Body found on tracks at Beach 25 Street subway station


A subway train driver pulling in to the Beach 25 Street A-Train station said that he felt a bump and exited his train to check. He found the body of a dead man on the tracks, perhaps a homeless man who had fallen to the tracks earlier in the evening.

An MTA train operator driving northbound on the A-Train elevated structure pulling into the Beach 25 Street station late on Wednesday “felt a bump” as he entered the station.

He exited the train and saw clothing on the track. Upon further investigation, he found the body of an unidentified man.

Police sources say that the MTA engineer called officials at about 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Sources say that the man was most likely already dead when the train passed over him and that he may have fallen from the platform onto the tracks earlier that night.

The city’s medical examiner will autopsy the body to determine cause of death.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad were still trying to identify the man early on Thursday morning, but some informed sources say that the man may have been homeless, making it more difficult to identify him.


Arverne condo homeowners file suit against developer, architect; attorney claims racism for failure to remediate problems


Homeowners at Water’s Edge condos in Arverne are suing because of design problems, construction and code violations. Attorney claims that repairs have not been done because of racism.

Arverne homeowners who bought affordable condominiums in the city-sponsored Water’s Edge development are now stuck with $10 million in repairs due to shoddy construction, a lawsuit filed earlier this month alleges.

And the attorney for the condo’s board of directors told that racism played a part in the fact that the necessary repairs and changes were never made.

Adam Leitman Baily laid into the city, the developers of the condo project, the architects and local politicians.

“The problem here is that black people are not considered citizens of New York City,” Baily said. “We should be supporting the building of housing for black people. Where is the district attorney, the federal prosecutors, the local politicians? They should be jumping in here and they are not.”

After years of trying to get the principals to make the necessary repairs, on Sept. 1, the condo board sued the Briarwood Organization and its principals, which built the 130-unit complex in Arverne, after winning a request for proposals issued by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The board is seeking a total of about $150 million from the developer and another $60 million from the project’s designers, AIA Architects.

Water’s Edge, a development for low- and moderate-income households, was approved during the Bloomberg administration and completed in 2009. The complex is composed of 65 two-story buildings featuring a condo unit on each floor. The average cost for a two-bedroom unit was $188,000 and $300,000 for a three-bedroom.

“We want housing that is done with proper construction practices and meets the goals of New York City—that is what was promised to us,” condo board president Leonard Yarde, who purchased his unit in 2010 told Crain’s New York. “But we were sold a product that is defective.”

Among several causes of action, the suit alleges that gutters, roofs and the frames of doors and windows were improperly installed and sealed, which has led to standing water, leaks and structural water damage.  In addition, the suit alleges, many of the boilers in the complex were also installed contrary to the manufacturer’s directions, which has left some homes without enough heat and causes a particular room to remain perpetually cold.

Additionally, the suit claims at least two aspects of Waters Edge’s design violate the city’s building code, even though the plans were approved by the city’s Department of Buildings. For example, a valve to shut off the water supply to the apartments should be located in each unit, according to building code. But at Waters Edge, valves for both units in a house are located in the first floor condo. Similarly, the electric code states that every resident will have “ready access” to a box of circuit breakers. But in the complex, both circuit-breaker boxes are located within the top unit’s garage.

According to a Buildings Department spokesman who spoke to Crains, the city conducted several audits of the blueprints before construction began, but did not cite the owner for the locations of the water shut-off valves or circuit boxes.

An attorney for the Briarwood Organization declined to comment to Crain’s, but the city said the developer has been in talks with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development since the summer, and told the city that residents knew the location of the water valves and electrical boxes before moving in. Aside from those discussions, the city has not intervened in the dispute.

“Given that these are post-construction issues, HPD cannot force the builder to be responsive to claims with respect to the warranties that the developer provided,” a representative from the department wrote in an August email to the local representative on the City Council.

Yarde told Crain’s that his board filed the suit in order to preserve a warranty on the property that was set to expire. And if residents were forced to fund repairs with increased common charges, some of them may not be able to afford to live there anymore.

“What they left us with is a nightmare,” he said.



Feds close down Rockaway fish company in wake of inspection that finds contamination


The SM Fish Company in Arverne was temporarily closed down by the FDA after an inspection found contamination in a number of food service areas.


The company makes herring and lox for the Orthodox Jewish community. FDA is asking consumers to closely check sell-by dates on all of the company’s products.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has temporarily closed down an Arverne fish company that manufactures several varieties of herring and lox, mostly for the local Orthodox Jewish marketplace.

The FDA has identified the company as SM Fish Corporation, located at 50-01 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, on the roadway behind the abandoned Peninsula Hospital Center. The agency urges anyone with un-expired ready to eat food manufactured by SM Fish should not eat those products. This is an expansion of the July 29, 2016 recall of Ossie’s Herring Salads to include all RTE foods from that facility. Ossie’s ready to eat seafood salads were also recalled on September for possible Listeria contamination.

According to the FDA, Listeria was first found in the Rockaway facility in 2015 and found Listeria bacteria in 15 of 105 locations swabbed throughout the building. The company briefly closed its facility at that time to revise its cleaning and sanitation procedures.

Then, the facility was re-inspected and re-sampled from August 15, 2016 to September 9, 2016 and discovered that the cleaning and sanitation procedures were unsuccessful. Listeria was found in 12 of the 116 locations swabbed in the facility, including one on a direct food contact surface.

The pathogenic bacteria was also found on non-contact food surfaces that are in “sufficient proximity” to the food and food contact surfaces to create an increased risk of contaminating the food.

Listeria bacteria was found in the kitchen, fish processing room, herring room, cheese slicing room, and the ice maker/machine area. One positive swab was found on the inner surface of a mixing bowl that comes into contact with food.

Inspectors also found “serious violations of the current Good Manufacturing Practices requirements for food that cause your RTE seafood products to be adulterated.” A kill step is not performed on these seafood products before they are distributed, so there is a “reasonable probability of such food causing serious adverse health consequences or death to humans,” according to the FDA.

Inspectors found employees used spray nozzles and squeegees to clean equipment and the floors. These cleaning techniques can cause the movement of Listeria throughout a facility. Aerosols from a high pressure hose used on floors or dirty equipment can linger in the air for hours and can re-contaminate previously sanitized food contact surfaces. And dead flies were found in liquid on the floor, flying insects were found in the cutting board and knife in the Prepared Food Kitchen area, and condensate from an air conditioning unit was leaking onto food preparation surfaces.

SM Fish Corp. issued a recall of products sold at seven retail outlets in New York and New Jersey between Aug. 1 and Sept. 9. “There are things that need to be repaired in the building; hopefully we’ll be able to get back on our feet,” SM Fish Corp. President Robert J. Schonfeld, told the Nassau Herald.

The company released the UPC codes of recalled

Ossie’s ready to eat products that were packed in plastic deli containers with along and “Best By” date codes of Aug. 21 through Oct. 18, which are located on the bottom of the container.

Pipeline company gives thousands of dollars to local organizations


The Rockaway Rockies was one of the youth groups that got grants from Williams Energy, the builder of the Rockaway Lateral Pipeline

Some call the money going to more than two dozen local organizations community grants, but others see them as “bribes” or “blood money.”

That’s because the money for the organizations comes from Williams Energy, the company that built and maintains the several gas pipelines that run just offshore of Rockaway as well as under Riis Park.

And, the irony of the grants is that a number of the recipients accepting the grants are groups that fought tooth and nail to keep Williams from building those pipelines.

In all, Williams is providing more than $124,000 in local grants this year, added to the hundreds of thousands they have provided in years past.

One of the 25 recipients is the Rockaway Volunteer Ambulance Search & Rescue Corp, which plans to use a $15,000 grant to purchase rescue supplies.

“Our organization depends on community contributions like this grant from Williams to provide first aid and pre-hospital care to our many Rockaway residents and visitors,” said Rockaway Volunteer Ambulance Search and Rescue Corp Chief Ronnie Murchinson. “This grant will be used to purchase much-needed rescue supplies to support our ambulance and beach patrols. We sincerely appreciate Williams’ support.”

 The Rockaway Community Grant program is designed to benefit the environment and local communities in which Williams operates its Transco natural gas pipeline near Rockaway.  The company has awarded more than $700,000 since the grant program was first initiated in 2014.

 Grants up to $15,000 per organization are awarded to organizations promoting initiatives that support environmental enhancement, education, economic development, emergency services, youth and senior programs.

Williams provides natural gas to the New York City area through its Transco pipeline, a 10,200-mile pipeline system which transports natural gas to markets throughout the northeastern and southeastern United States.

This year’s recipients include:

       $7,500.00 to the Breezy Point Cooperative, Rockaway Point, for the Breezy Point Activity Center Generator

     $15,000.00 to the Rockaway Point Volunteer Emergency Services Inc., Rockaway Point, for Personal Escape Systems

     $15,000.00 to the Rockaway Volunteer Ambulance Search and Rescue Corp, Rockaway Beach, for Rescue Supplies

     $7,500.00 to the Community Center of the Rockaway Peninsula, Far Rockaway, for the Community Center of the Rockaway Peninsula

     $5,000.00 to the City Parks Foundation-Natural Areas Conservancy, New York, for the Coastal Cleanup, Invasive Vegetation Removal, and Native Vegetation Planting Volunteer Programs in Rockaway Community Park

      $5,000.00 to the Lacrosse Club of Rockaway, Inc., Belle Harbor, for the General Operating Support

      $5,000.00 to the New York City Audubon Society, Inc., for Tidal Connections

      $5,000.00 to the Partnership with Children, Inc., for the Partnership with Children College and Career Readiness Project at Rockaway Collegiate High School

      $5,000.00 to PFC. John G. McLaughlin Post 8540 Veterans of Foreign Wars, Breezy Point, for Help A Vet

     $5,000.00 to Rockaway Rising Incorporated, Far Rockaway, for the #NoExcusesRockaway Middle School & High School Expansion

     $5,000.00 to the Rockaway Rockies, Belle Harbor, for the Rockaway Rockies Youth Hockey Program

     $5,000.00 to the Rockaway Rugby Club, Rockaway Park, for the Rugby Field Renovation Project

     $5,000.00 to the Rockaway Rugby Football Club, Rockaway Park,for the Rockaway Rugby – Youth Program

   $4,000.00 to Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, Inc., Broad Channel, for the Oyster Eco Dock

    $4,000.00 to the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Far Rockaway, for the Stewardship and Community Mobilization for More Resilient Rockaway Waterways & Waterfront

    $3,000.00 to the Breezy Point Garden Club, Queens, for the Breezy Point Community Garden Restoration

    $2,500.00 to the Belle Harbor Yacht Club, Rockaway Park, for the Beach Channel Drive Park – Part 2

    $2,500.00 to Black & White Project Space, Inc., Rockaway Beach, for the Beach Sessions Dance Series – Environmental Program

    $2,500.00 to the Graybeards, Ltd., Belle Harbor, for Community Support

    $2,500.00 to Martin De Porres High School, Rockaway Park, for the Pollinator Garden II

    $2,500.00 to PS/MS 114 Q, Rockaway Park, for the Belle Harbor School After-School Drama Program

    $2,000.00, to the, Broad Channel Historical Society, Broad Channel, for the, Virtual Museum for Broad Channel Historical Society Collection


City takes $ from other vital programs to fund shortfall in bumbling Build-it-Back fiasco


The city will soon take money from other vital programs to pump into the failing Build-it-Back program. Pictured, many Rockaway residents have been forced from their homes with promises or repairs or renewal and have waited months longer than promised to get back in to those homes.

A few short months ago, City Councilman Eric Ulrich stood in front of a home in Rockaway that had not yet been repaired by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Build-it-Back program, calling it a failure and calling for the resignation of Amy Peterson, the mayor’s hand-picked choice to run the vital agency.

This week, there is more proof that Ulrich was right.

De Blasio administration officials faced blistering criticism Wednesday as they revealed they’d have to spend an extra $500 million in taxpayer cash because of cost overruns in the program.

Mayor de Blasio pledged to finish fixing thousands of homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy by the end of 2016 — but he’s facing increased doubts that deadline can be met, even as the program costs half a billion dollars more than expected.

“It’s an outrage,” said City Councilman Mark Treyger, chair of the resiliency and recovery committee, which grilled officials at a hearing Thursday.

Fixing single family homes enrolled in Build It Back was expected to cost $1.7 billion, but the budget has now ballooned to $2.2 billion, Peterson said.

The budget has surged even as the number of homeowners in the program, originally around 22,000, has fallen by more than half as people withdrew their applications. Some were not eligible, but others gave up after years of struggling with bureaucracy.

Peterson was not able to provide a number Thursday on how many people remain in the program. Nor could she say how much of the money has been spent so far.

Where is the $500 million to come from?

From other funded programs, some of them impacting Rockaway.

The city plans to take federal money that was devoted to storm protection and resiliency projects and instead use it for housing. The city will then replace the funds with its own capital money. Peterson pledged that no protection projects would be scrapped or delayed because of the change.

On Friday, New York City completed a proposed amendment to its plan for the $4.21 billion in Federal disaster aid from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help with recovery from Hurricane Sandy, reallocating $500 million to the Single Family Build it Back program.

Part of that money will be $15 million that was originally slated for the Rockaway Commercial Corridor Resiliency Program, designed to help areas such as Beach 116 Street recover from the storm and become more resilient in case of another storm.

Other monies will come from the $152 million from the Coastal Protection program. The Raise Shorelines program, was designed to address Rockaway problems. The city says that it will “move forward with other sources of City funding, including Capital funds the City is providing as part of the September 2016 Capital Commitment Plan,” but insiders say that it is a longshot that the city council will provide the excess funds.

 “We were told repeatedly these funds would be sufficient to meet the needs of all the applicants to the Build It Back program,” Treyger said. “It is very hard for us to comprehend we’re now saying we need $500 million more in city money.”

He also questioned whether the city is pressuring people out of the program as officials scramble to meet the mayor’s deadline.

“To us, it’s more important that we get this right than to just make deadlines look good for some public relations victory,” he said, adding it would be “tragic” if people who have been waiting four years for help are left with nothing.

Peterson said the cost spikes are because of rising costs across the construction industry, plus extra expenses for complicated projects to elevate and rebuild homes to protect them from storms.

In addition, the city has begun offering rental assistance to homeowners – who struggled to pay both their mortgage and rent on a place to stay while their home was under construction – and launched a $46 million home buyout program for people who couldn’t qualify for a restrictive state program.

 Peterson would not commit to meeting the mayor’s deadline, but told the Daily News that she’s still trying. “Our commitment has been to serve all eligible homeowners, and that commitment stands,” she said. “The mayor set an ambitious goal, and we are working toward it.”

As the clock ticks down, pols feared contractors were taking advantage to jack up the price. “Are we sure they’re not milking the system?” Councilman Donovan Richards asked.

In Queens, contractor Tishman Construction put in a bid offering to elevate 53 homes for $50 million – nearly $1 million a home. Peterson said that deal “is not cost effective” and the city is trying to renegotiate it.

Many of the homeowners who had deals with Tishman moved out of their homes months ago and have not seen any work done on their homes in the interim. The developer blamed the city and its permitting system for the delay, but insiders say that negotiations with the city might well be the real hold-up.

Earlier Thursday, City Controller Scott Stringer panned the state of the program.

“I’m very disappointed the city is not going to meet its Sandy housing goals. This is just a scandal, and people have suffered,” he said on the Brian Lehrer show.

Mayor de Blasio said federal money for storm recovery is drying up. “The city of New York is going to have to put its own money into some of these initiatives,” he said.

He declined to say whether the Build It Back deadline would be met.


Detectives bust man wanted for vicious Far Rockaway beating, robbery


Detectives from the 101 Precinct used this surveillance photo to assist in the arrest late Thursday night of Sherwin Benn, 32, for the beating and robbery of a deli clerk who refused to sell him beer because he could not pay the full price for the six pack.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct arrested a local man late Thursday night for the assault and robbery of a 57-year old Far Rockaway deli clerk who refused to sell a six-pack of beer to him because he could not pay for the beverage.

Police and court sources identify the man as Sherwin Benn, 32, of 14-19 Beach Channel Drive.

Benn has been charged by police with Attempted Murder in the second degree, Robbery in the first degree and Assault in the second degree.

Court documents say that Benn had only $3 to pay for the beer, which cost $3,25, and an argument ensued when the victim, identified as Abdul Almilaki, refused to take the lesser amount as payment at the Ronan Deli in Far Rockaway.

The victim was severely beaten on his way home from work and remains at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull and head trauma, police say.

Sources say that the victim, who lives on New Haven Avenue in Far Rockaway, was walking home after his tour at a the Rohan deli when the was assaulted by Benn.

The victim’s 16-year-old nephew told police he was inside the New Haven Avenue home when he heard a commotion outside the door at about 3:30 a.m. on September 21.

The teen ran outside and found his uncle on the ground with a severe head wound and saw a man in a white t-shirt running from the scene.

Family members told police that the victim was carrying two cell phones, both of which were missing.

 Benn was awaiting his arraignment on Friday afternoon.


Far Rockaway redevelopment battle focuses on parking, or lack of parking


The Far Rockaway shopping area redevelopment plan includes a reduction in on-street parking, which has left many locals angry, but proponents of the plan say that parking is redundant because many of the locals use public transportation rather than automobiles.

The fight over parking is usually a west end concern, especially during the summer months, but most recently the fight has moved eastward, all the way to the Far Rockaway transit district, with opponents of a reconstruction plan arguing that the plan will bring new businesses and new residents, and they will have to find places to park their cars.

Proponents of the plan, including City Councilman Donovan Richards, a major sponsor of the plan, say that just isn’t true, that the great majority of area residents use mass transit that makes cars and parking redundant.

The de Blasio administration has committed $91 million to street infrastructure, commercial development, and public services for downtown Far Rockaway in tandem with a rezoning in its affordable housing plan. At a hearing on the proposed rezoning earlier this week, most people could only talk about one thing: parking.

“The success of downtown Far Rockaway is going to be the ability to attract people from surrounding communities, including Nassau County, and they’re not going to be able to do it on [public] transportation,” said Marty Ingram, a Breezy Point resident and the co-chair of Community Board 14’s transportation committee.

While the rezoning plan is not final, it anticipates lower parking requirements that “more closely reflect automobile ownership rates within the area,” which are low, compared with the rest of the peninsula, according to the environmental impact study done by the city. The city argues that excessive parking minimums drive up the cost of housing, especially the affordable housing proposed by the Far Rockaway plan and being pushed by both Richards and Mayor Bill de Blasio..

That was a sticking point for many other attendees, some of whom pointed to existing traffic problems as justification for more parking.

“People who are going to move here are going to have cars, they need to park, and if this is going to be the beautiful shopping area that we want it and we believe it’s going to be, people are going to drive here,” CB 14 District Manager Jonathan Gaska said. “The city’s dream that people are going to ride their bikes to Rockaway and shop… is just not going to happen.”

Council Member Richards, who has spearheaded the rezoning process, had a different take. He said the neighborhood has a “legitimate parking issue” but that improving transit and bike infrastructure — not building more parking — is the most promising way to address those problems.

“The idea is also to make sure we activate different modes of transportation,” Richards told Streetsblog, a city blog dedicated to infrastructure. “The more transportation alternatives for everybody, the better for everyone. So bicycling, better A Train service, more SBS service. These things are paramount to ensure that this project is a success.” Richards also expressed interest in bringing Citi Bike to the neighborhood.

Richards said that lowering parking requirements is essential to maximizing the amount of affordable housing in the plan. “Listen, there’s an affordable housing crisis right now,” he said. “People have to live somewhere, so the idea is to create affordable, mixed-income housing in the community.”


Far Rock man critical after being beaten for refusing to sell beer to customer


The violent assault occurred on New Haven Avenue as the deli worker was walking home after work. He was reportedly beaten because he refused to sell beer to a young customer.

A 57-year old Far Rockaway deli clerk who refused to sell a six-pack of beer to a man without identification was severely beaten on his way home from work and remains at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull, police say.

Sources say that the victim, identified as Abdul al Malackey, who lives on New Haven Avenue in Far Rockaway, was walking home when the was assaulted by the man to whom he refused to sell beer earlier in the night.

The victim’s 16-year-old nephew told police he was inside the New Haven Avenue home when he heard a commotion outside the door at about 3:30 a.m. on September 21.

The teen ran outside and found his uncle on the ground with a severe head wound and saw a man in a white t-shirt running from the scene.

Family members told police that the victim was carrying two cell phones, both of which were missing.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad are investigating.

Nassau contractor indicted for three Breezy Point Sandy scams


A Nassau County contractor who contracted to rebuild three Breezy Point homes after Sandy was arraigned on fraud charges on Wednesday.

A Queens County grand jury has indicted a 54-year-old Long Island man and his construction company on grand larceny and other charges for allegedly bilking three families – whose Breezy Point homes were destroyed during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 – out of more than $200,000 when they hired the contractor to build new homes between July 2013 and June 2014.

District Attorney Richard Brown, in announcing the indictments, said, “The victims in this case had already had their lives devastated by a natural disaster. Their homes were destroyed and when they took the necessary steps to rebuild, the defendant allegedly victimized them again. These three Queens families trusted the defendant. They paid him large sums of money to construct new homes for them. But instead of providing them with new places in which to live, these families were left with vacant lots, empty promises and depleted bank accounts.  One family’s nightmare was made even worse when a subcontractor – allegedly hired by the defendant – placed a lien on their property due to an outstanding bill that they had allegedly paid directly to the defendant.”

Brown identified the defendants as Andrew Troiano, 54, of Maple Street in Lake Grove, Long Island, and Alt Design Construction and Consulting Inc., located at 40 Southern Boulevard in Nesconset, Long Island.

Troiano was arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice James Griffin Tuesday on a 13-count indictment charging him with second- and third-degree grand larceny, second- and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree scheme to defraud and other crimes. The defendant was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on October 28, 2016. If convicted, Troiano faces up to 15 years in prison. In the case of the corporation, conviction of a felony is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or double the amount of the illegal gain.

According to the indictment, on July 19, 2013, a family that resided on Fulton Walk in Breezy Point, Queens, hired the defendant, who presented himself as the owner of Alt Design Construction and Consulting, Inc., to build a new home on their property. In April 2014, the concrete foundation was poured and the property owners received a bill for $58,500. The pair submitted a check to Alt Design in that amount on April 27, 2014. Troiano allegedly hired a subcontractor to do the foundation work and did not pay them for the completed foundation.

It is further alleged in the indictment, said Brown, that Troiano hired a second subcontractor to do crane work on the Fulton Walk property and that work was completed on May 30, 2104. An invoice for $10,343 from that subcontractor was submitted to Alt Design and allegedly not paid. As a result, on September 22, 2014, the company that did the crane work placed a lien on the Fulton Walk property.

The indictment further charges that on July 23, 2013, a couple living on Graham Place in Breezy Point, entered into a contract with Troiano to build a modular home on the couple’s property and payment was due upon completion of certain work. In March 2014, the couple received an invoice for $63,750 for the concrete foundation. On March 31, 2014, the couple gave Troiano a check made out to his company in the amount of $63,750 and that check was allegedly cashed by the defendant. The subcontractor that poured the cement foundation sent a bill to Troiano’s company for $62,182 and was allegedly paid only $13,000.

On January 27, 2014, the defendant entered into contract with a third couple who live on Hillside Avenue in Rockaway Point, Queens. Troiano was hired to erect a modular home on the couple’s property and the pair made two
payments of $30,000 and $15,975.

The charges allege that Troiano contacted the couple after their initial payments and stated he could rush construction of their home if they paid more money up front. The Rockaway Point couple paid an additional $55,000 to Troiano on June 26, 2014. However, the firm slated to design the new home was allegedly never paid and drawings were never created. There were never any deposits made toward constructing the house either. The couple was also allegedly billed for soil test, foundation design, wetland study and other pre-construction requirements. The pair paid the defendant $7,150 on April 25, 2014, to cover this cost. The defendant is alleged to have misrepresented that he paid the companies for these tests. At a later date, one company demanded $1,500 from the couple, who paid them directly.

District Attorney Brown said, according to the indictment, the defendant deposited checks he received from the victims into Alt Design’s account at Chase bank. Troiano was listed as the president of the company and was the sole authorized user of the account between 2011 and February 2014. In March 2014, the defendant’s teenage son was added as an account user. The results of a  forensic examination of the banking records for this account allegedly shows that prior to the $55,000 deposit of the Hillside Avenue couple’s check on June 26, 2014, the account had a negative balance.

Furthermore, the bank account forensic review allegedly showed, said District Attorney Brown, that no payments were made to subcontractors. And the only debits were for unrelated matters, including electrical work on a different property, cell phone and cable bill payments, purchases at liquor stores and restaurants, as well as payments to an attorney. Cash withdrawals totaled more than $8,000.


Don’t like either Trump or Clinton? Watch out for Johnson, he’s patently worse than either: Commentary from


Gary Johnson, who is running on the Libertarian Line in the presidential election, might look like a way not to vote for Trump of Clinton, but he’s got problems of his own, mostly his platform. Commentary lays out the editor’s plan for the coming election.

By Howard Schwach

Commentary from

Like more and more Americans each day, I have a feeling that I will not be able to go into the voting booth (whoops, they don’t have those any longer) or mark my ballot for either of the two major candidates on Election Day in November.

There is no doubt in my mind that contributors to the Clinton Foundation also bought entrée with the Secretary of State and the President. There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton is so closed up to the truth that she disassembles as a matter of course when she is cornered with a question she does not want to answer. She could not even admit that she was sick with a mild pneumonia when asked.

On the other hand, Donald Trump is an asshole, a bully, a veteran-basher, a liar and about two dozen other things. Any one of them would cause me to vote for him only if he were the last man left on Earth, and even then I would have a problem penciling him in on the ballot.

Would Clinton make a better president than Donald Trump? My son’s German Shephard would make a better president than Donald Trump.

What to do? I have been a Democrat ever since I voted in my first election in 1960, when I turned 21 (you had to be 21 in those far-away days to vote).

Eight years ago, I voted for John McCain. Even though I have been a Democrat all of my life, I could not vote for the ultra-Liberal Barack Obama. Four years ago, I did not vote for president, although I did vote for the down-ballot Democrats and a Republican or two as well.

I just could not vote for either of the candidates. One was too Liberal and too weak on foreign policy issues and on the military. The other was too Conservative, particularly on social issues.

Here I am again.

I decided to take a look at the third option – the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.

It did not take long, however to put him in the same category as Trump – couldn’t vote for him no matter what.

Why? After all, he is polling well, especially with those between the ages of 18 and 34, younger people who are so disaffected by politics as usual that they want to blow the government away completely.

At that tender age, however, they do not know what they are polling for, or have no understanding about the real world – or a combination of both.

Johnson wants to do away with the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS. Now, I dislike the IRS as much as anybody and there is no doubt that they are aggressive and overbearing, but the agency serves a vital role in any government – collecting the money needed to pay for whatever that government supplies to its citizens – including the military, civil service workers, Social Security and Medicare.

Of course, along with the IRS, Johnson wants to do away with Social Security and Medicare, trusting instead the Stock Market that destroyed tens of thousands of lives just eight years ago.

He also wants to do away with public schools and all the environmental regulations that keep big business and corporations from killing us slowly.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, as we used to say in the Navy. Add FUBAR and you get the picture of what America would be like without the IRS, without public schools, without Social Security and Medicare for the elderly, without oversight of big business such as oil, gas, pharmaceuticals and other necessities of life.

Johnson’s platform makes Trump and the Republicans look downright reasonable, even when we all know they are not realistic.

What then to do?

Here’s my personal plan.

If Clinton is far ahead in the polls – say ten points of more – in November, I will not vote for anybody, although I might well write in Snoopy. Should the race be closer, then I will vote for Clinton as the LOC – the least objectionable candidate.

There is a lot at stake in this election and we do not need either a liar who is otherwise qualified to be president or a charlatan huckster who is in no way qualified to be president.

Given the choice, however, I will have to vote for the most qualified candidate and there is clearly Clinton. I hope those supporting Johnson because they do not like either Trump or Clinton will agree.



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