Political Round Up: Skelos, Gjonaj, Obama

NYS Senate Majority Leader, Son Arrested

On Monday, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam, 32, were arrested on charges that they extorted those with business before New York State to make payments to Adam Skelos, with the expectation that such payments would result in official action by Dean Skelos. The defendants were also charged with bribery and honest services fraud schemes. Among other things, Dean Skelos is accused of illegally obtaining a $20,000 payment for Adam Skelos from a large real estate developer dependent on Dean Skelos for tax breaks and a $10,000 monthly payment from an environmental technology company seeking government-funded contracts in New York State. [US v. Dean and Adam Skelos Complaint]

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Klein, Gjonaj honor Albanian role in saving Jews from the Nazis

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and State Senator Jeff Klein hosted a reception for the President of Albania H.E. Bujar Nishani and photographer Norman Gershman to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII  and the role Albanians played in saving Jews from the Nazi regime. President Nishani visited the Assembly and Senate chambers in the afternoon. Both houses passed resolutions recognizing the 70th anniversary VE-Day; and the remarkable role Albanians played rescuing its Jewish population during WWII. More than 2,000 Jews survived Nazi persecution in Albania, where the local Albanian population hid them at the risk of their own lives, and in some instances, at the ultimate cost of their own lives.

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Diaz, Serrano Welcome President Obama to the Bronx

BP Ruben Diaz and Rep. Jose Serrano joined other elected officials and excited Bronxites thrilled to welcome President Obama to Lehman College in The Bronx on Monday. The President was in the Bronx to launch of his ‘My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.’ “I know firsthand the struggles young men of color face in this nation, and I know how challenging it can be to both lead one’s own life on the right path while also guiding others in that same direction,” said Diaz.

Serrano called the initiative “crucial to the success of our neighborhoods in the South Bronx, where far too many don’t have access to the opportunities that exist just a few miles away.” “The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is a chance to invest and change the lives of millions of boys and young men of color,” said Serrano in a statement.

First launched by President Obama in 2014, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative is a public-private partnership aimed at addressing the barriers that keep young men of color from accessing equality of opportunity and achieving their goals. When the initiative was first unveiled, grant makers pledged more $200 million in funding through special programs over the span of five years. For the non-profit facet launched yesterday, private donors have already committed to donating $80 million to support the effort.

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New York State Trade Mission to Cuba Positions JetBlue as Leading Cuba-Bound Carrier

Governor Andrew Cuomo joined with JetBlue Airways, and its charter partner, Cuba Travel Services, on Tuesday to announce a regular flights from New York to Havana, Cuba. The milestone makes JetBlue the first major carrier to announce a new flight to Cuba from New York since travel restrictions were recently eased.

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Corruptors Should Run To Preet

Ravi Batra, a lawyer and former member of the JCOPE ethics panel suggested in an email that anyone who has done the public wrong or stayed silent when they were duty bound to speak up and object, ought to walk over to US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office. “Better yet,” he wrote, “run — as apparently Albany’s corrupters (sic) already cut a deal.” Batra is referring to real estate mogul, Leonard Litwin and executives at his company, Glenwood Management and their lobbyists who have figured heavily in the federal criminal complaints against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Daan Skelos.

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Councilman King Under The NY Post Microscope
On the heels of a civil lawsuit alleging sexual harassment of a staffer, Bronx Council Member Andy King finds himself under scrutiny by the NY Post. The Post reported that eight years ago King failed to pay child support for a 31 month period, March 2007 to September 2009. King settled the nearly $13,00 debt in July 2010.
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