Good Morning, Brooklyn: Wednesday, June 29, 2022
LAW SCHOOL’S PROPOSED CLEANING COMPANY UNDER NLRB INVESTIGATION FOR RIGHTS VIOLATIONS: Brooklyn Law School is planning to cancel its contract with Triangle – a responsible cleaning company that respects workers’ rights to organize and provides family-sustaining wages and benefits, effective this Thursday, June 30, the city’s largest building employees’ union, 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union) has learned. The Law School is reportedly planning, effective July 1, to replace the current contractor with Advantage Cleaners LLC — which is now under investigation by the National Labor Relations Board for violating Brooklyn Law School night cleaners’ right to organize.
If the plan goes through, workers will lose their employer-paid comprehensive Empire Blue Cross-Blue Shield health care coverage after 30 days. Workers would also see wages fall from between $24 and $30/hour to $17/hour and lose their retirement plan.
HOSPITALS GET NEW PATHWAY FOR COVID-RELATED REIMBURSEMENTS: U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has secured a first-ever agreement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that creates a pathway for reimbursement on previously rejected expenses that hospitals incurred during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, costs like transportation, child care, and housing will now be eligible for reimbursement.
This new flexibility is expected to unlock approximately $250 million for New York’s hospitals.
STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL LAUNCHES HOTLINE ON ABORTIONS: A new hotline has been launched to provide legal guidance and resources to patients, health care providers, and supporters seeking information about their legal rights to access and provide abortions. New York Attorney General Letitia James, has joined forces with 24 national law firms (including in New York Paul, Weiss) to open the hotline, which is part of her new Pro Bono Task Force on Reproductive Health.
Those needing to call the hotline (available in the 12 most common languages spoken in New York), which is 212-899-5567 — with more info available via https://ag.ny.gov/reproductivehealth) — will be asked to leave a message with a call-back phone number for an attorney who will return the call. Callers, who need not leave their names, may provide specific callback instructions.
GUILTY PLEA IN ILLEGAL EXPORTS TO IRAN: Kambiz Attar Kashani, a dual citizen of the United States and Iran, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to conspiring to illegally export U.S. goods, technology, and services to end users in Iran, including the Government of Iran, in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). Yesterday’s plea proceeding was held before United States Magistrate Judge Marcia M. Henry.
When sentenced, Kashani faces up to 20 years in prison; and he has agreed to pay a $50,000 fine, in addition to any forfeiture owed.
INDICTED ON SEVERAL COUNTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: A Brooklyn man has been indicted for sexually assaulting a woman twice last month and for raping a 13-year-old girl in September 2021, in incidents where both victims were strangers to the defendant. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Miguel James, 42, of Brooklyn, who was arraigned yesterday before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser on charges of first-degree criminal sexual act, second-degree assault, first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree robbery, forcible touching, second-degree rape, endangering the welfare of a child and related charges.
The defendant was ordered held without bail with the next court date on August 10.
RENT STABILIZATION PROTECTIONS EXTENDED: New York City Mayor Eric Adams yesterday signed two pieces of affordable housing legislation, extending the city’s critical rent stabilization protections and strengthening data collection and reporting on a critical eviction prevention program. The laws extend the expiration of the rent stabilization laws from July 1, 2022 to April 1, 2024 and they increase transparency around the City Fighting Homelessness and Eviction Prevention Supplement (CityFHEPS) rental assistance voucher.
The data includes the number of households currently enrolled in the program, the number that exit New York City Department of Homeless Services shelters through a CityFHEPS rental assistance voucher, and types of client households broken down by whether a family has children and primary language spoken.
PACIFIC PARK CONSTRUCTION PROJECT INCLUDES VARIANCES FOR AFTER-HOURS AND WEEKEND WORK: Residents and businesses in the vicinity of the Atlantic Yards construction project known as Pacific Park should brace for disruptions, including nights and weekends, and to above-ground transit, the Empire State Development Corporation has announced. The After-Hours Variance is in place for all work from 6-10 p.m., for deliveries and garbage removal from 5-7 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday permits (when received), are for all work starting at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pending receipt of necessary permits, platform MPT mobilization & setup will begin at the street level around Block 1120 during the week leading up to July 4, with the MTA B45 bus stop at Atlantic and Sixth avenues being temporarily removed during the platform construction, and signage posted alerting riders of the change.
FEDERAL JURY RETURNS GUILTY VERDICT IN OPIOID CASE: A federal jury in Brooklyn returned a guilty verdict on Monday against Ezhil Sezhian Kamaldoss on all counts of a superseding indictment charging him with conspiring to distribute millions of opioid pills and other illegal, controlled substances imported from India, and money laundering conspiracy. The verdict followed a four-day trial before United States District Judge Allyne R. Ross.
When sentenced, Kamaldoss faces up to 50 years in prison.
40-YEAR SENTENCE IN SHOOTING OF FEDEX EMPLOYEE: A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for shooting a FedEx employee in the back as he walked out of a Brownsville building. The incident was caught on surveillance video, Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced, identifying the defendant as J’von Johnson, 25, of Brownsville.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht sentenced Johnson to 40 years in state prison following his conviction last month on charges of second-degree attempted murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
BROOKLYN MUSEUM UNVEILED RENOVATED SCULPTURE GARDEN: The Brooklyn Museum has unveiled the newly revamped Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden, designed by architecture and design studio Elizabeth Roberts Architects. Conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic, the renovation of the Museum’s rear Sculpture Garden creates a vibrant outdoor public venue to be enlivened by community and cultural programming.
Summer activities will include pop-up poetry readings, live music sets, happy hours, art-making classes, jazz concerts, and more.
MAIMONIDES’ CHARITY GAME FEATURES BELOVED MONSIGNOR AS STARTING PITCHER: Monsignor David Cassato, the beloved pastor of St. Athanasius Church who retires at the end of this month, will be the starting pitcher tomorrow night at Maimonides Health’s third annual Battle for Brooklyn charity softball game at Maimonides Park. The game will feature a matchup between the cast of Bravo’s reality television show The Real Housewives of New Jersey and the Maimonides All-Stars team comprised of physicians and healthcare staff from Maimonides Health.
More than 3,000 tickets have been sold thus far; all proceeds from the game will go toward the Maimonides Breast Center, Brooklyn’s only fully-accredited breast center.
PROTEST AGAINST FILTHY BUILDING CONDITIONS — FOR HIGH RENT: Council Member Farah Louis and the Flatbush Gardens Tenants Association led an early-morning protest, which NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams also attended, early this morning against Flatbush Gardens Management to demand immediate changes to uninhabitable living conditions. The rally-to-protest was held in front of the Flatbush Gardens Management Office, located at 3301 Foster Avenue, where residents gathered to express their anger and frustration regarding the deplorable living conditions and poor management operations in a complex of over 50 buildings, and for which the managing agent stopped providing security.
Said Tenant Association President Marietta Small, “For $2,500 a month, this is unacceptable.”
IPS HEADLINE: DEMANDING TOXIC METALS BE REMOVED FROM BABY FOOD: New York Attorney General Letitia James led a multistate coalition of 22 attorneys general demanding that the heads of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) take swift action to eliminate toxic metals from baby food. This is the latest action in a series of efforts led by Attorney General James in response to increasing alarm regarding the health hazards posed by lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in baby foods, including infant cereals, purees, and other products for babies and young children, aside from formula.
The FDA had denied an October 2021 petition from Attorney General James’ coalition, urging clear industry guidance for limiting toxic metals, but the coalition is now asking that the denial be expeditiously reconsidered.
IPS NEWS: BROOKLYN REPRESENTED IN CARIBBEAN HERITAGE MONTH HONOREES: New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli honored Caribbean and Caribbean American individuals and organizations at a celebration on Monday in honor of Caribbean Heritage Month. The honorees were New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud (D-19/eastern and southeastern Brooklyn); writer, poet and painter Michèle Voltaire Marcelin; actress; Angela Yee, host of Power 105.1’s nationally-syndicated show, The Breakfast Club; and the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival.
Curator and producer, Jodine Dorcé emceed the event, hosted at Suede restaurant.
‘NONE SHALL BE AFRAID’ ESSAY CONTEST: The B’nai B’rith International 2022 None Shall Be Afraid Essay Contest invites students between the ages of 18 and 22 to try winning a $2,500 college scholarship. Students who have enrolled in college would write essays responding to the frequent attacks on Jews in the United States, Israel and around the world, online and in person, and offer suggestions on how a community can identify and stop this hatred. Winners will earn scholarship funds and have the opportunity to have their essays published. The deadline to submit an essay is July 10, 2022. More information: https://www.bnaibrith.org/none-shall-be-afraid-essay-contest/
None Shall Be Afraid was inspired by the 1790 letter from George Washington to the congregants of Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island, where he quoted Micah 4:4, “Everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
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