What Our Prophets Would Likely Say About Such Corruption? Protecting the Indefensible in Israel, re: Eliezer Berland [VIDEO]

 

Dear Readers:

We are posting this video from Yaakov Horowitz who is highly critical of Israeli Elected Officials and writes on his Twitter feed: 

Child sex offender Eliezer Berland honored with lighting torch in Miron. Alleged abuser Malka Leifer keeps evading extradition. Sex offender Yona Weinberg sues a child safety advocate for slander. What our prophets would likely say to such corruption.

We do not believe, as a general matter, that Mr. Horowitz would support much of what we post on this blog. Posting this video should not be viewed as anything more that what it is: we  share our views on the corruption involved with protecting sexual predators and abusers and it is for this reason that we are posting this powerful video. 

We post this with admiration and respect for what is said. We hope that those seeing this will read and share and perhaps someone in Israel will be listening. It is about time that Israel stop being a haven for the indefensible.

 

LM

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Deed theft, Brooklyn, NY, 80-Year Old Woman and a Myriad of Fraudulent Companies

$1M Bed-Stuy brownstone stolen from 80-year-old woman, DA says

May 22, 2019 Ned Berke

260 Clifton Place has been empty since a 2010 fire. Photo via Google Maps

Two alleged fraudsters swindled an 80-year-old woman out of her Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone valued at more than $1 million in the borough’s latest case of deed fraud, according to the district attorney.

Craig Hecht, of Long Island, and another unnamed suspect set up a convoluted scheme involving dummy corporations and falsified documents in order to steal the brownstone at 260 Clifton Place. Though the victim lived in the neighborhood for more than three decades, the property has been vacant since a 2010 fire.

“This defendant allegedly thought he could take advantage of an elderly homeowner’s absence to steal her house and sell it before she or anyone else noticed,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.

Hecht and the other defendant allegedly created two companies reflecting the victim’s name in 2015then filed documents with the city indicating a transfer of the home to a third company, TDA Development, which they also controlled.

Hecht allegedly began shopping the property around to would-be buyers, and in November 2015 sold it from TDA to a buyer for $850,000. According to the district attorney, the defendants distributed the money through multiple accounts, with some sent offshore to Greece and more than $250,000 landing in an account owned by Hecht’s wife.

When the new owners of the home began construction on the property, a neighbor informed the real owner, who notified the district attorney’s office.

Hecht was charged with two counts of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of second-degree money laundering, and faces up to 15 years if convicted. The co-defendant has not been apprehended.

In March, lawmakers and housing advocates warned at a hearing organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams that Brooklyn is facing an emerging crisis in housing theft cases, including deed fraud.

 

 

To continue reading click here.

When Members of Naturei Karta Meet with Dignitaries Whom do They Represent? – They are Dangerous!

Naturei karta.1Naturei karta.2

 

 

Representatives of Neturei Karta frequently meet with dignitaries from around the world to discuss our position and to develop a dialog of understanding. For further details and information, select an event from the list below:
DATE LOCATION EVENT PURPOSE
Various Visits with Palestinian Dignitaries Develop dialog of understanding
09/02/15 NYC Iranian leader meets Jewish Rabbis in NYC
12/07/14 Jericho, Palestine Rabbis Visit Mayor of Jericho
02/04/13 Washington, DC Letter to US Senators on Chuck Hegel nomination for Defense Secretary
11/29/12 UN Bldg, NYC UN Meeting on issue of Palestinian Statehood
09/27/12 NYC Pres of Iran meets with Anti-Zionist Rabbis
04/18/12 Umm al-Fahm, Palestine Ceremony for Sheikh Raed Salah
02/01/11 Doha, Qatar Meeting with Shiek Yousef Al-Qaradawi
06/04/10 Washington, DC Peace Delegation Meets with Turkish Embassy Officials
05/01/08 Doha, Qatar Rabbis meet with Shiekh Qaradawi Call for the peaceful dismantling of Israel
09/24/07 NYC, NY Meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad
09/21/06 New York City, NY Meeting with Iranian President Ahmadinejad
03/21/06 Ramallah, West Bank Meeting with Palestinian Leaders, Ramallah
03/01/06 Tehran, Iran Second Historic Mission to Iran
05/27/05 Washington, DC Anti-Zionist Orthodox Rabbis present Plaque to new Palestinian President M Abbas
07/15/04 London, UK Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qardawi Orthodox Rabbis in the UK show their support of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qardawi
12/17/01 Ramallah Yasser Arafat meets with Neturei Karta Demonstrate our support of the Palestinian people.
04/29/01 East Jerusalem, Israel Orient House Meeting of Palestinians and NKI
04/29/01 East Jerusalem, Israel Declaration of Loyalty Statement of Loyalty to the Jewish Faith
04/29/01 East Jerusalem, Israel NY Rabbis Support Orient House Delegation NY Rabbis issue statement of support for Orient House Delegation

Rabbi Eliezar Berland, Accepting Cash for “blessing” Terminally Ill, Demanding Money, Negotiating Comeback

Chasidic rabbi accused of accepting cash to bless terminally ill patients in Israeli hospitals

Eliezer Berland allegedly offered his services in exchange for 20,000 shekels

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, pictured here in in 2016 as he is led into court by police for his trial on sexual assault charges
Rabbi Eliezer Berland, pictured here in in 2016 as he is led into court by police for his trial on sexual assault charges (File photo: Flash 90)

The leader of a powerful Chasidic sect in Jerusalem has been accused of extorting money from the families of terminally ill patients in exchange for a rabbinical blessing.

Rabbi Eliezer Berland, 81, who heads the Shuvu Banim sect of Breslov Chasidim in Jerusalem, allegedly offered his services in exchange for 20,000 shekels (£4,250) to the relatives of patients in a vegetative state in Israeli hospitals.

He previously served jail time after being convicted of indecent acts and assault.

During the hospital visits, which were recorded on security cameras and obtained by Israel’s Channel 12, Rabbi Berland is heard demanding the money for pidyon nefesh (“redemption of the soul”).

In their desperation, some families reportedly accepted.

His representatives have denied the allegations, but videos have previously been published of him online blessing patients alongside a phone number to call.

Rabbi Berland fled Israel in 2012 after police began investigating accusations that he sexually assaulting women in the Shuvu Banim Sect.

After spending several years on the run in Morocco, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands and South Africam he was finally extradited in 2016 to Israel, where he convicted on two counts of indecent acts and one of assault and sentenced to eighteen months in prison.

To continue reading click here.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Family of sex offender rabbi sued to recover missing charitable funds – report

Close relatives of a prominent rabbi convicted of sex crimes are being sued for misappropriating charitable donations for personal use, Israeli TV reported Sunday.

According to Channel 12, the Justice Ministry-approved lawsuit is seeking NIS 50 million ($13.76 million) from the wife, son and grandson of Rabbi Eliezber Berland, who heads the Shuvu Bonim religious community.

Another 11 people are also named in the suit, most of whom the report said acted as fronts.

To read the remainder of the article click here.

 

Sex offender rabbi ‘negotiated with deputy ministers’ for public comeback

Rabbi Eliezer Berland (L), a convicted sex offender, meets with UTJ's Meir Porush at a Beit Shemesh wedding on January  6, 2019 (courtesy)

A popular rabbi convicted of sexual offenses has been negotiating his public rehabilitation with ultra-Orthodox politicians in exchange for his followers’ political support, according to a television report on Tuesday.

After evading arrest for three years, Eliezer Berland, 80, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in November 2016 on two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault, as part of a plea deal. He was freed after five months, in part due to ill health.

To keep reading click here.

Trying to Refute the Andrew Kaplan Testimony – a Platinum Trial Play [Law360]

Law360, New York (May 20, 2019, 8:22 PM EDT) — An attorney for the co-founder of Platinum Partners on Monday sought to refute the testimony of a former marketing executive turned cooperating witness in the securities fraud trial of Platinum co-founder Mark Nordlicht, citing multiple instances when Nordlicht urged others at the hedge fund manager to tell the truth.

Andrew Kaplan, Platinum’s former chief marketing officer, spent the better part of the day fielding questions from Nordlicht attorney Jose Baez, who sought to counter Kaplan’s prior testimony that Nordlicht misled potential investors about the financial health of Platinum’s main fund while it was struggling to pay back tens of millions of dollars to its existing investor base.

Baez played a September 2014 conversation between Nordlicht and Kaplan — which was surreptitiously recorded by Kaplan — ahead of an audit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in which Nordlicht tells Kaplan to be truthful in an interview with SEC staff.

To continue reading click here.

Ultra-Orthodox Screaming Sabbath in Yiddish and Protesting Eurovision – Women in Bras… Israel

https://twitter.com/i/status/1129776115927719936

Ultra-Orthodox Jews Who Protested Against Eurovision Arrested in Israel

On Saturday Duncan Laurence, a contestant from the Netherlands, won Eurovision Song Contest 2019, which took place in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men and boys clashed with police in Jerusalem after the Eurovision Song Contest took place at at a time coinciding with the end of the “Jewish Sabbath,” when tradition forbids religious Jews from engaging in a majority of productive activity, according to The Times of Israel.

Israeli police reported the arrest of six representatives of the ultra-religious Jewish community, who on Saturday participated in a protest against this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

“During the protest… six suspects were detained in violation of public order and attacking a police officer,” the press service of law enforcement agencies said, adding that two police officers were easily injured.

The Netherlands won the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 in Tel Aviv on Sunday. No serious incidents occurred despite calls by pro-Palestinian groups to boycott the song contest.

To continue reading click here.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201905191075128000-ultra-orthodox-jews-eurovision-2019-israel/

 

Clashes as ultra-orthodox Jews protest against Eurovision

Ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel have held protests against the scheduling of the Eurovision Song Contest on the Jewish Sabbath.

There were angry scenes in central Jerusalem as demonstrators clashed with police.

At one point, a small number of women held a counter protest, showing their bras.

The BBC’s Middle East Correspondent Tom Bateman reports from the protests.

  • 18 May 2019

 

 

An Unencumbered, non-Beholden Female Unbiased Candidate for Surrogate Bench in Brooklyn! – Judge Elena Baron

Op-Ed: Elena Baron Runs For Surrogate Bench Seat & Against Party Bosses

The Democratic primary for Brooklyn’s Surrogate Court Judge on June 25 is expected to have one of the lowest voter turn-outs in history.  That’s a shame. The race for Surrogate Court Judge is the last chance to cut off the cash supply of the Brooklyn Democratic Party Machine, which makes its living off the Brooklyn courts.

In 1966, New York’s newly elected Senator Robert Kennedy drew national attention to the race for the Manhattan Surrogate Judge.  Kennedy backed an obscure Russian-Immigrant Manhattan Judge Samuel Silverman, for Surrogate court against the Manhattan Democratic Party hack judge for three reasons:  to purge the democratic machine patronage from the Surrogate’s Court, to get even with the party leaders who blocked his proposed party reforms to end corruption and to open the Democratic Party to all New Yorkers.

Robert Kennedy said that electing Silverman to the Surrogate Court was the first step in cleaning up the court patronage–the “worst element in our political parties.”  Like Silverman, Judge Elena Baron running for the Surrogate Court, is a Russian immigrant, who has already shown her independence by getting elected to Civil Court in a grassroots campaign against the party machine.

The self-proclaimed “Progressive-Reformers” in Brooklyn have had an unhealthy arrangement on ceding control of the Brooklyn Courthouse to the Democratic Party for the past decade.

At last year’s Kings County Committee meeting, the New Kings Democrats and the new county committee members were bullied by party leaders’ Frank Seddio, County Lawyer Marty Connor and the infamous de Blasio fixer Frank Carone, who used unauthorized proxies and the County Committee meeting to back-flip their hack candidates for Judge.
The back-flip is a simple political maneuver by which the County machine first collects petitions for an incumbent judge, then moves the re-elected incumbent to the Supreme Court within a week of the primary at the Judicial Convention and finally, inserts the party’s candidate into the now vacant seat of the incumbent, bypassing the voters altogether.  While most courts mandate retirement at 70, the Supreme Court allows for age extensions. This year’s County candidate for Surrogate, Margarita Lopez Torres, who is running for a 14 years term, is 68 years old and will have to retire at 70, in two years.

The New Kings Democrats have never been involved in any race against the Democratic Party machine picked Judges.  Nevertheless, when interviewed about this year’s Surrogate Court race, NKD president Brandon West promised: “Any backroom deals made within the party are not something we’ll support.”

To continue reading click here.

The Horrifying Reality of the Israeli Health Czar, Yaakov Litzman and the Aid He Provided Sex Offenders – His Complicity – Malka Leifer and Others

Yaakov Litzman at a weekly government meeting in Jerusalem, May 12, 2019.

Israeli Health Czar Methodically Aided ultra-Orthodox Sex Offenders, Investigation Reveals

A Channel 13 investigation reports that United Torah Judaism Chairman Yaakov Litzman pressured mental health officials into granting furloughs, lightening risk assessments for convicted ultra-Orthodox sex criminals

Deputy Health Minister and United Torah Judaism Chairman Yaakov Litzman worked directly and through his government post in order to help ultra-Orthodox sex offenders, among them pedophiles and serial rapists, a Channel 13 investigation reported.

Litzman’s efforts included methodically pressuring mental health professionals into lightening their risk assessments for ultra-Orthodox prisoners, and approving or lengthening prisoners’ furloughs – even for sex offenders who have not yet been rehabilitated, the investigation reported. Mental health professionals told Haaretz that Litzman’s requests on the subject were not uncommon, and that there are more even cases than were presented in the report.

The investigation followed earlier publications on the subject, including reports from Haaretz. It presented ten previously unreported cases in which Litzman and his personnel (including his chief of staff Haim Justman, now an MK for United Torah Judaism) were involved. Nine of the cases deal with convicted sex offenders who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, most of whom are ultra-Orthodox.

The remaining case touches upon Litzman’s alleged involvement in preventing the extradition of Malka Leifer to Australia. An Australian indictment charged Leifer, a former principal of an ultra-Orthodox school who is now incarcerated, with 72 counts of various types of sexual assault, including 11 counts of rape. These include the rape and sexual assault of three sisters who were students of hers in her Melbourne ultra-Orthodox community. Leifer’s extradition process, and the question of her ability to stand trial, is still under debate in the Israeli court system – more than 50 conversations have been held on the subject.

Litzman’s office released a statement in response to the report, saying that he helps anyone who turns to him, regardless of their affiliation. Litzman’s staff also disseminated this message in an ad campaign costing tens of thousands of shekels on the Channel 13 website, to accompany the broadcast. The statement called the claims in the report “an ongoing and planned hunting campaign” and a “blood libel” against Litzman, intended to damage his image and prevent him from returning to a Health Ministry post.

 

To continue reading click here.

The Housing Market – Increasingly Controlled by Private Equity – Creating a Crisis [audio]

It’s not just the market in your city. Or your neighbourhood. Or your budget or financial situation. There’s a shadowy global financial practice at work that is fuelling the housing crisis in cities around the world. And nobody knows how to stop it.

Today we’ll explore the shady-but-legal practice of private equity firms approaching housing as a commodity for investment at scale, in cities around the world, including Canada. What happens when a dwelling that should be a forever home for a family becomes just a trade chip amongst tens of thousands of others, to be bought and sold solely based on profit margin? Nothing good, you would imagine. And you’d be right. But can cities and governments figure out a plan to stop it?

GUESTS: Leilani Farha, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing; and Fredrik Gertten, documentary filmmaker

(You can watch the trailer for their film, Push, and find out where it’s playing, right here)

 

Stellar Behavior – Perverting the Course of Justice – Yet Another Reason to Disband Shomrim Groups, Stamford Hill, UK

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Neighbourhood watch pair jailed over false robbery accusations

Two men have been convicted of falsely accusing two teenagers of robbery in north London.

Community neighbourhood watch group Shomrim Stamford Hill called police claiming the youths had tried to steal a moped from delivery driver Thiago Alves Vieira last July.

However, CCTV disproved the story.

Vieira, 38, from Edmonton, was jailed for eight months while Michael Scher, 32, was jailed for five months, suspended for two years.

Both had previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Wood Green Crown Court heard how police received a number of calls stating that two juveniles had been detained for robbery by the group on 3 July.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

CCTV disproves false robbery accusation

Exit player

Media captionCCTV disproves robbery accusation

On arrival officers were told the pair, aged 13 and 15, had surrounded Vieira, demanded his moped keys and pushed him.

Vieira, along with Scher, of Amhurst Park, and Yaakov Nowogrodski, who were also members of Shomrim, made sworn statements to support this version of events.

However, this was proven to be a “deliberate criminal conspiracy,” police said.

‘Disgraceful’

Officers later located CCTV that showed the boys had not gone near Vieira.

Det Sgt James Leeks, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “Why these men decided to fabricate this case may never be explained. However, abusing the criminal justice system in such an underhand manner is disgraceful.”

Nowogrodski, 27, was found to have fled the country after he was charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and false imprisonment. A warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president of Stamford Hill Shomrim, said: “The Shomrim members involved in this incident were immediately suspended as soon as we were made aware of these serious allegations.

To continue reading click here.

A Platinum Settlement with Obex – from Law360

Law360, London (May 20, 2019, 2:42 PM BST) — ED&F Man Capital Markets has settled its case accusing a New York investment firm of knowingly setting the global brokerage up with failing hedge fund Platinum Partners, which lost ED&F approximately $3 million.

ED&F has reached a confidential settlement with U.S.-based Obex Securities LLC, Deputy Master Hansen said in an order published Wednesday. The capital markets unit had alleged that Obex knew that investment company Platinum Partners was insolvent when introducing it to ED&F as a customer in 2015, but pursued the deal for the introduction fee anyway.

“All further proceedings in this action be stayed upon the terms set out in the … settlement agreement between the parties,” the judge said in the consent order, adding that the parties had reached a settlement on April 23.

To read the remainder of the articles, by subscription only, click here.

$20K Reward Offered After 3 Suspicious Fires at Rabbi’s Home – See CBS News

ARLINGTON (CBS) – A $20,000 reward is being offered for any information that will lead to an arrest after three suspicious fires at rabbis’ homes in Arlington and Needham.

Around 9 p.m. Thursday night, a fire broke out behind the Chabad Center for Jewish Life on Lake Street in Arlington for the second time in five days.

“The officers responded within a minute and were able to locate a small fire at the same location at the rear of the building. The officer used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out,” said Acting Police Chief Julie Flaherty at a press conference with multiple community leaders Friday. “These are extremely concerning incidents in which an innocent family has lost their all-important sense of safety and security that the home is meant to convey.”

One hour later, Needham Police and Fire responded to a similar fire at a rabbi’s home where services are also held on High Rock Street.

“Over the course of the investigation, officers indicated that there was a similar incident in Arlington and we are currently working with the Arlington Police Department to determine if these are related,” said Needham Police Chief John Schlittler. “I stand here and speak directly to the Jewish community in Needham and Arlington and beyond: members of the Needham Police Department stand and support with you… we ask that all of you to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to your local law enforcement officers.”

After Thursday’s fire, Arlington Police placed a full-time detail officer on Lake Street. The first fire there was reported around 11 p.m. Saturday.

Police were able to gather surveillance video of a “suspicious person seen leaving the area” Saturday but there does not appear to be footage of either of the Thursday fires.

“Arlington is a very safe community and we understand this is something which is an anomaly,” said Avi Bukiet, the rabbi of Chabad Center for Jewish Life. “What has gone on, these past two incidents, it has targeted not just a Jewish center, it has targeted our personal family. We are hurting because of this but yet at the end of the day, with all of the overwhelming support and love and care that people are showing us from across the board…it just shows us that we are in a community where we want to stay.”

“Our message is and will always be: open doors,” said Bukiet.

At Friday’s press conference, Director of the Anti-Defamation League Robert Trestan announced the organization would add $15,000 to the $5,000 reward already in place from the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“When there is an attack on any member of the Jewish community, whether it’s here or outside of these two towns, outside of the state, the Jewish community stands together and that’s why all of us are here today,” said Trestan, who stressed the need for a speedy resolution.

None of the fires caused extensive damage and no one has been injured.

Full article published due simply to content and need to find culprits. Please click here for original link:

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2019/05/17/second-suspicious-fire-rabbis-home-lake-street-arlington-police-fulltime-detail/

Judge Elena Baron – The Unencumbered Candidate for Surrogate’s Court – Cleaning Up Brooklyn Politics

Judge Elena Baron Campaign for Surrogate Court: One Woman Against Brooklyn’s Political Bosses

Community and political leaders were astounded when in 2017 Elena Baron beat Brooklyn’s political bosses and won her election to become a Civil Court Judge.  Elena ran a grassroots judicial campaign winning by an overwhelming majority against three opponents in the 6th municipal court district, all backed by politicians.  Voters understood the importance of Baron’s independence from entrenched political insiders, who according to the NY Times pick almost all the judges in Brooklyn.  This year, Baron, who is running for Surrogate Court, is clearly the front runner in the race. Voters do not want to see lawyers connected to the Democratic Party looting the estates of widows, seniors and orphans in the Brooklyn Surrogate Court.  

Judge Elena Baron

In Brooklyn Heights Anne got out of her car to tell Baron, who was campaigning, how courageous she was to take on the Brooklyn Democratic Party Bosses and to run independent for judge.  In an era where the so-called progressives and reformers look the other way as the political bosses pick judges and use our courts for patronage, Baron is the leader that Brooklyn needs. 

Ann was familiar with how the Surrogate court operates because her close friend fell into a serious life-long depression after the estate of her mother was drained by administrators appointed by a Surrogate Court Judge. One of Elena’s best friends compared her campaign against the political bosses to the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where an outsider takes on the entrenched establishment to serve the people. 

Judge Elena Baron has spent over a decade working in five NYC Courthouses with a wide variety of issues and matters that come before the civil and supreme courts.  Elena has worked with families going through guardianships, dealt with myriads of issues pertaining to residential and commercial real estate, small claims, receiverships and refereeships, as well as matters concerning credit card debt and personal injury cases.   “Judge Baron’s independence and her well-diversified experience working in NYC Courts for over a decade will make her a very effective Surrogate, able to create personalized solutions to many individual family situations that come before the Surrogate Court,” said Yana Saffian, an attorney who practices before the Surrogate Court.  Elena has a track record of being independent from the Democratic party bosses, having been elected grass roots as a Civil Court Judge.    

To enter the Surrogate Court is to stumble upon Ponce de Leon’s own spring, an eternal source of easy money for the politically wired.  The Surrogate Court Judges appoint guardians to estates who make handsome fees of those residents who die without wills.  Robert Kennedy called the “The Surrogate Court A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute from Widows and Orphans.”  The Democratic Party bosses tell the Surrogate Court Judges they elect to hire party supporters, a patronage operation that strengthens organization by make money for their troops. 

Surrogate Court races are more about who and whose money is behind the candidates then the person running for office.  That is because the people behind the candidates get the benefits of the office, being appointed as administrators and guardians.  Elena Baron is the only candidate in this race who is not backed by the political bosses and the money and political support they bring to their candidates’ campaigns.  In her first race Elena Baron was a grassroots candidate who was challenged by the political bosses and she won overwhelmingly, because the voters want independent judges.

Growing up in the Soviet Union Elena witnessed many injustices that effected people around her and her immediate family.  One family member was sexually harassed and had to quit her job, another family member was being pressured into diverting funds going into the organization to a real estate development project, which she refused, and her private business venture was destroyed by thugs threatening to murder family members.  These and other experiences made Elena Baron love and respect justice and the law and to become a lawyer.  Elena would be the first immigrant to be elected to the Surrogate Court. 

To continue reading click here.

Elena Baron and the Surrogates Court Race in Brooklyn, NY – OP ED, an Independent Surrogates Court Judge

Op-Ed: Baron Runs For Surrogate Bench Seat & Against Party Bosses

The Democratic primary for Brooklyn’s Surrogate Court Judge on June 25 is expected to have one of the lowest voter turn-outs in history.  That’s a shame. The race for Surrogate Court Judge is the last chance to cut off the cash supply of the Brooklyn Democratic Party Machine, which makes its living off the Brooklyn courts.

In 1966, New York’s newly elected Senator Robert Kennedy drew national attention to the race for the Manhattan Surrogate Judge.  Kennedy backed an obscure Russian-Immigrant Manhattan Judge Samuel Silverman, for Surrogate court against the Manhattan Democratic Party hack judge for three reasons:  to purge the democratic machine patronage from the Surrogate’s Court, to get even with the party leaders who blocked his proposed party reforms to end corruption and to open the Democratic Party to all New Yorkers.

Robert Kennedy said that electing Silverman to the Surrogate Court was the first step in cleaning up the court patronage–the “worst element in our political parties.”  Like Silverman, Judge Elena Baron running for the Surrogate Court, is a Russian immigrant, who has already shown her independence by getting elected to Civil Court in a grassroots campaign against the party machine.

The self-proclaimed “Progressive-Reformers” in Brooklyn have had an unhealthy arrangement on ceding control of the Brooklyn Courthouse to the Democratic Party for the past decade.

To continue reading click here.

 

Cayman Islands Liquidator, Another Platinum Colored Liquidation -Following the Money and Level 3 Assets

Liquidators sue Platinum fund founder

Liquidators of two feeder funds of Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund are suing the group’s founder Mark Nordlicht and others in the Cayman Islands for overstating the value of the fund’s assets.

Nordlicht, Platinum’s founder and former chief investment officer, is facing a criminal trial in New York for allegedly defrauding investors. US federal prosecutors accuse Nordlicht and others of falsifying the firm’s performance figures for personal gain. Nordlicht has pleaded not guilty.

Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund (International) Limited and Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Intermediate Fund Ltd., which are both in liquidation, filed a suit against Nordlicht, the Estate of Uri Landesman, David Levy, Platinum Management (NY) LLC and Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage LP at the Grand Court on 7 May.

Landesman, the president and managing partner of Platinum, died in September 2018. Levy was a portfolio manager of the fund.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties through their “knowing or reckless overstatement” of the fund’s illiquid and difficult to measure assets, and as a result, the net asset value of the fund. If the performance of the fund was overstated, the management and incentive fees that the defendants received would have been inflated.

By reporting the overstated figures to boards and investors, Nordlicht, Landesman and Levy improperly received fees, bonuses, compensation and other payments, the writ states.

Platinum’s illiquid and hard to measure assets, so-called Level 3 assets, were crucial to the management and operation of the plaintiffs, the suit argues. “By their conduct, the Defendants acted in breach of their duties, made deliberate and/or negligent misstatements and/or engaged in willful misconduct by failing to act in accordance with their duties and by contributing directly or indirectly to the over-valuation of assets and provision of misleading financial information which caused loss to the Plaintiffs.”

To continue reading click here.

 

 

Nordlicht v. Federal Bureau of Prisons – FOIA Request for FBI Records

Are FBI Records Not Private? Mark Nordlicht Trying to Ascertain Whether Records Were Leaked to the Press?

 

To View these Records Click here.

Case Title NORDLICHT v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
District District of Columbia
City Washington, DC
Case Number 1:2018cv02626
Date Filed 2018-11-14
Date Closed 2019-04-03
Judge Judge James E. Boasberg
Plaintiff MARK NORDLICHT
Case Description Mark Nordlicht, who was one of the subjects of an investigation in the Eastern District of New York, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning communications between five named individuals and the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, or Reuters during 2016. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the request on the basis of Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). Nordlicht then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Litigation – Attorney’s fees
Defendant FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Defendant FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
Documents Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
User-contributed Documents
 Docket Events (Hide)
Date Filed Doc # Docket Text

2018-11-14 1 COMPLAINT against FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ( Filing fee $ 400, receipt number 4616095482) filed by MARK NORDLICHT. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(ztd); Modified on 12/4/2018 to correct Defendant’s name (ztth). (Entered: 11/16/2018)
2018-11-14 2 NOTICE OF RELATED CASE by MARK NORDLICHT. Case related to Case No. 18-403. (ztd) (Entered: 11/16/2018)
2018-11-15 SUMMONS (3) Issued as to FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (ztd) Modified on 12/4/2018 to correct Defendant’s name (ztth). (Entered: 11/16/2018)
2018-11-19 3 RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 11/16/2018. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 12/16/2018.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 11/16/18. (ztd) (Entered: 11/30/2018)
2018-11-26 4 RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION served on 11/20/2018. (tth) (Entered: 12/04/2018)
2018-12-17 5 ANSWER to Complaint by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION.(Simon, Jeremy) (Entered: 12/17/2018)
2018-12-17 MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that the parties shall meet, confer, and submit a joint proposed briefing schedule by January 7, 2019. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 12/17/2018. (lcjeb2) (Entered: 12/17/2018)
2018-12-17 Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 1/7/2019. (znbn) (Entered: 12/18/2018)
2019-01-04 6 MOTION to Stay in Light of Lapse in Appropriations by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (Simon, Jeremy) (Entered: 01/04/2019)
2019-01-07 MINUTE ORDER GRANTING 6 Motion to Stay. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 1/7/2019. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 01/07/2019)
2019-01-29 7 NOTICE of Restored Government Funding by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (Simon, Jeremy) (Entered: 01/29/2019)
2019-02-06 MINUTE ORDER: The Court lift the stay entered on 1/7/2019 and ORDERS that the parties shall submit a joint proposed briefing schedule by February 20, 2019. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 2/6/2019. (lcjeb1) Modified on 2/6/2019 (zlsj). (Entered: 02/06/2019)
2019-02-06 Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 2/20/2019 (lsj) (Entered: 02/06/2019)
2019-02-19 8 Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION. (Simon, Jeremy) (Entered: 02/19/2019)
2019-02-19 MINUTE ORDER ADOPTING the parties’ 8 Joint Status Report. The Court ORDERS that: 1) Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment shall be due May 2, 2019; 2) Plaintiff’s Opposition shall be due May 23, 2019; and 3) Defendant’s Reply shall be due June 6, 2019. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 2/19/2019. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 02/19/2019)
2019-02-19 Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 5/2/2019. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 5/23/2019. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/6/2019. (znbn) (Entered: 02/21/2019)
2019-04-03 9 STIPULATION of Dismissal by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION. (Simon, Jeremy) (Entered: 04/03/2019)
2019-04-03 MINUTE ORDER: Per the parties’ 9 Stipulation, the Court ORDERS that the case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 4/3/2019. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 04/03/2019)
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Platinum’s Former Chief Marketing Officer – Conning Investors

LAW360

Ex-Platinum Exec Tells Jury He Conned Investors

Law360, New York (May 15, 2019, 8:56 PM EDT) — A former Platinum Partners executive on Wednesday told jurors he lied to existing and prospective investors in the hedge fund manager’s largest fund, the second former insider to testify at trial about misconduct at Platinum’s highest levels.

Andrew Kaplan, Platinum’s former chief marketing officer, took the witness stand in Brooklyn federal court in the trial of Platinum co-founder Mark Nordlicht, former co-chief investment officer David Levy and former chief financial officer Joseph SanFilippo.

Kaplan, 53, who has pled guilty to securities fraud conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, told the jury he lied to investors and prospective investors in Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund LP about the liquidity of the underlying investments, as well as the fund’s ability to repay investors and the fact that some were receiving preferential treatment.

Jurors also heard conversations between Kaplan, Nordlicht and others that Kaplan had recorded, including one from mid-September 2014 after Platinum had received a negative review by a hedge fund consultant. In the recording, Nordlicht spoke of trying to get more “marketable liquidity.”

“For anyone to invest with us would be a breach of fiduciary duty right now until we straighten this out,” Nordlicht said.

Prosecutors say Nordlicht, Levy and SanFilippo defrauded investors by overvaluing assets and concealing cash-flow problems in PPVA, while Platinum pocketed millions of dollars in fees.

Read more at: https://www.law360.com/trials/articles/1160198/ex-platinum-exec-tells-jury-he-conned-investors?copied=1

Rabbi Hillel Handler, a Dangerous anti-vaxxer, pro-Metziza b’Peh, anti-Zionist, anti-Women, Pro-Sex-Abuse Cover-up Rabbi on Stage in Rockland

Brooklyn’s kooky anti-vaxxer rabbi is extremist on sex abuse, circumcision — even opposes Israel

Brooklyn’s kooky anti-vaxxer rabbi is extremist on sex abuse, circumcision — even opposes Israel

Rabbi Hillel Handler enjoyed a rare moment in the glare of mainstream media this week when he addressed an anti-vaccination crowd in a heavily Hasidic town in suburban Rockland County.

The member of the Satmar Hasidic sect riled up the crowd of a couple of hundreds of people with a diatribe that accused liberals in and out of government of using a still-spreading measles outbreak to target observant Jews.

Handler called Mayor de Blasio a “nasty German” and claimed it was “in his DNA” to hate Jews.

”Like the Fuhrer, he says: ‘Blame the Jews. They’re contaminating the whole city,’ ” Handler told the Daily News Wednesday.

De Blasio shot back that Handler was spouting “dangerous and irresponsible lies.”

“Rabbi Handler is putting at risk the lives he claims he’s trying to save,” said Miranda Marcy, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

At the rally in Monsey, Handler focused mostly on measles, although he did veer off into an anti-immigrant diatribe claiming that undocumented immigrants pose a more serious health threat.

Little did the crowd or the reporters covering the event know that Handler has a long history of supporting radical causes on the far right-wing fringes of Jewish opinion.

Handler has fiercely attacked observant Jews for reporting child sex abuse to police, claiming such accusations should be handled by rabbinic authorities. He once even defended a rabbi who was convicted of raping his own daughter, saying the girl was lying about the abuse.

Handler also opposed efforts to regulate metzizah b’pei, a controversial circumcision rite that health officials say can spread deadly herpes to newborn boys.

He even opposes Israel’s existence.

“There’s a lot of half-crazies like him in America,” said Alexander Rapaport, who runs a network of kosher soup kitchens and recently recorded a pro-vaccination public service video. “It’s the price of freedom in America.”

Rapaport, who happens to be a neighbor of Handler, shrugs him off as a phony who has no pulpit and no real following.

Others see him as a powerful danger in his ability to link different hateful causes. Shmarya Rosenberg spent several years chronicling abuse and corruption in the ultra-Orthodox world but has since left the blog called Failed Messiah.

“He’s an extremist, and he’s amoral,” said Shmarya Rosenberg. “He’s appears to be a gun for hire in the ultra-Orthodox community.”

To continue reading click here.

Rechnitz and Reichberg & de Blasio, and One New York and Fairness PAC and Housing and … President and New York?

mayor9n-2-web

Bill de Blasio officially launches 2020 presidential campaign

 

He’s late — again.

After nearly half a year of hemming and hawing, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday entered the 2020 presidential race, becoming the 23rd Democrat to join the jam-packed field.

The termed-out politician, known for his habitual tardiness, finally decided to run after five months of toying with a White House bid.

“I’m Bill de Blasio and I’m running for president because it’s time we put working people first,” the mayor said in a three-minute YouTube videoannouncing his candidacy.

The opening shots include de Blasio zipping around the city in the back of an SUV — his gas-guzzling choice of transportation for the 11-mile jaunt from Gracie Mansion to the gym in Park Slope.

“Good thing about New Yorkers is they look the same whether they’re really pissed off at you or they like you,” the mayor quips.

He details his “Working People First” slogan by touting his policy initiatives including pre-K for all, paid sick leave and boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

First lady Chirlane McCray also makes an appearance to briefly plug her mental health agenda.

“Everything begins with being healthy and there is no health without mental health,” she says.

Then, as the White House flashes on the screen to dramatic music, de Blasio pivots to a national message.

“Don’t back down in the face of the bully — take him on,” he says. “As president, I will take on the wealthy, I will take on the big corporations, I will not rest until this government serves working people.”

He also vows to fight President Trump head-on.

“Donald Trump must be stopped. I’ve beaten him before and I’ll do it again,” de Blasio says.

Insiders initially thought de Blasio would announce his national campaign the week of his 58th birthday on May 8, but he delayed.

“So you’re still deciding?” NY1’s Errol Louis asked the mayor on May 6.

“Yes indeed,” the dithering mayor said.

Local political experts can’t fathom what prompted the mayor to take the plunge.

“It’s really hard to understand what lane de Blasio plans to ride to the nomination,” said David Birdsell, dean of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at CUNY’s Baruch College.

What’s more, people just don’t like him, polls show.

De Blasio has the dubious distinction of being the only candidate or potential candidate out of 23 contenders to earn a negative rating among national Democrats in a March Monmouth University survey. A total of 24 percent gave him a thumbs down while just 18 percent had a favorable view of him.

At home, the numbers are even worse. A staggering 76 percent of Big Apple voters don’t think he should run, according to an April Quinnipiac University Poll.

To continue reading click here.

The Hippocratic Oath Should have Precluded a Pediatrician from Suggesting Bad Lots of Measles Vaccine

PUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR OF THEUNORTHODOXJEW.BLOGSPOT.COM

A pediatrician questioned whether Jews were being intentionally given “bad lots” of vaccines that ended up giving children a new strain of the virus….

Despite Measles Warnings, Anti-Vaccine Rally Draws Hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Hundreds were in attendance at an anti-vaccine rally in Monsey, N.Y., in Rockland County.
MONSEY, N.Y. — An ultra-Orthodox rabbi falsely described the measles outbreak among Jews as part of an elaborate plan concocted by Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York to deflect attention from “more serious” diseases brought by Central American migrants.
A pediatrician questioned whether Jews were being intentionally given “bad lots” of vaccines that ended up giving children a new strain of the virus. And Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor whose study linking measles vaccines with autism was widely discredited and condemned, appeared via Skype to offer an almost apocalyptic vision of a world in which vaccines were giving rise to deadlier immunization-resistant diseases.
Since the measles outbreak began last fall, the health authorities have embarked on a sweeping and exhaustive campaign, repeatedly urging people to get vaccinated and fighting the spread of misinformation. They have made special efforts in the ultra-Orthodox communities of Brooklyn and Rockland County, N.Y., where the disease has been spreading most quickly.
A pediatrician questioned whether Jews were being intentionally given “bad lots” of vaccines that ended up giving children a new strain of the virus. And Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor whose study linking measles vaccines with autism was widely discredited and condemned, appeared via Skype to offer an almost apocalyptic vision of a world in which vaccines were giving rise to deadlier immunization-resistant diseases. 
“We Hasidim have been chosen as the target,” said the rabbi, Hillel Handler. “The campaign against us has been successful.” 
Since the measles outbreak began last fall, the health authorities have embarked on a sweeping and exhaustive campaign, repeatedly urging people to get vaccinated and fighting the spread of misinformation. They have made special efforts in the ultra-Orthodox communities of Brooklyn and Rockland County, N.Y., where the disease has been spreading most quickly.
But the rally on Monday in Monsey, a Rockland County town about 30 miles northwest of New York City, vividly illustrated how the anti-vaccine fervor is not only enduring, but may be growing: Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews packed a ballroom for a “vaccine symposium” with leaders of the anti-vaccination movement.
Organized by a Monsey-based Jewish group, the event also showed how the movement was gaining ground: Greg Mitchell, a Washington-based lobbyist who represents the Church of Scientology, attended the meeting and addressed the crowd, offering to be their “voice in the public-policy game.”
The gathering was denounced by local elected officials, health authorities and some ultra-Orthodox rabbis, who said the speakers were spreading propaganda that could cause the outbreak to deepen, risking the health of countless people.
The event was held in a large ballroom. As is customary at ultra-Orthodox gatherings, the men were separated by an improvised wall from the women. Speakers were introduced and applauded as if they were celebrities.
The remarks — and the rapt audience — illustrated how the anti-vaccination movement can exploit fear and anxiety within relatively insular communities, especially religious ones, to undercut scientifically sound warnings from health experts.
“They are doubling down and increasing their messaging — capitalizing on fear,” Dr. Jane Zucker, the assistant commissioner of immunization for the New York City health department, said in an interview. “Parents are afraid of who and what to believe.”
Rabbi Handler, a 77-year-old from Brooklyn who said he was a Holocaust survivor, set the tone for the night, claiming that Jews were being persecuted as disease carriers and were being attacked on the street in New York City for sneezing. (The Anti-Defamation League has strongly objected to the appropriation of Holocaust symbols by vaccine critics.)
Mr. de Blasio has issued a public health emergency for four ZIP codes in Brooklyn where ultra-Orthodox Jews live. That decision appeared to have earned him the ire of Rabbi Handler, who described Mr. de Blasio as a “sneaky fellow” and a closet German — “Wilhelm, his real name, was named after Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.”
(In fact, none of this is true. Mr. de Blasio was born Warren Wilhelm Jr., and later decided to take his mother’s last name as his own after becoming alienated from his father.)
The pediatrician who spoke on Monday night, Dr. Lawrence Palevsky, is regularly cited in pamphlets circulated in New York City that urge women not to get their children vaccinated. His views have no basis in science, experts said. 
At the rally, he talked at length about mutating viruses and falsely claimed that failed vaccines were producing a new strain of measles. Women scribbled into notepads as he spoke. Others filmed his comments, sending them to their contacts on WhatsApp. Essentially, he said, there were no studies available to show how the vaccine affects the human body.
“Is it possible that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine that is somehow being given in this lot to communities in Williamsburg and Lakewood and Monsey, maybe in Borough Park, is it possible that these lots are bad?” he asked, referring to areas in New York and New Jersey with large ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. 
“It’s fascinating because we’re told how contagious the disease is, but somehow it’s centered in the Jewish community.” 
Dr. Palevsky could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Mr. Wakefield, who was stripped of his medical license in his native Britain some two decades ago for fraudulent claims linking vaccines to autism, accused the health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of misleading the public. But before doing that, he insisted on his own innocence.
“I wanted to reassure you that I have never been involved in scientific fraud,” he said via Skype from a darkened room, his face appearing eerily white as it was projected onto two large overhead screens.

“What happened to me is what happens to doctors who threatened the bottom line of the pharmaceutical companies.”

Rockland County has the highest number of recorded cases after New York City. But there are other pockets of large outbreaks as well, and not all of them in are in religious communities.
The C.D.C. said on Monday that the number of measles reported across the country rose by 75 last week, bringing the total to 839 in 23 states, the highest number of cases the United States has seen since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
 
New York City alone has seen 498 confirmed cases of the disease since September. In the rest of New York state, there have been 274 confirmed cases, according to official figures. About 80 percent of those cases were located in Rockland County.

BELZ $4.7M Charidy.com Campaign and the Hundreds of Jewish Charities that Have Little to no Accountability –

Belz Charidy

Dear Reader:

We have been told that BELZ children have been kept home from school to collect for a Charidy.com campaign. They are missing school, a day of good deeds? It is likely that they are collecting cash. It is more likely that there will be no accountability and that much of this money will be used for expenses of one form or another without oversight.

Mazel Tov for teaching the children the value of charity.

But we question the accountability of this charity campaign, the distribution of assets, the location of the school, the plans, the building costs, etc. None of it is available on the website for Charidy.com. And yet… they are nearly halfway to their goal.

The passing screenshots refer to a new building, new facilities a new school. But we are having a tough time figuring out where this school will be located and fundamental details about the expenses and the numbers.

Please keep in mind that there are dozens of charities wherein there is no accountability. This appears to be just such an endeavor.

AS A SIDE NOTE, CHARIDY.COM VERY KINDLY ASKED LOSTMESSIAH NOT TO TRY TO RAISE MONEY USING THEIR SITE. Respectfully, we obliged. We would have been accountable.

We are asking for accountability for $4.7 Million being raised.

The Importance of Judge Elena Baron’s Campaign – Defeating the Political Party Bosses and Unencumbered Justice

Judge Elena Baron Campaign for Surrogate Court: One Woman Against Brooklyn’s Political Bosses

 

Community and political leaders were astounded when in 2017 Elena Baron beat Brooklyn’s political bosses and won her election to become a Civil Court Judge.  Elena ran a grassroots judicial campaign winning by an overwhelming majority against three opponents in the 6th municipal court district, all backed by politicians.  Voters understood the importance of Baron’s independence from entrenched political insiders, who according to the NY Times pick almost all the judges in Brooklyn.  This year, Baron, who is running for Surrogate Court, is clearly the front runner in the race. Voters do not want to see lawyers connected to the Democratic Party looting the estates of widows, seniors and orphans in the Brooklyn Surrogate Court.  

Judge Elena Baron

In Brooklyn Heights Anne got out of her car to tell Baron, who was campaigning, how courageous she was to take on the Brooklyn Democratic Party Bosses and to run independent for judge.  In an era where the so-called progressives and reformers look the other way as the political bosses pick judges and use our courts for patronage, Baron is the leader that Brooklyn needs. 

Ann was familiar with how the Surrogate court operates because her close friend fell into a serious life-long depression after the estate of her mother was drained by administrators appointed by a Surrogate Court Judge. One of Elena’s best friends compared her campaign against the political bosses to the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where an outsider takes on the entrenched establishment to serve the people. 

Judge Elena Baron has spent over a decade working in five NYC Courthouses with a wide variety of issues and matters that come before the civil and supreme courts.  Elena has worked with families going through guardianships, dealt with myriads of issues pertaining to residential and commercial real estate, small claims, receiverships and refereeships, as well as matters concerning credit card debt and personal injury cases.   “Judge Baron’s independence and her well-diversified experience working in NYC Courts for over a decade will make her a very effective Surrogate, able to create personalized solutions to many individual family situations that come before the Surrogate Court,”said Yana Saffian, an attorney who practices before the Surrogate Court.  Elena has a track record of being independent from the Democratic party bosses, having been elected grass roots as a Civil Court Judge.    

To enter the Surrogate Court is to stumble upon Ponce de Leon’s own spring, an eternal source of easy money for the politically wired.  The Surrogate Court Judges appoint guardians to estates who make handsome fees of those residents who die without wills.  Robert Kennedy called the “The Surrogate Court A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute from Widows and Orphans.”  The Democratic Party bosses tell the Surrogate Court Judges they elect to hire party supporters, a patronage operation that strengthens organization by make money for their troops. 

Surrogate Court races are more about who and whose money is behind the candidates then the person running for office.  That is because the people behind the candidates get the benefits of the office, being appointed as administrators and guardians.  Elena Baron is the only candidate in this race who is not backed by the political bosses and the money and political support they bring to their candidates’ campaigns.  In her first race Elena Baron was a grassroots candidate who was challenged by the political bosses and she won overwhelmingly, because the voters want independent judges.

Growing up in the Soviet Union Elena witnessed many injustices that effected people around her and her immediate family.  One family member was sexually harassed and had to quit her job, another family member was being pressured into diverting funds going into the organization to a real estate development project, which she refused, and her private business venture was destroyed by thugs threatening to murder family members.  These and other experiences made Elena Baron love and respect justice and the law and to become a lawyer.  Elena would be the first immigrant to be elected to the Surrogate Court. 

The current surrogate, Margarita Lopez Torres, who is backed by bosses Seddio, Carone and the party machine this year, several times appointed Adam Kalish, who works out of Brooklyn County Boss Frank Seddio’s Canarsie home and office as a guardian.   Lopez Torres is running for a second 14 years term, although she is unable to serve it, since she must retire in 2 years at 70, the mandatory retirement age for a Surrogate Court Judge.  There is also talk, despite her denials, that Torres will take a Supreme Court position after the primary which will allow her to serve until she is 76 and allow party boss Seddio to back-fill one of his hacks as a replacement for a full 14-year term. 

To continue reading click here.

NYU and Prominent Donor, Steinhardt – New Law Firm Hired to Investigate

N.Y.U. Hires Law Firm to Investigate Behavior of Steinhardt, a Prominent Donor

A lawyer who helped lead an investigation into sexual abuse allegations against a U.S.A. Gymnastics team doctor will review whether Michael H. Steinhardt engaged in sexual harassment.

CreditEvan Agostini/Invision, via Associated Press
Image
CreditCreditEvan Agostini/Invision, via Associated Press

N.Y.U. said on Monday that it had hired a prominent law firm to investigate whether the namesake of its school of education, Michael H. Steinhardt, had engaged in inappropriate conduct with students, faculty or staff.

The review will be headed by Joan McPhee, a lawyer who last year helped lead an investigation of Lawrence G. Nassar, a U.S.A. Gymnastics team doctor who last year was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing young women. Ms. McPhee was hired by N.Y.U. as part of its response to a New York Times/ProPublica article that alleged a pattern of crude and demeaning sexual comments by Mr. Steinhardt toward women over decades.

Mr. Steinhardt, a hedge fund pioneer and philanthropist, denied many of the specifics of the allegations, saying that his behavior was always meant in jest, and never involved physical contact.

The N.Y.U. Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, the largest graduate school at the university, got its name after Mr. Steinhardt and his wife, Judy, donated $10 million to the school in 2001. It was the largest gift the graduate school had ever received.

 

The allegations, which were published in March, prompted some students to ask for the school to be renamed. The school’s student body is predominantly women.

“As somebody who is graduating, I don’t want to accept a diploma with this man’s name on it,” Beena Rachel Jacob, a 23-year-old senior in the education studies program at N.Y.U. Steinhardt, said on Monday.

After the article was published, the dean of N.Y.U. Steinhardt, Dominic Brewer, told the school’s community in a statement that while the Steinhardts had been generous, “the kind of remarks and behavior recounted in the news story are out-of-step with our school’s values and how we expect people to conduct themselves in this day and age.”

The university, he wrote, would undertake a review of Mr. Steinhardt’s interactions with N.Y.U. students, faculty and staff. Monday’s announcement, which came as the academic year was ending, was the first update about the situation the school had provided.

“The only new development is the identity of the law firm that is handling the previously-announced investigation,” said a lawyer for Mr. Steinhardt, Tom Clare. The firm set up a phone number and email address where people could give an account of improper behavior. Mr. Clare called that step “routine” for this kind of investigation.

To continue reading the New York Times article click here.

Merlin Can’t Possibly Possess Enough Magic for Gutnick’s Great Escape, ASIC Turns Up Heat On Diamond Company

ASIC liquidator push turns up the heat on Diamond Joe Gutnick

Australia’s corporate watchdog has sought Federal Court approval to wind up Joseph Gutnick’s publicly-listed company, Merlin Diamonds, and flagged an inquiry into whether the colourful Melbourne businessman has breached his director’s duties.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) move against the man known as “Diamond Joe” due to his appetite for outback diamond and gold deposits confirms the worst fears of Merlin Diamonds’ shareholders, who have already endured a seven-month trading ban on the company’s stock.

Joe Gutnick.
Joe Gutnick. CREDIT:JOHN WOUDSTRA

Court filings released to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday show ASIC is seeking an order to appoint Deloitte as liquidators of Merlin Diamonds, which had a market capitalisation of just $20 million when its stock was banned from trading last October.

ASIC has for months been probing how Merlin Diamonds has loaned $13 million of investor money to a private company, AXIS Consultants, which has long been associated with Mr Gutnick.

“The loans have been used to fund private companies associated with Joseph Gutnick and provide no discernible benefit to Merlin Diamonds,” ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

In one example cited by ASIC, it alleges Merlin Diamonds in October 2016 received $900,000 from a Mr Gutnick-linked company, Chabad Properties, for convertible notes and options issued to Chabad.

“The ultimate source of the $900,000 paid by Chabad, through a series of transactions involving related companies, was Merlin Diamonds. Mr Gutnick is a former director of Chabad,” ASIC’s media statement revealed.

Mr Gutnick, who resumed the chairmanship of Merlin Diamonds after emerging from a self-imposed bankruptcy last year, and his wife, Stera Gutnick, are also named in the ASIC’s court filing to wind up Merlin Diamonds. Mrs Gutnick is not a director of Merlin Diamonds and is not understood to be personally under investigation.

ASIC has asked the liquidators to examine and provide an opinion on whether Mr Gutnick and other past and present Merlin Diamonds directors and officers, have breached the Corporations Act.

To Continue reading click here.

Merlin Diamonds, Not So Magical Now – ASIC Move to Liquidate Company – Follow the Money…

 

ASIC media releases are point-in-time statements. Please note the date of issue and use the internal search function on the site to check for other media releases on the same or related matters.

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Tuesday 14 May 2019

19-113MR ASIC moves to appoint provisional liquidator to Merlin Diamonds Ltd

ASIC has applied to the Federal Court of Australia to wind up ASX-listed public company Merlin Diamonds Limited (ACN 009 153 119) (Merlin Diamonds) and for the appointment of provisional liquidators to report to the court pending hearing of its application for final relief.

The application arises from ASIC’s concerns which include:

  • since 2012, Merlin Diamonds has advanced substantial funds to Axis Consultants Pty Ltd (Axis), a related management services company, without shareholder approval ($13,752,124 owing as at 30 June 2018) (Loans);
  • the Loans have been used to fund private companies associated with Mr Joseph Gutnick (a current and former director of Merlin Diamonds and Axis respectively) and provide no discernible benefit to Merlin Diamonds;
  • the terms of the Loans appear to be unreasonable, uncommercial and non-arm’s length. No security for the Loans has been provided by Axis or any third party and the Loans are being fully provisioned (impairment provision) each financial year;
  • the Merlin Diamonds auditors have been unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to be satisfied that Axis is likely to be able to repay the Loans;
  • in October 2016 Merlin Diamonds received $900,000 from Chabad Properties Pty Ltd (Chabad) for convertible notes and options issued to Chabad. The ultimate source of the $900,000 paid by Chabad, through a series of transactions involving related companies, was Merlin Diamonds. Mr Gutnick is a former director of Chabad;
  • audited accounts of Merlin Diamonds for the half-year ended 31 December 2018 (due 18 March 2019) have not been lodged with ASIC, a contravention of s320 of the Corporations Act;
  • the financial position of Merlin Diamonds as at 30 June 2018 raises concerns over the company’s solvency;
  • there has been no company secretary of Merlin Diamonds since 8 January 2019, a contravention of s204A(2) of the Corporations Act; and 
  • corporate governance of Merlin Diamonds falls far short of the standard expected of an ASX-listed public company.

ASIC seeks from the Court:

  • the appointment of Mr Salvatore Algeri and Mr Timothy Norman, of Deloitte Financial Advisory Pty Ltd as joint and several provisional      liquidators of the company; and
  • orders requiring the provisional liquidators to provide a detailed report to the Court that sets out, among other things:
    • the way in which Merlin Diamonds has made the Loans;
    • the recoverability of the Loans from Axis;
    • the $900,000 transaction involving Chabad; and
    • the financial position of Merlin Diamonds
  • for the Court’s consideration at a later date, orders to wind up the company and appointing Mr Algeri and Mr Norman as liquidators.

ASIC’s application will be heard in the Federal Court of Australia at Melbourne on a date to be fixed.

ASIC’s investigation into the affairs of Merlin Diamonds is continuing.

Background

Merlin Diamonds, a Melbourne-based company listed on ASX, engages in the exploration and development of diamond mining projects. Its flagship project is the Merlin diamond mine in the Northern Territory.

Merlin Diamond’s shares have been suspended from trading since 1 October 2018. Merlin Diamonds has 3.3 billion ordinary shares issued, and last traded at $0.006 per share – resulting in a market capitalisation of approximately $20 million.

Editor’s note:

The matter was listed for the first case management hearing on 4 June 2019 in the Federal Court, Melbourne.

Rockland’s Ed Day, Ramapo’s Michael Speech, and Rabbi Chaim Schabes – Voices of Reason: The Measles and a Misguided Gathering in Monsey.

To the People Who Organized this Travesty of a Gathering, to the Owners of this Hall Who Allowed It, You Should be Paying the Bills for Anyone who Gets Sick!

To our readers:

If a person carrying the HIV virus knowingly has sexual relations with someone without first informing that person of the risks, it is a crime. HIV is spread through blood transfer and the interaction of certain bodily fluids. It is not airborne and is generally not contagious.

However, a family can choose to not vaccinate themselves or their children for measles and can walk into a crowded Costco or onto a cruise ship, infected with the measles and it is not a crime? The measles is highly contagious, is airborne and does not require a live host to pass from one person to another. Why are the actions of this family not viewed as criminal?

Perhaps the difference is what it takes to spread the disease? HIV requires intimate contact, generally speaking and measles only requires that you go out in public. Is that the difference?

A family that chooses not to vaccinate its children, that then infects others should be held fully and completely accountable for the damage to those who become ill. The measles is life threatening. It has financial implications. It has health implications. It is now costing the United States health insurance industry millions of dollars. It is costing public welfare like Medicare and Medicaid in the tens of millions.

In the year 2000, the Measles was virtually eradicated from the United States.

We have moved centuries backwards and Rabbis, attorneys couching their arguments in fundamental freedoms and wayward knuckleheads named Bigtree are preaching the virtues of anti-vaxing and its already debunked theory of a connection between the vaccine and autism.

What about the fundamental rights of the rest of the population to be able to travel out in public and feel safe. What about new mothers with children who are too young for the vaccine? And what about people who are finding that the vaccines from the late 60’s are not protecting them. And finally, what if the virus mutates, a very real possibility.

The priorities here are upside down and it has nothing to do with illegal immigrants!

Rabbi At Anti-Vaccination Symposium Blames ‘Illegals’ For Spreading Disease

051419monsey.jpg

Hundreds of Orthodox Jewish families gathered in a catering hall Monday night in the Rockland County hamlet of Monsey, where they heard anti-vaccine crusaders claim that inoculations are the real health risk, and that measles can help produce growth spurts and prevent everything from cancer to heart disease.

Dr. Larry Palevsky, who runs the Newport Wellness Center in Long Island, a practice that specializes in “holistic pediatric services,” asked onlookers to question whether there was actually a measles outbreak, or if people were actually catching measles from the vaccine itself. Or, perhaps, doctors have been misdiagnosing other illnesses as the measles.

“Is there a bad lot of vaccines?“ Palevsky asked the crowd. “Is it possible that these lots are bad? Is it something other than the unvaccinated children?”

The symposium, hosted by a group calling itself the “United Jewish Community Council,” was advertised through robocalls and fliers sent around WhatsApp groups. Getting wind of the rally, Rockland County officials sent out a desperate message urging people not to attend.

“This type of propaganda endangers the health and safety of children within our community,” County Executive Ed Day, Ramapo Supervisor Michael Speech, and Rabbi Chaim Schabes wrote in a joint statement. “It is unfortunate that these outsiders are targeting our community and attacking our right of self-determination…We urge our residents to continue to ignore these attempts to exploit our differences and ask that they stand together.”

But the message did little to dissuade hundreds of people from showing up, mostly Orthodox Jewish families from all over the region; some bussed into Monsey from as far away as Brooklyn and Lakewood, New Jersey.

Crowds trickled in at first, but by 8:30 p.m. the ballroom was packed with hundreds of spectators, with women and men separated by a cloth partition. (The podium was in front of the men’s side, while women initially had to make do with a video projection. After some protest from non-Orthodox women there, organizers pulled back the curtain a few feet so women could see the stage.)

Just one of the event’s five speakers, who were introduced as “distinguished personalities” and the “cream of humanity’s crop,” was from the Orthodox community. Rabbi Hillel Handler, who has likened vaccination to “child sacrifice” in the past, told the crowd that according to “medical research,” if you catch “measles, mumps and chickenpox, your chances of getting cancer, heart disease, and strokes goes down 60 percent.”

He also said that Hasidim were being scapegoated by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who he called “a very, very sneaky fellow” and a German.

“The Jews are our misfortune,” he said, bringing up how Jews were stigmatized in Nazi Germany. “We Hasidim have been chosen as the target in order to distract from the virulent diseases that are sweeping through the city from illegals.”

The other speakers were figures from the national secular anti-vaccination circuit, who traded in long-debunked and fraudulent claims that vaccines cause autism or other autoimmune disorders, while painting measles as a trivial childhood illness that can give children a growth spurt or protect them from cancers.

D.C. lobbyist Greg Mitchell took the stage after Rabbi Handler. Mitchell has pushed for such causes as the First Step Act, the criminal justice reform bill signed into law late last year by President Trump. Mitchell, according to a report from the Daily Beast, was booted from those efforts when organizers found out he was also lobbying for the Church of Scientology, and that the church was potentially trying to convert formerly incarcerated people through a nonprofit it runs.

“I will be your voice in Washington, I’ll make it will help you carry your message; I will stand next to you,” Mitchell said, admitting not to know much about the vaccine safety issue and deferring to the expertise of other speakers. “I’m your lobbyist, I’m here to help you.”

Palevsky then questioned the reality of a measles outbreak, while warning the crowd about the measles vaccine. “Hundreds of thousands if not millions of mothers…have witnessed children regressing after they get the MMR…the children stop talking, they don’t look at you, they start flapping their arms, they start banging their head,” he said.

According to New York City and Rockland Health Departments, the vast majority of people who’ve gotten sick with measles have been unvaccinated. In Rockland County, 92 percent of people were either completely unvaccinated or had an known vaccination status, according to the county’s health department. In New York City, 92 percent of children who got sick and 72 percent of adults were unvaccinated as of April 24, according to a city Department of Health advisory sent out to health care providers.

The final speakers were two of the biggest names on the anti-vaccination circuit. Andrew Wakefield, the author of the fraudulent 1998 paper published then retracted in the Lancet that claimed there was a link between the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine and autism by looking at 12 autistic children, spoke to the crowd via videoconference.

“I want to reassure you, I have never been involved in scientific fraud,” he said. “What happened to me is what happens to doctors who threaten the bottom line of the pharmaceutical companies and who threaten government policy in the interest of their patients and that is what happened.”

Embedded video

Gwynne Hogan@GwynneFitz

Andrew Wakefield joined the crowd via ominous video conference:

See Gwynne Hogan’s other Tweets

After Wakefield’s study was found to contain factual inaccuracies and ethical violations, investigative journalist Brian Deer revealed that Wakefield had also been receiving payments from an attorney trying to sue the vaccine manufacturer.

Finally, Del Bigtree, TV producer-turned-anti-vaccination YouTube host, addressed the crowd.

“This could destroy our species…They wanna talk about the measles,” Bigtree shouted to the exuberant crowd. “I wanna talk about autism, I want to talk about the greatest epidemic of our lifetime and all the other chronic illnesses that are skyrocketing in this country.”

To continue reading click here.

 

De Blasio, “Fairness” PAC, Mint-Scented Trash Bags and Which Quid for What Quo?

mayor9n-2-web

Never Mind the White House: Mayor Quid Pro Quo Is Lucky He’s Not in Jail

If New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joins the gaggle of Democrats running for president, he will stand out as the only one who flouted federal law so often and so flagrantly that prosecutors felt compelled to publicly explain why they had not gone ahead and locked him up.

The March 2017 statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan announced:

“We have conducted a thorough investigation into several circumstances in which Mayor de Blasio and others acting on his behalf solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the City, after which the Mayor made or directed inquiries to relevant City agencies on behalf of those donors,” the statement reported.

Note the absence of the word “alleged.”

The pay-to-play operation—which involved everything from a contract for mint-scented, rat-resistant trash bags to multimillion-dollar real estate deals—is stated as fact. The statement goes on to explain why the prosecutor had decided “not to bring federal criminal charges against the Mayor or those acting on his behalf.”

“In considering whether to charge individuals with serious public corruption crimes, we take into account, among other things, the high burden of proof, the clarity of existing law, any recent changes in the law, and the particular difficulty in proving criminal intent in corruption schemes where there is no evidence of personal profit,” it says.

Those “changes in the law” included a U.S Supreme Court decision in June of the year before, which vacated the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, who had accepted a $175,000 loan and various gifts from a dietary supplement manufacturer that sought state assistance in testing and marketing his product.

The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who explained: “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute. A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption.”

In short, just arranging a meeting in exchange for a gift does not constitute corruption under the more narrow definition. The accused must have performed an official act such as can be placed on an agenda or memorialized in the record.

That narrower definition of corruption came when the feds in New York were eight months into investigating de Blasio. They felt they were well on the way to making a case.

“The government was lusting, lusting to get de Blasio,” an attorney for a big donor who was repeatedly questioned by the feds told The Daily Beast.

But in instances such as the mint-scented rat-repellent trash bags, de Blasio had simply granted a meeting with parks department officials and facilitated a field test.

To continue reading click here.

Diamond Joe Gutnick and Merlin Diamonds, Liquidation… Follow the Money

ASIC liquidator push turns up the heat on Diamond Joe Gutnick

Australia’s corporate watchdog has sought Federal Court approval to wind up Joseph Gutnick’s publicly-listed company, Merlin Diamonds, and flagged an inquiry into whether the colourful Melbourne businessman has breached his director’s duties.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) move against the man known as “Diamond Joe” due to his appetite for outback diamond and gold deposits confirms the worst fears of Merlin Diamonds’ shareholders, who have already endured a seven-month trading ban on the company’s stock.

Joe Gutnick.

Court filings released to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday show ASIC is seeking an order to appoint Deloitte as liquidators of Merlin Diamonds, which had a market capitalisation of just $20 million when its stock was banned from trading last October.

ASIC has for months been probing how Merlin Diamonds has loaned $13 million of investor money to a private company, AXIS Consultants, which has long been associated with Mr Gutnick.

“The loans have been used to fund private companies associated with Joseph Gutnick and provide no discernible benefit to Merlin Diamonds,” ASIC said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

In one example cited by ASIC, it alleges Merlin Diamonds in October 2016 received $900,000 from a Mr Gutnick-linked company, Chabad Properties, for convertible notes and options issued to Chabad.

It wants this opinion, as well as advice on the company’s assets, solvency and likely return to creditors, within 42 days of the liquidators being appointed.

Mr Gutnick is one of Australia’s best-known business figures, was once a regular on the BRW richest 200 list and a benefactor to many Jewish charities.

As president of a stricken Melbourne Football Club during the 1990s, the ordained Rabbi’s financial support kept the club alive.

Mr Gutnick said on Tuesday that Merlin Diamonds was reviewing ASIC’s filings.

“It’s been handed to lawyers to examine and defend,” he said.

ASIC has sought an order to release to Deloitte documents it has amassed relevant to Merlin Diamonds, Mr and Mrs Gutnick and a host of Gutnick-controlled or associated private companies.

Among the named private companies is AXIS Consultants, which The Age and Sydney Morning Herald revealed in February was at the heart of ASIC’s investigation into Merlin Diamonds.

AXIS, which shares the same Moray Street Southbank office as Merlin Diamonds, has received about $18 million dollars in unsecured loans from publicly-traded companies led by Mr Gutnick, including Merlin Diamonds and the company formerly known as Top End Minerals.

“The ultimate source of the $900,000 paid by Chabad, through a series of transactions involving related companies, was Merlin Diamonds. Mr Gutnick is a former director of Chabad,” ASIC’s media statement revealed.

 

Mr Gutnick, who resumed the chairmanship of Merlin Diamonds after emerging from a self-imposed bankruptcy last year, and his wife, Stera Gutnick, are also named in the ASIC’s court filing to wind up Merlin Diamonds. Mrs Gutnick is not a director of Merlin Diamonds and is not understood to be personally under investigation.

ASIC has asked the liquidators to examine and provide an opinion on whether Mr Gutnick and other past and present Merlin Diamonds directors and officers, have breached the Corporations Act.

To continue reading click here.

Measles Outbreak and International Problem, In Israel, Health Ministry to Take Dramatic Legal Action

A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg

HEALTH MINISTRY TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST ANTI-VACCINATION DOCTORS

The Health Ministry is expected to take legal action against two doctors who advised thousands of patients to not get vaccinated, according to Israel Hayom. This is the first time that the Health Ministry will have taken legal action like this against doctors.

The Health Ministry referred to the doctors’ actions as “serious negligence.” If the doctors are convicted, they may lose their license to practice medicine, according to Israel Hayom.

The decision to take legal action comes after an investigation published in November 2018 included serious allegations that the Ministry did not deal with some doctors who were openly spreading false information about vaccines and encouraging the public not to vaccinate.

According to Israel Hayom, the Health Ministry called in the doctors for clarification in December because of a suspicion that they spread information which “encourages adults and children not to vaccinate. This is misleading the public and harming its health.” The summary of the investigation was completed this week.

The decision comes as the Health Ministry continues the fight against a large measles outbreak. 4,100 cases of measles have been recorded in Israel since March 2018, according to Health Ministry statistics.

About 96.1% of Israelis were vaccinated against measles as of September 2018, according to the Ministry.

The measles outbreak has become an international issue as well recently. The World Health Organization reported the highest number of measles cases in decades, with 328,560 cases in 2018. This is nearly double the number of cases reported in 2017.

The Health Ministry released a statement on Tuesday, stressing that children must be vaccinated against measles. The first dose should be given at the age of 12 months and the second dose should be given in first grade. Children who have not yet been vaccinated should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

The statement also recommended that those traveling abroad to Ukraine, Georgia, Madagascar, Albania and Liberia, should make absolutely sure that they are vaccinated.

To continue reading click here.

Jeremy Reichberg – 4 Year Sentence in Bribery Scandal -This was Not Hubris and Gluttony, it was Criminal

Image result for pics of jona rechnitz and jeremy reichberg

De Blasio donor Jeremy Reichberg sentenced to 4 years for bribery scandal

A former City Hall fundraiser who was convicted of taking part in a massive bribery scheme in which NYPD officers were bestowed with lavish gifts that included a private junket to Las Vegas was sentenced Monday to 48 months in prison.

Jeremy Reichberg, who was convicted in January of four counts, including conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and bribery, tearfully asked District Judge Gregory Woods for leniency moments earlier.

“I acted as an adolescent, wanting special attention, feeling that I was entitled to get special attention for my friends who were police officers,” Reichberg said in Manhattan federal court, struggling to read through prepared remarks and pausing often to wipe away tears and blow his nose.

His attorney, Susan Necheles, argued that her client committed crimes of “hubris … ego and gluttony,” saying he paid bribes to cops so he could pal around with them and look like a “big shot.”

She argued that the bribes didn’t get him any big favors or put the public in danger.

“What he got were things that made him look like a big shot,” she said. “He hung out them doing fancy things.”

But prosecutors said Reichberg’s bribes weren’t just to spruce up his image – arguing that he and his former pal Jona Rechnitz got police favors in exchange for their lavish gifts, including help with arrests and difficult-to-obtain gun licenses.

“This was not a crime that created an appearance of favoritism,” said Assistant US Attorney Martin Bell. “This was impropriety of the most basic sort. This was favoritism, bought and paid for.”

Reichberg also was sentenced for two years of supervised release.

“I believe the offenses were about more than dollars and cents. It’s about corruption of an important public institution,” the judge said.

To continue reading click here.

 

FOR ADDITIONAL READING:

Businessman gets 4 years prison for police corruption scam

Brooklyn businessman who bribed NYPD cops deserves 6 years: prosecutors

 

Platinum Investor Conference Call – Landesman and Nordlicht – Distancing from Murray… and “Tickets”?

 

DRAFT TRANSCRIPT1
Platinum Investor Conference Call

June 14, 2016

Participants: Uri Landesman
Mark Nordlicht (“MN”)

Length of Recording: Approximately 23 minutes and 21 seconds

[2:18-5:24:]
MN: But let me talk right at the get-go about the events that created a firestorm
for us last week. It’s uh obviously very, very painful uh for us to talk about
it. You know, the lawyers and the PR people would tell us to–we should
distance ourselves from Murray and uh, uh, just, you know, say we had
nothing to do with it. At the end of the day, that’s just not our nature.
That’s not the way I was brought up, and that’s not the way I think uh the
majority of Platinum um behaves and carries themselves. While it is true it
was specifically um, pretty much focused on Murray in this particular case–
there weren’t a lot of other people involved–we do feel very strongly that
uh that the allegations are false, will be proven false, hopefully. And you
know um, and we very much feel that–that none of that probably ever
happened. Um that having been said from my perspective, you know, I tell
my kids life isn’t fair, you have to deal with the repercussions. It is what
is, and you have to deal with it. And um, and so we have to deal with the
outgrowth, both with this terrible headline and and what’s come subsequent
to that. I would just make one point, by the way, even on the allegations
against Murray, we should just make, be very, very clear that this was
related to funds that were forwarded from the management company,
essentially personal funds, um, at the time. And, so no investor funds and
and that’s a good segue to just make the point that in terms of, of the
positions at Platinum, this has no direct effect on any of the positions, and
we feel very, very good about the positioning um of both funds, and in terms
of the outlook of them being successful and being successfully liquidated
over time. Um in terms of the outgrowth, I would say, the issue is it’s not
related—I think this headline in itself was one headline too far maybe? Um,
in and of itself, but, the problem that you have is, and you know what we
think is unfair, but what we have to deal with, is it doesn’t stop right there.
Based on that, on the same day, we started to receive a lot of questions from
1 The transcript contained herein is in draft form and is subject to revision.

Case 1:16-cr-00640-DLI Document 122-7 Filed 04/26/17 Page 1 of 3 PageID #: 729

2

two separate regulatory agencies related to Platinum—related a lot to the
tickets and different, different things with Murray and Da– and uh, Murray,
but also some more general questions about Platinum. Primarily actually a
lot of questions that were already in the press and really just very, very
general questions which we’re very, very comfortable with. Um, you know
we are very comfortable with how we conduct Platinum, and we feel very,
very strongly that the likelihood is that nothing will come out of these
questions. But, it is a distraction, and uh we know from when we had just
a routine audit what kind of distraction that was in terms of the volume of
questions. This is actually less questions, but perhaps a little bit more
uncomfortable given the context that they’re being, that they’re being asked
right now.

[5:36:]
MN: [M]y gut right now is to, certainly in regards to PPVA, is to unwind the fund
in an ordinary fashion.

[7:50:]
MN: You know, to the extent that we’re winding down, certainly PPVA, we’re
winding down, we’re not closing down. . . . I want to not just get the money
back, I want to produce nice returns on the way out. . . . I really want to, you
know, do a bang-out job on the way out, certainly in terms of PPVA . . . .

[10:05:]
MN: In terms of PPVA, um obviously the only thing I’m a little nervous about is
the energy positions because it’s a very, very wide delta in terms of what
the outcome could be.

[17:30:]
MN: My initial inclination was also wind down that [the Platinum Partners Credit
Opportunities Fund (“PPCO”)], from a personal level I was thinking
actually that, you know what, maybe that’s um, certainly from a personal
level it’s probably better for me, um, but nevertheless we have gotten some
large investor feedback that, resisting, um, resisting taking the same
measures on PPCO. So I’m gonna hold back on making that decision . . . .
But really again that’s something that we’re gonna be looking at very, very
closely and by the end of next week, we’ll probably have made a, a
definitive decision . . . .

Case 1:16-cr-00640-DLI Document 122-7 Filed 04/26/17 Page 2 of 3 PageID #: 730

3

[22:15:]
MN: So I think in terms of the the, um, positions going forward we’ll leave it at
that, because obviously I think most of the concern was was just, you know,
what’s the outlook going forward and what’s going on. . . . Again, from my
perspective if it was just the headline – we’re fighters here, so I fought
through a lot. I worked very, very hard to get PPVA where it is now,
whereby we were just in the midst of breaking through, so it is frustrating,
but sometimes um a message is sent to you from outside that maybe it just
wasn’t meant to be. Uh that’s the way I feel in PPVA certainly right now,
and PPCO we’re going to outlook, we’ll have some answers for you
certainly by the end of next week.

Judge Jacobson, Brooklyn, The Judicial Screening Panel and the Attorneys in Kings County – Lawsuit and Allegations

Federal judge did not disclose connection to player in lawsuit, records show

Federal judge did not disclose connection to player in lawsuit, records show

 

A Brooklyn federal judge did not disclose she was colleagues with a lawyer in a politically-charged civil lawsuit over which she presided — raising potential ethics concerns.

Judge LaShann DeArcy Hall handled a suit filed by former Brooklyn Civil Court Judge Laura Jacobson against the Brooklyn Democratic Party, its leader Frank Seddio and its judicial screening committee.

Jacobson alleges she was railroaded out of her judicial seat and defamed by the party and its screening committee — in part because she ruled against the Kings County Democratic Committee’s chief lawyer Frank Carone in a 2014 case.

Hall and Carone served together on the city Taxi and Limousine Commission beginning in 2011, their online bios show. Judge Hall did not disclose that connection during the Jacobson legal proceedings, which began in 2016. Carone was not a defendant in Jacobson’s lawsuit.

“They would normally at least raise the issue,” Ronald Minkoff, a legal ethics professor at Columbia Law School, said of judges in such situations. “Is it something in a perfect world you would disclose? Yes. Is it something that matters? I don’t know.”

Minkoff said situations where relatives or close friends show up in lawsuits would be clear grounds for disclosure or recusal. A situation like Hall’s is more of a gray area, but Minkoff said judges often leave such situations for lawyers to decide.

Jacobson’s attorney Ravi Batra said it’s “too early to say” whether he would pursue an ethics complaint through the federal court system.

“While I’m more comfortable with it, my client is not,” Batra said of Hall presiding over the case. “I just wish there had been fuller disclosure so this would not even be an issue.”

Ravi Batra speaks on the City Hall steps.
Ravi Batra speaks on the City Hall steps. (Hagen, Kevin Freelance NYDN)

Hall dismissed Jacobson’s lawsuit last September. Batra filed a notice of appeal the following month.

The complaint alleges that the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s judicial screening committee found Jacobson “not qualified” in order to push her from the bench over court decisions she made, including the one involving Carone.

Batra noted that this is not the first time ethics issues have arisen around Carone, a Brooklyn lawyer and a donor and friend to Mayor de Blasio.

To continue reading click here.

Purdue’s Richard Sacker, a Show of True Compassion -Victimizing the Victimized

Purdue’s Richard Sackler Allegedly Called Opioid Addicts ‘Victimizers’

BLOOMBURG BUSINESS

The former chairman of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP blamed victims of opioid abuse for their own suffering in emails from 2001 that predicted a liberal backlash if his views were made public, according to a court filing.

“Abusers aren’t victims; they are the victimizers,” Richard Sackler said in an email to an unidentified friend, according to previously undisclosed messages added to a lawsuit by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

To continue reading, click here.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

Former Purdue Pharma CEO allegedly called opioid addicts ‘victimizers’

Suing for Silence – Rabbis who Report Sexual Abuse, Bloggers who Write About Fraud, Housing, etc. The Courts as a Weapon One Example [video]

 

To Our Readers:

We do not do the justice to the subjects within the community that FailedMessiah did. He was better at it. Had he not moved on, we would not have found our place on this crusade of sorts. We can only try to do our best.

LostMessiah, as is evident by the video above, is not the only entity to be sued for speaking out. We have no intention of being bought or being silenced.

We do need your help.  If you have not donated to the page and/or to the lawsuit, please do so. The link for the lawsuit is as follows:

https://www.gofundme.com/defending-free-speech-stopping-bullying

The Plaintiff had another victory at the hearing on May 8, 2019, leaving much of the Complaint and other documents sealed, in clear violation of the First Amendment. The articles in question were written in 2016, outside the Statute of Limitations, brokering no argument, except when you have the Kings County deck stacked against you.

The attorney never contacted us to take something down before instituting proceedings to unmask. That was not the purpose of hte Plaintiff.

Anyone who has ever contacted LostMessiah directly with a claim of any kind that we were wrong or erred or misquoted or used a photo we should not have, we have addressed the claim.

They have sued us because the Plaintiff’s wealth is endless and Kings County is a Satmar real estate mogul’s paradise. We ask that you please support us and our efforts. 

Rockland County, New York, Code and Housing Violations – Dangerous Conditions – Yeshivas and Children[video]

blob:https://www.nbcnewyork.com/0d293faa-cef4-446c-af87-dd3e0d6bafd2

 

I-Team: Battle Brewing Over Illegal and Dangerous Building Conversions in Rockland County

An investigation paralleling I-Team coverage found slumlords with illegal subdivisions and “rooming houses” are repeatedly failing local building codes and laws

 

A new battle is brewing in Rockland County amid accusations of overdevelopment and illegal conversions.

Months ago, State Senator James Skoufis, who represents part of Rockland, launched an investigation into building code enforcement. His investigation parallels continuing coverage by the I-Team.

“We’re finding illegal subdivisions where walls appear where they should not be. We’re finding illegal rooming houses where slumlords are renting to vulnerable Spanish-speaking immigrants,” Skoufis said.

The I-Team submitted Freedom of Information requests for nearly two dozen properties in the town of Ramapo and the Village of Spring Valley. The locations were identified by members of the county’s illegal housing task force and building insiders as being persistent offenders for failing to follow local building laws and codes.

Exploding Controversy Over NY County Illegal Housing Battle

[NY] Exploding Controversy Over NY County Illegal Housing Battle

There is a new battle over illegal housing in Rockland County and the mounting pressure by a special task force and hearings ordered by a state senator. The I-Team’s Sarah Wallace.

(Published Wednesday, May 8, 2019)

Many of the files in Spring Valley were incomplete or missing, according to Gordon Wren, the retired Director of Fire and Emergency Services, and a former Ramapo building inspector.

“Slumlords are doing whatever they want. It’s out of control,” Wren said. He added, “Firefighting is dangerous under any conditions. Then when you have these illegal conversions, it’s extremely dangerous.”

“It’s the wild west, and getting wilder,” said Justin Schwartz, chairman of the task force. “The bad guys are doing whatever they want with impunity.”

The I-Team obtained recent photos taken by a fire inspector at a private home in Monsey. The inspector noted an “obviously illegal yeshiva dormitory operating in basement with up to 6 beds per 4 overcrowded rooms, insufficient or blocked rescue and escape openings, missing smoke alarms, no CO alarms, and open/dangerous electric.”

The owner refused to comment on the photos the I-Team wanted to show her. A town spokesman said the violations have been cleared.

Critics say that property illustrates a systemic pattern of failure to enforce building code laws.

A Platinum Reversal of Fortune for Nordlicht, Judge Releases Him with Warning

LAW 360

In Reversal, Ex-Platinum Boss Released After Night In Jail

Law360, New York (May 7, 2019, 8:32 PM EDT) — Former Platinum Partners co-founder Mark Nordlicht was ordered released from custody on Tuesday, a day after the New York federal judge presiding over his securities fraud trial revoked his bond for accosting a prosecutor.
To continue, subscription to Law360 Required.

LM Comments – [Opinion]

Suffice it to say that we do not completely agree with Judge Cogan, but mercy may be the better part of valor. We do hope, however, that the Judge takes the steps of revoking the bail as threatened, which would mean a significant dent in the Nordlicht trust fund pocket. We further hope that he is kept under lock and key.

We commend the defense team for whatever magic they performed here and hope the prosecution can present the case well enough to overcome what will likely be a defense based upon legal slights of hand.

We should all be reminded that the Platinum Partners frauds, multiple, over many years, involved numerous ventures and numerous shareholders, investors, families, trusts, retirement funds, people and livelihoods. These were far from “victimless crimes”.

We would argue that financial crimes and rape have many similarities. They are both power plays, violations of trust, the taking of something of great value, a complete humiliation and destruction of one’s dignity. Both leave generations of scars. They don’t end with the single or multiple victims, they are inherently paid forward, one in financial terms the other in how the entire world is viewed. We believe that financial fraudsters are in some sense financial rapists and should be treated the same in terms of the debt they owe to their victims and to society.

The final similarity – both rapists and financial fraudsters tend to be cavalier about their victims. That should not be ignored.

Black Elk, David Levy and “So What if it’s Fraud?” – The Black Elk Story Continued

David Levy, Black Elk and a Fraud Perpetrated Upon Shareholders in Brazen Fashion…

 

Dear Readers:

We told this story long ago and uncovering the fraud perpetrated upon the Black Elk shareholders has been one of the many things we have focused since our inception. We did not envision that the day would come when it would be laid out in black and white before the court. The below is a copy of the transcript, stating in pertinent part, everything we already knew. Read on.

David Levy Fraud, Black ElkDavid Levy Fraud, Black Elk_Page_1David Levy Fraud, Black Elk_Page_2.jpgDavid Levy Fraud, Black Elk_Page_3.jpgDavid Levy Fraud, Black Elk_Page_4.jpgDavid Levy Fraud, Black Elk_Page_5.jpg

Mark Nordlicht and the El Chapo Comparison- Finally Judge who Cannot be Swayed and Doesn’t Mess Around

Mark Nordlicht

Why a judge called this alleged fraudster ‘worse than El Chapo’

 

Even El Chapo had manners, a judge seethed Monday as he remanded an accused Ponzi schemerfor lunging at a prosecutor in a courthouse hallway.

“I’ve tried cases with Mafia hitmen, with Mexican sicarios [hired killers] and with terrorists who tried to blow up buildings,’’ said Brooklyn federal Judge Brian Cogan, whose past trials have included Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo’’ Guzman.

“I’ve never had any of them act this way,’’ Cogan said, referring to how accused fraudster Mark Nordlicht allegedly tried to attack Assistant US Attorney Lauren Elbert during a court break Thursday.

Elbert had been chatting with about five other prosecutors in the hallway when she walked by the fallen Platinum Partners hedge fund founder and his wife, prompting the suspect to allegedly make a grab for her.

“You have no f–king morals!’’ Nordlicht screamed at Elbert in the incident, which was caught on surveillance video.

Nordlicht was trying “for over 10 seconds to pursue the Prosecutor while his wife almost pulled his suit jacket off while trying to restrain him,’’ according to court papers.

Nordlicht is on trial for allegedly running a pyramid-like scheme in which he claimed Platinum had $1.7 billion to keep the fraud going.

He had been out on $5 million bail, but prosecutors sought to have him remanded to jail for the rest of his trial because of the hallway incident.

Nordlicht’s lawyer, Jose Baez — who also reps accused Hollywood sex-assaulter Harvey Weinstein — argued that his client was just stressed and isn’t a violent person.

“I do not think this argument, this yelling, rises to the level of a crime,’’ he told Cogan of the courthouse incident.

Saying that everyone loses their temper every once in awhile, Baez added, “What hypocrites we are.’’

Cogan responded, “Are you including me?’’

Baez replied, “Yes. This is a man who loses his temper. I’ve lost my cool. The court’s lost its cool.’’

Cogan wasn’t buying it.

“I don’t know if the government is going to indict on this, but I don’t see why they couldn’t,’’ he said of Nordlicht’s behavior.

To continue reading from the New York Post click here.

Platinum, Witness Tampering, Alleged Federal Overreach, Claims that Investors Were Warned, Due Diligence and Links

Dear Readers:

Over the past few years we have not covered the witness tampering aspect of Platinum Partners, the fund or the individuals. We were contacted many times by a number of witnesses and whistle-blowers, at least one of whom was genuinely frightened for his/her safety, her/his reputation and his/her livelihood. So, we have no doubt that Platinum’s Partners made a concerted effort to keep anyone who voiced concerns about the fund silenced. 

The Nordlicht defense team has tried to paint the Feds as responsible parties claiming leaked evidence in 2016. A Boston journalist called the investigation “Federal overreach”. That is in an abundance of arrogance. Anyone who obsessed over the numbers, the patterns of each and every scheme, dating back to Optionable (the original backer for Platinum) and on forward would have seen the same exact pattern just repeating itself like a broken record. There was no difference between Optionable, Black Elk, Glacial Energy, Echo Therapeutics and the list goes on and on. It was simply a matter of financial gymnastics and business plan semantics. There was nothing that the Feds or anyone else could have said or done that would have made the picture any clearer, except perhaps to the unsavvy investor and in that case, they may have saved some ill-equipped investors significant heartache, if indeed they leaked evidence that a smart journalist did not uncover on his own.

To claim that the investors were warned, a claim of the defense team, is to perpetuate a fraud on the court, the justice system and every investor who invests in the stock market, either regularly or on occasion. The investors who took each and every scheme in a vacuum and who did not do deep-dive due diligence on the people in whom they were entrusting their money would have had no reason to think that Platinum was a radioactive hedge fund. Every investment document has standard language regarding risks, so much so that the language has become mundane.

Anyone who wants due diligence on a hedge fund, an investment, an investment vehicle or the people involved, going forward, should contact the site and we will provide you with some attorney advertising and a place to go for that information. There are those among us who obsess over the fraudulent and dishonest within the financial system and markets and are hell bent on protecting the less savvy and most vulnerable. That is the very heart of this site.  

We have provided you with links to some further reading below, to another site (with which we have absolutely NO connection). The Platinum related articles may be of interest, including the witness tampering that has today led Mark Nordlicht to jail. Their take on Platinum Partners, the charges against the people involved, and Seabrook is accompanied by a thorny sense of humor. We are not reposting but providing you with the links as follows:

[Please note by way of disclaimer that we are neither endorsing that site or their views nor are we assuming in any way that they endorse ours.]

We cannot vouchsafe the research behind the articles or the authors. Their perspective has some similarities and some differences from ours but the sense of humor and biting sarcasm is worth the read if only to take it for what it’s worth. 

Platinum Partners

A Platinum Partner – Mark Nordlicht, -Going to Jail – For Courthouse Temper Tantrum

Law360, New York (May 6, 2019, 5:25 PM EDT) — A New York federal judge revoked Platinum Partners co-founder Mark Nordlicht’s bail on Monday in the wake of an altercation the former hedge fund executive had last week with one of the female prosecutors of his securities fraud trial.At the end of the trial day on Monday, U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan ordered Nordlicht to be taken into custody and he was led away from the Brooklyn courtroom by U.S. Marshals. On Thursday, during a break in the trial, Nordlicht began yelling at prosecutor Lauren Elbert in a hallway outside the courtroom and “lunged at her,” according to the judge, prompting Nordlicht’s wife to intervene. After Judge Cogan was informed, he ordered a bond revocation hearing.For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

A Platinum Outcome – Mark Nordlicht, No Humility and No Remorse, and his Temper Might (Should) Land Him in Jail

MarkNordlicht

Platinum Co-Founder’s ‘Rage’ at Lawyer May Land Him in Jail

U.S. prosecutors asked a judge to revoke Platinum Partners LLP co-founder Mark Nordlicht’s bail, saying he “forcibly intimidated” a government attorney last week during a break in his fraud trial.

Nordlicht and two other former executives of the defunct hedge fund are accused of inflating the value of Platinum’s largest assets and using loans and money from new investors to pay off old ones, while falsely claiming to regulators the firm had about $1.7 billion in assets under management.

On Monday, prosecutors in Brooklyn said in a letter to the judge that Nordlicht should be sent to jail for the remainder of the trial for trying to intimidate a prosecutor. Nordlicht and his wife were passing a group of prosecutors in a hallway on May 2 when he “angrily shouted” at one of them, the prosecutors said. As his wife tried to restrain him, Nordlicht “continued to curse and pursued the prosecutor in a rage while screaming,” they said.

“His rage was directed at the prosecutor for doing her job and was clearly meant to intimidate her and interfere with the performance of her official function,” the U.S. said. “Nordlicht’s physical aggression — sufficiently threatening that his wife had to restrain him for over 10 seconds and nearly removed his jacket in the struggle — inspired fear of immediate harm in the prosecutor.” The government didn’t identify the prosecutor.

An attorney for Nordlicht didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

To read the article in its entirety click here.

De Blasio, Construction Money, the Kingmaker, a Donor Pool and a Presidential Bid [NYT Opinon]

De Blasio May Want to Be President. What Do His Donors Want?

His fund-raising for a possible White House bid raises ethical questions, again.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s flirtation with a White House run has generated virtually no interest among voters. One national poll in March found he was the only Democratic candidate with a net negative approval rating, though fewer than half of those polled had any opinion of him at all.

But his potential candidacy has caught the attention of people who do business with the city. They’ve been donating to the mayor’s presidential political action committee, the federal Fairness PAC, his latest vehicle for raising money from powerful interests.

Mr. de Blasio’s lowly showing in the polls didn’t, for example, dissuade John F. Fish, the chief executive of Suffolk Construction, a Boston-based company, from hosting a fund-raiser last month for the mayor’s PAC. Mr. Fish’s company is clearly hoping to expand its business in New York — Suffolk recently hired Shola Olatoye, who led the city’s public housing authority until last year — and may see an opportunity to win favor with a current mayor and future presidential candidate.

What’s disconcerting, however, is why Mr. de Blasio would welcome such donations, given the risk of even the appearance of impropriety, not to mention the fact that his fund-raising has raised ethical and legal questions since he first ran for mayor in 2013.

A donor to his first mayoral campaign pleaded guilty to bribing him to get favorable lease terms for a Queens restaurant. Federal prosecutors indicated that they didn’t charge the mayor because the Supreme Court had recently narrowed the scope of what could be considered corruption.

A donor to one of the nonprofits the mayor has used to advance his liberal agenda and raise his profile pleaded guilty to charges involving bribery after receiving special access to Mr. de Blasio and city officials.

The city’s Department of Investigation found that the mayor violated conflict of interest rules by soliciting donations for his Campaign for One New York from people seeking favors from the city, as the news site The City recently revealed. (The rules would not apply to the presidential PAC.)

That’s not to mention the Manhattan district attorney’s announcement in 2017 that the mayor’s fund-raising for the Democratic campaign to win the State Senate in 2014 violated the “intent and spirit” of campaign finance laws by directing contributions meant for political committees toward specific candidates.

Fund-raising can taint City Hall by giving the appearance of pay-to-play, even if none is involved.

In 2015, the city lifted a deed restriction that allowed a Lower East Side nursing home that once served AIDS patients to be converted to condos. Among those who had pushed for the deed change was the lobbyist James Capalino, who steered $40,000 to Mr. de Blasio’s 2017 re-election campaign and $10,000 to the Campaign for One New York. Mr. Capalino has said that the client he worked for who sought the deed change fired him in 2014 after he was unsuccessful, and that he wasn’t involved in the issue afterward. City Comptroller Scott Stringer investigated the land deal and blamed it on mismanagement by city officials.

Mr. de Blasio, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election, is using his federal Fairness PAC to pay for his travel to states like Iowa and Nevada, which will be important if he runs for president. Mr. de Blasio has said the group will not accept contributions from anyone in a database of those doing business with New York City, a stricter standard than the federal rules the group must follow.

 

Continue reading the New York Times by clicking here.

17 Properties, $173M Price Tag, $43-$200M Appraisals, Property Owners Controlling Process – Profiteering from Homelessness

Appraisers question process NYC used to value properties before shelling out $173 million to shady landlords

Appraisers question process NYC used to value properties before shelling out $173 million to shady landlords

Mayor de Blasio’s release of hundreds of pages of appraisal documents used in the city’s controversial $173 million purchase of 17 properties from two shady landlords has raised more questions than it has answered, appraisers who reviewed the records said.

The biggest irregularity, they said, is that BBG Inc., the appraiser hired by former owners Jay and Stuart Podolsky, submitted an unsigned, “restricted” draft estimate intended only for the client, not the buyer. But the buyer, the city in this case, received a copy of that appraisal.

“It’s inappropriate to use it, especially if you know someone other than the owner might have to rely on your report,” said Michael Vargas, president of the Vanderbilt Appraisal Company. He said the use of draft and “restricted” appraisals is frowned upon in the industry because it gives a client the ability to influence an appraisal.

“It’s a way for the client, the property owner, to control the process,” Vargas said. “It’s kind of like talking to the client and asking him, ‘Let me know if I should change the value to your liking.’”

Paula Konikoff, a lawyer and expert on appraisal standards, said the city should not have accepted an appraisal from the sellers without a signature because it carries little weight as an estimate. “Frankly, they should know better,” she said. “Why didn’t they bother to get the signed document?”

Eight appraisal estimates of the properties offered widely divergent assessments of their worth. One, conducted by the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, set the total value at $49 million. Another, commissioned by the city Law Department and conducted by Metropolitan Valuation Services, estimated the value of the properties was $143 million. A third, conducted by the Podolsky firm of choice, BBG Inc., was done by appraiser Joel Leitner, who worked for BBG at the time and put the value at $200 million.

 

City Department of Finance tax records list the total value of the 17 properties at just over $40 million. City tax levies are based on that number. If the properties were worth millions more, as some of the appraisals suggest, it means the city may have taxed the owners too little for years. If the true value of the properties is around $49 million, as one appraisal suggested, the city paid far too much for them..

De Blasio spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg said the broad difference exists because the “valuations prepared by our independent appraiser were based on different assumptions than those used by DOF to annually assess all real property in the city.”

“DOF follows state law in valuing property and its assessments are based on current use. The independent appraisers valued the properties for acquisition purposes,” she said.

Even Leitner described it as “unusual” for anyone but the client to have a copy of such a draft appraisal.

“If my client asked me to give it to the city, I would have said no because it’s unsigned,” Leitner told the Daily News. “That should not be affecting the sales price,” he said, referring to the unsigned appraisal.

The Podolskys have a history of real estate woes in New York City. In 1986, they pleaded guilty to more than two dozen felonies in connection with their real estate holdings in Manhattan. They also allegedly covered up extensive fraud involved in acquiring the properties they are now selling to the city, several sources have told The News.

 

Last month, the city said it had finalized the deal to buy the 17 properties in the Bronx and Brooklyn used to house the homeless for $173 million. The city plans to convert the “cluster-site” apartments to permanent affordable housing.

To continue reading click here.

Esformes – Found Guilty in Kickbacks and Bribery Scheme – the Same is Happening Throughout New York

UPDATED 10:44 pm 2.May.2019

Esformes is Not Alone – a New York Nursing Facility Unnamed and Likely Unconnected to Esformes but with the Same M.O.

Dear Readers:

Several months ago we received a call. It was from a woman caring for a family member in a nursing/rehabilitation center in New York. We were told that at the time her relative was admitted, the ownership was a well known and rather notorious facility group. The home had been flagged for numerous violations under the initial ownership, publicly available information. We did not write anything because we did not want the entanglements and could not at the time substantiate her claims.

By the time her relative left, we were told the home had changed hands and was owned by another group; and the care had significantly deteriorated. At some point during late 2018/early 2019 the facility changed hands. Those records, at least the ones that illustrate a uniquely questionable transfer, are available online. We have been told, and several articles have come out publicly that nursing homes will often just switch hands because under new ownership, the ratings available on the Medicare/Medicaid sites gets wiped clean, even though ownership may not completely change. It’s a strategic misrepresentation, a game, and apparently legal.

Our caller’s complaints when she first contacted us was that her relative was not getting the care charged to Medicaid. He was not getting the therapy charged and claimed. He was allegedly getting treatment and medication that was not actually being provided and the care he was supposed to get was nowhere to be found. She complained endlessly to the facility and elicited the assistance of the Department of Health and various NYS entities. 

The facility would not release him to her care or discharge him. Each time she would be told her relative was being released, she would then be told that she was not getting discharge papers. The administration kept claiming something new was wrong with her relative, a new service was required, new forms of care were needed.

That service was never forthcoming, though Medicaid was charged.

She contacted us regularly both before and after the home changed hands and we have that information and photographs, a few of which support some of her claims. She also contacted the State and we have been told that they initially tried to assist; but as soon as the facility changed hands, the Department of Health refused further assistance. We wonder whether someone on the State level has been paid to keep this quiet to allow for this owner to continue to operate.

We will protect our caller’s confidentiality except as necessitated by law enforcement. 

At one point her relative was sent to a hospital and was summarily returned to the facility after recovering from repeated bouts of pneumonia. We have been advised that the Social Worker at the hospital conveyed to her that they are told to continue sending people to the nursing home in question and others under the same ownership. Our caller has commented that she thinks people at the hospital are being incentivized to send people to these facilities. We cannot substantiate this part of the story yet. It would take someone with access to subpoenas to get those records.

It is, however, another reason why the facility and its ownership remains unnamed in this post.

We have been told, and this has been corroborated by a number of former patients at the same facility, that there is a pattern and practice of charging healthcare and medicaid exorbitant sums of money for treatment that is never supplied, for therapy that is never provided and for medications that are not actually doled out. The patients can get copies of their bills if they demand them (and some have) and they know when their loved ones are being denied services, or simply not offered those services.

There is much more.

From our own research we discovered a few red flags. The current ownership structure raises questions. The facility’s owners appear to be a group; but we have discovered that this particular nursing facility has a series of UCC liens on it in the State of New York from March of 2019 or thereabouts under the name of someone not listed on the official records of the State or available records as a “direct” owner. This is not quite kosher, unless the person listed on the UCC’s was granted rights to encumber the facility absent direct ownership or as an “indirect owner.” That seems odd. And what does that actually mean? 

Why would anyone have the rights to encumber assets they do not own directly?

As to the condition of this  facility, we would avoid it for even a fish tank, nonetheless the health of the elderly and most vulnerable within our community. We have been told beyond the litany of potentially questionable behaviors, the odd ownership structure and the seemingly financially incestuous relationship between the direct versus the indirect owners, the place is understaffed, dirty and the patients are not receiving even a modicum of the care required. We have further been advised that the food is inadequate, if edible, the sheets and linens are not cleaned regularly and bandages and other first aid measures are not properly attended to and it takes extreme measures to convince staff to have a patient sent to the hospital. 

Our hope is that the owners who may or may not read this post, be well advised that we are following this story carefully. We are digging and will continue to dig. Should law enforcement want information we will gladly pass it on.

To the owners, may you one day wind up in your own nursing care facilities; and may you get no better than the worst care you provide your victims, and they are victims.

Esformes is not alone. Our elderly deserve better. The State of New York should be paying attention.

Nursing Home Owner Found Guilty in Kickbacks, Bribery Scheme