The Satmar-Ruled Brooklyn pt. 4 – Lee Ave. The Modesty Committees -“Gut’s polizei” – And Even Hynes Knew (2013)

Modesty in Ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Is Enforced by Secret Squads

Faceless heads model on Lee Avenue in Brooklyn, where women’s clothing stores have been warned not to use mannequins.CreditCreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times 

 

The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.

“The man said, ‘Do the neighborhood a favor and take it out of the window,’ ” the store’s manager recalled. “ ‘We’re trying to safeguard our community.’ ”

In many neighborhoods, a store owner might shrug off such a call. But on Lee Avenue, the commercial spine of Hasidic Williamsburg, the warning carried an implied threat — comply with community standards or be shunned. It is a potent threat in a neighborhood where shadowy, sometimes self-appointed modesty squads use social and economic leverage to enforce conformity.

The owner wrestled with the request for a day or two, but decided to follow it. “We can sell it without mannequins, so we might as well do what the public wants,” the owner told the manager, who asked not to be identified because of fear of reprisals for talking

In the close-knit world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, community members know the modesty rules as well as Wall Street bankers who show up for work in a Brooks Brothers suit. Women wear long skirts and long-sleeved, high-necked blouses on the street; men do not wear Bermuda shorts in summer. Schools prescribe the color and thickness of girls’ stockings.

The rules are spoken and unspoken, enforced by social pressure but also, in ways that some find increasingly disturbing, by the modesty committees. Their power is evident in the fact that of the half dozen women’s clothing stores along Lee Avenue, only one features mannequins, and those are relatively shapeless, fully clothed torsos.

The groups have long been a part of daily life in the ultra-Orthodox communities that dot Brooklyn and other corners of the Jewish world. But they sprang into public view with the trial of Nechemya Weberman, a prominent member of the Satmar Hasidim in Brooklyn, who last week was sentenced to 103 years in prison after being convicted of sexually abusing a young girl sent to him for counseling.

Mr. Weberman, an unlicensed therapist, testified during his trial that boys and girls — though not his accuser — were regularly referred to him by a Hasidic modesty committee concerned about what it viewed as inappropriate attire and behavior.

The details were startling: a witness for Mr. Weberman’s defense, Baila Gluck, testified that masked men representing a modesty committee in the Hasidic village of Kiryas Joel, N.Y., 50 miles northwest of New York City, broke into her bedroom about seven years ago and confiscated her cellphone.

The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, who prosecuted the Weberman case, has now received allegations that members of a modesty committee forced their way into a home in the borough, confiscating an iPad and computer equipment deemed inappropriate for Orthodox children, officials say. Allegations have also surfaced that a modesty committee threatened to publicly shame a married man who was having an affair unless he paid the members money for what they described as therapy.

They operate like the Mafia,” said Rabbi Allan Nadler, director of the Jewish studies program at Drew University in Madison, N.J.

Rabbi Nadler, who testified at Mr. Weberman’s trial, said that modesty committees did not have addresses, stationery or business cards, and that few people seemed to know where their authority originated, though it was doubtful, he said, that they could continue operating without the tacit blessings of rabbinical leaders.

“They walk into a store and say it would be a shame if your window was broken or you lost your clientele,” he said. “They might tell the father of a girl who wears a skirt that’s too short and he’s, say, a store owner: ‘If you ever want to sell a pair of shoes, speak to your daughter.’ ”

In Israel, there have been similar concerns. Though no modesty committee was overtly involved, there has been anger over ultra-Orthodox zealots who spit on and insulted an 8-year-old girl for walking to school through their neighborhood in a dress they considered immodest.

In Brooklyn, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has represented the heavily Hasidic neighborhood of Borough Park for 30 years, said that he had never met a modesty committee member, but that “there are a lot of independent operators that believe they are protecting God and have to do this kind of stuff, and that’s sickening and gives us all a black eye.”

“If you want to advocate modesty,” he added, “do your thing, but when you stuff it down my throat physically, that undermines us and hurts us.”

Hasidic leaders contend that the modesty committees are nothing more than self-appointed individuals who, indignant at some perceived infraction, take matters into their own hands.

“These are individual people who decide to take on this crusade,” said Rabbi David Niederman, who as president of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg is a sometime spokesman for the Satmar Hasidim. “You see posters telling people do this and do that. It does not represent an authorized body.”

But many Hasidim say they have seen or heard how a shadowy group of men seeks to pressure parents to rein in children who wear dresses too short or stockings too thin, or who chat on cellphones with friends of the opposite sex. One family reported being harassed because the wife had stepped outdoors with a robelike housecoat rather than a long dress.

While many of the rules of conduct are announced on Yiddish broadsides posted on trees, lampposts and walls, residents of Hasidic neighborhoods say some store owners have received rough verbal warnings from a modesty committee to stop selling magazines that carry photographs considered too revealing, or articles that dispute the Satmar Hasidim’s belief that Israel should not have existed until the Messiah’s arrival.

The Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada, in addition to certifying foods as kosher and adjudicating matrimonial and commercial disputes, does at times remind the Satmar community of the community’s modesty rules. It is made up of scores of rabbis, but it has an address — it is housed on the second floor of a Williamsburg row house — and it signs every decree it issues.

“We give out proclamations,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Glick, its executive director. “We don’t enforce. It’s like people can decide to keep Shabbos or not. If someone wants to turn on the light on Shabbos, we cannot put him in jail for that.”

But Hasidim interviewed said squads of enforcers did exist in wildcat form.

 

 

 

 

To read the remainder of the article in the NY Times click here.

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The Satmar-Ruled Brooklyn pt. 2: The Shomrim Acting with Impunity… and Money

Shomrim.1

Dear Reader:

The following article was not written by LM. We have republished it from another source http://www.patheos.com. It was written by Adam Lee. We did not take the liberty of correcting any typos or grammatical errors but left it as published. We emphasize, with all of our reposts, that the publication to our site should not be deemed to be an endorsement of our site by anyone else, nor an endorsement of their site by us. When there are views in common, we believe they are worth sharing.

LM

 

The Problem of the Shomrim

I’ve written before about the malign influence of New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect. They want to shut out the modern world and recreate a medieval theocracy, and because their members vote in lockstep obedience to the commands of their rabbis, they wield outsized political power.

In the Brooklyn neighborhoods and other towns where they’re the majority, they’ve committed one outrage after another: taking over school boards and strip-mining public schools, trying to impose gender apartheid on public spaces, prohibiting boys and especially girls from receiving an education, perpetuating barbaric religious rituals, brutally harassing and persecuting ex-members… and they do all this while shamelessly siphoning government assistance from the society they live in, demanding that others labor to feed, clothe and house them while they engage in lives of endless religious study.

But today’s outrage may exceed all of those.

It comes from a post I saw on Reddit’s popular Legal Advice forum. The poster, who’s a gay man, wrote a plea for help with this title: I am being harassed by the orthodox Jewish “police” in my home. This has been going on for almost 2 years since I moved in. I am at my wits end, what can I do to stop it?

He begins:

I live in Brooklyn NY. I purchased a condo about 2 years ago in a building where a good chunk of the apartments are rented out by Orthodox families. i would say that 45% of the building is occupied by Orthodox families renting and the rest are condos owned + occupied by non orthodox people. I honestly did not care and did not think this would be a problem.

However, it seems the other families in his apartment building don’t share his live-and-let-live attitude. They disagree with his “lifestyle”, so they’ve been trying to harass and intimidate him into moving out:

The issue is that they have been using the Jewish police to harass me. To give you an idea of the shit I am dealing with I’ll tell you what prompted this post. I chose to have a Superbowl viewing party today. About 30 minutes into the start of the party (when there were FIVE people here) I get a knock at my door and standing there are two fake police who try to tell me they got a ‘noise complaint’ and a complaint that we are using ‘illicit substances’ that i have to end my party. We were in my yard at this point literately just talking and smoking (cigs).

Yes, he said “fake police”. We’ll get to that.

But it gets even more shocking. The Hasidim’s harassment has been escalating over time, until it’s come to this point:

Since then, they have been standing outside of my building trying to prevent people I INVITED from entering and have been harassing my guess, treating to ticket them and demanding to search them.

When the poster was asked to clarify, he explained:

the main door opens by buzzer. ill buzz someone in and they will physically stand shoulder to shoulder in front of the doorway and tell my guest that they dont have permission to enter (after i just buzzed them in) and if they try to push past them will physically push them out and threaten to assault them if they keep trying to get in.

now whenever someone is coming over who doesnt have a key I always go down and open the door myself but i have to ask them 15 times to move to let me do so and sometimes have to call the nypd to come and make them move to let people in.

The group that’s harassing this person is called the shomrim, Hebrew for “guards”. They’re a neighborhood watch that’s active in ultra-Orthodox communities. They style themselves a civilian auxiliary whose only goal is to assist the police in protecting their neighborhoods from crime. The reality, according to this poster and to many others who’ve had experience with them, is that they operate as a vigilante mob – harassing outsiders, violently beating anyone they suspect of committing a crime, and treating ultra-Orthodox religious dogma as if it were law.

A New York Times article from 2016 has some examples, like this one:

Shortly before 5 a.m. on Dec. 1, 2013, a young black man named Taj Patterson was walking home through Hasidic Williamsburg after a night out with his friends. Mr. Patterson, a fashion student, was drunk. As he made his way up Flushing Avenue, a local shomrim group received a call about someone vandalizing cars. What was soon a throng of more than a dozen people stopped Mr. Patterson on a quiet stretch of Flushing in between Spencer and Walworth Streets. He resisted; there was a scuffle. Mr. Patterson soon lay on the ground with a crushed eye socket, a torn retina and permanent blindness in his right eye.

But while they’re swift to unleash mob violence on outsiders, especially people of color, they take a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil attitude when it comes to crimes committed by one of their own:

“Who is really controlling the Borough Park police station?” asked Joe Levin, a Hasidic private investigator who has clashed with the shomrim. “It’s not the N.Y.P.D.”

A few years ago, Mr. Levin said he handled a divorce case where a husband was beating his wife. One day, he added, the woman was hurt so badly that an ambulance removed her from her home on a stretcher. The police and the shomrim were also at the scene, he said, but no one did a thing when the husband rushed out, flipped the stretcher and knocked her to the ground.

“I saw this with my own eyes — everybody did,” Mr. Levin said.

The worst part is that, because of the Hasidim’s political pull, the shomrim have virtual impunity. The Legal Advice poster says that he’s tried many times to get the real police to intervene and stop this brazen harassment of him and his guests. Even with video evidence, they refuse to act:

Continue reading

Lichtenstein, Villanueva, Ochetal, Soohoo, Espinel, Velastro, Dean – The Gun License List Gets Longer and Longer

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Former New York City Police Department Official Sentenced To 18 Months For Conspiring To Bribe Fellow Officers In Connection With Gun License Bribery Scheme

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that PAUL DEAN was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos today in connection with a bribery scheme involving the approval of gun licenses by the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) License Division.  Specifically, DEAN, who as second-in-command of the License Division had accepted gifts and favors in connection with his approval of gun licenses, conspired upon his retirement from the NYPD to open his own “expediting” business in which he would pay bribes to his fellow NYPD officers, once his subordinates in the License Division, to issue gun licenses to DEAN’s clients.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As a high-ranking officer and supervisor in the NYPD’s License Division, Paul Dean was entrusted with ensuring the integrity of the process for issuing gun licenses in New York City.  Instead of embracing that trust and focusing on the safety of New Yorkers, he monetized it for his own benefit, and enabled officers under his command to do the same.  Together with our partners in law enforcement, my office has worked tirelessly to make sure those efforts by Dean and others involved ended not with dollar signs, but in prison cells.  We will continue to root out corrupt law enforcement officers where we find them, while commending the vast majority of officers who, unlike Dean, serve the City of New York honestly and honorably.”

According to the Indictment and Complaint filed in this case, other public filings, and statements made during the plea proceeding:

DEAN was a member of the NYPD from 1994 through 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2008 through 2016.  DEAN, a lieutenant, was one of the highest-ranking members of the License Division and, from approximately November 2014 through November 2015, regularly ran its day-to-day operations.  Co-defendant Robert Espinel was a member of the NYPD from 1995 through his retirement in 2016, and was assigned to the License Division from 2011 through 2016.

From at least 2013 through 2016, multiple NYPD officers in the License Division serving under DEAN’s command, including David Villanueva and Richard Ochetal, solicited and accepted bribes from gun license expediters – including Frank Soohoo, Alex Lichtenstein, a/k/a “Shaya,” and co-defendant Gaetano Valastro, a former NYPD detective – in exchange for providing assistance to the expediters’ clients in obtaining gun licenses quickly and often with little to no diligence.  DEAN, aware of this bribery arrangement, approved many of the gun license applications submitted by these expediters, despite the fact that no substantial due diligence had been performed on them.  As part of the scheme, licenses were issued for individuals with substantial criminal histories, including arrests and convictions for crimes involving weapons or violence, and for individuals with histories of domestic violence.

DEAN accepted things of value from the expediters whose applications he approved, including $1,000 cash from Lichtenstein, catered meals and alcohol from Soohoo, and gun equipment from Valastro.  DEAN also accepted gifts and favors directly from applicants whose licenses he approved, including free meals at restaurants, free liquor from a liquor distributor, free beer and soda from a beverage distributor, free car repairs from car shops, and free entertainment.

In 2015, dissatisfied with the fact that private gun expediters were profiting thousands of dollars per gun license applicant when DEAN and others did the work to approve those applications, DEAN and Espinel decided to retire and go into the expediting business themselves.  In order to ensure the success of their business, DEAN and Espinel planned to bribe Villanueva and Ochetal, who were still in the License Division, to enable their clients to get special treatment.  They also agreed with Valastro to run their expediting and bribery scheme out of Valastro’s gun store.  According to the plan, Valastro would benefit from the scheme because DEAN and Espinel would steer successful applicants to Valastro’s store to buy guns.  They also tried to corner the expediting market by forcing other expediters to work through them.  Specifically, DEAN and Espinel attempted to coerce Frank Soohoo, another gun license expediter, into sharing his expediting clients with them by threatening to use their influence in the License Division to shut down Soohoo’s expediting business if Soohoo refused to work with, and make payments to, DEAN and Espinel.

Espinel and Valastro have previously pled guilty and are awaiting sentence.  Villanueva, Ochetal, Lichtenstein, and Soohoo have also pled guilty in case number 16 Cr. 342 (SHS).  Lichtenstein was sentenced by the U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein to 32 months in prison, and the remaining defendants are awaiting sentence.

*                *                *

In addition to the prison term, DEAN, 46, was sentenced to two years of supervised release, a fine of $7,500, and forfeiture of $1,000.

Mr. Berman thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department, Internal Affairs Division, for their outstanding investigative work in this matter.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Kimberly Ravener is in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s):
Public Corruption
Press Release Number:
19-022
Updated January 31, 2019

Borough Park Shomrim Member, Moshe Steinberg, Aiding and Abetting a Scofflaw – on Video… oh…and the racism

Group of Brooklyn Residents Help Motorist Escape NYPD Tow Truck (VIDEO)

A group of Brooklyn residents helped a motorist escape a tow truck operated by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) on Thursday. Video of the incident made its way to social media on Friday when a Twitter user posted the footage in order to apparently help the NYPD identify some of the culprits.

Brooklynites can be heard shouting in the video as the driver guns their minivan to break out of a set of tow bars previously deployed in the Borough Park neighborhood at the corner of 44th Street and 15th Avenue.

Much of the off-camera commentary is in Yiddish but some of the taunting becomes racial–clearly directed toward the NYPD traffic agent, who is black.

“You’re in the wrong precinct,” someone says. “He should work in Harlem. They’ll kill him over there.”

Another voice is somewhat more sympathetic.

“Oh this is so bad,” a man says, “the guy worked his ass off for a half hour.”

The incident also made waves on the Kensington Brooklyn NY Facebook group where the post’s author noted:

“Scofflaw motorist” HAS 37 VIOLATIONS including 3 School Zone Speed Camera Violations🤬
… Boro Park Shomrim member Moshe Steinberg Unit-22 caught on tape assisting scofflaw motorist flee from NYPD. Steinberg is also seen harassing NYPD officer as bystander taunts the officer with racist remarks.

Both the Twitter and the Facebook post identify the Shomrim–a Jewish neighborhood watch volunteer group–as taking part in helping the motorist dodge the tow truck’s grasp.

“I thought Shomrim was suppose to assist the NYPD?” the Twitter user asked out loud in a separate post.

The NYPD issued a stinging rebuke of the crowd’s behavior.

“We will not tolerate our traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video,” NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel told the New York Daily News.

“NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents responded to the area at the request of community members and local representatives who were concerned about illegal parking conditions that impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles. This is disgusting behavior against an agent who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”

The traffic agent had reportedly already completed all the necessary paperwork and thus the driver’s information was collected so they are still expected to ultimately pay the necessary fine at least. They could also face additional charges.

The Shomrim Run Amok, Terrorizing Traffic Enforcement, Only 1 Example

Dear Readers:

An article of LostMessiah from 2016 has been reprinted on another WordPress site, one dealing specifically with police corruption. We would like to thank the editor.

If the public at large cannot count on its police force to protect it, there can be nothing more than utter lawlessness.

The link to that reprint is: https://corruptionbycops.com/index.php/2019/01/13/shomrim-the-protectors-or-players-1-9/  In that article, in 2016, we suggested that many of the Shomrim had questionable motives and we found it difficult to draw straight line. In other words, we thought many of the members of the Shomrim were bent.

We pose the following questions to you: when do the Shomrim cross the line between lawful protectors and mafia-style enforcers? Are they above the law because they are conveniently positioned to help their own when the opportunity to presents itself? And, are New Yorkers safe if the Shomrim are wearing uniforms suggesting they are assisting law enforcement but are in actuality terrorizing those who are indeed holding the public at large accountable.

The article below is just another concrete example of a system gone utterly wrong. It proves that the hens are ruling the hen-house and nothing good can come of it. The Shomrim in the recent news article below are nothing more than criminal enforcers, thugs. Something should be done before the difference between right and wrong in the City of New York, particularly the Shomrim run neighborhoods, becomes indiscernible. 

Brooklynites gang up on NYPD traffic agent trying to tow car

An angry mob of Brooklynites pounced on an NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agent when he tried to tow their friend’s car, then harassed and taunted him for doing his job, video of the incident shows.

The melee began on Thursday morning in front of 1501 44th St. in Borough Park when an NYPD tow truck was dispatched to remove a brown minivan that was parked illegally.

A group of angry residents quickly swarmed the location and began removing the car from the hitch, police and union representatives said.

“Before the tow driver could raise the vehicle so the motorist couldn’t leave the scene people from the community… got in the car and drove off,” said Marvin Robbins, first vice president of the Local 283, which represents tow truck drivers and other city workers.

Robbins said the person who got into the car was not the owner of the vehicle but instead part of a Shomrim, a collection of Jewish community watchdogs who engage in police matters and supposedly work hand in hand with the NYPD.

The men outside trying to stop the tow from happening worked together to help the minivan flee — a black SUV was in front of the offending van and the men instructed the SUV to get out of the way.

“That allowed [the minivan] to escape,” Robbins said.

Video of the incident posted to Twitter shows the traffic agent attempting to reason with the person driving the minivan, walking up to his window to try to get him to stop before the van sped away.

Then, the men on the sidewalk began taunting the traffic agent and making fun of him.

“This is so great,” one guy sneered.

“What a loser… This guy worked his a– off for like a half hour,” he went on.

Another man can be heard yelling to the traffic agent, who is black, “You’re in the wrong precinct… you should work in Harlem! They’ll kill him over there.”

A spokesperson for the NYPD said the attack against the traffic agent was unacceptable.

“We will not tolerate our traffic agents being subject to abuse in any form, not the least of which is the ugly example we see in this video,” NYPD spokesman Lt. John Grimpel said.

“NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents responded to the area at the request of community members and local representatives who were concerned about illegal parking conditions that impede the flow of traffic, including emergency vehicles. This is disgusting behavior against an agent who was doing his job to keep New Yorkers safe while exhibiting restraint and professionalism.”

A complaint has been filed with the 66th Precinct, and police said they have information belonging to the vehicle’s owner. He is expected to be charged with obstruction of governmental administration because he got in the way of a traffic agent doing his job.

Robbins said the agent has over 20 years as a tow driver and is expected to do his job and tow offending vehicles.

“This is what my drivers encounter on a daily basis out here in the City of New York… no one respects the tow truck operators,” Robbins said, adding the driver was back at work today.

“You try to remain as professional as possible but their backs are against the wall.”

As the men swarmed the agent, demanding his badge number and threatening to post the video to YouTube, one man could be heard saying, “This is my place, this is not your place.”

The agent eventually got into his tow truck and drove away.

“I think that he did the best that he could, he didn’t lose it, it could’ve went a totally different way,” Robbins said.

 

To read the remainder of the article click here.

Open Letter to Senator Ortt and Fellow Legislators – Nursing Care in New York

An Open Letter to Senator Ortt and Fellow Legislators:

Re: The Deplorable state of Nursing Homes in New York

As the child of an elder who was evicted-with 123 others in a real estate developer churn of a Nursing Home in Brooklyn, I’ve become fully engaged in these matters & very much appreciate your efforts to get some of the dynamics changed with the two proposed Bills. When I saw this story, in the link that follows, I wanted, with all due respect, to offer my take on what I’ve learned along the way with my personal experience & advocacy.

https://www.whec.com/news/bills-proposed-to-hold-nursing-home-owners-accountable/5193223/

I’m betting the farm that what does get passed will be more optics than substance. What is required will never be written into law-Leading Age, NYSHFA, GNYHA & other LTCF Lobbying groups own too many NYS lawmakers who are currently in Albany. 

I’m going to ask you, if you’re not aware of the ProPublica Oct 2015 investigation, to take a look at it & its indictment of the DOH/Public Health & Health Planning Committee.

 https://www.propublica.org/article/new-york-for-profit-nursing-home-group-flourishes-despite-patient-harm

And…three years later two of SentosaCare’s homes were just sued- same ‘players’

two-city-nursing-homes-sued-inadequate-care-and-staffing

Two city nursing homes sued for inadequate care and staffing

The lawsuits allege that understaffing at the facilities has led to infections and unsanitary conditions

Reality check…this is chronic…this is a business in which for-profit consortia with wide reaching tentacles own the Nursing Home industry in NY…and it has been cited that NYS has among the worst nursing home infractions & standards in America. Shame on us and shame on NY State Senators and Assemblypersons. It’s on you and the Governor!

A real solution? Jail time for criminal behavior towards the weak & vulnerable…overdue justice for victims of evil predatory harm…nothing less. It is an old story that NYS AGs don’t ever prosecute criminal owner/operators…especially former AG Schneiderman. The DOI refuses to investigate the deleterious DOH & PHHPC…we keep asking and they refer the problem home to…the DOH!? But the self-serving and abysmal Dept of Health which has abetted criminal owner/operators & rewarded malefactors with even more licenses-is the default department designated to monitor these very same miscreants!?! Unbelievable failure of stewardship. It must be changed.

In this particular matter you’ve addressed, the owners are parts of other consortia where sub-par facilities are a given-& rarely called to any serious account. Researching these names will provide you with chapter & verse.

https://orleanshub.com/nursing-home-sale-praised-and-panned/ 

“Comprehensive principal owners include Joshua Farkovits, Bernard Fuchs and Mordy Lahasky. They have ownership stakes in other nursing homes besides the ones in Buffalo and Albany.”

These Bills sound nice…but here’s the rub:

A) Will Cuomo sign off on them?

I doubt it.

B) Surprise visits? 

May or may not help-& lack of money to hire sufficient investigators is problematic. As well, as long as there are no ratios to allow sufficient aides & RNs to be hired by nursing home ‘businessmen’ who frankly do not care a whit…continuing bed sores, elopements, psychotropic overmedication to quiet patients are the real problems that ‘surprise visits’ will not mitigate.

C) Independent monitors selected by the shameful PHHPC?

By the inept DOH?!? Believe me when I tell you-appointed ombudsmen (as has been the case) are tagged along by owner/operator management so that residents are fearful to speak about infractions. 

It would also require utilizing independent quality monitors, approved by the DOH, to directly supervise homes found to be non-compliant to ensure violations are addressed and fixed”

D) As for:

    ” The second of Ortt’s pending submissions will prevent any owners of nursing homes found with violations to acquire more properties until they’re rectified, after which there would be a two-year probationary period after the issues are resolved.”

It sounds good, Senator…but here again are three concerns…

    First-because violations are able to be self-reported by the operator…the emptiness of this standard is self-evident. 

    Secondly, the churning within the consortia of ‘investors’ is a revolving door…deals back & forth…two years means nothing when digging deeper-percentages exchanged in wheeling/dealing sub-rosa exchanges.  

    Finally-what is most important, is that until misdemeanors become felonies…all penalties-such as they purport to be, are nothing more than chump change fines -built into the cost of doing business. 

So please forgive my skepticism. 

What can I suggest that would be a positive proposal-you may well ask? Allow a revolving team of Nursing Home Resident family members to meet monthly as the truly independent monitors/reporters to document and to challenge infractions, failures, harm. Enshrine them to be as integral to the determination as the ‘appointed’ monitors. An authentic, no-holds-barred consortia that is calendared in Albany each month to share their findings & present them to the Health & Aging Committees as to what is actually going on. The imbalance of legislator pols (present company excepted!) whose existence relies on self-serving donors will never mitigate this…even as there are more elders in need of more safe long term care facilities…it will not happen with these two Bills, in my humble opinion. When new Bills are written, include the public -we’re the honest brokers with no conflicting favoritism.

New Bills irrespective of how well intentioned MUST be given teeth. This deleterious Governor must allow strong enforcement & unequivocal punishments to be passed into regulatory oversight. Only then will we see  prevention of the government sanctioned torment at life’s end for the most fragile souls…your loved ones and  mine. “

Yours sincerely,

A Concerned Citizen

 

Israelis, If you want a Change, You have About 4 Months to Get Yourselves Organized, Amid Scandal – Snap Polls

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement at parliament in this file picture taken on December 19, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement at parliament in this file picture taken on December 19, 2018 (AFP Photo/Menahem KAHANA)

Jerusalem (AFP) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a skilled survivor of Israel’s cutthroat politics, is hoping snap elections will help him withstand a potential corruption indictment, analysts say, and polls show he is likely to succeed.

Netanyahu’s government decided on Monday to hold snap elections on April 9, seven months early, as it struggles to pass legislation with only a one-seat majority in parliament.

Israel’s parliament, or Knesset, must still formally vote to dissolve itself and set the election date. A first vote was scheduled for Wednesday.

Failure to agree on a key bill on the enlistment of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the military like their secular counterparts was the ostensible reason to call elections, but many analysts pointed to Netanyahu’s legal concerns as a decisive factor.

Israel’s state prosecutor Shai Nitzan told a conference last week that he was wrapping up his recommendations on three separate cases of alleged corruption and handing them over to the attorney general.

Israeli media reported that they include a recommendation to indict the prime minister.

Analysts say it seems Netanyahu wants to confront the potential charges with a fresh electoral mandate and is betting the attorney general will not issue his decision before April.

“What made him decide to move up the date of the elections was the speech by Shai Nitzan, who announced that his recommendations were ready,” said Emmanuel Navon, political science professor at Tel Aviv University.

– ‘Prefer to wait’ –

So far, the legal cases against Netanyahu appear to have had little impact on voters, and a poll taken after Monday’s announcement of April elections showed his Likud party would remain by far the largest.

Victory in April would put Netanyahu, the 69-year-old son of a historian who is no doubt mindful of his legacy, on track to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion.

A decisive win will allow him to ramp up his argument that the investigations are merely the result of a plot by his political enemies to force him from office against the will of the electorate.

He is not required to step down if indicted, and there is little doubt that he would refuse to do so.

Gideon Rahat of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and the Israel Democracy Institute think tank said he does not believe Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit should take the campaign into account in determining when to issue his decision.

But he will surely feel pressure to do so, said Rahat.

“I would say that he would probably prefer to wait until after the elections because he wouldn’t like to be blamed for influencing the elections or for trying to influence the elections,” he said.

With Israel’s centre-left opposition in disarray, Netanyahu’s main electoral threat appears to come from the right and centre.

His reputation as Israel’s “Mr. Security” accounts in large part for his electoral success, but it took a hit over a controversial Gaza ceasefire in November.

That truce led to the resignation of defence minister Avigdor Lieberman and the removal of his party’s five seats from the coalition, seen as the most right-wing in Israel’s history.

– ‘Pyrrhic victory’? –

Netanyahu worked then to hold the coalition together and has managed to do so until now.

There was speculation he wanted to wait to push for polls until anger over the ceasefire calmed.

After Monday’s announcement, Netanyahu faced fresh criticism over his argument in November that it would be irresponsible to go to elections because the country was facing a sensitive security situation.

It was an apparent reference to an upcoming military operation to destroy Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon that was announced earlier this month.

Asked on Monday why now was a better time, Netanyahu said the operation was nearly complete.

Wildcard candidates could still emerge in the electoral campaign and pose a threat to Netanyahu.

Much of the focus was on former military chief of staff Benny Gantz, who polls show could do well, but he has given no word on his intentions.

While Netanyahu may succeed in his election gamble, the legal cases will remain and he will likely have to reckon with them eventually.

He “realised that the sand in the hourglass was running out,” political columnist Ben Caspit wrote in the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

“In my opinion, this might work, but will prove to be a pyrrhic victory. The clock will stop for a few minutes, making it possible for him to run for election, but it will resume ticking again energetically immediately afterwards.”