Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Bronx DA, The BP and Corruption Machine 566

Bronx DA Unlike Silver Money Grab is Legal 
Unlike what Shelly Silver did, Bronx DA Robert Johnson’s greedy cash-grab is legal (NYP) Think Shelly Silver’s conviction Monday on corruption charges will prompt New York’s political class to clean up its act? Think again. Start with the fact that on the same day the former Assembly speaker was found guilty of graft, outgoing Bronx DA Robert Johnson announced he wants a raise. Retroactively. Yes, Johnson and the city’s other DAs told a review panel they deserve a 31.5 percent hike, boosting their pay from $190,000 to $250,000, going back to 2011. In a follow-up letter, Johnson wrote that he “must make prosecutorial decisions in the most difficult cases — what to charge or not to charge . . . Sometimes I must explain those decisions to the press, or to the families of crime victims.” That is, he wants a raise just for having done his job. Never mind his lousy record. Indeed, of the city’s DAs, Johnson consistently had the worst prosecution and conviction rates. On top of that, he’ll leave office at the end of the year as the beneficiary of a corrupt bargain that disenfranchised constituents — and also enriched him. By keeping mum about his plans to retire until after the primary, Johnson allowed the Bronx Democratic machine — which is effectively controlled by Silver’s successor, Carl Heastie — to put a replacement, Darcel Clark, on the general-election ballot. And since the borough is heavily Democratic, Clark won handily. At the same time, Johnson was appointed to the bench. Sweet: He’ll now get to double-dip at the public’s expense, pulling in a judge’s salary and collecting his DA pension, for a combined $300,000 a year. Yet now he wants to triple-dip, by raking in an additional six-figure windfall in back pay. He certainly gets credit for nerve. Here’s the upshot: Shelly Silver is headed to prison for what a jury says was a series of illegal acts. Yet, through perfectly “legal” means, Johnson will be able to pick the pockets of the taxpayer, to line his own. And all as Silver’s successor calls the shots in the Assembly. In New York, some things just never seem to change.* Unlike Silver, the outgoing Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson’s move to disenfranchise constituents and enrich himself are perfectly legal, which proves the political class will not clean up its act

Ticket Fix Cover-Up, Clean-Up Before Tammany DA Takes Power In the Bronx
Ticket-fix cop: We lost everything (NYP) Saying that cops have “lost everything” as a result of the Bronx ticket-fixing scandal, the last NYPD officer to plead guilty in the scam vented to a judge Thursday as he pleaded guilty, claiming that union bosses were targeted. “As I said, I take full responsibility for my actions, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the fact that 600 cops, over 600 cops were reported to the DA and had been internally disciplined on these very charges, and 10 were arrested, and eight lost everything,” said Bronx PBA trustee Joe Anthony.

True News Wags the Daily News on Bronx DA Candidate Not Filing Proper Financial Report
Below the law as Bronx pols Rob Johnson and Darcel Clarke break the rules(NYDN  Ed)  Give a politician the power to win office without a competitive election and you give that politician the ability to violate rules and regulations with impunity. Cases in point: departing Bronx District Attorney Rob Johnson and his soon-to-be successor, ex-Appellate Division Justice Darcel Clark. Completing 27 years as DA, Johnson filed the paperwork to run for an eighth term and repeatedly gave the false impression that he intended to go for it. Instead, he was rigging the game for the Bronx Democratic organization. When the time was right, Johnson dropped the party’s nomination and switched to a pre-arranged spot on a ballot for certain election as a Supreme Court justice. The move gave the machine the authority to designate Johnson’s successor without the discipline of a primary election. The bosses chose Clark, although, darn it, she says she just can’t remember which one called with the offer of her dream job, DA. She and Johnson now stroll toward Tuesday’s election unopposed. Without competition, both have gotten ethically cavalier. Johnson became a judicial candidate on Sept. 24. Court rules then gave him 20 days to file a financial disclosure statement and to take judicial campaign training, which includes instruction on disclosure obligations. Although he completed the training, Johnson has blown off his financial disclosure Before he has even taken office, Johnson is a ready made case for discipline by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. Clark, too, has failed to disclose her personal finances, in violation of Section 12-110 of the Administrative Code, which gives a district attorney candidate 15 days to file after entering a race. She is almost three weeks late and is subject to a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $10,000. Before she has even taken office, Clark is a ready made case for the Conflicts of Interest Board.

Killing Democracy in the Bronx Pays Well, DA Judge Pension 
The corrupt gift that keeps on giving for political hacks (NYP) First, the Bronx Democratic machine engineered District Attorney Robert Johnson into a comfy judgeship — while avoiding any whiff of democracy in replacing him. Now comes word of his nice pay boost. Johnson admitted to The Post that, on top of his $174,000 judicial salary, he’ll also collect 142-grand a year as a retired DA. The combo could hit $316,000 — a hefty hike from the $190,000 he pulls now. Nice reward for a guy who’s been DA for more than a quarter-century, amassing the lowest prosecution and worst conviction rates in the city, among other fiascos.  At the other end of the game is Judge-About-To-Be-DA Darcel Clark, now blissfully claiming she had no idea how she got handed the new job, and she’s nobody’s puppet. Right. The double-dipping problem has an obvious fix: A law to say you can’t collect a New York government salary as well as a New York government pension. This would also cover city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who pulls in $420,000 — a $212,000 salary and a $208,000 pension. Yes, this reform might rob the taxpayers of the continued “service” of the likes of Johnson and Fariña. The republic would survive.

On Saturday the NYP Picks On NY1 Report That Bronx Tammany Judge Clark Handled With Other Kalief Rikers Suicide Inmate  
The corrupt Bronx DA saga just got even more rancid (NYP Ed) At a 2012 hearing at which Clark presided, the Browder case was rolled over because a prosecutor was on vacation. Back in jail, Kalief attempted suicide the next day. Asked about the case and Browder’s appearances in her courtroom, Clark claimed, “Honestly, I cannot say I remember it.” And declared the obvious: “It’s a tragedy. It should never have happened.”  Then the not-so-obvious: “Under my watch, I’m going to make sure that things like this do not happen.” Why believe her? She’s not a “change” candidate — she’s the machine’s pick, slipped onto the ballot in a cynical back-room maneuver. That deal saw Johnson — a 25-year time-server — wait until after the primary to announce he was quitting, so that the borough’s Democratic powerbrokers got to name a replacement candidate. Darcel Clark gets a free ride into office — no matter what else comes out about her record. And the system that arguably betrayed Kalief Browder is about to do so again. Flashback Nothing From NYT   The Bail Trap - The New York Times (Aug 13, 2015) Every year, thousands of innocent people are sent to jail only because they can’t afford to post bail, putting them at risk of losing their jobs, custody of their children — even their lives. * Editorial: The Council’s pee brains - NY Daily News (Aug 21, 2015) So it is astonishing that City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is engineering a drive to decriminalize turnstile-jumping, public urination, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, drinking in public and other low-level misdemeanors.  Pursuing an ideology that sees police authority as oppressive and, likely, discriminatory, Mark-Viverito and Queens Councilman Rory Lancman wouldstrip cops of the power to issue criminal justice summonses for quality-of-life offenses, or arrest some offenders. Behind the scenes, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton appears to be resisting the Council’s push — with, distressingly, no public help from Mayor de Blasio.  The silence roars given de Blasio’s own new summons reform agenda, including an easier-to-understand form for defendants and the collection of race data to drive fair enforcement. * Commissioner Bratton To City Council: NYPDReform Bills Aren’t Necessary (WCBS)

Judge Clark, DA Where Does the Buck Stop Who is Responsible for Kalief Suicide 
Weighing Bronx DA Candidate’s Role in Controversial Rikers Case (NY1) Over the three years he was held at Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime, Browder had 31 court dates. As NY1 first reported Thursday, Clark was the judge for six of those appearances, spanning December 2011 to September 2012. Paul Prestia was Browder’s attorney until he committed suicide in June, and now represents Browder’s family. “She could have inquired as to what was happening with the case, and why this case wasn’t ready, and why the DA, prior to that, had not been ready on several occasions,” Prestia said. “And perhaps, that could have changed the whole dynamic.” On Thursday, Clark said she did not specifically recall Browder’s case. And even Browder’s attorney says responsibility lies with the district attorney to be ready for trial, even if Clark didn't help. “The whole system failed Kalief,” Prestia said. “And you know, I think the judges have some responsibility – some. But obviously, I wouldn’t put that all on them.”

Bronx Tammany DA At Center of Kalief Browder Riker's Case 

Bronx DA Candidate at Center of Controversial Rikers Case (NY1) plenty of criticism over the circumstances of her nomination. Now, NY1 has learned that Darcel Clark played a previously undisclosed role in the case of Kalief Browder, a Bronx youth who committed suicide earlier this year after he’d been held at Rikers Island for three years without trial. Charges were ultimately dropped against Browder and his court record sealed, but documents obtained by NY1 show Clark was the presiding judge for six of Browder’s court dates. That includes February 17, 2012, when the case was delayed because the prosecutor assigned to it was on vacation; the next day, Browder attempted suicide in his jail cell. In an interview on “Inside City Hall” that will air tonight, Clark tells NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis that she can’t recall presiding over Browder’s case but believes that lessons can be learned from it. “Honestly, I cannot say that I remember it. I mean, I was there for 13 years. I sat on a lot of cases. But look, the Kalief Browder case is a tragedy. And no one should have to sit in jail for three years on a robbery case, or any type of case. And if I’m elected DA, again, with those internal controls that I expect to institute and the vertical prosecutions, nothing like that will happen,’’ Clark said.

Here Come the PR Flacks
Bronx District Attorney Candidate Defends Her Nomination by Democratic Leaders (NYT)  Darcel D. Clark appealed to local Democrats to view her not as a darling of the Bronx Democratic Committee, but rather as a “daughter” of the borough.* In her first public remarks since she was nominated to run for Bronx district attorney in November, Darcel Clark appealed to local Democrats to view her not as a darling of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, but rather as a “daughter” of the borough.

Daily News Ask The Commission On Judicial Conduct to Investigate DA Judge Undemocratic Machine Switch
Not so fast, yourhonor; call the cops on the Bronx Dems courtroom switcheroo (NYDN Ed) The Bronx Democratic organization designated Clark as its shoo-in candidate for DA last Thursday. At that moment, according to judicial ethics regulations, she was required to step down from the bench. Getting her coming prosecutorial career off to a terrible start, Clark failed to do so. In fact, only after repeated questions by the Daily News Editorial Board, did she submit her letter of resignation on Monday afternoon in blatant violation of Part 100.5 (B) of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge, which states: “A judge shall resign from judicial office upon becoming a candidate for elective nonjudicial office.” Since the mandate could not be clearer, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, which retains power over Clark for 120 days after she resigns, must begin proceedings. The regulation is intended both to establish an ironclad barrier between judicial actions and politics and to eliminate the appearance that politics had infiltrated court rulings. It especially requires enforcement because the political fix that anointed Clark DA and outgoing prosecutor Rob Johnson for a Bronx Supreme Court slot of his own. The intricacies of the state election law empowered Bronx Democratic boss Carl Heastie, who doubles as state Assembly speaker, to essentially make Johnson a judge and Clark district attorney without elections. * Bronx DA Nominee Darcel Clark Addresses Controversy Surrounding Her Nomination by Democratic Leaders (NY1) * Outgoing Bronx DA to score $300K in judge salary, pension (NYP)

Heastie has denied voters an opportunity to measure Clark’s prosecutorial chops, including whether she would be as lackluster as Johnson in pursuing Bronx Democratic corruption. Arrogantly, Johnson has said he views de facto appointment to an elective judgeship as a reward by the party for decades of faithful service. But the backroom deal also demands investigation by the judicial conduct commission. Court rules state that judgeship candidates “shall not knowingly make any false statement or misrepresent the identity, qualifications, current position or other fact concerning the candidate.” Translation: No lying when running for judge .  Johnson lied plenty. With his approval, Democratic operatives circulated petitions to place him on the ballot for reelection. The Republican and Conservative parties also backed Johnson for DA. He notarized his acceptance of both ballot lines while clearly angling to switch to a judgeship and make Clark his successor. And time and again he said he was running for DA. The commission must get to the bottom of the deal by taking testimony from all the finaglers — including Heastie, Clark and Johnson — under oath.

Bronx's Machine Anti-Democratic Switch is Politics As Usually In NY . . .

@bronxchronicle: Managing Editor Michael Benjamin Was First To Bring Up Crowley Taking Over Manton's Petitions * Jerry Skurnik @PrimeNewYork  Minor correction - Manton withdrew after petitions were filed before Primary. Committee on Vacancies picked Crowley***They also nominated five others from the Bronx for judgeships, including Dianne T. Renwick, Mr. Johnson’s wife.   Later, the executive board of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, meeting behind closed doors, voted to give Mr. Johnson’s spot on the ballot for district attorney to Justice Clark, a former prosecutor in Mr. Johnson’s office who has close ties to the Assembly speaker, Carl E. Heastie, the most powerful politician in the borough.*  Bronx cheers as DA playsmusical chairs with judge. (WNYC) * Johnson Gets Judge Nod; Clark Tapped To Run For D.A.(Bronx Chronicle) * Johnson’s quick transformation from a candidate for re-election to a nominee for state court justice – without a vote being cast – is raising questions about the clout that state election law gives to party leaders and shedding light on New York’s largely obscure judicial electoral system.

The Machine That Picks the DA Never Gets Investigated By the DA
 The machine & the DA: Keeping democracy out of The Bronx (NYP)  Johnson “happened” to wait until after winning his re-election primary to announce the move. So the party gets to replace him on the ballot with its own choice — without risking an open primary. The machine will replace Johnson with another hack, Judge Darcel Clark. All with nothing close to a small-“d” democratic vote. Of course, Johnson was the machine pick back in his day — and he’s performed that way. In 27 years, he has the lowest prosecution and conviction rates of the five city DAs. Now he’s ignoring cases of violence in jail. As NY1 reports, a recent e-mail from a top Johnson aide tells prosecutors, “All felony arrests of inmates must be declined to prosecute if brought into the complaint room.” Another e-mail lists multiple reasons to defer Rikers cases, including contraband violation — even weapons, apparently. The reason? Johnson’s aide says, “Let’s not add any more to this until we can resolve the issues that are causing” a backlog of 70 cases. To sum up: The Bronx Democratic machine is set to reward the man responsible for legal malpractice — and prevent the people from having a say in who replaces him.  Welcome to New York.* The Bronx Democratic machine is set to reward Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, a man responsible for legal malpractice, who ignored cases of violence in jail and is preventing the people from having a say in who replaces him, the Post writes: *   Bronx Nominee for D.A. Would Be First Woman (WSJ)

The Bronx DA’s dirtydeal: Dishonest Robert Johnson is pulling a fast one on voters to hand off hisoffice to a party-picked successor (NYDN  Ed) Robert Johnson, Bronx district attorney for 27 years, is a certified liar. Actually, he is a notarized liar who intentionally deceived the people of the Bronx about his electoral plans and then baldly denied his plans when challenged by these quarters. And for his lies, Johnson will be rewarded with a seat on state Supreme Court — while handing off what’s supposed to be an elected prosecutor’s office to a successor picked by Democratic bosses. Johnson’s slimy scheme, which has been used many times before by others with contempt for the voters, called for winning the primary to claim the general-election ballot slot, getting nominated for another office — then dropping off the DA ballot. Which leaves machine insiders, not voters, to swap in whomever they like, in this case supposedly Supreme Court Justice Darcel Clark, elected by the machine to the court in 2005. Johnson swore he wasn’t going to do it. He put his notarized John Hancock on two party certificates of acceptance, agreeing that “I do hereby accept such designation and consent to be such candidate of such party” for DA. He dug himself in a deeper hole on Aug. 27. We asked and he replied laughing, through a aide: “I’m running. On all three lines,” for DA. Bronxites have been denied the right to pick their own top prosecutor by a man who — with a poor record in the job himself — sees fit to orchestrate a hand-off to an insider.  How does it feel to be robbed in broad daylight?* Bronx D.A. Roundly Criticized For Seeking Judgeship AfterWinning Primary Re-Elex Nod (Bronx Chronical)

Abdicating his Responsibility to Prosecute Rikers  Island crimes, Allowing the Machine Not the Voters to Pick the Next Bronx DA
Thank heavens he’s leaving: Bronx DA Robert Johnson is abdicating his responsibility to prosecute Rikers Island crimes (NYDN Ed) Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson isn’t just scheming with county Democratic Party bosses to cut voters out of the process of picking his successor — he’s already clocked out of his job. Incredibly, his office is now instructing its prosecutors to decline most cases from Rikers Island, which just had its bloodiest summer ever. “Until further notice all Felony arrest (sic) of inmates must be declined to prosecute if brought into the complaint room,” one email sent by his office instructs.* * Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson secured a nomination on Thursday for state Supreme Court justice, paving the way for Democratic Party leaders to bypass voters and handpick his replacement on the November ballot, the Journal reports: * Prosecutors Struggling to Keep Up With Cases of Violence From Rikers (NYT) Internal emails show that an overwhelmed Bronx district attorney’s office has begun to defer and even decline to prosecute some accused inmates.

NYP Gossip Page 6 Reports Bronx Boss Will Use the Election Law to Replace DA
No Democracy New York Only the NYP is Upset the Public Blocked From Voting for the Bronx DA?
Sources say the Bronx Democratic Party plans to offerBronx District Attorney Robert Johnson a judgeship after he resigns and clear the way for Judge Darcel Clark to replace him, the Post reports: * The Post writes that the Bronxcould use some of the sunshine Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie pledged to bring to the capitol, particularly now that long-time DA Robert Johnson may be replaced by a party loyalist: A Bronx coup: end-running democracy to replace a DA (NYP)  As The Post’s Richard Johnson reported Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie hasput together a scheme to place Bronx DA Robert Johnson on the state Supreme Court bench and replace him with a political loyalist — Darcel Clark, now an Appellate Division judge. * Judge Clark is an Arroyo enabler. A Bronxcoup: end-running democracy to replace a DA (NYP)
Will Heastie and Party Bosses Pick the DA In the Bronx? Democracy NYET!
Swear it, Mr. DA: Bronx prosecutor Robert Johnson owes it to hisconstituents to promise not to hand off his job to a boss-chosen insider (NYDN Ed) Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson has some explaining to do. Not via a pro-forma statement, not through a spokeswoman — but in public, for all voters to hear. The usually reliable word in the courthouse tells us that the DA, not the city’s finest, is ready to step down. And that, rather than announce it forthrightly and let all comers rush in to replace him, he intends to engineer a legal but hardly kosher political handoff to a boss-chosen insider. Crossing his heart via a press agent, Johnson denies such a plot — but those who should know say it’s true. It would work this way: After the Sept. 10 primary that he’ll win by default, the machine’s Sept. 24 judicial nominating convention taps him for state Supreme Court and he accepts, removing his name from the DA general election ballot. Under state law, voilà! : The Bronx party machine controlled by state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie gets to hand-pick a loyalist successor to run unopposed for the four-year term. An insult to the county. A fraud on the voters. So thickly did the rumors swirl, we asked Johnson directly whether he’s running for DA or judge. His office sent over a quote: “I’m running. On all three lines” for reelection in November. Forgive us if, on behalf of Bronxites, we’d like a more Shermanesque statement.

Are the Bronx and NY DAs Starting to Go After Political?
Will They Go After Systematic Corruption or Will They Know Off Challengers to the Machines
As True News Broke Yesterday  Bronx DA Indicted Machine Challenger Ramirez for Absentee Ballot Fraud
Board of Electionsdeclares Victor Pichardo winner in controversial Bronx Assembly race (NYDN) The board said after paper ballots were counted, Pichardo beat Hector Ramirez by 82 votes. Ramirez, charging fraud, says he will file a civil suit against Pichardo and the board * Bronx DA looking into claims of voter fraud (2014, NYP) DA Robert Johnson has subpoenaed Board of Elections records relating to voters who submitted absentee ballots. Investigators also visited the homes of some voters, many of whom are Dominican immigrants. “We’re looking into claims of voter fraud,” said Johnson spokeswoman Terry Raskyn. * Machine politics in fraud-filled Bronx race - NY Daily News * FBI Eye Bronx Pols, Bronx Democratic Political Machine (Bronx Chroncile) * A Tainted Outcome In Bronx Assembly Race? *Bronx DA Still Has 86AD In His Sights (Bronx Chroncile) * Bronx DA Johnson Indicts Former Assembly Candidate Hector Ramirez (Bronx Chroncle)

 Hector Ramirez has been arrested on voter fraud charges in his failed 2014 Assembly bid, with authorities alleging that he and his allies duped voters into letting his campaign staff vote on their behalf
On Tuesday, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson arrested former Assembly candidate Hector Ramirez along with another individual, Ana Cuevas. They were arraigned, entered pleas of not guilty, and were released on personal recognizance bonds of $25,000 and $10,000, respectively, on Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Ramirez was represented by attorney Angel Cruz and Ms. Cuevas was represented by Larry Sheehan. The charges are related to the 2014 race in the 86th AD where Ramirez was accused of election fraud involving absentee ballots. Ramirez was narrowly defeated by the incumbent Assemblyman Victor Pichard. Pichardo won 86th Assembly District Democratic primary in a Bronx Board of Elections supervised manual recount by TWO votes over two-time challenger Hector Ramirez. Hector Ramirez​ and Ana Cuevas (Ramirez’s campaign manager in 2014), were indicted on seven counts for each allegedly false instrument submitted to The Board of Elections in the City of New York​ totaling 242 counts involving absentee ballots and applications for some 32-35 persons, some of whom were not eligible to vote.Bronx politician Hector Ramirez busted on voter fraud charges  (NYDN) Ramirez and his allies went door-to-door in his west Bronx district duping voters into letting the veteran pol’s campaign staff vote on their behalf, a prosecutor charged as the 242-count indictment was unsealed. “Victim after victim after victim testified to the grand jury that members of the Ramirez campaign knocked on their door, including Hector Ramirez himself, and said ‘Hey, you don’t have to go to the polls for this election, just sign here,” Assistant District Attorney Pishoy Yacoub said in Bronx Supreme Court. Prosecutors found the names of Ramirez staffers in the box marked "I authorize" on dozens of the duped voters' applications for an absentee ballot, Yacoub said. Those voters never got their ballots back, Yacoub said. The Dominican-born pol then marked down at least 35 of the ballots as votes for Ramirez, who was locked in a tight Democratic primary against incumbent Victor Pichardo. A campaign aide, Ana Cuevas, was also charged in connection with the alleged scheme.  he long-time political honcho had lost out on two previous bids for the Assembly seat, including a 2010 loss to Nelson Castro, who, ironically, became ensnared in his own indictment for lying to the Board of Elections. Arroyo Investigation? Former campaignworkers for Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo charged with fraud (NYDN)  Betty Julien, Elbin Lopez and Luis Vargas quietly arrested Tuesday night for forging Derek Jeter (Jr.) and Kate Moss' name on reelection petitions
@bronxchronicle @SquarePegDem and still no progress or updates on #arroyo fraud cases

New Boss of the Bronx Democratic Party  
The Bronx Democrats are scheduled to elect Assemblyman Marcus Crespo as their new chairman, replacing Carl Heastie, who gave up the post when he became speaker. Facebook Efrain Gonzalez This Rainbow has members fighting for the poor in public, but then they also take money from those that are against the poor. Playing both sides, and they are proud of it too. Smh * Bronx Dems Back Assemblyman Marcos Crespo For County Leader(Bronx Chronicle)

Breaking  NYP: Federal Investigation of the Bronx Political Machine
FBI ‘probing’ Bronx political machine(NYP) Federal investigators are looking at voter fraud and financial mismanagement in the borough, sources tell me. It’s unclear who the target is, or if there is more than one. But I’m told that the investigation is — at least in part — spurred on by information provided to Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. Bharara, whose jurisdiction includes The Bronx, is on a bit of a crusade. He was incensed, sources said, when Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year abruptly shut down the one-year-old Moreland Commission, which was investigating public corruption. I’m also told that FBI agents from upstate New York, and not Manhattan, are working the case.  Depending on the outcome, any probe could be embarrassing to Heastie and Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president who is considered Heastie’s mentor, as well as the Albany establishment in general. The impetus for the probe could have been information provided to Bharara by opponents of Diaz, one of whom I spoke with last week. Included in the material was evidence of alleged voter fraud — particularly alleged fake signatures on voter petitions. I’m hearing that one document turned over to Bharara shows that some candidates in certain Bronx districts got more votes than the number of voters who went into the booths. There is also a question about the use of campaign funds for personal purposes, a source tells me. Stay tuned. This coul interesting quickly.* FBI 'probing' Bronx political machine - Info 24 US The FBI is investigating The Bronx. Not the whole borough. Just the way politics is conducted, according to a pair of reliable sources. And that could prove interesting since power Federal investigators from upstate are reportedly looking at voter fraud and financial mismanagement in the Bronx, which could prove embarrassing to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Who Replaces Heastie As Bronx County Leader
 So if Carl Heastie becomes speaker, he won't be county leader in the Bronxanymore. Who will replace him? Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Riverdale lawmaker, and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, a South Bronx lawmaker, are the top two contenders for the influential post if Mr. Heastie is elected speaker, which could happen as early as this Tuesday. Mr. Heastie has chaired the Bronx Democratic Party since he helped orchestrate a coup of the old leader, Assemblyman José Rivera, in 2008. Like county organizations elsewhere, the Bronx Democratic Party does not have the same ability to turn out voters and repel challengers like it did three or four decades ago. Mr. Heastie endorsed Adriano Espaillat for Congress and Bill Thompson for mayor, only to watch both candidates lose in wrenching fashion to Congressman Charles Rangel and Bill de Blasio, now the mayor of New York, respectively. But a county leader is still influential in other ways. The parties pick civil court judges and continue to have an outsized influence on the local legal system

The Bronx DA Gang
Dozens of New York City Police Department bosses were yanked from their regular crime-fighting duties to play kids games at a summer camp-style retreat in The Bronx held by Commissioner

A Bronx Recount Goes On and On 

NOT YOUR TYPICAL RECOUNT: Allegations of voter fraud are complicating the Democratic Assembly primary recount between incumbent Victor Pichardo and challenger Hector Ramirez, City & State's CATCHING UP WITH “ELECTION CREEP”: As New York City candidates start campaigning earlier and earlier, city officials are considering whether to expedite the matching funds process, City & State reports: 

Pushing Change on South Bronx Waterfront

Proposals for redeveloping the South Bronx waterfront have lifted hopes among some owners of restaurants and other area businesses while also raising concerns.

Students Focus Cameras on Bronx's Bright Sides(WSJ)

__ Hoping for the same success as the more traditional Brooklyn Day, leaders from the Bronx on Monday will be hosting the second annual Bronx Day at the State Capitol. The day will include a luncheon for local small business leaders. “The all-day event will highlight and promote Bronx Pride, and provide legislators from across New York State with a first-hand look at all the Bronx has to offer New york State and its residents,” according to a release from hosts Sen. Jeffrey Klein, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., whose father is a state senator._____________________________________________

High Rents Forcing Tenants Out of the Bronx
High rents have Bronx locals packing up(CrainsNY)

* Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is calling for a new mixed-use waterfront district like Brooklyn Bridge Park in the Port Morris section of the South Bronx, the Daily News writes:

Bronx borough president still keen on soccer stadium(Capital)

Yankee Petitions

Corrupt Councilwoman Carmen Arroyo Yankee Support
EXCLUSIVE: Derek Jeter's signature allegedly forged on petitions by ethically-challenged Bronx City Councilwoman(NYDN)
The team of City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo gathered 3,863 signatures — far more than the 450 she needs for her re-election bid — but her challenger is disputing 3,437 of the signatures. Handwriting experts analyzed the NYC candidates’ signatures.* Derek Jeter Moves to Bronx Walkup, Signs Councilwoman's Suspicious Petition(NY Mag)

The Rent is Too Damn High
57% of renters in the , 's poorest boro, pay over 50% of their incomes in rent via

Councilwoman Whose Campaign Allegedly Collected Fraudulent Signatures Pleads Case To Stay On Ballot(NY1)

nn Ad Touts Bread-And-Butter Legislation(YNN)

Stanley Schlein Works Free for Arroyos, Illegal Contribution?




Paris Bronx

Diaz Jr. Goes to War Against French ‘Slanders and Libels’(NYO) Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is fuming over recent debate among French politicians over whether Paris does, or does not, resemble the Bronx.

The Bronx is News Starved

The Bronx the Most News Deprived Borough Only 10.7% of the Voters Followed the 3 Papers Endorsements of Quinn

The Bronx's Newspapers Disconnect
In the borough of New York which received the most newspaper coverage 22.5% of the voters supported Quinn. Quinn received 15.6% citywide. Only 17.5% of the Bronx Democrats Voted. Citywide Turnout was 24%
Why Big Newspapers Skip the Bronx(City Limits) For Metro, there's a simple explanation: Fewer Bronxites have full-time jobs, the Bronx is the borough with the highest unemployment 12.2% wrote Wilf Maunoir, Metro's director of marketing, in an email. “Metro is 100 percent advertising funded,” he said. “As any advertising business, the demographic matters.” As a result, Metro distributes about 3,000 copies of its paper in the Bronx out of about 300,000 citywide. New York Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy would not say how many papers it sells in the Bronx, but suggested that stores there might not stock the paper “if there is no reader demand.”  “This is a problem with advertiser funded media,” said Jim Naureckas, the editor of Extra!, which is published by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a progressive media watchdog group. “It puts a skew in your media system towards people with more money and away from people with less money.” The median household income in the Bronx is about $35,000, compared to about $51,000 for all five boroughs, according to census data. The poor, meanwhile, are tuning out: people who make less than $30,000 a year read, watch, and listen to the news about 30 percent less than people who make at least $75,000, according to the Pew Research Center
More on NY's Journalism Disconnect


Bronx Petition Fraud Arrests
Three former campaign workers for New York City Councilwoman Maria de Carmen Arroyo were charged with forgery for submitting nominating petitions with fake signatures for last year’s Democratic primary
EXCLUSIVE: Former campaign workers for Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo charged with fraud(NYDN) Betty Julien, Elbin Lopez and Luis Vargas quietly arrested Tuesday night for forging Derek Jeter and Kate Moss' name on reelection petitions The trio of hired staffers were fingered by the Councilwoman after volunteers for her primary challenger, Julio Pabon, noticed names such as Derek Jeter and Kate Moss on the rolls. Lopez testified before the Board of Elections that he was paid $1 per signature and that he reported directly to Arroyo’s nephew. …this came the same day Citizens Union accused the state Board of Elections of dropping an investigation into Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo (the councilwoman’s mother).



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