Gatien returns to U.S. on Indian path

Can casinos be far behind for Peter Gatien? The club owner, who was deported to Canada in 2003 after doing time, has been crossing back over the border, and it's all legal, sources tell us. Gatien, the former Limelight owner who was acquitted of drug dealing but served 60 days in jail and was ordered to pay $1.9 million in tax-evasion fines, has been spotted in New York and Miami. "He found a loophole," reports one cognoscento. "Apparently, he's part Native American, and the government is not allowed to keep him out." Gatien, who was born in Canada, had other problems after opening the wildly successful Limelight nightclub in a former Episcopal church in Chelsea - which spooked some people, including Eddie Murphy and Dick Ebersol, who forbade NBC staffers to go there. One of Gatien's party promoters, Michael Alig, brutally murdered and dismembered Angel Melendez in what became known as the "Club Kid" murder. Gatien started a new life in Toronto and on Sept. 7 is set to open Circa, a futuristic 55,000-square-foot club with an on-site recording studio, art gallery and a bar and deejay in the bathroom. He just won his liquor license last week after a two-year battle, but the local liquor authority has vowed to appeal its own ruling. Gatien told the local press: "We've signed a contract for a film festival party. That date has to happen." Gatien's lawyer Stan Levitan told us, "I know he is [part Native American] and I know he's been arguing to be able to travel to the States for a while now." Gatien himself was not available for comment. To party hardy, be Blunt but never dullJames Blunt kept his party gears well oiled this weekend. The Brit singer dirty-danced with one woman after another at Tenjune in the Meatpacking District till 4 a.m. Friday night, closing it down. The next day it was out to the Hamptons, where Blunt started his festivities at James Taylor's Hampton Social @ Ross concert.Much-taller Mischa Barton greeted the singer Continue Reading

Net neutrality rules could lead to legal quagmire

The Federal Communications Commission can expect pushback in Congress and the courts after it makes official its move to regulate the Internet like a public utility to prevent fast lanes on the Internet.FCC chief Tom Wheeler is expected to propose new net neutrality rules to commissioners by Thursday, with a vote expected at the commission's Feb. 26 meeting.The new rules would likely increase the FCC's regulatory power to oversee the wired Net and mobile wireless as common carriers, like traditional telephone service, using Title II, a provision of the Communications Act of 1934.But the adoption of such regulatory powers will likely lead to lawsuits, just as Verizon sued in 2013 to block the open Internet rules that the FCC adopted in 2010. Those rules aimed to ensure that all legal content on the Internet be treated equally by Internet service providers and not blocked or deliberately slowed. A federal court last year decided in favor of Verizon and overturned the FCC's rules.Already, AT&T has signaled that it might offer its own court challenge of the new rules. "Those who oppose efforts at compromise because they assume Title II rests on bulletproof legal theories are only deceiving themselves," wrote AT&T vice president for federal regulatory Hank Hultquist in a post on Monday.The FCC should postpone its planned vote on the regulations to give Congress time to work on a bipartisan bill, said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who with Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Greg Walden, R-Ore., has drafted Internet legislation. Their proposal would ban ISPs from offering paid prioritization for faster lanes and prohibit the blocking or deliberate slowing of content, but would not reclassify the Net as a utility. And it also has a "specialized services" provision that staunch net neutrality supporters fear could allow ISPs to sidestep prohibitions on charging for fast lanes."If the FCC goes down this path, it gets challenged, it ends up in court (and) it chills Continue Reading

As DACA deadline looms, these are legal paths to U.S. for immigrants

On Tuesday, the Trump administration confirmed it will wind down an immigration program for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, DACA, will end within six months, leaving Congress a window to continue it through legislation. The program initiated by President Obama in 2012 provides  some protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. when they were younger than 16 and applies to those under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, if they meet specific requirements.More than 800,000 undocumented immigrants are eligible for the program.All this begs the question: How does an immigrant come to the U.S. legally? There are several ways for non-U.S. citizens to enter the country, whether for temporary work or to live permanently. Here’s a look at the different paths, based on information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and other sources.What is it? A visa is basically a travel document to let the owner apply for entry to the United States. The type of visa varies depending on your reason for visiting the U.S. (more on that shortly). A visa does not guarantee you will be allowed to enter the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers review visas and details such as length of visit, reason for stay and conditions of the visit before deciding whether to allow non-U.S. citizens to enter the country.How does the process work? There are two types: a non-immigrant visa for temporary visits and an immigrant visa for those who plan to live in the U.S. permanently. Visas are classified based on the purpose of your visit. For example, according to the State Department, athletes are required to apply for a B-1 visa, while temporary workers must get a H visa. The type of visa you receive might also require additional approvals from other agencies such as USCIS or an employer, if you are a temporary worker. Visa applicants must also pay Continue Reading


'He really was at the forefront," Cora Walker told me on the occasion of the death a few years ago of a Harlem pioneer, the Rev. Moran Weston. "Everybody looked to him as the guiding light." Change the pronouns and she might have been talking about her own significance in Harlem and in the legal profession nationally. Cora T. Walker, as she was known by everyone from the titled corporate clients to the untitled Joes and Janes who were also her clients, died 10 days ago. At her funeral Tuesday, Judge George Bundy Smith observed: "The goal of equality is still far off. The goal of diversity is still far off. But she did her part." Indeed. Harold Pope, a former president of the state bar association, was among those of us who did not know what the "T" stood for until her son and former law partner, Lawrence Bailey Jr., told the sparse gathering at the Abyssinian Baptist Church that it was "Thomasina." But Pope had his ideas about that "T": "tough" and "tender" and "together" and "triumphant." When Walker entered St. John's University Law School in the 1940s, the dean greeted the class with the observation that four seats were being wasted: the ones occupied by female students. When she was admitted to the bar in 1947, there might have been 1,000 blacks practicing law in the U.S.; few of them were women. But Cora persevered, proving wrong her mother, who knew the big bucks in law were being made by white men. "You're going to be another poor, hungry Negro lawyer," Benetta Walker told her daughter. Cora Walker struggled, for sure. But she did not die poor in terms of financial status or legacy. Among a certain generation, hers was a household name. But I was reminded of how distant her triumphs were from today's youth. When Percy Sutton, the former Manhattan borough president, a trailblazer in politics and in the military as a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, mentioned Malcolm X, a student accompanying me at the funeral perked up. "You knew Malcolm X!" Continue Reading


SHARK.Tonight at 10, CBS.3 STARSJames Woods moves to TV tonight in his first series lead as a supremely confident and successful attorney in "Shark," a new CBS series that, like its namesake, is always moving and has plenty of bite. The series, premiering tonight at 10, is pure formula, but it's a formula that works. Woods stars as Sebastian Stark, a wealthy, surly, undefeated defense attorney in Los Angeles. His adversaries, and even his former lovers, alter his last name slightly to call him "Shark," but it's not just wordplay that earns him the nickname he despises. Alone in his car, he sings loudly and proudly to "Mack the Knife" ("Oh, the shark, babe/ has such teeth, dear ... "). And when a savvy politician offers Stark the job of shifting sides and running a new High Profile Crime Unit for the district attorney's office, he at first laughs off the offer with a very shark-like response. "I eat prosecutors for breakfast," he says. "They're my main source of fiber." But for personal reasons, Stark takes the job, which saddles him with a female boss who used to be his nemesis (Jeri Ryan), and a young team of assistants ready and mostly eager to suffer his sarcastic but invaluable tutelage. Woods' legal-eagle character may sound like Victor Garber's dream-team lawyer in the new Fox series "Justice," but he's actually a lot closer to the lead character in another Fox series: Hugh Laurie in "House." Battling with his lady boss, sparring with his interns, making an initial wrong diagnosis but eventually solving the puzzle by being smarter than everyone around him - "Shark" and "House" are lawyer/doctor variations on the same theme. That's not a criticism, however. There's something comforting, almost old-fashioned, about a star vehicle this dynamic - and while the supporting cast of young prosecutors (played by Sam Page, Sarah Carter, Sophina Brown and Alexis Cruz) doesn't get a chance to make much of an impression in tonight's pilot, Ryan does. So does Continue Reading

Real immigration reform shouldn’t pit undocumented immigrants against those waiting to come to the U.S. legally

Q. I appreciate your efforts to fight for justice for the kids here illegally and for other undocumented immigrants and hold you in high esteem. But what about speaking up for those who are here legally, trying to bring our families here? Some of these relatives have had to wait years, sometimes a decade or more, to immigrate. Bhalla, Philadelphia, Pa. A. It is unjust that many relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents must wait years or even decades to get green cards. I have long argued that we should decide which categories of immigrants we want to immigrate, then let them do so without quotas. But denying undocumented immigrants a path to legal status is unjust also. Many have been here for years. They are our neighbors and friends and they are part of the fabric of American life. I sympathize with the plight of those waiting patiently abroad to immigrate to the U.S. However, pitting them against undocumented immigrants makes the fight to reform our immigration laws only more difficult. Q. Will traveling with a permanent resident card with no expiration date make it more difficult for me to return from travel abroad? I am a longtime permanent resident with one of the old green cards that has no expiration date. I’ve read that old cards with an I-551 notation are valid, but mine is even older. My aunt in Germany is very ill and I need to visit her quickly. Kevin, Portland, Ore. A. As you point out, cards with no expiration date are valid only with the I-551 notation. If you travel abroad without getting a new card, you will be admitted into the U.S., but the border inspector will likely take your card and insist you get a new one. An alternative is to file form I-90, Application to Replace Application Card, online at Then, at the same site, you can make an InfoPass appointment to visit your local USCIS office. Show your I-90 filing receipt and you can get a temporary permanent resident stamp in your passport. Allan Wernick is an attorney Continue Reading

With Deferred Action stalled by Congress and the courts, undocumented immigrants have lesser-known paths to legal status

The federal courts have stalled President Obama’s deferred action programs. Congress refuses to provide a path to U.S. citizenship. Immigration reform is becoming a political football being passed back and forth among the 2016 presidential candidates. Wannabe presidents change their positions so often, no one knows for sure what course they will follow if elected. What are undocumented immigrants to do? Don’t give up. Good news is hard to find for undocumented immigrants, but I’m optimistic that the next few years will bring relief. The courts may eventually allow the Obama program to proceed — I think that’s likely. If Latinos and Asians punish Republicans for their restrictionist stand in the 2016 presidential elections, immigration reform may become a possibility. Meanwhile, undocumented immigrants should take advantage of the many opportunities coming soon for a consultation with an immigration law expert. Government agencies and foundations that are geared up to help applicants under the Obama programs should move those resources into helping undocumented immigrants find another path to lawful status. Undocumented immigrants may be unaware of ways they qualify for an immigration benefit. Here are some lesser-known paths to legal status: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS): If you are under 21 and unmarried and not living with your parents, or your parents have abused or neglected you, you may qualify for SIJS. You must be under court supervision, or committed to the custody of a state agency, but qualified children can apply to a family court for that protection. Once court supervision or agency custody is arranged, you can immediately apply for a green card.  U status: U status is available for victims of certain crimes who are cooperating in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. Included are victims of assault and rape. The victim must have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse because Continue Reading

Greek yogurt founder and his ex-wife resolve legal fight over Chobani

A Greek yogurt king and his ex-wife have settled their three-year-court battle over Chobani. Papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday said the case has been resolved, but no details were made public. Ayse Giray, a pediatrician, sued her ex, Hamdi Ulukaya, in 2012 claiming that he owed her a 53% stake in the billion-dollar company because while they were still married she provided the seed money for Chobani’s predecessor company, Euphrates. Ulukaya’s lawyers insisted that Giray’s proof consisted of only vague “handwritten scribbles: and that she was making “an opportunistic effort to extract a piece of a lucrative business she had no part in building, or put more simply, a shakedown.” The couple divorced in 1999. Chobani was founded in upstate New York in 2007 and within four years it was the biggest producer of Greek yogurt in the country. At one point during the proceedings, Giray accused Ulukaya of having stolen the formula for Chobani from its competitor, Fage. As recently as last month, the lawyers on both sides were squabbling over whether Ulukaya’s attorneys should have a chance to depose Adile Batuk, described as a key witness in the case because she allegedly knew of Giray’s early investment in Euphrates, having learned it from Ulukaya himself. The abrupt settlement came before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla could rule on a motion to toss the case entirely. The settlement helps to clear a path for Chobani, a privately held company, to issue an Initial Public Offering of stock. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton makes call for immigration reform, insisting overhaul must have ‘full and equal path to citizenship’

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton issued a full-throated call for immigration reform on Tuesday in Las Vegas and insisted any overhaul must include “a path to full and equal citizenship.” Clinton, speaking on Cinco de Mayo at a heavily Hispanic high school with a number of immigrants who were brought here illegally as children, a group known as “Dreamers,” sharply contrasted her views with those of the GOP field. “Not a single Republican candidate announced or potential is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one. When they talk about legal status that is code for second-class status,” she said. That remark was clearly aimed at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has said he prefers a pathway to legal status over a path to citizenship for those here illegally, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has since backed away from the comprehensive immigration reform bill he helped pass in the Senate. Both have switched their emphasis to beefing up border control. Clinton framed immigration reform as a “family issue,” as the young panelists, many of whom shared their personal stories of their families being divided by immigration laws, nodded emphatically. “I don't understand how anyone can look at these young people and think that we should break up more families or turn away young people with talent,” the former secretary of state said. “So I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship.” She also made clear she sided with immigrants on another major faultline in the ongoing debate. She said she backed Obama’s executive orders stopping deportations of Dreamers as well as for parents of U.S. citizens and praised the president’s “action in the face of inaction.” And she promised to go “even further” than Obama if Congress fails Continue Reading

Former President Clinton at Univision summit: ‘Legalization of immigrants’ would ‘make us more prosperous’

Speaking at a marketing conference for the nation's biggest Hispanic media company Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton urged 2016 White House hopefuls to embrace a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Clinton, addressing Univision's annual upfront advertising summit, said he supported "anything that increases business formation, employment and raises wages — which the legalization of immigrants would do, and a path to citizenship would do. "Putting people into the workplace legally would raise their wages," the former president said at the Manhattan forum. "It would make us more prosperous. It would reduce poverty. It would increase tax paying. It would reduce the deficit. It's just good for the economy." Clinton's remarks align with those made by his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as she pursues her second Oval Office bid. The Clintons have a strong bond with Univision, which is a key outlet for reaching Latinos — a voting population that was vital to Hillary Clinton during her 2008 run for the presidency and inarguably will be again during her 2016 run. The former secretary of state and senator counts Univision boss Haim Saban as an enthusiastic supporter. The network and philanthropic foundation also last year teamed up on a Latino-focused early childhood development program, "Pequeños y Valiosos." Such ties have brought objections from Republicans, who question whether the alliance constitutes an out-of-bounds promotion of the ex-First Lady's presidential ambitions. The Clinton Foundation itself has also come under heavy scrutiny for its acceptance and reporting of foreign donations during Hillary Clinton's tenure at the State Department. Ex-President Clinton, during an onstage question-and-answer session at the Lyric Theatre in Manhattan, also brought up the death of Staten Island's Eric Garner and other Continue Reading