Former Beth Israel doctor charged with sexually assaulting patients

Former Mount Sinai Beth Israel Chief of Palliative Care Division Ricardo Cruciani

By Sabina Mollot

A former high-ranking doctor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, who recently pleaded guilty to committing numerous sexual assaults of female patients at another hospital he worked at, is now facing charges of assaulting six other patients at Beth Israel.

The allegations include rape, forceful kissing and groping during the time Ricardo Cruciani, now 63, served as Beth Israel’s Chief of the Palliative Care Division. He was employed at the hospital from 2002-2014.

At that time, he was responsible for administering treatment to patients afflicted with chronic and debilitating pain disorders that are hard to find treatment for.

After leaving Beth Israel, Cruciani worked at Capital Health Medical Center in New Jersey and later Pennsylvania’s Drexel University neurology department.

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Worker dies at Flatiron construction site

The death was being investigated at the site on Tuesday morning. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Police are investigating the death of a construction worker found at the bottom of an elevator shaft on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old victim, later identified as Brooklyn resident Jucong Wu, was working on the ninth floor of 111 East 24th Street, a Sam Chang-owned building in the Flatiron District.

Emergency services were called to the site at 8:53 a.m. and pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing, though a police source said it appears to be a job site accident.

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Buildings, Wu was employed by U-Tek Elevator Inc., a firm that was installing an elevator car in the 12-story building, which is being converted to a 130-room hotel by Chang’s McSam Hotel Group.

Wu, however, was not tied to a fall-protection safety line, said the DOB.

A person who picked up the phone at McSam Hotel Group declined to comment.

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Claim of forced kiss by IDC leader may stall Senate Dem reunification

Mike McKee of TenantsPAC (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With sexual misconduct allegations having been made last week against Jeff Klein, the Bronx state senator who controls the Independent Democratic Conference, the proposal to reunite the Senate mainline Democrats with the IDC is likely to continue to stall.

Political watchdog Mike McKee, treasurer of TenantsPAC, said he suspects that “Jeff’s days may be numbered.” While not exactly unbiased — McKee rarely misses a chance to call Klein a landlord puppet — the veteran Albany activist put it this way: “I think this puts a monkey wrench into Governor Cuomo’s plan to reunify the Senate, which was very flawed to begin with.” But, he added that he doesn’t believe the plan was going anywhere anyway.

Under the proposed deal put forth last fall, the IDC, a breakaway group of eight Democrat senators who vote with Republicans, would share power with Democrats with each chamber’s chair becoming a co-leader. However, they would also still need Republican-aligned but non-IDC Senator Simcha Felder and two new Democrat senators in two vacant seats formerly occupied by Democrats to actually secure a majority.

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Fire breaks out at Union Square building

Photo via Google Maps

By Sabina Mollot

The FDNY is investigating a fire that broke out at a high-rise building in Union Square on Monday morning.

Eighty-four firefighters from 26 units responded to the “all hands” fire at 8:10 a.m., but according to the FDNY, it was under control in 31 minutes. The fire was on the seventh floor of the commercial building, 25 East 15th Street on the west side of Union Square Park. A spokesperson for the fire department said it is standard for that many firefighters to respond to any fire at a high-rise. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is still being determined.

After putting out the blaze, the FDNY sent out an emailed alert to warn New Yorkers to expect smoke and traffic delays in the area as well as emergency vehicles.

Child Victims bill gets boost from governor and Me Too founder

Me Too founder Tarana Burke

By Sabina Mollot

It’s been a good week for the Child Victims Act, legislation sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman that would significantly expand the statue of limitations survivors of sex abuse have to file charges. Currently, they have until the age of 23. Under the legislation, they’d have until 50 for civil cases, 28 for criminal ones.

On Monday, the founder of the Me Too movement, Tarana Burke, said the bill had her support as a survivor of sexual abuse herself.

She told The Daily News that “The origins of the Me Too movement are rooted in the protection of children.”

While actually a decade old, the Me Too movement became a household hashtag last October during the Harvey Weinstein scandal when celebrities encouraged other victims to come forward.

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Man slashed on East 14th Street

Jan18 Community grocery and candy

Community Grocery & Candy store on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who slashed another man on the cheek during a fight on East 14th Street west of First Avenue.

The two men had gotten into an argument inside a store that turned physical, police said, spilling out onto the street. At one point, one of the men took out a sharp object and slashed the 54-year-old victim. Police said both individuals are “known to the neighborhood,” though they don’t know the name of the suspect and haven’t arrested him.

The victim was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.

The suspect is described as Hispanic and about 6 ft. 2 inches tall and was wearing a long, leather coat.

Patch, which first reported on the incident, said the suspect ran off after the assault.
EVGrieve posted a photo of the police investigation outside the Community Grocery & Candy store, where an employee told a T&V reporter he didn’t have information about the incident.

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Man robs TD Bank in Gramercy

106-18 Bank Robbery MCS 13 pct 01-10-18 PHOTO

Bank robbery suspect

Police are looking for a man who robbed a TD Bank at 131 East 23rd Street between Park Avenue South and Lexington. The man allegedly strolled in on Wednesday afternoon and passed a note to a teller demanding cash. The employee handed over an unknown amount of money and the robber fled west on Lexington.

The suspect has been described as light-skinned and 30 to 40 years old. He was last seen wearing a black winter cap, gray gloves, a gray hooded sweater, a black leather jacket and blue jeans.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

Watchdog says affordability preserved through Stuy Town deal was exaggerated

de Blasio talking

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials with tenants in October, 2015 announcing the sale of Stuyvesant Town (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

In October of 2015, a grinning Mayor Bill de Blasio stood alongside other elected officials to declare that the sale of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to The Blackstone Group and partner Ivanhoe Cambridge was the “mother of all preservations deals.”

However, the Independent Budget Office of the City of New York (IBO) is now suggesting, in a report released Friday, that the amount of affordability preserved was inflated.

The IBO estimated that while the deal was supposed to preserve 100,000 “apartment years” (the equivalent of 5,000 apartments for 20 years), 64,000 of those apartment years would have remained affordable anyway through rent stabilization. This would mean the deal really only saved 36,000 apartment years, not 100,000. The report also noted that when the sale took place, just over 5,000 apartments were already renting at below-market rates due to rent stabilization.

While there has been plenty of debate over just how “affordable” the 5,000 apartments that are preserved and leased through a lottery system actually are, according to the IBO, only three percent of those 100,000 apartment years are reserved for low-income households. Twenty-seven percent are intended for middle income households while the remaining six percent of apartment years are units that will remain rent-stabilized longer than they would have without the deal. For its report, the IBO said it considered all of the newly created lottery apartments as well as ones that remain stabilized to be benefits to the city.

Additionally, the report indicated that the city used some misleading numbers at the time of the property sale.

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Police on lookout for W train masturbator

Jan4 Public lewdness

Public lewdness suspect

Police are looking for a man allegedly seen masturbating under his pants while riding the downtown W train from Herald Square to Union Square.

The witness, a 62-year-old man, said this happened at around 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 27. Police didn’t have information on whether there were others on the train who got a glimpse of this as well.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Man’s head knocked into Q train at Union Square

Dec21 Assault suspect2

Assault suspect 1

By Sabina Mollot

Police are hunting two men they say punched a man so hard his head got smacked onto an incoming Q train at the Union Square subway station.

According to the cops, on Saturday, December 16 at around 3 a.m. the two suspects approached a 41-year-old man who they didn’t know on the platform and the three of them got into an argument. They then began punching him in the head, which caused him to fall to the platform floor and his head to be struck by an arriving southbound Q train. A police spokesperson couldn’t say if the man, who survived, hit the side or the front of the train as it barreled by.

Dec21 Assault suspect 1

Assault suspect 2

The victim was taken to an area hospital where he is being treated for lacerations to the head, multiple fractures to his face and the base of his skull, and bleeding on the brain. A police spokesperson said his condition appears to be stable.

The suspects, if caught, would be charged with assault. They are described as a Hispanic man and an Asian man.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

Garodnick’s water tower legislation would make building inspection results clear to all

Council Member Dan Garodnick said he was motivated by building owners ignoring the law he got passed calling for annual inspections.

By Sabina Mollot

Last Tuesday, the City Council voted to make the results of buildings’ water tank inspections more readily accessible after many years of those records being kept private.

The bill was sponsored by Council Member Dan Garodnick, who, in 2006, authored another piece of legislation that required annual inspections of water tanks. The bill also required landlords to make the results of those inspections available to the city upon request for the next five years. It was signed into law in 2009.

Under the new legislation however, the results of the inspections would have to be submitted to the Department of Health and entered into a searchable, publicly available online database on the DOH’s website. The data would also be submitted annually to the City Council.

Garodnick said the issue was first flagged to him by then-Assembly Member Steven Sanders, who left office in 2006.

“Back then members of the public were barred from seeing the results, even if they had a subpoena,” said Garodnick. “Those reports should not be treated like state secrets.”

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Stuy Town attorney aims to make practicing law a less brutal sport

Marjorie Silver has authored a book on collaborative law. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

A Stuyvesant Town attorney, whose career has been shaped by alternative law, or more specifically, law when practiced in a way that’s meant to be more civil — and less traumatizing — for all involved in a case, has just released on a book on the subject.

Transforming Justice, Lawyers, and the Practice of Law was put together by Marjorie Silver, who also wrote one chapter with the other 15 chapters written by different authors.

Nearly all those authors, along with Silver, were participants in the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law and Politics (PISLAP), which is aimed at making law more collaborative and less adversarial. The publisher is the family-owned Carolina Academic Press.

Silver, who’s been an attorney for decades and is also an associate professor at Touro Law Center, said she has always tried to encourage students to practice law in the same fashion, “in a way that’s less adversarial, more healing.”

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Three men attack victim for his Beats headphones in Kips Bay

Nov30 First Ave Robbery

Kips Bay Robbery suspects

Cops are on the lookout for three men who attacked another man for his Beats headphones at the intersection of East 29th Street and First Avenue.

Police said on Wednesday, November 22 shortly after 1 a.m., the three men approached the 23-year-old victim and punched him in the face and body several times. They then ripped the headphones off him and fled on East 29th Street. The victim, who suffered redness to the left side of his face, refused medical attention.

The suspects are described as black and 18-25 years old. A surveillance photo of the men was taken from a local business prior to the incident.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Garodnick calls for transparency on construction noise

Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick (pictured at City Hall) have co-sponsored legislation aimed at making noise mitigation plans for construction sites less of a secret.

By Sabina Mollot

In New York City, especially in Manhattan, construction noise is usually impossible to escape. This is even true early in the mornings or later in the evenings at some construction sites, for what, to sleep-deprived neighbors, at least appears to be non-emergency work.

On East 14th Street, Stuyvesant Town residents have complained of late night Con Ed work. Meanwhile, on East 23rd Street, Peter Cooper residents have been dealing with on-and-off pre-sunrise construction relating to the VA Medical Center’s construction of a flood wall.

The canned response to New Yorkers facing what they consider excess noise is to call 3-1-1. However, that doesn’t always work because if work is being done at night, an inspection isn’t going to be scheduled until another day and at that time, there may not be an unacceptable level of noise.

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MCIs, noise top tenant concerns at meeting

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg speaks at Sunday’s meeting. Also pictured: Council Member-elect Keith Powers, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Council Member Dan Garodnick and State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

At a Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association meeting that was held on Sunday afternoon, while those in attendance were briefed on numerous issues such as coastal resiliency, the looming L train shutdown and Beth Israel developments, it was the ongoing issues of noise from construction as well as major capital improvements (MCI) that residents seemed most concerned about.

At the meeting, held at the auditorium of Simon Baruch Middle School, Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg spoke about recent MCIs for exterior restoration work, hot water heaters and video intercoms in Peter Cooper Village.

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