Thursday, April 18, 2013

City Island News BX: Ruben Diaz Sr. Still Amazes Us

City Island News BX: Ruben Diaz Sr. Still Amazes Us: 100 PERCENT By Robert Press BRONX, NEW YORK, April 18- Before I get into our headline, Saturday night rocked and socked as ther...

Ruben Diaz Sr. Still Amazes Us

By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, April 18- Before I get into our headline, Saturday night rocked and socked as there was standing room only at the ECPW Wresting event at St. Francis Xavier. The wrestlers battled it out in seven grueling matches, signed autographs, and mingled with the audience. I have many great photos of the wrestlers and matches on my blog at so if you can see what you missed.
As for State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz Sr., Saturday afternoon The New York Hispanic Clergy Organization inc. held its 25th Anniversary Banquet. The ballroom was packed with over 600 people including two of the top four Democratic, and the two top Republican candidates for mayor. Democrats New York City Comptroller John Liu, & former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, Republicans former MTA head John Lhota & supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Bronx Assemblymen Marcos Crespo & Luis Sepulveda, and other minor candidates for mayor such as former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion and Rev. Erick Salgado.
One could see the pandering to the audience with the use of a few words of Spanish said by several of the candidates, and how each tried to tie their roots to the Bronx. Missing was the leading candidate for mayor City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but while she was invited no one expected Quinn to come with in a mile of the banquet let alone the Bronx. You can go to my blog to see just which politician came to try and sway the powerful Hispanic Clergy swing vote. Also is a photo of Senator Diaz standing in the middle of the two Republican candidates for mayor with his arms firmly around both candidates.
Speaking of mayoral candidates, City Council Speaker Quinn was on Fordham Road last Sunday with State Senator Gustavo Rivera to get his endorsement. So far Senator Rivera is the only Bronx elected official that I know of who has openly endorsed Quinn for mayor, and I have to wonder why so many Bronx council members have said that they are refusing to endorse their speaker Christine Quinn for mayor.
Mayoral candidate Christine Quinn avoided a mayoral candidates forum that was held at Monroe College last week held by the City Action Coalition. City Councilman Pastor Fernando Cabrera opened the mayoral forum by introducing Monroe College President Steven Jerome who gave a wonderful description of the college and its offerings. Topics of discussion after opening statements included allowing faith based organizations use of school buildings during non school hours, sex education, who would be schools chancellor and police commissioner, and the stop and frisk policy. I asked several people if they had any opinion on Speaker Quinn's absence the answers ranged from “WHO?” to “that's how much she cares about the Bronx”.
87th A.D. Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda had the grand opening of his new (and the former Assemblyman Peter Rivera's old) office which is located at 1973 Westchester Avenue near the Hugh Grant Circle at Metropolitan Avenue. The phone number for Assemblyman Sepulveda's office is 718-931-2620. You can see photos of Assemblyman Sepulveda's office on my blog.
Zaro's Bread Basket a long time fixture at the corner of Westchester and Metropolitan Avenues was closed on April 9th by the New York City Health Department. There was a pending grade notice pending dated March 23rd.
Finally the Bronx Chamber of Commerce held their Women of Distinction luncheon last week with Ms. Juliet Papa of 1010 WINS fame as the Mistress of Ceremony. Ms. Brittany Mitchell (of Preston High School) sang the national anthem, and Sister Seline Mary Flores (of Providence Rest Nursing Home) gave the invocation. BCC President Lenny Caro gave the opening remarks as NYC Department of Corrections Commissioner Dora B. Schribo gave the Keynote Speech. The honorees were NYPD Deputy Inspector Nilda Hoffmann and Dean of Studies at Preston High School Linda Youngren. There were five one thousand dollar scholarship awards given to Zoraya Almonte, Faith Daniels, Selene Munoz, Rosalias Read, and Yaritza Rendon. You can go to my blog to see the honorees and recipients of the scholarship awards and other upcoming events being held by the Bronx Chamber of Commerce or go to their website at
If you have any comments about this column or would like to have an event listed or covered in this column or on my blog you can e-mail us at or call 718-644-4199 Mr. Robert Press.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

City Island News BX: Buying City Hall

City Island News BX: Buying City Hall: Bx. GOP chair among those charged in attempt to buy mayoral race By Robert Press BRONX, NEW YORK, April 3- In a six count ind...

Buying City Hall

Bx. GOP chair among those charged in attempt to buy mayoral race
By Robert Press
BRONX, NEW YORK, April 3- In a six count indictment released by the United States Attorney, State Senator Malcolm Smith, Queens Councilman Dan Halloran, Bronx County Republican Leader Joseph Savino, and Queens county Republican Vice-Chair Vincent Tabone were arrested for attempting to fix the Republican candidate choice in the upcoming mayors race in New York City by defrauding the public. Also as part of the indictment the mayor and deputy mayor of Spring Valley were arrested for their alleged part in a scheme with Senator Smith to defraud New York State on a contract Smith was to have approved with the officials for a Spring Valley road.
Starting from about November 2012 the complaint states that Smith, Hallogan, Savino, and Tabone (together with others known and unknown) willfully and knowingly did combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together with each other to commit offenses against the United States, to wit, wire fraud and bribery in violation of Title 18, United States
code, sections 1343, 1346, and 1952.
Undercover FBI agent (Thomas Holmes) posing as a wealthy real estate developer and an unidentified cooperating witness met with Smith to bribe leaders of the Republican Party County Committee to obtain certificates of authorization called Wilson Pakula certificates
allowing Smith to run as a Republican candidate for mayor of New York City even though Smith was a registered Democrat. It is then alleged that Queens Councilman Dan Halloran met with the pair to negotiate the amount of bribes to Savino and Tabone for the Wilson Pakula certificates, and Halloran was given $20,500 for his services.
According to the indictment, Smith agreed to use his official position to obtain New York State funds for the Spring Valley Project. Savino met the undercover agent in a Manhattan restaurant and allegedly accepted $15,000 in cash in the undercover agent’s car. Tabone met the UC in a Manhattan restaurant and allegedly accepted $25,000 in cash in the undercover agent’s car. Also in February Smith suggested that the undercover agent and the state senator representing the Spring Valley area meet concerning the funding for the Spring Valley project.
In March, telephone and text messages continued between the undercover agent, a witness, Smith, and Halloran as to the status of the Wilson Pakulas. Smith is quoted as saying, “Before any committee leader receives a nickel more (he'd) have to stand on the Empire State Building and drop every person (he) endorsed, and hold Malcolm up and
say he's the best thing since sliced bread”. “Matter of fact, he's better than sliced bread”.
FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos made the following comments on the arrests of New York State Senator Malcolm Smith, New York City Council Member Daniel Halloran, and others: “Elected officials are called public servants because they are supposed to serve the people. Public service is not supposed to be a shortcut to self-enrichment. People in New York, in Spring Valley—in any city or town in this country—rightly expect their elected or appointed representatives to hold themselves to a higher standard. At the very least, public officials should obey the law. As alleged, these defendants did not obey the law; they broke the law and the public trust. There is a price to pay for that kind of betrayal.”