Browsing articles in "Bronx News"
Mar 22, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Dirt bike rider dies, 2 injured in Bronx crash

	ON SPEC Teenage boy riding a motorcycle killed in crash with car on 3rd Avenue at East 188th Street in the Bronx on Friday March 21st, 2014. 1551. The boy, who was not wearing a helmet, was rushed to Saint Barnabas Hospital where he was pronounced DOA.
Theodore Parisienne

A man, 25, riding a dirt bike was killed on Friday in a crash on Third Ave. at E. 188th St. in the Bronx.

A 25-year-old man died Friday when his dirt bike rammed a car in the Bronx — then continued on to strike two people at a nearby intersection, officials said.

The bizarre scene unfolded on Third Ave. near Fordham University at 3 p.m. when the man riding the unregistered and uninsured Yamaha dirt bike tried to zip around a Toyota as it turned left onto E. 188th St.

The unidentified man hit the Toyota and was thrown from the bike, which continued rolling down Third Ave. until it barreled into an 85-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man at the corner.

Paramedics rushed all three victims to St. Barnabas Hospital, where the dirt bike rider died of his injuries.


The unidentified man hit a Toyota and was thrown from the bike, which continued rolling down Third Ave. until it barreled into an 85-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man at the corner.

The two pedestrians were treated for non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

Cops were investigating the accident Friday night.

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Mar 21, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx tax preparer goes to pot

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Michael Thomas, the owner of 420 Multi Services Inc. in Morris Park, was arrested for marijuana possession Wednesday.>

Maybe it was the sign.

The owner of a Bronx tax filing business called 420 Multi Services was arrested on marijuana possession charges.

Michael Thomas and three employees, possibly trying to relieve the stress of the upcoming tax season, were busted Wednesday after an NYPD narcotics officer observed the quartet in their Morris Park office with a ziplock bag full of weed.

The “420” in the business’ name, emblazoned in green on an awning above the door, is a well-known marijuana reference.

Upon searching the storefront office, cops found seven ziplock bags with two ounces of pot, a pipe and a metal grinder used to break up weed, according to a complaint.

Neighbors were surprised to hear of the potheaded arrests.

“I’m shocked,” said Anthony Mastrecchio, whose Morris Park Meat Market is next door to the tax office. “You’d think that I would smell that coming through the wall.”

Mastrecchio said he has known Thomas for almost a decade and doesn’t believe the young businessman was hawking pot — especially with tax deadlines quickly approaching.

“He works hard,” the butcher said. “There’s never any riff raff out there. He’s good people.”

Investigators from the NYPD, Sheriff’s Office and the state Department of Taxation removed more evidence Thursday.

Thomas, 35, along with Christina Clarke, 28, Mark Parsons, 48, and Christopher Mullahey, 36, were all released on their own recognizance after being arraigned in Bronx Criminal Court Friday. They are due back in court on May 1.

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Mar 18, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Tenants call on city to help fix living conditions

Tenants living at the center of the biggest real estate foreclosure since Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village in 2010 stormed City Hall to bemoan poor living conditions.

A group of 42 buildings comprised of 1,537 rent-regulated units in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan went into foreclosure in April, and residents who live in the properties say their apartments have deteriorated due to an irresponsible financial practice called “predatory equity.”

Housing advocates and tenants say a joint group of building owners has attempted to raise rents and force out residents while also defaulting on a 3 million loan in 2012.

City Council members Ritchie Torres, Mark Levine, Annabel Palma and Ydanis Rodriguez also called for action Tuesday.

“The loss of affordable housing to the practice of predatory equity has created a crisis in our communities that will only become more severe if we fail to take action,” said Councilmember Ritchie Torres, chair of the Committee on Public Housing. “These properties belong in the hands of new, responsible owners, committed to their preservation and long-term affordability.”

David Kramer, Normandy Real Estate, Vantage Properties and Westbrook Management have owned the portfolio – managed by Colonial Management – since 2007.

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Mar 17, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Cooking Channel personality coming to Hunts Point in push for infrastructure funding

An Emmy-winning epicurean and TV host will be chowing down at a Hunts Point restaurant near you as part of a campaign to protect the nation’s largest food distribution center.

Cooking Channel personality and Bronx tastemaker Justin “Baron Ambrosia” Fornal will be dropping by Hunts Point restaurants between noon and 3 pm Tuesday to sample dishes in advance of the Hunts Point Slam Bake cooking contest.

“It’s a neighborhood that is dear to my heart, so if something is going on at The Point, and it’s for the people and the neighborhood, then I’m there.” said Ambrosia, who has owned property in the Bronx since 1999 and has hosted “The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia” since 2011.

The event is meant to raise awareness of Hunts Point’s lingering post-Sandy damage and push the neighborhood’s candidacy for additional infrastructure funding. Restaurant owners are thrilled to be raising awareness for the irreplaceable food distribution hub, they told The News.

“A lot of people don’t understand that Hunts Point feeds New York, and if our businesses are struggling, and things aren’t repaired, then New York is going to suffer,” said Gavin McNall, co-owner of Mo Gridder’s BBQ located at 565 Hunts Point Ave., Ambrosia’s first destination Tuesday.

Hunts Point is one of 10 finalists in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “Rebuild by Design” program, which will allocate funding to communities hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy to improve infrastructure.

Wednesday’s Slam Bake is scheduled from 5 pm to 8 pm at the American Banknote Building, 1231 Lafayette Ave.

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Mar 16, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Three shot in separate New York City incidents

Three men were killed and and another injured in separate shootings in upper Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn on overnight, cops said Friday.

Two men apparently shot each other on the second floor of a Vyse Ave. apartment building in the West Farms section of the Bronx about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, cops said. Officers arrived and found Sage Chebere, 20, of E. 180th St., Brooklyn, dead.

Cops said Chebere apparently exchanged fire with a 32-year-old man following some kind of dispute between the two. It was not immediately clear what sparked the fight, but marijuana was found at the scene, cops said.

The older man was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in stable condition with a bullet wound in his leg, cops said. Police were investigating, but had not made any arrests.


Minutes later in Harlem, a 33-year-old man was fatally shot in the head and shoulder near W. 123rd St. and Morningside Ave., cops said.

The victim, whose name was not immediately released, was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital but he could not be saved. No arrests had been made and a motive was not immediately clear, cops said.

In Brooklyn, officers found a 22-year-old man with two slugs in his abdomen at 12:20 a.m. Friday behind a building in the Howard Houses housing complex on East New York Ave., police said.

The man, whose name was not immediately available, was rushed to Brookdale University Medical Center, where he died.

Police were hunting for his killer, but were unsure of the motive.

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Mar 14, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx teacher busted for allegedly groping teenage girl in class

A Bronx teacher was busted Friday for allegedly groping a teenage girl in class — often in front of other students, police said.

Richard Jenkins, 41, was charged with forcible touching, acting in a manner injurious to a child, sexual abuse and harassment.

He slapped the girl, now 13, on the buttocks several times over the past year, police said.


The alleged incidents happened at Intermediate School 206, where Jenkins has taught since 2005 and earns ,000 a year.

The Department of Education said Jenkins was pulled out of the classroom in January and reassigned with pay to a position where he was not in contact with students.

“When this allegation was made months ago, we immediately removed the individual from the classroom,” said Education Department spokesman David Pena.

“Alleged sexual misconduct has no place in our schools, and we always take any allegation very seriously.”

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Mar 13, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Homeless rate up alarming 14% in Manhattan

Homelessness across the city has skyrocketed in the past year, but no more so than in Upper Manhattan, where the numbers of those on the street increased 14% from 2012 to 2013, according to an alarming new report.

During the period, the number of families with children who entered the city’s shelter system increased from 1,129 to 1,288 in Manhattan, a 14% increase, according to numbers provided to the Daily News by the Coalition for the Homeless.

“Upper Manhattan has some of the highest rates of poverty,” said Patrick Markee, a senior policy analyst for the Coalition for the Homeless.


Citywide, the data is troubling.

The number of homeless who used city shelters increased 7%, from 50,135 in January 2013 to 53,615 in January 2014.

The advocacy group on Wednesday released a wide-reaching report that heavily criticized the Bloomberg administration for what it called “disastrous” policies, such as encouraging privatized, for-profit shelters and doing too little to stem the loss of affordable housing.


All five city boroughs registered a double-digit spike in homelessness.

Brooklyn logged the highest number of families entering the system, with 3,207 families with children coming in during 2012, and 3,620 in 2013, a 13% increase.

One Coalition for the Homeless client from East New York, Brooklyn, said she and her daughter were forced to move into a shelter in the Bronx, despite the fact that she was working as a dental assistant.


“I like to work,” said the woman, who called herself Kimberly and spoke of her struggles after escaping an abusive relationship.

“Nine dollars an hour is not helping.”

The report also highlighted the widening gap between most families’ stagnant incomes and the soaring costs of housing.


“New York City’s housing affordability crisis continues to worsen and presents significant challenges to the de Blasio administration,” Markee said, adding that 39% of affordable housing was lost under Bloomberg.

“We have to take bold steps now,” said City Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint) said Wednesday.

“We need to put more money into prevention to begin to turn back the tide.”

Follow me on Twitter @bstebner

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Mar 12, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Soundview affordable housing tenants demand changes to unacceptable living conditions

Residents of a Bronx apartment complex hope management caves to their demands before their own roofs cave in.

Tenants of Sack Wern Houses, a seven-building affordable housing complex in Soundview, filed more than 90 complaints with the New York City Housing Authority earlier this week.

For years, residents at the Soundview complex claim they have suffered under the weight of leaky ceilings, mold, uneven floors and other structural building issues.

“They won’t solve a problem unless it’s a crisis,” said Albert Elmore, 62, who has lived in the building 30 years. “It shouldn’t be like this. It’s as simple as that.”

Elmore claimed that despite the litany of complaints, New York City Housing Authority workers typically only respond to the most serious matters, and rarely the small ones.

“When you call, you’ve got to be on the floor lying under debris for them to take care of the leak,” said Elmore, 62, whose bathroom ceiling has deteriorated over the 30 years he’s lived in the building. “It’s depressing.”

Disabled residents, too, find that home health aides and other helpers are repelled from the building because of the smells and potential health concerns that come from toxins.

“Some people don’t want to come here because they have to smell the mold,” said Carlos Lopez who is legally blind and suffers diabetes, which requires daily medical visits.

Residents are hoping that recent political pressure can kickstart building management into action.

State Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) vowed Wednesday to hold The City Housing Authority accountable for negligence towards the deteriorating Northwest Bronx apartment complex.

“We are going to hold NYCHA’s feet to the fire to get these repairs done as quickly as possible,” said Klein, who held a meeting at the complex Saturday to speak with residents and NYCHA representatives about the housing complaints.

Staff from Klein’s office canvassed the buildings between December and March, collecting 90 complaints, which were then brought to The New York Housing Authority’s attention.

A NYCHA spokesman said the agency had been previously unaware of the maintenance and repair issues.

“The New York City Housing Authority met with Sack Wern resident leaders and Senator Jeff Klein on March 8 to discuss a list of maintenance and repair issues, none of which had been brought to our attention prior to the meeting,” a NYCHA spokesperson said in a statement.

“We are pleased that they have been brought to our attention and will work to address them.”

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Mar 11, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx pharmacist busted in $10M AIDS scam

THE OWNERS of a Bronx pharmacy and the druggist they employ were busted Tuesday for a Medicaid scam that involved buying high-priced anti-retroviral HIV medication back from the sick patients they were doling them out to.

Pharmacy owners Ahmed Hamed, 37, and Tarek Elsayed, 48, were arrested along with pharmacist Mohammed Hassan Ahmed, 36, at 184th Street Pharmacy just before noon Tuesday.

“These defendants abused the fundamental trust between health care providers and patients by putting their own greed above the health needs of the patients,” said state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement. “This blatant theft and abuse of one of our state’s most important health care programs is reprehensible and will not be tolerated.”

The prescriber allegedly paid patients cash for their medications, kept the Medicaid payments for the pills, then resold them to other sick patients. It was unclear what medication the suspects were doling out.


The trio submitted claims for thousands of dollars in reimbursements to Medicaid and Medicaid managed care organizations for medications they did not dispense between March 1, 2013 and the present, officials said.

In less than a year, government-sponsored health care programs paid 184th Street Pharmacy in excess of .8 million.

Investigators said Hamed also paid patients bonuses if they referred others to his services.

Cops led Ahmed Hamed and Mohammed Hassan Ahmed from the pharmacy in handcuffs. The pair attempted to hide their faces from cameras and did not respond to reporters’ questions.

The three Queens men were charged with felony grand larceny, scheming to defraud the government, and money laundering.

Hamed and Elsayed used multiple shell corporations to launder the millions they made through the scam, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Some in the neighborhood said the scam is not uncommon.

“I’ve sold my meds before,” admitted Mt. Hope resident Anthony Campbell. “I paid my bills with the money. A man’s going to sell his medications if that’s the only way he’s going to feed his family.”

The pharmacy owners in Tuesday’s bust were using their ill-gotten gains to finance a lavish lifestyle, according to investigators. The Attorney General froze numerous bank accounts linked to the bogus companies and seized a Maserati, two BMWs and a Mercedes-Benz owned by the pill peddlers.

The three were expected to be arraigned sometime Tuesday evening.

Nadine Lavaughn, 54, who has been HIV positive since 1989, said she was shocked people would sell prescriptions for cash.

“I need my medications every day,” Lavaughn said after asking investigators how she would get her pills. “Some people, I guess if they’re homeless, even if they’re dying, they’ve got to eat.”

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Mar 11, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Mart blesses churches

This is a “big deal” for two Morris Park churches.

From March 1 through Easter Sunday, Big Deal Supermarket at 1018 Morris Park Ave. will donate a percentage of all sales to The Holy Name Society of St. Francis Xavier and St. Clare of Assisi churches as part of a Lenten fundraiser.

Cash raised will go toward repairs, a series of school and church programs and other parish projects. Last year, about ,000 was raised, which was split between the two churches.

“The people at Big Deal are parishioners,” said the Rev. Matthew Furey, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church. “They are good people and they’re doing what they can to help the churches in the neighborhood in a spirited way.”

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Mar 9, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Former Horace Mann student gets court victory

An ex-Horace Mann student won a legal victory in a lawsuit charging he was sexually abused on hundreds of occasions by a teacher at the elite prep school.

A Bergen County Superior Court judge denied an application by the well-known Bronx school to dismiss the complaint brought by a school alumnus identified only as “John Doe.”


The Friday decision cleared the way for additional arguments over whether New York or New Jersey law will apply in the case.

The plaintiff claims that he was abused approximately 450 times in the 1970s by teacher Johannes Somary on school property in the Bronx, at locations in New Jersey and various other places in Europe and the United States.

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Mar 9, 2014

BRONX NEWS: Bronx and Brooklyn Borough presidents fashion beef

This is a war of political power ties.

Less than a week after Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams proclaimed himself the most fashionable of the beeps, Ruben Diaz Jr. now says he’s the fairest of them all.

The Bronx Borough President, perhaps best known for his pencil-thin moustache and bowties, took a playful shot at Adams, calling into question his sartorial shrewdness.

“No one is scared of Eric Adams over here,” Diaz told the Daily News. “He’s got to be careful about trying to proclaim that all of the best things come out of Brooklyn.”

The catty back-and-forth between newly elected borough presidents came after Adams bragged to a reporter about being the most fashion forward among his fellow electeds.

“Everyone knows that out of all the borough presidents, I’m the most fashionable,” Adams told the Daily News while promoting Fashion Week Brooklyn, which begins March 13.

Decked out to the nines, the eye-pleasing politicians trotted out their most stylish duds to determine once and for all who wears it best among the two borough presidents.

Adams, a retired police captain, showed off a dark, herring bone suit, custom made by a long-time tailor in Hong Kong. To top it off, he wore a pink, Beau Brummel tie, matched to the faint stripes of his shirt while rocking a Rolex watch.

“We know it’s an uncomfortable position to be in No. 2, but we’re sure Diaz can get accustomed to that as we continue to excite the artistic energy in the borough of Brooklyn,” said Adams, who estimates he has about 170 shirts, almost all of them with what he descibed as a crisp, white collar.


For his part, Diaz showed off a dark brown, Jos A Bank suit over a white Kenneth Cole shirt, with beige and orange plaid to match a copper-colored bow tie. He learned to tie them himself after 45 minutes of watching Youtube videos.

He wore a beige sweater vest, Calvin Klein socks and burnished brown Ted Baker shoes. He topped it off with a cherry gold Burberry watch and a tweed, Jackson-style cap.

“I think people appreciate the Borough President’s haberdashery being up to snuff,” Diaz said.

Sharp-tongued stylist Robert Verdi had harsh words for the would-be fashionistas after evaluating their photos.

“Adams looks like a Donald Trump wannabe,” said the former “Fashion Police” host. “And Diaz looks like a delivery boy — specifically a newspaper delivery boy from 1945.”

Still, he liked Adams’ smart pink tie and Diaz’s pattern-over-pattern layering. But both would benefit from bolder, more modern choices and better fitting suits.

“In the space they’re in, this conservative fashion space, they could do a lot better with regular visits to Brooks Brothers,” Verdi told The News last week.

The two Democrats agreed to a no-holds-barred fashion face-off after Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer bowed out.

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, meanwhile, immediately waved a white flag in surrender.

“If my two socks match with each other and/or my suit, I consider it a victory,” said Oddo. “That said, I’m ready to challenge my colleagues to a pull up contest, and if that doesn’t work I’ll win the wiffle ball contest for sure.”

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