Monday, January 31, 2011

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy's power limited by GOP

By Carlos González

Hon. Robert Duffy

ALBANY - Senate Republicans just passed a resolution amending Senate rules set to expire on February 1, 2010. The vote was 36 to 24. The resolution strips Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy from casting a vote for temporary leader of the Senate in the event of a 31-31 tie.

"We believe a duly elected majority of the Senate should choose its temporary president," said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif.

This issue appears to be of critical nature due to aging Republicans who might retire prior to an end of their term. Under the new rules, Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau) could not be replaced as the temporary president until 32 elected members of the Senate vote.

If legal, the new rule puts Democrats at an extreme disadvantage, whereas any changes to the rules will require recapturing two seats lost by the Democrats.

During the debate, Senator Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) reminded Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous
(R-Binghampton) that the chamber currently has 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans, not 32 Republicans as Libous continuously indicated.

Diaz' comments served as a very interesting reminder to the GOP that at any given time during the next two years, members who are actually registered Democrats may opt to return and caucus with the Democratic members.

Diaz added, "Right now, the GOP has the votes, so what's the rush to change the rules?"

While explaining his vote, Senator Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan) remarked, "Sadly, it has become clear to me that we have no shining examples of over the last two years, and no shining examples of what is happening now."

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo disagreed with Senate Republicans.

The news was not well received by Duffy who intends to keep on voting regardless of the new rules.

Senate Democrats also asked for clarification from the AG to determine if the Republicans' effort to take away Duffy's tie-breaking leadership vote is legal.


Mayor Bloomberg Announces Results of Undercover Investigation og guns Sales at the Crossroad of the West Gun Show in Phoenix, Arizona. The investigation proves on video how easy it is to obtain firearms with high capacity magazines at gun shows, even for those who tell sellers that they probably couldn't pass a background check. A Glock pistol with 33-round extended magazine, like the weapon used in Tucson, where six person were killed, thirteen wounding, including U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Number Is a Beast; It's ... your credit score"

there ... lurking. Stalking you at night and shadowing you throughout the day. It never sleeps. It doesn't need to. It scans, collates and registers its harsh judgments with cold specificity. It's ... your credit score," begins JP Sottile.

Visa Hello Kitty credit card promo. (art: Visa)
Visa Hello Kitty credit card promo. (art: Visa)

By JP Sottile
Reader Supported News

29 January 11

t's out there ... lurking.

Stalking you at night and shadowing you throughout the day. It never sleeps. It doesn't need to. It scans, collates and registers its harsh judgments with cold specificity.

It's ... your credit score.

Bearing the innocuous name "FICO," the widely used credit rating and "risk assessment system" tirelessly works to determine your "creditworthiness." Over the last twenty years most Americans have, either by choice or by surprise, come face-to-face with FICO and its potent power to kill a dream or make it come true.

Whether or not you get to take home that HDTV, go into escrow on that house with great "flip potential" or take advantage of that low, 6-month balance transfer APR ... it all depends on where you fall on the FICO scale. Ranging between 300 and 850, that number is, for all intents and purposes, who you are in the hurly-burly world of America's debt-driven economy. The closer you are to 850, the better you look to banks and lenders. If your number reaches 750 or above, debt mongers look at you like a credit-worthy starlet on GHB. As far as they're concerned you are ready for action. If, however, you are more in the 350-600 range, they tend to walk on the other side of the street when you saunter down credit card lane.

Fair enough, right?

We all understand the role of risk in lending. We also like to be rewarded for paying bills on time, and we kinda like it when those who haven't paid on time get punished. Being denied a mortgage or a credit card is the modern equivalent of the Puritans' stockade.

Unfortunately, the Credit-Industrial Complex reneged on its end of the FICO bargain.

Until the early 80s, they employed a high degree of selectivity when issuing credit. That made it a rarely relied-upon redoubt for working and middle class consumers who instead relied on store-issued credit cards and layaway plans. Some, if you can believe it, actually saved up long enough to pay for a T.V. with ... cash! Yup, actual stacks of government-issued bills exchanged hands. Few relied on a VISA, MasterCard or the elite calling card known as American Express. Mortgages were harder to get and young families saved and saved to make that all-important initial down payment on their dream.

By the beginning of the 90s, the high standards of the past were relics of a bygone era.

Like frat boys wearing beer goggles, creditors partied like it was 1999. In fact, by 1999 they were partying like it was 2012. Fueled by a cocktail of Reagan-Era deregulation and the "spend now/pay later" mentality of his "economic miracle," the credit flowed and flowed. Then Clinton Inc. came to town, loudly chanting their "It's the Economy, Stupid," mantra. For the next eight years the credit industry had carte blanche to act like drunken sailors. And they did. It quickly became "The economy, done stupidly."

In retrospect, the economic growth and declining budget deficits of Bubba-Time were mostly an illusion. It was driven by the financial industry, the 401K-fed vapor-ware bubble of the "internet economy," and, by the turn of the century, the bogus housing boom. Thanks to a flood of credit card offers, Americans lived like they were getting richer. In reality, they were on the fast track to becoming poorer.

Credit cards became the new sharecropping.

Monthly minimums were the yearly rent you paid to squat on the goods, services and properties that were actually owned by the Credit-Industrial Complex. Like the sharecroppers of the Jim Crow South, each year people fell further and further into debt, even if they paid their perfectly-crafted monthly minimum. You see, they calculated the exact amount needed to keep your debt slowly growing, while you paid them for the right to keep servicing it. Like those tenant farmers of old, there was little hope of paying off the debt.

Credit turned into a wealth re-allocation system, concentrating your monthly minimums into the hands of the real investor class - that high-falutin' top tier so heavily leveraged in banks, financial services and the mortgage market.

And the credit kept coming.

Despite a rapid growth in debt-to-income ratios for most Americans, FICO was largely ignored no matter how loudly it barked on the outskirts of creditworthiness. The Credit-Industrial Complex regularly walked over the tracks to the sketchy side of town. They hit on those once-unattractive scores with "nothing down" pick-up lines and turned interest-hiding lending tricks. And while you were trying to flip that fixer-upper, the folks on Wall Street were flipping you and your debt to slick financial lounge lizards eager to mop up their sloppy seconds.

Still, throughout the hallucinatory highs and the "credit crisis" lows, the FICO beast remained on patrol, always keeping score. The data collection industry vigilantly monitored your exposure to the debt collection industry. And, as you'd expect, scores declined once the credit bubble burst.

During their "credit crisis" hangover, lenders suddenly looked at those scores and decided to have some standards. The credit stopped flowing. They read their own fine print and raised interest rates, monthly minimums and fees. They took a bath, literally and figuratively. Sobered by the stark fear of re-regulation, they looked long and hard at everyone's FICO score and realized that they'd gone to bed with a 750 and woken up with a 400. For a moment, they cleaned up their act.

But, they are out of rehab. And, like archetypical alcoholics, they are at it again.

Credit is once again trickling down to "risky" borrowers. Perhaps they have no choice. With so many Americans out of work, struggling through foreclosures or unable to sustain those FICO-feeding monthly minimums, creditors have few options for their suddenly barren dance cards. Eligible scores are fewer and farther between in the Great Recession. And, frankly, they cannot help themselves.

They also know we've bought in to the mystical power of the FICO score. People are desperate to repair, restore or sustain their scores. Although the credit industry willingly ignored the contract implicit in the FICO system, the American consumer continues to believe that "creditworthiness" is the sum total of their worth. True enough; buying a home or a car or, oft-times, renting an apartment is tough if your score is under the magic median. And, increasingly, employers look at credit scores in the hiring process ... condensing down your life's experience to one scarlet number.

Perhaps it's time to reject the very notion of FICO. To force the issue by refusing to play the credit games required to rehabilitate our lagging digits. Maybe it's not such a bad thing to save up and pay cash. Try a little addition by subtraction. Take the plastic out of your wallet or purse. Leave home without it. And if they keep increasing the speed of your credit treadmill? Jump off. Take the leap and ignore the score, just like they did.

Maybe it'll take enduring a little short-term pain and some constricted credit to neuter the beast. The more folks wait out greedy creditors and ignore the threat of - gasp! - a low credit score, the quicker FICO will be forced into a holding pen of irrelevance.

So, stop jumping when it starts barking. Until you do, they've got your number.

JP Sottile is a newsroom veteran. His credits include a stint on the Newshour news desk, C-SPAN, Executive Producer for ABC affiliate WJLA in Washington, and a two-time Washington Regional Emmy Award Winner. In addition, JP is a documentary filmmaker.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Staten Island BP James Molinaro drops an f-bomb on Channel 4

By Carlos González

STATEN ISLAND, NY - Borough President James P. Molinaro dropped the "f-bomb" live over Channel 4 airwaves.

See video here:

While on hold through a telephone landline with the station waiting for the live segment, Molinaro was using his cell phone trying to cope with the latest snowstorm hitting his borough and was visible upset at something.

Molinaro admitted that it was embarrassing that it was picked up on the air. He would not reveal the identity of the person he was speaking to on the cell phone.

"My voice must have carried over," Molinaro said. "I did use the word."

Regardless of using the word, Molinaro fell short from offering an apology to the viewers. It's certainly warranted.

The news of the incident was first reported by Tom Wrobleski from

Thursday, January 27, 2011

National Arts Club Part 3

YFP received an interesting comment that should be noted. The comment reads as follows:

piperspaper said...

James and his boyfriend Leitner have been ripping off the club for years and years. They have friends in high places ( Manhattan D Morgentheau and Mayor Bloomberg I'm looking at you ) Leitner even claims to have contacts with the CIA ! They are gossipy thief queens who stop at nothing to sdestroy people who cross them. Let's see some justice done ! Throw the bums in jail !
January 27, 2011 1:06 PM

YFP does not take a position as to the accuracy of the comment, however it does
point to the fact that all is not as it appears at the "Club." However, what is apparent is the seemingly preferential treatment the James brothers have been afforded throughout the years.

One example is a guilty plea of tax evasion, by John James. It seems that in lieu of a jail sentence, he was given the option of spending time at a psychiatric institute. How convenient.

July 10, 2003
Sam Miller O: 212-669-4763
C: 917-783-0079
Rob Roman O: 212-669-2566
C: 917-667-0530

Plea Will Allow City to Collect $500,000 in Taxes and Fines. Latest Success Follows Recent Cases Netting City More Than $6.2 Million After a two-year investigation spearheaded by the Department of Finance, John James, brother of National Arts Club president Aldon James, pleaded guilty yesterday to sales tax evasion and failure to file unincorporated business tax returns, and will pay the City more than $500,000 in taxes and fines. James has also agreed to be institutionalized for psychiatric treatment for a period of at least 90 days. The James plea is the latest in a series of successful tax enforcement cases in which the Finance Department has played a significant role, allowing the City to collect more than $6.2 million in badly-needed revenue.

“I want to thank Finance’s tax enforcement investigators for gathering the evidence needed to produce this plea, and I want to thank our partners, Manhattan
District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and the State Department of Taxation and Finance, for their terrific work in this and other recent cases,” Finance Commissioner Martha E. Stark said. “Together we’re sending a clear message – it doesn’t pay to cheat New Yorkers.”

To nab James, Finance’s investigators subpoenaed accounting and bank records
relating to the jewelry business he operated out of the National Arts Club. A review of the records revealed that he was filing his tax returns as a Florida resident, while residing in New York City, in order to avoid paying the personal income tax. While living at the National Arts Club, he was also found to have used the club’s tax-exempt certificates in his business purchases to avoid paying sales taxes.

Page 2
Finance Investigations Lead to Guilty Pleas

On July 2, James surrendered to felony charges of tax evasion and agreed to plead

guilty to failing to collect and pay sales taxes, as well as for failing to file and pay his Unincorporated Business Tax on his business. He also agreed to civil Personal Income Tax restitution. In total, James will pay more than $500,000 in taxes and fines.

The James case originated in May 2001, when Finance began an investigation of
Joseph Frappaolo, who operated the dining room at the National Arts Club. After seizing tax records, Finance determined that Frappaolo failed to collect the appropriate sales tax from the club’s dining room operation and underreported its income. He pleaded guilty to sales tax evasion and grand larceny, and has paid tax restitution of $277,000 and criminal fines totaling $5,000.

O. Aldon James and his twin, John are the privileged off spring of a family that made it's money in AT&T stock. Their social connections have allowed them access to the top tier of New York and international society. And while they have made a substantial contribution to the Arts, they have also been afforded special treatment by the NYC power structure. And this is the direction in which further investigation should go.

One need only to gaze at a photo of society events in the Hampton's and the art world in general to note the absence of minority participants. This is the rarefied world of Waspdom and money.

So what does this mean. Well, it means that while Jose and Shakim are sweating their asses off
in some dinky jail for not paying their parking tickets, the James brothers are reapplying tanning lotion in Quogue and bugging the Mexican waiter for another round of watercress sandwiches.

This is why we should be concerned. If we are going to build an equal society, then it begins with justice not only for the poor but an examination of justice for the rich and powerful . The NAC should be investigated microscopically. It's tentacles of influence extend far beyond the gilded frames of the lovely art work it displays.

City Hall Reporters Dumb or Ass Kissers?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The dumbest Snow Press Conference In History

City Hall Reporters
Dumb or Ass Kissers?

Even Fox 5 Rosanna Scotto could not believe how crazy the reporters at the mayor's snow press conference acted this morning. City Hall reporters were always known to specialize in sucking up to the mayor, but today they acted not as journalist but like bad girls on an episode of Gossip Girl.

As New Yorkers worry about ambulances getting down their streets to save their loved ones life, City Hall reporters after the first three questions were asking the mayor about Glen Beck and Donald Trump. Three question about regents test scheduled for today after the mayor answered after the first question that the tests were a state issue and Albany would have to rescheduled.

The two important questions given to the mayor about the failings of the first snow storm were easily ducked by the mayor, because he was not forced to answer a follow up question. The first question the mayor ducked was about what the mayor thought of Councilman Dan Halloran not giving the NYT specifics about his charges of a sanitation slow down. The mayor just bushed aside the question saying it was a City Council matter. All that reporter or any other reporter had to do was ask why the mayor investigators have not interviewed Halloran as part of his promised investigation of why the city failed to clean the streets after the Xmass storm. The second question a reporter asked the mayor was why the city was doing a better job today then during the Xmass storm. The mayor brushed that reporter aside by saying they used what they learned after the failed snow cleanup. What that reporter or any other reporter should have asked was why was today's cleanup was more like the successful snow cleanups the mayor has enjoyed from the time he took office until the Xmass storm.

We did learn the mayor does not believe that Co-Op City was a socialist experiment as Glen Beck has charged. We also found out the mayor thinks Donald Trump is a great New Yorker who should bid for Tavern on the Green if the mayor decides after his one year experiment to end replacing the world famous restaurant with trucks and carts that sell food. The final thing the City Hall reporters taught us today was the mayor thinks the students who missed their regents tests today should use the snow day to study

Glenn Beck blasts Bronx, compares Co-Op City to failed socialist state

Wednesday, January 26th 2011, 9:25 PM

Fox News host Glenn Beck mocked the Bronx's Co-Op City on his show, drawing ire.
Fox News host Glenn Beck mocked the Bronx's Co-Op City on his show, drawing ire.

Right-wing pundit Glenn Beck has roiled residents of the Bronx's Co-Op City - suggesting their affordable community is an example of the failed socialism that once ruled the USSR.

"Once you say there's a place where everyone's life is interchangeable, everyone then has exactly the same stuff, which sounds like these beautiful complexes," the Fox News broadcaster told viewers of "The Glenn Beck Show" on Tuesday.

An image of Co-Op City then flitted across Beck's monitor.

"Do you want to live there? This is Co-Op City. Oh man! This is so beautiful," Beck said sarcastically. "That's the Great Society for you, and those are the lush [buildings]."

In 1955, New York lawmakers passed Mitchell-Lama legislation offering developers tax breaks for building apartments to be sold to working-class people at below-market rates.

The law helped build the massive "city within a city" of 35 high-rises and several townhouses.

It allowed Leonard Murrell, 76, to buy a three-bedroom unit in 1971 for $5,000. The retired city Housing Authority manager had choice words for Beck.

"Mitchell-Lama gave me a chance to have a place to call my own. I was renting when I came to Co-Op City, and now I own. It's my piece of the pie," Murrell said.

"I came from poverty and worked my way up," he said, adding that it was unfair for a millionaire like Beck "to go on TV and hammer the program that gave me my shot."

"How dare he?" cried Councilman Jimmy Vacca (D-Bronx). "I'd like to know the last time Glenn Beck stepped into Co-Op City.

"Glenn Beck sitting in judgment of the people of Co-Op City is one of the most outrageous things I've ever heard."

Beck declined to comment yesterday.

Martin Prince, 55, who bought a three-bedroom Co-Op City apartment 18 years ago for $15,000, found Beck's on-air pot shot divisive "vitriolic garbage."

"He pits one person against another and that's not what this country is about and it's not what I'm about," Prince said. "It's Beck who's un-American."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

National Arts Club dining manager who stole thousands from club earns $250k ... from the club

Wednesday, January 26th 2011, 3:19 PM

Joseph Frappaolo is even described as a "key employee" on a 2008 tax form, which claims he works 84 hours a week and reveals his salary is personally set by club president Aldon James.
Joseph Frappaolo is even described as a "key employee" on a 2008 tax form, which claims he works 84 hours a week and reveals his salary is personally set by club president Aldon James.

The venerable National Arts Club pays its dining room manager a $247,000 salary even though he was caught stealing thousands from the club.

Joseph Frappaolo is even described as a "key employee" on a 2008 tax form, which claims he works 84 hours a week and reveals his salary is personally set by club president Aldon James.

Frappaolo, who pleaded guilty in 2002 to skimming more than $160,000 in state and city sales taxes, refused to speak with a reporter Wednesday.

"I have no comment," said Frappaolo, 55, who avoided jail by paying back more than $340,000 in interest and penalties.

"I'm serving lunch right now."

There also was no immediate comment from James, the colorful, bow-tie wearing Manhattan mover and shaker who has been credited with revitalizing the once-stodgy club since taking over in 1985.

A club spokesman said they were preparing to address questions about Frappaolo's role at the 113-year-old institution, whose members have included writer Mark Twain, movie-maker Martin Scorcese and actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.

Fishy finances are not new to the club, which was investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's office in the 1990s.

James' twin brother, John, pleaded guilty in 2003 to misusing the club's tax free status to peddle millions of dollars worth of jewelry.

He also avoided jail by paying $469,213 in restitution and $60,000 in criminal fines.

Despite that, John James has been allowed to rent an apartment in the club's jewel box Gramercy Park building for just $356 a month - well below the market rate, records show.

James, who is not paid for his work as club president, and several other club trustees also occupy reduced-rate apartments in the landmark Tilden Mansion, according to the tax document.

James pays the club's executive chef, Robert Ahle, a $124,004 annual salary and claims on the tax form he works 60 hours a week.

While the National Art Club's stated mission is "to stimulate, foster and promote public interest" in fine arts, the club handed out just $39,349 in grants to artists in 2008-2009.

During the same period, the club reported $37,270 in travel expenses.

YFP was the first media outlet that published the conditions of the National Arts Club

YFP was the first media outlet that published the conditions in which a New York cultural institution , The National Arts Club, was trashed by the James brothers. (Aldon and his twin John). Since Your, published this article, news of the dreadful conditions of the club has been picked up by the Huffington Post, Gawker, Gothamist, Times Square Chronicles, New York Daily News, and many others. However, they all failed to credit their source,

Now, other New York City publications are looking into the story. We are in receipt of email from the New York Post inquiring about the photographs published by YFP. All we ask is that the main stream media have some journalistic integrity and give credit to the sources.

Rafael Martínez Alequín
Publisher: Your Free Press

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Members from the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition

Members from the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition gathered in New York City yesterday morning to advocate for a simple solution to cutting down on gun violence.

The speakers were part of a procession of relatives and friends of victims of shootings at a City Hall news conference to urge Washington to strengthen federal gun laws to prevent firearms from falling into the hands of buyers with a history of violence or mental illness.

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shame On the NYT

Shame On the NYT
Have you left no sense of decency?

The NYT called the City Council hearing on the snow storm -Snow Overkill: “The Council’s tactics resemble television’s approach to covering bad weather.” (The New York Times). In the name of decency how could the times want to block Laura Freedman whose mother Died of a Heart Attack because the ambulance could not get through the snow block streets in queens from the chance to tell the city's lawmakers how her mother died. Video of Freedman testimony at the Queens City Council Hearing. We know the times acts a body guard and cheerleader for the mayor and could care less about the outer boroughs, but in the name of decency NYT should write an apology to Ms. Freedman and so should the mayor. Queens Woman's Mom Lay Dead for Hours (Fox 5) * Queens Residents Share Disapproval For City's Blizzard Response More No Respect Nobody from the mayor's office or the Sanitation Department

Keith Olbermann leaving MSNBC's 'Countdown': Bill Maher tells Rachel Maddow that it's 'bulls--t"

Saturday, January 22nd 2011, 10:45 AM

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, left, announced the end of his show 'Countdown' on Friday. HBO host Bill Maher questioned the notion that the decision was 'mutual.'
Sherwood/AP; Sykes/AP

MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, left, announced the end of his show 'Countdown' on Friday. HBO host Bill Maher questioned the notion that the decision was 'mutual.'

Keith Olbermann's abrupt exit on Friday night has at least one of his fellow liberal allies fuming.

HBO host Bill Maher immediately asked guest and Olbermann's fomer MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow why Olbermann was leaving.

Maddow, one of Olbermann's closet allies, said she knew "very little about" the decision on "Real Times With Bill Maher" but said it was mutual.

"Well that's always bulls--t," Maher responded.

"I know very little about it," insisted Maddow. "All I know is it was between Keith and the company and didn't involve any of the rest of us." She said the 51-year-old was "very gracious and nice" during his exit.

Maher said the show started to go "downhill' in November when Olbermann toned down segments of show like "World's Worst."

"Stop organizing life around the people who don't get the joke," Maher said, seemingly to the network. "F--k them if they don't get a joke."

Other hosts, like rival CNN host Anderson Cooper, devoted 20 minutes to the news of Olbermann's abrupt exit, even pointing out that MSNBC ran promotional ads that included the host's face after he announced he'd be

The liberal host, who was the highest-rated evening anchor on MSNBC, surprised viewers on Friday saying he had "been told" it was his last show after nearly eight years with the network.

"There were many occasions, particularly in the last 2 years, where all that surrounded the show - but never the show itself - was just too much for me," Olbermann said in attempt to explain the decision.

Olbermann caused a brief firestorm in November after reporters uncovered his donations to the campaigns of two Democratic Congressional candidates in Arizona and one in Kentucky. He was briefly yanked off the air, but eventually returned weeks later in his prime time 8 to 9 p.m. slot.

MSNBC confirmed Olbermann was leaving in a terse statement issued minutes after he announced his departure.

A network spokesman said Olbermann's exit had nothing to do with Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal, the cable network's parent company.

But The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz said MSNBC staffers believed it was only a "matter of time" before Olbermann would "bolt or be pushed out."

"If Olbermann concluded that he would no longer have the independence he craved in the more buttoned-down Comcast era, it is unlikely that anyone in the NBC executive suites tried to talk him out of it," wrote Kurtz.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Colossal Loss and Purge of Latinos in the New York State Senate

Senate Minority Leader John Sampson

Angelo Aponte

Carlos González

Parts of New York State Seal used by Senate

After Democrats exceeded their budget by over $10 million, over 130 Senate staffers were released yesterday. Your Free Press has learned one of the latest staffers to learn of his fate is Carlos González, former director of Media Services. When asked how he was informed, González indicated that he received information "no different compared to anyone else."

González is the latest Latino to walk out the door following Veteran administrator Angelo Aponte who's most recent retirement on November 29th, 2010 ended a tumultuous tenure that saw him sued by the Senate GOP for his actions during the June 2009 coup and, more recently, assailed by state Inspector General Joseph Fisch for his office’s release of information to AEG during the free-for-all bidding process that led to that company being selected and then rejected as the developer of the Aqueduct racino.

González is considered a veteran staffer of the New York State Senate with his original employment dating back to 1994. After departing the Senate in 1999 to go work on the presidential campaign of Al Gore in Florida, González remained in south Florida raising his family and engaging in private sector businesses. In 2007, Gonzalez returned to the Senate's Minority Press Office.

While in the Minority press office, González is credited for being the first person to convince Minority leadership not to rely exclusively on print and television outlets to get out conference messaging. González independently set up a conference Youtube channel, videotaped all press events and shipped the information to media outlets. His work became viral.

"It was a challenge getting mainstream media to attend Minority press conferences to begin with," said Gonzalez during a lengthy telephone interview. "Eventually, bloggers were posting conference videos as a matter of routine. It helped make the Democratic team competitive.”

When Senator Smith and fellow Democrats won the Majority in 2008, González was transferred out of the press office and placed in charge of the Media Services unit. González became the first Latino in the history of New York to ever hold onto such position, a milestone that you would not hear him ever discuss. González states that he owes all of the opportunity he's had to Senator Malcolm Smith, Senator John Sampson, and Angelo Aponte.

"I didn't get everything Media Services wanted, but Angelo Aponte made sure that if there was an absolute need for the people of the State of New York to receive information that I got everything as a unit that was vitally needed - as long as it was budget neutral."

Since day one, González reconfigured strategies within the unit. During the Bruno/Skelos years, all services were geared at assisting members of the Republican Conference exclusively. Immediately, González opened up the division instructing his team to provide reasonable services for all 62 senators, produced content for all members of the legislature, created a fair cable show schedule with equal amounts of time slots provided to both the Democratic and Republican conferences. González ended the decade’s old gimmick instituted by Republicans of allowing members of the Minority to have studio time during odd hours and during legislative session only. He created and implemented a 30-minute rotating block of studio time equally dividing time between Democrats and Republicans.

Another accomplishment was González ordering fiber connection into the Minority conference room directly linking the room into Media Services for optimum transfer of content. He instituted a policy requiring all press conferences held by then Minority Leader Dean Skelos to receive the full services of his department.

In April of 2009, González launched a new departmental policy requiring the editing and upload of the approximate 3,000 plus videos posted onto the Senate's very own government Youtube channel. González and his team also started covering official public hearings statewide and posting the content for the public to see. Today, public hearings may also be viewed on television, another first since Gonzalez' arrival.

And in times of turmoil, it was González who turned off the video feed during the infamous day of the coup. It's a moment he doesn't like to talk about other than saying that he covered a session event gavel to gavel.

"What went on after the final gavel and when the lights were turned off is not my concern," said González. We followed protocol at a time when situations such as the coup would never be considered a possibility."

Cutting off the feed may have very likely contributed toward saving Senate Democrats or offering breathing room, whereas there was no video record of proceedings that took place post-gavel. The coup is not an issue González is willing to elaborate on.

Additional accomplishments by González and his team dealt with laying out the infrastructure and development of streaming live all committee meetings that take place in the Capital and Legislative Office Building. González and his engineering team comprised a budget neutral solution making New York State one of the leading government institutions to offer this type of transparency for the people. The twenty-camera installation job was completed in-house without outside and costly contractors and cameras were fibered directly to an expanded master control room.

Some internal criticism of González was received for not entering Media Services and terminating holdover staff previously hired by the GOP. Approximately 75% of the unit was retained. When asked if his departure from the Senate could be related to criticism relating to staffing, González indicated not only was he not willing to discuss the political affiliation of any staffer, but he made no assumptions that choice of staff is what led to his departure.

"Examine the resume and qualifications and measure each person based on performance," continued González. "This is a unit that became organized and tight because of commitment to service. It was the will of Senator Smith and Senator Sampson. I felt compelled to create new leaders, regardless of color, gender, economic status, and gave each and every staffer a chance to demonstrate creativity and performance. If political affiliation and retaliation was on the agenda, I can tell you right now that not a single person ever mentioned such a strategy and I entirely missed that memo, if one existed.

"Like Senator Sampson wisely put it recently, I had an open door policy and tried best to lead, but sometimes no matter what you do they'll always be people who'll try to stab you in the back," remarked González. "Some internal staffing adjustments for next year were on the table, but not because of political affiliation. Each staffer has to have performance evaluated. After a couple of years, some get stale.”

Members and staffers are not too happy with the dismissal of González and the loss of a skillful and knowledgeable staffer who has earned his keep and is able to navigate through the complexity of the institution, respected by both Democrats and Republicans. The loss of González reflects negatively on a Democratic Conference that has too few Latinos on staff. Recently, Senator Sampson was able to secure a block of Latino elected officials by offering them leadership positions within the conference. However, the decision to dismiss González does not make sense.

"Carlos was the most effective leader this unit has ever seen," expressed a staffer of five years who asked to remain anonymous. "Not only did he give orders when necessary, but it was very common for him to pick up a camera and sound equipment and handle production from beginning to end to include traveling statewide for official business. We've never seen that before. People follow leaders who demonstrate with actions, and we saw lots of leadership and action with González. His departure from the unit is a sad circumstance because we need him, even today."

Surprisingly, González dismisses criticism and opted to defend Senator Sampson and the decisions of the transition team. That’s what normally comes with loyalty, but at some point something has to give.

"The reality is that the crisis with the budget is real and who am I to expect any exemption from that process," expressed González. "Senator Sampson and the transition team need to vet and decide what services they need as a conference, and I'm sure that a plan will be in place soon. They'll examine the pro's and the con's and determine who’s credible. They will navigate through political and erroneous charges that sometimes are created by staffers in times of desperation simply to protect themselves. Politics is not a friendly business when you're on the chopping block. The Capital is an ugly place right now. Eventually, Democrats will have to live with whatever decision they make."

In the meanwhile, González is not sitting idle and has been exploring other opportunities, though he admits that working for the Senate is still and will always be close to his heart.

González refused to discuss any prospective employment conversations and would not confirm nor deny future ventures when asked about ongoing conversations particularly with a Spanish broadcasting network looking to establish a permanent presence in Albany. Since he was the first director ever to deliver Senate-related content to Spanish media outlets regularly to include Univision, Telemundo, and other public access networks, it wouldn't surprise us seeing a possible transition for González into television or journalism.

González did state that he has been in communication with the appropriate authorities at the Legislative Correspondents Association on multiple occasions, but it was for general information assisting friends in Spanish television and he was not at liberty to step ahead of the network at this time by providing any further information.

"Right now, it’s time to decompress and assess where I am at," continued Gonzalez. “It’s also a time to be helpful to my friends who are with the same fate. I’m digesting a ton of information and this is not the end of the road. There's more to come."

YFP placed call to Senators Rubén Diaz, Diane Savino and former State Senate Secretary Angelo Aponte, but they have not respond to the YFP request by the deadline of the article.

The folowing comment from NYS Senator Diane Savino:

Sorry I was unable to get back to you before deadline. but I would like to say that Carlos González was one of the best employees the senate had, he is absolutely responsible for taking our antiquated media department and bringing it into the modern age.

he was dedicated, and so was his entire department. It is a great loss to all the members of the senate, and so sad that he and others are paying the price for poor decisions. And finally, to you previous posters, Carlos was an effective, and well loved manager. there were never any complaints from his staff and to anonymously state otherwise is disingenuous.

senator diane j. savino

APTN / Pool / AP

FBI Charges 127
In Record Mafia Bust

Key figures from seven major Mafia families are among scores arrested on charges ranging from murder to gambling to loan-sharking, authorities say. The roundup is the result of years of investigations.
Also See: Meet the Mafia Families

American Idol’s Slander of The Bronx: Shame on you J.Lo

January 20, 2011


“I am thoroughly disgusted with the treatment of the Bronx on last night. Rather than focus on the amazing revitalization the Bronx has seen over the past three decades, the producers of the show chose instead to highlight the negative stereotypes that have plagued our borough for years. The Bronx is the proud home of 1.4 million people, and over the past 30 years we have seen a dramatic drop in crime, incredible new business activity and the development of amazing new infrastructure. The portrayal of the Bronx by the producers of American Idol in such an extremely negative light is not only shameful, it does not accurately represent how far the Bronx has come.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Giffords' Mom: Daughter Heading to Rehab Center Friday

Jan 19, 2011 – 2:53 PM

Mara Gay

Mara Gay Contributor

An upbeat e-mail from U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's mother sent to family and friends says the congresswoman is making great progress and will be moved Friday to a rehab center in Texas to continue her recovery.

Gloria Giffords says her daughter can move her limbs on command and has read get-well cards made for her by elementary school students and browsed photos on her husband's iPhone.

Gabrielle Giffords
AFP / Getty Images
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is expected to be moved on Friday to a rehab center in Texas.
"Every day Gabby improves and shows higher levels of comprehension and complex actions," Giffords wrote in an e-mail obtained by multiple news outlets. "They want to start aggressive rehab immediately and are flying her to Houston facilities Friday."

Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 by a gunman in an attempted assassination at a Tucson, Ariz., political rally. Six people were killed in the shooting, and 13 others were wounded.

The congresswoman is being treated at University Medical Center in Tucson, where doctors say her road to recovery will be long and slow. " Dr. Peter Rhee, Giffords' head neurosurgeon at the hospital, told The Washington Post today that her medical team plans to move her to a rehabilitation center "as early as Friday or as long as it takes for us to resolve whatever acute problems that may arise," but would not confirm the location of the center. Rhee told the Post that Giffords' recovery is going "as well as could be" but said the congresswoman is at increased risk for infection and pneumonia.

In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer broadcast Tuesday evening, Giffords' husband said the ordeal has been an emotional roller coaster.

"At times I'm 100 percent confident that she's going to make a 100 percent recovery," Mark Kelly said. "And, you know, at other times I don't know."

Read the full text of the e-mail from Giffords' parents, obtained by CNN, below:

"The surgeons are ecstatic. ... Spence and I are humbled by the outpouring of love and prayers and overwhelmed with gratitude.

"There are thousands of people who have responded with cards, flowers, FOOD (we're feeding all the cops and federal marshals in UMC 3 square meals a day as well as folks in two other patient waiting rooms ... almost like the loaves and fishes). The entire front lawn of the hospital as well as the perimeter of her congressional office in Tucson is illuminated by thousands of candles, get-well placards, hers and the other victims' photos, prayers, stuffed animals, and people.

"You can feel the energy.

"Every day Gabby improves and shows higher levels of comprehension and complex actions. Yesterday when Mark came back from speaking at her aide's memorial service, she reached up and untied his tie and undid the top button to his shirt. (One of the nurses on the wing I was visiting with told me ... "You know where this is goin'.") Last night she took his iPod and scrolled through all the pictures. Early this morning she began to read cards made for her by some 4th graders! Her unbandaged eye tracked the lines, she opened the cards and turned them over, reading the back. Mark's gotten pages of large print of Harry Potter's 1st book for her to hold and read (he's not read any of them so this should interesting).

"Saturday in a 5-hour surgery they removed all the tubes from her mouth, did a tracheotomy (although she is breathing great on her own) and inserted a stomach tube for feeding. Before surgery that morning she gave Mark a 20-minute back and neck rub.

"They also placed a steel plate over her right eye where the optic bridge was crushed. (The stitching is beautiful.) Her eyes appear to be fine ... no optic nerve damage, they believe. She came through with flying colors, and all her neurological functions, temp., blood, etc. normal. They have her sitting up in a chair.

"She had minor surgery this a.m. to remove some bone particles that were working out through her scalp and to tidy up the incision on her forehead where the bullet entered. She did well also.

"They are even now having her move limbs on command. So now comes the "true grit" part ... and won't be a stroll in a park, although Mark predicts she'll be up and walking around in 2 weeks. The physical and occupational therapy will proceed side by side and it'll be stringent.

"There is a team of medical specialists involved ... including military surgeons who specialize in bullet wounds to the head. They want to start aggressive rehab immediately and are flying her to Houston facilities Friday. I'll go with her along with Mark and Dr. Rhee and see where I fit into the rehab process, to get an apartment, returning in a couple days to finish up work here, and then back to Texas with Spencer for as long as it takes.

"As she becomes more alert and her right eye gets unbandaged, she'll begin to communicate more and when the trach is removed, speak. You notice I'm speaking in the present tense ... because that's where all your future prayers are going to come in. ... Please help us realize that Gabby as an expression of God cannot be less than perfect and her healing complete.

"Our love and appreciation.

-- Gloria and Spencer"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


A Swiss Banker Hands Customer Files to WikiLeaks

Esther Addley, Guardian UK
The report begins: "Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, today pledged to make public the confidential tax details of 2,000 wealthy and prominent individuals, after being passed the data by a Swiss banker who claims the information potentially reveals instances of money-laundering and large-scale illegal tax evasion."

Sunday, January 16, 2011




January 25th 2011

Your Free Press has just learned from a source at the NAC that O. Aldon James Jr. has had "the second floor cleaned," which is where the Board Room, Think Tank are as well as the room everything from the Think Tank was transfered to following the 2009 FDNY
surprise inspection. Then the New York Times, who had been personally turned away by the brothers James and Mr. Leitner the day before was invited to view the newly cleaned rooms that were called "private" the day before. This still leaves the apartments featured in the photos posted by YFP more than a week ago that show the condition of several apartments and the condition of valuable Art stored at the NAC as they were in December of 2010. The rooms in these photos are still being kept "private."

Recently, disturbing documents and photographs were obtained by Your Free Press. The photographs reveal the decaying state of the National Arts Club. The Club is a 501c3 tax exempt organization that houses a private restaurant, 37 apartments and short term rental rooms as well as gallery and event spaces. The NAC is registered as a National Historic Landmark that was once the home of NYS Governor Samuel Tilden. Currently it is the home of the Club's President since 1986, Oliver Aldon James Jr., His twin brother John T. James and their cohort Steven Lietner, a real estate attorney and head of the NAC Housing Board.

Several sources have come forward with their stories and documents. A previous YFP article detailed the FDNY investigation of the NAC. Mr. James was informed that the Club would be fined $5000 a day until the "Think Tank," the one room that was inspected in 2009, was cleaned.

Here's where the story gets interesting. According to sources, once the fire department left the Club, Mr. James contacted Arnaldo Segarra. "Arnie" formally of the Dinkins administration. He directed James to Deputy Commissioner White of the FDNY. In an email dated September 2009 obtained by Your Free Press, Mr. James informs Deputy White of a “Disturbing matter...Three firemen entered the Clubhouse...They asked to enter private locked rooms based on this fictional report. They said they are coming back and will break the door down if we can not find a key.” Despite Mr. James' claim that the firemen said they would be back to break down the doors, after the email was sent the fire investigation into the NAC seemed to completely disappear. However, YFP learned that the Fire Department did do an inspection on January 7, 2010. The club was issued a violation for "blocked exit hallways." ( Amy Zimmer

This is not the first time the condition of the club and the leadership of Aldon James has been called into question. It is not the first time that an investigation into these allegations has been halted as soon as it began. In 2002 the financial records of the National Arts Club were seized by the city's Department of Finance. Authorities had “a search warrant to raid the Club's administrative offices as part of an investigation into grand larceny and a tax evasion scheme. The investigation was started by the Manhattan District Attorney's office.” (NY Observer

Amongst the charges that were being leveled against the Club's President was that he was misusing Club resources. It was alleged that at least 10 of the 37 highly coveted prewar apartments contained within the Club were being used for private purposes and that the financial resources of the Club were being used for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees that did not further the Club's mission. A group of members known as the Concerned Artist Members claimed that Mr. James' legal fees were not the Club's financial responsibility. In addition, that Aldon James, John James and Steven Leitner controlled 10 valuable apartments, depriving the Club of revenue.” (NYT) At the time Nilda Mesa, the wife of Concerned Artist Member Robert Seyffert was quoted in the NYT(/2002/01/05/nyregion/records-seized-in-investigation-at-national-arts-club.html) as saying “We see what has been a healthy catering business, bringing in conservatively gross revenues of $2 million to $3 million a year not reported on tax forms...The money is obviously not being invested in the building.The facade is crumbling. And it was until 2008 when a Facade Restoration project was announced and funds for the facade were being actively solicited by the Club.

Less than a week after the 2002 raid, Mr. James was on stage at another of the many gold-medal awards dinners and through his spokesman Ken Sunshine informed us that business at the Club was “continuing nonstop with no change” In response to allegations of his misuse of Club assets, Mr. James himslelf has quoted Goethe in response to his accusers with, “ Mehr licht,” or more light. (NYT)

Well, more light came to the NAC in 2008. There was an OSHA complaint regarding hazardous conditions in the work place by the building superintendent. The complaint dated 7/29/08 included allegations of asbestos. In August of the same year Mr. James wrote a response to the OSHA letter claiming that no hazards ever existed. After that OSHA did not come to inspect the facility. Mr. James can you shed some licht?
Click on the links below to see other images documents and video.

Stay tuned to YFP there will be further deve
lopments coming soon.


Anonymous said...

What boggles my mind is how OSHA, the NY Fire Dept. takes this man's word that the violations are corrected without an investigation or breaking the door as reported in one of the commends. What will happen is the kindle of this historical land mark smothers into a three alarm fire, what would be the answer by the regulatory agencies. Who will be responsible for the people that live and work there. What will the members have to say? How will the governing board spin this one. It is time to wake up to reality, and remember the old saying: " an ounce of prevention....

Anonymous said...

There was a fire there a month or two ago! They said it was an A\C unit but who knows...