Browsing articles in "Bronx News"
Sep 13, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Ex-court clerk accused of pocketing $80K in fees

Chris Goodly is accused of stealing more than ,000 as a Bronx court clerk.

Chris Goodly is accused of stealing more than ,000 as a Bronx court clerk.


Goodly allegedly stole transcation fees from people applying for passports or business documents.

Goodly allegedly stole transcation fees from people applying for passports or business documents.


Chris Goodly is accused of stealing more than ,000 as a Bronx court clerk.

A former clerk at a Bronx courthouse has been indicted for stealing more than ,000 by under-reporting cash transactions, prosecutors said Friday.

Christopher Goodly, 29, is accused of behaving badly by siphoning fees he had collected as a finance clerk from passport applications and business certificates, pocketing between 0 to ,000 a day.

He was fired in Sept. 2013 — about 11 months after allegedly starting the scheme — because an audit revealed that he issued more documents than he actually reported, a source said.

He was charged with grand larceny for allegedly taking in a total of ,225 and is facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Goodly is accused of making the fraudulent reports on 190 different days to hide his no-good deeds and has also been indicted on hundreds of counts of falsifying business records and official misconduct to reflect that.

Goodly, who was extradited from Virginia, was arraigned Friday and ordered held on a ,000 bail. He worked at the Clerk’s Office in the Civil Court building on Grand Concourse, officials said.

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Sep 13, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Two dead, one injured after Bronx car crash

Two men were killed and another was left clinging to life after a fiery crash on a Bronx parkway early Friday split their car into two.

The victims’ blue Mini Cooper appeared to be racing another vehicle on the Bronx River Parkway when the Mini’s driver, Xavier Rodriguez, 20, lost control of the wheel and hit a tree near Watson Ave. in Soundview shortly after 4 a.m., witnesses said.

The Mini was sheared in two and one half burst into flames. The other speeding vehicle raced away, witnesses said.

“They was racing, going at least 90, 95 mph,” said a witness, who did not want to be identified.

“I heard the cars blow by me and then I heard the car go, ‘Boom!’,” he said. “Then it just caught fire.”

Both Rodriguez and the unidentified front-seat passenger, 22, were thrown from the car, police said. They were rushed to Jacobi Medical Center, where Rodriguez later died. The passenger remained in critical condition Friday evening.

A third victim, identified as 20-year-old Bill Bido, was found in the rear of the car. He had been badly burned in the fire and died at the scene, police sources said.

Later Friday, a 24-year-old man was hit by a car and killed on Rockaway Blvd. in Queens as he and his friends loaded a motorcycle into the back of a pickup truck, officials said. Six other people were hospitalized following the 7 p.m. crash.

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Sep 12, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Woman dies in drunken dash onto Bronx highway

The woman had been been drinking and arguing with her boyfriend, police sources said, and got out of the vehicle at one point because she was overcome with nausea. It was not clear if she did vomit, but for some reason she dashed from the side of the service road onto the Hutchinson River Parkway, where she was struck by a white Ford pickup shortly after 6 a.m., the sources said. The pickup’s driver was in the left northbound lane near the merge for Pelham Parkway.

A witness said the pickup’s driver saw her at the last moment if he saw her at all.

 “This guy was coming and he never got to see her,” witness Randy Salce, 62, said of the driver. “It happened so fast.”

The impact was so loud that Salce thought the driver had swerved to avoid the woman and crashed his vehicle into the steel divider.

“I went over to see if he was okay — that’s when I saw the body,” he said.

“We tried to check her pulse, but there was nothing. She was dead instantly.”

He said the victim’s boyfriend went with him to check on her after she was struck.

The pickup’s driver and the woman’s boyfriend remained at the scene.

Police did not bring charges against anyone in connection with the incident.

With Rocco Parascandola

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Sep 12, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Two die, one fights for life after car crash in Bronx

Two people died and one was left fighting for his life after their speeding car smashed into a tree and erupted in flames in the Bronx early Friday, witnesses and officials said.

The blue Mini Cooper was sheared in two and one piece ignited after the crash on the Bronx River Parkway near Watson Ave. in Soundview shortly after 4 a.m., police and witnesses said.

Emergency responders were at the scene within minutes but a passenger in the backseat who had been trapped in the blaze could not be saved, FDNY Chief Daniel Sheridan of Battalion 3 said. Investigators have not yet been able to identify the passenger.

The driver and front passenger were thrown from the car, police said.

They were rushed to Jacobi Medical Center, one in cardiac arrest and the other in respiratory arrest. One of them, a 20-year-old man, died about an hour later, while the second victim, a 23-year-old man, remained in critical condition, police sources said. It was not clear whether the second person who died was the driver or the front-seat passenger.

A witness told the Daily News the Mini was racing another car down the parkway before the crash.

“They was racing, going at least 90, 95 mph,” said the witness, who did not want to be identified.

“I was walking down the street and I heard the cars blow by me and then I heard the car go, ‘Boom!’ Then it just caught fire.”

The witness said the second car did not stop to see what happened.

“Whoever the other car was, they didn’t stop. They just kept going.”

“It was just engulfed in flames! I said, ‘Oh my God, please don’t be any people in there.’”

Maxine Jenner of Soundview was driving south on the Bronx River Parkway when she saw the car burning on the side of the road.

“The flames was so big there was no car left, just flames.”

Police were investigating the crash.

With Rocco Parascandola

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Sep 12, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Man, 80 dies weeks after brutal beating in Bronx

An 80-year-old Bronx bodega clerk has died after being beaten with a metal pipe and kicked by a punk trying to rob him, cops said Thursday.

Manuel Rosario was working at a deli at E. 139 St. and St. Ann’s Ave. on Sept. 1, when he scuffled with Jason Rivera, 27, as the younger man tried to steal cash, police said.

A bystander pulled Rivera out of the store and Rosario followed, carrying a pipe, police said.

But Rivera grabbed the pipe from the octogenarian and beat him with it. He also kicked the old man repeatedly, according to cops and the criminal complaint.

Emergency workers rushed Rosario to Lincoln Hospital with severe trauma to the head and torso. He died Wednesday — after nine days in critical condition, officials said.

Rivera was nabbed soon after with Rosario’s wallet, authorities said. Cops charged him with the vicious assault and criminal possession of stolen property.

The medical examiner ruled Rosario’s death a homicide on Wednesday and cops said they expect to upgrade Rivera’s charges.

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Sep 12, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Pervy Bronx boss accused of harassing secretary

The owner of a Bronx real estate company showed off a bit too much of his personal property to his secretary, court papers say.

In papers filed in Manhattan Federal Court, Cynthia Almonte says that soon after she started working at Bailey Realty last year, she walked into boss Elias Morillo’s office and saw him pleasuring himself under his desk.

He grabbed her hand, pulled it towards himself and said, “Ay, please mami!” the suit says.

She managed to run away that time, but the harassment was unrelenting, the suit says.

Morillo allegedly sent her graphic text messages and pictures, and pressured her to join in on a threesome with him and his female cousin, the suit says.

The suit says she quit after just three months on the job. She’s seeking financial damages for back pay and emotional distress. Morillo did not return a call for comment.

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Sep 12, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx Brewery seeks tasting room manager


Which booze buff wants the hoppiest job in the Bronx?

The Bronx Brewery is seeking a full-time tasting room manager as it gears up to pour pints at its new Port Morris facility.

But while the job title sounds, well, tasty, the grassroots company needs someone responsible to do more than just sit back and sip suds all day, founder Chris Gallant said.

“We want someone that’ll help do events and just run the daily operations of the tasting room,” he said.

The lucky hire will have to manage a team of servers, keep tabs on inventory, change kegs and even lead tours once the full-time brewery is up and running in early October.

The space will feature a full brewing operation with a tasting area and an outdoor patio for larger events.

Gallant and co-founder Damian Brown believe the new brew-house will become a center point in the South Bronx food and drink scene.

“It will be great reason for people to come up and explore the neighborhood,” Gallant said.

“There are so many great restaurants and art options in the surrounding areas that people from outside will get a chance to see.”

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Sep 11, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Hotel next to Trump-run golf course becomes homeless shelter

The recently shuttered hot sheets motel next to Donald Trump’s soon-to-open Bronx golf course is being re-opened as a homeless shelter, the Daily News has learned.

Nonprofit HELP-USA inked a deal with the city to convert the former Capri Whitestone Motel, known for its bedbugs, blood-stained mattresses and guests who booked rooms by the hour, into a 95-room shelter for homeless families.

The former motor inn went up for sale this summer, sparking hope among residents and lawmakers that the site would be snatched up by a developer thirsting to capitalize on the Trump-run oasis directly across the Hutchinson River Parkway.

It’s turning out quite differently.

“It defies imagination,” Councilman James Vacca said. “Why they would want to put a shelter here is beyond me.”

Vacca said the area is too manufacturing-heavy and lacks the services and infrastructure to support families, such as grocery stores, transportation and schools.

“I expressed my opposition to the idea,” Vacca said of his conversation with a representative from the city’s Department of Homeless Services Thursday.

Trump representatives were also scratching their heads.

“It just seems very disconnected,” said Ron Lieberman, an executive vice president with the Trump Organization, who boasted of the economical value of the coming golf course. “Not just to us, but to the borough entirely.”

A Department of Homeless Services representative noted that the city’s homeless population has reached an all-time high of high of 55,728.

“Sheltering New York’s families with children is a collective responsibility to be shouldered by all,” said spokesman Chris Miller.

The agency has been working with providers to set up shelters in vacant complexes across the city. Residents in Queens spent much of the summer protesting a shelter at the former Pan Am Hotel, in Elmhurst, and Bronx residents are already ripping a supportive housing facility for AIDS patients at the former Our Lady of Mercy Hospital.

“We hope that the community is compassionate and supportive as these families work toward rebuilding their lives,” Miller added.

The Capri closed its doors after officials from the Hotel Trades Council charged owner Ankoor Naik with cutting the wages of room attendants, and eliminating their health care and retirement benefits after their contract expired in January.

Naik did not return calls for comment, and representatives from HELP-USA, founded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 1986, were unavailable.

The public 18-hole Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point is slated to open sometime next year.

The city spent 6 million to complete the puttering project, according to the Independent Budget Office.

Neighbors said they understood the need for homeless services, but were surprised by the choice of location.

“The city sold us on the virtues of the golf course — and now they do this?” said a shocked Martin Prince, the chairman of Community Board 10. “They’re taking a positive economic plan off the rails.”

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Sep 11, 2014

BRONX NEWS: 9/11 Video: Behind the scenes at the September 11th Tribute In Light rehearsal

9/11 Video: Behind the scenes at the September 11th Tribute In Light rehearsal

September 10, 2014, Lower Manhattan. The Tribute in Light installation will illuminate from dusk until dawn on Sept 11th. The night before, the production crew rehearses.

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Sep 11, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Mom of dead Rikers Island inmate reveals year-long agony

The mother of a mentally ill man who died a gruesome death in solitary confinement on Rikers Island broke down Wednesday recounting a dream that has haunted her for a year.

Beverly Ann Griffin, 61, shared her gut-wrenching agony while announcing she had sued the city and Correction Department for the wrongful death of Bradley Ballard, 39.

In the recurring dream Griffin said she tries to approach Ballard’s grave — but an overwhelming sense of suffering prevents her.

“I cannot go to his grave. It hurts so much, like (his death) just happened,” said Griffin, of Houston.

Documents filed in Manhattan Federal Court allege that the abuse Ballard endured was “the functional equivalent of torture.”

Inmates “get treated, quite frankly, as animals,” said one of Griffin’s attorneys, Jonathan Abady.

Griffin’s son, who suffered from diabetes and schizophrenia, was thrown in solitary on Sept. 4, 2013, after offending a guard, according to court papers.

There, his mental health deteriorated as he was denied food, water, medication and treatment, court papers charge. Over the course of seven days he began self-mutilating, vomiting and defecating on himself, according to documents.

“Multiple staff members inexplicably (watched) this man suffer, then walked away,” papers read.

Ballard, who was in Rikers for a parole violation, died on Sept. 11. His death was ruled a homicide.

“You are there to correct an inmate, not destroy him,” said Griffin.

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Sep 11, 2014

BRONX NEWS: New Bronx mall lures biz away from longtime shops

The Bronx’s dreamy new mall — the first indoor, suburban-style mall built in New York City in 40 years — is causing nightmares for some longstanding store owners.

Shoppers have been flocking to the Mall at Bay Plaza forsaking the businesses that operate in the outdoor shopping center at the plaza’s eastern tip.

“They are killing us,” said Kada Boudjeltia, the manager of Portabella, a menswear boutique. “There’s no traffic. This section of the mall is dead. We have gone from 40 customers per day, spending ,000, to making ,000 yesterday. We made ,000 all of last week.”

He said he cannot meet his payroll, and workers have begun to quit.

A few doors down, Maria Collado, manager of Easy Pickins, said back-to-school sales were down 13% and business at the shoe store was down 20% overall.

“We hardly have any customers since the mall opened,” she said.

Collado and others lamented the relocation of the Bx12 bus stop back to its original location, closer to the indoor mall.

“The bus used to drop people off at the corner at Applebee’s and they would walk around,” she said. “But now, the buses all go directly to the indoor mall. This is hurting our business.”

Sam Shalem, the chairman and CEO of Prestige Properties and Development, which runs Bay Plaza, sees things differently.

“I walk every day between the stores and the traffic is high,” he said. “There are lines.

“We just invested million in the older center,” he added. “We own both of them; we are not going to let one of them suffer.”

Shalem said the late-August relocation of the bus stop to a new terminal near the mall was planned all along, and an MTA spokesman backed him up.

“The Bx12 route was previously rerouted on a temporary basis during the expansion of the mall at Bay Plaza,” the spokesman, Kevin Ortiz, said in a statement.

The change, however, is creating a hardship for the businesses that occupy the older shopping center.

“Every day I have my workers coming to me to say they are afraid to walk so far to catch the bus when they leave work at 9:30 or 10 at night,” said Mohammed Khawaja, the manager of Jimmy Jazz.

But another change seems unlikely.

“It sounds like these business owners were not aware that the Bx12 was on a temporary reroute,” Ortiz said. “We have not received any complaints from anyone up to this point.”

Nobody had a negative word to say inside the mall, where Macy’s and H&M opened gleaming new outlets last month. Business has been robust, and customers have been crowing.

“The new mall is nice and has lots of stores,” said Tamera Joseph, 15, who was browsing with her cousin, Alexis Joseph, 14. “I’m not going back to the outdoor mall.”

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Sep 10, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx Assembly race too close to call

This one’s a cliffhanger.

Bronx Assemblyman Victor Pichardo trailed his challenger Hector Ramirez by a mere 11 votes in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, which was too close to call, according to unofficial results.

The slim 0.4% lead out of 3,879 votes will likely lead to a manual hand count, officials said. But the 86th district’s incumbent remained cautiously optimistic Wednesday after the near dead-heat primary.

“I am confident that my neighbors have again chosen me as their representative,” Pichardo said in a statement.

The tiny margin is a near exact flip of Pichardo’s win in September 2013, when he narrowly beat Ramirez by 82 votes in a special election to replace disgraced pol Nelson Castro.

A manual hand count will take place if the margin of victory remains less than 0.5% after all absentee and military ballots are counted, according to Board of Elections executive director Mike Ryan.

“We are following our process to ensure the accuracy of all the votes cast,” Ryan said.

Ramirez, who did not return multiple calls for comment Wednesday, has long said that last year’s close contest was fraught with fraud.

But the assemblyman said it was the upstart candidate’s campaign that needed oversight. “I am optimistic that I will be declared the winner of this race and that the Board of Election will work diligently to sort through all the dirty tactics my opponent deployed to intimidate voters,” Pichardo said.

The district covers Mount Hope, University Heights and the West Bronx.

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