant, stable communities, we need strategies to ensure long-term affordability. Property tax exemptions for senior and disabled homeowners are an important tool in this effort, and I am proud to sponsor legislation that will make many more people eligible to receive this benefit. I thank Mayor de Blasio for focusing on this issue and for working to make our city more equitable in so many ways,” said Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh.

“We are very encouraged by the support behind this important proposed legislation,” said Finance Commissioner Jacques Jiha. “It is becoming increasingly difficult for some of our most vulnerable citizens to manage their homes. Raising the income threshold for senior citizen and disabled homeowners provides much needed financial relief, and an opportunity to include thousands more into these programs.”

Department for the Aging Commissioner Donna Corrado said, “A simple change in the income threshold for SCHE and DHE would make a world of difference to older homeowners struggling to make ends meet in New York City. We saw the benefits when the maximum income for SCRIE and DRIE, the City’s programs that provide relief to renters, were increased. Raising the income threshold for homeowners is not only fair, it makes it possible for thousands more older New Yorkers to continue to live in their own homes and communities without having to worry about their property taxes going up.”

“New Yorkers with disabilities often struggle to stay in their homes due to increased healthcare and durable medical equipment costs,” said Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Victor Calise. “Affording them a tax savings will provide them the stability that is needed for them rob stay in their homes and neighborhoods. I once again commend the Mayor and Assembly Member for raising the bar and improving the lifestyle for both persons with disabilities and seniors.”

Currently, SCHE and DHE provide a property tax exemption of 50 percent of the assessed property value for senior and disabled homeowners making up to $29,000 per year, with homeowners making up to $37,400 receiving a smaller exemption on a sliding scale. Under the new legislation, senior and disabled homeowners making up to $50,000 would be eligible for the 50 percent exemption, with homeowners making up to $58,400 receiving a smaller exemption on a sliding scale. The city estimates that raising the income threshold would provide eligible senior and disabled homeowners with an average benefit of $1,750.

The Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit will be conducting increased pro-active outreach to New Yorkers across the city who are currently eligible and those who will be become eligible under the income expansion to assist them in enrolling in the SCHE and DHE programs.

"We talk to thousands of New Yorkers across the city each week and we know how essential rental and tax support, like SCHE and DHE, are to helping families stay in the homes that they love. Our door knocking and outreach teams look forward to enrolling even more New Yorkers in this necessary tax relief," said Director of the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Regina Schwartz.

"The Independent Democratic Conference long advocated to alleviate property taxes for our low- and middle-income senior and disabled homeowners through the Senior Citizen Homeowner Exemption (SCHE) and Disabled Homeowner Exemption (DHE) programs, which why Senator Diane Savino carries legislation to discount these unaffordable costs. For these residents, living on a fixed income in New York City while owning a home and paying property taxes jeopardizes their ability to live out their golden years in dignity and comfort in the neighborhoods they contributed so much to. We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for recognizing the importance of this program and look forward to working together to help ensure these homeowners on a fixed income also share in an affordable New York," said State Senator Jeffrey Klein, Independent Democratic Conference Leader.


These guidelines make New York the first city in the country to integrate multiple climate risks into its capital program, the largest in the country

   Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the release of preliminary Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines, which for the first time establish citywide guidance on incorporating projected impacts from climate change into the planning, engineering, construction, and renovation of City facilities. Building on New York City’s national leadership on climate action, the Guidelines are the first of their kind to comprehensively address multiple climate risks across its capital program, the largest in the country. The Guidelines are a critical step towards integrating resiliency as a core principle in the design of City buildings and infrastructure by providing standard policy framework for incorporating forward-looking climate data into design, ultimately saving money by planning for future risks.

“New York is meeting the challenge of climate change head-on, and in the process we are building a better city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These guidelines are another national first, and will make the city’s buildings and infrastructure more resilient in the face of rising seas, extreme heat and storms. Our forward-looking approach will help us prepare for the effects of climate change, so the next generation can continue to call New York home.”

Led by the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, the Guidelines provide architects, engineers, planners, and other professionals with step-by-step instructions on how to incorporate anticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea levels into the design of City facilities, based on the best available science provided by the New York City Panel on Climate Change. The Guidelines are to be used throughout the design process—from the conceptual phase to final design—for all new construction and substantial improvements of City buildings and infrastructure. Utilization of the Guidelines will result in enhanced standards that will make our built environment more resilient to extreme weather and climate change while promoting the health, safety, and prosperity of all New Yorkers.

Current building codes and standards incorporate historic weather data without accounting for changing climate conditions, such as the frequency of future floods, heat waves, and precipitation. These Guidelines provide a standard methodology for choosing design parameters from among the range of climate projections when designing resilient facilities.

Highlights of the Guidelines include:

  • Providing guidance to address major climate risks and planning for continued changes in climate across the entire useful life of facilities built today;
  • Ensuring that both critical and non-critical city facilities are designed to be resilient;
  • Ensuring cost-effective investments are made by evaluating the future climate projections against the service life of a planned new asset;
  • Utilizing projected climate data at the local level;
  • Providing guidance on how to limit the Urban Heat Island effect while also protecting facilities against extreme heat;
  • Addressing urban flooding from extreme precipitation;
  • Recommending the use of flexible adaptation pathways, a way of designing facilities with coastal storms protections that can be upgraded, as a way to manage uncertainty;
  • Recommending that large-scale projects undertake a full climate risk assessment to develop a resilient design specific to the facility.

The Guidelines were developed based on the New York City Panel on Climate Change’s regional climate projections that inform City resiliency policy. Composed of leading scientists, the NPCC prepares projections for the City and metropolitan region which have shown that extreme weather will increase in frequency and severity, and that the climate will become more variable. Climate projections encompass a wide range of possible outcomes, for example:

  • Mean annual temperature is projected to increase between 4.1 and 6.6°F by the 2050s and between 5.3 and 10.3°F by the 2080s.
  • Frequency of heat waves is projected to triple by the 2050s to five to seven heat waves per year.
  • Mean annual precipitation is projected to increase between 4 to 13 percent by the 2050s and between 5 to 19 percent by the 2080s.
  • Sea level is expected to continue rising by 11 to 21 inches by the 2050s and by 18 to 39 inches by the 2080s, on top of the 1 foot of rise already measured since 1900.

The NPCC continues to study and refine climate projections for the metropolitan region, and these Guidelines will be updated as new reports are released by the NPCC.

ORR worked in partnership with the NPCC and a working group of City agencies to develop the Guidelines. The City will review and pilot the Guidelines on projects throughout the rest of 2017. The results will be used to refine the preliminary draft and a final version will be released in December 2017.

These NYC Climate Resilience Design Guidelines are aligned with the Department of Design and Construction’s Guiding Principles and are meant to be utilized by agencies within their own work, such as those developed by the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Design and Planning for Flood Resiliency: Guidelines for NYC Parks. The NYC Parks guidelines are in development and will be released in 2017.

“In our OneNYC plan, we sought new ways to make our neighborhoods, economy and public services ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts from climate change,” said First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. “To do this, we need to integrate climate-smart thinking across the work of all City agencies.  The release of these design guidelines brings us closer to building a more just and resilient New York City for all."

“Climate change is an existential threat to our city and our planet. As we continue to invest in climate adaptation across our entire $20 billion resiliency program, we are finding ways to make our investments stretch further to buy down risk for the benefit of all New Yorkers,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy & Programs and the Chief Resilience Officer in the Mayor’s Office. “These design guidelines are a critical way that New York City will institutionalize the work of resiliency into the ways we design and build our infrastructure, leveraging our existing spending to ensure that we are continuing to build a more resilient city.” 

“New York can no longer look to the past for how we build for the future. Extreme weather and a changing climate threaten the City buildings and infrastructure that provide critical services that New Yorkers depend on,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “The Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines provide clear, accessible guidance on how to incorporate forward-looking climate data into the design of City facilities to ensure they are prepared to withstand the impacts of climate change and can continue to keep our city safe and strong into the future.”

The Preliminary Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines, which are an OneNYC initiative, can be found on line here.

To see the full list of the City’s progress on its OneNYC over $20 billion multi-layered resiliency program, please visit our citywide resiliency map here.