Tag Archives: District Attorney Richard Brown

Peter Rodriguez, driver in fatal hit-and-run pleads guilty


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Peter Rodriguez, the driver in a wrong-way accident that took the life of a beloved Maspeth bar owner, pleaded guilty recently to criminally negligent homicide and now faces up to seven years in jail, though that is of little solace for his family.

George Gibbons, owner of Gibbons’ Home, was killed on the morning of October 15, 2011 when the cab he was traveling home in was struck by Rodriguez’s vehicle — traveling the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway’s service road.

Rodriguez, who has been held without bail since his November arrest, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and leaving the scene of the fatal hit-and-run crash in court on Friday, April 20.

“We will never be satisfied with the amount of time that he is realistically going to serve in jail,” said Bernadette Gibbons, George’s sister. “It is very unfortunate that career criminals like himself get away with multiple slaps on the wrist.”

Rodriguez had been convicted of four felonies prior to this case.

“Our community came together to fight for justice for George and, now that Peter Rodriguez is behind bars, we can finally say that our streets are safer. In the coming months, we will continue to fight together to make sure that whoever chooses to leave the scene of a crime will face much stiffer penalties,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who helped organize a “Justice for George” rally to aid in the search for Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who will be sentenced on Monday, May 7, faces between three-and-a-half to seven years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Teenagers are in high school longer than Rodriguez will probably be in state prison, and that is a shame,” Gibbons said. “I wonder how many more people will be hurt by his careless actions before the law decides to recognize the danger that he poses to society.”

Gibbons said there is nothing that can prepare a family for sitting in a courtroom staring at a man who robbed the life of a loved one.

“I think after we make our impact statement to Peter Rodriguez and to the court on May 7, we will finally feel some sort of relief,” said Gibbons, who added they will never have closure. “Through our words we can only hope that Judge [Dorothy] Chin-Brandt will understand our pain and recognize that this should be the final straw for Rodriguez. It is time that not only our family receives justice for George, but that the Queens community obtains justice for the man that was stolen from them far too early.”

Two hot-sheets motels closed for prostitution activity


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Five motel employees who offered customers more than mints on their pillows may be checking into jail.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that the employees, who worked at the Kew Motor Inn, located at 139-01 Grand Central Parkway, and the Par Central Motor Inn, located at 82-85 Parsons Boulevard – both of which are located in residential areas of Kew Gardens – were arrested for prostitution-related offenses during police raids on the night of March 27. The two motels, which served as havens for prostitutes and their pimps, were also closed under the city’s nuisance abatement law.

According to Brown, undercover police officers posing as prostitutes and customers have visited the two motels since December of 2011, witnessing various acts of illegal activity.

The five defendants, identified as Par Central desk clerks Harripersa Ramjattan, Bhaskar Chaniha and Wojuech Sady and Kew Motor Inn desk clerks Atm Raham and Masum Chowdhury, allegedly accepted bribes, allowed undercover officers to rent rooms without proper identification and knowingly allowed prostitution activity on the premises. The employees also occasionally assisted in illegal actions, including notifying undercover officers posing as prostitutes when customers had arrived and directing the clients to the rooms.

“These two motels have been deemed public nuisances that have generated numerous prostitution-related arrests – including those involving underage girls – during the past year and have been the subject of numerous complaints from local residents,” Brown said. “This office – together with our law enforcement and other governmental agency colleagues – is committed to working with local communities in eliminating crime and business practices that promote criminal activity. The actions that we have taken this week send a clear message – businesses that allow prostitution or other illegal activity to occur on their premises are at risk of being shut down.”

Ramjattan and Raham, 63 and 56 years old respectively, have been charged with promoting prostitution, first-and-second-degree falsifying business records, second-degree commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution, and face seven years in prison if convicted. Chaniha, 52, and Chowdhury, 46, each face four years in prison if found guilty of first-and-second degree falsifying business records, second-degree commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution. Wojuech Sady – the youngest of the defendants at 25 years of age – was charged with promoting prostitution, second-degree commercial bribe receiving, fourth-degree promoting prostitution and permitting prostitution. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.