Tag Archives: john Liu

District Attorney says Queens teacher had sex with student, 13


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

District Attorney says Queens teacher had sex with student, 13

Prosecutors say a New York City public school teacher is being charged with rape for a sexual relationship with a student that began when she was just 13. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 44-year-old Charles Oross engaged in a sexual relationship with the teen from January 2009 to April 2010. The district attorney said the encounters happened at the school, Intermediate School 238 in Queens, and in Oross’ car. Oross, of East Islip, N.Y., was awaiting arraignment Thursday. No information about an attorney was immediately available. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Tea Party big Mark Meckler pinched for gun possession at LaGuardia Airport Thursday 

A co-founder of an influential Tea Party group was arrested at LaGuardia Airport Thursday for illegally trying to bring a pistol and ammunition aboard a plane, authorities said. Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots had a Glock 27 pistol and 19 bullets in a locked gun box — but he didn’t have a New York State permit for the firepower, which he told authorities he needs because he gets threats. Meckler, 49, handed the gun box to a Delta Airlines ticket agent around 5 a.m. Thursday, Queens prosecutors said. It was discovered during a pre-flight check. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD cadet arrested for allegedly stealing this mother’s credit card in a $13 million ID theft ring in Queens 

An NYPD cadet was arrested Wednesday for stealing his mother’s credit card as part of a $13 million identity theft ring, authorities said. Raymond Gumti, 23, is accused of taking his mom’s TD Bank card and PIN numbers and using them to create a counterfeit credit card. He put the phony card in the name of another defendant who was indicted as a shopper in the scheme and racked up nearly $13,000 in unauthorized charges at stores like Apple, Louis Vuitton and Bloomingdales, a spokesman for the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office said. Read More: Daily News

 

Santa was really a Rotarian

Santa Claus rang his sleigh bells loudly as he combed the halls of the Queens Centers for Progress (QCP) Children’s Center. Followed closely by Frosty the Snowman, the pair peeked inside various rooms, searching for children. Toys in hand, they entered one at the end of the hallway — to an eruption of delighted squeals. Read More: Queens Courier

 

More Liu Donors Said to Be Examined in Fund-Raising Inquiry

The federal inquiry into the campaign finances of New York City’s comptroller, John C. Liu, a possible mayoral candidate in 2013, appears to be widening, with people knowledgeable about the matter saying Thursday that there has been an increased focus on seeking information from his supporters in the Chinese-American business community. In recent weeks, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have delivered subpoenas seeking a broad range of records and other information to a growing circle of Mr. Liu’s more generous donors, said the people knowledgeable about the matter, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. Read More: New York Times

 

Councilman Van Bramer Volunteers At LIC Food Pantry

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and his constituents reached out to help the St. Raphael’s Parish food pantry Thursday. Read More: NY1

 

Cop-slay judge bails

The Brooklyn judge who unleashed a violent ex-con weeks before he allegedly killed a cop was a no-show at work yesterday — the day after Mayor Bloomberg ripped into her for a bail bungle. Judge Evelyn Laporte was nowhere to be seen in Brooklyn Criminal Court as several City Council members denounced her ill-fated decision to spring Lamont Pride without bail after his arrest last month on drug charges. There was a warrant for his arrest in North Carolina for an August shooting when he was busted on Nov.3 in New York for crack and pot possession — but Laporte ignored prosecutors’ pleas for $2,500 bail. Pride, 27, is accused of gunning down Officer Peter Figoski during a Brooklyn home invasion on Monday. Read More: New York Post

 

Kid shoots off finger

The 11-year-old son of a Staten Island school teacher shot off a portion of his finger yesterday while playing with his father’s illegal gun, police said. The West Brighton youth was home alone with his 8-year-old brother in the basement of their single- family home when the gun went off at 2:40 p.m., according to law-enforcement sources. Michael Bilotto, a Department of Environmental Protection construction worker, was taken into custody for possession of an unlicensed handgun, police said. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop slay getaway driver’s lame defense: I drove thugs in exchange for gas money

The getaway driver charged with four others in the slaying of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski admits he knew the accused triggerman was carrying a gun before the botched robbery that led to the Brooklyn cop’s murder. In an exclusive jailhouse interview with the Daily News, Michael Velez, 21, said he looked over to Lamont Pride, who was sitting in the passenger seat and saw the weapon. Velez said he was stunned — and even more so when Pride, 27, put his finger on the trigger of 9-mm. Ruger. Read More: Daily News

 

Hiram Monserrate’s 2009 assault conviction upheld on appeal 

A state appeals court on Thursday upheld disgraced lawmaker Hiram Monserrate’s 2009 assault conviction for roughing up his girlfriend in the lobby of his Queens apartment building three years ago. The four-judge panel dismissed the former Queens pol’s claim that prosecutors failed to prove a key element of the assault charge — that girlfriend Karla Giraldo endured “substantial pain” from a physical attack. Read More: Daily News

War in Iraq officially over


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

War in Iraq officially over

After nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded and more than $800 billion, U.S. officials formally shut down the war in Iraq — a conflict that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in blood and money, as it set Iraq on a path to democracy. Panetta stepped off his military plane in Baghdad Thursday as the leader of America’s war in Iraq, but will leave as one of many top U.S. and global officials who hope to work with the struggling nation as it tries to find its new place in the Middle East and the broader world. Read More: Daily News

Figoski helped Brooklyn teen turn life around

Slain cop Peter Figoski had four daughters of his own and could not stand to see a young woman about their age take the wrong path. That woman, now 21, credits him with turning her life around. Velina Chaunce met Figoski when her mother, in desperation, called the 75th Precinct in gritty East New York to report her then-teenage daughter was acting out. Read More: New York Post

Scandals taking poll toll on Liu

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu is turning into a real Liu-ser with voters. A poll out today shows that Liu’s popularity has plummeted — following a torrent of negative publicity centering on a federal probe of his fund-raising operations and other shenanigans. Only 38 percent of voters now approve of the job Liu is doing, with 35 percent disapproving, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. His approval rating is down drastically from a Quinnipiac poll in May, when 57 percent approved of his job performance and 14 percent disapproved. Read More: New York Post

Uniting to help Woodside fire victims

The Woodside community has united to extinguish the needs of the 24 people whose lives were recently devastated by a fatal fire. Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined Pastor Daniel Gilland, representatives from the American Red Cross and members of the families displaced by the two-alarm blaze — which spawned in and destroyed the two-story house located at 40-38 61st Street before spreading and causing severe damage to two neighboring homes — to announce a benefit drive organized in support of the victims. Read More: Queens Courier

On Queens Block, Losing a Link to Louis Armstrong

Selma Heraldo lived the entirety of her 88 years in a white, two-story house on 107th Street in Corona, Queens, and her life may have been very different had she not gained new next-door neighbors in 1943 — Louis Armstrong and his wife, Lucille. Heraldo quickly became known as Louis Armstrong’s next-door neighbor, a good friend to the jazz great. After Armstrong died in 1971 and Lucille Armstrong died in 1983, and their house was transformed into the Louis Armstrong House Museum, Heraldo became the main local living link to the couple. But now that link is gone. Heraldo died on December 2 in her house, where she had lived alone for many years. Read More: New York Times

New York Community Trust grant helps find jobs for Far Rockaway residents

At least 60 Far Rockaway residents will land jobs throughout the city in 2012 thanks to a new grant aimed at giving a boost to the isolated neighborhood in southeast Queens. The New York Community Trust awarded a $40,000 grant this month to Ocean Bay Community Development Corp., a local group that partners with public housing residents in Far Rockaway with job initiatives. Read More: Daily News

Jet ‘drug’ rage

The cowardly thug busted for sucker-punching Jet fan James Mohr outside MetLife Stadium Sunday is a drug-dealing ex-con with a lengthy rap sheet, public records show. Merle Lee, 35, of Newton, NJ, was charged with aggravated assault for the attack outside the New Jersey Meadowlands stadium after the Jets’ 37-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday. The brute allegedly sucker-punched Mohr, 23, after the Queens schoolteacher objected to a woman screaming, “F–k New York!” and, “You all deserved what happened on 9/11!” Read More: New York Post

Malcolm X’s daughter locked up after she fails to pay Queens woman she swindled 

Malcolm X’s youngest daughter has been jailed for failing to make good on a promise to pay back the $55,000 she swindled from an elderly Queens woman. A Queens judge ordered Malikah Shabazz held Tuesday night after probation officials said she’d failed to make any of the monthly $1,229 restitution payments she agreed to as part of a plea deal. Shabazz ignored a judge’s order requiring her to live in New York while she serves out a five-year probation, court officials say. They say she’s apparently been living in St. Albans, Vt., above a bar that she’s looking to buy. She had $800 in her pocket when she was busted for the probation violation, a court official said. Read More: Daily News

Audit finds Parks Department lost green


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation recently endured a procedure that can send chills down the spine of any American — an audit.

City Comptroller John Liu announced on December 5 that an assessment of the Parks Department’s control over recreational, dining and retail concessions from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2010 unearthed management errors that could have yielded a total of $8.8 million in revenue.

The Parks Department is responsible for soliciting and presenting concessions for various attractions across the 29,000 acres of the city parkland it controls, and concession operators typically pay a fee or provide a percentage of their total receipts to Parks.

“Parks are not just about concessions, but concession contracts should be better managed so that revenue flows to the city without unnecessary interruption,” Liu said.

Of the nearly $9 million that was reportedly squandered, $728,358 was from Queens, amounting to the second highest borough total behind Manhattan.

Premier Queens locations that were underutilized include the Clearview Café, which could have created an additional $379,167, the ice skating rink at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which could have produced an extra $119,667, and the Meadow Lake pathway, which lost $20,000 in potential revenue.

The auditors made 22 recommendations to Parks, including tracking the solicitation and award process, retaining written explanations of rejected proposals and examining why only a small number of responses to solicitations are received.

Parks has refuted many of the audit’s findings and claims that revenue cannot be sought above all other considerations. The department also maintains that various “extenuating factors” had to be taken into account before executing license agreements.

“Regarding the comptroller’s audit on Parks’ controls over the awarding of concessions, we disagree fundamentally with its process and analysis, and we believe it is inaccurate and misleading in its conclusions,” said the Parks Department in a statement.

“The comptroller’s report implies that Parks, in managing a portfolio of over 400 concessions, should ignore clear business and legal circumstances that necessitate, from time to time, a course of action that delays the commencement of new license agreements. These occasional delays are the result of decisions made in the best interest of the city.”

According to the Parks Department, the amount of foregone income detailed in the comptroller’s report represents less than 4 percent of the agency’s $230 million in total revenue generated over the three-year audit period.

The department also prides itself on being able to “maintain the level of revenue from its concessions at a generally constant level despite the severely stressed economic conditions.”

Based on the audit, however, Parks has seen a significant decline in concession revenues during the fiscal years of 2008, 2009 and 2010, with totals of $52.6 million, $46.1 million and $39.8 million respectively.

Quiet Aide to Liu Helped Build a Donor Base Now Under Scrutiny


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Quiet Aide to Liu Helped Build a Donor Base Now Under Scrutiny

She is an almost invisible figure in New York politics, a former insurance agent and single mother who unwinds at karaoke bars in Queens singing Taiwanese pop ballads in a gentle soprano voice. But Mei-Hua Ru quietly wields considerable power in the city, having guided Comptroller John C. Liu’s rise from an obscure councilmember 10 years ago to a major political force today. Read More: New York Times

Little Bay Park project stall is little ‘comfort’

Bayside elected officials and community leaders are campaigning for relief for visitors of Little Bay Park and hoping that millions of dollars in funding hasn’t been flushed by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Senator Tony Avella united with Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, and residents of the Bayside community on November 29 to urge the Parks Department to begin the revitalization project of Little Bay Park – which includes the construction of a comfort station. Read More: Queens Courier

Recalling Days on the Run With Abducted Children

The week before they abducted their eight children from a foster carecenter in Queens, Nephra and Shanel Payne stocked up at Costco on supplies and dry goods, like graham crackers, diapers and infant formula for Nefertiti, their 11-month-old daughter. They stashed family photos and important documents in a storage facility and crammed a basketball and a football — essential for traveling with a Little League team’s worth of boys — into their car. Read More: New York Times

New York Mafia and Russian mob joined to lure women as strippers; arranged sham marriages 

The Mafia teamed up with the Russian mob to smuggle Eastern European beauties into New York to work as strippers — and even arranged sham marriages to keep them here, the feds say. Twenty suspects, including seven reputed Gambino and Bonanno mobsters, were arraigned in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday on charges ranging from racketeering to visa fraud. Read More: Daily News

Surveillance Video Released In Search For Queens Assault Suspect

Police are asking for help in finding a man wanted in connection with an assault in Queens. Officials say the suspect hit a 33-year-old man outside of the Nest Bar and Restaurant in South Richmond Hill shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday. The victim was treated for his injuries at Jamaica Hospital. Police say the suspect fled the scene. He is said to be about 5-feet 5-inches tall. Read More & Watch the Video: NY1

Detective Who Fired First Shot At Sean Bell Expected To Face Dismissal, Source Says

William Bell is hoping Detective Gescard Isnora will be removed from the police force after being found guilty of violating New York City Police Department rules in a departmental trial following the deadly shooting of his son Sean five years ago. That decision is being left up to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, but those close to the investigation say the NYPD trials commissioner recommends dismissal. Read More: NY1

Highschool ‘sext’ boot OK’d

A Queens judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by the parents of an ex-student at Christ the King High School who was booted for allegedly showing naked pics of an ex-girlfriend on his phone. Joseph Farley was thrown out of the Catholic school this year after being ordered by Assistant Principal Carol Timpone to turn over his cell phone after the girl’s mother complained, according to the suit. After Farley refused, he was expelled. Read More: New York Post


Politics Aside: Is it time for Liu to step down?


| RHornak@queenscourier.com


As more information continues to spill out about the scandal surrounding John Liu’s fundraising practices, both in his 2009 campaign for comptroller and his current effort to run for mayor, it is becoming clear that his ability to effectively do his job is in serious jeopardy.  That would be the case for anyone in this circumstance, but for Liu, who has never taken his job as defender of the public purse seriously, and instead has only been an advocate for the interests of Big Labor, it is time to resign.

It started last month with a New York Times investigation into some of Liu’s donors, many of whom turned out to either not exist or claim to have never contributed to him. Liu has also neglected to report bundlers – supporters who collect donations on behalf of the campaign from their friends and associates – as is required by law.

These would be serious allegations against any candidate. However, with New York City’s extremely generous program of matching funds, with six dollars of taxpayer money given to candidates for every dollar they raise (the match caps at the first $175 from each donor), this is a much bigger problem, with the implication that Liu’s campaign conspired to commit fraud in order to steal from the taxpayers.

Worse still, many of the irregularities the Times exposed are with Chinese companies from Queens, some who are city contractors where the comptroller has oversight on their agreements. In fact, many of the details surrounding these donations appear shady, from business addresses that don’t exist to contributors who admit their boss made the contributions on their behalf at a company fundraising event for Liu. In most cases, the amounts given were $800 per person.

There appear to be too many cases where the fact patterns are the same for this to be a coincidence or for it all to be the doings of these individual business owners. Short of someone discovering a “how-to” manual for campaign finance evasion, it seems clear that the campaign was complicit in these activities. At the very least, major alarm bells should have gone off with campaign fundraisers (were they truly unaware) that something irregular was going on and an internal investigation should be held before accepting these bogus contributions.

Now one bundler has been arrested, another is being closely scrutinized, and ties to already jailed finance cheat Norman Hsu have been uncovered. But not only is Liu not showing any shame, he claims to be still running for mayor, in spite of these transgressions. He clearly thinks his close relationship with Big Labor bosses, who pumped over $180,000 into his 2009 campaign, will bail him out. If the current investigation into Liu doesn’t sink his mayoral ambitions, let’s hope the people of the city of New York will.

Robert Hornak is a Queens-based political consultant, blogger, and an active member of the Queens Republican Party. 

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/17/2011: Top fund-raiser for Comptroller Liu charged with funneling sham donations


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Activist Patricia Dolan killed crossing Hillside Avenue

Patricia Dolan, longtime Community Board 8 member, president of the Queens Civic Congress, Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association and the founder of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, was struck and killed as she crossed Hillside Avenue on Tuesday, November 15. Police say Dolan, 72, was crossing the thoroughfare near 198th Street — on her way to a CB 8 Transportation Committee meeting — when she was struck by a 1998 Nissan sedan driven by an unidentified 57-year-old woman.  EMS responded to the scene and took Dolan to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Read More: Queens Courier

David Wright expects to stick around with NY Mets for 2012 MLB season

David Wright joined Ike Davis and Lucas Duda for a press conference to announce some of the Mets’ plans for their landmark season, which includes the return of Banner Day and, in April, a Tom Seaver bobblehead day. Davis and Duda both pronounced themselves fit from the injuries that affected them last season — Davis’ ankle is “full-go right now” and Duda is over his concussion. Read More: Daily News

Fairway supermarket opens in Douglaston

Foul weather did not dampen the excitement on the lines of eager customers awaiting the grand opening of the long-anticipated Fairway Market. “It’s been so long since we had a nice, big [food] store like this,” said Doris Mayne of Douglaston.  “It’s about time.” Customers lined up over an hour before the doors first opened, anxiously awaiting the store that has been over two years in the making. Read More: Queens Courier

Politicians Push For Expansion Of Good Samaritan Law At Queens Anti-Crime Rally

Elected officials in Queens are calling on residents to come together to stop crime. In the wake of an attack on a young girl and several robberies, local politicians attended an anti-crime rally Wednesday in Astoria. They spoke about legislation, including expanding a Good Samaritan law to businesses. Read More: NY1

Romanian duo sent to prison for thefts using doctored Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards

Two Romanians in the U.S. on journalism visas were tossed in prison for up to three years Wednesday for starring in a true-crime story of theft by way of doctored Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards. Daniel Gheorghe and Ionel Cristian Popa, both 33, were convicted of re-encoding the gift cards with stolen bank account information and then using them to withdraw almost $18,000 from a JPMorgan Chase bank in Queens. Read More: Daily News

Noise abatement equipment muffles ear-splitting MTA fan in Hunters Point 

Silence is golden for noise-addled residents of Hunters Point. Noise abatement equipment recently placed on a large fan that exhausts fumes from a nearby subway tunnel has muffled its ear-splitting racket, according to state Sen. Michael Gianaris. Read More: Queens Courier

Top fund-raiser for Comptroller Liu charged with funneling sham donations

A top fund-raiser for Comptroller John Liu was busted by the feds yesterday for allegedly providing the city’s chief fiscal officer with thousands of dollars in sham donations in order to evade campaign-finance laws. The charges against Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan yesterday delivered a devastating blow to Liu’s ambitions of running for mayor in 2013, and have raised questions about his role as the city’s top fiscal officer. Read More: New York Post

Drugs hidden in innocent flier’s luggage

A former Yankee Stadium security guard lost his job, went through a humiliating full-body strip search and faced the threat of spending the rest of his life in jail — all because someone planted two bricks of cocaine in his luggage. Roger Levans, 56, of South Ozone Park, Queens, said the cascade of horrors began Dec. 29, 2010, after he got off his Delta Air Lines flight from Guyana, where he’d been visiting family for Christmas — and didn’t end until March, when the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn finally dropped its bombshell drug charges. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Taminent Club celebrates 80 years


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo

Members of the Taminent Democratic Club, a political organization that supports local government, gathered at Riccardo’s by the Bridge in Astoria on November 5 for their 80thannual dinner dance. Several members of the Taminent Democratic Club received awards, including Linda Perno for “Woman of the Year” and Jeffery Sandhaus M.D. for “Man of the Year.” Dolores DeCrescenzo and Patrick Dolan won the Gloria D’Amico and the Ralph DeMarco Awards, respectively.

Perno is a member of the Astoria Kiwanis and serves on the Board of Directors for the Astoria Civic Association. Sandhaus is the Chief of Urology at Mount Sinai Queens. DeCrescenzo last served as the Deputy City Clerk of Bronx County, and Dolan is the President of the Steamfitters Local Union 638.

Also in attendance were local government officials such as District Attorney Richard A. Brown, City Comptroller John Liu and State Senator Michael Gianaris.

Taminent District Leader and former State Senator George Onorato spoke briefly. Afterwards, a surprise cake was revealed in honor of his birthday.

Queens Courier crowns ‘Kings’


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

The 2011 Kings of Queens were honored at Terrace on the Park on November 3

Over 450 guests gathered at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to mingle at one of the largest networking events in the borough and honor this year’s “Kings of Queens.”

The fourth annual Queens Courier event, held on Thursday, November 3, honored “Man of the Year” Comptroller John Liu and “Woman of the Year” Matilda Cuomo, founder of Mentoring USA, among dozens of other top businessmen from throughout the borough.

Prizes were also raffled at the event, with the proceeds benefiting Life’s WORC and The Rotary Club. Fred Morante of Minuteman Press in Bellerose and Lily Anastasiadis of eboxed won the door prizes from Skyline Cruises and TD Bank, respectively. Linda DeSabato of Vallo Transportation was the winner of the Cancun vacation courtesy of JetBlue.

The event’s sponsors included: Joseph P Addabbo Family Health Center, NY Community Bank/Queens County Savings Bank, TD Bank, Flushing Bank, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation, City University of New York, Con Edison, First Central Savings Bank, St. John’s University, Council For Airport Opportunity of NY & NJ, City Employees Union Local 237 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, HSBC, Print Early, Advantage Payroll Services and The Daily News. A & S Whitestone Nursery Flowers & Gifts provided a boutineer for each of the honorees.

Honored this year, along with Cuomo and Liu, were Eric Barrios, Vice President & Woodside Branch Manager, HSBC; Dominick Ciampa, Chairman of the Board, New York Community Bank; Salvatore DiMartino, Vice President Senior Enterprise Risk Officer, First Central Savings Bank; Gregory Floyd, President, City Employees Union Local 237, IBT; Bill Gianakos, Executive Vice President-Area Director, NYC Region DeNovo Expansion, Citi; Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, Vicar Development for the Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens; Bill Huisman, Executive Director, Aviation Development Council; Anthony Izzo, Chief of Organized Crime Control Bureau, NYPD; Gabor Karsai, Rotary International, District 7250, Brooklyn, Queens & Nassau Counties; John Khani, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, CSA; Giorgio Kolaj, Proprietor, Valentino’s on the Green; Franck Korzekwinski, EVP Chief of Real Estate Lending, Flushing Bank; John Koufakis Sr., CEO/President, Star Auto group; Anthony Lolli, Founder/CEO, Rapid Realty NYC; Serphin Maltese, Attorney & Counselor at law; Stephen Martin, Vice President, Commercial Lending, Queens, TD Bank; Michael X. Mattone, CFO, Mattone Group LLC; Dr. Peter Nelson, CEO, Joseph P Addabbo, Family Health Center; Jay Parker, President, The Original Bens Best; Tony Raouf, President, Riverview Restaurant; Robert Ricken, President Board of Directors, North Shore Towers; Cruz Russell, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Port Authority of NY & NJ; George Russo Esq. President of the Board, South Queens Boys & Girls Club; Joseph Sciame, Vice President for Community Relations, St. John’s University; Peter Smergut, CEO, Life’s WORC; Jerry Spampanato, General Manager, JFK International Airport; Michael H. Strawberry Sr., Manager, Strawberry’s Sports Grill; Carlisle Towery, President, Greater Jamaica Development Corp.; Robert M. Werner, Vice President of Finance and CFO Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation; Steve Wei, Partner, Wei, Wei & LLP; Bhavik Patel and Sergey Shpiller, Vice Presidents of Operations, Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Group, Milo Blair,Vice President Brooklyn/Queens Electric Operations, Con Edison, William E. Fischer, Partner, Grassi & Co., Jeffrey Halperin, Professor of Psychology Queens College & The Graduate Center.

Network with the ‘movers and shakers’ at Kings of Queens


| smosco@queenscourier.com


Don’t delay. Get your tickets for the 4th Annual Kings of Queens Awards & Networking Event.

The event — which recognizes Queens’ most influential men in business — will take place Thursday, November 3 at 8:30 a.m. at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. It will feature a morning of networking with top professionals and an expo with the area’s leading businesses.

Honored this year are Man of the Year John Liu, New York City Comptroller; Woman of the Year Matilda Cuomo, Founder of Mentoring USA; Eric Barrios, Sales Leader-Woodside Branch, HSBC; Dominick Ciampa, Chairman of the Board, New York Community Bank; Salvatore DiMartino, Vice President Senior Enterprise Risk Officer, First Central Savings Bank; Gregory Floyd, President, City Employees Union Local 237, IBT; Bill Gianakos, Executive Vice President-Area Director, NYC Region DeNovo Expansion, Citi; Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, Vicar Development for the Diocese of Brooklyn & Queens, Bill Huisman, Executive Director, Aviation Development Council; Anthony Izzo, Chief of Organized Crime Control Bureau, NYPD; Gabor Karsai, Rotary International, District 7250, Brooklyn, Queens & Nassau Counties; John Khani, Assistant Director of Public Affairs, CSA; Giorgio Kolaj, Proprietor, Valentino’s on the Green; Francis Korzekwinski, EVP Chief of Real Estate Lending, Flushing Bank; John Koufakis Sr., CEO/President, Star Auto group; Anthony Lolli, Founder/CEO, Rapid Realty NYC; Serphin Maltese, Attorney & Counselor at law; Stephen Martin, Vice President, Commercial Lending, Queens, TD Bank; Michael X. Mattone, CFO, Mattone Group LLC; Dr. Peter Nelson, CEO, Joseph P Addabbo Family Health Center; Jay Parker, President, The Original Bens Best; Ole Pedersen, Vice President of Emergency Medicine & Public Affairs for Medysis Health Network Jamaica Hospital; Tony Raouf, President, Riverview Restaurant; Robert Ricken, President Board of Directors, North Shore Towers; Cruz Russell, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Port Authority of NY & NJ; George Russo Esq., President, The Law Office of George Russo & Associates; Joseph Sciame, Vice President for Community Relations, St. John’s University; Peter Smergut, CEO, Life’s WORC; Jerry Spampanato, General Manager, JFK International Airport; Michael H. Strawberry Sr., Manager, Strawberry’s Sports Grill; Carlisle Towery, President, Greater Jamaica Development Corp.; Robert M. Werner, Vice President of Finance and CFO Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation; Steve Wei, Partner, Wei, Wei & LLP; Bhavik Patel and Sergey Shpiller, Vice Presidents of Operations, Doshi Diagnostic Imaging Group.

Ticket prices are $65 each and include networking, refreshments, breakfast, an awards ceremony and a raffle with proceeds benefiting a nonprofit organization.

To purchase tickets, expo tables, or inquire about sponsorship and participation opportunities, call 718-224-5863, Ext. 226 or e-mail mromero@queenscourier.com.

SAVE THE DATE: Kings of Queens Breakfast Awards & Networking event


| brennison@queenscourier.com


The Queens Courier will be honoring Comptroller John Liu as “King of Kings” and Matilda Cuomo as “Woman of the Year” at the fourth annual “Kings of Queens, a Champions’ Breakfast Awards & Networking event”, on Thursday, November 3 at 8:30 a.m. at Terrace on the Park.

For more information or for tickets, contact Maria Romero at 718-224-5863, ext 226.


Honoring the fallen at St. Michael’s


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

DSC_0315w

Equally as striking as the monument listing the names of the 343 firefighters that sacrificed their lives on September 11, 2001 are the bricks at its base with the names of the first responders from all emergency services that died as a result of working on “the pile.” As of now, the number of first responder deaths remains at 95, but there are plenty of bricks that will undoubtedly add to that number. The memorial service and dedication at St. Michael’s Cemetery honoring fallen firefighters, police and Port Authority officers brought together elected leaders, FDNY and NYPD officials, as well as families of those lost for an afternoon of grieving and a celebration of their lives. The event, on Saturday, September 24, began with an invocation by Father Christopher Keenan who read the Gettysburg Address followed by a statement by Congressmember Joe Crowley who commented on the two dozen young firefighters dressed in bunker gear who stood during the ceremony. “They’re taking up a job that has a legacy,” said Crowley. “Many believed that the fire department could never recover after the attack, but nothing could be more false . . . They have never forgotten those that have fallen.” Crowley also included an anecdote about his cousin John Moran, a Battalion Chief on Randall’s Island who died at the World Trade Center. “I’m sure each and every one of you can take out a moment about a son or daughter that you lost that day and look back and smile,” said Crowley. Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, one of the sponsors of the Zadroga Act – named for police officer James Zadroga who died of a respiratory disease attributed to toxins at Ground Zero – spoke to the long road the legislation took until enacted in January 2011. The act expands death benefits and monitored care for those who worked at the World Trade Center site. “Who would have thought it would have taken us seven years to pass the Zadroga Act?” asked Maloney. “This bill will save lives. We will not stop until we make sure that it continues to take care of the men and women who took care of us.” She continued to mention the beauty of the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site and urged those in attendance to take a trip downtown to see it. Also in attendance was Comptroller John Liu who helped fund the St. Michael’s 9/11 memorial, Former Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr., FDNY Chief Kevin Butler, PAPD Inspector Brian Sullivan, NYPD Chief Dianna Pizzutti as well as the PAPD Pipes and Drums, among other special guests. Former FDNY Chief Alexander Santora and his wife, Maureen who – along with Ed Horn of St. Michaels – were instrumental in erecting the memorial, spoke about the importance of remembering those, like their son, Christopher, who died on 9/11. After encouraging those in attendance to come back to see the additions to the bricks at the base of the memorial, the former chief summed up the feeling of many on hand: “They have one hell of a fire department up in heaven.”