Brooklyn Boro

What’s News, Breaking: Monday, September 18, 2023

September 18, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Share this:

CARDIAC DIAGNOSTIC FIRM MUST PAY RESTITUTION
FOR ITS ROLE IN KICKBACK SCHEME 

STATEWIDE — A CARDIAC DIAGNOSTIC FIRM WILL HAVE TO REIMBURSE MEDICAID as part of a new settlement that NY Attorney General Letitia James has brokered. Attorney General James on Monday, Sept. 18, completed a settlement of more than $3.3 million settlement with Dr. Klaus Peter Rentrop and his company, Gramercy Cardiac Diagnostic Group, for engaging in an illegal kickback scheme in which they paid physicians and practices millions of dollars to induce them to refer patients to Gramercy Cardiac and its contracted cardiologists. The recovered funds will be returned to Medicaid, with nearly $2 million going to New York state.

As part of a separate agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (USAO-SDNY), Dr. Rentrop and Gramercy Cardiac have agreed to pay an additional $3.1 million to the federal government to resolve kickback claims related to the Medicare program.

✰✰✰

BILL WOULD BAN USE OF MILITARY BASES TO HOUSE MIGRANTS

U.S. ARMY GARRISON AT FORT HAMILTON — BROOKLYN’S FORT HAMILTON ARMY BASE WOULD BE COVERED IN LEGISLATION that U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-11/southwest Brooklyn) introduced to prevent military establishments from being used to house migrants. The legislation, which would prohibit the use of federal funds for sheltering migrants at military sites, comes after Governor Kathy Hochul’s request to President Biden that military installations and other federal lands across the Northeast be used to house migrants. Malliotakis emphasized that the security protocol at military bases would preclude the influx of unvetted persons.

Malliotakis has also introduced legislation that would prevent the city, state and federal government from placing migrant shelters on U.S. parklands, including Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth, one of the oldest military installations in the U.S. that currently serves as a domicile and an operational base for members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Park Police.

✰✰✰

ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE, ROCKROSE SEEK TO DISMISS LAWSUIT OVER SALE OF BROOKLYN HEIGHTS CAMPUS

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE AND DEVELOPER ROCKROSE WANT TO HAVE A COURT TOSS the lawsuit seeking to nullify the sale of the college’s former Brooklyn Heights campus to Rockrose Development, according to Crain’s New York. St. Francis finalized a deal in March to sell its five-building campus on Remsen and Joralemon streets to Rockrose for $160 million. Developer Alexico Group sued the college in June, claiming it already had a deal to buy the campus for $180 million.

St. Francis and Rockrose filed motions to dismiss the case on Sept. 7 in Manhattan state Supreme Court, claiming that the Alexico deal fell apart because Alexico, operating through an LLC called 180 Remsen, “was simply not ready, willing and able to buy the campus on the scheduled closing date,” Crain’s reports.

✰✰✰

NYC SOCIALIST LEGISLATORS CONDEMN CITY’S ‘CRUEL’ RESPONSE TO ASYLUM SEEKERS

CITYWIDE — TWENTY SOCIALIST LEGISLATORS IN NYC RELEASED A STATEMENT on Monday in response to policy proposals by Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric regarding asylum seekers. “We do not accept New York City and State officials’ cruel response to asylum seekers, and the scapegoating of those new arrivals to defund public goods for everyone,” they wrote. The officials described Adams’ citywide hiring freeze and cuts of up to 15% for all public agencies as “only the latest in a series of actions that Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul have taken to cut social services and maintain the profits of their wealthy donors.”

The legislators, including Brooklyn’s Sen. Julia Salazar and Queens’ Councilmember Tiffany Cabán and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, listed a series of “intermediate steps to meet our current moment with courage and humanity.” These may be found at socialists.nyc.

✰✰✰

PARENTS URGED TO GIVE FEEDBACK ON NYC’S SMALLER CLASS SIZE PLANS

CITYWIDE — A NEW STATE LAW MANDATING SMALLER CLASS SIZES in New York City public schools is scheduled to kick off this month. The Class Size Working Group appointed by the Chancellor to develop this plan is holding public engagement sessions online and in person to present their preliminary proposals and get feedback. The dates are: Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 5-7:30 p.m. online (Manhattan/Brooklyn); Wednesday, Sept. 27, from 5-7:30 p.m. online (Queens/Bronx/Staten Island); and, Monday, Oct. 2 (citywide)  from 5-7:30 p.m. in person at MLK Campus Auditorium, 122 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan.

The Class Size Matters education nonprofit urges concerned parents to attend, citing efforts to influence Gov. Hochul to repeal the law. Registration links will be posted on the city’s Contracts for Excellence site shortly.

✰✰✰

FAMILY IN GUATEMALA TO SUNSET PARK MOURNS
TEEN WHO WAS KILLED ON WAY HOME FROM WORK 

SUNSET PARK — THE YOUTH WHO WAS KILLED ON A MOPED IN THE EARLY HOURS OF SATURDAY, SEPT. 16, WAS AN IMMIGRANT from Guatemala who had bought the vehicle as a reliable way of getting work, one of his sisters has told the Daily News. Josue Mardoqueo Vicente Yac, whom police initially said was 19 years old, was actually just 17. The NYPD responded to the collision around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday after the driver of a tractor-trailer struck Josue while making a right turn from 4th Avenue to 39th St. Josue, who was on his way home from work at the time he was killed, had been working two jobs as a kitchen assistant, but missed being near his family.

“About two months ago, he bought the moped because the trains were so slow,” Viviana Vicente Yac, 27, told the Daily News, speaking in Spanish. “He used it to get early to work. He wanted to be responsible and punctual to his jobs.”

✰✰✰

COMPTROLLER LANDER LAUNCHES PROBE
INTO FIRM PROVIDING MIGRANTS’ SERVICES 

CITYWIDE — CITING CONCERNS ABOUT A CITY-CONTRACTED MEDICAL VENDOR handling migrant cases, NYC Comptroller Brad Lander will immediately commence a first-of-its-kind audit of the oversight of the operations and invoices incurred by DocGo, Inc., the medical services company the city hired to provide shelter services to new arrivals in the city and upstate. Comptroller Lander noted, in a new letter sent to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), that his office has “serious concerns about the selection of this vendor and its performance of contract duties.” Earlier this month, the office declined to approve the no-bid $432 million contract due to outstanding questions about how this vendor was selected and is performing its duties.

Lander added that, due to questions surrounding the DocGo contract, his office is currently reviewing a possible need to revoke a 2022 prior approval authorization the Comptroller’s Office granted the Administration to utilize emergency procurement, as it had not been intended as a blanket approval for the current mayoral administration.

✰✰✰

BROOKLYN RABBI AND TEEN SPEAK OUT
AT SUNDAY’S MARCH TO END FOSSIL FUELS 

CITYWIDE — AT LEAST TWO OUTSPOKEN BROOKLYNITES PARTICIPATED IN SUNDAY’S MARCH TO END FOSSIL FUELS that kicked off Climate Week, reports the Associated Press. The March to End Fossil Fuels launched a week that will focus on the world leaders gathering in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly and a special summit, scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20. Rabbi Stephanie Kolin of Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope declared, “The fossil fuel industry is choosing to rule and conquer and take and take and take without limit. And so waters are rising and the skies are turning orange (from wildfire smoke) and the heat is taking lives. But you, Mr. President, can choose the other path, to be a protector of this Earth.”

Another of the approximately 75,000 marchers was 17-year-old Brooklynite Emma Buretta, of the youth protest group Fridays for Future. Emma, who will reach voting age by the time of next year’s Presidential election, said, “If you want to win in 2024, if you do not want the blood of my generation to be on your hands, end fossil fuels.”

✰✰✰

TEEN MOPED DRIVER KILLED
IN COLLISION WITH TRUCK 

SUNSET PARK — A 19-YEAR-OLD MOPED RIDER LOST HIS LIFE IN A COLLISION around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, according to a report from the NYPD’s 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park. Officers responding to a 911 call found the young man, since identified as Josue Mardoqueo Vicente Yac, of 53rd St., with severe head and body trauma, and determined that he had been heading southbound on 4th Ave., when the driver of a 2002 Peterbilt tractor-trailer, in the process of making a right turn onto 39th St., struck him. EMS transported the victim to NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn, where he was pronounced deceased.

Although the driver of the tractor-trailer initially left the scene of the collision, he later went to a local precinct to report his potential involvement in this incident. As of press time, no arrests had been made and the investigation continues.

✰✰✰

POLICE COMMISSIONER APPOINTS NEW CHIEFS 

CITYWIDE — NEW POLICE COMMISSIONER EDWARD CABAN ON FRIDAY announced the appointment of two senior officers to department chief positions, following turbulence in the NYPD’s upper ranks earlier this summer that culminated in the abrupt departure of Mayor Adams’ original pick for the post, former Commissioner Keechant Sewell, in June after just 18 months on the job. Joseph Kenny, most recently the Commanding Officer of Citywide Investigations for the Detective Bureau, was appointed to be Chief of Detectives, while John Benoit, currently second-in-command at the department’s Personnel Bureau, was promoted to its Chief. 

Both men are 31-year veterans of the NYPD and have served in a variety of leadership roles across the boroughs, according to a press release from the NYPD. 

✰✰✰

MTA BUS CRASHES INTO 6 PARKED CARS, DRIVES OFF

MILL BASIN — Surveillance video obtained by abc7 Eyewitness News shows what appears to be an MTA bus that crashed into six cars at Mill Avenue and Avenue U in Mill Basin, Brooklyn on Friday around 9 a.m. NYC Transit President Richard Davey said they are investigating why the B47 bus hit the parked vehicles. The driver was suspended.

The incident left residents “stunned and speechless and wondering why the driver didn’t stop,” abc7 reports.

✰✰✰

NYPD’S BOMB SQUAD CLEARS OUT 8TH AVE. AFTER RECEIVING CALL WITH THREAT

PARK SLOPE — THE HIGH HOLY DAYS CELEBRATIONS were already marred by what some sources call a possible bomb threat and others a police investigation. The NYPD’s 78th Precinct on Saturday, Sept. 16 around 11:30 a.m. sent out a tweet on X (formerly Twitter) advising “Please stay clear of the area around 8th Avenue and 11 Street in Park Slope Brooklyn due to a police investigation. Thank you for your understanding.” Citizen.com reported at 12:52 p.m. Saturday that “NYPD’s Bomb Squad has determined there is no threat at the location.” An X (formerly Twitter) post on Saturday from local resident Terri Gerstein read, “Bomb threat at the synagogue down the street from us. Police told us to shelter in place. I’m sure it will all be ok, but what a way to start the year.”

The NYPD’s 78th Precinct staff on Friday had met with religious leaders to assure them of their vigilance and security measures. There are several synagogues located in the vicinity of the 78th Precinct’s warning area.

✰✰✰

CRACKDOWN ON TOBACCO SALES IN NYS BUILDINGS

STATEWIDE — GOV. KATHY HICHUL SIGNED LEGISLATION on Friday that prohibits the sale of tobacco products at vending stands and machines in New York State buildings. The bill, sponsored by Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn (Flatbush, Midwood) and State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal (Manhattan’s West Side) will apply to new leases and contracts with vendors.

“The fight against Big Tobacco isn’t over, but this is a significant victory as we continue to protect our communities from deadly nicotine addiction and save more lives,” Bichotte Hermelyn said in a statement.

✰✰✰

NYC SCHOOLS REVERSE COURSE, WILL ALLOW AI IN THE CLASSROOM

CITYWIDE — THE NYC DEPART OF EDUCATIONAL HAS REVERSED COURSE on the use of AI in the classroom, and has partnered with Microsoft to create an artificial intelligence-powered teaching assistant, according to Microsoft Source News and reported by City & State. The AI, built on the Azure OpenAI Service platform that offers coding and language models like ChatGPT, is intended to answer students’ questions and offer them personalized, real-time feedback. After ChatGPT began sweeping the country, the city’s DOE originally blocked access to the program.

In May, school Chancellor David Banks acknowledged in a Chalkbeat op-ed that the AI ban “overlooked the potential of generative AI” to support students and educators and “the reality that our students are participating in and will work in a world where understanding generative AI is crucial.”

✰✰✰

SUNY DOWNSTATE LAB RECEIVES GRANT FOR GROUNDBREAKING KIDNEY RESEARCH

EAST FLATBUSH — SUNY DOWNSTATE HEALTH SCIENCES UNIVERSITY in Brooklyn received one of eight seed-funding grants distributed through the State University of New York’s Technology Accelerator Fund, SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. announced Friday. The fund distributed a total of $450,000 across the state system for groundbreaking research in technologies intended to treat serious illnesses and safeguard the environment.

Downstate’s funding is earmarked for research by Professor Moro Salifu, who is developing a novel peptide drug to treat vascular access stenosis and thrombosis in kidney-failure patients on hemodialysis.

✰✰✰

THE HAPPY SHOP BRINGS JOY TO YOUNG PATIENTS AT MAIMONIDES

BOROUGH PARK — MAIMONIDES CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AND TOYS FOR HOSPITALIZED CHILDREN on Tuesday, September 12 launched a new gift-giving model, the Happy Shop, as part of their ongoing fellowship. The Happy Shop is a “shopping experience” for hospital-bound children. These young patients with the scan of a QR Code, can “buy” a complimentary toy to be delivered to their hospital rooms the very next morning.  The pilot program has proven to be very successful, with hundreds of toys delivered since its inception.

“We all know how exciting it is to order a gift online and anxiously await for the package to arrive in the mail,” said JJ Hecht, President of Toys for Hospitalized Children. “We launched the Happy Shop to give children that shopping experience and something to look forward to. The toy brings happiness which promotes therapeutic play and healing.”

✰✰✰

‘LITTER BASKETS OF THE FUTURE’ COMING TO NYC STREETS

CITYWIDE — ‘FUTURISTIC’ GARBAGE CANS that cost $1,000 a pop will soon appear on New York City streets, Gothamist reports. The first shipment of 300 fancy cans, designed by Group Project, will be installed around the city in the next few weeks, Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch said at a City Council hearing on Tuesday. NYC currently has 23,000 litter baskets citywide, including more than 13,000 wire litter baskets, according to Sanitation’s website. The old baskets are easy for residents to misuse, accessible to rats, and often overflowing, the agency said.

Group Project’s “litter basket of the future” is rat resistant, harder for the public to misuse, easier for Sanitation Workers to use, and with more volume, Sanitation says.

NYC’s “litter basket of the future.” Photo: DSNY

 

✰✰✰

MAYOR ADAMS AWARDS KEY TO THE CITY TO SEAN ‘DIDDY’ COMBS

CITYWIDE — MAYOR ERIC ADAMS AWARDED THE KEY TO THE CITY OF NEW YORK to musician, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean “Diddy” Combs on Friday. Combs (aka Puff Daddy) has produced and released countless iconic rap songs and albums over the decades while discovering some of hip hop’s biggest names. He is also a leading Black entrepreneur in the fashion and cannabis industries and is a philanthropic donor to Black schools and universities. “Sean Combs is the embodiment of the New York City attitude. A son of Harlem, Combs worked his way to the top, becoming a successful musical talent both in front of and behind the mic,” Adams said in a release.

“Today, I accept this key not just for me, but for every dreamer, every hustler, every artist, and every kid from New York who dares to dream big,” Combs said.

Mayor Eric Adams presents Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs with a Key to the City of New York.
Photo: Caroline Rubinstein-Willis/ Mayoral Photography Office

✰✰✰

MTA: UNGA TO SNARL TRAFFIC, TAKE THE TRAIN

CITYWIDE — AVOID DRIVING IN NYC THIS WEEK — especially in or through Manhattan — while the United Nations General Assembly takes place, the MTA urges New Yorkers. Opening on Monday, the UN will host leaders from 193 member states to address the world’s most pressing issues. President Biden and the First Lady will be in New York City through Wednesday for the event. Stick to the subway and avoid cars and buses, MTA advises.  

Due to increased security and traffic congestion, multiple bus route service changes will be in effect. Customers can find current statuses at mta.info.

✰✰✰

STATE ENVIRONMENTALISTS: HARMFUL ALGAE DETECTED IN PROSPECT PARK LAKE

PROSPECT PARK — HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS, although not often found in large cities, have been located at Prospect Park Lake, according to an interactive map from the NY State Department of Environment Conservation. Their Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) map (https://nysdec.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=ae91142c812a4ab997ba739ed9723e6e_) shows that the most recent report was filed on Friday, Sept. 15, but that the algae was present along the shore perimeter of Prospect Park Lake starting in June. HABs, which thrive in freshwater (lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams) generally consist of visible patches of cyanobacteria, varying in appearance from scattered green dots in the water, to long, linear green streaks, pea soup, or spilled green paint, the DEC website explains. Several types of cyanobacteria can pose health risks to people and animals through ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation.

While cyanobacteria (named for their blue/green hue) are naturally present in low numbers in most aquatic (freshwater and/or marine) systems, they can rapidly proliferate with warm weather, calm winds, and phosphorus-rich nutrients in the water.

 ✰✰✰

CITY’S ‘TRICK OR STREETS’ CREATES PEDESTRIAN SPACE FOR HALLOWEEN FESTIVITIES

CITYWIDE —IT ISN’T TOO SOON TO THINK ABOUT HALLOWEEN, as the NYC Department of Transportation seeks partners for Trick or Streets, which returns for a second season. As part of Trick or Streets! NYC DOT partners with Open Streets, plazas, and other corridors on Halloween to add pedestrian space during one of the busiest nights of the year. Open Streets partners, plaza partners, and community-based organizations are invited to complete a survey to express interest in joining the paranormal public space program between now and Sept. 27 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HMRKNVC). Existing Open Streets or Plaza partners may host a Trick or Streets event on either the weekend before Halloween (October 28th or 29th) or on Halloween Day (Tuesday, October 31st). NYC coordinates with local partners and other city agencies to make car-free spaces possible.

Existing Open Streets on a bus route, truck route, or major thoroughfare may only operate on the weekend before Halloween (October 28th or 29th).

✰✰✰

GOVERNOR’S NEW CARS ACTION SET TO COMBAT VEHICLE THEFT

STATEWIDE — A NEW SERIES OF TARGETED ACTIONS AIMS TO COMBAT THE HIGH NUMBER OF CAR THEFTS, particularly of certain Kia and Hyundai model vehicles, in all New York State counties, Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday. These actions, together called the Comprehensive Auto-Theft Reduction Strategy, with the acronym CARS, will fast-track $50 million for law enforcement technology and equipment, direct the State Police and Division of Criminal Justice Services to implement new enforcement efforts, support local district attorneys in the prosecution of car thefts and other crimes, and launch a public engagement campaign targeting vulnerable car owners.

The CARS program will also provide $5 million to enhance youth justice alternatives and diversion programming for teenagers and young adults.

✰✰✰

CITY WANTS IDEAS FOR SAFE AND HANDSOME SIDEWALK SHEDS

CITYWIDE — ARCHITECTURE, ENGINEERING FIRMS AND OTHER QUALIFIED VENDORS IN THE CITY ARE BEING SOUGHT to reimagine sidewalk pedestrian protection designs, according to a NYC Department of Buildings Request for Proposal that was published in the City Record this week. The RFP seeks ideas for new designs for sidewalk sheds and alternative pedestrian protection measures, as part of the city’s “Get Sheds Down” plan. The new designs that emerge from the RFP will be considered in the strategy to make these structures both safe and aesthetically pleasing. The deadline to submit a proposal to the Department is Oct. 5, 2023, via the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, with a three-year contract term and a one-year renewal option.

These designs will be incorporated directly into Codes, and will eventually replace the ubiquitous hunter-green plywood and pipe sheds that cover over 370 miles of New York City sidewalks.

✰✰✰

CLIMATE WEEK EVENTS INCLUDE FAIR ON ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY BUILDING UPGRADES

BROOKLYN BOROUGH HALL — BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS IN THIS BOROUGH MAY BE INTERESTED IN a Brooklyn Sustainable Building Resource Fair that Borough President Antonio Reynoso is hosting at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Thursday, Sept. 21, from 4-7 p.m., as part of Climate Week. The Resource Fair, which aims to help property owners and managers do the retrofits and other maintenance work to comply with Local Law 97, will bring in experts and experienced contractors who specialize in heat pumps, solar, weatherization, HVAC, lighting, electric, renewable energy, and waste management. Financial and tax incentives will also be discussed, with experts in those fields also present.

Several elected officials and organizations are co-sponsoring this event: Borough President Reynoso, Councilmember Lincoln Restler, Con Edison, Better Buildings NY, and the NYSERDA-funded Brooklyn Energy Hub.

✰✰✰

REP. GOLDMAN’S BILL WOULD HONOR BROOKLYN’S SHIRLEY CHISHOLM WITH CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL 

BOROUGHWIDE — SHIRLEY CHISHOLM, THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN ELECTED TO CONGRESS, SHOULD BE AWARDED A MEDAL, says Congressman Dan Goldman (NY-10), who has introduced a bill to make that happen. Congressman Goldman joined colleague Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-12) to introduce the bill to honor the late Shirley Chisholm with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest expression of national gratitude for distinguished service and achievement. The Shirley Chisholm Congressional Gold Medal Act would posthumously award one of the nation’s highest honors to the trailblazing New Yorker, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968 and represented New York’s 12th Congressional District (Bedford-Stuyvesant) until 1982.

A founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the seven-term Congresswoman was also the first African American and woman to campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972 — with the slogan “Unbought and Unbossed.” Although she lost the Democratic nomination, she continued serving in Congress for another 11 years.

✰✰✰

SILVER ALERT FOR MISSING SENIOR IN CYPRESS HILLS  

CYPRESS HILLS — POLICE HAVE ISSUED A SILVER ALERT FOR MISSING MAN EATON LAVERNE, age 72, who was last seen on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 12 inside his Pitkin Avenue residence, near the Grant Avenue A train stop. Laverne is described as around 5’3” and 130 pounds, with a dark complexion, short gray hair and a short gray beard, and was last seen wearing a blue denim hat, blue-and-white sweater, blue jeans and white sneakers.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on X (Twitter) @NYPDTips. 

 


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment