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Archive for the tag 'elections'

grimm

The trial of Congressman Michael Grimm, facing tax fraud allegations and other charges, has been postponed until February 2. At a hearing on the postponement, prosecutors hinted that some of the charges could be split from the indictment and prosecuted in a separate trial.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Grimm’s defense landed a minor victory, winning the postponement from an early December date until February 2 so that they can review materials. Prosecutors turned over approximately 100 hours of recorded conversations, including 10 hours conducted in a foreign language. The defense team said they’d need extra time to review them because, “I’d be sitting at my desk for two full working weeks,” said defense lawyer Jeffrey Neiman, according to the Staten Island Advance.

The judge also denied Grimm’s legal team’s request earlier this month for information from the prosecution that they thought would prove the investigation was the result of a political witch hunt and professional vendettas. That included knowing the involvement of particular FBI investigators and the role played by a prosecutor now running as a Democratic candidate for State Assembly.

The judge found the claims without merit, calling it “unsupported and random speculation.” The New York Times reports:

Prosecutors pointed out that there were 10 other cases involving cash payrolls to avoid taxes from 2012 to 2014, making it hard for Mr. Grimm to argue that he alone was selected. Mr. Kaminsky, they said, never acted with improper motive and was only one of several prosecutors involved in the investigation. As for the idea that the office chose Mr. Grimm for his politics, the other elected officials the office prosecuted in the last four years were Democrats, prosecutors said.

The judge is still mulling a motion to dismiss three perjury-related charges on the basis of jurisdictional issues. Because it pertained to his Manhattan-based restaurant, the defense argues that charges should have been filed in the Southern District of New York, not the Eastern District, which is where he’s being prosecuted.

The Advance notes:

Prosecutors conceded the jurisdictional issue, but Judge Pamela Chen stopped short of dismissing those three counts without prejudice Tuesday, as Grimm’s defense team is still seeking to dismiss the entire case, perjury charges and all, arguing “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

“In effect, the venue motion is really a separation motion of the perjury and obstruction counts, effectively resulting in two trials for the price of one,” Gatta said. “We’re happy to oblige the defendant if he wants two trials.”

Today, Friday, October 10, is the last day to register to vote in the November 4 general election. Here’s what you need to know:

• If you’d like to print off and mail your registration, the form can be found here in English and here in Spanish. Forms must be postmarked no later than October 10 and received by a board of elections no later than October 15 to be eligible to vote in the general election.

• You can also register in person at our Kings County Board of Election office, but this also must be done by October 10. That said, if you have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen since October 10, you may register in person at the board of elections up until October 24.

• You can register via the DMV online if you have a NY state-issued ID, though you have to set up an account.

• Not sure if you’re registered? Check on your current voter registration here.

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny (left) and challenger Lilikakis (right). Photo by Bailey Wolff.

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny (left) and challenger Lilikakis (right). Photo by Bailey Wolff.

By Bailey Wolff

The Bay Ridge Real Estate Board hosted a “Meet the Candidates Event” Wednesday night at the Dyker Heights Golf Course. Present at the forum was four-term incumbent of the 46th District, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, and his opponent, first time political hopeful, Stamatis Lilikakis.

Vice President of the Bay Ridge Real Estate Board Aldo Iemma and his wife Deborah organized the forum in order to establish communication between members of the community and elected officials who represent them in government.

“We want to educate, and encourage connections so that everyone is involved with the political process,” said Deborah Iemma.

Stamatis Lilikakis was the first of the two candidates to speak. He discussed the need to lower taxes to stop the “exodus” of businesses from New York State.

“I actually know what most people in this room feel,” said Lilikakis. “And I’m running for office because I’ve had enough of being a blank check for Albany and for our federal government … my goal is to try and lessen some of that burden.”

The 46th Assembly District spans the waterfront from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge.

The 46th Assembly District spans the waterfront from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge.

Running as a Republican-Conservative, Lilikakis said that he has united “different factions” in his party, and if elected, wants to create more opportunities for business and education in the district.

He also spoke about illegal conversions—the process of turning singe-family homes into multi-family, non-permitted housing units. “They’re illegal. They shouldn’t be here. There should be a task force, by the police department and fire department to go in and stop these things.”

Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny took the floor after Lilikakis and defined the 46th voting district as “very diverse.”

“From very liberal Coney Island to the more conservative part in Dyker Heights … you have people speaking more than 50 different languages with many different political opinions.” Because of these reasons, Krasny stated, the district needs a “balance minded politician” to represent every member of the district.

“One of the first priorities of every government,” said the assemblyman, “should be supporting the economy and increasing the number of jobs in his district.” He pointed to low state income taxes and universal Pre-K as two of his achievements, but also quoted the statistic that 70 percent of his constituents rely on government funding “in one form or another.” For this reason, he said, “I have to be very careful when cutting taxes.”

When a member of the audience asked Krasny about government funds to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, he quoted recently announced numbers of $25 million to build jetties and $2.9 million for a seawall to protect his district’s waterfront.

“Some services, some departments, some programs—like Build it Back—they didn’t do the right job,” the assemblyman said. “I know as a private citizen what is going on with Build it Back. It’s terrible. But it’s getting better.”

These two opponents will debate at 7:30pm on October 14, at St. Phillip’s Church in Dyker Heights. The church is located on 80th Street and 11th Avenue. The General Elections will be held November 4, 2014.

State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)

State Senator Marty Golden (Photo By Erica Sherman)

Federal prosecutors are looking into the campaign finances of State Senator Marty Golden, the pol confirmed.

“The campaign fund is being looked at,” Golden told the New York Post, regarding a probe by United States Attorney Preet Bharara.

The paper reports:

Golden has hired Gottlieb & Gordon, a law firm that specializes in government investigations and white-collar crime defenses, in response to a subpoena from the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office.

… [Golden] said he didn’t know why his campaign fund was being targeted.

Bharara’s office leads the nation in political convictions, having also put away former Sheepshead Bay State Senator Carl Kruger and several others. The prosecutor has not indicted Golden or made any public announcements about its investigation.

Golden was previously being eyed by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission before it was disbanded. Bharara’s office took over several of the cases the Moreland panel was looking into.

The New York Post speculated that the commission was eyeing the $541,599 that the pol steered to the Bay Ridge Manor, a catering hall he once owned and is now owned by his brother.

It’s also possible that the probe is looking at activity surrounding multi-million dollar tax breaks given to luxury developers in Manhattan, including a $44 million waiver to Extell Development. The commission sent subpoenas to those developers last summer. Golden sponsored the legislation in the Senate, and pleaded ignorance when asked about it.

grimm

When news broke in 2012 that Congressman Michael Grimm was the target of a federal investigation, the pol said it was a liberal media conspiracy. Now the pol’s defense team is depicting it as a political witch hunt led by a prosecutor with electoral aspirations, and aided by former FBI colleagues settling a score.

Grimm pleaded not guilty to a 20-count indictment that alleges, among other things, tax evasion, fraud and illegal hiring practices connected to a restaurant he owned before running for office. The trial is set to begin in December, but the pol’s legal team sent a pair of letters earlier this month that appear to suggest the direction their defense will take – not one that clears his name of tax fraud, but one that says he was only caught because the prosecution sought to take down a Republican.

Staten Island Advance reports:

In a letter dated Oct. 1, Grimm’s lawyers, Jeffrey A. Neiman and Daniel Rashbaum, fired off a list of 14 questions to federal prosecutors, many asking about the role of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Kaminsky in the investigation into the congressman.

Kaminsky, a Democrat, left the U.S. attorney’s office after the tax evasion indictment was announced to run for state Assembly.

“What role did former Assistant United States Attorney Todd Kaminsky have in the investigation of Mr. Grimm?” one question asks.

“When did Mr. Kaminsky first notify the United States Attorney’s Office of his intention to seek political office, informally or formally?” asks another.

… Grimm’s team also asked what role FBI Supervisory Special Agent Anthony Bivona and Assitant Special Agent in Charge Mary Gallingan played in the investigation, as well as many other indictments the U.S. Attorney’s office has sought in the past five years regarding restaurants paying employees in cash, under-reporting cash sales to the Internal Rvenue Service, or “hiring illegal aliens as employees.”

Neiman and Rashbaum wrote a second letter on Oct. 1, asking for documents, notes, copies of inconsistent statements, and criminal or psychiatric histories of witnesses in the case.

In a response dated October 2, Lynch’s office said they would provide relevant info prior to trial as required by law. But her office bristled at the 14 questions, saying they were neither pertinent, nor legally required.

“It should be noted, however, that the 14 questions about the investigation and other cases seek information that is irrelevant to the charges of this case…. The government therefore respectfully declines to provide the information sought in these 14 requests,” Lynch writes.

The Daily News has a little more about the request for information regarding the special agents:

Team Grimm appears poised to take on supervisory FBI Special Agents Anthony Bivona and Mary Galligan. Sources said Bivona had a falling-out with Grimm and Galligan led an internal probe of Grimm before he left the bureau.

SILive.com has full copies of the letters.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is deep in a campaign to register new voters across the nation in their hopes of taking back the House. In the 11th District, currently represented by Michael Grimm, the initiative has seen 6,600 new voters enter the fray.

The nationwide effort is being hailed as “an unprecedented field operation” and has already racked up more than 60,000 new voter registrations. It’s fueled by a well-financed campaign committee war-chest that dwarfs the Republican’s coffers by about $33 million.

With more than 500 paid staffers dispatched to 48 districts around the nation, the 11th District held by Grimm is being seen as a top-prize.

It’s Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia who stands to benefit from the new registrants. Although not all the new voters are bound to be Democrats since even DCCC employees must sign up anybody that asks, it’s more than likely they focused their new enrollment efforts in neighborhoods – particularly including Brooklyn – that lean Democratic.

To get an idea of the effect 6,600 new voters can have on this election, keep in mind that in the 2012 election only about 37,000 votes were cast – so 6,600 votes would be approximately 20 percent growth.

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

Democrat Domenic Recchia missed last night’s debate in Bay Ridge, giving Republican Congressman Michael Grimm, whose seat he’s seeking, an opportunity to bash him relentlessly.

The Staten Island Advance reports:

“He will be lockstep with Mayor de Blasio and the president,” Grimm said. “He voted with Mayor de Blasio 99 percent [of the time] when they were in the City Council together. OK, so if you believe the Brooklyn Bridge should have an $8 toll, that’s what he voted for.”

The congressman had the stage all to himself Tuesday and looked to connect himself to President Ronald Reagan, while slamming Recchia for voting in favor of extending term limits in the Council.

“He doesn’t care what you think and he proved that when he voted to extend term limits,” Grimm said of Recchia. ” … the people voted on term limits twice but my opponent said, ‘No, I’m going to have a third term.'”

In an interview with the press after the debate, Grimm said Recchia wasn’t there because he wasn’t prepared to debate the congressman and doesn’t know the issues.

The Recchia campaign said he was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

Between the attacks, Recchia did find the time to address some issues:

He blamed Obama for a lack of a foreign policy, saying it had led to ISIS being emboldened to attack the United States. He said there needs to be a strong coalition to battle ISIS, which he called “the most funded, most brutal group we’ve ever faced.”

Grimm supports closing the Mexican border, and said the Affordable Care Act had “destroyed everything that was good” about the American health care system.

Grimm said he supports hydrofracking — “when done safely and responsibly, it’s the safe thing to do.”

The debate was organized by the Bay Ridge Community Council. Read more at SILive.com.

Golden (l) and Kemmerer (r)

Golden (l) and Kemmerer (r)

Republican State Senator Marty Golden is facing a Democratic challenge on ballots this November, this time from Bay Ridge’s James Kemmerer.

The 12-year incumbent pol, who lost most of Bay Ridge but comfortably won the district as a whole with a 16-point margin, will debate his opponent tonight at the Bay Ridge Community Council’s “Great Debate.”

Kemmerer confirmed his candidacy to Bensonhurst Bean in May, backed by the Bay Ridge Democrats, a progressive Democratic club. He’s a small business owner who has lived in Bay Ridge for about a decade. So far, his campaign has depicted Golden as a target of the Moreland anti-corruption commission in the pocket of developers and big business. Kemmerer is running as the good government candidate, and is pushing public financing of elections.

It’s the first debate between the two. When challenged in 2012 by Andrew Gounardes, the debate turned feisty; with a lot of the same people backing Kemmerer, there’s a good shot tonight’s debate will be similarly informative and exciting.

The event takes place at Holy Angels Catholic Academy, 337 74th Street, at 7:30pm.

Correction (1:59pm): The original version of this article erroneously stated that James Kemmerer has “lived in this website for about a decade.” That was a mistake. James Kemmerer does not, and likely has never, lived in a website – this one, or any other. He lives in Bay Ridge. He previously lived in Pennsylvania, which is certainly less interesting than living in a website, but definitely more factual and infinitely more possible.

Source: Colton's office

Source: Colton’s office

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

In a historic swearing-in ceremony, Mrs. Nancy Tong became the first Asian-American elected official in the borough of Brooklyn. On Sunday, September 21st, Nancy Tong was formally sworn-in by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams as the Female District Leader/State Committeewoman for the 47th Assembly District at the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst (JCH).

Mrs. Nancy Tong ran unopposed as the new Female District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 47th Assembly District in September 9th Democratic Primary. Since she was running unopposed for this position, Nancy automatically became the Female District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 47th Assembly District when the polls closed on primary election night. The position was previously held by Jeannette Givant, who retired after serving for ten years.

However, Mrs. Tong is celebrated this very important milestone in Brooklyn and Chinese-American history with a formal swearing-in ceremony to commemorate this historic occasion. She now is the first Asian American elected official in Brooklyn, the largest borough in New York City. Many elected officials and community leaders from across New York City and State are attended this momentous swearing-in event, including Assembly Member William Colton, Council Member Mark Tregyer, District Leader Charles Ragusa, Council Member David Greenfield, Kings County Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio, District Leader Ari Kagan, President of the United Chinese Association Steve Chung, and Bay Democrats President Ben Akselrod.

After coming to Bensonhurst twelve years ago, Nancy continued a family tradition of volunteering in schools and in the community, eventually becoming a volunteer at Assemblyman William Colton’s 47th Assembly District Office. Due to her hard work and dedication, Assemblyman Colton hired her as a part time Community Liaison in his office. Every year, Nancy helps more than 2,000 men and women from different cultural backgrounds in a variety of issues that affect her constituents’ quality of life.

Nancy believes she will be able to help more people and bring people of different cultural backgrounds together to improve the quality of life for individuals living in the 47th Assembly district.

District Leader Nancy Tong affirmed, “I truly enjoy helping people. It gives me great joy when I am able to help someone and make their life a little better or easier. Of course, I have to thank my family, especially my husband and my son, for all their love and support. I also have to thank Assemblyman Colton and the United Progressive Democratic Club for supporting me in becoming the first Asian-American elected official in Brooklyn. This is a historic occasion for the Asian-American community and the people of Brooklyn. I am proud of my heritage and I look forward to continue serving the people of southwest Brooklyn with my new position.”

Assemblyman Bill Colton asserted, “Nancy has a long track record of serving people in our communities. When the position opened up, I knew Nancy was the right person to become our next Female District Leader. She helps thousands of people in my office every year. Her dedication to our community is unwavering. I know she will do great things as our new Female District Leader.”

Councilman Mark Treyger stated, “Our community is incredibly fortunate to have someone like Nancy Tong fighting for us and helping to improve the quality of life for thousands of residents each year. Not only is this great news for the people of southern Brooklyn, but it is a truly historic moment for the entire borough and residents of all backgrounds who value the importance of hard work and giving back to their community. I look forward to joining the community on Sunday as Nancy is sworn into office as the first Asian-American elected official ever in Brooklyn, and to continuing my great work with her in the coming months and years on behalf of all residents of Bensonhurst, Gravesend and beyond.”

grimm2

Embattled Congressman Michael Grimm is holding a lead, though just barely, against Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia, according to a new poll from NY1 / Capital New York/ Siena.

Grimm, who faces an embarrassing 20-count indictment on tax evasion and perjury charges, hold a four-point lead on Recchia among likely voters, with a 44-40 split. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percent, according to Capital New York.

The outlet reports:

“To see an incumbent six points below 50, that’s not a good sign,” said Steve Greenberg, a pollster for Siena College.

Grimm has the support of 73 percent of Republicans, and 27 percent of Democrats, and leads among independents, 47-33.

But 54 percent of voters said Grimm’s indictment makes them less likely to vote for the second-term congressman, including 39 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of voters who said they’re currently supporting Grimm.

“He cannot afford to lose a fifth of his voters right now,” said Greenberg.

… A near-majority of likely voters—49 percent—said they view Grimm unfavorably, compared to 39 percent who said they had a favorable opinion of him. Those opinions were split along party lines, with 60 percent of Republicans holding a favorable opinion of Grimm, and 30 percent unfavorable—numbers that were reversed among Democrats.

Predictably, Grimm is performing better in Staten Island, where the majority of the district’s voters live, while Recchia is outperforming the incumbent in Brooklyn, which the Democrat represented in the City Council.

Notably, nearly half of the district’s voters said they know little or nothing about Recchia.

To see the full results of the poll, look here, and also check out Capital’s analysis.

Grimm faces criminal charges for tax evasion, fraud, conspiracy and illegal hiring practice, all in connection to an Upper East Side restaurant he once owned. The pol has denied wrongdoing.

Long before those charges, the congressman was dogged by probes of his fundraising for the 2010 campaign. While no charges were filed against the pol, two associates including an ex-girlfriend face charges.

His trial is scheduled for after the November elections.

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