Good Morning, Brooklyn: Wednesday, January 5, 2022
COUNTERPUNCH: NOT FAZED BY TRUMP LAWSUITS: New York Attorney General Letitia James seeks interviews in the ongoing Trump Organization Investigation, as former President Donald Trump, Donald J. Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump try to prevent them from taking place later this month. Declaring, “Our investigation will continue undeterred,” Attorney General James said, “Despite their names, they must play by the same rules as everyone else. These delay tactics will not stop us from following the facts or the law, which is why we will be asking the court to compel Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump to testify with our office under oath.”
In August 2020, Attorney General James filed a motion to compel the Trump Organization to provide the Office of the Attorney General with documents and testimony from multiple witnesses regarding several, specific Trump Organization properties and transactions. Since then, the court has ruled in Attorney General James’ favor multiple times.
SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION IN FLATBUSH: RIPCO Real Estate (RIPCO), a leading independent retail brokerage in New York City, has leased 15,330 square feet at 1070 Flatbush Avenue to School Construction Authority, a New York state public benefit corporation that works to design, construct and renovate school facilities. The SCA will occupy the entire ground floor for the duration of this 15-year lease, and build out the space to fulfill the needs of a universal Pre-K school before the 2022-23 school year begins.
The deal is considered the largest ground floor completed lease on the Flatbush corridor in over two years. The 1070 Flatbush Ave. address sits at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Cortelyou Road, and has 15,330 square feet and a basement totaling 12,000 square feet that can be used for storage.
FLAWED DRUG TESTS LED TO PUNISHMENTS: A drug testing program that is considered to be highly-flawed led to incarcerated people across New York State being subjected to internal penalties, including solitary confinement, lengthened sentences, delayed parole hearings, revoked family visitation privileges and other punishments, according to a report from New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang.
The Inspector General’s investigation found that these sanctions, which impacted more than 1,600 people during an eight-month period from January-August 2019, were based upon preliminary positive results for the presence of the opioid buprenorphine, without obtaining confirmation by more specific alternative tests as was required by the instructions provided by the manufacturer, Microgenics Corporation.
DOCCS then failed to properly investigate the reason for a significant spike in positive test results after the implementation of the new tests or take prompt corrective action upon being presented with scientific evidence that many of the results were false positives. Moreover, representatives from Microgenics were found to have frustrated the efforts of the incarcerated people who attempted to challenge their charges at administrative hearings.
BETTER CROSSWALK SIGNALS FOR DISABLED PEDESTRIANS: A federal court has ruled that New York City must install accessible pedestrian signals (APS) at 10,000 intersections over the next 10 years, in a first-of-its-kind decision that is believed will remake the streetscape of New York City and improve safety and accessibility for all New Yorkers. APS’s are push-button devices attached to crosswalks that convey visual crossing information in audible and vibro-tactile formats accessible to blind, low vision, and deafblind pedestrians.
This decision follows a ruling last year that the City of New York’s decades-long practice of failing to install APS’s violates the civil rights of people with disabilities.
RODENT SIGHTINGS: Residents of Southwest Brooklyn have complained about rat sightings within Community Board 10. Street excavation was given as a top attraction to the rodents, particularly as several such projects are in force. Residents are encouraged to report any rat sightings directly to 311 and share the locations with the Community District Office, which will in turn share with the Department of Health so that abatement strategies can be implemented.
The New York City Department of Health has also produced a helpful pamphlet entitled “Preventing Rats on Your Property.”
WORKSHOP ON NYCHA RENT POLICIES: The impact of a court settlement on NYCHA housing is the topic of a virtual Know Your Rights Workshop for residents of Red Hook and Gowanus, according to an announcement from Community Board 6. The Housing Resource Center and attorneys from Brooklyn Legal Services present this virtual workshop (via Zoom) next Tuesday, Jan. 10 on the Fields v. Russ settlement. The case focused on alleged rent gouging on the part of NYCHA during the pandemic, with the plaintiffs charging that NYCHA as a defendant-party systematically failed to reduce tenants’ monthly rent to account for a reduction in their household income, and that NYCHA was in the practice of overestimating their monthly rent within the context of interim and annual income recertifications.
The presentation will include an explanation of rent calculation in NYCHA, and interim recertifications, the procedure for requesting a rent adjustment and new rules to prevent non-pay evictions. More information on workshop registration is available via the Community Board 6 website.
PROGRAM FOR EDUCATORS: MUSLIMS IN BROOKLYN: The first Muslim woman elected to New York’s City Council will participate in the closing installment of the Center for Brooklyn History virtual series for educators next Wednesday, Jan. 12. Titled “Muslims in Brooklyn: A Conversation with Councilmember Shahana Hanif,” the segment, running from 4 to 5 p.m., will feature an interview with the councilmember from Brooklyn’s District 39 and oral historian Zaheer Ali. Before she took office, Ms. Hanif had contributed an oral history to the Muslims in Brooklyn project about growing up in Brooklyn and the personal experiences that spurred her into public life.
Attendees are eligible for one Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) credit. Registration is accessible through the Brooklyn Public Library website.
BRIGHTENING KIDS’ CHRISTMAS: GodSquad/the 67th Precinct Clergy Council reports that thanks to a partnership involving several organizations, children in Brooklyn enjoyed “Toy Galore!” Several partners, including Mrs. Mornete McDaniel of Mending Broken Pieces Ministries; Chief Jeffrey Maddrey of NYPD Community Affairs; Metro World Child; the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office; the Lefferts Gardens Ascend Lower School; Toys for Tots; Institute for Community Living (ICL); Reflections Church, and Moms Demand Action delivered over 500 toys and books to family shelters, public schools, members of the local SPU and churches in the 67th Precinct and neighboring precincts.
GodSquad and partners also brightened the season with gifts to children and young siblings of gun violence victims as part of the Mothers for Safe Cities program.
FAITH-BASED POETRY: SPIRITUAL POETRY: A poet born in Panama and raised in Crown Heights has a new book of religious poetry, titled “Where the Light Flows In,” released through Dorrance Publishing. Sharon C. Eccleston’s collection of poems that evokes thoughts of staying strong, staying connected to God at all times, and giving love to a world that is in crisis.
IPS NEWS: BILL TO RECRUIT HEALTH CARE WORKERS: Responding to the strain that the New York State health care system battles, due to worker shortages and hospital strain, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will hold a video press conference today, expressing her support of the Bolstering Infectious Outbreak (BIO) Preparedness Workforce Act. This bipartisan bill would help address retention and recruitment issues in the health care workforce by removing financial barriers and authorizing $50 million to establish a new student loan repayment program for infectious disease clinicians and bio-preparedness health care professionals.
Qualified individuals working in infectious disease and bio-preparedness and response, including physicians, clinical pharmacists, physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses, may receive up to $50,000 for each year of service, up to a total of $150,000 in loan repayment. This bill is led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
IPS NEWS: REPUBLICAN RESPONSE: New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy will deliver a Republican response to Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State Address, scheduled for today, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. Langworthy’s response will be disseminated in HD video following Gov. Hochul’s speech.
IPS NEWS: MALLIOTAKIS LETTER HELPS DOUBLE NY ALLOCATION: Following her Dec. 23, 2021, letter to President Biden urging the Administration to increase the supply and distribution of COVID-19 therapeutic treatments, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11th District) expressed delight in seeing New York State’s weekly allocation of monoclonal antibody doses double. For the two-week period spanning Dec. 13-Dec. 26, 2021, New York State received only 18,516 units of monoclonal antibody treatments out of the 255,002 units that were distributed nationally.
But after Rep. Malliotakis sent her letter to President Biden, New York State has received 43,198 doses since December 27, 2021, more than twice the amount it was receiving on a weekly basis previously.
GANG MEMBERS IN COURT: Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced that 17 alleged members of three violent street gangs known collectively as YPF are variously charged in two indictments with conspiracy to commit murder, possess weapons and related charges. The indictments include charges related to shootings that resulted in 14 victims, including four who died as a result of their injuries. (See story, page 1.)
The defendants, appearing yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Craig Walker, belong to the gangs FNO (For N**** Only or Fear No One), PPP (Pistol Packing Pitkin) and YAWAH (Young and Wild and Hustling). Their alliance’s alleged purpose was to form a large umbrella group to increase their numbers and territory, as well as commit violence against their common enemies and maintain geographic dominance.
The gangs’ other alleged benefits included access to more handguns and freedom to travel safely to their allies’ neighborhoods and the ability to hunt down more rivals.
ARRAIGNED ON DEED FRAUD: A Brooklyn man accused of deed fraud has been arraigned for allegedly trying to steal a house in the borough’s Flatlands neighborhood, Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced. The defendant is charged with grand larceny and burglary for allegedly filing a fake deed to transfer ownership of his landlord’s $759,000 rental property to a trust in his name. He recorded a deed to a three-story house at 36 Hubbard Place in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn that transferred the title of the property from the owner, Hubbard Estates LLC, to an entity called the “Ayonkladd Trust,” of which the defendant was the trustee (see story, page 20).
The defendant signed the deed as a guarantor despite the fact that the defendant is not a member or trustee of Hubbard Estates LLC. The property has been owned by the legitimate owner, a 49-year-old woman, since 2015.
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