FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM FEBRUARY 1, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
Queens Museum seeks
A highly outspoken Flushing museum director
stepped down from her position last week.
who served as the
president and executive
director of the
for the last three
years, resigned on
Jan. 26. According
to Mark Coleman,
the museum’s chairperson,
for a successor will
Raicovich told Th e New York Times she felt her
vision and the board’s “weren’t in enough alignment”
to accomplish her goals for arts and culture.
Th e former director maintained a regular presence
on Twitter, where she is outspoken about
her political beliefs. She also made headlines in
August 2017 aft er canceling plans to hold a celebration
of the State of Israel’s 70th anniversary
at the Museum. Th ough the event was re-booked
the following day, Raicovich faced strong criticism
from the community for the initial move. Queens
lawmakers Councilman Rory Lancman and the
late Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz called for
Raicovich to be immediately removed, citing the
cancellation as “a clear example of anti-Semitism”
and “a disgrace and a violation of law.”
Museum chairperson Mark Coleman
announced Raicovich’s resignation through a prepared
statement, in which he credited the former
leader with producing “several popular and critically
acclaimed exhibitions” and doubling the
museum’s fundraising capacity.
“Laura brought a vitality and dynamism to her
work, and was fearless in exploring new ideas and
perspectives through art,” Coleman said.
Hollis Hills millionaire
mom stole Medicaid
A Queens mom with a million dollars in her
bank account was charged on Jan. 25 for allegedly
swindling $67,000 in Medicaid benefi ts with a
phony tale of woe, prosecutors said.
Galit Levi, 37, of 82nd Avenue in Hollis Hills
allegedly falsifi ed applications for Medicaid assistance
between January 2012 and December 2015.
Th e mother of four purportedly claimed that she
was unemployed and her husband only earned
$1,750 per month, which made her family eligible
to receive Medicaid assistance.
However, investigators with the State Welfare
Inspector General’s offi ce found that Levi and her
husband had actually deposited more than $1.13
million into their joint bank account between
2012 and 2016 — far above the income eligibility
requirements for Medicaid.
Levi faces charges of second-degree grand larceny
and welfare fraud; fi rst-degree falsifying
business records; and fi rst-degree off ering a false
instrument for fi ling, Queens District Attorney
Richard A. Brown said. She was released on $5,000
bail and must return to court on Feb. 13. If convicted,
Levi could spend up to 15 years behind
Photo courtesy of Avella’s offi ce
Long-abandoned Flushing house
continues to cause problems for neighbors
BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI
email@example.com / @smont76
Flushing locals are still waiting on
the city to take action as a now-crumbling
residence continues to impact
their quality of life.
In November 2016, next-door neighbor
Joe Vitulli approached QNS about
the problematic property at 35-20
167th St. Over a year later, the residence
still stands and issues have multiplied.
“Not only is this an eyesore, it has
become much more than that. It is a
quality-of-life issue for this neighborhood,”
Vitulli said at a press conference
organized by state Senator Tony
Avella on Jan. 26.
Th e Flushing home has been abandoned
for more than 25 years. Th e
owner, who owns another property in
the area, is rarely seen at the site, residents
According to Vitulli, who has lived
in Flushing for more than 40 years,
the abandoned building continues to
attract teenagers and homeless individuals,
including some who smoke
and drink on the property, both day
In addition, the back portion of the
property recently collapsed, opening
up a new set of concerns.
“In my opinion, the Department
of Buildings has enough authority to
declare this an unsafe building and
level it,” Avella said. “At least then
you’d have a vacant lot which can be
fenced in instead of this eyesore.”
A DOB spokesperson said the city
agency only has the legal authority
to issue an emergency declaration to
demolish a building when the building
poses an “immediate danger to
the public.” During the agency’s most
recent inspection of the property earlier
this month, DOB offi cials observed
the partial collapse.
In response, the DOB issued an
emergency declaration for the demolition
of the partially collapsed rear
addition on Jan. 25.
“Th e declaration also ordered that
the building be sealed following the
demolition, to prevent any access
into the building by trespassers,” the
Residents were informed about the
partial demolition by DOB offi cials
shortly before the press conference.
For neighbors, the city agency is still
not doing enough.
“Something is going to happen and
then these authorities who are not
doing anything about it now before
something serious happens will have
questions to answer,” Vitulli said. “We
shouldn’t have to live like this.”
Th e Department of Health and
Mental Hygiene also plan on performing
another inspection at the site soon,
according to Avella’s offi ce.
Abandoned property on 167th Street in Flushing