Hospital to pay $2.2M settlement over man’s death on reality show

Mark and Ken Chanko on a family cruise in 2006

Mark and Ken Chanko on a family cruise in 2006

By Sabina Mollot

The family of the former Stuyvesant Town resident whose final moments after being hit by a truck were filmed without permission and aired on a reality show, scored a major victory last Thursday when a federal investigation resulted in a $2.2 million settlement with the hospital.

For the past three years the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had been investigating whether the hospital, New York Presbyterian, violated HIPAA rules when it allowed a camera crew to film Mark Chanko without his or his family’s knowledge. The footage of Chanko, including his death, and the doctor delivering the sad news to his family (who didn’t know the doctor was wearing a microphone) was used in an episode of an ABC show called “NY Med.” It aired 16 months after Chanko’s visit to the hospital in 2011. His face was blurred and his voice altered but Chanko’s widow, Anita, recognized him immediately when watching “NY Med” at home.

A separate lawsuit filed by the family is set to be heard in the Court of Appeals following a decision earlier this month to allow it to proceed.

Additionally, legislation that would ban filming patients at hospitals without prior consent, which was drafted in response to Chanko’s filming, is currently pending at the state level.

On the settlement, the OCR referred to two patients, including Chanko, who had been filmed for the show, despite a medical professional asking the TV crew to stop filming.

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Original ST resident and former cop with 13th Pct., dies at 100

LoMenzo (center) with his mother, his wife and his two sons after moving to Stuyvesant Town (Photos courtesy of Roger LoMenzo)

LoMenzo (center) with his mother, his wife and his two sons after moving to Stuyvesant Town (Photos courtesy of Roger LoMenzo)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Joseph LoMenzo, an original tenant of Stuyvesant Town and a longtime officer at the 13th Precinct, died in Fort Myers, Florida this past Tuesday. His death came on the heels of celebrating a huge milestone for LoMenzo: his 100th birthday.

“He had this adrenaline and at all the parties, he was really energetic,” his oldest son Roger told Town & Village. “He really stuck it out.”

Just last month, Roger had accepted a plaque on his father’s behalf from officers at the 13th Precinct at the March Community Council meeting honoring this milestone. Of his father’s many years of service with the NYPD, most were spent at the 13th Precinct.

Having lived through the last century, and in New York for more than half of his life, LoMenzo had a unique perspective on the city from that time. When he was growing up in the Bronx, he watched Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth play ball in Yankee Stadium, witnessed the Hindenburg fly over the city prior to its explosion in New Jersey and spotted President Franklin Roosevelt in a casually sitting in a town car.

LoMenzo, who originally joined the NYPD while living in the Bronx, served in the military during World War II and when he was discharged from the army in 1946, he rejoined the NYPD at the 13th precinct. He had heard that Stuyvesant Town was being built so he put an application in for an apartment, to move closer to the neighborhood than the Bronx.

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ST/PCV off limits to door knocking for pols, candidates

Ken Chanko, a Stuyvesant Town resident who’s door knocked during a number of political campaigns (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Ken Chanko, a Stuyvesant Town resident who’s door knocked during a number of political campaigns (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Anyone thinking of volunteering for candidates running in the fall state elections should take note: Due to no solicitation rules, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village apartments are verboten to would-be door knockers.

A Stuyvesant Town resident who’d been volunteering for the Bernie Sanders campaign recently learned this as the presidential primary heated up.

The volunteer, retired teacher Ken Chanko (also at one time a film columnist for this newspaper), told Town & Village it was the Sunday before the primary when he was told by a volunteer supervisor that his own apartment complex couldn’t be visited. That is, not until the campaign acquired a permit from the NYPD. Not only that, said Chanko, but the campaign hadn’t been informed of the need for a permit until late on Friday, meaning the crucial weekend before the primary would be lost.

“You couldn’t get a permit over the weekend,” he said.

It was while visiting a volunteer location on Avenue A when Chanko said he was told by the supervisor that “’something came up.’ Apparently you can’t go door to door.”

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VA: Flood wall now expected to be finished by end of 2016

The contractors working at the hospital site faced delays due to difficulties drilling through found materials like concrete and rocks and a tentative projected finish date for the project is the end of the year, with work on the Asser Levy Park side expected to be finished some time this summer. (Photo by Anne Greenberg)

The contractors working at the hospital site faced delays due to difficulties drilling through found materials like concrete and rocks and a tentative projected finish date for the project is the end of the year, with work on the Asser Levy Park side expected to be finished some time this summer. (Photo by Anne Greenberg)

By Sabina Mollot

Last August, Town & Village reported on how the project to build a flood wall outside the VA Medical Center was scheduled to be finished by March of this year.

However, as anyone who has walked past the construction site recently could see, the project is still ongoing and the actual wall hasn’t even been built yet.

This week, when asked the reason for the delay, a spokesperson for the VA blamed the delay on “unforeseen factors,” specifically a less than cooperative construction site.

Work on the part of the wall along Asser Levy Park is now expected to be finished this summer, according to “tentative projections,” the spokesperson, Claudie Benjamin, said. The walls and work along 23rd and 25th street is now expected to continue until the end of the calendar year. Benjamin added that once the work along Asser Levy Place is finished, the park, which is now partially blocked off, should be “like new” at some point in the summer.

As for the difficult work conditions, Benjamin said this was discovered during the excavation for the flood wall’s foundation.

“We found some unanticipated site conditions that required us to bring in archeological and architectural teams to review and opine that we were doing everything safe for the site and the local community and that we didn’t have any archeological sites of significance,” she said.

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Letters to the editor, Apr. 28

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Constant dribbling driving me crazy

Re: “Blackstone looking at ways to reduce noise,” T&V, Mar. 17

You were concerned enough to recently publish an article regarding the noise nuisances at Stuyvesant Town.  I am hoping you can stay on top of this.
It is outrageous to me that two full court basketball courts exist, from 9 a.m. to dusk (Playground 11), daily, directly below my building, 285 Avenue C, and several other buildings around the courts.

I am hoping you will continue to publish articles, op-ed pieces, etc., confer with our Tenants Association, and everything else possible to get them to severely cut the hours of operation, e.g. weekdays and weekends noon to 6 p.m.,  to eliminate one full court basketball court and add a second volley ball court, enforce a specific closing time by security, only allow one guest per resident, and enforce signs indicating no undue shouting, screaming, and cursing, which carries up to everyone’s windows.

I have spoken with at least 20 people in my building and others who feel the same as I do, that this is a clear noise nuisance, and violates the rules and regulations of our lease re: quiet enjoyment/noise.  To cater to a maximum of 25 kids and teens who use Playground 11 at any given time, compared to 30,000 residents, and eight 12-story buildings around the courts is simply absurd, inconsiderate, and off the charts.

Every weekday after work and all weekend, we are forced to listen to constant dribbling basketballs, shouting, screaming, cursing, clapping, etc., that under our lease, falls under “unreasonable disturbances…which are excessive and sustained for a long period.” If possible, I would have the basketball courts completely removed, and let them use the public courts which exist throughout our area.

We do not live on a college campus, school setting, country club, sports club, etc., and deserve as much peace and quiet throughout the day as logically possible.

Stuart Levinson, ST

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Police Watch: Man arrested for ‘assaulting’ cop, ‘Robbery’ at Sprint store

MAN WITH SCREWDRIVER ARRESTED FOR ‘ASSAULTING’ COPS IN UNION SQUARE
Sixty-year-old Leon Cureton was arrested for assault of a peace officer at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street last Monday. Cureton walked up to police officers while they were attending a community partnership meeting in the park at 5 p.m. and was asking them questions. Police said that Cureton seemed very agitated and when police responded to him, he allegedly threw a cigarette in the officer’s face. When another officer attempted to handcuff him due to him being emotionally disturbed, he allegedly resisted and punched the officer in the head, causing bruising and swelling. Police said that during the struggle, Cureton had a screwdriver in his left hand and he swung his arms around, striking an officer and causing an abrasion.

MAN BUSTED FOR ‘ROBBERY’ AT FLATIRON SPRINT STORE
Police arrested 25-year-old Mamadou Coulibaly for robbery, possession of stolen property and assault inside the Sprint store at 175 Fifth Avenue last Saturday at 3:30 p.m. An employee at the Sprint store said that he was showing a phone to Coulibaly when the suspect allegedly grabbed two phones from the display area and attempted to run out of the store with them. The two phones were both Samsung. Another employee at the store said that he chased Coulibaly and held him at the store until police arrived. Coulibaly allegedly attempted to punch the employee and also wrestled with him, causing pain to the employee’s hand.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTING TO ‘SNATCH’ PHONE TWICE FROM SAME VICTIM
Police arrested 24-year-old Sidney Rand for robbery last Saturday at 6:40 p.m. at the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 25th Street. The victim told police that he was sitting on a bench talking on his phone when Rand allegedly tried to force it out of his hand. Police said that Rand fled emptyhanded south on Fifth Avenue. The victim called 911 to report the incident but while he was trying to make that call, Rand allegedly came back and tried again to take the victim’s phone, but was again unsuccessful. The victim said that Rand then ran away north on Fifth Avenue and when police arrived, they began searching the area on East 26th Street near the north side of Madison Square Park. Officers spotted a man matching the victim’s description and they began speaking with him. Rand was arrested when the victim positively identified him as the person who tried to take his phone.

MAN NABBED FOR ‘ASSAULT’ IN UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 38-year-old Kyle Sutphin for assault last Tuesday at 1:53 p.m. at the corner of Union Square East and East 15th Street. Police said that the victim was sitting on a park bench when Sutphin approached him, started an argument with him and called him a snitch. Sutphin allegedly threatened to jump him. The victim said that when Sutphin got closer to him, he said he would use his walking cane to defend himself, at which point Sutphin allegedly began to hit the victim, causing redness on his forehead.

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13th Precinct Community Council to meet tonight

The April meeting of the 13th Precinct Community Council has been rescheduled for April 26, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. at 230 East 21st Street between Second and Third Avenues. The meeting was changed because the New York Primary Election was on April 19. All are welcome to attend.

Agenda is as follows:
I. Cop of the Month
II. Guest Speaker Jo-Ann Polise will discuss National Night Out Against Crime
III. Report from Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney
IV. Comments and questions from the community

The next meeting will be held on May 17.

Reckoning for state government

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Once again the light is shining brightly on the Albany scene… and not in a good way. The last chapter of the saga of convicted Dean Skelos (former Senate Majority Leader) and convicted Shelly Silver (former Assembly Speaker) is about to be written as they are soon to be sentenced for their crimes and misdeeds as leaders of the State Legislature. In the meantime more unsavory information has come to light about the former speaker’s personal life and ways in which those relationships compromised the public trust. Undoubtedly both men will be sentenced to prison and maybe for a considerable length of time. The specter of these two legislative leaders being led off to incarceration is a profoundly sad day for New York State government.

For me personally it is enormously painful to watch. For the public it is more than a little disillusioning.

I served with both Dean and Shelly and consider them both to be friends. Shelly and I shared a close political relationship for all the 28 years that I served in the Assembly until 2006. My sense of unreality at what was going on just beyond the sight of their colleagues and just beneath the surface has shocked me. If I were still in the Assembly, would I have known? And If I had known what would I have said or done?

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Man arrested for shelter stabbing

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested 53-year-old William Smith in connection with a fatal stabbing at the 30th Street Men’s Shelter on Monday morning. The New York Post reported that William Smith, who was also wanted in the attempted robbery and slashing of a livery driver in Queens, was caught by police after getting off the train at Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Street in Astoria.

Marcus Guerreio, the 56-year-old man who was killed, was found inside the shelter at 400 East 30th Street last Friday at 8:26 a.m. Police were responding to a 911 call from the shelter about an unconscious man and when they arrived, they found that Guerreio was unresponsive and had a gash on his neck. An EMS team pronounced him dead at the scene.

In related news, Michael Durham, 49, was arrested the next day at 11 p.m. for a burglary at the 850-resident shelter following the stabbing.
Police said that Durham entered the deceased person’s room and stole some of his property.

Maloney opponent gets constituent request

Peter Lindner

Peter Lindner

By Sabina Mollot

Pete Lindner, the Union Square Democrat who recently launched a campaign against Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, has, without even been voted for yet, handled his first constituent request.

According to Lindner, a woman called him out of the blue after reading the profile of him that ran in this newspaper last month, to ask for help filing for Medicare.

“She said, ‘I read that nice story about you,’” he said. While he was able to look into some information to help with her query, Lindner said he wanted, if elected, to make it easier for people to get information on things like Medicare or Social Security by creating a central hotline.

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Man creeps out kids by snapping pics at Peter Cooper playground

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A man employed as a caretaker by an elderly resident was caught taking pictures of kids as they played in a Peter Cooper Village playground this week.
A resident shared news of the incident on the Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Tenants Facebook page this past Saturday, saying it happened as her daughter and her daughter’s friends were at the playground.

The man was reportedly sitting on a bench in the playground and when the kids suspected he might be filming them, one snuck behind where he was sitting on the bench and found that he was, in fact, taking photographs. They asked him if he was taping them and he said he was, and when they asked why, he reportedly said it was because he wanted to.

The girl’s father then approached the man, asking if he had a child in the park. The man said that he didn’t but was the aide of an elderly man also sitting in the playground. After the girl’s father called security, the aide said that he wasn’t filming the kids but he handed officers his phone, which had photographs of the children on it. The resident who reported the incident noted that the man was not charged with a crime because NYPD said that citations are only issued in city parks for being in a playground without a child. Since ST/PCV is private property, such matters are left up to the Public Safety department, who reportedly deleted the media on the man’s phone before returning the device to him.

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Stuy Town man facing eviction for starting fires

653 East 14th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

653 East 14th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge filed a lawsuit against a longtime Stuyvesant Town tenant at the beginning of this month because the resident has reportedly had a history of terrifying his neighbors with erratic behavior and setting fires in his apartment.

The New York Post originally reported the lawsuit between the owner and resident Max Chalawsky last Sunday and the suit was filed on April 1. The landlord, officially referred to as BPP ST in the suit, is seeking permanent injunctive relief and damages against Chalawsky because of his “severely destructive behavior” detailed in the suit, which included leaving pots unattended on a gas stove and reconnecting gas lines. The suit also alleges that Chalawsky behaved menacingly towards his neighbors and building personnel and it seeks an injunction to bar him from tampering with the gas lines, as well as damages no less than $25,000.

The suit noted nine different incidents since last year that variously involved the NYPD, FDNY, EMS, other tenants and staff in his building. Five of the incidents resulted in his being taken to Bellevue or Beth Israel for observation and in a more than one instance, Chalawsky reportedly removed a cap that had been placed on his gas line.

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Third person enters race for Garodnick’s City Council seat

Jeff Mailman is currently a legislative aide to Council Member Liz Crowley of Queens. Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Jeff Mailman is currently a legislative aide to Council Member Liz Crowley of Queens. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The race for the City Council seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick appears to be heating up with a third person announcing his candidacy.

That person is Jeff Mailman, an East Midtown Democrat who’s currently a legislative aide to Queens Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. Mailman had told Town & Village in February that he was seriously considering a run.

Others to get into the ring already are Stuyvesant Town Democrat Joshua Thompson and Peter Cooper Village resident Diane Grayson, who said she may run as an Independent.

During a recent interview at Aroma, a coffee joint near the Civic Center legislative building where he works, Mailman discussed his platform, which focuses on public safety, improved schools and quality of life issues.

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Trial dog run launched at ST playground

Fido got to frolic freely on Saturday and additional “dog days” are planned at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 1 in response to requests for a dog run as well as the requests to keep the complex-dog park-free. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Fido got to frolic freely on Saturday and additional “dog days” are planned at Stuyvesant Town’s Playground 1 in response to requests for a dog run as well as the requests to keep the complex-dog park-free. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

After months of being deluged with requests for a dog run from countless dog owners in Stuyvesant Town — as well as equally passionate NIMBY pleas from other residents — management has debuted an experimental dog run at Playground 1.

The trial dog run program, dubbed “Dog Days,” was introduced at an event for dogs and their owners at the aforementioned playground near First Avenue on Saturday.

The trial dog run will be open for three more Saturdays, 90 minutes each time, from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

While at Saturday’s event, Rick Hayduk, the general manager of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, explained that due to the controversial nature of the oft-spoken about dog run, a pilot program seemed necessary.

“Let me just say I lobbied all the stakeholders and no one had any objection to a trial,” he said. “A lot of the dog run conversation is hypothetical. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be this.”

But Blackstone’s new management company, StuyTown Property Services, has come up with a plan that will hopefully keep the dog run from becoming a nuisance.

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Man ‘steals’ taxi in Gramercy, then crashes it, injuring four

Ilir Kuka was arrested in February after allegedly driving off in the cab he’d been riding in, going the wrong direction and hitting a minivan. (Pictured) Emergency responders at the scene (Photo by Steve Kaufman)

Ilir Kuka was arrested in February after allegedly driving off in the cab he’d been riding in, going the wrong direction and hitting a minivan. (Pictured) Emergency responders at the scene (Photo by Steve Kaufman)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Police arrested a 26-year-old man early Sunday morning after he reportedly went on a joyride in a cab he stole in Gramercy, resulting in the hospitalization of four people.

The trouble started when a cab driver picked up Miguel Batiz and his coworker near East 21st Street and Second Avenue at 5:30 a.m. They got into the cab, and the driver said that Batiz told him to take them to the Bronx. When the driver asked what the exact address was for where they wanted to go, he said that Batiz began giving him directions that would not take them to the Bronx. The driver said that Batiz started to get agitated, then opened the partition between the front and backseat of the cab. The suspect then allegedly grabbed the driver by his collar, pushed him and said, “drive me where I tell you to go.”

At this point, the driver got nervous so he pulled the cab over and turned on his emergency light. Police said that Batiz then got out of the cab, opened the front passenger door and started punching the driver. He then allegedly grabbed the driver by the head and told him that if he didn’t drive him where he wanted to go, he would cut him.

The driver said that Batiz grabbed at his waistline, where the victim believed he had a knife, although the driver said he did not see a weapon. Batiz allegedly put the victim in a headlock and said, “If you won’t drive, I will.”

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