Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood is experiencing an “uptick” in COVID-19 cases that’s mostly been linked to a large-scale wedding, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
“We’ve seen an uptick just in the last few days,” de Blasio told reporters during his daily City Hall press briefing, explaining that there were 16 new coronavirus cases in the area.
Hizzoner called the new cases an “early warning sign,” as he noted that “some” are “linked to a recent wedding — a large wedding, in fact, in the community.”
Currently in New York, only social gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted and de Blasio said the wedding in question “was substantially more than that — and that’s just not allowed.”
It was not immediately clear where exactly the wedding was held or whether anyone has been punished.
De Blasio said the city’s Test and Trace Corps is following up with attendees to get them tested and that the city is “working immediately to galvanize community leaders.”
“We need to avoid those large gatherings that can cause a bigger problem,” said de Blasio, adding that the city’s Health Department will start doubling down on catering halls across the Big Apple “to let them know those standards must be kept.”
A Manhattan juror suddenly fainted in his seat Wednesday as graphic autopsy photos of victim Shele Danishefsky were displayed on a large monitor at the murder trial of her estranged husband.
With accused killer Rod Covlin looking on, Senior Medical Examiner Jonathan Hayes was in the midst of testifying about the disturbing images when juror No. 8’s head suddenly flopped forward.
“He needs medical help!” screamed another panelist as Hayes quickly exited the stand to tend to the stricken juror — all with an image of Danishefsky’s fractured hyoid bone, which anchors the tongue, projecting onto a screen.
Another juror, who happened to be a nurse, also rushed to the man’s side.
The judge halted the proceeding, and the sickened juror was removed from the courtroom for treatment.
The jurist reassured the gallery that the man had regained his wits but dismissed him and swapped in an alternate.
As the juror left court he said that he had in part fainted in reaction to the gruesome photographs — which included an image of Danishefsky’s neck peeled back to expose underlying muscles.
Justice Ruth Pickholz denied defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb’s motion for a mistrial over the incident.
In earlier testimony, Hayes said he received Danishefsky’s body Jan. 1, 2010, a day after the banker was found face-down in the bathtub by her 9-year-old daughter in her Upper West Side home.
“When I opened up the [body] bag I immediately said, we need an autopsy,” Hayes told the jury. “I was struck by the injuries she had on her face. She had scratches on her face.”
Riveted jurors were shown autopsy photos of Danishefsky’s face marred by bright red scratches and cuts on her nose, lower eyelids, cheeks and lips.
Read the remainder of the New York Post article here.
FOR ADDITIONAL READING ON THE COVLIN MURDER TRIAL SEE BELOW:
THE CANNABIS PLAY IN NEW YORK
We cite you back to an earlier article wherein we stated that we believe that the ultra-Orthodox are making a play at the next major highly lucrative financial business in New York. It is not diamonds or real-estate but medical, and soon-to-be recreational marijuana. The ultra-Orthodox bigwigs couched in the “Kosher Cannabis” rhetoric are going to be front and center in the licensing of new facilities or the buy-ins into previously licensed companies. That’s just our OPINION.
But the reporting of the local New York papers, certainly seems to be giving us credence that we are riding the right subway line….
New York City Transit head Andy Byford is breaking out the big guns to fix the subway system.
Byford has hired Pete Tomlin – whom the MTA calls an “internationally renowned signaling expert” – to head up the massive signaling work that has to be done as a part of the decade-long Fast Forward project.
Tomlin worked with Byford in Toronto and London and was also a top gun in the Hong Kong system, say MTA officials.
“I worked with Pete in both London and Toronto and I need him on my team to drive the Fast Forward resignaling program,” Byford said. “He has a stellar track record, he knows how to get contractors to deliver as part of a unified team, and I am delighted that I was able to persuade him to take up a real ‘New York challenge’.”
In London, Tomlin headed up the creation of the Jubilee Line Extension in the 1990s. In Hong Kong, he headed up the West Rail and Ma On Shan subway lines. He was with the Toronto Transit Commission, where Byford was his boss, from 2009 until this year.
Tomlin’s first project at the MTA will be to oversee the final adjustments to the new CBTC signal system that kicked in on the 7 line last month, said MTA officials.
Byford’s Fast Forward plan to fix the New York City subway system will cost about $37 billion and take 10 years.
To read the remainder of the article, click here.
Theory: The Current “Black Diamondgate” Smuggling Investigation in Israel may be Reason to Reconsider Klein Ruling
In February/March of 2017, it was announced by numerous papers that the US Federal Court had upheld an arbitration award against the Julius Klein Group, in an ongoing and very messy corporate divorce. We believe that the courts got the decision wrong and the basis of our comments is a single sentence reported by The NY Post on September 18, 2013, when the battle between the parties began.
In an article entitled: Diamond king in heated battle with jewelry partners
It is quoted as follows:
“The two sides first joined forces in 2002, and Leviev claims he has a 43.5 percent interest in the joint venture, KLG Jewelry.
But Leviev, 57, says he hasn’t been paid any profits since last September as the parties have attempted to reach a settlement agreement for a “complete corporate divorce.”
Leviev wants the court to prevent his colleagues from selling “highly mobile and not easily traceable” diamonds.”
In 2013 Leviev, by his own admission, acknowledged the mobility of diamonds, the ease with which they could be transported from one place to another and frankly, how easy it would be to hide assets in either uncut or unmarked diamonds. We believe that with the new investigation into Leviev and a potential well orchestrated diamond smuggling operation in Israel, the Kleins may have legally available means to open this case for a reevaluation. In other words, who was really hiding what from whom? Were the Kleins really hiding assets or was Leviev manipulating a system he knows all to well.
We have posted for further reading information of interest, including a number of the legal opinions. We have been through the cases and the arbitration information and we do not think that the result was appropriate, particularly in retrospect.
We also question the integrity of the arbitration and by implication the ligitation that followed given Leviev’s own position at the time and the current “Black Diamondgate” investigation in Israel.
Read as follows:
The lawsuit information:
Lev Leviev Secures $209 Million Judgment Against Julius Klein Group
A Manhattan federal judge on Monday has confirmed an arbitration award holding Julius Klein Group and four of its principals responsible for paying $209 million to LGC USA Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of the Leviev Group led by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev.
Leveiev accuses his business partners Julius Klein Group, led by Martin, Abraham, Moishe and Malka Klein of freezing him out of three highly lucrative gem companies, in the Manhattan civil suit.
In what may be a record judgment in the diamond industry, Judge Jesse M. Furman confirmed an arbitration ruling from last year and ordered the Kleins to be responsible for paying LGC $142 million immediately. In addition to more than $66 million that has already been paid, for a total of $209 million. This representing the face amount of the award of $111.9 million plus prejudgment interest at 9 percent from Feb. 2014 – Feb. 2017.
The federal court judgment also includes prejudgment interest in the amount of $27.9 million each day from Feb. 2014 – Feb. 2017, the date of entry of the final judgment.
The Julius Klein Group unsuccessfully claimed that the substantial financial award should be set aside because the arbitrators were allegedly biased and corrupt. But the judge rejected these and all of the Kleins’ other arguments in ruling for LGC.
Lev Leviev and the Julius Klein Group formed a joint venture KLG Jewelry in 2002 where Leviev had a 43.5 percent stake.
LGC, led by president Chagit Sofiev-Leviev, intends to pursue collection in a vigorous manner from the debtors including Julius Klein Diamonds LLC, Julius Klein Group Holdings LLC, Julius Klein Diamonds Inc, Klein Tenancy, KLG Jewelry LLC, Sunrise Venture LLC as well as Martin Klein, his wife Malka Klein, his business partner Abraham David (A.D.) Klein and A.D.’s son Moishe Klein.
“The Leviev Group will take all steps available, including seizing corporate and individual assets, to collect this judgment after the lengthy legal procedures now have resulted in this final ruling,” said Charles Michael, the partner at Steptoe and Johnson who represents the Leviev Group.
The Julius Klein Group had tried to keep the arbitration loss secret. As one news report described: “Lawyers for Leviev’s nemesis, the Julius Klein Group, desperately tried, and failed, to seal the Manhattan federal court case related to the whopping award.”
During the arbitration, the Kleins engaged in unseemly stalling and threatening tactics to derail the arbitration, including the filing of a rabbinical proceeding against one of the arbitrators.
Inside the Leviev–Julius Klein Corporate Divorce
“Given this has become a high-profile case, it’s worth looking at its background. Prior to the lawsuits and arbitrations, the two sides had been partners for more than a decade. According to an affidavit signed by Lev Leviev, in 2001, his company and the Kleins created two companies, Sunrise and Vivid Collection. (The latter eventually shut down amid a lawsuit.)
Following that, Leviev became joint venture partners with the Kleins in three companies: Julius Klein Diamonds, Sunrise Ventures, and KLG (which runs the Leviev retail chain). For years, the Klein family operated those businesses. The Klein side claims that Leviev was never involved in its day-to-day operations, but the Leviev side griped in a complaint filed in New York State Court in September 2013 that “the businesses were operated in secret, without providing [LGC] any of the information they were entitled to concerning these entities’ operations.”
In 2012, LGC wanted out, and eventually decided to be bought out of all the partnership companies. The current dispute is over the valuation of LGC’s stakes in those companies.
Following industry custom, this issue was meant to be a settled by an arbitration, which commenced in May 2013. The Klein and Leviev sides chose one arbitrator apiece—Chaim Pluczenik and Israel Zahavi, respectively. Zahavi and Pluczenik picked the third, “neutral” arbitrator, Jacob Bronner. Pluczenik later resigned, calling the process “biased” and “unfair,” and was replaced by Eytan Cohen.”
Federal Court Enters Judgment Holding Julius Klein Diamonds, Its Principal Martin Klein & Three Others Responsible for Paying $209 Million to a Lev Leviev Company
“The Julius Klein Group unsuccessfully claimed that the substantial financial award should be set aside because the arbitrators were allegedly biased and corrupt. But the judge rejected these and all of the Kleins’ other arguments in ruling for LGC. (A detailed opinion is expected to be publicly released.)”
The litigation is LGC USA Holdings, Inc. v. Julius Klein Diamonds, LLC, et al., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case Nos. 16 Civ. 5294 and 16 Civ. 5352.
Lev Leviev Wins $209M Judgment Against Julius Klein Group
“The case has been bitterly contested and led to death threats and an alleged smear campaign to the arbitrator initially assigned to decide on it, the New York Post reported.”
“A Manhattan federal judge ordered the Julius Klein Group to pay $142 million to Leviev’s LGC USA Holdings. That sum is in addition to the more than $66 million that has already been paid, according to the report.”
For a brief moment last summer, new Chancellor Richard Carranza seemed set to break the logjams and turn the city’s three-year farce of an investigation into Jewish religious schools into something serious.
Guess again: Carranza has just disclosed that none of the Orthodox yeshiva high schools — always the real crux of the alleged problem — will allow city investigators in.
For years, activists have charged that some Orthodox schools fail to provide the basic secular education that state law requires. Even those elementary schools that offer a bare minimum of instruction reportedly end it after age 13.
In 2015, the de Blasio administration announced an active investigation. But years passed with no sign that any such probe was actually under way.
Now NY1 reports that Carranza has notified State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia that 21 of the 30 targeted schools have been inspected (surprise: all “passed”), and three others have scheduled visits.
As activists note, the fact that the visits are scheduled instead of unannounced strongly suggests any investigating is being driven by the schools, not the city.
More important, six high schools won’t even let officials in the door, so Carranza is asking Elia for help. Elia, in turn, says long-promised new guidelines for such inspections are coming … real soon now.
Again, more than three years have passed — during which the politically potent Orthodox community, while fighting the non-probe tooth and nail, got the Legislature to water down the education requirements.
City Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters is looking into whether political interference explains the city’s foot-dragging.
This is not religious persecution; it’s about ensuring that kids learn the basic knowledge and skills to function outside their community. Plainly, Team de Blasio doesn’t see that as any kind of priority.
A Brooklyn man who admitted to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old family member was sentenced to 8 years in prison Wednesday, but not before the woman he preyed on confronted him over the years of abuse.
“He has absolutely no morals,” Samuel Israel’s now-grown victim told the packed courtroom, as her abuser hung his head at the defense table, avoiding eye contact.
“He stole my innocence, and my childhood. I was 10-years-old at the time he started to sexually abuse me. He groomed me to the point where I didn’t know it was wrong or, at 10-years-old, how sick it was,” she stated.
The woman, who is now married with two children, said Israel molested her until she was 16, taking her on trips with his family and buying her silence with lavish gifts. She told Judge Matthew D’Emic she felt alienated from her peers, because while they were talking about school or their weekend plans, Israel “was having oral sex with me.”
“I felt like it was my fault,” she said “I felt dirty.”
Israel, who declined to speak before sentencing, pleaded guilty to charges of criminal sex act and witness tampering in July in exchange for the lesser sentence.
He also confessed to hiring onetime reality TV gumshoe Vincent Parco to try to scare his victim out of taking the stand.
To continue reading click https://nypost.com/2018/10/03/man-who-sexually-assaulted-young-family-member-sentenced-to-8-years/here.
Originally Published in the NYPost April 2, 2010
The son of the head of the city’s powerful Chabad Jewish organization is an unemployed deadbeat dad who refuses to give his wife a divorce or pay child support, court papers reveal.
Velvel Butman — whose father, Shmuel Butman, lights the giant menorah in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, Times Square each year during Hanukkah — has been battling the court, and his own community, since he first refused to give his long-suffering wife a divorce five years ago, documents and sources say.
Velvel, a 49-year-old dad of eight, once worked for his father as an emissary of the Hasidic movement in Westchester County.
But Velvel was booted as a rabbi after a rabbinic court of Chabad Lubavitch ordered him to give his wife a Jewish divorce, called a get, and he refused.
“He strongly believes that a rabbi’s not supposed to get divorced. Yet he’s no longer technically a rabbi because he’s been defrocked,” said a rabbi who feared reprisal if his name were published.
A Brooklyn judge last week held Velvel in contempt for failing since 2013 to pay child support for his children. Six of them still live with his estranged wife, Rachel, who treks from their home in Crown Heights to her job at a day-care facility in Westchester to pay the bills.
Velvel has been on the hook for $2,000 a month in child support for the past four years but has paid only the first two months, court documents show.
Yet instead of working, he has been gallivanting to Israel and Uzbekistan, allegedly telling the court at one point, “I would have needed to get permission from a rabbinic panel if someone of my stature should be seen [working] in a Starbucks.’’
His father, Shmuel Butman, 73, heads New York’s Chabad Lubavitch.
The judge said Velvel has 60 days to pay $78,400 or he’ll be thrown in jail.
His wife is so desperate to be free of him that she even offered to forgive the child-support debt if he would just sign the divorce papers, sources said.
“[Velvel] has publicly stated that he would rather sit in jail than give his wife the money, and would rather sit in jail than give his wife the get,’’ a rabbinical source said.
Velvel lives with his 73-year-old dad.
“[Shmuel] is supporting his son financially, while his son claims that, given his father’s status, it is below his dignity to work here or there,” the source said.
But Rabbi Butman insisted on Sunday that his son has done no wrong.
“I’m his father, and he’s going to pay,” Shmuel Butman said, though he declined to say whether he would be footing the bill.
Velvel did not return a message. His lawyer declined comment.
Rachel Butman’s lawyer, Joel Yacoob, also declined to comment.
For More Information from the NYPost click here.