Tag Archives: arrested

NYPD officer arrested for assault after allegedly refusing to pay $35 at Jamaica tire shop


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

police car

A city cop was busted for slugging a Jamaica tire shop employee after the two got into a dispute over $35 he owed the business, officials said.

On Sunday at about 12:15 p.m., the NYPD officer, 37 year-old Jason Whyte, went to the shop, Rockaway Tire Center, on Rockaway Boulevard, where he was getting some work done on his tire rim, according to the criminal complaint.

There, Whyte, encountered the employee, who had worked on the rim. When the employee told Whyte he owed $35, Whyte allegedly refused to pay and started yelling and cursing at him in front of the shop.

Whyte then punched him in the jaw and left with the tire rim without handing over the money, court records said.

The employee was treated at a local hospital, where he had to have two metal plates permanently placed into his jaw and several stitches.

Whyte was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Friday on charges of assault, petit larceny and theft of services, the complaint said. He was released on his own recognizance.

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Councilman Ruben Wills arrested on corruption charges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 2:25 p.m. 

Councilman Ruben Wills was arrested Wednesday after a corruption investigation discovered he allegedly stole public campaign funds and state grant money.

The Queens politician, who represents the 28th District, which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale and South Ozone Park, was indicted on charges of grand larceny, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing, according to the indictment.

Jelani Mills, a relative who works for Wills, and allegedly helped him redirect some of the cash, was also indicted Wednesday on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records.

Wills is accused of stealing from both the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.

He is charged with redirecting $11,500 in matching funds he received from the CFB during his 2009 City Council campaign–with the help of Mills–to New York 4 Life, a nonprofit Wills started, and using the money for personal purchases, according to court documents. Wills allegedly bought a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag at Macy’s, among other items. 

The councilman had been under investigation by the attorney general for $33,000 in state funds provided through a grant that was unaccounted for after it was given to New York 4 Life, according to published reports and the attorney general’s office.

Those funds were earmarked by former state Sen. Shirley Huntley while Wills was serving as her chief of staff.

New York 4 Life signed a contract with OCFS to receive that money, promising to conduct four public service projects, officials said, but the nonprofit allegedly only came through on one program that cost about $14,000. Wills is accused of pocketing the remaining $19,000 and using it for political and personal expenses, including purchases at Nordstrom’s and Century 21.

Huntley was arrested in a unrelated case in August 2012 and later pleaded guilty for covering up money funneled through a nonprofit she helped establish. It was revealed last May that Huntley had secretly recorded the conversations of seven elected officials, including Wills, while she was still in office at the request of federal prosecutors.

“The City Council takes these troubling allegations from the New York State Attorney General very seriously and will be reviewing them thoroughly, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “New Yorkers expect and deserve a government that is ethical and responsible and that is the standard we’re seeking to uphold.”

Wills, who was first elected to the Council in a 2010 special election, has been prohibited from doling out member items, or city funds, to his district, the Queens delegation chair and City Council speaker’s office will now designate them for him, reports and a source said.

He has also agreed to give up his chairmanship of the Council’s subcommittee on drug abuse, according to published reports.

Wills, who did not enter a plea and was released without bail, said Wednesday he had no plans to resign, reports said.

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Man arraigned in murder of wife, kids; killed daughters because he didn’t have car seats, DA says


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

A Jamaica father accused of fatally stabbing his wife and small children in a jealous rage was arraigned and held without bail Friday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, appeared in Queens County Court on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon after being extradited from Texas where he was captured by authorities Monday night, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

He allegedly killed his wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Photos via Facebook

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

The District Attorney also said he killed his girls because he didn’t have car seats to take them with after committing the crime, according to the New York Daily News. He was reportedly heading to Mexico when was caught in Texas.

“I met this morning with the family and close friends of Deisy Mejia who – together with her two infant daughters – were stabbed to death last weekend.  We were joined by the Guatemalan Consul General.  Everyone is, of course, devastated by that which occurred.  I assured them that this case will be vigorously prosecuted and there will be no plea bargaining,” Brown said in a statement Friday.

If convicted, Mejia-Ramos faces life in prison without possibility of parole. He is due back in court on Feb. 14.

A wake was held Thursday evening at Garcia’s local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo for the young mother and her daughters.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

 

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Jamaica man charged with murder of wife, two young daughters


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Jamaica man has been charged with the murder of his wife and two young daughters after being apprehended in Texas and allegedly admitting to the crime, District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, is currently being held at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, where he was taken into custody on Monday evening, according to the district attorney.

He is awaiting extradition to New York where he will be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Friday on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon.  If convicted, he faces life in prison without possibility of parole.

Mejia-Ramos is accused of brutally stabbing wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

 

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Father wanted in stabbing death of wife, two daughters arrested in Texas


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Queens man suspected in the brutal killing of his wife and two young daughters has been apprehended in Texas, police said.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 28, was arrested by U.S. Marshals, just before midnight Monday, between Austin and Houston, according to published reports. Charges are pending and he will appear in court before being extradited back to New York, cops said.

Police had been looking for Mejia-Ramos since discovering his wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1, stabbed to death in a bedroom of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment just after 7 p.m. Sunday. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, the NYPD said.

Photos via Facebook

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

 

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[UPDATE] Jimmy Meng arrested on a federal wire fraud charge


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Former Queens Assemblymember Jimmy Meng, the father of congressional hopeful and current Assemblymember Grace Meng, has been arrested on a federal wire fraud charge for allegedly attempting to scam $80,000 in cash from a state court defendant, federal officials said.

Meng allegedly promised the defendant — who sought the former elected official’s help after being charged with state tax crimes — that his sentence would be reduced to one year if he paid prosecutors $20,000 each in bribes, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Federal prosecutors said Meng offered to be the middle man, instructing the individual to conceal and deliver the $80,000 payout in a fruit basket. The government investigation, however, uncovered no evidence the past politician even contacted prosecutors, and officials said Meng planned to keep the bribe money for himself.

“Give it to me and I will give it to them,” Meng allegedly told the defendant during a July 17 recorded telephone call, the criminal complaint shows.

Meng was caught red-handed on July 24 at his Flushing lumber yard accepting the fruit basket which held thousands of dollars in cash from the defendant, who was cooperating with FBI special agents, authorities said. He was immediately placed under arrest and was released the following day on a $1 million bond secured by his two homes in Bayside and Flushing, said Bob Nardoza, spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.

The ex-legislator was admonished a few minutes after his hearing by Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak for calling the defendant on his cell phone, Nardoza said. Contacting the witness, Nardoza said, violates bail restrictions, and Meng was warned further tampering could land him immediately in jail, the U.S. attorney spokesperson said.

“Jimmy Meng sought to be a power broker in the halls of justice. But the influence he sought to peddle was corrupt and his power was illusory,”  Lynch said in a statement. “This arrest confirms that justice is not for sale.”

Lynch said he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

“This type of conduct discredits the trust we place in our public officials,” said FBI assistant director in charge Janice Fedarcyk.

Last month, Grace Meng won the 6th District Congressional primary, beating three opponents and securing her seat in the general election against Republican Councilmember Dan Halloran.

She thanked her parents during the June 26 victory speech, calling them her “moral compass.” But the congressional candidate is now distancing herself from her father, saying in a statement she is “independent” of him and “always have been, always will be.”

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by these allegations,” Grace Meng said, adding she had no knowledge of his actions or the investigation. “Until more facts emerge and we have a better understanding of the situation, the only thing further I’ll say is that I urge my father to fully cooperate with all authorities.”

Jimmy Meng contributed $5,000 to his daughter’s congressional campaign, Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure reports show. He gave her $2,500 for her primary run and another $2,500 for the general election, according to filings.

The former assemblymember was elected to office in 2004, but only served for one year. Grace Meng has been holding his old seat since 2008.

Halloran, who has issued several statements this month criticizing how his opponent handles major district and national issues, declined to comment.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

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New $500,000 New York Hospital Queens Center for  Wound Healing at Silvercrest opens in Briarwood  

New York Hospital Queens and Silvercrest Center For Nursing and Rehabilitation celebrated the opening of the NYHQ Center for Wound Healing at Silvercrest with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 10. The new $500,000 center, at 144-45 87th Ave., in Briarwood, addresses the increasing need for more aggressive wound treatment for people with hard-to-treat chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers and radionecrosis, officials said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens high school principal Caril Hudson Jr. arrested for possession of methamphetamine 

A Queens high school principal was nabbed just a block away from his school when cops found a baggie of methamphetamine in his car during a traffic stop, police said. Carl Hudson Jr., 33, was around the corner from Flushing High School on Northern Blvd. about 8:35 p.m on Tuesday when police discovered the meth in the bag in the car’s center console, police said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Far Rockaway man pleads guilty to JFK luggage thefts 

A Queens man is facing three to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of thefts from passengers in the terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday that 46-year-old Frederick McDonald of Far Rockaway, N.Y., had pleaded guilty to grand larceny in connection to six thefts. Read more: [1010wins] 

Bicyclist killed in hit-&-run 

A cyclist was fatally struck in Queens last night by a speeding car whose driver fled the scene, cops and witnesses said. The victim, who was carrying a bouquet of flowers, was struck at around 10:50 p.m. at Greenpoint Avenue and 39th Place in Sunnyside. Read more: [New York Post] 

 

NYPD cop busted for providing info to drug traffickers: feds


| jlane@queenscourier.com

An NYPD officer was arrested this morning by federal agents and charged with allegedly providing inside police intelligence and information about fellow cops to a drug trafficking organization.

Devon Daniels, 30, was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration and NYPD Internal Affairs detectives and is scheduled to be arraigned today in Brooklyn federal court.

Daniels has been charged with illegally accessing the NYPD’s computer database to provide restricted information to a drug trafficking organization with both Midwestern and New York City connections, officials said.
[New York Post]

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens couple found dead in apparent murder suicide

A man and woman were shot to death last night in their Queens home in what cops called an apparent murder-suicide — and one of the two children in the house at the time made the horrifying discovery, neighbors said. The victims, whose names were withheld, were found around 11: 30 p.m. in the home on Dillon Street in South Jamaica, cops said. In the house were the couple’s 2-year-old son and his 16-year-old stepsister. The teenager’s 18-year-old sister was out at the time. Read More: New York Post

 

GOP hopeful that Police Commissioner Kelly will run for mayor

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is being courted by a top state Republican to run for mayor next year — and the city’s top cop is open to the idea, sources told The Post. Kelly, who has come under fire for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk and Muslim-surveillance policies, could use the City Hall post to continue driving down crime and fighting local terrorism “for another four or eight years,’’ said former state GOP Chairman William Powers, who heads the party’s newly created statewide “advisory committee.’’ Read More: New York Post

 

Fearless squirrels invade Queens co-op

They are marauding gangs of troublemakers who set fire to cars, cut electrical wires and cause power outages, evading capture by scaling walls and climbing trees. But while the Queens co-op residents being terrorized by the daredevil vandals say they know exactly who their tormentors are, they insist that they’re helpless in stopping the crime wave — because the suspects are sex-happy squirrels. Read More: New York Post

 

Residents Help Clean Rockaway Beach For The Summer Season

While it’s not summertime yet, the unseasonably warm temperatures this week got dozens of local residents to make sure Rockaway Beach is ready to make a positive first impression this season. Read More: NY1

 

Queens man arrested for breaking into Diddy’s East Hampton mansion, eating his food and wearing rapper’s clothes

A Queens resident’s unwelcome visit to Diddy’s East Hampton mansion on April 1 was no joke. Quamine T. Taylor was arrested at the rapper’s residence after cops say he entered through an unlocked basement door, and treated himself to a nearly day-long feast fit for a music mogul, according to the East Hampton Star. Read More: Daily News

 

Rookie police officer arrested after assaulting fiancee in his Queens home

A rookie NYPD cop was arrested in Queens Saturday for assaulting his fiancée, officials said. Off-duty Officer Alexandru Baiasu, 27, was arrested about 10:50 p.m. at his Rego Park home after attacking his 31-year-old fiancée during an argument, cops said. Baiasu, who was newly assigned to the Police Academy, was charged with assault and harassment, officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

NY Jets’ Tim Tebow attends Yankees-Angels game, sits with Dwyane Wade and gets booed by fans

Tim Tebow made the scene at the Stadium for Sunday night’s 11-5 win over the Angels. The newest Jet, who is due to attend workouts with the team on Monday, sat on the third-base side next to the Angels dugout with a Yankees cap on and, at one point, engaged in an animated conversation with Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. When the Stadium video board showed Tebow, he received equal parts boos and cheers. Read More: Daily News

Ex-con gets 12 years to life for siccing pit bull on cop chasing down Queens drug suspect


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Ex-con gets 12 years to life for siccing pit bull on cop chasing down Queens drug suspect

An ex-con with a decades-long rap sheet has been sentenced to 12 years to life in prison for siccing his pit bull on a cop chasing down a drug suspect in Queens two years ago. “Get him!,” Jeffrey Cofield ordered before releasing the mutt on Sgt. Craig Kearney as he chased a drug suspect into an Astoria apartment building in August 2010. Read More: Daily News

 

Mother who allegedly kidnapped infant daughter is in custody

After an eight hour search, police found and arrested the woman who allegedly kidnapped her baby from a Queens hospital. The baby was found safe. Police said Leila Rajnarie took her 8-month-old daughter, Nevita Jagdeo, from Queens General Hospital Pediatric Center at approximately noon on Wednesday, March 14 while the infant was there with her foster mother. Rajnarie had accompanied them on the visit. Read More: Queens Courier

 

After Mike D’Antoni’s resignation, NY Knicks owner James Dolan and brass try to save face and cover assets

There was James Dolan, the one thing that never changes with the Knicks, leading the 6 o’clock news for sports Wednesday night with more change for his loser basketball team. So you got another new beginning for the Knicks Wednesday night, with Mike D’Antoni out and Mike Woodson in. One of these days, one of these new beginnings may even involve Dolan’s Knicks actually winning something. Read More: Daily News

 

Tooth & hair DNA hunt at accused madam’s ‘love lair’

The same day they arrested accused Upper East Side madam Anna Gristina, Manhattan DA investigators raided her 78th Street “brothel” and stripped it of what they consider to be vital evidence — hairbrushes and toothbrushes, The Post has learned. “They could potentially be used for DNA testing, hair analysis to identify people who have been using that location,” Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Roper told a judge last month, according to court documents obtained by The Post. Read More: New York Post

Afghan Taliban suspends peace talks with US, Karzai pushes for early troop pullback

Afghanistan’s Taliban on Thursday suspended peace talks with the US, in the wake of the alleged massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier and burning of copies of the Koran. “It was due to their [the US] alternating and ever-changing position that the Islamic Emirate was compelled to suspend all dialogue with the Americans,” the group said in a statement posted on its website. The insurgent group said dialogue was suspended until the US “shows willingness to fulfill their promises,” the statement said. Read More: New York Post

Mom Throws Baby Out Window to Escape Suspicious Fire in Jamaica


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mom Throws Baby Out Window to Escape Suspicious Fire in Jamaica

A desperate mother threw her baby out the second-floor window of a Queens home that was engulfed by a suspicious blaze early Thursday, fire authorities and witnesses said. The child, who couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 years old, landed safely in the arms of civilians who gathered on the sidewalk next to the flaming building, said Dan Delargy, one of the first FDNY responders with Ladder 155. Delargy said the baby came flying out the window as he was walking in the front door of the Jamaica home. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but officials are considering it suspicious. Captain Anthony Varriale said the blaze appears to be intentionally set. Read More: NBC News

 

Feds Arrest Fugitive “Folk Nation” Gang Leader

Federal authorities on Wednesday announced the arrest of a fugitive leader of a violent Brooklyn and Queens street gang. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn says Devon Rodney is in custody and is awaiting arraignment. He and eight other accused members of the “Folk Nation” gang were indicted last month for murder and racketeering. One of the men is still on the loose and the rest have already been arraigned. Authorities believe the crew is behind four murders, three attempted murders, and a string of assaults and robberies. Read More: NY1

 

Ray Kelly ‘threat’ man makes bail

A Brooklyn man busted for allegedly making threatening comments online about Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was freed on $10,000 bail yesterday and ordered to stay away from the top cop. Richard Strauss, 49, had railed against Kelly in the comments section of Gothamist.com, where, using the handle Ladder157, he called the commissioner “an enemy of the people.” “A well-placed round of 7.62 ammo to his thick skull would work quite well to eliminate the threat he poses. All New Yorkers should aim their sights (both figuratively and literally) on this piece of excrement,” the comment read. Read More: New York Post

Racino ‘scam’

Two Aqueduct racino employees were charged yesterday with giving phony “high roller” comp cards to gamblers in exchange for a cut of their winnings. Moises Jones, 29, of The Bronx, and Rolanda Roberts, 33, of Brooklyn, allegedly earned several thousand dollars by distributing nearly 200 fake cards. Read More: New York Post

Bronx woman arrested for stabbing a 3-month-old girl during a wild argument with the baby’s mother

A Bronx woman has been arrested for stabbing a 3-month-old baby in the head amid an argument with the child’s mother, prosecutors said. “I hope that f—ing baby dies!” Candie Hailey-Means, 28, shouted as she plunged a blade into little Hazel Haliburton’s head, court papers show. The toddler suffered a fractured skull, a black eye and other injuries during the attack on Friday. She remains hospitalized at Lincoln Medical Center, but doctors expect she will survive, sources told the Daily News Wednesday. Read More: Daily News

Teen arrested in Bronx boy’s shooting


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Teen arrested in Bronx boy’s shooting

A teen was arrested for the shooting of an 11-year-old Bronx boy, police said. Kijana Jenkins, 17, was arrested today and is awaiting arraignment, authorities said. Jenkins and an unidentified cohort fired the shots in the closed door of the Creston Avenue apartment around 11 p.m. Thursday, cops said. The gunfire struck Ryan Aguirre, 11, in the stomach. He was rushed to Jacobi Hospital, where he’s listed in stable condition. “I heard his father screaming, ‘You shot him,’ ” one of the family’s neighbors said. Ryan went to the door because his father was asleep on the couch, neighbors said. Read More: New York Post

 

Jorge Posada, Yankees catcher, set to retire, will make formal announcement in coming weeks 

Former Yankee catcher Jorge Posada, a key cog in four World Series winning teams, has decided to retire, according to two baseball sources with knowledge of his plans. The 40-year-old Posada, who .235 with 14 homers and 44 RBI last season as he transitioned to a role as a designated hitter and bench player for the Yanks, will make a formal announcement of his plans in the next few weeks, according to one of the sources. The news of Posada’s retirement was first reported by WFAN. Read More: Daily News

 

Community Members To Donate Services For Brooklyn Girl Found Dead In Mother’s Arms

The sadness was palpable in Bedford-Stuyvesant Friday night as residents visited a makeshift memorial to pay their respects to the little 2-year-old girl found dying in her mother’s arms. “My heart goes out to the family because I’m a mother also. It’s hard, very hard,” said one resident. “May her soul rest in peace,” said another. The news also stunned some business owners and community leaders. “I lost a young one earlier and to hear this—you know, there are so many people out there who want children, and to hear of a young child being lost, it just breaks your heart, and you want to do as much as you can for the family, whatever the story is,” said Andrew Sorrentino. Read More: NY1

 

Public Advocate Calls For Ban On Food Stamp Fingerprinting

Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t the only elected official opposed to fingerprinting food stamp recipients. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is joining a list of opponents who want the practice banned. De Blasio calls fingerprinting the less fortunate “inhumane.” He said if Mayor Michael Bloomberg does his research, he’ll see the policy doesn’t work. Read More: NY1

 

Dual debates a chance to throw Romney off stride

Republican rivals for the presidential nomination have a chance to knock front-runner Mitt Romney, who has a commanding lead in New Hampshire polls, off his perch in back-to-back weekend debates that could help define the contest. In a race largely driven by 13 previous sparring matches, Romney has emerged mostly unscathed by the six or seven opponents who have flanked his debate position on center stage. That could change with Saturday night’s debate or the one scheduled Sunday morning, as rivals Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum seek to stop Romney’s march to the GOP nomination. In particular, Gingrich is looking to keep his candidacy afloat while Santorum hopes to capitalize on his neck-and-neck performance against Romney in Iowa’s caucuses. Read More: New York Post

Madonna Badger spared details of fire that killed her 3 daughters & parents


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Madonna Badger spared details of fire that killed her 3 daughters & parents

The marketing executive whose three daughters and parents died in a Christmas morning fire was spared the horrific details of the tragedy, her brother said Tuesday. Madonna Badger was “as devastated as you could imagine,” Wade Johnson said. “Like any mother and child would be. She’s largely unaware of many of the details … She’s resting.” Badger, who escaped the inferno at her Connecticut mansion, wasn’t told that her father died trying to save one of his granddaughters. Their bodies were found just inches apart on either side of an open window amid the rubble. Read More: Daily News

 

Off-duty firefighter saves elderly couple from blaze on Staten Island

An elderly Staten Island couple and their beloved pet cat were rescued from the balcony of their burning apartment by an off-duty firefighter driving home on Christmas night. Steven Carl, a seven-year FDNY veteran, was heading back to his South Beach residence on Sunday after celebrating the holiday at his parents’ home when he spotted flames at 11:45 p.m. above the roofline not far from his block. With his wife and their two kids in the car, Carl followed the trail of black smoke to Atlantic Avenue and discovered a two-family home engulfed in flames. Read More: New York Post

Tidal crime wave hits Rockaways

The Rockaways are getting rocked by crime! Felonies in the 100th Precinct in Queens, which blankets Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel and other western areas of the peninsula, have gone through the roof, according to the latest police statistics. Burglaries have jumped 144 percent, from 54 last year to 132 this year. Felony assaults have soared 66 percent, from 78 to 130. Robberies have gone up 31 percent, from 63 to 83. Grand larcenies are up 26 percent over last year. The crime wave is so pervasive that a local deli is even offering pamphlets that warn customers, “Do You Feel Safe and Secure? We Hope You Do … But Maybe You Shouldn’t!” Read More: New York Post

 

Knicks claim former Harvard guard Lin

The Knicks have claimed former Harvard PG Jeremy Lin off waivers, according to a league source. Lin spent his rookie year in Oakland, but was waived by the Warriors, and new coach Mark Jackson, on Dec. 9. The Rockets picked Lin up, but waived him Sunday to clear roster space in order to sign Samuel Dalembert. Lin, 23, was undrafted out of Harvard but appeared in 29 games for the Warriors as a rookie last season, averaging 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest. Read More: New York Post

 

Registration open for Golden Gloves

The crown jewel for boxing aficionados, the Daily News Golden Gloves, is increasing its reach and accepting jabs from a wider population. For the first time in Golden Gloves history, the tournament will be open to all entries from the state of New York when registration opens for 2012. “After 85 years of world-class competition, it’s about time that we expand the reach of the Daily News Golden Gloves to include all of New York,” said Gloves director Brian Adams. “As the oldest and largest boxing tournaments in the world, we want to set a positive example for the youth of New York state, not just those representing the metropolitan area. It’s a chance to follow in the footsteps of the many boxing greats that got their start in the Daily News Golden Gloves.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Conn. mayor: Fire that killed 5 not foul play

A Christmas Day fire that killed three children and their grandparents was a tragic accident related to a fireplace in the home, not the result of foul play, the mayor said Tuesday. Investigators were expected to reveal the cause of the fire later Tuesday, but Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia told The Associated Press described the cause as “fireplace-related.” He could not provide more details. “The preliminary information is it was just a tragic accident,” he said, adding that foul play had been ruled out. Neighbors said they were awakened by screams shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday and rushed outside to help but could do nothing as flames devoured the large Victorian home. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx tot dead, dad under arrest after fight with girl’s mother

Police say a 3-month-old Bronx girl is dead and her father is under arrest following an altercation with the child’s mother and grandmother. Police said Tuesday that 20-year-old Kevin Palmer was arrested on assault charges after a physical confrontation with the 19-year-old mother of his child and her 43-year-old mother. Neither woman received major injuries. Read More: New York Post

 

Public Advocate Releases City’s Worst Landlords Watch List

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio on Tuesday released his latest list of what he says are the worst landlords and buildings in the city. Some 358 buildings are on the list, owned by 317 landlords. “1071 Home Corp” ranks at the top of the list, with 753 hazardous violations and five buildings on de Blasio’s “watch list”. Three of the top five landlords have buildings in the Bronx, and two have buildings in Brooklyn. Read More: NY1

 

Straphangers Stranded In December Blizzard File Suit

A group of passengers is suing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority one year after they were stranded on an A train in Queens during the post-Christmas blizzard. About 25 people trapped for eight hours on the A train are named as plaintiffs in the suit. They were left without heat, water or food when the train got stuck in several feet of snow between Aqueduct and Rockaway Boulevard. New York City Transit President Thomas Prendergast told the City Council earlier this month MTA officials “forgot” about the train. Read More: NY1

 

New dirt on pervy UWS super

Shocking, newly released court documents describe the ordeals of alleged victims of a former Upper West Side building super accused of pressuring cash-strapped female tenants to pay their rent with sexual favors. “He told me to take my clothes off really slowly so that he could watch,” one of the women said in a deposition about William “Billy” Barnason. “He had sex with me for about probably a minute . . . He slapped me on the ass and said, ‘Now we’re even.’ ’’ The woman and her roommate were allowed to move into another apartment the next day, owned by the same elderly landlord, Stanley Katz. Read More: New York Post

 

Al Qaeda in Iraq says it was behind Baghdad blasts

An al Qaeda front group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the wave of attacks that ripped through markets, cafes and government buildings in Baghdad on a single day last week, killing 69 people and raising new worries about the country’s path. The coordinated attacks struck a dozen mostly Shiite neighborhoods on Thursday in the first major bloodshed since U.S. troops completed a full withdrawal this month after nearly nine years of war. They also coincided with a government crisis that has again strained ties between Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites to the breaking point, tearing at the same fault line that nearly pushed Iraq into all-out civil war several years ago. Read More: New York Post

Arrest made in attempted shooting of officers


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens.

“Our officers miraculously escaped injury when their assailant fired at extremely close range, narrowly missing them,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Olmeda’s arrest was bittersweet in that it came this morning as the family of Police Officer Peter Figoski prepared for his funeral.”

On Friday, December 2 at 3:55 p.m., two 115th precinct uniformed officers were patrolling on foot in the vicinity of 76th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights when they were alerted by a passerby of a male acting suspiciously at the corner of 37th Road and 76th Street.

The officers walked to the location and observed the male wearing a  black trench coat with a fake beard, a hat and dark glasses.

When the officers approached the individual, they asked him for identification at which time the male produced a revolver and fired twice at the officers, before fleeing southbound on 77th Street.

The officers pursued the man, but they were unable to apprehend him.  The fake beard, hat and glasses were recovered during the foot pursuit. No injuries were sustained by either officer.

NYPD detectives were able to link DNA found on the suspects glasses recovered at the crime scene to Olmeda. Police also identified a 2001 Blue Chevy Venture van registered to Antonio Olmeda.  A license plate check of the vehicle revealed a summons was  issued to Olmeda’s Chevy Venture this past August in the 25th Precinct.

Earlier this morning Inspector Stephen Hughes, the Commanding Officer of the NYPD Warrant Section, was canvassing in the 25 Precinct near the location of where a summons was issued to Olmeda’s vehicle in August.

At 4 a.m. today, Inspector Hughes observed a van located in front of 323 East 116th Street matching the plates and description of Olmeda’s van.

An NYPD apprehension team established surveillance near the van and at approximately 8 a.m. observed Olmeda walking up and down 116th Street.  The apprehension team waited until Olmeda attempted to enter the vehicle. At that point NYPD detectives grabbed Olmeda and took him into custody.

Olmeda had on his person a gun belt with a loaded, 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and two magazines each containing seven rounds.

A second gun, a snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver, with three expended shell casings in its cylinder, was found in a bag on the back seat of the vehicle.

ESU and the Bomb Squad were summoned to the scene after a suspicious package with wires protruding was observed. The Bomb Squad determined that the wires were attached to a police light package and siren under the vehicle’s dashboard.

A counterfeit NYPD parking plaque was also found in the van, along with a plastic bin filled with approximately two dozen bottles of what appeared to be cleaning chemicals.

Olmeda was taken into Federal custody in 2002 after allegedly carrying bomb-making materials and asking about security at Fort Bragg.

After Olmeda’s arrest in the Bronx in 1994 for patronizing a prostitute, a search of his vehicle then uncovered 25 explosive devices, ammunition, and an Uzi submachine gun.

Charges in the December 2, 2011 shooting are pending.

End of an era in North Korea: Kim Jong Il dies after nearly two decades in power


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

End of an era in North Korea: Kim Jong Il dies after nearly two decades in power

North Korea’s Communist leader Kim Jong Il, whose nearly two-decade reign of power was marked by nuclear threats against his neighbors and a stifling of freedoms for his own people, has died. North Korean television announced Sunday night that the country’s “Supreme Commander” had died in Pyongyang at the age of 69. A weeping North Korean state television announcer said Kim died on a train at 8:30 a.m. Saturday of a heart attack brought on by “physical fatigue” while touring the country’s provinces. Read More: Daily News

 

Thousands Expected At NYPD Officer Peter Figoski’s Funeral Today

Much of Babylon will come to a halt this morning as family, friends and thousands of fellow officers gather for the funeral of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski, a decorated 22-year veteran who was shot and killed Dec. 12 while responding to a robbery in Brooklyn. Suffolk police issued a traffic advisory Sunday, warning motorists that Montauk Highway in Babylon will be closed Monday in both directions. Read More: Newsday

 

Police identify man who fired at pair of officers

Police have identified the man that allegedly fired at two officers earlier this month in Jackson Heights while disguised in a fake beard, trench coat, hat and dark glasses. Officers were alerted of a suspicious male on the corner of 76th Street and Roosevelt Avenue on Friday, December 2.  When the officers approached the suspect – who police say is Antonio Olmeda, 53 – and asked for identification, he pulled a gun and fired two shots, police said. The officers, who were unharmed, pursued the suspect but failed to apprehend him. The fake beard, hat and glasses were recovered during the pursuit. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Long blue line to honor ‘quiet hero’ NYPD Officer Peter Figoski 

A brotherhood of cops 10,000 strong is expected to salute the casket of Officer Peter Figoski Monday morning as it arrives at the Long Island church where the hero cop prayed for a better world. The Rev. Christopher Heller, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Babylon, is expected to lead the funeral Mass, offering Figoski’s four bereaved daughters a source of strength in a time of turmoil. “I feel for his poor daughters,” said Charles Spencer, director of Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home in Babylon and a retired NYPD cop. “They’re going to need a lot of help in the future, not just through this funeral. Read More: Daily News

21 arrested in Queens during stolen iPhone/iPad undercover sting

Police arrested 141 individuals – 21 in Queens – purchasing what they believed was stolen electronics during an undercover operation throughout the city. Undercover officers targeted locations that were suspected of receiving stolen merchandise in the past and offered Apple iPhone 4s and iPad 2s that the merchants believed to be stolen for vast discounts, according to police. Read More: Queens Courier

Fundraising Controversy Cuts Liu’s Approval Rating, But Campaign Continues

City Comptroller John Liu was talking about the economy when he said “this has been quite a challenging year,” but he could have been discussing his political future. Liu’s potential campaign for mayor is under investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office, an inquiry that has already resulted in the arrest of one of his fundraisers. The U.S. attorney is reportedly questioning other Liu donors and those who collect donations for him. When asked whether the inquiry was expanding at a holiday party in Flushing on Friday, Liu said, “You’re asking me if it’s true. How am I supposed to know if it’s true? It’s a Times story. Let’s be fair.” Read More: NY1

Delta Airlines To Add Flights Out Of LaGuardia

Delta Airlines is boosting its flights out of LaGuardia. The airline is adding routes that target business travelers as well as Delta’s competitors, American Airlines and United. “For the first time really in the history of aviation at LaGuardia Airport, we’re going to build a hub. That means we’re going to be connecting passengers and growing the number of seats and destinations in a very significant way,” said Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines. In the largest expansion at LaGuardia in 40 years, the airline is adding flights to Miami, Dallas, Houston, Denver and Charlotte. Read More: NY1

Take lid off land deal: judge

A Manhattan judge has backed state investigators who are trying to get to the bottom of a controversial deal to sell state land to an Indian community group in Queens. The organization that got the sweetheart deal, the Indian Cultural and Community Center, has stopped cooperating with detectives dispatched by state Inspector General Ellen Biben, court records show. But Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez said in a ruling last week that there is “a legitimate and reasonable basis for [the IG’s] inquiry,” and he ordered the Indian Cultural and Community Center to turn over the records requested. Read More: New York Post

City could close two Rockaway elementary schools for poor performance

The city is moving to close a struggling Far Rockaway elementary school, despite strong opposition from parents, after it received an “F” on its report card. The Department of Education recommended earlier this month that Public School 215 be phased out starting in the fall of 2012 and replaced with another school in the same building. The influential Panel for Educational Policy is to vote on the proposal on Feb. 9 Read More: Daily News

 

Fired Queens prosecutor beats her old boss with acquittal for her client on trial for murder

An ex-Queens prosecutor sacked after she blew the whistle on a TB scare scored an acquittal in a murder case against her old bosses late Tuesday. Michael McLennon was found not guilty in the fatal 2007 shooting of a former tenant after lawyer Tamara Harris claimed her client was fending off a machete attack when he clicked off three rounds from a .9-mm pistol. McLennon, 41, was convicted of possessing a weapon and tampering with evidence. He faces a minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison. Read More: Daily News

Long Island City to receive more residential housing and businesses development

Long Island City is on the rise — one tower at a time — thanks to a host of new developments, defying the bleak real estate market. About 1,250 condos and rental apartments are slated to hit the market in the western Queens community next year, said Eric Benaim, owner of the local real estate firm Modern Spaces. And that’s just the beginning of what’s planned over the next few years for the once predominantly industrial area. Read More: Daily News