Tag Archives: jamaica

FBI raids Assemblyman Scarborough’s home, office: reports


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The home and office of southeast Queens Assemblyman Bill Scarborough were raided by the FBI Wednesday morning, according to published reports.

Scarborough’s Albany office and Queens home were searched as part of an investigation into his travel reimbursements, the New York Post reported.
His district office and an Albany hotel room were also searched, according to the Daily News.

Scarborough, who served in the legislature for more than 20 years, told reporters that officials from the FBI and the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman seized his cell phone, calendars and “just about everything,” another report said.

“I’m innocent, but I understand the reality,” Scarborough said to a group of reporters, according to Capital New York. “I don’t know what’s going to go on. I am going to talk to a lawyer. This is just stunning to me.”

The Post reported in 2012 that Scarborough claimed per diem payments for spending five consecutive nights in Albany in 2011, but reporters spotted him at a town hall meeting at York College in Jamaica on one of the days he claimed to be in the state capital.

“I may very well have gone to that meeting, turned around and gone back to Albany that night,” he told the paper when they broke the story.

Scarborough said agents hinted there would be other politicians in hot water – and that he might be off the hook – but then the officials appeared to have backed off, Capital New York reported.

“What I was told was there might be indictments and I would not be one of them. When I spoke with people here, they seem to have tempered that statement, so I have no idea,” Scarborough told a reporter, according to the website.

Schneiderman’s office referred callers to the FBI, who did not return a call for comment by press time.

There was no answer at Scarborough’s district office or his Albany office.

 

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Cops seek information in 2010 Jamaica murder of customs officer


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Police are renewing calls for help in solving the 2010 murder of an off-duty U.S. customs officer who was fatally shot in Jamaica.

Maurice Gordon, 33, had just returned home from a Long Island nightclub in the early morning of June 21, 2010 when he was killed, officials said.

The Elmont, Long Island resident was standing with another person near 118th Avenue, reportedly in front of his mother’s home, when a black SUV pulled up, cops said.

Three men inside the car then allegedly began to shoot at the pair. Gordon, who had his service weapon on him, exchanged gunfire with the shooters, and the suspects fled in an unknown direction, police said.

Gordon was shot once on the right side of his chest and was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later, according to authorities.

Following the murder, cops released a sketch of one of the alleged shooters. He is described as black, 28 to 32 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with a thin build and black hair.

There is a $22,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Man discovered inside garbage bag in Rockaways died from gunshot wound


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The death of a Jamaica man whose body was found inside a garbage bag in the Rockaways Monday has been ruled a homicide, police said.

Quynton Ross, 33, was shot once in the chest, according to the medical examiner.

His body was discovered about 9:50 a.m. on Beach 40th Street between Edgemere Avenue and the boardwalk, officials said.

After Quynton went missing Sunday his family used a cell phone tracking app, which helped lead them to the scene where police found the body, cops said.

 

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Queens man arrested for LI catalytic converter thefts has priors in NYC


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ahanix1989

The 23-year-old Jamaica man arrested on Long Island last month for stripping three dozen cars of their costly catalytic converters has a lengthy rap sheet in the city, officials said.

Nassau County police charged Dorient G. Reid in February with grand larceny for his eight-month-long raid of body shop and U-Haul parking lots that damaged more than 35 cars and their exhaust systems.

Reid crossed the Queens border to try his luck after the NYPD arrested him last March for allegedly stealing five catalytic converters out of a used auto parts lot in Jamaica, an NYPD spokesperson said.

The apparent repeat offender had nine prior arrests in New York City, including one last year for offering an arresting officer a $500 bribe from his holding cell in Jamaica’s 113th Precinct, according to the NYPD and Queens district attorney’s office.

He faces multiple counts of grand larceny and auto stripping charges in both Nassau and New York City, the police departments said.

Reid will appear in Nassau court on March 28, a spokesperson for the county’s district attorney said. He also awaits a March 25 sentencing in Queens Criminal Court after pleading guilty in the bribery case, according to the borough’s district attorney’s office.

Catalytic converters, which contain precious metals inside, like platinum, have been the target of a costly citywide crime trend that is now on the decline.

In January, police arrested two men in Flushing for allegedly sawing nearly $5,000 worth of devices off eight trucks in a U-Haul storage lot at 36-30 College Point Boulevard, Crime Prevention Officer Anthony Lo Verme of the 109th Precinct said.

Since the collar, there have been no new converter thefts in the 109th Precinct, which covers downtown Flushing and upwards to Whitestone, according to Lo Verme.

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta of the 111th Precinct — who reported a spike at the end of last year — believes the arrest will wipe out the crime around Bayside.

“We’re hoping that eliminates the problem here,” he said, “and I suspect it will.”

 

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Addabbo sends list of bus problems to MTA


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A local legislator is hoping to put the brakes on bus problems in the region he represents.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo recently sent a list of complaints from constituents to the MTA about bus service on nearly 10 lines, including some that travel through the subway scarce neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, hoping the agency can resolve the issues.

The note includes problems such as buses frequently arriving 20 or more minutes behind schedule, multiple buses bunching together and buses passing by commuters with “not in service” signs. The lines include the Q18, Q11/Q21, Q54, Q55, Q67, Q38 and Q29.

“As we negotiate our state budget funding and administrative decisions, we must realize that these resources must be allocated rationally and efficiently,” Addabbo said. “Acknowledging that the MTA provides a critical service and that state resources are not infinite, we must impress upon the MTA to improve service for my constituents given the resources it has.”

Last month, The Courier revealed exclusively that the MTA plans to reduce overall service in April of the Q54, which riders in Middle Village and Glendale depend on to connect to subway lines in Jamaica and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

During weekday “PM peak” hours—from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.—the Q54 will run every six minutes and 30 seconds, instead of every five minutes, according to the MTA’s January Transit & Bus Committee Meeting. During the evening schedule, which follows “PM peak” hours, the Q54 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15.

 

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Star of Queens: Laura Schmitt, co-president, Benjamin. N. Cardozo High School PTA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Laura Schmitt

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Laura Schmitt is co-president of the Benjamin. N. Cardozo High School PTA.

BACKGROUND:  Schmitt grew up in Brooklyn, and now lives in Jamaica.  She is a mother of five — four boys and one girl. Her youngest daughter will be graduating from Cardozo this spring.

Schmitt is a retired dentist, and has been on various PTAs over the past 22 years.  She has been the co-president of the Cardozo PTA for the past two.

“I mostly do this for the children who don’t have parents who are actively involved,” Schmitt said. “There are a lot of children that need a voice, and that’s where I come in.”

GOALS: Currently, Schmitt is working with the PTA to raise funds to purchase a system called Parchment. This will enable students to send out all of their college application materials online and keep better track of the process.

“We have students that are not only the best in the city, but the best in the nation,” said Schmitt.   She believes that these students deserve to be provided with the tools that will keep them competitive. Another goal Schmitt and the PTA at Cardozo have is to implement the use of a transparent online grading system which she believes will better inform parents.

“Not every parent has the opportunity to go to the school for answers and some don’t know the right questions to ask,” said Schmitt.

She explains that this system is proactive in providing the information parents need.  The PTA will also have a tentative date of June 14 for a flea market to raise funds for these goals. If you are interested in being a vendor, you can contact them at Benjamincardozohspta@yahoo.com.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Schmitt’s fondest memory was being asked to speak at last year’s graduation ceremony. She explains that being asked to give a graduation speech was recognition of all of that was accomplished. Schmitt remembers feeling a special warmth for each one of the children as they came up to receive their degrees.

This year she was invited to speak again and the PTA co-president said this time is even more special because her daughter will be graduating. “She is my youngest child and it will be the culmination of my 22 years of continuous service on PTAs,” said Schmitt.

INSPIRATION: Her first inspirations for getting involved in the educational needs of children were her mother and mother in-law, who are both retired teachers. She remembers them always telling her “if you want a job done; give it to a busy person.”

“I guess having been a full-time dentist raising five children at that time made me that person,” said Schmitt.

Moreover, her co-president, Evette Ennis, whom she describes to be a caring mother with an endless supply of ideas, energy and professionalism, continues to be an inspiration to Schmitt.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Schmitt explains that although Cardozo is one of the top high schools in the city, with an excellent staff of teachers and principals, budget cuts are having an impact on the school.

“Classes are being cut and everything that has made our school great is in jeopardy,” said Schmitt.  She explained that it has been a tremendous challenge to get the community, politicians and the parents to speak up, get involved, donate, or advocate for the needs of the children.

 

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Jamaica man arrested in connection to 2012 shooting death


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Police have arrested and charged a man with murder in connection to the 2012 shooting death of 22-year-old Sydney London.

London was found dead in the driver’s seat of his car, with a gunshot wound to the right side of his torso, near Ring Place and 118th Avenue, on April 11, 2012, police said.

Police charged 30-year-old Sekwan Carter, of Jamaica, Friday with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

 

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12-year-old boy charged after accidentally shooting sister at Jamaica home: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

Updated 3:45 p.m.

Police have charged a 12-year-old boy with criminal possession of a weapon after he accidentally shot his sister at their Jamaica home early Friday morning.

The boy told cops he was playing with a .22-caliber revolver inside his 164th Street residence about 2:30 a.m., when it went off, striking his 14-year-old sibling in the stomach, the NYPD said. She was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

He also told authorities he found the gun, but police did not say where he discovered it.

The case has been referred to Family Court, according to the NYPD.

 

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Police release video of suspects in Queens rooftop break-ins


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops have released a video in connection to the burglaries of multiple Queens businesses.

The footage shows the suspects cashing in lottery tickets inside a Brooklyn bodega at 296 New Lots Ave on Feb. 27, according to police.

The suspects are wanted in connection to seven thefts that took place between Dec. 14 and Feb. 20 in the WoodhavenJamaicaSouth Richmond HillOzone Park and South Ozone Park sections of the borough, the NYPD said.

In each of the burglaries, one or more suspects break in through the roof or air conditioning vent and steal cash, according to police.  Lotto tickets and calling cards were also taken during some of the thefts.

Last month, police released a video from the latest burglary, which took place about 11 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the Pioneer Supermarket at 90-01 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven. A thousand dollars in cash and approximately $600 worth of phone cards went missing from the supermarket after the suspect broke in through the roof, cops said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Arrest made in butt injection death of Queens woman


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A New Jersey woman who allegedly gave a Queens woman an illegal butt lift has been arrested in connection to her death, according to police and published reports.

Tamira Mobley, 28, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., is accused of injecting a silicone-like substance into the buttocks of Tamara Blaine, a 22-year-old Jamaica resident, while the two were inside of the Liberty Inn Hotel in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District on July 8, cops said.

Mobley was allegedly performing an illegal butt lift procedure on Blaine when she was killed, reports said.

Authorities found Blaine inside the room with seizure-like symptoms, according to police. She was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead. At the time, the medical examiner determined the death to be suspicious, cops said.

After noticing puncture wounds on her buttocks during an autopsy, the medical examiner ruled the death a homicide in October, according to published reports.

Mobley has been charged with assault and second-degree manslaughter, police said.

 

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Man shot near Jamaica home


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Updated 4:35 p.m.

A 48-year-old man is dead after he was shot less than a block from his Jamaica home Tuesday, according to police.

Officers, responding to a 9-1-1 call, found the victim, Mohamed Hamwi, unconscious and unresponsive at the corner of 173rd Street and 105th Avenue just after midnight, cops said.

Suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso and one to his head, Hamwi was taken to Queens Hospital Center where was pronounced dead, the NYPD said.

Hamwi, who worked at a Wall Street firm, was found with his credit cards and a wallet containing $200, ABC New York reported.

There are no arrests at this time and investigation is ongoing.

 

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$225M residential and retail tower coming to Downtown Jamaica


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

File photo

Follow me @liamlaguerre


A new mixed-use, residential and commercial $225 million building with hundreds of units is planned for Downtown Jamaica near the AirTrain, officials said.

Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC), which owns the 93-01 Sutphin Blvd. site, recently announced the project and that BRP Companies, a New York-based developer, will build the tower.

On completion, the tower will have 400 residential units and at least 80,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, according to the GJDC.

The project will anchor the western end of Downtown Jamaica’s transit hub, where the AirTrain, 10 branches of the Long Island Rail Road, two subway lines and dozens of bus routes converge.

Officials are praising the project as another step in the growth of the area.

“This is an exciting day for Jamaica, and an exciting day for the entire city of New York,” said Congressmember Gregory Meeks. “This project further validates Downtown Jamaica as a prime location for private investment in transit-oriented development.”

 

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Jamaica woman to run up 72 flights in historic World Trade Center climb


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Silverstein Properties

Alexis Mitchell is getting her rear in gear to climb 72 flights of stairs in the name of cancer research.

The Jamaica resident joined the team “Higher Ground” to raise money for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation by making the historic trek up the new 4 World Trade Center building in Lower Manhattan.

“I think the enthusiasm will be high,” said Mitchell, 49. “It’s a good way to do something positive in an area that’s been so plagued.”

On September 11, Mitchell watched the Twin Towers go down from her office window at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She hopes the race up the new World Trade Center building will promote a feeling of redemption throughout the tragedy-stricken area.

More than 400 people will take part in the dash upstairs on April 3. About $72,000 for cancer research has been raised so far.

“You figure every bit helps,” Mitchell said. “I try to help and raise money for different charities, and cancer is a sensitive subject for me.”

Mitchell’s mother has multiple myeloma and she also has friends who have lost parents to the disease.

The race will additionally be the first view inside of the 2.3-million square-foot building for most. The office space, which will rise to the sixth-highest building in New York City, isn’t anticipating tenants until 2015.

 

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Mayoral administration removes Success Academy Jamaica proposal


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

One thousand children need to find somewhere else to go to school come September.

These students had applied to Success Academy Jamaica, a new charter school that had been slated to open this fall, but now Mayor Bill de Blasio has axed the plan.

Before former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term ended, he approved the co-location of Success Academy Jamaica with August Martin High School. The charter school would hold 200 kindergarten and first grade students and ultimately grow to a 500-student school, kindergarten through fourth grade.

But on Feb. 27, de Blasio withdrew this proposal, along with eight others citywide. Three Success Academy schools were canceled entirely. Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz led a rally Tuesday in Albany, flanked by thousands of students, teachers and charter school supporters, opposing de Blasio’s decision.

“The previous administration handed over these proposals, and we have had to review all of them under inflexible deadlines,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “As enrollment deadlines approach, we considered the thousands of families that could be affected. Under the circumstances we inherited, [we] believe this is the best approach.”

The Department of Education (DOE) said it does “not believe new elementary schools should be opened on high school campuses.”

“Overall, we have heard concerns from high school communities, as well as elementary level ones, about this practice. We believe high school campuses should serve high school students,” DOE officials said.

Without the school, local youth can attend nearby schools P.S. 233, P.S. 45 and P.S. 354.

“More than 1,000 families have applied so far for a seat at Success Academy Jamaica,” said Kerry Lyon, a spokesperson for the charter school. “We will continue fighting to open this school and give those parents the high quality education they are demanding for their kids.”

 

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Cops searching for suspect in string of Ozone Park burglaries


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A suspect is wanted in a series of Queens burglaries over this winter, police said.

The man is accused of eight break-ins and one attempted burglary in Ozone Park as well as one theft in Jamaica between Jan. 6 and Feb. 10, according to the NYPD.

The suspect, possibly working with another man, enters the locations through rear doors or windows, then takes the victims’ personal property, police said.

Cops have released a photo of the suspect from the attempted burglary on Jan. 6. The theft occurred between about 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 106-14 78th St.

The other incidents happened at the following dates, times and locations:

  • Jan. 6, between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., at 105-30 80th St.
  • Jan.9, between 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., at 78-10 Pitkin Ave.
  • Jan. 10, at approximately 5:30 p.m., at 107-18 118th St.
  • Jan. 11, between 3 p.m. and 7:40 p.m., at 107-74 77th St.
  • Jan. 15 , at approximately 12:20 p.m., at 106-34 76th St.
  • Jan. 28, between 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., at 84-30 109th Ave.
  • Jan. 28, between 1:00 p.m. and 3:20 p.m. at 106-11 78th St.
  • Jan. 30, at approximately 11:50 a.m., at 107-18 77th St.
  • Feb. 10, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., at 105-17 77th St.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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