This is why we can't have nice things in NYC, Part II

    [Part I is here]

    Overtime for orgies: Allegations of NYCHA staff's after-hours sex parties prompted clean sweep of workers at Bronx development by Kerry Burke & Greg B. Smith @, Aug. 27

    The Throggs Neck Houses in the Bronx. On
    Friday, NYCHA suddenly reassigned all of their
    existing employees there without explanation.
      (Gregg Vigliotti for New York Daily News)    

    Allegations of housing authority staff engaged in after-hours, boozed-up sex parties prompted NYCHA to reassign the entire staff of a Bronx public housing development, the Daily News has learned.

    The authority’s top management was told the supervisor of caretakers regularly hosted parties inside a groundskeepers shop in the Throggs Neck Houses, sources told The News.

    The parties included drinking and sex involving supervisors and some of their subordinates and took place on Fridays after normal work hours inside certain areas of the shop, which is on NYCHA grounds, the sources say.

    In some cases, the staff even put in for overtime.  “It was all on overtime,” said Throggs Neck Tenant Association President Monique Johnson. “During those hours a lot of the drinking and sex was going on.” She said at one point [....]


    We Can’t Tell If the Subway Action Plan Worked, Which Was the MTA’s Whole Idea

    For all Joe Lhota’s plan offered in dollar figures, it lacked any hard, fact-checkable promises

    By Aaron Gordon @, JULY 24, 2018

    “Hold me accountable,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota told reporters last July when he introduced the Subway Action Plan, the authority’s $836 million initiative to “stabilize and improve the subway system and lay the foundation for modernizing the New York City Subway.”

    On Monday, the New York Times ran an article setting out to do just that, essentially declaring the Subway Action Plan a failure — noting that MTA statistics “show minor progress in some areas, but no major boost in reliability, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on repairs.” Lhota immediately pushed back, calling the premise of the article “pure fiction,” and insisting the Subway Action Plan was only supposed to “stabilize the system to prevent a continuation of the free-fall.”

    The problem is, they’re both right. Because, pledges of accountability aside, the Subway Action Plan was designed to be amorphous enough that it’s nearly impossible to judge whether it was a success or a failure [....]

    Police ticket & arrest-quota system, now illegal, still exists under DeBlasio:

    NYPD Sergeant: Mayor's Failure to Lead On Police Reform Is 'Total Hypocrisy'

    By Jake Offenhartz @, AUG 24, 2018 11:03 AM

    Early on in Stephen Maing's just-released Hulu documentary Crime + Punishment, NYPD Officer Edwin Raymond offers a blunt assessment about his line of work: "The reality is that law enforcement uses black bodies to generate revenue."

    He's referring to the arrest quota system, which has been illegal in New York since 2010, and which the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio vehemently deny still exists. But plenty of rank-and-file cops claim otherwise, and in 2016, Raymond, along with a group of eleven other fed-up officers, set about reforming the system from the inside. Having witnessed the impact of quota-based policing on communities of color, the all-minority group of whistleblower cops risk their careers to file a class action lawsuit against the city.

    Crime + Punishment follows this group—dubbed the NYPD 12—as they work to expose a system that they say encourages cops to issue bogus tickets to meet “activity" requirements, with major professional consequences for officers who refuse. Covert filming by Maing and secret audio recording from inside police precincts seem to confirm this [....]

    Well AA, like they say:

    Each to his own. 


    Oh and I aint even getting into the subject of OVERTIME?

    Are you in subsidized housing, Richard? If so, is it common to have these shindigs in your neck of the woods? laugh

    Technically his shin digs are in his shins, not his neck, but yes, the digs are in the woods, way deep in the woods. Gets hard to parse sometimes.

    AA... Oh yes... Crazy...

    Thanks for you posting these types of shenanigans...

    Here locally we've been opening a real can of worms relating to our "first responders."

    It's Not Enough to Get Paid for Not Working: These L.A. Police and Firefighters Figured Out How to Double It

    Meet the LAPD couple who made a cool $2 million off the city while hanging out at their condo in Cabo San Lucas.

    Take a program that lets a public employee earn both a pension and a salary at the same time. Add an extremely generous disability leave and workers' compensation program that allows public employees to be paid while not working for months or even years on end. What do you get? Massive corruption, obviously. A new report from the Los Angeles Times attempts to quantify the costs and consequences of a program allowing L.A. police and firefighters to collect both salaries and pension returns in the years running up to retirement. But these same employees often spend massive chunks of their final years on the payroll out on medical leave—so they're costing the city even more money without actually working.

    The program is called the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), and it allows public safety employees who have reached the age of 50 to bring home a salary while also earning pension returns during that time. The pension funds (with a guaranteed five percent return rate) are then given to the officer or firefighter as a single payment upon retirement within five years. When you hear stories about police chiefs or fire captains taking home a massive lump sum of money when they retire, this is typically why.

    Continue here to see the costs of these sweetheart deals,




    thanks for chiming in, sometimes I feel all alone here and elsewhere on this front, as if one is on the left side of the aisle one must never say a bad word about corruption of public employee systems

    I think not speaking up about this kind of thing on the left does enormous damage, think it's why we end up with like, GOP mayors in NYC!

    I do have brothers in LA, reminds me how they have complained about this type of thing before. Helps to have these detailed stories. Yeah real heee roes these type of "first responders", ain't they?

    AA... When you referred to NYCHA...

    That immediately brought to mind Robert Moses.

    The following chapter from The Power Broker - Macaulay Honors College - CNUY highlights the difficulties in constructing one section of the Cross-Bronx Expressway and the way Moses ran roughshod over the interests of the section of East Tremont the road effectively destroyed.

    Chapter 37 - One Mile (PDF)


    yeah, Moses, sigh, the devil and god all in one. Anyone who wants to get all about NY has to read about him. 

    I remember reading some short story as a kid, something a bit like Planet-of-the-Apish post-nuclear bit, with some relic peeking out of the ruins, a reference to "Moses", and us misdirected non-nor-easterners getting a lesson in "no, not the biblical one, that mayor you've never heard of".

    Albany Is a Mess. Grab a Broom.

    Want to fix subways and housing laws? Vote to fix state politics.

    NYTimes Editorial Board, Sept. 5

    Albany is broken.

    This year alone, a former leader of the Assembly, a Democrat, and that of the State Senate, a Republican, were convicted on corruption charges.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s closest aide, Joseph Percoco, was convicted for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from companies with business before the state. A lobbyist close to the administration who pleaded guilty to corruption charges testified against Mr. Percoco. A third Cuomo ally was convicted in a bid-rigging scheme linked to the “Buffalo Billion,” the governor’s costly economic plan to revitalize the upstate region.

    These are examples of outright criminality. But the larger, more pervasive scandal in New York State, to borrow from the writer Michael Kinsley, is not what’s criminal but what’s perfectly legal: the influence of powerful players funneling political contributions to lawmakers through limited liability companies that avoid restrictions on corporate donations, and through personal donations for which the state sets an excessively high limit.

    Powering this gravy train of corruption are archaic election laws designed to keep turnout low and incumbents in control. How else to keep the state’s riches in the hands of a few powerful industries and their favorite politicians? In one stunning example, The New York Times revealed that Queens Democrats had nominated scores of random New Yorkers for county committee seats without their consent, while legitimate reformers were kept off the ballot by legal maneuvers. It would have made Boss Tweed proud.

    When New Yorkers show up to the polls in the state primary elections on Thursday, Sept. 13, they can demand reformist candidates who can effect sweeping change. Here are a few things the next governor and State Legislature can do [....]

    The Dem machine plays a nasty game of hardball:

    found retweeted by New York Times reporter Alex Burns:

    The machine ain't going nowhere

    Former Top Cuomo Aide Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison After Bribery Conviction

    Percoco, often referred to as Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes political fixer, was convicted by a jury in March on three counts of bribery in an eight-week trial.

    By Dan M. Clark @,  September 20, 2018 at 05:09 PM

    Percoco, often referred to as Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes political fixer, was convicted by a jury in March on three counts of bribery in an eight-week trial. He was cleared by the jury on three other counts.

    Attorneys in the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman for the Southern District of New York had asked Caproni to deliver a sentence that would “meaningfully exceed” five years for Percoco to set a precedent for other public corruption cases. Berman said in a statement after sentencing that Caproni’s decision should be taken as a warning for public officials who engage in corruption.

    “Today’s sentence sends a strong message that public officials who violate their duties to faithfully serve the citizens of New York will be held accountable for their corrupt action,” Berman said.

    Percoco is represented by Barry Bohrer, a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel in Manhattan. Percoco deferred comment after court to Bohrer, who said he plans to appeal.

    “We wanted the judge to look at Joe for who he is and not make reference to other cases and other people,” Bohrer said. “We will appeal."

    The sentencing brings to an end, for now, a political saga that shook Cuomo’s inner circle when former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara indicted Percoco in 2016. Percoco was Cuomo’s campaign manager in 2014 and served as a top official in the executive chamber until he left state government in 2016.[....]

    His was the latest in a string of corruption convictions involving state officials who used their position for bribes and kickbacks. Caproni noted the pattern of corruption coming out of state government during sentencing.

    “I hope this sentence will be heard in Albany,” Caproni said.

    Percoco was convicted of using his connections in state government to benefit two companies in exchange for more than $300,000 [....]


    The Brothel Empire and the Ex-Detective, Always One Step Ahead of the Law

    The retired police detective, Ludwig Paz, 51, is accused of running a syndicate of prostitution and gambling that spanned Brooklyn and Queens and brought in millions of dollars.

    A former vice detective is at the center of one of the New York Police Department’s worst scandals in recent years. Here is his story, as uncovered by a team of Times reporters.

    Long form piece, movie script ready, , lotsa pics

    By  Michael WilsonAshley SouthallAlan FeuerAl Baker and Ali Winston

    @, Sept. 21

    Excerpt for a taste:

    Mr. Paz is in protective custody in jail, and his lawyer declined to be interviewed for this article. But his rise and fall was pieced together by reporters for The New York Times who conducted dozens of interviews with current and former law enforcement personnel, Mr. Paz’s family members and others. The reporters also visited locations of brothels and gambling parlors across the city.

    The interviews and court records portrayed a crime boss who relied upon seven police officers he had met over his years on the job to be his crew — his legmen, his doormen, his bagmen.

    Most important, they were Mr. Paz’s inside men, tipping him off to raids and betraying one of the most sacred trusts in law enforcement: the identities of undercover officers. Wiretaps revealed Mr. Paz’s contacts with the officers on the force who were later arrested and accused of being his accomplices. The contents of the wiretaps were recounted to The Times by senior law enforcement officials.

    The syndicate thrived because of its secret weapons — all seven of them — and yet it was done in from within.

    In the end, the “blue wall” finally cracked. The whistle-blower was a fellow officer who called the Internal Affairs Bureau with a tip.


    Da Manhattan culture in general is not in a good place right now:

    Crowds on West 8th St waiting to get pic of Kim Kardashian exiting Mt. Sinai annex.

    — Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) September 29, 2018

    Edit to add, this is in the center of Greenwich Village, for chrissake, and 8th St. was the street that made it famous as boheme central in like, 1910...where one is not sposed to be impressed with celebrity much less trashy celebrity

    De Blasio sucks (I get more disgusted by both behavior and results every day, he makes Bloomberg's ego and ambition look normal and Bloomberg's managerial skills makes De Blasio look below pitiful in comparison. DeBlasio is quite simply a party hack, and a poor hack at that.)

    This ⁦@nahmias⁩ piece is excellent and it paints a brutal portrait

    — Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) October 19, 2018

    Life is cheap, nobody cares, and it really doesn't depend upon what race or sex you are:

    After the Hurricane Came the Con

    Six years after Sandy devastated Long Island, homeowners are still dealing with the wreckage of a sweet-talking contractor who took their money and left their houses unfinished.

    Long form piece by Kaya Laterman @, Oct. 26

    "Citing" Abuse of Power" ?

    Which ones?

    It Isn't Really Monday Until The Subway Is On Fire

    By Ben Yakas @ The Gothamist @, NOV 19, 2018 10:46 AM

    Happy Monday, the NYC subway system is a literal hellscape

    — max linsky (@maxlinsky) November 19, 2018

    Did you wake up this morning thinking that because it's a holiday Thanksgiving week, everything would go a little more smoothly and quickly? That you would effortlessly glide into the shortened workweek with the faint, comforting hint of stuffing and sweet potatoes in the air? Well you were wrong, because the only thing you might be smelling onboard our fundamentally broken subway system is the scorching scent of fire [....]

    continued with more fine pics and many more varied Tweets included....

    For the foreseeable future, Manhattan will be like a ghost town of needle skyscrapers containing empty apartments purchased with laundered money:

    The real tragic part though, will be when the resale market for these bits of floor way up in the air collapses. Then there will be all these humongous abandoned needles to get rid of.

    And then a decade after that, someone will come up with a crazy fun idea to use all these abandoned things, just like they did with the High Line Park running along and atop abandoned railroad tracks of Hudson Yards. And then within a few years someone will wreck that innovative use, whatever it is, with tasteless overbuilding of some kind.Just like they just now did to the High Line with the current Hudson Yards development. Because: the machine must be fed---simple straightforward taxation for services does not make for a highly lucrative bureaucracy.

    Ok, I admit, a few savvy New Yorkers do figure out how to get nice things and make the rest of us pay for them:

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