Bronx Political Round-Up: Efrain Gonzalez, Jr. Is Back In The Bronx

Efrain Gozalez Jr_Village VoiceFormer Bronx Senator Efrain Gonzalez Jr. Is Home…Well, Sort of…

After weeks of rumors and curious Facebook friend requests, former state senator Efrain Gonzalez, Jr. confirmed to the Bronx Chronicle that he is back in the Bronx. Gonzalez is out on furlough while awaiting a federal court hearing. He is under home detention and needs permission to leave his home. On July 2, 2015, the US Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit vacated the District Court’s restitution order and ordered a new hearing to recalculate the restitution amount. Gonzalez as pro se counsel successfully argued that his conviction didn’t become final until the restitution amount was finalized. In the last week or so, he filed the final papers for his Section 2255 claim. Consequently, Gonzalez is home pending an evidentiary hearing on his claim that the government intimidated a witness whose testimony would have aided his case. As if pulling a page from a well-worn cliche prison drama, Gonzalez with a laugh revealed that sometime during the course of his five years 7 months and 9 days in prison, he became supervisor of his camp’s law library.


Efrain Gozalez Jr_The Move Behind The MoveThe political world is abuzz, however, over his a new book, The Move Behind The Move. The political memoir is written by his former “bunkmate” Brian H. Madden. The book and Kindle version are available at Stay tuned for a book review.

Gonzalez hinted that a second, more revealing political memoir is in the works. “But that one won’t come out until I’m through with…,” he said. Gonzalez said he didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize his present circumstances.


Back in 2010, Mr. Madden pleaded guilty to wire fraud and embezzlement after looting his firm, Long Island-based Liberty Title Agency and his clients, including Extell Development of $2.2 million. Interestingly, Liberty Title Agency once employed Adam Skelos, who along with his father, Dean Skelos, the ex-Senate Majority Leader, was recently convicted on corruption charges. Coincidentally, Madden won a reduction of his restitution amount from the same federal district court.


Rev. Que English is Still Queued Up to Challenge Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson

Que English_We The People Palm Card_SD36This week, Reverend Que English told The Bronx Chronicle that she is still planning a primary challenge to longtime incumbent Bronx/Mt. Vernon State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (SD36). In the run-up to her failed bid to become Mayor of Mount Vernon last year, Sen. Thompson had said that she would not seek re-election to the state senate, no matter the outcome of that election. Well, as pols and women are wont to do, Thompson changed her mind.


The crowded field of challengers include Crystal Collins, a Mount Vernon Democratic district leader; Jamal Bailey, a Bronx Democratic district leader, attorney and aide to Speaker Carl Heastie; Garth Merchant; Anthony Rivieccio, leader of the Northwest Bronx Democrats; and Rev. English.



City Council To Swear In Rafael Salamanca Jr on Wednesday

Rafael Salamanca Jr. will be sworn in as the new District 17 councilman on Wednesday at the City Council meeting. Councilman-elect Salamanca won the 17th District seat in a special election last month. Salamanca told Bronx News 12 that he hopes to work with his former rivals to solve the district’s woes. He is taking the post after Maria Del Carmen Arroyo stepped down last year.

Ryan Monell To Join Councilman-elect Salamanca 

Councilman-elect Rafael Salamanca, Jr. has made his first hire, Ryan Monell. Mr. Monell was the Red Horse Strategies pointman embedded with Team Salamanca during the recently concluded special election. In 2015, Monell was embedded with the successful campaign of Judge Darcel Clark for Bronx District Attorney. The Bronx Chronicle confirmed that CM Salamanca stole Ryan away from the office of the Bronx District Attorney, where was supposed to start working with this month. One source said that a $20K salary boost sealed the deal.


New Bronx D.A. Boosts Security Detail

Reliable sources tell The Bronx Chronicle that New York State’s first African American female district attorney has a four-person security detail and a new SUV (the source’s claim that the SUV is armored could not be confirmed). D.A. Clark’s security moves are a marked departure from that of former longtime D.A. Robert Johnson who famously would drive himself to events and walk to local delis to order his lunch sans a security blanket of detectives. One needed only glance over the then-DA’s shoulder to see a lone detective shadowing him.


Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie Backs Keith Wright For Congress 

In an email to supporters of Assemblyman Keith Wright’s congressional campaign, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie announced his “unequivocal support.” Wright is among several people vying to replace 23-term incumbent Charles B. Rangel in the historic Harlem Congressional District (which now includes East Harlem, Washington Heights and Upper Manhattan). Speaker Heastie cited Wright’s efforts regarding gun violence, raising the minimum wage, investigating police misconduct during his Assembly career in the email.


Carl Heastie_Keith LT Wright-NY13


Wright will likely face State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, former Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, former White House aide Clyde Williams, former Ambassador Rev. Susan ‘Sujay’ Johnson Cook, and  Michael Gallagher in the June 28 congressional primary.  State Senator Bill Perkins dropped out of the race last week. Petition gathering to get on the primary ballot begins this Monday.


In the email, Heastie wrote (in full):

Keith Wright is the clear choice to represent New Yorkers in Congress. We’ve worked together for more than a decade and I’m proud to say that Keith has my unequivocal support. 

In the nearly fifteen years we have served together, Keith Wright has been steadfast in his commitment to empowering the hardest working New Yorkers. Keith’s leadership has ensured that New York leads the nation.We were the first state to dedicate a month to gun violence awareness, we’ve raised the minimum wage, and are leading the way with the creation of a special prosecutor to investigate when police officers are involved in the deaths of unarmed civilians. 

As the future congressman from this great district, I know Keith stands ready to deliver on the same fundamental issues he has fought for alongside me in the legislature – bringing more affordable housing to our neighborhoods, pushing through meaningful criminal justice reform and ensuring that all of our children have every chance to succeed with the promise of a first-rate education.


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