Category Archives: Politics

Borough President Calls on CB 9 to Postpone DM Search; ‘Potential Issues’ with Candidate and Selection Process: Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz this week advised the chairman of Community Board 9 to postpone the district manager selection process until after April 1. The second round of interviews was scheduled to take place on March 3 at Borough Hall, where the three remaining candidates vying for the position—James McClelland, Scott Wolff and Lisa Gomes—were to be vetted by the board However, in a letter obtained by The Forum, Katz told Chairman Ralph Gonzalez, “While I applaud the efforts … Continue reading

Judge Grants Madoff Secretary’s Request to Drive to Fla. Prison

A Manhattan federal court judge last week granted Bernie Madoff’s former secretary—who is also a borough native—the opportunity to drive to the Florida prison in which she will serve her six-year sentence, according to published reports. Judge Loretta Taylor Swain last Friday gave the green light to Annette Bongiorno’s request to have her husband escort her by car to Federal Correctional Institution Coleman after she filed court documents detailing her intense fear of flying, according to the New York Daily … Continue reading

Sheldon Silver Pleads Not Guilty to Indictment Charges

Minutes after former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to federal extortion, mail- and wire-fraud charges, his attorneys filed an exhaustive motion to dismiss the indictment against the erstwhile Albany powerbroker. The request to toss the indictment is based on, according to Silver’s lawyers, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s “improper extrajudicial statements.” Silver was arrested late last month following a federal fraud and corruption probe charging one of Albany’s “Three Men in a Room” with allegedly using … Continue reading

Criminal Officials: Money is Not the Only Motive

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Sir John Dalberg-Acton’s astute observation has endured for more than 100 years. Last week, The Forum profiled a rogue’s gallery of elected officials from Queens who put faces to Dalberg-Acton’s succinct statement, illustrating impact of that corruption. The paper’s previous story told you the Who. But what about the Why? According to psychologist Dr. Ronald Riggio, leadership is all about power and influence. Leaders use their power to get things done. A simple distinction is between … Continue reading

Ozone Park Native Reappointed Commissioner of Mayor’s Disability Office

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week announced the reappointment of Queens native Victor Calise as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. Calise, an Ozone Park product who earned degrees from St. John’s University and Queens College, has been MOPD commissioner since former Mayor Bloomberg appointed him to the post in 2012. “I am honored to be chosen by Mayor de Blasio to continue to lead this office and serve New Yorkers with disabilities,” Calise said. “It has … Continue reading

Goldfeder Appointed to Insurance Committee

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) this week announced his appointment to the New York State Assembly Committee on Insurance, an influential committee responsible for reviewing legislation and holding public oversight hearings related to the state’s multibillion dollar insurance industry. “Insurance companies must be held accountable,” said Goldfeder.  “Sandy was a wakeup call for so many in our community that were victimized by companies who collected premiums but disappeared when it came time to help devastated families.  I will work to … Continue reading

 ‘Small Business First’ Plan Will Reduce Regulatory Burden on Owners: de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday unveiled the “Small Business First” plan to reduce the regulatory burden on owners. According to the administration, SBF will simplify the regulatory landscape many small businesses confront in the establishment and ongoing operation of their businesses by improving communication between business owners and city government; streamlining licensing, permitting and tribunal processes; providing support and resources to help businesses understand and comply with city regulations; and ensuring assistance is accessible to all communities across the … Continue reading

Smith, Tabone Convicted in Bribery Scheme to Rig Race for Mayor

                          Former state Sen. Malcolm Smith, and former Queens County GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone on Thursday were convicted in a White Plains federal court on bribery charges stemming from a scheme to rig the 2013 New York City mayoral election. The jury deliberated for a little over two hours, according to the New York Post, before convicting Tabone and the once-powerful Democrat Smith, 57, in a failed … Continue reading

De Blasio Announces Senior Staff Changes

Mayor Bill de Blasio last Friday announced changes in the senior leadership of his administration. Press Secretary Phil Walzak will move to the position of senior advisor for Strategic Planning, replacing Peter Ragone, who has resigned his post. De Blasio also announced that Andrea Hagelgans has been named communications director for the Office of the Mayor. Hagelgans is currently the director of Agency Communications, where she oversees the public affairs communications strategies between the Mayor’s office and all the agencies … Continue reading

Malcolm Smith, Vince Tabone Convicted in Bribery Scheme to Rig Race for Mayor

Former state Sen. Malcolm Smith, and former Queens County GOP Vice Chairman Vince Tabone on Thursday were convicted in a White Plains federal court on bribery charges stemming from a scheme to rig the 2013 New York City mayoral election. The jury deliberated for a little over two hours, according to the New York Post, before convicting Tabone and the once-powerful Democrat Smith in a failed $200,000 pay-to-play plan in which Smith tried to buy his way onto the Republican … Continue reading

Wills Bans Press from Civic Meeting

Hours after he was indicted for the second time since last May, City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) on Tuesday evening co-hosted with the South Ozone Park Civic Association West what was billed as a town hall meeting to continue to discuss the city’s plan to establish a facility for juvenile delinquents on a residential block in the neighborhood. Concerned citizens and area residents were urged to report to St. Anthony of Padua Church basement on 130th Street at 7 p.m. … Continue reading

Ulrich Continues to Push for Veterans’ Affairs Department

With the preliminary executive budget due by Feb. 24, and budget meetings set to begin in earnest in less than a month, City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) continues to pursue his goal of a turning the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs into a fully funded Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Last April, Ulrich, who is the chairman of the Committee on Veterans, introduced a bill to amend the City Charter and Administrative Code “in relation to the establishment of a … Continue reading

Queens is Crucial Component in de Blasio’s Fight Against Economic Inequality

The central tenet of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s second State of the City address, delivered on Tuesday at Baruch College in Manhattan, mimicked that of his 2013 campaign when he consistently raised the concept of the city careening toward “a tale of two cities.” With the continued fight against economic inequality as the foundation, de Blasio on Tuesday looked to Queens as a key to leveling the playing field and realizing the vision of what he called “One New York.” … Continue reading

De Blasio Says Five-Borough Ferry is Coming… in 2017

The good news: Ferry service is coming back to Queens. The bad news: It won’t arrive until 2017. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday used a portion of his State of the City address to detail his administration’s plan for a Five-Borough Ferry System that will “knit together existing East River routes with new landings and services to Astoria, the Rockaways, South Brooklyn, Soundview and the Lower East Side.” De Blasio indicated that a ride on the citywide ferry service … Continue reading

Court’s Decision Will ‘Revolutionize’ Handling of Domestic Violence Cases: DA

A Queens Criminal Court’s ruling last week that held that courts could accept the electronic signature of a complaining witness in lieu of a handwritten signature on a supporting deposition will eliminate the need for the victims to both travel around the city to sign documents via pen, and will allow victims to sign the documents they need before their batterers are released from jail and attempt to contact them, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Hailing Judge Deborah … Continue reading