Tag Archives: Flushing

Queens doctor busted for insurance fraud


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Title

A Queens doctor who works in Flushing and Far Rockaway allegedly received more than $25,000 in insurance payments for medical services that he never provided.

Dr. Stanley-Sangwook Kim, 41, of Manhasset, Long Island, who maintains a medical practice at 33-34 Parsons Blvd. in Flushing, and is the director of the surgical residency program at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, was arraigned Wednesday on charges of insurance fraud, grand larceny, petit larceny, possession of stolen property, falsifying business records and scheme to defraud, District Attorney Richard Brown said. If convicted, Kim faces up to seven years in prison.

The doctor is accused of submitting claims of more than $63,000 to six health insurance companies for medical treatments he supposedly administered to 13 patients between May 2012 and September 2013.

Those claims were false, and Kim received $25,060 from the insurance companies, according to Brown.

Twelve of the thirteen patients had been treated by the doctor for ailments other than what had been claimed, prosecutors said. The fraud was revealed when a woman complained to her insurance company that she had been billed for a service that was never performed.

“To a dishonest health care provider, a patient’s medical data is like having access to their credit card – and can be more valuable as most people scrutinize their credit card statements much more closely than they do explanation of benefits printouts,” Brown said. “[These] criminal charges send a clear message to those who attempt to fleece the system for their own personal gain that law enforcement’s fight against insurance fraud is ongoing and that those who cheat will be sought out and prosecuted.”

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City to begin studying western part of Flushing for residential development


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Janliewicz

The city is looking into rezoning the western part of Flushing for redevelopment and affordable housing, according to a city council hearing on Monday.

The Department of City Planning will launch a study from the westernmost part of Flushing to Prince Street and Northern Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue. The area is largely industrial and most of it hugs Flushing Creek’s bank. Developers have been interested in the area for many years, including The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation, which received a $1.5 million state grant to clean up the polluted waters of Flushing Creek.

The plan is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to construct or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments. And Flushing was selected, along with other areas in New York City, as a possible candidate for housing development that would include mandatory affordable housing.

“The plan is to create a comprehensively planned community,” said Alexa Rosa, a consultant for the organization that received the state grant.

The city planning department will begin reaching out to the many stakeholders in the area for the possible rezoning, according to a spokesman for Councilman Peter Koo. The process could take years to complete.

“We definitely need more affordable housing,” the spokesman said. “And that would be welcomed, if that’s what’s actually going to happening.”

“We’re cautiously optimistic about it,” he added. “Because we are excited about it, but we don’t want to fully support something when the details aren’t there.”

He continued, “Everybody has to be treated fairly.”

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Queens developer forced to pay $100K for tax break violation: AG


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

63-36 99th St. (center)

The developer of a Rego Park building was forced to pay a combined $100,000 in restitution and back wages after ignoring legal obligations for receiving tax benefits, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The state settled with Tuhsur Development, LLC after the firm violated mandates of the 421-a program, which offers tax incentives from the city when constructing buildings.

In exchange for benefits under 421-a, landlords and developers must add properties to the rent regulation system, and building workers must receive prevailing wages.

However, Tuhsur neglected to pay prevailing wages to workers at 63-36 99th St. in Rego Park. The firm was forced to pay nearly $10,000 in back wages to three building service workers and $90,000 in restitution to the city.

“Tax breaks offered to developers and landlords are not freebies,” Schneiderman said. “They come with legal obligations to New York taxpayers — ones that developers and landlords agree to abide by when they accept the tax incentives.”

In addition, B&S Management, LLC, which owns 138-06 35th Ave. in Flushing, failed to register units in the building under the state’s rent regulation registry. It will provide rent regulated leases to eight families and was forced to pay $10,000 in restitution to the city.

The money collected in restitution from the firms will be used by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to develop homes for low-income families.

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Nike Factory Store, Forever 21 opening at SkyView Center


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Shops at SkyView Center

Queens sneakerheads get ready, because Nike just did it.

The global shoe giant signed a lease for a Nike Factory Store at The Shops at SkyView Center, the Flushing mall announced Tuesday.

The 15,000-square-foot store, which will be the first of its kind in the city, is expected to open in spring of 2015.

Next spring, The Shops at SkyView Center will also add national clothing retailer Forever 21, which plans to open in a 10,093-square-foot space across from the new Nordstrom Rack, which opened a few months ago.

The Nike Factory Store and Forever 21 will join the Onex Real Estate-owned center, which already features various national retailers, including Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Marshalls and The Children’s Place, among others.

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DOT launches annual ‘Bike to School’ competition


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of East-West School of International Studies

The wheels have started turning as local schools compete to be part of a Department of Transportation (DOT) program promoting safe bicycling and active transportation alternatives.

The third annual Bike to School competition, launched by the DOT on Tuesday, is a curriculum-driven program with the mission of promoting bicycle riding as a fast, safe and healthy way to get around.

All middle and high schools in the five boroughs can apply, and five schools will be chosen to participate in the 2015 Bike to School program. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 7, 2015.

“Cycling is a great way for young New Yorkers to be active, explore their neighborhood, grow independently, and develop street safety habits,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “I am pleased to bring a program to the city’s youth to encourage cycling as a great mode of transportation.”

The three-year program began in 2010 after the DOT collaborated with Bike New York to host the first Bike to School Day ride with M.S. 51 in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

During the first year, the chosen schools are given a “starter kit” with curriculum material, technical assistance to identify safer routes, the installation of bike racks and other DOT support. Bike New York and Recycle-a-Bicycle, partner organizations in the program, will offer extra services, such as safe riding assemblies, learn-to-ride training and bike maintenance classes. 

In the second year, the schools will then move to operate the program individually, with the DOT continuing classroom curriculum and organizing events. 

For the final year, each of the five schools will be responsible for the in-class curriculum and will organize separate celebratory bike parades, marking the completion of the program. 

“This program helps our students develop healthy and safe habits, and I am excited to see more schools and students from across the city take advantage of it,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said. “The Bike to School program offers our children a chance to learn important and useful skills like bike safety and maintenance, as well as explore and celebrate their community.”

Six schools have previously been part of the Bike to School program including Flushing’s East-West School of International Studies.

To apply for the Bike to School program and for more information, visit www.nyc.gov/biketoschool.

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Flushing firm awarded $282M to repair Sandy-damaged Hugh L. Carey Tunnel


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of MTA Bridges and Tunnels

A third-generation Flushing construction firm was awarded a contract worth $282.5 million to repair the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel from damage it suffered during Superstorm Sandy.

Tully Construction beat out 24 companies for the contract to work on the former Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. The contract is the largest ever awarded to a construction company from the MTA Bridges and Tunnels division, the organization announced Monday.

The project is expected to take four years.

“We learned just how vital the HLC Tunnel is to the region in 2012 after Superstorm Sandy flooded the tunnel with approximately 60 million gallons of brackish water, compromising the life safety systems in the tunnel,” MTA Bridges and Tunnels President James Ferrara said. “This project will increase the level of resiliency against future weather events.”

Tully Construction will replace the traffic control and communications systems, add new lighting, replace the drainage system, do concrete repairs, add new wall titles, rehabilitate the Brooklyn toll plaza, repave the tunnel, and conduct a clean-up of salt, oil and other contaminants from Sandy flooding.

Man allegedly stabs Flushing roommate over what to watch on TV


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A Flushing man stabbed his roommate early Sunday morning after the two struggled for control over the TV, according to police and a published report.

The two men were inside their Sanford Avenue home about 6:50 a.m. when the dispute occurred, police said.

One of the men, 60, stabbed his 51-year-old roommate in the neck and stomach, authorities said.

The victim was taken to New York Hospital Queens with non-life-threatening injuries.

His roommate, Waheed Akbar, has been charged with felony assault, according to the New York Post. He allegedly stabbed the victim over what to watch on TV that morning.

A kitchen knife was recovered at the scene, police said.

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Report: Queens rent prices increase in October


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Chart courtesy of  MNS Real Estate.

Prepare to pay higher rents if you want to live in Queens.

An influx of new luxury buildings in Rego Park and the continued popularity of Astoria contributed to the average price for an apartment rising to $2,097 in October, according to the Queens Rental Market Report released by MNS Real Estate.

The prices for studios, one and two-bedroom apartments represents a slight jump from September, with notable changes in rents coming from Rego Park and Astoria.

In Rego Park, the average price increased because of new luxury buildings, according to the report.

“A notable growth spurt continues to take place in Rego Park as prices bounced back after a slight downturn last month,” the report said. “Developments such as The Contour at 97-45 Queens Blvd. and more recently, The Rego Modern at 99-39 66th Ave. are leading this progression.”

Renters in Astoria paid 5.3 percent more in October than September, the report showed. Studio prices in the neighborhood jump 7.05 percent to an average of $1,772.

See the full report here.

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Box art show guaranteed to surprise buyers


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Flushing Town Hall

Artists from around the world gathered in Flushing Town Hall on Monday to wrap their art in boxes as part of an art exhibition called “Boxes: Lost in Circulation.”

On Friday, people visiting the art exhibition will open about 50 boxes that hold the artwork of 14 artists. Patrons will pay $50 per box — without seeing the art or knowing who created it.

The curator, Hyunsuk Kim, is hoping to blur the lines between famous and obscure artists by putting everyone’s work in indistinguishable boxes.

“An artist and a work of an artist are constrainedly positioned in the capitalistic system. An artwork is often being treated as worthless if it is a work of an unknown artist,” Kim said. “If your name is not a brand, your works are not born yet although they are made.”

Kim hopes that the exhibition will help “diminish inequalities among artists and to let people focus on artworks.”

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Real estate roundup: 1,789-unit, three-tower project planned for LIC, Astoria Cove developers to hire union labor


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner

1,789-Unit, Three-Tower Tishman Speyer Project in Long Island City

“Now, permits have been filed for the mega-development, and it’s gotten a bit bigger: 1,789 apartments will now be included across the complex, which takes up two blocks bounded by Jackson Avenue, Orchard Street, Sunnyside Yards, and Queens Boulevard.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Astoria Cove developers agree to hire union labor

The City Council and the developers of Astoria Cove have reached a tentative agreement to hire union workers for the construction phase of the Queens waterfront residential and commercial redevelopment project.” Read more [Capital]

Progress stalled at 27-05 41st Avenue

“When we stopped by last week, we noticed that little to nothing had changed since QBS’ last visit. ETA on the “six-story, 44-unit mixed-use building with 30,041 square feet of residential space and 6,970 square feet of commercial space” was originally at the end of this year, but obviously the developers won’t reach that goal.” Read more [The Court Square Blog]

George Xu aims to bring another hotel to Flushing

“The owners of the Century Development Group Corporation applied for permits to construct a 214,000-square-foot mixed use building at 137-45 Northern Boulevard, the location of a Great Wall Supermarket.” Read more [The Real Deal] 

Boyfriend arrested in stabbing death of woman inside Flushing home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

Updated Monday, Nov. 10, 5:19 p.m.

A 68-year-old woman was brutally stabbed to death by her boyfriend inside their Flushing apartment Saturday night, police said.

Officers found the victim, Josefina Mendoza, at her 149-45 Northern Blvd. home about 11:35 p.m. covered in blood, with stab wounds to her face, body and back, prosecutors said. Her throat had also been slashed.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mendoza’s live-in boyfriend, Naser Alzein, 51, stabbed her after the two got into a dispute, according to police, but it was not clear what exactly sparked the violence.

He has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

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Large oil spill shuts down part of Kissena Boulevard


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via 109th Precinct/Twitter

A slick mess was created on Kissena Boulevard Saturday afternoon when a truck spilled oil on the Flushing roadway, according to authorities.

Fire officials and police responded to the spill near Franklin Avenue about 1 p.m., the FDNY said. The Sanitation Department then had to be called to clean up the oil.

The accident closed about a three-block stretch of Kissena Boulevard for at least an hour, according to officials.

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It was not immediately clear what kind of truck or oil was involved in the spill or exactly how the substance got on the street.

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Outrage after DMV dismisses tickets against driver who killed toddler in Flushing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The Department of Motor Vehicles has dropped two tickets against the driver who fatally struck a 3-year-old girl in Flushing last year, angering the toddler’s father and others.

Allison Liao and her grandmother were crossing the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Main Street on Oct. 6, 2013, when an SUV hit the child, according to police.

The driver, identified in media reports as Ahmad Abu-Zayedeha, remained at the scene and was not charged with a crime. But he was issued two summonses for failing to exercise due care and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

The girl’s father, Hsi-Pei Liao, took to social media Friday to express his feelings over the dismissal of the summonses.

“.@nysdmv why did you void the 2 tickets for the driver that killed my 3 year old daughter!?!?” he wrote on Twitter.

He has filed a civil suit against Abu-Zayedeha, according to the New York Post.

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng were also upset over the decision and took aim at the DMV.

In a statement, Meng said she would be writing to the department about the dismissal.

“After watching the video of this tragedy, I find the decision to dismiss these tickets very troubling,” she said.

Photo via Hsi-Pei Liao/Twitter

Photo via Hsi-Pei Liao/Twitter

According to the video and published reports, Liao and her grandmother were crossing with the light and holding each other’s hands when the SUV struck them as it was making a turn.

Abu-Zayedeha had been drinking before the accident, but passed a Breathalyzer test, reports said. He testified under oath that Allison had run into the path of his car, according to Gothamist.

Transportation Alternatives called for the removal of DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala.

“This is an outrageous injustice to the family of Allison Liao, and to all New Yorkers,” executive Director Paul Steely White said. “The two summonses were already a mere slap on the wrist for the driver who failed to yield and killed Allison Liao when she was in the crosswalk with the light, hand-in-hand with her grandmother. Now the state Department of Motor Vehicles has decided the deadly driver who muscled his way through that crosswalk doesn’t even deserve such a paltry sanction.”

In a statement released to CBS New York, the DMV reiterated that no criminal charges were brought against Abu-Zayedeha in connection to the accident and said that the tickets had been dismissed on July 1.

“However, whenever a fatal accident occurs anywhere in the state, the DMV schedules a special safety hearing,” the statement also said. “That hearing for Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has been set for January 6. At that time, a determination will be made if Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has any culpability for the accident on October 6 that would result in any action being taken with regard to his driver license based on the Vehicle and Traffic law. DMV is an administrative agency and has no authority with regard to law enforcement or criminal prosecution.”

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Attempted gun sale leads to arrest of five in Flushing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Five people were busted in the Flushing area Thursday when an attempted gun sale led police to a car containing firearms and stolen jewelry, cops said.

A man flagged down officers from the 109th Precinct Anti-Crime Team about 1:50 p.m. on Thursday to tell them that someone had just tried to sell him a gun, according to authorities.

The officers were able to find the seller at 39th Avenue and College Point Avenue and discovered that he was in possession of an unloaded silver Smith & Wesson .38-caliber firearm, cops said. Police then took him into custody.

A further investigation and search of the area where they found the suspect led cops to a Honda Accord, authorities said. Inside were three men and one woman, along with three handguns, one BB gun and assorted jewelry. Cops took the four into custody and recovered the weapons and jewelry.

The seller and the four in the vehicle — Christopher Rivera, 21, of Queens; Sergio Salcedo, 24, of Brooklyn; and Alexis Perez-Acevedo, 22 , Carmen Riley, 30, and John Nash, 26, of Manhattan — have all been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property, according to police.

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New Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce aims to unify businesses


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

Downtown Flushing bristles with businesses. Yet for all its economic activity, the area doesn’t have a Chamber of Commerce to advocate for the businesses’ needs in government. But that’s about to change.

John Choe is the executive director for the new Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. The organization is being put together and Choe plans on having a launch party for the organization in December.

“The chamber will look at making sure we not only have policies that benefit businesses,” Choe said, “but we also get the same level of attention that reflects the level of economic taxes that we generate for the government.”

Flushing’s previous chamber of commerce dissolved in 2012 after 80 years of operation, according to earlier reports. The previous organization, the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, began to recede in importance as a new wave of Asian immigrants moved to the area, bringing with them their own business groups.

Choe is hoping to not share his predecessor’s fate by bringing the various business interest groups under one flag and “creating a multicultural chamber at its core.”

“We want to create a chamber of commerce that will reflect the diversity of the greater Flushing area,” he said.

The area’s business groups include the Flushing Business Improvement District, Korean American Small Business Service Center of New York, Flushing Chinese Business Association, Taiwan Merchants Association, One Flushing and the Flushing Development Center.

“It’s a complicated task,” Choe said.

News of the chamber’s creation was welcomed by many in the community.

“The creation of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce is a good idea because it will help small business owners by providing them with a resource that is dedicated to expanding their business opportunities and financial growth,” Councilman Peter Koo said. “We are still living in a climate of overregulation that remains challenging for many small business owners, so the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce will be a welcomed addition to the diverse business community here.”

Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District, said that his organization would be willing to work with Choe and the chamber.

“Anybody who is willing to pitch in for the Flushing community is always a good thing,” Yu said. “We work with everybody. We welcome everybody to fight for the community.”

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