Good Morning, Brooklyn: Friday, February 18, 2022
JUDGE ORDERS TRUMPS TO TESTIFY: New York Attorney General Letitia James today won a major victory in her office’s ongoing civil investigation into Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization’s financial dealings. The Hon. Arthur Engoron of the New York County State Supreme Court ruled, after hearing arguments yesterday, ruled that Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump must all appear for sworn testimony within 21 days, and, in particular, Donald J. Trump must produce additional documents within 14 days, in compliance with subpoenas from the Office of the Attorney General.
Said Attorney General James, “No one will be permitted to stand in the way of the pursuit of justice, no matter how powerful they are. No one is above the law.”
CHARGED IN INSURANCE BENEFIT FRAUD: Eleven members and associates of the Brooklyn-Based Woo Gang were charged in a multi-million dollar COVID-19 unemployment insurance fraud when a criminal complaint was unsealed yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn. The members and associates, Romean Brown, Tyrek Clarke, Kennith Desir, Stephan Dorminvil, Kai Heyward, Keith James, Oneal Marks, Jahriah Olivierre, Christopher Jean Pierre, Roleeke Smith and Christopher Topey were charged with conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to obtain millions of dollars in unemployment insurance benefits funded, in whole or in part, by COVID-19 pandemic assistance programs.
Eight of the defendants were arrested Wednesday morning.
TOXIC METALS FOUND IN CERTAIN BABY FOOD BRANDS: After detectable levels of toxic elements lead, cadmium and arsenic were found in Holle Baby Foods products, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a letter to the company on Thursday to demand that it cease its false or misleading claims about being lead-free. Specifically, Attorney General James is calling for JSG Babyfood LLC and JSG Organics LLC — which does business as HolleUSA — to stop advertising their baby foods as being “lead free” and as having no detectable traces of heavy metals, a claim that runs contrary to laboratory test results from November.
Three varieties were tested of Holle brand baby food pouches (“Carrot Cat” Fruit & Veggie Puree, “Zebra Beet” Fruit Puree & Veggie Juice,” and “Veggie Bunny” Veggie Puree) that are marketed to New York and U.S. consumers through HolleUSA’s website (Holleusa.com) and Amazon (Amazon.com). Eighteen pouches were tested for heavy metals, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury by an accredited and nationally-recognized lab.
ARREST MADE IN HATE CRIME: Police have arrested a 17-year-old male for hate crime assault that took place against a Jewish man last Friday night. The victim, a 22-year-old male, was walking on the sidewalk within the 63rd Precinct in southeastern Brooklyn when Unidentified Male #1 exited the passenger side of an unidentified light-color mini-van, approached the victim and slapped him in his face, knocking the victim’s yarmulke off of his head, and causing pain, redness and swelling to face.
The investigation by the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is ongoing.
BROOKLYN MAN INDICTED IN HATE CRIME AGAINST ASIANS: A Brooklyn man has been indicted for hate crimes after allegedly assaulting an elderly Asian woman in an unprovoked attack, and allegedly telling police that Chinese people are not supposed to be in this country. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Mercel Jackson, 52, of Crown Heights, who is charged with several counts of assault, menacing, harassment and hate crimes.
When apprehended and arrested, the defendant allegedly told police that Chinese people are not supposed to be in this country and said other vulgar things against Asians.
TRASH PICKUP SUSPENDED FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY: There will be no trash, curbside composting, or recycling Collection on Presidents Day, Monday, February 21, according to the New York City Department of Sanitation. Residents who normally receive Monday trash or curbside composting collection may place their material at the curb between 4 p.m. and midnight Monday evening, for collection beginning Tuesday. Residents who normally receive Monday recycling collection should place their material out at curbside between 4 p.m. and midnight on Sunday, February 27 for pickup on Monday, February 28.
The Sanitation Dept. said residents should expect delays in pickup, and that inclement weather could also affect next week’s schedule.
ENGINEERING TEAM AIMS TO HELP VISUALLY-IMPAIRED PEDESTRIANS: A New York University Tandon School of Engineering research team and Woven Planet Holdings, Inc. aims to help visually impaired pedestrians and autonomous vehicles (AVs) alike better navigate complex urban settings. Woven Planet, a Toyota subsidiary dedicated to building the safest mobility in the world, has partnered with NYU Tandon’s Visualization, Imaging and Data Analytics Research Center (VIDA) to compile a dataset of more than 200,000 outdoor images over the course of a year, with Chen Feng, assistant professor of civil and urban engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, and computer science and engineering, leading the team in developing a dataset that uses side-view images of sidewalks and storefronts in addition to forward-facing imagery,
“NYU has long been one of our core academic partners, in no small part because of our shared commitment to delivering social impact through mobility,” said Ro Gupta, senior director at Woven Planet.
HOMELESS SHELTER TOPIC OF CB7 COMMITTEE MEETING: The Department of Homeless Services and Samaritan Village will discuss with Community Board 7’s Housing Committee the opening of a shelter planned for 5113 2nd Avenue. The shelter would house 92 single adults with mental health challenges.
This meeting takes place Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 6 p.m. via Zoom, and will also be accessible via www.youtube.com/channel/UCcAZ1cECSeZI8iNyQDKuX5Q.
IPS NEWS: COLTON SAYS MONIES MUST GO MEET ALL STUDENTS’ NEEDS: — Assemblyman William Colton (D – Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) says that a $2.1billion increase in public education funds proposed by Governor Hochul must be directed toward the individual needs of all students. He wants an innovative remedial program developed for all their underperforming children, and gifted programs expanded for those who children who would thrive in this environment.
“These goals can be accomplished by reduced class size, by providing necessary resources to teachers to meet the individual needs of all their students or by additional funds for community schools in advancing their holistic approach to meeting the needs of their students and their families,” Colton continued.
IPS NEWS: PROTECTING FREELANCERS FROM WAGE THEFT —State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Harry Bronson on Thursday introduced “Freelance Isn’t Free”, S8359, a new bill that would protect contract and freelance workers from wage theft. This bill would ensure all freelancers receive appropriate contracts for their work, are paid in a timely manner, and have state support to recoup unpaid wages.
The state-wide Freelance Isn’t Free legislation would build on a 2017 New York City bill, introduced by then-Councilmember Brad Lander by requiring written contracts to be given for any worker receiving more than $250 for their work, and providing workers with additional financial remedies if the contractor tries to avoid paying them.
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