Friday, February 24, 2017

Today's the day

From CBS 2:

Mayor Bill de Blasio will be questioned by federal prosecutors and the FBI on Friday, CBS2 has confirmed.

CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer confirmed through multiple sources Thursday night that de Blasio will be interviewed about the fundraising scandal that has swirled around the Mayor’s office for nearly a year.

The meeting will take place at the office of de Blasio’s attorney, Barry H. Berke of Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, Kramer confirmed.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, sources said de Blasio’s team has agreed to meet with prosecutors for four hours tomorrow to answer questions.

CBS2 is told the interview was set originally set for two weeks ago, but was postponed until Friday.

Queens realtors opposed to mansion tax

From the Queens Chronicle:

Some Queens realtors are not supportive of Mayor de Blasio’s proposed mansion tax, a policy City Hall is once again pushing that would create a 2.5 percent marginal surcharge on residences that sell for more than $2 million.

The mayor has said that the tax would raise more than $330 million in revenue yearly to fund rent subsidies for 25,000 low-income seniors. It would be a marginal surcharge paid by the buyer that would add to the existing 1 percent fee on sales reaching $1 million or above. Unlike the 1 percent tax, it would only be applied to the value over $2 million. (For example, a $3 million sale would have a $25,000 tax under de Blasio’s proposal in addition to the $30,000 required by the 1 percent tax.)

Long Island Board of Realtors President David Legaz called the mayor’s intention to fund low-income senior housing “laudable” but said that the cost should be borne “equally among New York City citizens.”

According to de Blasio spokeswoman Melissa Grace, the average price of a residence reaching the proposal’s threshold is $4.5 million.

“At a time when many of those buyers are likely to receive a significant federal tax cut, we believe it’s urgent they contribute more to help seniors in need,” she said.

Eight percent of New York City sales between 2014 and 2016 exceeded the proposed tax’s threshold, according to a report last week from the Independent Budget Office.
Most places that pricey are in Manhattan, although several Queens neighborhoods had sales north of $2 million last year: Forest Hills Gardens, Douglaston, Whitestone, Flushing and Astoria.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gov's gonna blow up the bridge

From CBS 2:

Cuomo met with the team building the new Kosciuszko Bridge, an outdated 78-year-old span that gives new meaning to the term traffic tie-ups. Yet as the $555 million first phase nears completion, the Governor tells CBS2 that blowing up parts of the bridge is exactly what he’s going to do at some point this summer.

The governor says the demolition will save seven to nine months.

When the project is completed in 2020, it will actually be two bridges connecting Brooklyn and Queens — one in each direction. Luckily for commuters, their relief comes in April because when the first bridge is done, traffic will be rerouted and the old bridge will go up in smoke.

50-unit building planned for Woodside

From Sunnyside Post:

A local developer is looking to put up a new building in Woodside that will include nearly 50 residential units as well as a supermarket, daycare facility, and other commercial spaces.

According to a permit filed with the building department last week, Queens-based developer Cheung Kiu plans to build a four-story, 64,472 square foot building at 31-19 56th Street in Woodside.

The plans show that the development would have 40,099 square feet of residential space, 18,711 square feet of commercial space, and 5,662 square feet of community space, with 47 apartments on the upper floors and retail and offices on the lower levels.

Kiu plans to build an attended below ground parking garage with 68 spots on the site, according to the plans.

Well, I don't think that drawing quite depicts a 50-unit building but what do I know?

You've been warned!

From the Daily News:

Airbnb hosts and their neighbors are about to get an education in New York’s new law cracking down on the advertising of illegal short-term rentals.

Share Better, an anti-Airbnb coalition that includes politicians and the hotel industry, is launching a new ad campaign and website Tuesday warning about the new law and the costs of violating it.

Ads will also encourage neighbors who suspect illegal rentals in their building to alert the city.

“AIRBNB HOSTS: KNOW THE LAW,” the headline on one ad reads. “YOU COULD FACE FINES UP TO $7,500 & EVICTION.”

Another ad reads: “If your neighbor is renting an entire apartment for less than 30 days, they are BREAKING THE LAW.”

The ads will run on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other websites.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

De Blasio wanted to keep gang member

From the Daily News:

Mayor de Blasio lashed out Tuesday at Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after their agents scooped up a 19-year-old Salvadoran immigrant in Queens.

ICE officials issued a detainer order to the city Department of Correction in May, telling them to place a federal hold on Velasquez. But the city released Velasquez from Rikers Island on Thursday after he served nearly five months for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

Later that day, ICE agents busted Velasquez, whom they described as a gang member and a potential threat to public safety. Velasquez was in the midst of being deported late Tuesday.

De Blasio cried foul.

“The detainee was released after he pled guilty and served his time for an offense that does not qualify as a violent or serious felony under the city’s local laws,” said Rosemary Boeglin, a mayoral spokeswoman.

ICE officials said Velasquez admitted to agents he was a member of the MS-13 gang. He was one of at least 41 people the agency detained around the city in the last month.

Velasquez entered the U.S. illegally, ICE officials said. And in November 2015, a judge ordered he be deported. His criminal history in the U.S. includes reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, and disorderly conduct, ICE officials said.

Mayoral candidate makes some good points

From CBS 2:

“How can de Blasio think it’s okay to go into debt with a law firm that frequently does business with the city?” mayoral candidate Paul Massey said. “No ordinary person can get legal services with no plan to pay for them.”

Massey wants to unseat de Blasio — he has the independent party endorsement and is seeking the Republican Party line as well. He sent letters to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and US Attorney Preet Bharara demanding an investigation into the mayor’s dealings, questioning whether the legal defense fund violates criminal law, the city charter, or ethics laws.

“Mayor de Blasio often likes to say that we’re living in a tale of two cities,” Massey said. “He’s right, he believes there’s one set of rules for Bill de Blasio and one set for everybody else.”

A subdivision that should be a crime

"This is the property that is adjacent to the 4 properties developed by Tommy Huang’s son in Weeks Woodland. They’re selling it as two subdivided plots of land - one will have to destroy the house and the other will have to dig up the swimming pool? Anyway it’s such a shame it’s being sold like this!

ML# 2914967 and ML# 2914969" - anonymous

Steinway Mansion has gotten a new roof

Courtesy of George the Atheist