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A once powerful state senator is expected to be arrested as early as today in a corruption case that is sure to sharpen calls for political reform in Albany. An attorney for the politician, Brooklyn Democrat John L. Sampson, has not commented.
The Daily News reported over the weekend that the case involving Sampson is related to conversations that were secretly recorded by disgraced state Senator Shirley Huntley, who is being sentenced this week for stealing taxpayer money through a fake charity. Court papers disclosed on Friday in Huntley's case say she recorded conversations with seven elected officials and two other people.
The recordings, according to the court papers, "did yield evidence useful to law enforcement." The officials were not named in the papers.
In early April, two separate corruption investigations against sitting elected officials jolted the political establishment. In one of those cases, an assemblyman was wearing a wire to record his colleagues for over three years.
The arrests last month led to calls for reform to stem what appears to be a pervasive culture of corruption. Those calls have been met by proposals from good government groups, the political parties and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
A Manhattan judge has ruled that hundreds of Sandy evacuees currently living in hotel rooms paid for by the city can stay until at least mid-May.
After meeting with attorneys in chambers for almost 30 minutes, Judge Margaret Chan announced today that the 365 Sandy evacuees with no current housing alternatives can stay in the hotel rooms until May 15.
The city had said they would be evicted from the hotels on April 30, after funding for the program ended.
Attorneys for the city said that they planned on extending the deadline to the same date regardless of how the judge would have ruled today.
The city's Law Department said that the city had spent close to $60 million on helping households transition into stable living arrangements. Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told reporters last week that the hotel program had cost the city $40 million.
Embattled Councilman Dan Halloran says he will not seek reelection.
The Queens Republican was indicted in a scheme to bribe GOP party heads as a means to secure a mayoral ballot line for Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith. Currently facing federal corruption charges, Halloran said that he would instead focus on clearing his name and restoring his reputation.
"After much thought, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign," Halloran wrote in a statement.
Halloran thanked the community and his Council staff, adding that he would continue to "discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council."
In early April, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said that Halloran was stripped of all committee assignments. Soon after, the Council's standards and ethics committee began a review of Halloran's role in the scandal.
Hundreds of displaced Superstorm Sandy victims are safe from eviction from dozens of hotels paid for by the city — at least until tomorrow afternoon.
A New York Supreme Court judge will hear arguments tomorrow from the city and attorneys representing five evacuees who face eviction from the city's hotel program, which was supposed to terminate at the end of April .
While the city said on Monday night that the restraining order wasn't properly processed, the evacuees housed in any of the more the 50 hotels citywide can count on at least one more night.
Arguing on behalf of the five evacuees, the Legal Aid Society says that the city needs to secure an extension for those New Yorkers with no other housing options, which includes at least 125 households.
During a City Council hearing last Friday, Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told Council members that another 71 households rejected the options given to them by DHS and its hired caseworkers.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lashed out at critics of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk tactics, including mayoral candidates, who he said are playing politics and undermining law enforcement.
During a speech to an audience of NYPD leaders today, Bloomberg took umbrage at two bills proposed by City Council members that seek to increase oversight of stop, question and frisk, directly tying the program to the city's record-low crime rates and ongoing counterterrorism efforts.
The outgoing mayor also took grave offense with some of his potential successors and their willingness to make the city less safe by supporting "politically driven legislation."
"My message is simple: stop playing politics with public safety," Bloomberg said to an audience of NYPD leaders. "Look at what’s happened in Boston. Remember what happened here on 9/11. Remember all of those who’ve been killed by gun violence — and the families they left behind. We owe it to all of them to give our officers the tools they need to protect innocent lives or people will needlessly die and we’ll all be responsible."
Calling the police department officers "first preventers," the mayor argued that the numbers used to argue against stop-and-frisk prove the need for the practice. Bloomberg defended the program as a deterrence against gun possession and crime, and that the movement to end stop-and-frisk would turn the clock back on the city's low crime rates.