Thursday, July 3, 2008

New York City's Child Care Centers Misspending State Funds

Some New York City child care centers have been stealing from the state tills:

The money for the programs came from the federal Child Care and Development Fund, which provides New York State with more than $300 million a year to arrange child care for low-income families.

One part of the study examined a sample of 34 contracts whose contractors were supposed to create 1,545 slots for child care, but as of May 2007 they had created only 821. Another part of the audit focused on 55 contracts that cost the state $2.9 million and found that misspending in 39 totaled nearly $1.6 million.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Leona Helmsley's Estate Goes To The Dogs

Leona Helmsley may have been the queen of mean but she apparently loved dogs:

In a two-page “mission statement,” Leona Helmsley left her entire trust, valued at $5 billion to $8 billion and amounting to virtually all her estate, be used for the care and welfare of dogs.

It is by no means clear, however, that all the money will go to dogs. Another provision of the mission statement says Mrs. Helmsley’s trustees may use their discretion in distributing the money, and some lawyers say the statement may not mean much anyway, given that its directions were not incorporated into Mrs. Helmsley’s will or the trust documents.

Monday, June 30, 2008

New York's Governor Embraces Gay Rights

From NYT:

Few governors have made advancing gay rights as central to their policy making as Mr. Paterson. Even liberal Democrats who have long advocated equal rights for gay men and lesbians, like Mr. Paterson’s predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, have not embraced the gay community so publicly.

The most significant move Mr. Paterson has made toward broadening gay rights in New York was an order he issued in May that directed state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside of New York.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Contracts and the Mafia

The Mafia have their hands in everything even in school bus contracts:

The former president of a union representing 15,000 New York City school bus drivers was sentenced on Thursday to four years and nine months in federal prison after pleading guilty to extortion and receiving bribes in a Mafia-controlled racketeering conspiracy.

The former president, Salvatore Battaglia, admitted his role in the conspiracy in January, four days before his trial was to begin. Mr. Battaglia, 61, of Staten Island, acknowledged taking payoffs from mobsters under the employ of Matthew Ianniello, the former acting boss of the Genovese crime family, in exchange for agreeing not to unionize certain bus companies with contracts with the city.

Mr. Battaglia was the president of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union from 2002 to 2006, when he lost the job because of his indictment in the case. In that indictment, he was accused of being a member of the Genovese family.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Testing For H.I.V.

Routine testing for H.I.V. could help save lives. The Bronx will soon be able to say that they are willing to control this epidemic:

The New York City health department plans to announce on Thursday an ambitious three-year effort to give an H.I.V. test to every adult living in the Bronx, which has a far higher death rate from AIDS than any other borough.

The campaign will begin with a push to make the voluntary testing routine in emergency rooms and storefront clinics, where city officials say that cumbersome consent procedures required by state law have deterred doctors from offering the tests.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Columbia Professor Fired Over Plagiarism Charge

She cried racism but ultimately it was her dishonesty that led to her downfall:

Madonna G. Constantine, the Columbia University professor who gained widespread attention last fall after a noose was found hanging on her office door, was fired on Monday after months of wrangling over charges that she plagiarized the work of two former students and a former colleague.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Standing Strong To One's Conviction

Winning a criminal case at the expense of the truth has long been most prosecutor's motto, but not for prosecutor Daniel L. Bibb:

The 1990 shooting of a bouncer outside the Palladium nightclub — had been called into question by a stream of new evidence. So the office decided on a re-examination, led by a 21-year veteran assistant, Daniel L. Bibb.

Mr. Bibb spent nearly two years reinvestigating the killing and reported back: He believed that the two imprisoned men were not guilty, and that their convictions should be dropped. Yet top officials told him, he said, to go into a court hearing and defend the case anyway. He did, and in 2005 he lost.

But in a recent interview, Mr. Bibb made a startling admission: He threw the case. Unwilling to do what his bosses ordered, he said, he deliberately helped the other side win.

He tracked down hard-to-find or reluctant witnesses who pointed to other suspects and prepared them to testify for the defense. He talked strategy with defense lawyers. And when they veered from his coaching, he cornered them in the hallway and corrected them.

Bravo Mr. Bibb for doing the right thing.