Tag Archives: racino

Gaming can be a royal flush for the state


| editorial@queenscourier.com

By James Featherstonhaugh

President of the New York Gaming Association

New York State has been in the gambling business for decades. But for the first time in our state’s history, lawmakers in Albany are acknowledging that reality, and have started a process to take advantage of it for the benefit of all New Yorkers and especially Queens residents.

While we’re still a long way from a constitutional amendment that will legalize enhanced gaming, including table games, Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers should be commended for taking the first step. They passed amendment legislation that puts us on a path to create thousands of jobs for New Yorkers and keep billions of dollars currently being spent elsewhere right here in the Empire State.

Albany needs to pass the amendment a second time next year, and then it goes to voters on the ballot. New York does gaming the right way. We have a unique public/private partnership between the state and our nine racetrack casinos spread across New York – including Resorts World in Queens – that is the envy of other states.

Gaming venues are sensibly located, thoughtfully regulated, and operated in a socially responsible, economically reliable way that promotes everyone’s interests. Because of this, New York leads the nation in gaming revenue. But we could do much better. Currently, we lose up to $5 billion annually in gaming revenue to surrounding states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and soon, Massachusetts. These dollars are lost primarily because racetrack casinos are arbitrarily limited by our Constitution and cannot have the kinds of games you can play in other states.

For example, in New York you can play roulette, but only if the ball is rolled electronically and not by a real person. That is a distinction without a difference, and one that is currently costing us billions of dollars and thousands of jobs every year.

Consider the positive impact Resorts World has already had in Queens, where 1,500 people have been hired, and the casino has poured more than $105,000,000 into the state coffers for education. With enhanced gaming, those numbers will only go up.

There are still a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved. But the members of the New York Gaming Association have proven track records of generating millions for the state and being among the largest employers in their regions.

The public should be excited that New York is implementing gambling in the most socially responsible and fiscally reliable way, so that we can reap the maximum benefit from casino gaming.

 

New York’s first full gaming legislature passed


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

Full casino gaming could be in the cards for NYS, as the first round of legislation, in favor of expanding the state’s regulations, was passed by both houses.

Senator Joseph Addabbo, a member of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, released a statement following the announcement of the legislature’s passing. Although Addabbo was absent for this process on protest, he supported the passage of New York State Gaming legislation.

“It is a step closer to having our residents vote on a referendum that could bring full gaming to the state,” said Addabbo. “It is a step closer for my constituents to have thousands of additional job opportunities at Resorts World. It is a step closer for our local communities, businesses, along with city and state governments to realize a greater potential for revenue growth.”

While Addabbo applauds this move forward, he advises that future maneuvers be done cautiously, utilizing community participation.

“I am an advocate for community input on these issues and feel most people would want their voices heard before any plans are implemented,” said Addabbo. “I look forward to working for my constituents and hearing their concerns on this issue.”

Stefan Friedman, a spokesperson from Resorts World Casino, says the passing of this legislature is a “significant step” towards full commercial gaming.

According to Friedman, laws to legalize full gaming have gone through the first round of negotiations several times in the past, but were halted before completely approved. Friedman claimed that in order for it to become legalized, two separate legislatures need to be approved – the second of which will not be decided on until 2013.

Friedman said Resorts World is eager to expand its operations if enhanced gaming is allowed. He estimates the expansion will create hundreds of additional jobs and garner millions in additional revenue – funds that are currently being spent out of state in nearby spots like Atlantic City, New Jersey where table gaming is available.

According to Friedman, between $3.1 billion to $5 billion leaves the state every year for entertainment and gaming in cites outside NYS.

Racino employees charged with forging cards


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A stint of luck has run dry for two Racino employees, busted for forging fraudulent casino player cards, officials said.

Moises Jones, 29, and Rolanda Roberts, 33, have been charged with allegedly generating and distributing between 70 and 200 fraudulent casino player cards over the last seven weeks at Resorts World Casino, said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. Each card, Brown said, represents $100 in casino credit.

In statements made to casino authorities, Jones allegedly said he had been making fraudulent player cards for about a month — netting approximately $2,000 in profit — while Roberts, he said — working in concert — handed the cards to casino clients.

“Employee theft is a major concern for the gaming industry and my office,” Brown said. “In this case, the defendants took a gamble and lost — big time. They now face having felony criminal records and the real possibility of incarceration.”

Stefan Friedman, spokesperson for Resorts World, said the Racino is “working cooperatively with the authorities on this matter,” but he declined to comment further “due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.”

Jones and Roberts, respectively from the Bronx and Brooklyn, were arraigned on February 21 and were each charged with one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, 24 counts of second-degree forgery, 24 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, 24 counts of first-degree falsifying business records and 24 counts of fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property.

If convicted, they each face up to seven years in prison.

Jones was held on $5,000 bail while Roberts was released on her own recognizance, the district attorney said. They were both ordered to return to court on March 9.

Two casino players from Brooklyn also drew snake eyes, the district attorney said, and were arrested for unlawfully using at least seven of the cards.

Sonny Vlado, 40, and Richard Ulado, 45, were each charged with one count of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, one count of petit larceny and one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, officials said.

Vlado and Ulado face up to seven years in prison if convicted. They are slated to return to court on March 12.

Mom Throws Baby Out Window to Escape Suspicious Fire in Jamaica


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mom Throws Baby Out Window to Escape Suspicious Fire in Jamaica

A desperate mother threw her baby out the second-floor window of a Queens home that was engulfed by a suspicious blaze early Thursday, fire authorities and witnesses said. The child, who couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 years old, landed safely in the arms of civilians who gathered on the sidewalk next to the flaming building, said Dan Delargy, one of the first FDNY responders with Ladder 155. Delargy said the baby came flying out the window as he was walking in the front door of the Jamaica home. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but officials are considering it suspicious. Captain Anthony Varriale said the blaze appears to be intentionally set. Read More: NBC News

 

Feds Arrest Fugitive “Folk Nation” Gang Leader

Federal authorities on Wednesday announced the arrest of a fugitive leader of a violent Brooklyn and Queens street gang. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn says Devon Rodney is in custody and is awaiting arraignment. He and eight other accused members of the “Folk Nation” gang were indicted last month for murder and racketeering. One of the men is still on the loose and the rest have already been arraigned. Authorities believe the crew is behind four murders, three attempted murders, and a string of assaults and robberies. Read More: NY1

 

Ray Kelly ‘threat’ man makes bail

A Brooklyn man busted for allegedly making threatening comments online about Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was freed on $10,000 bail yesterday and ordered to stay away from the top cop. Richard Strauss, 49, had railed against Kelly in the comments section of Gothamist.com, where, using the handle Ladder157, he called the commissioner “an enemy of the people.” “A well-placed round of 7.62 ammo to his thick skull would work quite well to eliminate the threat he poses. All New Yorkers should aim their sights (both figuratively and literally) on this piece of excrement,” the comment read. Read More: New York Post

Racino ‘scam’

Two Aqueduct racino employees were charged yesterday with giving phony “high roller” comp cards to gamblers in exchange for a cut of their winnings. Moises Jones, 29, of The Bronx, and Rolanda Roberts, 33, of Brooklyn, allegedly earned several thousand dollars by distributing nearly 200 fake cards. Read More: New York Post

Bronx woman arrested for stabbing a 3-month-old girl during a wild argument with the baby’s mother

A Bronx woman has been arrested for stabbing a 3-month-old baby in the head amid an argument with the child’s mother, prosecutors said. “I hope that f—ing baby dies!” Candie Hailey-Means, 28, shouted as she plunged a blade into little Hazel Haliburton’s head, court papers show. The toddler suffered a fractured skull, a black eye and other injuries during the attack on Friday. She remains hospitalized at Lincoln Medical Center, but doctors expect she will survive, sources told the Daily News Wednesday. Read More: Daily News

Board discusses convention center, elevator


| dbeltran@queenscourier.com

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plans to build the country’s largest convention center in Queens overshadowed any previous items on Community Board 10’s agenda.

During the board’s first monthly meeting of the year, officials cited current problems with traffic near the Racino and said it would only get worse without any direct transportation to the proposed convention center.

However, Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10, said the community has to consider the jobs the site may bring, “especially in this economy.” She added that the community has had “an excellent relationship” so far with Genting America — the company that brought the Resorts World casino to South Ozone Park and will develop the convention center.

“We’re going to continue to listen and talk,” Braton said.

Patrick Jenkins, a representative for Genting, reassured Board members that their input would be taken into consideration. He reminded them of their year-long relationship with Getting and said the Racino was built with public input.

Shortly after, attention turned to the building of an elevator for the disabled at the Lefferts Boulevard train station.

Joseph Raskin, an MTA representative, presented the Board with design plans for the elevator and acknowledged that several stations needed to have work done. Raskin said the MTA will be using federally-mandated money to make any necessary repairs, as well as redesign the platform at Lefferts Boulevard to accommodate the elevator.

Plans for the elevator are already underway, and the MTA is 30 percent done with the design, Raskin said, after he presented the board with a layout of the area where the elevator will be built.

But Board members complained there currently isn’t much space between storefronts and the sidewalk. They said placing an elevator there will limit walking space.

Raskin reassured them by saying the MTA measured the sidewalks adjacent to the station and found only one side had enough space to fit an elevator. While there will be limited space on the sidewalk, he said the MTA can’t change the size of the elevator because it must meet the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

According to Raskin, the final design will be determined in August, while the contract for the elevator will be awarded in December.

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’

Cops arrested a cabby yesterday for allegedly raping a young passenger in his taxi at knifepoint after she left a Williamsburg bar. Gurmeet Singh, 40, picked up the 26-year-old woman on May 6, and she asked to be taken to her Manhattan building, cops said. After the intoxicated woman fell asleep, Singh, pulled over, bound the victim’s hands with a scarf and began raping her, cops said. Singh, who lives in Jamaica, then took the woman’s cellphone and cash and pushed her out of the cab, cops said. Read More: New York Post

Quid pro quo at Big A convention site

A biggest-in-the-nation convention center would mean a bigger racino at Aqueduct. Governor Cuomo said yesterday the Genting Group will seek more gaming machines at the racino it runs at Aqueduct Racetrack as the Malaysian-based gaming giant pours $4 billion into what would be the country’s largest convention center there. A bigger racino would mean renegotiating the state’s cut from video-lottery-machine revenues, Cuomo said on Albany’s Talk 1300 AM radio. A source said that would mean more money for the state from expanded operations but a smaller percentage of the take, although Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said it’s too early to say, with discussions ongoing. Read More: New York Post

DOE Announces Two More Charter Schools Will Close

Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Charter High School is out-of-control. But it’s not the students — it’s the leadership, which has spent millions on consultants and real estate and refused to follow ethics rules. Since charter schools are independently run, there’s not much the Department of Education can do, except close them down. Officials say that is what they plan to do at the end of the school year. Williamsburg Charter High will be just the third city charter school to have its charter revoked in the middle of a five-year-term, but it won’t be the only charter to close this June. Read More: New York Post

For Comptroller’s Allies, a Day Without an Award Is a Rarity

In New York City, most city officials, a couple times a month, honor community organizations with special suitable-for-framing commendations, praising them for “distinguished leadership” or “dedicated service.”  Then there is John C. Liu. Since his election to the city comptroller position in 2009, Mr. Liu has showered people and groups with official commendations, handing out more than 760 — with nearly one-quarter of the recipients connected to his political campaign, according to an analysis conducted by The New York Times. Read More: New York Times

Wrist slap for elder con

A Queens social worker who posed as a relative to steal $220,000 from an 85-year-old man in her care got off with just five years’ probation yesterday. Jennifer Robinson, 37, of Cambria Heights, had faced up to 15 years in prison. But Queens Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho took it easy on Robinson. In 2009, she listed herself as a niece of the late Walter Witko, a dementia patient, to steal his assets, proseuctors said. Read More: New York Post

NJ Assembly’s GOP leader dies at Statehouse

As the long and busy final day of New Jersey’s legislative session was coming to a close, most lawmakers were preparing to head home for a few hours of sleep before the new session got under way. But in a matter of moments, everything changed. The Assembly and state Senate members, along with their aides and other staffers, stood stunned as they learned that Assembly Republican leader Alex DeCroce had collapsed and died around 11 p.m. Monday in a men’s room at the Statehouse. They had been working with the 75-year-old lawmaker all evening as the Legislature wrapped up its session with a flurry of last-minute bills, and one of his final acts as the GOP leader was to accuse Democrats of casting votes for an absent member. Read More: New York Post

Drunk in Staten Island train mishap made WTC movie

The drunken passenger pulled from the Staten Island Railway tracks by a good Samaritan — who was critically injured himself during the rescue — is an independent filmmaker who made the first movie about the 9/11 attacks, sources said yesterday. Jonathan M. Parisen, 40, of East Orange, NJ, wrote, produced and directed “Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center” in 2002, and more recently was working on a flick called “Terrobot” about a giant robot that attacks New York City. Parisen was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass for going on the tracks to retrieve his shoes at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities said yesterday. Read More: New York Post

New Jay-Z tune a real ‘pop’ track

It’s a hip-hop homage to his favorite new girl. First-time pop Jay-Z yesterday released a touching new tune for baby daughter Blue Ivy Carter that features her newborn cries — and also reveals the heartbreak he and songstress wife Beyoncé suffered over a previous miscarriage. Read More: New York Post and Listen Below

Glory – Jay-Z feat. Blue Ivy Carter by Warhol2011

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

 

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYC Firebombing Suspect Charged with Hate Crime

A New York man suspected of five New York City fire bombings was arrested today and charged with a hate crime. Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, was charged with one count of arson as a hate crime and four counts of arson in connection with the Sunday attacks that targeted an Islamic center, a Hindu temple, a bodega and two private homes. Lengend was arrested by cops who staked out a vehicle overnight awaiting the return of the vehicle’s owner. According to law enforcement officials, Lengend made statements that appear to implicate him in at least some of the bombings, but stopped short of a confession in the first rounds of interrogation. Detectives, relying on statements from witnesses and grainy surveillance video, determined the suspected bomber drove a late model car with Virginia license plates. Read More: ABC News

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center

Governor Cuomo wants to up the ante on the future of the Aqueduct racino in Queens and make it home to the country’s largest convention center, the Daily News has learned. The planned project will be highlighted as part of the economic development agenda Cuomo will outline in his State of the State address Wednesday, two sources told The News. “The notion is that (Cuomo) is going to put the project on the fast-track to get it done,” one source said. “They need a couple of big economic development initiatives to announce.” Read More: Daily News

Pol, residents demand DOT repair broken curbs

Queens residents have had their hopes for safe sidewalks curbed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Senator Tony Avella recently united with perturbed residents from northern and eastern Queens – who have suffered with broken curbs in front of their homes for years – to demand the DOT “accelerate” their sidewalk repair program. Read More: Queens Courier

Transit advocates oppose plan to turn defunct railroad into QueensWay park 

A plan to transform an abandoned rail line into a park in southern Queens is generating a lot of buzz, but a group of transit advocates has another vision. They believe the tracks, which have sat idle for five decades, should be reactivated to give southern Queens residents an easier commute to Manhattan. The Long Island Rail Road operated the line, which once ran from Rockaway, up through Ozone Park and Forest Park to Rego Park. It was discontinued in the early 1960s and the property is currently owned by the city. A growing group of supporters is pushing for a High Line-type park to be known as the QueensWay. Read More: Daily News

Lobbyist Is Expected to Plead Guilty in Corruption Case

Richard J. Lipsky, a prominent New York lobbyist who was charged in the bribery conspiracy case that also ensnared State Senator Carl Kruger, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, a person briefed on the matter said Tuesday. Mr. Lipsky’s plea would come just two weeks after Kruger resigned from the Senate and pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the broad conspiracy case that has been seen as reflecting corruption in Albany. Mr. Kruger faces up to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in April by Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Read More: New York Times

Officials Condemn Queens Firebomb Attacks

Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with religious leaders Tuesday morning in a strong show of support after Molotov cocktails hit an Islamic cultural center, a Hindu house of worship, and two other locations in Queens this weekend. “Whether it was senseless violence or a hate crime will be determined down the road. But in either case we’re just not going to tolerate it in this city. And fortunately the number of incidents like this are very low, but one is one too many,” Bloomberg said. Read More: NY1

TSA: Pre-Check Screenings Coming To JFK

The screening process is getting faster and easier for some passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Federal officials announced Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre-Check Program will be enacted at the airport early this year. Eligible American Airlines passengers as well as members of the Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs will go through an expedited screening process which does not require taking off shoes, a jacket or belt. Read More: NY1

 

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

4 more suspects collared in slaying of NYPD cop Peter Figoski


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

4 more suspects collared in slaying of NYPD cop Peter Figoski

The accomplice who fled from cops after his low-life pal shot and killed Officer Peter Figoski has been caught, police said Tuesday. Three other suspects were also taken into custody overnight — two neighbors who live across the street and the alleged getaway driver. The accomplice was arrested at 2 a.m. and will be charged with murder in the slaying of Figoski, a decorated 22-year NYPD veteran and father of four daughters, officials said. Read More: Daily News

Violent ex-con arrested for shooting NYPD cop dead was wanted for shooting in North Carolina in August

The violent ex-con accused of gunning down a hero cop in Brooklyn Monday should have been locked up weeks ago for shooting a man in North Carolina, the Daily News has learned. Despite being arrested twice in New York since September, a series of legal snafus allowed Lamont Pride to roam the streets of the city free to kill. Read More: Daily News

Aqueduct racino set to open exclusive, luxury gaming floor 

The final touches are being put on another floor of gaming at the Aqueduct racino — but you’ll need be a high roller to wager and enjoy the amenities. The media got a sneak peek on Monday at the second floor — set to open Friday — which racino officials hope will lure out-of-state gamblers to the South Ozone Park attraction. Read More: Daily News

Woodside Residents Reach Out To Fire Victims

NY1′s Lisa McDivitt looks into how a Woodside community is helping those affected by a fire that occurred in their neighborhood one month ago. Watch the video: NY1

New Initiative Aids Small Businesses In Flushing

NY1′s Angela Chen looks at some small businesses in Flushing that are getting a helping hand from a new initiative. Watch the video: NY1

Queens graveyard worker sues over alleged abuse  in workplace at Cypress Hills Cemetery

A Queens graveyard worker says he was driven to drink and despair by cruel bosses at the Cypress Hills Cemetery and that his union did nothing to help him. Jozef Klaper, a 63-year-old Polish immigrant, claims in a lawsuit that foreman John Nicastro got into his head by calling him “Eddie Mouser” — the name of a dead cemetery worker. Read more: Daily News

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/09/2011: Queens Landlord Kills Tenant Before Committing Suicide


| jlane@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

No parole again for killer of NYC’s Kitty Genovese

The man who killed Kitty Genovese has been denied parole for the 15th time in a case that became notorious after reports that neighbors in her quiet New York City neighborhood failed to act as they heard the victim’s screams. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Queens Landlord Kills Tenant Before Committing Suicide

Neighbors widely knew that the owner of 111-11 143rd Street in South Jamaica, Queens wanted the tenants on the top floor and basement out of his house, due to a long-running dispute over rent. But on Tuesday, it became bloody in an apparent murder-suicide. Police said the home owner, 62-year-old Eulith Reid, chopped his 48-year-old basement tenant Hettie Patterson in the head with a machete, killing her. He then stabbed himself in the neck and also died. They were pronounced dead in Jamaica Hospital. Read More: NY1

 

Aqueduct Racino Pulls In $15M During First Stretch

The new casino at Aqueduct Racetrack is on a big winning streak, but not without some small bumps along the way. Watch the video: NY1

 

Queens group builds housing and new lives for former inmates  

For women leaving prison, one of the greatest challenges is finding a stable place to live. That’s why nonprofit group Hour Children is creating affordable housing in Long Island City for formerly incarcerated women trying to rebuild their lives. Read More: Daily News

 

Long Island City housing complex plagued by shootings

Constant fear caused by frequent shootings has left the residents of Astoria Houses in a frenzy. The housing development, located at 4-20 Astoria Boulevard in Long Island City, has been plagued by gun violence for years, according to the people who call the houses home. Read More: Queens Courier

Resorts World Opens


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

South Ozone Park’s Aqueduct Racino, reborn as Resorts World Casino New York City, officially opened its doors to an eager throng of thousands of gamers on Friday, October 28.

Casino representatives and elected officials were on hand at the former Aqueduct Racino for the ribbon cutting, and to welcome those who came to play on opening day – a line which wrapped around the building, leaving visitors with at least a two hour wait.

“I can’t wait to get in,” said Yaneet Chandra, a South Ozone Park resident who arrived at the casino at around 10 a.m. to get to the head of the line. “Queens really needed a place like this.”

And not just for gaming reasons. The casino arrives amid promises of jobs for the immediate community – and according to officials, Resorts World delivered on that promise. State Senator Joseph Addabbo said that the new facility will deal the community, and Queens at large, a much needed economic boost.

Click here for a photo gallery of the grand opening.

“To see this underused land become an economic engine is just incredible,” he said. “This is a new era for the community and a win for all.”

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, said that the casino will provide thousands of full time jobs to people who needed work the most.

“We are thrilled to welcome the public to this extraordinary new entertainment venue, which will permanently employ 1,350 New Yorkers, of which 89 percent are either minority or women,” Speller said at the grand opening, which occurred exactly one year to the day of the initial groundbreaking ceremony. “With 41,000 applicants for these 1,350 jobs, Resorts World New York City will work hard with the state and leadership to find more ways to create even more jobs – as many as tens of thousands – on our site as soon as possible. Today’s grand opening was the chance for our employees to share with the first of many guests the truly unique experience of Resorts World.”

First arrivals entered the racetrack casino under the “Light of Nations” sculpture – featuring 193 individual hand-blown glass bulbs representing each of the United Nations member countries around the globe and highlighting international essence of Queens itself.

The first casino in the facility to open – dubbed Times Square Casino – features 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG). The casino floor also features Bar 360 Lounge at the heart of the gaming floor and myriad culinary offerings reflecting the diversity of the borough.

Phase two of construction, to be completed by the end of the year, will unveil 5th Avenue Casino and Crockfords Casino on the second floor with 2,515 additional VLT and ETG. Also on the second floor will be the Central Park Events Center – the largest event space in Queens.

As the doors swung open and the first guests began to pour in, their reactions were all the same – eyes wide as saucers, mouths agape. Some were even already pulling money out of their wallets as they stepped onto the escalator.

“We just really want to have fun,” said Reggie Haughton. “Times are tough, yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come out and enjoy ourselves. We deserve it.”

For more information on Resorts World, visit www.rwnewyork.com.

Resorts World Casino to open soon


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Fans of gaming and racing ought to keep Friday, October 28 as an open calendar day.

Resorts World Casino New York City will open its doors on that day at 1 p.m., kicking off a new era for the former site of the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park.

The initial opening will boast 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and Electronic Table Games (ETGs). These games will be housed at Resorts World’s Times Square Casino on the first floor. The space will also offer visitors global dining selections, including Aqueduct Buffet, Wolfgang Puck Express, Stage Deli and Queens Burger.

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World, said that the facility will offer tourists and New Yorkers who typically visit casinos in other states a world-class gaming, dining and entertainment experience.

“This project has created more than 1,350 jobs and together we’ve built a truly state-of-the-art entertainment facilitiy for the borough of Queens and beyond,” said Speller. “The grand opening is the result of the vision and hard work of so many different people – both our unbelievably hardworking construction crews that have seen the project through from the beginning and our top-notch permanent staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure we are able to introduce the very best of what Resorts World represents to New York City today.”

More information on RWNY is available at www.rwnewyork.com.

Community complaints about Racino addressed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan Patrick Jenkins of Resorts World New York City addressed residents concerns about the Racino.

As the big debut of the city’s first casino rounds the corner, several dozens of nearby homeowners voiced their concerns at the Ozone Park Civic Association’s monthly meeting.

The civic group and more than 50 locals welcomed guest speaker Patrick Jenkins, a representative of Resorts World New York City, on Tuesday, October 18. Jenkins is also the main liaison between the company and the surrounding community.

“It’s been a long year, but it’s been a good year. The first thing I want to do is say thank you to the people who live in the shadow of Aqueduct,” Jenkins said. “You’re right next door, in the backyard and it’s been a great experience working with the community and leaders. We look forward to being a great neighbor.”

Jenkins said there may be “growing pains” in the future, but the key to thwarting potential issues is by keeping communication strong.

The majority of complaints residents made were about parking problems once the Racino opens. Several residents expressed concerns that the neighborhood would turn into a “parking deluxe” for gamers looking to park on residential blocks to save a few bucks — especially after hearing news from Jenkins that there would be a charge for parking.

The amount to be charged is not yet determined, but Jenkins said the “nominal fee” would primarily prevent people from using the parking lot to take the train. He also said — but could not verify yet — that the company may reimburse parkers with player’s cards to be redeemed inside.

“We know this is New York City. People will do whatever to save on a parking fee,” said Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10. “We’re not going to see the full effects for a while. Let’s see what the patterns are going to be, then we’ll know exactly what we have to address. As problems develop, we will work on them. Just like when a new grocery store opens, we’re going to see the worst of traffic and parking problems.”

Although Jenkins said Resorts World hired 1,150 people since June, several residents complained that after being interviewed several times for jobs, they did not hear back from the company. Some accused Resorts World of not hiring from within the community as was promised.

“I’ve been here since last August and from day one, it’s been stressed by the company that we would hire from within the community,” Jenkins said. “That’s been reiterated and pounded home by every civic leader that we’ve spoken to. It’s something we talk about on a consistent basis, and the company is committed to that. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I do know that a lot of people from the area were hired.”

Jenkins said the company has received more than 40,000 job applications since June. He said they were still in the “arduous” hiring process of going through thousands of applications and said they were “no where near finished.”

The first phase of the Racino will open on October 28. Civic leaders said Jenkins and Resorts World representatives were “extremely responsive and aware” of the community’s concerns.

“This company has got to be one of the best that we’ve worked with. It has been a pleasure working with people who are actually concerned about the community,” Braton said. “Good things come to those who wait. It’s going to be a beautiful addition to our community.”