8 The Queens Courier • FEBRUARY 28, 2013 for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com politics s HUNTLEY AIDES PLEAD GUILTY Agree to return nearly $30G BY MAGIE HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org A week after their former boss, State Senator Shirley Huntley, pleaded guilty to embezzlement cover-up and falsifying evidence, three co-defendants have followed suit. Huntley made her plea on Wednesday, February 13, after nearly $30,000 in taxpayer dollars went missing. Her co-conspirators, Patricia Savage, Lynn Smith and David Gantt, entered their pleas a week later. Savage and Smith admitted their roles in an illegal member item theft scheme and a cover-up involving a sham nonprofit group, Parent Workshop, in which they claimed to use funds to hold workshops and conduct outreach to parents of the public school system. Instead, the pair pocketed the money, and there were no workshops. Gantt pleaded guilty to falsifying records claiming that he was paid for conducting these nonexistent workshops. Savage and Smith will be sentenced on March 27, Gantt on March 29, in Nassau County Supreme Court. “There are no excuses for public officials and their associates who game the system to line their pockets, and then engage in a brazen cover-up when their crimes are exposed,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman also said that state taxpayers will be fully reimbursed for the stolen money. Savage and Smith agreed to pay the state of New York the exact amount of money taken. Gantt was not charged with taking any of the funds. “There is no place in public service for those who enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers,” Photo by Mike Stavitzky Borough President Helen Marshall will fight her last budget battle before giving up her seat at the end of the year. Endorsements rolling in The following candidates have received backings . . . New York City Mayor Former Councilmember Sal Albanese was endorsed by the Transport Workers Union Local 101 in the Democratic mayoral primary, while his opponent City Council Speaker Christine Quinn landed support from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. New York City Comptroller Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer gained the backing of Teamsters Joint Council 16. City Council District 19 Republican incumbent Dan Halloran bagged an endorsement from the NYPD Captains Endowment Association. Austin Shafran, one of four candidates in the race’s Democratic primary, rolled out boosts from UFCW Local 1500. City Council District 22 Costa Constantinides got a leg up from Communications Workers of America Local 1180. said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. “These individuals defrauded the public.” Mixed results on environment BY MELISA CHAN email@example.com Some Queens congressmembers aced their green test last year. But some were average, and one was at the bottom of the class. That is according to the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) latest national environmental scorecard. Congressmembers Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney were tops, with each scoring a 97, followed by Joseph Crowley with a 91. Both of the state’s U.S. Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, scored 93 percent. Nydia Velázquez trailed slightly with an 86 percent and Gregory Meeks pulled a 77 percent. Former representative Gary Ackerman scored a 74. But another retiring congressmember, Bob Turner, had an abysmal 3 percent, a low matched by Tea Party Republicans representing Big Oil districts in Texas. The scores are based on 14 Senate votes and 35 House votes on public health, clean energy, land and wildlife conservation issues. “In the face of unprecedented attacks on laws protecting water, air and land, environmental allies like Steve Israel, Caroline sic Maloney … stood up for our values and put New Yorkers first,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn in a statement. “While Americans were seeing the historic impacts of extreme weather right outside their window, members like … Bob Turner continued to ignore the reality of climate change.” The state’s average House score in the most recent review was 65 percent, falling drastically from 97 percent in 2010. “The U.S. House of Representatives sided with Big Oil and corporate polluters time and time again in 2012, cementing its status as the most anti-environmental House in our nation’s history,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the country’s League of Conservation Voters. “The best that can be said about this session of the 112th Congress is that it’s over,” Karpinski said. MARSHALL FIGHTS MAYOR’S BUDGET CUTS BY MAGIE HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org Borough President Helen Marshall made her mark during her final budget hearing, seeking millions of dollars in funding. Marshall, who is term-limited out, will battle for $1.6 million for senior centers and various programs across the borough. This discretionary funding was eliminated under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed $70.1 billion budget for the fiscal year 2014. “Without this money, six senior centers will close, and four adult day care centers and transportation programs will cease,” said Marshall. Representatives from community boards, hospitals, nonprofit organizations and more attended the hearing on Wednesday, February 20, to request funding for their own particular needs, ranging from $10,000 to expand programs to $750,000 for medical equipment. Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, spoke about the devastating effects of Sandy and the Rockaways’ ongoing recovery, and Hans Kuenstler, Jamaica Hospital’s director of construction, requested $3 million to augment funds for a new Jamaica Senior Housing Corporation facility. In what Marshall’s office has referred to as the most dramatic testimony, a sign language interpreter spoke for a deaf senior citizen couple, requesting continued support for the Peter Cardella Center in Ridgewood, the only program for hearing impaired seniors in the country. All who spoke are hoping that Marshall will include their needs into her budget priorities. The proposed fiscal plan reportedly may slash community board budgets.
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