Spring Valley Mayor Found Guilty on Corruption

WPCNR FBI WIRE. From the Federal Bureau of Investigation. April 20, 2015:

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that former Spring Valley Mayor NORAMIE JASMIN was found guilty in federal court today of engaging in a bribery scheme in which she negotiated a 50 percent stake for herself in a development company and $5,000 cash in exchange for her use of her office to obtain land and various government approvals to construct a community center in Spring Valley.

She was convicted after a one week bench trial before U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “This office is committed to ensuring the integrity of New York public officials at all levels and wherever they may be. Today, I announce the conviction of yet another corrupt elected official who failed to live up to her oath of office.

Former Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin used her official position to influence a construction project on a parcel of public land, and she accepted bribes, including a secret fifty percent share of the project, to do so.

Like all citizens, the residents of Spring Valley deserved an honest mayor, not one who worked behind closed doors and behind their backs to sell public land and public office for private gain. I want to thank the FBI, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and the Spring Valley Police Department for their outstanding work on this important investigation.”

According to the Complaint and the Indictment filed in federal court and the evidence presented at trial:

NORAMIE JASMIN was sworn in as Mayor of the Village of Spring Valley, New York, in December 2009. From September 2011 through April 2013, JASMIN accepted bribes from an undercover FBI agent (the “UC”) and a cooperating witness working with the Government (the “CW”), on multiple occasions in exchange for official acts.

The bribe scheme centered on the development of a community center in the Village of Spring Valley whose construction costs were expected to be at least $12 million. In exchange for her vote in favor of a sale of land owned by Spring Valley to a company she believed was controlled by the UC, JASMIN demanded a secret ownership stake in the company. JASMIN also asked for an advance on her profits from the scheme and accepted a $5,000 cash payment from the CW. In support of the scheme, JASMIN directed the UC to find people to pose as bidders for the project so that the transaction would appear legitimate to the other members of the Spring Valley Board of Trustees who voted on the sale.

Over the course of two days, JASMIN met the UC and two other undercover FBI agents posing as straw bidders (the “Straw Bidders”) in hotel rooms and instructed the Straw Bidders on how to make a presentation before the Spring Valley Board of Trustees such that the Straw Bidders would lose their purported bids on the land sale. JASMIN then presided over the presentations made by the company in which she had a secret financial stake and the fake presentations that she had helped prepare.

The following day, JASMIN presided over a Village Board of Trustees meeting, during which she asked the Board for permission to negotiate the sale of Village land to the UC’s company and then voted with a “strong yes” to grant herself that permission. When questioned as to why the Board needed to vote to grant her that permission, JASMIN remarked that she “cannot sit behind closed doors with a developer to negotiate on behalf of the Board,” precisely what she did in the days preceding that vote.

* * *

JASMIN, 51, of Spring Valley, was found guilty of one count of mail fraud and one count of extortion. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

JASMIN is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge McMahon on August 7, 2015 at 10 a.m.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and Chief Paul Modica and the Spring Valley Police Department.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division and Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas B. Bloom and Jessica K. Feinstein are in charge of the prosecution.

Posted in Uncategorized

WHITE PLAINS WEEK RAW: “HOLISTIC NEWS” FOR 15 YEARS– INTERNETTING NOW ON whiteplainsweek.com

Stand BY! 

it’s Time for News

WhitePlainsWeekkeysign

HOLISTIC NEWS FOR WHITE PLAINS AND VICINITY THE LAST 15 YEARS

ENTER MRS. CLINTON  LEADS

TOTALS FOR THE SCHOOL BOARD: NO TAX CUTS. NO STAFF CUTS. NO SAVINGS.

11% OF CHILDREN IN WHITE PLAINS PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE OPTED OUT OF TESTS

PARENT, HEAD OF TEACHERS UNION– WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE TESTS–X CLUSIVE CLIPS.

SUPERINTENDENT TAKES A STAND–LET TEACHERS DRAW UP THE ASSESSMENT TESTS.

COUNTY EXECUTIVE PLAYLAND SURPRISE — HIS NEW PLAYLAND DEAL IS VERY GOOD FOR STANDARD AMUSEMENTS — MILLIONS LESS THAN SUSTAINABLE PLAYLAND OFFERED.

COUNTY BOARD OF LEGISLATORS, MAYOR OF RYE UNAWARE OF NEGOTIATIONS.

THE NEW SUPER TICK WHOSE BITE CAN KILL YOU.

THE SECRET WHITE PLAINS PICK OFF AND DROP OFF BAN FROM 7 AM TO 10 AM

.

“HOLISTIC NEWS”

-EMPHASIZING THE ORGANIC AND FUNCTIONAL RELATION BETWEEN PARTS AND WHOLES EVERY STORY

2015227whiteplainsweek 010

JIM BENEROFE — CO-FOUNDER–15 YEARS ON THE AIR.

 

IMG_9712

JOHN BAILEY, CO-FOUNDER. THE CITIZENETREPORTER

 

2014801rhodes 002

VETERAN NETWORK REPORTER WITH ABC NEWS…ANCHOR FOR ALL SEASONS– 9TH YEAR BEHIND THE WPW NEWS DESK

SEE WPW

ON

www.whiteplainsweek.com

Posted in Uncategorized

TIM CONNORS SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS TALKS HOW NEW SCHOOL AID WAS USED, HIGH STAKES TESTING, OPTING OUT AND THE STATE OF SCHOOLS RIGHT NOW ON THE NET…ON TV SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM ON FIOS 45, Cablevision 76

ON PEOPLE TO BE HEARD

THE PROGRAM WHERE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY 

HAVE THEIR SAY…

YOU’VE GOT

IMG_6937[1]

TIM CONNORS WHITE PLAINS SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

with FRED SEILER, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT FOR BUSINESS

ON HOW AND WHY THE NEW SCHOOL AID WAS USED TO RAISE THE BUDGET 

HIGH STAKES TESTING, OPT-OUTS IN WHITE PLAINS

HIS VISION FOR HOW TO IMPROVE TESTING

WHAT TAXPAYERS CAN EXPECT IN THE FUTURE

Westchester’s Most Relevant and Timely Interview Program

DOWNLOAD IT NOW

ON

www.whiteplainsweek.com

or

tonight at 8 on

Cablevision channel 76 and Countywide on VERIZON FIOS Channel 45

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The State Senate Leader Reported Target of Bharara Federal Inquiry: NY TIMES

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From news reports. April 16, 2015:

The New York Times reported this morning that State Senate Majority Leader Republican Dean Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos, according to unnamed sources “with knowledge of the matter.”

The Times reporters William K. Rashbaum, Susanne Craig and Thomas Kaplan are bylined in the front page above-the-fold article.

The article says supeonas have been issued to “several state senators on Long Island,” and that Mr. Skelos’ business dealing are drawing attention. One involves the awarding of a Nassau County contract to a storm water treatment firm, when that firm was not the low bidder.

The Times reports Mr. Skelos nor his son have be accused of any wrongdoing.

Preet Bhararra, the U.S. Attorney who indicted Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, is conducting the inquiry.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Powassan Virus in deer ticks found in New Jersey, Southern Connecticut– COULD CAUSE MENINGITIS ENCEPHALITUS FIOS NEWS 1

WPCNR HEALTH ADVISORY. From FIOS 1 News, New Jersey and news reports. April 15, 2015: 

FIOS News 1 is reporting that ticks in New Jersey have been found to carry the Powassan virus that has been found to cause meningitis and encephalitus disease if you are bitten by a deer tick. You can see that report here:

http://www.fios1news.com/newjersey/powassan-tick-virus#.VS-iJz-6_G4

 

As of this morning the Westchester County Department of Health has not issued a health advisory, however, the tick season is upon us and you should be aware of a potentially more serious disease found in ticks this spring in the tri-state area. No tick counts have been issued yet, (those will be begin to be reported May 1) but protective clothing (no shorts, no short sleeves) should be seriously considered if you are going into woods, on picnic grounds, athletic fields, anywhere where ticks can be found.

 

The Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk was reported this morning  by the Journal News that ticks have been found in the Westchester area to carry the powassan virus according to Thomas Daniel, entomologist at the Vector Ecology Laboratory.

Daniel warns that unlike lyme disease which takes several months to develop, powassan virus can start very quickly and be fatal in 10% of the cases. Daniel told The Journal News symptoms of Powassan virus can be fever, headache, vomitting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech difficulties, seizures.

The Center for Disease Control suggests to protect yourself from picking up a tick you should wear protective clothing covering the skin (obviously wearing shorts, going barefoot, sitting barelegged on grass is not encouraged.) Insect spray is also recommended.

 

 

 

http://www.fios1news.com/newjersey/powassan-tick-virus#.VS-iJz-6_G4

Posted in Uncategorized

OPWDD –RECEIVES 3.2% Increase in Budget in 2015-16 from the Governor

WPCNR DISABILITIES DAILY. From Kerry Delaney, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. April 15, 2015:

WPCNR has obtained a letter from the OPWDD explaining the new funding OPWDD will receive in the new New York State Budget and how it will be used as follows:

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

With the recent enactment of the 2015-2016 State budget, we have some very good news to share about what we will be able to do this year to further our system transformation.

Governor Cuomo’s leadership has ensured that our system will receive a 3.2 percent increase in this year’s budget for services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and I’d like to tell you a little more about how our funding will be used.

The budget provides $124 million to develop needed supports and services. These opportunities range from employment and day services to residential opportunities for people who need 24-hour services.

Four million dollars of this funding will be specifically targeted to helping individuals living at home with caregivers who can no longer support them and need residential supports.

To assist in our ongoing efforts to help individuals move from developmental centers and intermediate care facilities to more integrated homes in the community, the budget commits another $42 million to developing needed community services for these individuals.

OPWDD has also received $177 million from the federal Balancing Incentive Program which will be used to expand the availability of services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. This funding will allow us to make system-wide improvements to enhance our services and supports in the community. With this money, we are working with providers to support innovative practices ensuring that people can live and work in the community, supporting our system’s transition to managed care, and enhancing the delivery system through the use of technology and data.

Recognizing that access to and availability of transportation is a significant obstacle to ensuring community living, the budget gives OPWDD the resources to examine and recommend improvements to transportation services so that individuals can live in the most integrated settings possible and have access to work and other activities in their communities.

To ensure that you are aware of our transformation progress, OPWDD will issue reports on future housing and service needs, recommendations of the Transformation Panel, Front Door process improvements, review of our residential registration list and efforts to assist individuals in their transition from sheltered workshops.

Finally, the budget also provides resources to support a salary increase for direct care, support, and clinical staff of non-profit agencies which follows on the heels of another increase provided in last year’s budget that went into effect in early 2015.

I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and his support of individuals with developmental disabilities, and I look forward to working with you as we continue to transform, restructure, and enhance our service delivery system.

Sincerely, Kerry A. Delaney

Acting Commissioner

 

Posted in Uncategorized

County Exec Negotiated Deal with Standard Amusements without Consulting City of Rye. Mayor Sack not told of deal. Reserves comments prior to his City Council Analysis

WPCNR PLAYLAND GO ROUND. By John F. Bailey. April 15, 2015 UPDATED April 16, 2015:

Michael Kaplowitz,Chairman of the Board of County Legislators was not told of the impending agreement being negotiated by the Astorino Administration with Standard Amusements to run Playland for 15 years.

Neither was the Mayor of the City of Rye where Playland is.

According to Mayor Joe Sack, of Rye in a  written statement to WPCNR Wednesday afternoon:

“I did not learn about the particulars of the proposed agreement until after the press conference.  From the city of Rye’s perspective, we are most concerned about any environmental impacts of the proposal upon our community.  We look forward to reviewing the proposal, and articulating our position in the near future.”
The Journal News also reported this morning in an article by Mark Lungariello that County Executive Robert P. Astorino said the county would work with the City of Rye but the County would “have the final say.”
Apparently the county will be working with the cityof Rye now since they did not inform the Mayor of a plan for his own city while the county was negotiating the Standard Amusements contract.
Sack told the Journal News reporter in this quote “Just because it’s (Standard Amusements plan) a lesser scale, doesn’t mean the issues have gone away. The county is still having a little bit of trouble digesting the lessons they learned or should have learned the last go-round.”
Standard Amusements, in a 4-page preprinted full color handout, “The Renaissance of Rye Playland” given to the media at the Tuesday morning news conference held by County Executive Robert Astorino, wrote:
“Mr. (Nicholas) Singer (of Standard Amusements) and his team look forward to additional dialogue with community leaders and any citizens concerned about the future of beloved Playland.”
Joe Sack
Posted in Uncategorized

Process to vet Standard Amusements Playland Proposal Being Developed by Board of Legislators

WPCNR PLAYLAND GO-ROUND. By John F. Bailey. April 15, 2015:

Matt Richter, spokesperson for the County Board of Legislators this morning told WPCNR that two county legislature committees, Labor, Parks, Planning and Housing, chaired by Legislator Peter Harckham, and Budget and Appropriations, chaired by Legislator Sheila Marcotte  will be the lead committees evaluating the Playland proposal presented by County Executive Robert P. Astorino yesterday.

Richter said a 90-page piece of legislation was being reviewed by Harckham’s committee in a meeting this morning.

He said no schedule has been set yet for meetings, the agreement with Standard Amusements announced yesterday, that was negotiated privately by the County Executive staff, according to Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz who said he knew nothing about the deal before the news conference.

Asked  why the Standard Amusements deal is different from what Sustainable Playland had proposed that the Board of Legislators was concerned about, leading Sustainable to withdraw its plan, Richter said it was “profoundly different,” saying that the problem the Board had with the Sustainable Playland proposal was that Sustainable needed to sign contracts with operators (one of them was Standard Amusements) to secure financial investment in the park.

Asked if Standard Amusements has provided specific financials on the operation of the park yet, Richter said they had not.

Asked, if the agreement was approved by the County Board when Standard would pay the $2.5 Million upfront money as part of the proposal, Richter said that was not clear yet. Richter said that Standard had an opt-out option that they would evaluate the Playland operation this summer. In October, Standard would decide whether they would stay and operate, and if they chose to not continue, they would pay the County $500,000.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Buchwalds Welcome Anna Rose Buchwald

 

Lara,DavidandAnnaBuchwald

WPCNR MILESTONES. April 15, 2015:

New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald and Lara Buchwald of White Plains are proud to announce the birth of their first child, Anna Rose Buchwald.
Anna was due on April 15, 2015, but she had other ideas and arrived on March 16, 2015, weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces. Anna stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit at White Plains Hospital for just over five days. “The professionalism of the nurses and doctors at White Plains Hospital’s NICU could not have been better,” said Assemblyman Buchwald.
Mother and daughter are both doing well, and the whole family is enjoying the start of spring. “The birth of our beautiful, precious daughter makes me even more optimistic about the future,” said David. “When I look at Anna, I can’t help but redouble my efforts on behalf of the environment, education, and women’s equality.”
For the first time in his Assembly career, David missed votes while at the hospital with his wife and daughter. One of those votes was on his own bill to improve New York’s Freedom of Information Law. Nonetheless, the bill passed the State Assembly 147 to 0.
Assemblyman David Buchwald represents the 93rd Assembly District in Westchester County, which includes the towns of Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mt. Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem and Pound Ridge as well as half of the City of White Plains.
Lara Samet Buchwald is a litigation associate at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.
Posted in Uncategorized

Standard Amusements County Exec Choice to Run Playland. County Board Given 60 Days to Approve it. Deal Virtually Matches Sustainable Playland Plan

WPCNR PLAYLAND GO ROUND. By John F. Bailey April 14, 2015;

County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced that last night his administration had signed an agreement with Standard Amusements to run Playland beginning in 2016.

Standard has agreed to invest $25 Million in new rides, restaurants and attractions within 5 years of taking over the park (with Westchester County still retaining ownership). Standard will pay the county $2.5 Million upon signing of the agreement which the Board of Legislators has 60 days to approve. Chair of the Board, Michael Kaplowitz told WPCNR it was the first he had heard of the surprise signing and said the Board would begin its due diligence on the proposal.

In addition, when Standard  would pay the County $300,000 a year the first five years, and when Standard has recouped its investment, it would give the county 7.5% of the profits.

The deal was endorsed by county consultant Dan Biederman of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, who was the consultant to Sustainable Playland, Mr. Astorino’s first choice of operator of the park, which had also considered Standard Amusements as its operator. The deal is essentially the same with the exception that no permanent field house or fields would be built .

However, the County Executive said there would be “temporary (open air) fields” put in place with artificial turf on the parking lots or other areas during the spring and fall. The City of Rye had vehemently protested the Field House concept, how they will react to this piece of the proposal is not known since the Mayor of Rye was not at the news conference for comment.

More to come.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized