Tag Archives: City Council District 29

Barry Grodenchik receives support from female pols


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

Several prominent female politicians in Queens threw their support to Barry Grodenchik in his bid for a City Council seat at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Bayside Hills.

“It is my delight to stand with some of the great women leaders of this county, my wife included,” said Grodenchik, who has served as an assemblyman and deputy Queens borough president. He is running as a Democrat for the District 23 City Council seat vacated in June by Mark Weprin, who left to become Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deputy secretary of legislative affairs.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was the most high-profile name at the event to support Grodenchik, which was held at the Bayside Hills clock on 50th Avenue and Bell Boulevard. Grodenchik is currently on leave from working in the borough president’s administration as an aide, and the two were once rivals on the 2013 campaign trail, which Katz ultimately won.

The two Democrats also worked side by side in the office of former Borough President Claire Shulman, who served from 1986 until 2002.

“He is committed, and he is strong, and is a great advocate for the people of Queens,” said Katz, adding that Grodenchik has the experience to have a real impact in city politics.

Two local councilwomen who would be Grodenchik’s colleagues, if elected, also spoke highly of his career of service to the city.

“Barry is someone who knows what to do and how to get it done,” said Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, who represents Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill in District 29. “I have seen him in action not just with me, but with many of my colleagues in government.”

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley of District 30, which encompasses Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, and parts of Woodside and Woodhaven, pointed to Grodenchik’s efforts to aid victims of domestic violence as part of his wealth of experience, as well as other important initiatives in which he has taken part.

Grodenchik is one of six Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for the 23rd Council District seat in the September primary. The winner of that race will face presumptive Republican nominee Joe Concannon in the November general election for the right to serve the remainder of Weprin’s term, which expires in 2017.


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Scarborough pleads guilty on corruption charges


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ANGELA MATUA

Former Assemblyman William Scarborough pleaded guilty Thursday to federal and state corruption charges, officials said.

Scarborough, who represented the 29th District in southeast Queens for 20 years, was arrested last October for wire fraud and theft concerning a program receiving federal funds.

Scarborough is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 14 in Albany. He faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, up to 10 years in prison on the theft charge and up to $250,000 in fines on each count.

As part of a plea agreement, Scarborough pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree and is expected to be sentenced to one year in jail. He also agreed to resign from the Assembly and donate all funds remaining in his campaign account to charity.

Scarborough will also be required to pay $54,355 in restitution to New York State and forfeit that amount to the United States.

Scarborough stole over $40,000 from his Friends of Bill Scarborough campaign account and made unauthorized cash withdrawals and transfers for his own personal use.

He also submitted 174 fraudulent New York State Assembly Travel Vouchers to the Assembly Finance Department from January 2009 through December 2014. These fraudulent vouchers totaled $54,355, money that Scarborough was not entitled to.

“Today Assembly member Scarborough pleaded guilty to crimes that betrayed his constituents and the taxpayers of the State of New York — crimes that will send him to jail under this plea agreement,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “While he will pay the price for his individual crimes, we need to channel public outrage at the ongoing corruption scandals into a movement for comprehensive reform.”

After Scarborough’s resignation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has 90 days to hold a special election in order to fill Scarborough’s seat.

Scarborough joins a long list of south Queens elected officials charged in recent years with committing corruption while in office, including former state Senators Malcolm Smith and Shirley Huntley, former Assemblymen Brian McLaughlin and Anthony Seminerio; and current Councilman Ruben Wills.

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Jon Torodash explores City Council run against incumbent Koslowitz


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jon Torodash 2013

Jon Torodash wants to bring “Civic Virtue” back to Queens.

The Kew Gardens resident has begun exploring a run as an independent against incumbent Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, a Democrat, for City Council District 29.

Born and raised in Forest Hills, Torodash, 31, returned to Queens about five years ago and said he would run a campaign based on government transparency. This platform, and his decision to possibly run, was inspired by his experience as a local advocate in the last few months.

Torodash, a software engineer, fought to keep the statue “Triumph of Civic Virtue” on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

The effort failed, however, as the statue was hoisted from its pedestal last December. But Torodash said the exposure showed him the inner workings of government and things he wanted to change.

There are three issues that stand out on Torodash’s platform: transportation, safety and education.

Bus transit is one of the biggest problems for District 29, he said, with long waits leaving riders out in the cold. Torodash says he will explore new options, especially around Queens Center mall, including making bus schedules more consistent.

“There are a lot of common sense proposals that need to be looked at here,” he said.

If elected, Torodash said he wants to focus on safety boroughwide.

Torodash runs a test-prep business for teachers and taught Latin and English for three years. He said the Department of Education is unorganized and that the current education system does not empower parents and teachers.

Opting to run as an independent, he hopes his run will inspire other people to seek public office to affect change. While he said he has no quarrels with either the Democratic or Republican party, Torodash said a lack of history with either party might discourage the ordinary citizen from seeking office.

“I think that many people would get discouraged because they don’t have a party history,” he said.

 

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