Tag Archives: GOP

State Sen. Malcolm Smith’s corruption trial declared a mistrial


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

Judge Kenneth M. Karas declared a mistrial Tuesday in the corruption trial against state Sen. Malcolm Smith, reports said.

The decision was made after it was revealed that the United States Attorney’s office failed to turn over 9,000 recorded conversations to defense lawyers until well into the trial, prompting several jurors to say that they could not wait for the defense to process the new recordings, according to the New York Times.

The recordings, almost 300 hundred of which are in Yiddish, were made or received by Moses Stern, a Rockland County developer who became a government informer in order to avoid a prison sentence.

The case against another defendant, the Queens Republican leader Vincent Tabone, was also declared a mistrial. But the case against Dan Halloran, a former councilman, will continue next week, according to the Times. A new trial date of Jan. 5, 2015 is set for Smith and Tabone.

Smith, who currently holds office and is seeking reelection, is accused of trying to bribe his way into a GOP nomination for mayor.

On  June 12, the morning before the day’s trial, federal prosecutors argued that the conversations were irrelevant to bribery crime and wire fraud with which the defendants, including Smith, are charged, the Times said. But the defense – including Smith’s lawyer Gerald L. Shargel – convinced the judge that somewhere in the recordings there might be evidence that Stern and an undercover agent entrapped the defendants. The judge decided to postpone his decision until Friday to give prosecutors a chance to show him how the recordings might be translated quickly enough for the current case to continue.

But it could take weeks to translate the Yiddish material since none of the lawyers speak Yiddish, according to the Times. And that’s something the jurors can’t wait for.

“The lawyers are working around the clock as it is, and now you’re adding a pretty substantial review of the recordings,” the judge said.

Jurors were then ushered into the courtroom where more secretly recorded conversations were played and they heard Smith say that bribes are the “business of government,” according to the New York Post.

“Tell them I got a kid in Albany that needs to be born. So when you birth him . . . I’ll help you with your children,” Smith is heard saying on the tapes. “I’d say absolutely not,” to giving more bribe money.

“I’d say, ‘I’m not giving you a freaking dime.’ I’d say, ‘If I even give you a nickel more, you have to stand on the Empire State Building and drop every person you endorsed and hold Malcolm up and say he’s the best thing since sliced bread. Matter of fact, he’s better than sliced bread.’ ”

Smith, a Democrat who was for a time the State Senate majority leader, is charged with being the linchpin in a conspiracy to bribe Tabone, then the vice chairman of the Queens County Republican Committee, and Joseph J. Savino, the Bronx Republican chairman, so he could get their authorization to run for mayor as a Republican in 2013. Savino pleaded guilty to bribery. Tabone has argued that the payment he received was a legal retainer and he was entrapped into taking it. Halloran allegedly served as a go-between in discussions with the Republicans.

 

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Newly revealed recordings may halt Malcolm Smith’s corruption trial


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

State Sen. Malcolm Smith’s corruption trial might be put on hold, according to reports.

The United States Attorney’s office failed to turn over 9,000 recorded conversations to defense lawyers until well into the trial, prompting the judge in the case to consider adjourning the case or declaring a mistrial, according to the New York Times.

The recordings, almost 300 hundred of which are in Yiddish, are made or received by Moses Stern, a Rockland County developer who became a government informer in order to avoid a prison sentence.

Smith, who currently holds office and is seeking reelection, is accused of trying to bribe his way into a GOP nomination for mayor.

On Thursday morning before the day’s trial, federal prosecutors argued that the conversations were irrelevant to bribery crime and wire fraud that the defendants, including Smith, are charged with. But the defense – including Smith’s lawyer Gerald L. Shargel – convinced the judge that somewhere in the recordings there might be evidence that Stern and an undercover agent entrapped the defendants. The judge, Kenneth M. Karas, decided to postpone his decision until Friday to give prosecutors a chance to show him how the recordings might be translated quickly enough for the current case to continue.

But it could take weeks to translate the Yiddish material since none of the lawyers speak Yiddish, according to the Times.

“The lawyers are working around the clock as it is, and now you’re adding a pretty substantial review of the recordings,” the judge said.

Jurors were then ushered into the courtroom where more secretly recorded conversations were played and they heard Smith say that bribes are “business of government,” according to the New York Post.

“Tell them I got a kid in Albany that needs to be born. So when you birth him . . . I’ll help you with your children,” Smith is heard saying on the tapes. “I’d say absolutely not,” to giving more bribe money.

“I’d say, ‘I’m not giving you a freaking dime.’ I’d say, ‘If I even give you a nickel more, you have to stand on the Empire State Building and drop every person you endorsed and hold Malcolm up and say he’s the best thing since sliced bread. Matter of fact, he’s better than sliced bread.’ ”

Smith, a Democrat who was for a time the State Senate majority leader, is charged with being the linchpin in a conspiracy to bribe Vincent Tabone, then the vice chairman of the Queens County Republican Committee, and Joseph J. Savino, the Bronx Republican chairman, so he could get their authorization to run for mayor as a Republican in 2013. Savino pleaded guilty to bribery. Tabone has argued that the payment he received was a legal retainer and he was entrapped into taking it. The third defendant is Daniel J. Halloran, who allegedly served as a go-between in discussions with the Republicans.

 

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Former Councilman Daniel Halloran wanted to secure City Hall posts for Republicans: report


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

FILE PHOTO

During the White Plains federal corruption trial of state Sen. Malcolm Smith, jurors on Wednesday heard a secretly-taped recording of former City Councilman Daniel Halloran telling an undercover agent that Republicans should get at least half of the city’s top appointments, according to a published report.

Halloran, a Queens Republican, is accused of plotting a $200,000 bribery scheme to make Smith the GOP candidate for mayor.

“It comes down to what is it that you need first?” the agent, who went by the name “Raj” said in the recording taken on Feb. 8, 2013 at the Essex House in Manhattan, the New York Post reported.

“The first dep and a guarantee on the agency heads being split in the party,” Halloran said in the recording. “If he goes to City Hall and … cuts the baby in half so to speak, he plays Solomon, everything, everything works out.”

Halloran goes on to say that Republicans should get half of the 115 mayor-appointed commissioner, deputy commissioner and first assistant posts. He also demanded that Raj convince Smith, if elected as a Republican, to appoint Republicans to judicial positions, giving the conservative party influence in City Hall and “make things happen” for politically friendly developers at the Board of Standards and Appeals and the Buildings Department.

Smith made the failed bid to secure the 2013 Republican mayoral primary line by bribing Halloran and then-Bronx Republican Chairman Joseph “Jay” Savino, prosecutors alleged.

 

Council District 24 contender Alex Blishteyn is the ‘citizen candidate’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Alex Blishteyn

A Fresh Meadows attorney wants to breathe life back into stunted small businesses in his district.

Alex Blishteyn, a Republican candidate for City Council, said he has seen too many shops close their shutters in the 23 years he has lived in District 24.

“I remember that area when small businesses were flourishing,” he said. “You could walk up Kissena Boulevard and people would be going in and out of stores.”

Now, Blishteyn said, local stores are being “overregulated and overburdened” with city taxes and regulations.

“They’re not being allowed to operate,” he said. “That’s why we’re seeing a lot of them shut down. They’re being nickel-and-dimed to death.”

The first-time candidate has raised about $16,000 so far in his bid to replace Councilmember James Gennaro, who is stepping down after reaching his term limit. District 24 stretches from Fresh Meadows to Jamaica.

“I think that the community is not well represented,” said Blishteyn, 35. “We need a voice for the people who actually live in that area, one who actually represents the residents of the area. I haven’t found that to be the case.”

Blishteyn, who calls himself the “citizen candidate,” said education is at the top of his agenda. He added that instituting a voucher program and tax credits for private school tuition would give parents more school choices for their children.

“I’ve never been a political activist,” Blishteyn said. “I’m the regular guy who really has had enough with what’s happening with our city.”

Blishteyn is supported by past and present GOP lawmakers including Councilmember Eric Ulrich and former Congressmember Bob Turner.

Other candidates in the District 24 race include former Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who leads in fundraising, Andrea Veras and Mujib Rahman.

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast:

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 90. North wind around 7 mph becoming east in the afternoon. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 73. Southeast wind 5 to 7 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Dunningham Triangle Visioning Day

Stop by Dunningham Triangle to share your design ideas with the NYC Parks Department and the 82nd Street Partnership. What do you like about Dunningham Triangle and how can it be made better? Tell them your ideas!

Click here for more info or submit an event of your own

Former Queens Little League coach pleads guilty to sexually abusing minors

A former Little League coach of the year pleaded guilty to sexually abusing players on his team. David Hartshorn, a former coach at the Rochdale Village Little League, was arrested and charged in February with having sexual contact with three boys, ages 13 and 14, at his Rochdale Village home between July 2009 and January 2011. He was also accused of showing child pornography to minors and filming two teens engaged in sex acts. Read more: Queens Courier

Armstrong Drops Fight Against Doping Charges

After more than a decade of outrunning accusations that he had doped during his celebrated cycling career, Lance Armstrong, one of the most well-known and accomplished athletes in history, finally surrendered on Thursday, etching a dark mark on his legacy by ending his fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Read more: NY Times

Mayor Offers Ideas for Why Homeless Numbers Are Up

Asked about a sharp rise in the number of homeless people in New York City’s shelter system, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg suggested Thursday that people were staying in shelters longer in part because the shelters were “much more pleasurable” than they used to be, making people less eager to leave. Read more: NY Times

Strippers look to GOP to ‘make it rain’

Many clubs have taken out ads inviting GOP delegates “to party like a liberal” in a city where the “poles are open all night.” City officials say the convention, expected to draw more than 50,000 visitors, could be Tampa’s biggest party ever. Imagine all those rainmakers. Read more: CNN

Olympic gold medalist Douglas throws out first pitch at Mets game

History-making 16-year-old gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas was on TV with Jay Leno and David Letterman. Sat and chatted with Oprah Winfrey. Met First Lady Michelle Obama. And yesterday she threw out the first pitch at the Mets game. Read more: NY Post

Incumbent Queens Senator’s endorsements are called into question as contentious primary nears

An endorsement controversy has emerged in a contentious Queens primary. The Daily News has learned that a clergy member and several unions that were touted on campaign material as favoring District 10 incumbent state Sen. Shirley Huntley are actually remaining neutral for the Sept. 13 vote. Read more: Daily News

GOP pick backs out of race against Assemblymember Ed Braunstein


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Ralph Cefalo

A former GOP hopeful declined to make a run against current Assemblymember Ed Braunstein, despite being backed by the Queens County Republican Party.

Malba resident Ralph Cefalo was endorsed by the County to seek election in the 26th Assembly District, but the civic leader ultimately chose not to enter the race after citing personal matters, according to Phil Ragusa, chair of the Queens County Republican Party.

“We approached him and he seemed like he wanted to do it, but he spoke with his family and he just wasn’t ready to do it,” Ragusa said.

The GOP pushed to pit Cefalo against Braunstein, saying his 35-year record of community service — including a long tenure leading the Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance and volunteering with the Order of the Sons of Italy — would make him a good challenger.

According to reports, Cefalo turned down the run because recently-redrawn district lines would push him out of the district come next January. He also said the assembly seat is not one he initially sought to run for and felt it was too late to begin campaigning, reports said.

Attempts to reach Cefalo went unreturned as of press time.

No other candidates have announced their intent to run against Braunstein. However, republican Tim Furey is reportedly eyeing the seat.

Gianaris to face GOP newcomer


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Queens GOP has turned to an independent in hopes of unseating Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chair Michael Gianaris in the 12th District.

The borough’s Republican Party announced its unanimous endorsement of Aurelio Antonio “Tony” Arcabascio for State Senate on May 5. Arcabascio, a senior level technology professional for 25 years, is also seeking the support of the Conservative Party.

“Tony has the independence and commitment to represent this northwestern Queens district with integrity and intelligence,” said GOP Chair Phil Ragusa. “Tony as a business executive and technology professional is a ‘can do’ problem solver who can help tackle the problems our community and state are facing.”

Ragusa said Arcabascio will aim to create jobs and lower the tax burden on middle class families, seniors and small business owners. The GOP chair also accused Gianaris of focusing on raising funds for himself and the DSCC rather than constituent services and improving the economy.

“As an independent I am really honored that the Republican Party will support me for State Senate and agrees with my focus on jumpstarting the economy, creating jobs, improving schools and healthcare and reforming government to make it more transparent and accountable,” said Arcabascio, who was raised in Astoria and Jackson Heights. “I agree with Chair Ragusa that Queens residents are tired of the relentless partisanship of my opponent and will be looking for practical solutions to the challenges we face.”

Gianaris responded to the accusations by defending his efforts to improve the 12th District since being elected to the State Senate in 2010.

“I am incredibly proud of the work I have done representing western Queens in the state legislature,” Gianaris said. “From shutting down the state’s biggest polluters to supporting our local schools to promoting local businesses that create much needed jobs, together we have made a big difference improving people’s lives. I look forward to once again putting my record before the voters this November and continuing to serve my neighborhood for another term.”

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

Gunman nails cop van, 7 officers escape


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Gunman nails cop van, 7 officers escape

A maniac opened fire on a marked NYPD van outside a gritty Bronx housing project just moments after the cops picked up two officers from foot patrol, The Post has learned. Seven cops in the van, including a sergeant, described the terrifying hail of gunfire as “pings” bouncing off the roof and sides of the van. Amazingly, none of the officers was struck. “They could have been killed,” said a law-enforcement source. “They’re lucky to be alive. It’s a cowardly act.” The bullets started flying at 3:35 a.m. on New Year’s Day outside the Millbrook Houses on East 137th Street in Mott Haven, law-enforcement sources said. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Man stabs 2, then tries to kill self in love-triangle attack in Bronx

A love triangle turned bloody in the Bronx Wednesday when a man stabbed a woman and her male companion and then turned the knife on himself, sources said. The 29-year-old attacker descended on the pair as they walked on Commonwealth Ave. near the Parkchester section about 9 a.m., sources said. After stabbing the man and woman, the assailant tried to kill himself with the knife, sources said. All three were taken to Jacobi Hospital, where the two men were in critical condition and the woman was in stable condition. Read More: Daily News

Mom visits funeral home, site of wake for kids and parents who died in Christmas day inferno

A grief-stricken Madonna Badger walked out of a Manhattan funeral home this morning where a private wake for her three daughters and parents who died in a tragic Christmas Day fire at her Connecticut home is set to be held. Two men accompanied the high-powered fashion advertising exec as she walked out of the Frank E. Campbell funeral home on the Upper East Side. Read More: New York Post

 


Bachmann suspends presidential campaign, Perry tweets he’s staying in race

Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday she was suspending her presidential campaign while Texas Gov. Rick Perry confirms he’s still running. Bachmann made the announcement following her poor showing in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, where she finished in sixth place with only five percent of the vote. Surrounded by family members, including her husband and parents, the Minnesota congresswoman told a press conference, “I will not be continuing” in the race but also vowed to “continue to fight to defeat the president’s agenda of socialism. Read More: New York Post

 

Mom amid the ruins

The live embers that sparked the Christmas Day inferno that killed three little girls were taken out of the fireplace because the children feared they’d injure Santa Claus, investigators revealed yesterday — hours after their grief-stricken mom made a somber return to the tragic scene. High-powered fashion advertising exec Madonna Badger — her face and head wrapped in a long scarf — returned for the first time Monday to the ruins of her $1.7 million Stamford, Conn., home to go through the few belongings not consumed in the blaze that killed her daughters, 10-year-old Lily and 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah. Read More: New York Post

 

Bullied teen’s suicide

A Staten Island teen who killed herself by stepping in front of a bus had been tormented for years by bullies and had just been dumped by her boyfriend, relatives said yesterday. Depressed and at the end of her emotional rope, Amanda Cummings, 15, went through with a suicide she had been threatening for years. The kids who made her life miserable were so vicious that they kept up the bullying via Facebook posts as she lay dying. An EMT who saw Amanda take her final step found a suicide note in her clothing that mentioned the boyfriend, saying she couldn’t go on without him. Read More: New York Post
Torre resigns from MLB to pursue Dodgers ownership

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre resigned Wednesday from his executive position within Major League Baseball in order to become part of a group that is looking to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. Torre has served as MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations since February after retiring as manager of the Dodgers in 2010. In his role with MLB, Torre served as Selig’s primary liaison with all 30 teams, dealing with all baseball and on-field matters, the press release stated. “Joe has been an invaluable resource for me and all of us at Major League Baseball this year and has splendidly communicated with our on-field personnel, general managers and the umpires,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig wrote. Read More: New York Post

 

Library president pleads guilty to drunk driving


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

[Watch] Queens rape suspect caught on camera

A serial southeast Queens rapist was caught on camera as he attempted his third sexual assault in two months. The video, released today by police, shows the suspect approaching the victim from behind and grabbing her around the neck.  The suspect placed a sharp object to the victim’s back before dragging her behind a house where he attempted to rape her, police say. The incident took place Wednesday, December 7 at 2 a.m. near 154th Street. Read More & Watch the Video: Queens Courier

DOE Releases Second Batch Of School Closures

The Department of Education announced this afternoon the second half of its list of planned school closures. Today’s list includes two elementary, two middle, and three high schools. In addition to the closures, six others will see their middle school grades phased out. They include P.S. 161 The Crown in Brooklyn, Academy For Scholarship And Entrepreneurship in the Bronx, Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School in Brooklyn, P.S. 298 Dr. Betty Shabazz in Brooklyn, Frederick Douglass Academy IV in Brooklyn and Wadleigh Secondary School For The Performing Arts in Manhattan. Read More: NY1

Library president pleads guilty to drunk driving

The president of the New York Public Library pleaded guilty this morning to driving drunk in his library-issued Audi. Judge Jennifer Schecter didn’t exactly throw the book at Marx – under the terms of his plea deal with prosecutors, the first time offender will pay a $500 fine and have his license revoked for six months. He’ll also have to submit to 16 counseling sessions and complete a drunk driving program, and have an ignition interlock device installed in any car he chooses to drive after he gets his license back. Read More: New York Post

Missing ex-FBI agent in hostage video: ‘Help me’

The family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished years ago in Iran, issued a plea to his kidnappers Friday and, for the first time, released a hostage video they received from his unidentified captors. The video message released on the Levinson family’s website publicly transformed the mysterious disappearance into an international hostage standoff. Despite a lengthy investigation, however, the US government has no evidence of who is holding the 63-year-old father of seven. Read More & Watch the Video: New York Post

Divided Queens Republicans court Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich

The borough’s fractured Republican Party is now divided over who should be the next presidential candidate. City Councilman Eric Ulrich was recently tapped to chair Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign in New York City. Just a few days later, the Queens Republican Party sent out a press release and photo touting a meeting between county chairman Phil Ragusa and Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. Read More: Daily News

Second Woman Claims TSA Forced Strip Search At JFK


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Second Woman Claims TSA Forced Strip Search At JFK

A second elderly woman has come forward, saying she was also strip searched by screeners at John F. Kennedy Airport. Ruth Sherman, 88, says Transportation Security Administration agents forced her to pull her pants down so they could check out her colostomy bag before a flight on November 28. This comes after Lenore Zimmerman, 85, says she not only missed her flight Saturday but was injured as well when she was told to disrobe after she asked to be patted down instead of going through a body scanner. TSA officials are denying any strip search happened in that case. Read More: NY1

New Performance Space Floated At Old Queens Diving Pool

Some big changes are on the way for one of the most iconic landmarks in Queens. While Astoria Pool may be the busiest in the city, drawing more than 150,000 visitors last year, the diving pool nearby has not been used in some 30 years. Now parks officials are set to turn the former diving pool it into an outdoor performance space, making the park more accessible to residents. Read More: NY1

Man kills girlfriend’s son, boards Q111 and shoots two more

Holiday cheer turned to terrified screams as violence erupted in Jamaica on Friday, December 2. Damel Burton, 34, allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend’s son, 18-year-old Keith Murrell, in an apartment the three shared on the second floor of the Baisley Park Houses. Burton then boarded the Q111 bus at the Parsons-Archer terminal, where be shot and killed passenger Marvin Gilkes, 36, and injured a second passenger, Jajuan Lipsey, 29. Read More: Queens Courier

File Under Viral: Michele Bachmann confronted by boy who says:  ‘My mommy’s gay but doesn’t need fixing’

It’s isn’t often Michele Bachmann is at a loss for words, but the GOP presidential candidate was left speechless when an 8-year-old boy confronted her about homosexuality. Video of the awkward encounter at a recent book-signing event in South Carolina has gone viral on YouTube. Read More: Daily News

Wall Street analyst David Gray crossed Atlantic  to harass gal pal Daniela Rausnitz 

A J.P. Morgan investment banker has been convicted of waging an obsessive, trans-Atlantic harassment campaign against a gorgeous young mistress he met while working in adjacent cubicles in New York. David Gray, 28, was accused of hacking the beautiful brunette’s emails, placing a tracking device in her phone, deluging her with hundreds of messages and even breaking into her London apartment after their torrid extra-marital affair ended, the Daily Mail reported. Read More: Daily News

Giants coach ‘sick’ over photo of ‘TD’

The Giants are sure the calls did not go their way in Sunday’s last-second 38-35 loss to the still-undefeated Packers. And, at least in one case, they have the picture to prove it. “I just saw a picture that made me sick to my stomach,’’ coach Tom Coughlin said yesterday, and the fact he believes what’s in the picture validates his case didn’t help ease his queasiness. Read More: New York Post

Astoria Man Charged With Killing Stepdaughter, Wounding Estranged Wife


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Astoria Man Charged With Killing Stepdaughter, Wounding Estranged Wife

A Queens man was charged with a Monday shooting in Astoria that left his stepdaughter dead and his estranged wife injured. Police say Guerino Annarumma, 52, is facing charges of murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon after shooting the mother and daughter in their home on 38th Street near 23rd Avenue just before 9 a.m. Read More: NY1

Postal Service Cuts To Lengthen Delivery Time

As financial problems continue to mount, the U.S. Postal Service announced Monday a series of unprecedented cuts. The estimated $3 billion in reductions will affect first-class mail and likely eliminate the possibility of next-day delivery for the first time in 40 years. Read More: NY1

Councilmember Eric Ulrich tapped for Romney campaign

Councilmember Eric Ulrich has been named chair of Republican and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in New York City. Born and raised in Ozone Park, Ulrich, 26, was first elected to the council when he was 24 and now represents Ozone Park and Howard Beach — serving as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. Read More: Queens Courier

Blog-of-blood family murder

A seething husband who accused his immigrant wife and her daughter of a green-card scam shot them in Queens yesterday — killing the young woman and critically wounding her mom — hours before the couple’s divorce hearing, law-enforcement sources said.“You are going to pay for whatever you did. I dont [sic] play no games. Good Luck, Bye Bye Bye,” suspect Guerino Annarumma, an Italian émigré, ranted in an Aug. 12 post on his blog about his  tranged. wife Olga Annarumma, 57, and stepdaughter Valeria Kuzima Lowery, 25. Read More: New York Post

Apology from kin of bus ‘killer’

The family of the crazed ex-con accused of a deadly shooting spree aboard a Queens bus apologized yesterday to the loved ones of the victims. “We are truly and deeply sorry to the families,” said a relative of alleged gunman Damel Burton who asked not to be named outside Queens Criminal Court. Burton, 34, is accused of killing his girlfriend’s 18-year-old son, Keith Murrell, then boarding the Q111, where he shot passenger Marvin Gilkes dead and critically wounded another rider, Jojuan Lispey. Read More: New York Post
Queens family of seven evicted in dispute with landlord over ‘dozens’ of violations 

A Queens family of seven is scrambling to find a place to live after their landlord served them with an eviction notice the day before Thanksgiving. Laura and Thomas Cavanagh said began withholding rent on the Broad Channel home after their landlord refused to fix dozens of problems — ranging from black mold under the sink to a rodent infestation in the attic. Read More: Daily News

Two Queens men charged in Connecticut pharmacy thefts


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Two Queens men charged in Connecticut pharmacy thefts

Two New York men were charged by Westport police Monday night with stealing $5,000 in merchandise from pharmacies here and area communities. The men, accompanied by an underage girl, were taken into custody shortly after 8 p.m. Monday when workers at the CVS on Post Road East called police to report that a man had fled after shoplifting merchandise. One of the men, Jeffrey L. Vaughn, 26, of Jamaica, and the girl were found in a car nearby with goods from the CVS as well as other area pharmacies, police said. The merchandise included teeth whitener, hair regrowth treatment, razor blades and allergy medicines, police said. Read More: Westport News

Mitt Romney selects Queens councilmember to lead campaign here

Councilmember Eric A. Ulrich has been named the New York City chairman for Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The New York GOP primary will be held on April 24, 2012. First elected in 2009 at age 24, Ulrich was the youngest serving member of the Council and serves as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. He is a former president of the Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park, and was active with the Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach, Jamaica Rotary and the 102nd Police Precinct Community Council.  Read More: Staten Island Live

Students rally against bullying at P.S. 11

The students of P.S. 11 are urging kids across the city to “give peace a chance.” Parents, faculty and all 1,300 children from the school, located at 54-25 Skillman Avenue in Woodside, united on November 22 for a peace march and anti-violence rally. The parade was in protest to the increase in bullying and violence that has become a perpetual problem plaguing schools. Students carried hand-made signs and photos and chanted cheers calling for peace. Read More: Queens Courier

Queens woman tries to stiff cabbie after ride to Poconos

A New York City woman is in jail after trying to bilk a car service out of a big bill. State police in Swiftwater said Riley Radha, 42, of Flushing, hired the Big Q Car Service in New York City to take her from Queens to Paradise Stream Resort in Marshalls Creek. The driver accepted $30 up front and Radha promised to pay the remainder of the bill upon her local arrival. However, police said Radha was unable to pay the remaining $320 when she got there around 7 a.m. Sunday, and was charged with theft of services. Unable to post bail, she was taken to Monroe County Correctional Facility. Read More: Pocono Record

Jackson Heights Straphangers Sickened By Droppings-Covered Subway Station

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm and Jackson Heights residents have raised a stink for a long time about the pigeon waste that falls down from the beams of the Roosevelt Avenue/Jackson Heights subway station, but Dromm says he has a tough time getting the MTA to regularly clean it. Read More: NY1

Help The Queens Courier play Santa

To kick off the season of giving, The Queens Courier will be collecting items to be donated to the South Queens Boys and Girls Club (SQBGC) for our annual holiday gift drive. Founded in 1957, SQBGC strives to help young people improve their lives by building self-esteem and developing values and skills during critical periods of growth. The group’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from at-risk and disadvantaged circumstances. Donations can be dropped off at The Courier’s office, located at 38-15 Bell Boulevard in Bayside. Read More: Queens Courier

Parts Of Far Rockaway Nursing Home Are Without Power For Nine Days And Counting

One day after a Bronx nursing home resident died due to a faulty cable, Lisa McDivitt reports how a nursing facility in Far Rockaway marked day nine of a power outage of their own. Read More: NY1

Local Airports Confiscate Dangerous Weapons Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Transportation Security Administration officials showed off some dangerous weapons confiscated at area airports over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Port Authority police arrested a man bound for the Dominican Republic on Saturday after screeners at John F. Kennedy International Airport found a combination brass knuckles and knife in his checked bag. They also nabbed a man who they say was headed to Germany from Newark Liberty International Airport with a set of brass knuckles in his carry-on bag. On Sunday, authorities took a man into custody after they say he tried to carry a butterfly knife on board a plane at LaGuardia Airport. Read More: NY1

 


Queens GOP leadership in question


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

With the Queens political world already rattled, a storm has begun brewing on the horizon of the borough’s Republican Party.

Two organizational meetings were held on September 28, during which two different men claim to have been elected Queens County Republican GOP leader.

According to Robert Hornak, spokesperson for the Queens Republican Party, current chair Phil Ragusa was re-elected, receiving the support of every voter who attended his meeting – amounting to 62 percent of the total voting strength.
Former Councilmember Thomas Ognibene also claims he was elected at a meeting called by Bart Haggerty, who works for Councilmember Eric Ulrich, which was held on the same date and time as Ragusa’s gathering.

Hornak says that GOP Chair Ed Cox called to congratulate Ragusa on September 29, although Ognibene claims he received a similar phone call from Cox.

“Obviously this is an internal political dispute,” said Ognibene. “I believe I am the one that has been elected, and we submitted our certification of the election to the Board of Elections.”

The GOP leader is chosen by county committee members – elected officials in local parties – who frequently have state committee members hold proxy votes for them. In the September 13 Primary, the two party factions battled for a number of state committee member positions.

There were recent published reports that Ognibene would oppose Ragusa for GOP leader, although Hornak does not believe the challenge to be a legitimate one.

“We knew we were going to win, so they held another meeting to pretend they wouldn’t lose,” said Hornak. “They held a competing meeting without authorization. Bart Haggerty sent out a fraudulent notice saying he was the chair and called a meeting. Only the official chairman can call a meeting. This is all just nonsense to confuse people because they have lost.”

Ragusa’s campaign filed a restraining order that demanded the cancellation of the opposing meeting – a demand Haggerty and Ognibene ignored.

“They tried to take us to court today and tried to stop our meeting last night and couldn’t,” Ognibene said. “I guess we will just have to proceed and I’m sure there may be legal challenges. We were in court on September 29 and we will have to go to court on October 4.”

Ognibene says he is proceeding as if he was elected and will perform all the requirements of the GOP leader until a resolution is reached. He believes that Ragusa has been ineffective and has not done enough to advance the success of the borough’s Republican Party.

“Dealing with Mr. Ragusa is impossible,” said Ognibene. “They haven’t done anything and they haven’t supported any candidates. They are into self-aggrandizement instead of helping the Republican Party. He has done nothing to move the Republican Party forward. We have done it ourselves in southwest Queens.”

Ragusa says his opponent’s accusations are unjustified and unsupported, and that Ognibene’s interest in the position is for his own personal gain.

“We’ve run Bob Turner, Jane Deacy and even Ognibene himself,” said Ragusa. “Everyone that ran with the Republican designation ran because of us. In my four-and-a-half years we’ve run more candidates than they did in the last 10 years. We have done everything a party is supposed to do. I think these are blind accusations. I haven’t seen Mr. Ognibene at a county event since I’ve been chairman. He doesn’t do anything to support the county. I think he spends most of his time on a golf course.”

If the current hearing does not settle the dispute between the party’s two factions, Ragusa says his campaign will file a separate action to invalidate Ognebene’s filing with the Board of Elections.