Assemblyman Marcos Crespo replaces Carl Heastie as chairman of Bronx Democratic Committee

Assemblyman Marcos Crespo was named chairman of the Bronx Democratic Committee Thursday, replacing Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. The 34-year-old lawmaker was elected in a unanimous vote at the county headquarters near Westchester Square. "Honored to have been elected #Chairman of The #Bronx Democratic Committee. #ThankYou to my peers for the support," Crespo tweeted. Heastie stepped down as county leader when he was named speaker of the Assembly last month — replacing Manhattan Assemblyman Sheldon Silver who was indicted on federal corruption charges. Crespo joined the Assembly after a 2009 special election to fill the seat Ruben Diaz Jr. left vacant when he was elected Bronx Borough President. Crespo worked for both Diaz and his father state Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. at different times prior to becoming a lawmaker. Continue Reading

Assembly committee head criticizes Cuomo for withholding state aid for 16 NYC homeless shelters

ALBANY - The head of a key Assembly committee criticized Gov. Cuomo for withholding state aid for 16 city homeless shelters after the de Blasio administration missed a deadline to address serious code violations. "Cutting off funds for shelters, as the governor has done, is only hurting the poorest New Yorkers," Assemblyman Social Services Committee Chairman Andrew Hevesi told the Daily News. The fight over the shelters is the latest skirmish in the ever-growing battles between de Blasio and his frenemy, Cuomo. "The poor conditions in the shelter system have been acknowledged by both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio," Hevesi said. "In the midst of the worst homeless crisis ever, these two gentlemen need to work together." Kristi Berner, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, said the state is “engaging with the city to ensure egregious issues that put the health and safety of New York's most vulnerable citizens at risk are resolved.” The Cuomo administration on April 28 sent a letter giving the de Blasio administration seven business day to fix what it deemed serious building and housing code violations at 16 family shelters across the city. After not meeting the deadline, the state began withholding aid. The de Blasio administration claimed many of the problems pre-date his taking office last year. The mayor recently announced a task force charged with cleaning up the shelter system. "Instead of spending scarce resources to re-inspect shelters and issue redundant reports, while citing issues which it knows are already being addressed as an excuse to withhold needed funding, the state should be meeting its own fiscal responsibility to New York City’s homeless families,” said city Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor. The Cuomo administration letter came weeks after a city Department of Investigation report outlined egregious conditions at numerous shelters Continue Reading

Donald Trump forms exploratory committee to run for President in 2016

Stop us if you’ve heard this before. Donald Trump has formed a presidential exploratory committee, the billionaire business mogul announced Wednesday, saying he's the “only one who can make America truly great again!” The “Apprentice” reality TV star has flirted with running for President before, but launching the committee for the 2016 power play is the closest he's come to following through. "I have a great love for our country, but it is a country that is in serious trouble," he said in a statement. "We have lost the respect of the entire world. Americans deserve better than what they get from their politicians --- who are all talk and no action!" Trump will not renew his contract with NBC, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported. He has appointed a team of political advisers in New York and has made "key" staff hires in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, where he'll meet Thursday with local business owners and veterans, the statement said. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO. Continue Reading

Chinese hack could have taken 32M Americans’ data: committee head

The head of a House committee suggested Wednesday a Chinese hack of the Office of Personnel Management could have compromised the data of a whopping 32 million Americans. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) reached that estimate based on the agency’s last budget request, which says the agency stores personal information of 32 million current and former federal employees. Office Director Katherine Archuleta wouldn’t say if the number is correct. Chaffetz ripped Archuleta for deflecting responsibly, telling her to step down. “It’s time for you to go,” he said. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

International Olympic Committee says Caitlyn Jenner can keep her gold medal from 1976 Summer Olympics

It is now safe to say that Caitlyn Jenner will go down as the first woman to have ever won an Olympic gold medal and set a world record in the men's decathlon. After being pressed by a petition on that calls for the revocation of Jenner's Olympic gold medal she won in the 1976 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is allowing Caitlyn Jenner to retain her medal despite her sexual transition. The petition, which had over 11,300 signatures as of Thursday afternoon and originated out of Fort Worth, Tx., argues that because Jenner has said she has always identified as a woman, that she was a woman when she received her gold medal in 1976. The petition's mission statement read: "Dear International Olympic Committee, It has recently come to light that gold medalist Bruce Jenner is in fact transgender, and therefore, identifies as a woman. We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best. However, this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men's sports and vice versa. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we must ask whether or not it is proper that Ms. Jenner should retain her Olympic records in light of this, as we must now either claim that Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner are two entirely different people (which we know is not true), or that Bruce Jenner was, in fact, a woman participating in a men's event. It is only fair to all involved that women receive their credit as champions of the Decathlon and that the men racing Ms. Jenner are not expected to compete with a superior, streamlined being such as herself. We urge Ms. Jenner to support the transgender community by giving up the medals earned by competing against the wrong gender. Thank you, and congratulations to Ms. Jenner for her courage!" RELATED: Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton agrees to testify before House committee as campaign raffles off Mother’s Day call to supporters

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify about the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private email server to a House committee as early as May 18. The former secretary of state “will stay as long as necessary to answer the committee’s questions, but will not prolong the committee’s efforts further by appearing on two separate occasions when one will suffice,” her attorney David Kendall said in a letter Monday to Select Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). But before that, her campaign is thinking of this Sunday, by raffling off Mother’s Day calls from Clinton to the moms of five supporters. The fundraising email, sent Sunday, reminds backers to call their moms. "You're an important part of this campaign, and that means you're important to me," Clinton wrote. "So on Mother's Day, I'd like to call the mom in your life — someone who is special to you and helped you get there — and say thank you." Clinton uses the email to circle back to her mom's hard upbringing — a theme she's been hitting on the stump to show she knows what it's like to struggle. "I've been a mother for more than 35 years now, and I'm still not sure how my mother did it," she wrote. "She didn't always have an easy life, but she managed to remain strong and kind and always remember everyone who helped her get through the tough times." The accompanying link sends you to a page with a smiling Hillary on a cell phone, with a prompt to give the campaign your email address and a chance to donate. The email lets supporters know they're not off the hook just by entering the contest — "you should still call, too!" it closes.  ON A MOBILE DEVICE?  WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman opens investigation into NYCHA’s sale of new supplies

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has opened an investigation into NYCHA’s sale of brand-new supplies — a money grab first reported by the Daily News. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter Tuesday to U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro citing The News’ findings and demanding an explanation. Most of NYCHA’s funding comes from HUD. “It is unclear who within either the housing authority or NYC government was aware of or authorized the sale, but I doubt that anyone has thought to reimburse the American taxpayers for this apparent waste,” he wrote. Grassley — a persistent critic of waste and abuse of taxpayer money — sent a similar letter to NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye, demanding details of the sale by April 17. Last week, NYCHA said it faced a $98 million budget gap this year that could rise to $400 million by 2025. The News revealed in February that NYCHA was quietly selling off $8.1 million in supplies sitting in warehouses, much of it brand-new. NYCHA officials on Wednesday blamed procurement problems on previous administrations, saying the system has now been significantly streamlined. NYCHA released a statement on the supply process changes: "Previous administrations sanctioned NYCHA’s decentralized supply process involving 14 different procurement offices, each with its own management system. Now we manage one centralized procurement office. We track everything to guarantee that every purchase is part of our strategic plan. "These new efficiencies have resulted in a decrease in inventory from $8 million to $5 million. Residents get what they need more quickly, repairs and maintenance are accelerated, and purchasing is streamlined." Continue Reading

House Committee rejects Hillary Clinton’s pledge to release emails as useless

WASHINGTON — A House Committee demanding emails Hillary Clinton stored on a personal server as secretary of state on Thursday rejected as all but useless her pledge to release them. Clinton tweeted Wednesday night that she wants the public to see her email and asked the State Department to release them. “Former Secretary Clinton has left herself in the unique position of being the only one to determine what records the American people are entitled to,” said Jamal Ware, spokesman for the special House committee on Benghazi. Republicans said that offer doesn’t undo her decision — so far unexplained — to use a private server to restrict access to communications. “The last time we saw a high government official seeking to edit their own responses was President Nixon,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). Speaking to reporters in Saudi Arabia Thursday, Secretary of State Kerry said the department is reviewing 300 emails Clinton turned over in response to a request by the House panel on Benghazi. “We’ll conclude it as soon as we can and get those released publicly,” Kerry said. A State official later said the process could take months. Clinton also took another kick Thursday when an unnamed White House official told the AP that her use of private email violated White House counsel guidance. Meanwhile, past reports by the State Department’s inspector general that faulted officials who served under Clinton for using personal email drew attention Thursday. In 2012, Clinton accepted the resignation of an ambassador to Kenya who was forced out for setting up his own email system. Continue Reading

Lovett: Bronx Democratic Committee quietly fixed years of financial filings since Carl Heastie became Assembly Speaker

ALBANY — The Bronx Democratic Committee that until recently was run by new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has been quietly fixing years’ worth of financial filings with the state Board of Elections, the Daily News has learned. Since Heastie became speaker in February, the county committee has either amended its filings dating to 2010 or submitted for the first time disclosure forms that were legally required but never filed. The changes came after the Board of Elections began a formal review of the county committee’s activities in January, shortly before Heastie became speaker. A source said the review was prompted by a large number of incomplete addresses and other missing information from the committee’s two campaign accounts between 2010 and now. Heastie had chaired the Bronx Democratic Party since 2008. He gave up the post when he became speaker in February. The Bronx committee submitted all its updates in late February and early March. Many of the amended filings included technical changes. In at least one case, the Bronx committee returned $5,000 to a corporation that had donated above the legal limit. Another amendment made it clear that $1,600 the committee sent to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx was actually a refunded contribution. For the public, the changes would have been virtually undetectable since the online database maintained by the Board of Elections only posts the latest versions of the filings. The Daily News was able to do a side-by-side comparison only after filing a freedom of information request seeking the original filings and any amendments filed within the last six months. A Heastie spokesman referred questions to the county committee. Bronx Democratic Campaign Committee treasurer Michael Benedetto, a state assemblyman, said Heastie had nothing to do with the filings. “We always try to comply with the law,” Benedetto said. “Sometimes we fell a little short in Continue Reading

Moose, elk hunting season authorized by state Senate committee — except elk are extinct in New York

ALBANY — Bruce Springsteen sang of “Hunter of Invisible Game” — and a state Senate committee took his words to heart Tuesday. The Senate Environmental Conservation Committee passed a bill authorizing a moose and elk hunting season, but there’s one problem — elk have been extinct in New York State since 1877. State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) said that “silly season has officially opened” even if elk season hasn’t. Senate bill sponsor Patrick Gallivan (R-Erie County) said elk have been reintroduced in a number of states. “What harm does it do to leave it in (the bill),” Gallivan said. “We wouldn’t have an opportunity to do it now, but that doesn’t mean we would not have an opportunity in the future.” Join the Conversation: Continue Reading