Tag Archives: NY

Scam fam sent off to prison


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Scam fam sent off to prison

A seething Queens judge walloped three members of a crooked Richmond Hill family yesterday, sending them upstate to serve a combined 418 years for a brazen immigration and real-estate scam. The mom, dad and daughter — dubbed “The Ramsundar Gang” by Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder — paid a shocking price for defrauding 19 families of $1.8 million over six years. Holder said his harsh sentences are nothing compared to the street justice the Ramsundar family would have faced back in their native Trinidad. Read More: New York Post

Body of man found in garbage pile fire outside Furniture Zone store

A man’s charred body was discovered in a burning pile of garbage in Brooklyn Thursday morning, police said. Firefighters who were called to a blaze on Hendrickson Street in Marine Park shortly before 4 a.m. made the grisly discovery. The body, believed to be that of a white male, was lying on top of several boxes and had been burned beyond recognition, sources said. The fire erupted at the side of a Furniture Zone store in an area frequented by vagrants, according to a taxi stand manager who works in the area. Read More: Daily News

Queens Residents Brace For 7 Train Disruptions

It’s going to be a long winter for the several thousand western Queens residents who rely on the 7 train to get around town on the weekends come January 23. That’s when an 11-week service shutdown begins, which means no trains on Saturdays and Sundays until the spring. “This is not a neighborhood that has five different places where you can use instead. We’re very isolated there,” said Queens resident Moitri Savard. The MTA says the work is essential to make critical infrastructure improvements and upgrade tracks and switches. It also needs to clean the tracks of muck it says have accumulated over the years. Read More: NY1

Elevators in building where Manhattan ad exec died had numerous problems

Elevator problems were an epidemic at the building where a Manhattan ad executive died in a horrific accident last month, newly revealed Buildings Department records show. City inspectors wrote 11 violations against 13 elevators at 285 Madison Avenue in the immediate aftermath of the December 14 tragedy that killed Suzanne Hart, 41, the public records show. Investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the malfunction that killed the Brooklyn resident. The elevator that killed Hart so far has only been cited for a paperwork problem — it was among several elevators in the building that lacked a “certificate of compliance” with Buildings rules, the records show. Read More: New York Post

Pedestrian hit on FDR

A taxi passenger was struck by a minivan on the FDR last night after he impatiently hopped out of the cab in heavy traffic and darted across the roadway, police sources said. The unidentified victim was headed northbound near East 105th Street at around 11:30 p.m. when his cab hit congestion, the sources said. He left the vehicle and was struck in a southbound lane by a Toyota minivan. The victim was rushed to Metropolitan Hospital in unknown condition. Read More: New York Post

New arrests at Zuccotti

A gang of Occupy Wall Street protesters skulked back to the park yesterday, racking up three arrests. The 2:20 a.m. arrests came about seven hours after cops took down barricades that were erected when the group was evicted from the park on November 15. All three were charged with trespassing, and two were also hit with resisting arrest. Read More: New York Post

St. John’s loses to Marquette

For all the freshman mistakes and youthful inconsistency, St. John’s has played hard this season, rarely had its effort called into question. But last night it wasn’t so much questioned as flat-out criticized, the Red Storm folding in the second half of an 83-64 beating at the hands of No. 24 Marquette. The bowed heads and slumped shoulders and palpable frustration told the tale. The Red Storm (8-8, 2-3 Big East) have lost all six of their games against ranked teams, and with a chance at a breakthrough, what it got was a breakdown. It let Marquette shoot 67.7 percent to turn a second-half lead into a blowout loss. Read More: New York Post

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack

Police have arrested a yellow cab driver who they say raped a passenger at knifepoint in Brooklyn last spring, and sources say he may be charged with a second attack that took place in the fall. Gurmeet Singh, 40, of Queens was arrested on Monday and now faces charges including rape, robbery, assault and sex abuse. Police say Singh picked up a 26-year-old woman on May 6 in Williamsburg and allegedly attacked her in the back seat of the cab. The woman, who had been drinking and fell asleep in the cab, woke up during the assault and found she had a knife to her throat. She was then abandoned in Downtown Manhattan, where she contacted police. Read More: NY1

Mayor’s plan to limit booze sales

First, Mayor Bloomberg went after smoking in public places. Then trans-fats, salt and sugary drinks. Now Bloomberg — known for sipping fine wine and downing a cold beer from time to time — wants to crack down on alcohol sales to curb excessive drinking, according to a provocative planning document obtained by The Post. The city Health Department’s far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze. Community “transformation” grants provided under President Obama’s health-care law would help bankroll the effort. Read More: New York Post

JFK Terminal 4 expansion on schedule

After a smooth takeoff, the $1.2 billion project to expand a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIAT) is on track — with no foreseeable delays to its arrival destination date. Improvements to Terminal 4 — the Delta Airlines terminal, which officials say serves 10 million international passengers a year — have been underway for the past year. Upon completion in May 2013, fliers can expect to see a new mechanized baggage screening system — which officials say will expedite the process — a centralized security system on the terminal’s new fourth floor, as well as nine additional gates and a 1,500 linear foot passenger bridge to connect Terminals 2 and 4. Read More: Queens Courier

Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s $1.5M in ‘Blue’ gifts

What to get the baby that has everything — even more. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby girl, Blue, has been lavished with more than $1.5 million in gifts, from a golden rocking horse to a “fantasy” crib fit for Cinderella. Blue Ivy Carter — the music world’s smallest diva — left Lenox Hill Hospital yesterday in the arms of her famous parents for home, where she’ll enjoy the priciest swag this side of Buckingham Palace. When she gets bigger, baby Blue will rock on a solid-gold, handmade horse from Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka that Jay-Z bought for $600,000. Read More: New York Post

Sparano to replace Schottenheimer as Jets offensive coordinator

Jets fans won’t have offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to kick around anymore. The Jets announced last night Schottenheimer informed them he would not return for next season. It seems unlikely he would just walk away from the two years and $3.2 million left on his contract, so it appears the two sides worked out an agreement for him to walk away instead of getting fired. Former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, according to a source, will replace Schottenheimer.  Read More: New York Post

Genovese wiseguy Anthony Romanello lucks out, cops to gambling rap with feds 

A Genovese geezer hit the daily double Tuesday, pleading guilty to illegal gambling and winning permission from a federal judge to hang out with a mobbed-up pal who runs the famed Parkside Restaurant in Queens. Reputed capo Anthony (Rom) Romanello, 74, got lucky when a cooperating witness for the feds had a heart attack over the weekend while prosecutors were prepping him for the gangster’s trial, which was to begin this week. Read More: Daily News

Prosecutors and defense disclose plea talks in Jose Pimentel bomb plot case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Prosecutors and defense disclose plea talks in Jose Pimentel bomb plot case

Prosecutors and defense lawyers say they’re in plea negotiations in a rare state-level terror case against a New York City man. He’s charged with building a homemade bomb to try to attack soldiers, police and other government targets. The Manhattan district attorney’s office disclosed the plea talks during a court date Monday in Jose Pimentel’s case. Defense lawyer Lori Cohen says prosecutors haven’t made any firm offer yet. Pimentel didn’t have to appear for the brief session. He’s due back in court March 1. The 27-year-old is being held without bail on charges including weapons possession and conspiracy as terror crimes. Read More: New York Post

 

Man killed in Bx. shooting previously injured in August shootout

A gun-toting thug fatally shot a man in the Bronx yesterday, police said. The victim, Ricky Rodriguez-Recio, 20, was believed to be the intended target of a shooting in August that left a 2-year-old critically injured, sources said. The victim was outside of his home on East 181st Street in Bronx Park South at 6:17 p.m. when an unknown gunman opened fire striking him in the chest and hitting another man in the hand, cops said. Rodriguez-Recio was previously shot in the lower back on August 29 when Luis More, 23, opened fire at him, striking two children playing outside. Read More: New York Post

 

Report: Aqueduct Racino Pulled In $90M During Year’s Final Stretch

The money is reportedly flowing at the new Aqueduct racetrack casino in Queens. The Daily News says the racino brought in close to $90 million in revenue in November and December — more than five other gambling operations in New York made all last year. Only locations in Yonkers, Saratoga, and the Finger Lakes took in more money in 2011, but those are open year-round. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pinned Aqueduct’s success on the number of video slots, table games, and its proximity to the city. Read More: NY1

 

Trial on tap in Giants Stadium escalator accident

Opening arguments are under way in a trial brought by eight people who were injured when a Giants Stadium escalator malfunctioned four years. The trial started Monday in state Superior Court in Hackensack in a lawsuit brought against the company that maintained the escalator and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operated Giants Stadium. The escalator malfunctioned as fans were leaving a New York Giants game against the New England Patriots on Dec. 29, 2007. An attorney for the plaintiffs says one person lost a leg and another has had more than a dozen operations on his foot. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Blue Ivy Carter an instant Twitter sensation: Jay-Z and Beyonce’s baby garners celebrity attention

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s baby was trending on Twitter at birth. The social media site was aflutter Sunday with celebrity pals and relatives of the hip-hop royal couple posting messages of 140 characters or less. “The most beautiful girl in the world,” Beyoncé’s sis, Solange Knowles, tweeted of her newborn niece, Blue Ivy Carter. Within hours of entering the world at Lenox Hill Hospital on the upper East Side Saturday night, the infant boasting the lineage of the R&B princess and the rap impresario caused a stir in the Twittersphere. Read More: Daily News

 

No Pants Subway Ride hits New York City for 11th year 

It’s like commuting, but without the pants. Straphangers throughout New York City nonchalantly stripped to their underwear from the waist down Sunday afternoon as part of a global practical joke coordinated by prankster outfit Improv Everywhere. To participate in the 11th annual No Pants Subway Ride, the only requirements were people had to be “willing to take pants off on subway” and “able to keep a straight face about it,” organizers said in a post on their website. Read More: Daily News

 

Trial begins in murder of Laura Garza, young Brooklyn woman who went missing from a Manhattan nightclub  

A murder trial is getting under way for a registered sex offender accused of murdering an aspiring dancer from Texas whose body was found in Pennsylvania more than a year after she went missing in New York. Jury selection is set to begin Monday in Orange County Court in the murder trial of Michael Mele of Wallkill. The victim, Laura Garza, met Mele at a Manhattan nightclub in December 2008 and disappeared afterward. Her body was found in April 2010 near Scranton, Pa. Garza had moved to Brooklyn from McAllen, Texas, five months before her disappearance. Read More: Daily News

 

Long Island police investigate swastika drawn on garage door in Sea Cliff

Long Island cops are hunting the vandals who drew a swastika on a garage door in Sea Cliff. Nassau County police say the 63-year-old resident of the home discovered the Nazi symbol over the weekend. Police say it was drawn in black marker sometime between between 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. The incident is being investigated as aggravated harassment. Police say a school, park and three homes were the targets of similar vandalism in Sea Cliff between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Release Photo Of Suspected Bronx Subway Groper

Police in the Bronx are looking for a man they say groped a woman on the subway. The incident happened around 7:30 p.m. on the evening of December 14 at the East Kingsbridge Road and Grand Concourse station on the D line. Police say a 25-year-old woman was walking up the stairs when a man approached from behind, lifted her dress and touched her backside. Read More: NY1

 

Jackson Heights bank robbed


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jackson Heights bank robbed

A gunman dressed in a brown UPS uniform took a female bank employee hostage as he held up a Queens branch yesterday, authorities said. The man walked into the Sovereign branch on 31st Avenue in Jackson Heights at 9:40 a.m., pressed the barrel a silver revolver into the back of the bank employee, and demanded $20,000 in large bills, said the FBI. The bandit received cash from multiple bank tellers and fled on foot with several thousand dollars. The man is in his early 30s, stands about 5-foot-7 and has a beard and dark skin, according to the FBI. Read More: New York Post

 

LaGuardia trash-smash tussle in court

Government lawyers yesterday tried to convince a federal appeals court that the city’s plan to build a trash transfer station near La Guardia Airport follows aviation-safety rules. The building will be sealed so as not to attract plane-endangering birds, said Justice Department lawyer Abby Wright. “All the trash processing occurs inside the building,” said Wright, and opponents’ claims that the building isn’t enclosed are “baseless.” A bird-plane collision was blamed for the Hudson River ditching of US Airways Flight 1547 two years ago. Read More: New York Post

 

Challenges Persist As Liu Continues Down The Campaign Trail

City Comptroller John Liu is working nonstop lately, moving from Brooklyn Borough Hall through Sunset Park and Sunnyside to a Democratic club in Flushing. On Friday, he visited the Three Kings Day Parade in East Harlem. Despite a federal investigation into his campaign account, Liu is not quitting the campaign trail.  “My primary focus as comptroller has been rooting out waste, find money that has been improperly kept or spent,” said Liu. But in November, a Liu fundraiser was accused of setting up straw donors to get over-the-limit contributions to the comptroller.  Read More: NY1

 

 

NYPD cop suspended after getting hauled off bus for alleged drunkenness

An NYPD sergeant who was hauled off a Greyhound bus in Philadelphia for alleged drunkenness has now been suspended, the Daily News has learned. Sgt. Carlos Fabara became an accidental YouTube star Dec. 27 when he refused the driver’s orders to get off the bus. Philadelphia police came to assist in removing the off-duty sergeant, who was lead away in handcuffs. A fellow passenger caught the altercation on tape and posted it to YouTube. Read More: Daily News

 

Cop’s legs crushed

A plainclothes cop’s legs were mangled last night in a horrific accident that left him pinned at the knees between two vehicles during a traffic stop in Brooklyn. The unidentified detective had pulled over a black vehicle with four men inside and was standing behind the car when a white van rammed into him, crushing his legs and leaving pools of blood in the street. “It looked real bad,” said Manny Mora, 42, owner of John Deli on the corner of Dorchester Road and Coney Island Avenue in Flatbush. Mora said he heard a loud sound from outside around 10:30 p.m. When he looked out, he saw the officer pinned between the bumper of a white van and the car the cop pulled over. Read More: New York Post

 

Day-care outrage

A high-ranking FDNY safety inspector ignored safety violations at buildings housing day-care centers in exchange for bribes, the feds said yesterday. Carlos Montoya — who formerly oversaw inspections of all city day-care centers — was arrested yesterday for the alleged misconduct, which included repeatedly certifying use of a Brooklyn warehouse for the temporary care of infants and children younger than 2. He allegedly got at least $12,000 in payments from the center’s owner, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and is cooperating with the feds. Read More: New York Post

 

Granny horror retrial

Her first jury found her guilty of homicide. But now Lynette Caban, a lead-footed driver with a suspended license who struck and killed a grandmother in 2003, is getting a chance to beat the rap, thanks to a momentary mistake six years ago by a now-retired Manhattan judge. Caban is once again facing charges of criminal negligence for driving backward against a light through a Third Avenue crosswalk, catapulting sweet, 82-year-old Francesca Maytin to her death. Her case has bounced between two appeals courts, ultimately being set down for retrial due to errors committed by former Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Budd Goodman during the original deliberations. Read More: New York Post

Politics Aside: Are NYC’s gun laws unconstitutional?


| RHornak@queenscourier.com

After years of complaints by all but the most ardent anti-gun activists, New York City’s insanely strict gun laws are finally being exposed for the unconstitutional mess they are after two separate incidents in December in which tourists, with all the proper permits from their home states, were arrested for possessing firearms.

In the first case, a man visiting from California was boarding a plane at LaGuardia and traveling with a legally-licensed gun that was being transported according to federal aviation law. When he declared the gun that was in his checked baggage, he was arrested for illegally carrying a firearm in NYC.

A week later, a woman visiting from Tennessee, with a legal carry permit from her home state, was arrested while visiting the 9/11 memorial. Upon seeing a sign that said “no guns allowed” she approached a police officer to inquire where she could check the .32 caliber pistol she carried in her purse.

Both of them are facing the possibility of serious jail time, stiff fines and huge legal bills, even while making every effort to comply with the law as understood. This is so clearly an egregious application of our overly restrictive gun laws that even Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver has called for leniency and a review of NY’s gun laws to make sure they make sense. When NY’s biggest industry is tourism, we can’t jeopardize our standing as one of the nation’s top attractions.

Putting aside the constitutional issues for a moment, we should have reciprocity with the other 49 states for visiting gun owners. We have reciprocity in dozens of other areas that are not even rights, but privileges. In NY, we recognize drivers’ licenses from any state, marriage contracts (including same- sex marriages), and all sort of other arrangements. Imagine if we arrested people driving through the state for not getting a license here, or if we refused to allow a spouse to visit their loved one in the hospital because we refused to recognize a marriage contract from another state.

That is the equivalent of what we do in NY. In fact, NYC’s laws are so much more restrictive than those even at the state level, that a hunter living on Long Island could be arrested while driving upstate with his rifles to go hunting.

We need to remember that the right to own a gun is protected by the constitution. The idea that every visitor should understand NY’s byzantine and oppressive gun laws is ludicrous. We should respect those that want to exercise their second amendment rights while making every effort to comply with basic, common sense gun laws. That includes for NY citizens as well, but that is another issue.

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

Liu in FBI cross hairs


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Liu in FBI cross hairs

A federal probe into the campaign fund-raising operations for city Comptroller John Liu is now focused on the candidate himself, The Post has learned. “If campaign-finance rules are being circumvented or violated, there’s certainly a question whether the candidate himself knew about it or was a party to it,” one law-enforcement source said. “Did [Liu] know, and what was his role?” The FBI last month charged Liu moneyman Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan with steering $16,000 to Liu’s campaign through “straw donors” to hide massive contributions made on behalf of an out-of-state businessman who actually was an undercover federal agent. Read More: New York Post

New York bars ready for Jets-Giants game

It’s on! Football fans will pack bars around the city to watch the Jets-Giants battle at the Meadowlands tomorrow — and the watering holes are breaking out all the bells and whistles for the pre-Christmas crowds. Special drinks, free booze and lavish spreads will be at the ready for the throngs expected to take a break from their holiday shopping to root for their teams. Read More: New York Post

Santa brings early holiday joy to kids at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children 

Santa made an early visit to the kids at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside last week with the help of New York’s Bravest. Firefighters from Engine 320/Ladder 167 used their rig to help Santa descend from the roof and visit with dozens of children who are battling serious illnesses. Continuing a tradition started over 15 years ago, the firefighters also brought a van-load of gifts that ranged from toys and dolls to cameras, radios and electronic games. Read More: Daily News

2011 Crime Statistics Show Slight Decrease In Murders

The New York City Police Department’s data show major crimes like murder, rape, and robbery are up by .2 percent through December 18 this year compared to the same period last year. There have been 519 murders this year through December 18, a drop of 5.6 percent compared to almost the same time period last year. The Bronx was the only borough to see a slight increase in murders. Read More: NY1

Police Seek Suspect Who Allegedly Robbed Queens Livery Driver

Police need help finding the person who they say robbed a livery cab driver Saturday morning near 93rd Avenue and 112th Street in Richmond Hill, Queens. They say the man seen in the above photographs placed the 59-year-old cab driver in a headlock, causing the victim to crash into a fence. Investigators say he then stole money from the victim’s bag and ran off. He is described as approximately 25-years-old, 5-feet-7-inches tall, and 170 pounds. Read More: NY1

Queens killer who tore out woman’s heart and lungs gets sentenced up to 29 years


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens killer who tore out woman’s heart and lungs gets sentenced up to 29 years

A depraved killer who beat and choked a Queens woman to death before carving out her heart and lungs was sentenced to up to 29 years in prison Wednesday. Huang Chen, dressed in a lime-green jail jumpsuit, turned down Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter when asked if he had anything to say. Buchter wasn’t as reticent.The judge faulted the justice system for failing to protect Qian Wu, 46, after she took out six restraining orders against Chen, following repeated episodes of harassment. Read More: Daily News

Safe Space in Jamaica to expand services for LGBT youth in southeast Queens

A safe haven for hundreds of lesbian and gay youth in Queens will reach more students thanks to a new grant. Safe Space NYC, a nonprofit group that works with southeast Queens youth, is adding two new full-time staff members and expanding its clinical services for LGBT youth with support from a one-year grant of $120,000. “LGBT young people are in this community and they need community support,” said Cassie Aguilera, an outreach coordinator for Safe Space. “They come here because they feel they can be themselves.” The financial boost comes from the New York Community Trust, which has helped fund the Safe Space for decades. The grant supports a new youth specialist and a new social worker. Read More: Daily News

Suspects sought for a dozen robberies in Long Island City

Police are seeking a man and woman wanted in connection with 12 robberies — 11 of which have occurred over the past month. Most of the incidents have occurred between the morning and evening — during school and work hours — with the thieves entering through a window or door. Read More: Queens Courier

Hail, yea! Pols reach deal to bring street hails to outer boroughs

After months of negotiations and gridlock, the street hail bill finally received the green light. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday, December 20 an agreement had been reached to bring street hails to all five boroughs. The deal came just one day before the Wednesday, December 21 deadline. Read More: Queens Courier

NY man charged with attempted murder of NYPD cops

A New York City man suspected of firing at two police officers while wearing a disguise has been charged with attempted murder. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 53-year-old Antonio Olmeda opened fire on two patrolmen as they tried to question him on December 2. They were uninjured. Prosecutors say Olmeda was wearing a trench coat, fedora, fake beard and glasses at the time. He refused to take his hands out of his pockets when asked by officers, and instead pulled out a gun and fired twice. He fled, shedding his disguise. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s wife gives birth to baby boy

After a year filled with ridicule and scandal, disgraced former Congressmember Anthony Weiner finally has something he can feel proud about — a new baby boy. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, gave birth to the wee Democrat yesterday, 10 days before the New Year’s Eve due date, The Post has learned. Jordan Zane Weiner checked in at just over 7 pounds, a source said. The Post first reported in September that the couple was having a boy, months after Weiner’s political career crashed and burned in an embarrassing sexting scandal that forced him to resign from Congress. Read More: New York Post

Korean NYers Say Leader’s Death Presents New Worries, Hope

As news of Kim Jong Il’s death continues to spread, all eyes in New York’s Korean-American community are fixed on the peninsula. Read More & Watch the Video: NY1

Heroes back in New York City

They’ve traded Baghdad for Bayside. A cheery and teary group of reserve soldiers finally made it back to New York yesterday, ending their service in Iraq safe and sound. “I’ve been away for almost a year, and I’m so excited to be back with my family for Christmas and New Year’s,” said Sgt. Waseefa Baksh, 22, of Queens. “We were in Bahgdad for 11 months,” said Baksh, as she and other members of the 316th Sustainment Command were discharged at Fort Totten in Bayside. Read More: New York Post

Slay-suicide horror in Maspeth


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Slay-suicide horror in Maspeth

A woman died yesterday after her boyfriend slashed her throat in their Maspeth apartment, stabbed her stepson, then jumped in front of an LIRR train, authorities said. Maureen Biermann, 43, died at Wyckoff Heights Hospital. Her attacker, James Peck, 33, died on the tracks. Biermann’s stepson, 22, was in stable condition. Read More: Daily News

No deals for cop ‘killers

Brooklyn’s top prosecutor yesterday said he won’t even think about cutting plea deals with the five thugs accused of murdering cop Peter Figoski. “There will be a trial,” District Attorney Charles Hynes vowed. “We want the public to understand that the murder of a police officer is as serious as any crime we’ve ever had. In cases like this, there’s no indication of a plea deal — ever.” Read More: New York Post

Queens pair sentenced in Virginia for bank fraud

Two New York residents have been sentenced in Virginia for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently tap into home equity lines of credit and credit card accounts. U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride says 41-year old Joan Marsh of Queens was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison. Thirty-year-old Ayodele Adewale Onasanya of Queens was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison. A federal jury convicted Marsh in September on a dozen conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering counts. Onasanya pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  Read More: Wall Street Journal

A mission born from a cause

Fifteen-year-old Carly Rose Nieves is turning ordinary people into heroes, one pint of blood at a time. For the second year in a row, the Middle Village teen — and her team of family members and friends — organized a blood drive and bone marrow registry at Christ the King (CTK) Regional High School. The December 17 event brought in 75 pints of blood and 10 new bone marrow donors for the New York Blood Center. Read More: Queens Courier

After Resigning, Tearful Senator Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes

In the annals of municipal corruption in New York City, the themes of graft, greed and betrayal have been familiar running mates from one century to the next, accompanying the fall of the Tammany boss William Tweed in the 1870s, the resignation of the popular mayor James J. Walker in 1932, and the bribes, appetites and suicide of Donald R. Manes, a former Queens borough president, in 1986. But the denouement of the political career of State Senator Carl Kruger, who pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges on Tuesday, goes beyond that story line, encompassing tales of romance and perhaps even sacrifice, and laying bare one of the more bizarre domestic tableaux — even by New York standards — ever uncovered by F.B.I. wiretaps. Read More: New York Times

Aqueduct racino construction workers exposed to hazards including lead, feds say

Construction workers toiled virtually around the clock to get Queens’ glitzy gaming hub operational, but federal officials are now charging that contractors cut corners when it came to safety. Five companies skirted regulations during construction of the Aqueduct racino this summer and exposed employees to hazardous conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Monday. Read More: Daily News

Five Remaining MLB Free Agents Who Can Help the New York Mets: Fan’s Take

The New York Mets need all the help they can get. Unfortunately, they aren’t willing to pay much to get it. All indications are that the financially-challenged Mets will stay away from free agent solutions for 2012 as they look to cut payroll. However, these five overlooked free agents may come at a discount, tempting Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to give them a call. It may be worth it. Read More: Yahoo Sports

Deal Struck to Broaden Taxi Service in the City

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo struck a deal with the Bloomberg administration on Tuesday that would expand taxi service in New York by allowing livery cabs to be hailed on the street in parts of the city traditionally underserved by yellow cabs. The agreement, which Cuomo is poised to sign into law on Wednesday and which ends months of fractious negotiations, would also create 2,000 more wheelchair-accessible yellow cabs. The auction of those medallions is expected to raise at least $1 billion for the city. Read More: New York Times

Man shot in Queens while sitting in car, then drives it into house in Jamaica


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man shot in Queens while sitting in car, then drives it into house in Jamaica 

A 50-year-old man was shot while he was sitting in his car Monday and then drove it into a Queens house three blocks away, cops said. The man, whose name was not released, was in the driver’s seat of a Nissan Altima at 172nd St. and Hillside Ave. when he was blasted in the groin around 5:40 p.m., police and fire officials said. He then started driving and slammed the sedan into a house on a residential Jamaica street at the corner of 171st St. and 89th Ave. Read More: Daily News

 

Arrest made in attempted shooting of officers

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of Antonio Olmeda, age 53 of  Manhattan, in the attempted shooting of two New York City police officers on December 2nd in Jackson Heights, Queens. “Our officers miraculously escaped injury when their assailant fired at extremely close range, narrowly missing them,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Olmeda’s arrest was bittersweet in that it came this morning as the family of Police Officer Peter Figoski prepared for his funeral.” Read More: Queens Courier

 

Suspect cleared amid cop’s lie

A Queens man was acquitted of gun charges yesterday — after prosecutors admitted they withheld evidence involving phony police testimony. Prosecutors told jurors that Deon Davis, 21, placed a loaded weapon on the ground in front of a cop, then escaped by squeezing through a fence, only to be nabbed a few blocks away. They didn’t say arresting Officer Ronald Martiny had admitted to the prosecution that his description of the alleged escape wasn’t true, that there was no fence. Not only did prosecutors fail to mention the “mistake” to the defense, but when Martiny took the stand, he repeated the lie. Read More: New York Post
Trash Can Tickets In Queens

A Queens man is very upset after trying to put his trash out for collection and ending up with a ticket. He, and others, are getting snared in an enforcement of a law that few people even know exists. The scrooge award goes to the New York City Sanitation Department for the $100 tickets. Read More: Fox News

Smart Move: Cornell University coming to Roosevelt Island

Just days after the upstate Ivy League school received a $350 million gift from an anonymous donor, Cornell University was selected as the winning bid to bring an applied science school to the city. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cornell University President David Skorton and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie announced a partnership on Monday, December 19 to build a two-million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island as part of the Applied Sciences NYC initiative. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Francisco Signs Amazin’ $12 Million Deal

Pitching reliever Frank Francisco has signed a $12 million, two-year deal to play with the New York Mets. Francisco played 54 games with the Toronto Blue Jays last season with 17 saves on the mound. The 32-year-old right-hander has 368 strikeouts in his seven year career with Toronto and Texas. Read More: NY1

Queens Community Board Renews Push For High Line-Style Park

An effort is now under way to bring a park similar to Manhattan’s High Line to a stretch of the old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. Read More: NY1

Queens judge’s landmark decision in Howard Beach case still reverberates today

Critics said this Queens judge was setting the Constitution back 200 years. One lawyer wondered if an infamous Nazi war criminal was on trial whether Jews would be allowed to sit in judgment. “If you were Adolf Eichmann, would you want a Jew on the jury?” lawyer Ronald Rubinstein observed. Little did they know that Justice Thomas Demakos — by insuring black participation on the Howard Beach jury — had a clear view of the future. Read More: Daily News

55 gang members busted in $2M ID theft ring involving Jewish charity


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

55 gang members busted in $2M ID theft ring involving Jewish charity

Over 50 gang members have been busted for running an identity theft ring that targeted people who’d given to charity, prosecutors announced today. The Manhattan DA’s office said 55 members of the Bloods, Crips and Outlaws were arraigned after taking part in a check scam. Prosecutors said a worker at the United Jewish Appeal, which is based in Midtown, would photocopy checks the charity received from donors. The employee, Tracy Nelson, allegedly sold the checks to the gang members, who then assumed the identities of those who had donated money. As part of the same ID theft ring, prosecutors said they had also arrested three JP Morgan Chase tellers, a worker at TD Bank and a US postal worker. Read More: New York Post

 

In stunner, Stanford yanks tech-campus bid

After months of pressing its case to open a tech campus in the city, Stanford University abruptly pulled out of the competition Friday. In a statement, Stanford President John Hennessy said, “after several weeks of negotiations with New York City, university leaders and the Stanford Board of Trustees have determined that it would not be in the best interests of the university to continue to pursue the opportunity.” Read More: Crain’s New York

 

The Courier plays Santa for South Queens Boys & Girls Club

The Queens Courier got a sneak peek of what Christmas morning would be like for the youngsters of the South Queens Boys & Girls Club (SQBGC). On Thursday, December 15, Courier reporters — playing Santa and his Christmas elves — distributed hundreds of toys to the club’s underprivileged kids. Read More: Queens Courier

 

DOB Investigates Chelsea Scaffold Collapse

An investigation has been launched after a construction scaffold collapsed onto a busy Manhattan sidewalk during Friday’s morning rush. It happened around 8 a.m. on 14th Street near Seventh Avenue in Chelsea. No one was hurt. “The doorman called up and said we need to evacuate. He didn’t say why. We just looked outside and saw all of the fire trucks and ambulances, so I came down and saw the scaffolding had collapsed,” said one building resident. Read More: NY1

 

Two Missing NJ Girls Found Safe Upstate

Police have tracked down two young New Jersey girls who were the subject of an AMBER Alert earlier this morning. Investigators say Emma Trapp, 5, and her 20-month-old sister Sophia were found unharmed at a motel near Bear Mountain in Orange County. The kids are in the custody right now of the New York State police. Old Bridge police officers and officers, investigators from the Middlesex County prosecutors office are up there right now as well as I understand the FBI,” said Captain Robert Weiss of the Old Bridge Police Department. The girls’ father, Anthony Trapp, 39, was found dead of an apparent suicide inside one of the motel’s rooms. Read More: NY1

 

Bloomberg invites DC lawmakers to attend slain cop’s funeral to highlight illegal gun sales

 

If it were up to him, members of Congress would be attending the funeral of police Officer Peter Figoski to see for themselves the havoc wreaked when an illegal gun falls into the hands of a career criminal. Bloomberg got to discussing illegal weapons in a response to a Tweet on his radio show this morning from a listener asking why the city was wasting so much time pushing for stricter federal gun controls. Read More: Daily News

Queens Teacher Charged With Raping 13-Year-Old Student


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens Teacher Charged With Raping 13-Year-Old Student

A Queens teacher is facing charges including rape after authorities say he had an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old student. Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon says Charles Oross, 44, a teacher at IS 238, had a sexual relationship with the girl while she attended the school in 2009. Officials say the two also exchanged inappropriate emails and Facebook communications. Oross was removed from the school last month. Read More: NY1

 

Boyfriend of Young & Rubicam elevator victim Suzanne Hart calls her ‘bright spot’ 


The heartbroken boyfriend of elevator accident victim Suzanne Hart said Thursday “she was the bright spot in my life.” “I don’t have the words for this,” Chris Dickson said outside the couple’s Brooklyn Heights home. “I can’t process this.” Dickson, who said he and Hart “were together for five-and-a-half years,” was with her father, Alex Hart, and step-mother, Mary, when he spoke. Read More: New York Post

 

Man Accused Of Beating Jets Fan Faces New Charges

Charges were upgraded Wednesday against the man accused of attacking a Jets fan after Sunday’s game. Merle Lee, 35, is now being charged with aggravated assault. He was previously charged with simple assault. Police say Lee punched James Mohr of Queens in the face after an argument ended with a group of men. Mohr, 23, has been taken out of intensive care and is listed in fair condition. Investigators say the dispute wasn’t about the game. Read More: NY1

 

One last spin for land marking Forest Park Carousel

Forest Park Carousel is getting one more spin at landmark status. Area residents and leaders hope to have the historic local landmark officially recognized as one by the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The carousel — which last spun in 2008 — is currently being reviewed by the commission to see whether it meets the eligibility for landmarking. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Courier Exclusive – What Would Judy Say?™ – Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Read: Queens Courier

 

Facebook Timeline now available to all users

Facebook’s 800 million users can now access the site’s Timeline feature, which turns their profile pages into a virtual scrapbook of big photos, memorable posts and life events. For many users, turning on Timeline will likely serve as a trip down memory lane as they rediscover photos and updates they shared months and years ago. All that’s been stored on Facebook. Read More: New York Post

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

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

4 Accused in Theft of Aid Meant for Nonprofit

In 2006, a Queens state senator, Shirley L. Huntley, set up a nonprofit group called Parent Workshop that was intended to help parents navigate the inner workings of New York City’s school system. Then she began funneling state aid to the group, whose executives had close ties to her. But the money never helped a single family in the school system, prosecutors said Wednesday. They said four people with ties to Parent Workshop were involved in the theft of nearly $30,000 in state aid that Ms. Huntley had secured. Read More: New York Times

 

[UPDATE] Cops hunt Long Island City rape suspects

Police are looking for three suspects in connection with the ambush and rape of a woman in Long Island City. According to police, the 20-year-old victim — who is from the neighborhood — was walking along Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in L.I.C. at approximately 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 4 when she was grabbed by two of the suspects and dragged to a nearby parking lot. There, she was held down between parked cars and raped by a third man. Read More: Queens Courier

 

What Would Judy Say?

Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Kids meet former Mets’ hurler John Franco

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Santana stood in line wearing an oversized striped Mets jersey, clutching a cobalt blue baseball cap. He bobbed excitedly as the line grew shorter, anticipating his turn. When he reached the front of the line, he thrust the cap at former Mets relief pitcher John Franco, who scribbled his signature in black Sharpie marker across the brim. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Riders on the Q111 bus uneasy about their safety after fatal shooting 

Rattled riders on the Queens bus line where a gunman shot two passengers last week said they are scared that violence may erupt again. After Demel Burton, 34, went on a shooting spree on the Q111 on Friday, straphangers said it underscored the fact that bus drivers can’t protect them. Read More: Daily News

Alec Baldwin apologizes to American Airlines passengers for plane outburst, but not to flight attendant

 

Actor Alec Baldwin apologized Wednesday to fellow passengers for the cell phone inspired tirade that got him bounced from an American Airlines flight. But the Hollywood hothead remains enraged with airline staff. “I learned a valuable lesson,” he said in a Huffington Post article. “I’ve learned to keep my phone off when the 1950s gym teacher is on duty.” Baldwin claimed that the incident was triggered after “one employee singled me out to put my phone away” while the delayed flight was waiting at the gate. Read More: Daily News

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash

An allegedly boozed-up driver was arrested after he slammed into two cars in Queens yesterday, killing a 21-year-old man, cops said. Curtis Dean, 25, was cruising south in an Infiniti on 201st Street in St. Albans when he smashed into a Ford sedan just after 5 a.m., sending the Ford into a resident’s yard, cops said.Three victims were taken to Jamaica Hospital, including a passenger in the Ford who died there. Dean also allegedly plowed into a parked SUV. He was hit with a slew of charges, including manslaughter and DWI. Read More: New York Post

 

Remembering John Lennon: On the Anniversary of His Death, 5 Iconic Moments (Video) via the Hollywood Reporter

Department of Transportation To Investigate Dangerous Queens Intersection

It’s almost like a game of chicken. Drivers speed through the stop sign on Vleigh Place in an attempt to beat cars with the right of way on 72nd Avenue. And while most make it through the intersection without a problem, neighborhood residents say they have witnessed a lot of accidents. “There have been about four accidents in the past maybe month and a half. People fly past the stop sign like it doesn’t exist,” said one resident. Read More: NY1

Long Island City Residents Urged To Stay Alert After Parking Lot Attack

Police say a woman in Queens was attacked by three men and raped earlier this week, and now residents and local leaders are urging others to stay alert. Watch the Video: NY1

Atomic Bomb Survivors Visit Flushing International High School

Survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings visited the Flushing International High School to speak with students Wednesday. Watch the Video: NY1

Lame defense: Graffiti suspect: I’m crippled

An ex-cop standing trial on charges that he had revived his youthful graffiti-vandal compulsion was walking with a limp and appeared to be incapable of the dexterity required for the avocation, the arresting officer testified yesterday. Steven Weinberg admits that he once was the infamous “Neo” who, during the height of the city’s 1980s graffiti scourge, “bombed” trains and trestles with his bubble-lettered signature. But his lawyer, Patrick Broderick, said Weinberg, with an injured leg, couldn’t possibly make the climb required recently to spray-paint his tag on an overpass. Read More: New York Post

 

Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men

Cops are hunting for a group of men they say raped a woman on a dark Queens street early Sunday. The 20-year-old woman was walking near Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in Hunters Point when two men grabbed her and dragged her into a parking lot at about 3:45 a.m., police said. As the two suspects held her down between two cars, a third man — who is in his late 20s and about 5-foot-10 with blond hair and blue eyes — raped her, cops said.  Read More: Daily News

Queens rape victim was falsely imprisoned for robberies; now she sues city cops for falling for her attacker’s story

A QUEENS rape victim who was locked up for robberies she didn’t commit is suing city and Long Island cops for falling for her attacker’s “preposterous hoax” of a revenge plot. In a federal lawsuit, Seemona Sumasar claims NYPD cops protected her attacker, Jerry Ramrattan, because he was secretly funneling them information about other crimes while working as an informant. Read More: Daily News

Parents and officials say Department of Education has turned back on Jamaica High School

Even though the Department of Education’s (DOE) decision to close Jamaica High School was finalized in February, current students are still hoping for a quality education. Currently in the process of being phased out, Jamaica High School no longer accepts new students and is expected to close its doors for good in 2014. Read More: Queens Courier

At Top Public Schools, the Arts Replace Recess

All of this concentrated learning — activities parents commonly think of as enrichment — was taking place not after school hours, but during recess, the once-unstructured midday break that for some elementary school students is slowly being squeezed out of the day. Jump rope, freeze tag and the jungle gym have some new competition. At some of the city’s highest-rated public elementary schools, recess is now being seen by parents and educators as a time to pack in extra learning. Read More: New York Times

Giants, Mets Trade: New York Trades Angel Pagan To San Francisco For Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez

Walking across the hotel lobby, New York Mets manager Terry Collins smiled. “We rebuilt our bullpen in one day,” he said. In a rapid-fire series of moves at the winter meetings that took 1 1/2 days to put together and 1 1/2 hours to finalize, the Mets agreed to trade center fielder Angel Pagan to San Francisco for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez, and reached agreements with free-agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Read More: Huffington Post

Ex-corrections officer acquitted of attempted murder charges in Queens

A former correction officer who was facing up to 25 years in prison for shooting two men outside of a Queens bowling alley was acquitted of double attempted murder and assault charges. “His defense was one of self-defense,” said Michael Lavecchio’s trial attorney, Stephen Worth, after a jury cleared his client of all charges on Monday night. Lavecchio, 55, was working as a security guard at the AMF bowling alley on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights on February 6, 2010 when he asked Justin Donaghy and Gerard Hourigan to leave the building.  Read More: New York Post

MTA forgot about stranded blizzard train

The MTA’s subway boss admitted yesterday that transit officials got so overwhelmed during last year’s Christmas-time blizzard they “forgot” about an A train stuck on the tracks for nine agonizing hours with 500 passengers on board. Read More: New York Post

Fiancee of Sean Bell urges NYPD Chief Ray Kelly to fire officers in beau’s shooting death


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Fiancee of Sean Bell urges NYPD Chief Ray Kelly to fire officers in beau’s shooting death

Sean Bell’s fiancée Thursday urged the city’s top cop to sack all five officers who fired in the shooting frenzy that killed her beau on their wedding day in 2006. Nicole Paultre-Bell made the demand of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly after an NYPD trials commissioner recommended Tuesday that one of the cops, Detective Gescard Isnora, be booted from the force for violating department protocol while undercover and firing the first shot in the 50-shot barrage. Read More: Daily News

Mayor Michael Bloomberg breaks ground on Willets Point redevelopment 

Mayor Bloomberg broke ground Thursday on a controversial redevelopment that he vowed will transform gritty Willets Point into “a major engine for economic growth.” Bloomberg unearthed dirt with a slew of elected officials just steps from the mix of auto body shops and junkyards that abuts Citi Field. Read More: Daily News

Enter The Courier’s Giveaway of the Day Contest

The holidays are in full swing and in keeping with the spirit of the season of giving The Queens Courier is handing out free prizes daily. Today, four tickets to the North Shore Towers Cinema will be raffled off.  All you need to enter is an email address and your zip code. Click here to enter the contest. Check back daily as new prizes will be offered each day.  Yesterday, Robert Vasquez took home two tickets to the St. John’s Red Storm. Via Queens Courier

21 charged in scheme to defraud NY car dealerships

Members of a New York City auto crime ring busted this week bribed people into applying for expensive automobile loans for Cadillacs, Porsches and other luxury cars, then defaulted on millions of dollars and sold the cars on the black market. One of the 50 cars wrongly procured, a Porsche, was used to dump the body of one of two victims shot in 2009 inside the Long Island condo belonging to pro football player Jonathan Vilma, authorities said. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Disgraced former New York Controller Alan Hevesi will keep rotting in prison as parole board turns him down

 

Disgraced former state Controller Alan Hevesi was denied his first attempt at parole Thursday and will spend at least another year behind bars, the Daily News has learned. The once powerful Queens Democrat is serving a one-to-four year sentence at medium-security Mid-Hudson Correctional Facility in Oneida County for his role in a massive pay-to-play pension fund scandal during his tenure as state controller. Read More: Daily News

Alexander’s Secures $275M Refinancing of Rego Park II in Queens

 

Alexander’s, Inc. has completed a $275 million refinancing of its 610,000 square foot Rego Park II shopping center located in Queens. The seven-year loan bears interest at LIBOR plus 1.85 percent and amortizes based on a 30-year schedule. The proceeds of the new loan were used to repay the existing loan on the property. Alexander’s, Inc. is a real estate investment trust that has seven properties in the greater New York City metropolitan area. Read More: CityBizList