News

Shadows of a bribery investigation

Today we take a look at Philip Banks III, the top criminal justice official at City Hall – seven years after he was caught up in a federal corruption investigation. We’ll also bid farewell to Yolanda Vega, who has broadcast thousands of New York Lottery drawings on television. She is about to retire.

As the top criminal justice official at City Hall, Philip Banks III will oversee Mayor Eric Adams’ top priority – public safety – and play a central role in his plan to reduce gun violence. Adams.

The urgency of the crime problem has raised the stakes for the Banks. Now, he sees himself as the key figure for a plan that relies on cooperation with federal and state law enforcement agencies, including several that investigated him when he was a child. is a high-ranking police official – and can now be cautious about working with him.

My colleagues Michael Rothfeld, William K. Rashbaum and Jan Ransom write that one of the agencies that scrutinized the Bank’s transactions is the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which has not been previously reported. Adams’ “blueprint to end gun violence” called for criminal justice officials, including district attorneys, to adopt tougher policies. Until he shifts focus this week, Alvin Bragg — the Manhattan district attorney who, like Adams, took office at the start of the year — has called for a relatively lenient approach to patent cases. gun possession.

Banks have tried to assuage concerns about his past. In one New York Daily News column This month, he wrote that he neither betrayed the public’s trust nor broke the law. He only apologized for associating with two businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who sought power by forging connections with city officials. Rechnitz, who cooperated with the authorities, pleaded guilty with fraud charges. Reichberg was convicted in 2019 of bribery and conspiracy.

Prosecutors singled out Banks as an accomplice, saying he accepted high-priced meals, tickets to sporting events and vacations in the Dominican Republic and even a ring worn by Muhammad Ali from Rechnitz and Reichberg. A two-year investigation reached Mayor Bill de Blasio and resulted in the imprisonment of Banks’ close friend Norman Seabrook, leader of the city’s association of correctional officers, among others.

A review of internal FBI reports, court documents and city records revealed that Banks did not always follow city laws intended to prevent conflicts of interest. Records show that when he was still the director of the department, the top uniformed position in the police force, Mr perjured that he did not accept gifts of value and that he failed to disclose investment property and rental income, facts that have not been reported before. Prosecutors did not charge him because they did not have enough evidence to prove that he took formal action in return, according to two people involved in the investigation.

Several government watchdogs say Banks’ past raises questions about how he will behave himself now that he has an even more powerful job. Richard Aborn, head of New York City’s Citizen Crime Commission, a nonprofit that studies crime reduction strategies, praised Banks’ experience but said the investigation could overshadow black.

“That’s something I think he’s going to have to deal with often,” Aborn said.

Bank and Adams declined to be interviewed. City Hall spokesman, Maxwell Young, said in a statement that the charges “were litigated and mitigated with no finding of misconduct.”

Young described false statements and omissions on financial disclosure forms as truthfully false, saying the Banks had misinterpreted the questions.


Weather

There is no doubt that snow will come tonight and tomorrow.

In addition, the National Weather Service said “there is still an unusual amount of uncertainty,” even as it issues winter storm warnings and gusts warnings. It said there is “low to moderate potential” for more than six inches of snow cover in New York City and “medium to high potential” of more than six inches in eastern Long Island and southeastern Connecticut.

The uncertainty comes from computer-generated forecasting models that have been segmented about where the storm will go. If the storm shifts slightly westward — closer to the East Coast — then New Jersey and New York City will see more snow. If it moved a little east – away from the coast – they would be less, and Long Island and New England would get more.

Of the three models, the European one “knocked” Long Island, said Tiffany Fortier, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. One model, called GFS, showed that the storm made landfall on the Jersey Shore and New York City harder than the European model. The third model, the closer North American model, is “quite intense for the whole region,” she said.

For today, forecast a cloudy day with temperatures in the mid-30s.

Parking next door

Valid until the end of Monday (New Year’s Eve).

You won’t hear it on lottery drawings anymore. The New York Lottery announced that Vega, 66, has retired after spending nearly half her life publishing numbers and handing out huge ceremonial checks to stunned winners at games like Mega. Millions and Powerball.

[Goodbye ‘Yo-LAHNNN-da-Vega!’ A New York Lottery Queen Retires]

Vega said she began exaggerating the pronunciation of her name as soon as she first appeared on television to draw the lottery. Then, on a day when she was specifically “jumping on some espresso,” one executive complained that “stretching your name is consuming precious seconds of time.”

“I said, “I’m proud of who I am,” she said, “and I keep being true to myself and I keep doing it. ”

Inevitably, fans tried to pronounce her name the way she did. “If she gets tired of it, it never shows up,” said Margaret DeFrancisco, New York Lottery Director from 1999 to 2004.



Dear Diary:

I visited New York City in 2000, and my son, who lives in Brooklyn with his family, told me we were all going to see a show at Red Hook. He asked me if there was anything else I’d like to see or do when we hang out.

I said that even though I was born in Brooklyn in 1938, I have never been back to my birthplace, an apartment house on 1901 Avenue P, and I want to do it.

I felt excited when we drove there. We found a parking spot right out the front and jumped out to take a picture of me at the front door. I have a mother of mine who stood in place when she was pregnant with me.

Some elderly women are sitting on lawn chairs on the sidewalk. When they saw our family smiling and taking pictures, one of them called me over and asked why we were there.

I said I was born there but moved when I was still an infant.

After a brief chat, my family and I walked back to our car.

Another woman called me.

“I overheard that you live here,” she said. “When was that?”

“Nineteen thirty-eight,” I said, “but only for a little while.”

The woman said she has lived there ever since. She asked me if I missed anyone from that time.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/nyregion/the-shadow-of-a-bribery-investigation.html Shadows of a bribery investigation

Fry Electronics Team

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