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     Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere.  Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations  Search This Site    Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.     Click here for Inner City Press front page

  ICP has published a (double) book about a variety of Bronx-relevant topics -- a review in Commonweal magazine of Dec. 5, 2003, opines  that "Predatory Bender... is as vivid an account of life in the Bronx as you are likely to read" -- click here for sample chapters, here for an interactive maphere for fast ordering and delivery, and here for other ordering information.  See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of ‘Predatory Bender’]," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. CBS MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts." The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters."   The Pittsburgh City Paper of Dec. 11, 2003, wrote that it "may, in fact, be the first great American lending malfeasance novel" including "low-level loan sharks, class-action lawyers, corporate bigwigs, hired muscle, corrupt politicians, Iraq War veterans, Wall Street analysts, reporters and one watchdog with a Web site."  And all in The Bronx!   Click here for that review; for more information, contact us.
2014: MRL on Beacon Reader

September 13, 2021

Man Charged With Sex Abuse At Bronx School Is Freed on $1M Bond, Can Return to Carolinas

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTROOM Exclusive, Sept 9 – In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on September 9, a detention hearing was held by Magistrate Judge Steward D. Aaron on a former Bronx school teacher charges with sexual abusing girls from ten to thirteen years old.

   Jesus Concepcion was arrested on August 7 in the Western District of North Carolina on a then-sealed indictment. In the month since, Concepcion has retained his own New York defense lawyer, affiliated at least in the docket with a private investigation firm.

 The indictment says Concepcion "a/k/a Mr. C singled out the Minor Victims for personal attention, he gave them money, clothing, jewelry and other gifts, and he provided them with alcohol... inducing several of the Minor Victims to engage in sexual activity with him."

 But no press release was put out about this case.

 Judge Aaron returned from a session with Pre Trial Services and said he would release Conception on a $1,000,000 bond, with travel restricted to SDNY, EDNY and Carolina.

This case is US v. Concepcion, 21-cr-479 (Preska / Aaron).

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September 6, 2021

Bronx Man Sued NYPD For Excessive Force, For Trial They Want Marshals To Hold Drugs

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, September 1 – Eliezer Lopez sued NYPD officers of the 42nd Precinct in The Bronx for excessive force.

He was chased, he says, by police who did not show badges in Crotona Park North and Arthur Avenue. He was pushed after being told, "this is what happens when you run from the cops."        

   On September 1 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Loretta A. Preska held a final pre-trial conference. Inner City Press covered it. 

 Judge Preska described how trial work during the time of COVID, saying that this one will be in large Courtroom 26B. She was asked, Is that where you did the Donziger trial? 

 The municipal defendants asked questions like, Can we leave the drugs seized from plaintiff with the Marshals overnight during the trial? It is said the trial will begin on September 15.

The case is Laureano v. City of New York et al., 17-cv-181 (Preska) 

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August 30, 2021

Bronx Drug Defendant Will Face His Rap Lyrics in SDNY Trial, Arguing For 3 Week Delay

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 24 – Nicholas Joseph is charged with narcotics conspiracy in The Bronx, with a jury trial set for September 7.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel is managing the proceeding, which Inner City Press is covering.   

 The US Attorney's Office on July 23 filed a motion in limine seeking to show the jury some of Joseph's rap videos including "gang signs, gang colors and firearms" - and his lyrics.

Given the First Amendment, is this really necessary?

On August 24 a proceeding was held and Inner City Press covered it. Joseph wants a 2 to 3 week delay, citing the difficulty of access at Essex. The US Attorney's Office opposed, and Judge Castel told the parties that he has presided over five jury trials since September 2020. (In that he's neck and neck with Judge Jed Rakoff; Judge Caproni is holding another jury trial, this week).

The case is US v. Joseph, 20-cr-603 (Castel) 

August 23, 2021

In NYC Homeless Class Action, Move of Bronx Client To Queens Cited, Nitty Gritty in SDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 17 – In the ongoing NYC homeless class action Butler v. City of New York, the plaintiffs have moved for a preliminary injunctions against the involuntary movement of any class member from a de-densification hotel until notice and meetings and reasonable accommodations.     

        On August 17, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Valerie E. Caproni held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.  

In the plaintiffs' papers, they give the example of "AG" and say "he was scheduled to transfer to Queens despite an RA request for a facility closer to his medical providers in The Bronx, but was told by shelter staff he would have to appeal once he arrived at the new shelter." 

 In person, the plaintiffs' counsel gave more examples of a lack continuity in communication from social workers.

  Judge Caproni remarked, I'm sorry to say but that's below my paygrade... Nothing in the settlement requires this level of hand-holding.

 But still she inquired, into what percentage of shelter residents show up for the offered meetings (over 70%).

The case is Butler et al v. City of New York et al., 15-cv-3783 (Caproni)

August 16, 2021

Bronx Lawsuit For Excessive Force by NYPD Has Jury Trial, Plaintiff Cites 2 Hands Choking

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 12 – Edward Rosado was standing in front of a Footlocker on Fordham Road in The Bronx when he was grabbed by the throat by an officer of the NYPD and arrested. The Bronx DA declined to prosecute. 

 Jump Cut 1 to June 26, 2020 when U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.

   Judge Abrams granted the defendants summary judgment on municipal liability / qualified immunity and false arrest - but not on excessive force.

Whereupon Rosado's lawyer said it was time to go to a jury, given he said the "George Floyd jury effect."  

He also said he might ask for reconsideration on the judicially created doctrine of qualified immunity - he cited Clarence Thomas.

Judge Abrams said the issue is settled in the Second Circuit, perhaps one for appeal but not one to further delay trial in this matter.

Jump Cut 2 to August 10, 2021 when Judge Abrams held another conference on the eve of trial. Inner City Press covered it again. Rosado's lawyer said he has a witness flying in from Florida; he asked if he could email case law.

Judge Abrams to her credit said she aims to have a transparent docket, so to file all submissions there.

On August 12 Rosado was on the witness stand, and Inner City Press covered it. Rosado described being in a bus stop, then having his head slammed against a metal machine, and being choked with two hands. To assess the size of the bus shelter, his lawyer compared it to the jury box, drawing an election what was sustained. But the point was made.

The case is Rosado v. Soriano et al., 16-cv-3310 (Abrams).

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August 9, 2021

Sidney Scales Found Guilty on 5 Counts After Jury Trial Citing Josh Lopez Death, Brother Ern

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Song
 
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 6 – Defendant Sidney Scales has been on trial this month, now resulting in a jury verdict of guilty on five counts. He was charged on seven counts. His former co-defendant Ernest Horge back on February 27, 2020 said in open court that it is unfair he is in the same case as Scales, charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire.

On November 11, 2020, Veterans Day, the US Attorney's Office announced a superseding indictment that formally charges Scales with murder, and keeps Horge linked to him: "In the Superseding Indictment, SCALES is charged with causing another person to shoot at rival drug dealers on June 9, 2017, in the vicinity of 1135 East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, New York, causing the death of Joshua Lopez.  SCALES and HORGE are also charged in the Superseding Indictment with engaging in multiple specific drug sales between November 2018 and February 2019, in addition to the narcotics conspiracy charged in the initial indictment." The case was reassigned to Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

 Now: "SYDNEY SCALES, a/k/a “Moe Black,” a/k/a “Sid,” has been found guilty on five counts in a Superseding Indictment, including charges of murder-for-hire conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, a firearms offense, and two counts of distributing crack cocaine."

 Note: the jury found Scales not guilty of murder while engaged in a narcotics conspiracy, and murder through use of a firearm.

  SCALES is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, 2021... Between in or about 2016 and in or about 2019, SCALES participated in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana in the Bronx and elsewhere.  SCALES also used, carried, and possessed firearms, which were brandished and discharged, in connection with the narcotics conspiracy, and aided and abetted such firearms offenses.  For example, the Government offered evidence that on December 1, 2016, SCALES caused a shooting at rival drug dealers standing in front of a convenience store located next to the entrance of the West Farms subway station.     In addition, in or about June 2017, SCALES conspired to commit murder for hire, agreeing to compensate another individual in return for locating and killing at least one rival drug dealer." There were seven counts in the superseding indictment.

The process: July 20, Judge Rakoff held a proceeding and ruled on a series of motions in limine. He also endorsed the defense's request that John Doe who had proffered with the government but now cites the Fifth Amendment be deemed unavailable for trial.

 Judge Rakoff told the lawyers to appeal on July 22 at 9 am in Courtroom 24B, with the jury to arrive at 9:45 for opening statements.

On July 22, the defense told the jury that while Scales did sell some crack that they will see, he did not order or commit a murder. Then the evidence began, with a crime scene unit police officer, describing beach chairs and blood on East Tremont Avenue.

On July 23, the prosecution put on the stand a transit police officer who covered the 2 and 5 line, from Intervale Avenue to 180th Street. He described hearing gun shots and coming down, and a chase down 178th Street. A cooperator described going to Hunts Point with a gun to collect money.

  Another cooperator, a woman, acknowledged that in connection with her testimony, the US Attorney's Office paid for her and her child's travel. Judge Rakoff inquired into whether the victim's text messages are hearsay; he asked counsel to answer his questions and not volunteer information.

On July 26, a cooperator testified at length, about losing confidences in Sid, after starting dealing drugs at the age of 10, joining Nine Trey and going to GEO (trajectory of Tekashi #6ix9ine who is already out), then to Putnam. In the beween, Hoffman between 189 and Fordham Road in The Bronx. There were multiple objections, most of them overruled by Judge Rakoff.

On July 27, the defense cross-examined this witness, at length. He was asked about a written history of the gang, and the name of his Instagram account, now and then. Judge Rakoff, during a break, told defense counsel this was straining relevance. But as always he closely considered the proffered exhibits. But might the exhibits, at least those admitted into evidence, be placed on a publicly available platform or be otherwise made available, as ordered in the Weigand trial?

On July 28, the witness (Santiago) was still being cross examined, culminating in the defense getting admitted, over the government's objection, a recorded jail call of him saying he'd need a gun when he got out. There followed some re-direct, showing that Santiago was nonetheless sometimes broke, and helped out by a former girlfriend's mother who would bring groceries to Hoffman Avenue in The Bronx when she got off work at JFK.

On July 29, the prosecution apologized for errors in the binders and was told that coming up with a new chart of phone calls and introducing it without enough notice to the defense is not the way to proceed. There's also this: ORDER as to Sydney Scales: The C.J.A. attorney assigned to receive cases on this day, Bennett Epstein, is hereby ordered to assume representation of the witness Antanaron Demery in the above captioned matter. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff). Watch this site.

On Friday July 30 the defense on cross-examination asked the witness about lapses in memory, after all this time, and about how he was recruited as a cooperator. Then the defense asked for the weekend to make a written submission.

On Monday August 2, yet another cooperator was cross examined about how much time he spent with Sidney Scales, and how much with "Ern." The AUSA objected. The day ended with the charging conference, broken up by two unrelated bond hearings by Judge Rakoff, which Inner City Press also covered, here.

  On the morning of August 3, the US questioned a witness who used Google Earth and StreetView to describe the cell phone towers of West Farms, then captured calling patterns.

On August 4, the government described Scales using an innocent women to drive his shooters to Kingsbrige from West Farms via the Cross Bronx, and said he is responsible for the death of Joshua Lopez [DN, News12]. The defense said Jose Santiago framed him. Next, the instructions of law - then the verdict of guilty on five counts. Watch this site.

The case is US v. Scales, 19-cr-96 (Rakoff). 

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August 2, 2021

Bronx Drug Defendant Will Face His Rap Lyrics in SDNY Trial in September

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 25 – Nicholas Joseph is charged with narcotics conspiracy in The Bronx, with a jury trial set for September 7.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge P. Kevin Castel is managing the proceeding, which Inner City Press is covering.   

 The US Attorney's Office on July 23 filed a motion in limine seeking to show the jury some of Joseph's rap videos including "gang signs, gang colors and firearms" - and his lyrics.

Given the First Amendment, is this really necessary?

The case is US v. Joseph, 20-cr-603 (Castel) 

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July 26, 2021

Parrilla Latina on Bronx' Webster Ave Is Sued For No Overtime, Discovery Due Aug 23

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 22 – Parrilla Latina restaurant at 2501 Webster Avenue in The Bronx has been sued for not paying overtime.      

    On July 22, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox held proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.   

 A previous conference on July 20 had been adjourned for failure to attend. This time all counsel were present.

 Judge Fox said if they wanted another conference it would have to wait to September as he is fully booked.

 Back in March it was said that discovery would be complete by August 23.

The case is Gutierrez De Munoz et al v. 2501 Webster Restaurant Corp et al., 20-cv-3817 (Daniels / Fox)

Valley National - Westchester Bank Is Protested On NY & FL Lending Disparities, Test for OCC

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Story
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT / S Bronx, July 24 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will be again enforced until the new Administration and its regulators is an open question. And the proposed acquisition by disparate lending Valley National Bank of The Westchester Bank in New York will be a litmus test, for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

On July 24, Fair Finance Watch (with Inner City Press on the FOIA) filed the below with the OCC:

This is a timely first comment opposing and requesting an extension of the OCC's public comment period on the Applications by Valley National Bank to acquire The Westchester Bank.     

The applicant Valley National Bank in 2020 in New York State based on its disparate marketing made 1080 mortgage loans to whites, with 83 denials to whites -- while making only 51 loans to African Americans, with seven denials. This is far out of keeping with the demographics, and others lenders, in NYS - this is outrageous.

This is a pattern. The applicant Valley National Bank in 2020 in Florida based on its disparate marketing made 859 mortgage loans to whites, with 119 denials to whites -- while making only 45 loans to African Americans, with eight denials. This is far out of keeping with the demographics, and others lenders, Florida - this is outrageous. 

 Beyond its lending disparities, Valley National Bank is being sued for mis-categorizing and underpaying those who work for it. See, e.g., PALERMO v. VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP (D.N.J. 2020) - submitted for the record, and in light of the new merger review Executive Order.   There is no public benefit to this proposal.   

 Valley National Bank should be precluded from acquiring these branches:  Yonkers 1900 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10710  Corporate Headquarters 12 Water Street, White Plains, NY   Mamaroneck Store Front Mamaroneck 305 Mamaroneck Avenue, Mamaroneck, NY 10543   Mount Kisco storefront Mount Kisco 51 South Moger Avenue, Mount Kisco, NY 10549   Ossining,  240 S. Highland Avenue Ossining 240 S. Highland Avenue, Ossining, NY   Brook Storefront Rye Brook 800 Westchester Ave, Rye Brook, NY 10573   Thornwood storefront Thornwood 994 Broadway, Thornwood, NY 10594   White Plains storefront White Plains 464 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605   

  FFW and Inner City Press have been deeply concerned about the rush by the OCC's penchant to rubberstamp mergers by redliners, particularly during the pandemic. We timely request public hearings.

  Watch this site.

July 12, 2021

For Bronx Murder of Arias in 2011 Castillo Pleads Guilty 10 Days Before Trial in SDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 5 – Michael Castillo is accused of murder for hire, of Hector Arias in 712 East Gun Hill Road on March 10, 2011.  

The complaint says Castillo and Arias were rivals selling marijuana around 193rd Street and Broadway. The government argues that his conviction for marijuana possession is admissible as 404(b) evidence.   

 On July 5, 2021, Inner City Press reported
that a trial approaches on July 19 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl. Inner City Press is following the case.  

Now on July 9, ten days before trial, MICHAEL CASTILLO, a/k/a “Squirrel,” pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court in connection with the March 10, 2011, murder of Hector Arias in the Bronx, New York.  U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl accepted the defendant’s guilty plea.   CASTILLO is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Koeltl on October 15, 2021, at 10:00 am.

  The case is US v. Torres, 19-cr-428 (Koeltl)

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July 5, 2021

As Unions Sue Zaro's Bake Shop It Tries To Sell Large Bronx Property, November 5 Is Next

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras -