TIMELINES 4/6/17

Sewer District Skipped Bidding to Reward  Ramapo, Hoehmann says

The Town of Ramapo and the Rockland Sewer District allegedly intentionally skipped a bidding process to award Ramapo a $800,000 contract in 2012 to remove contaminated soil for the sewer district. Current Chairman of the Sewer Board and Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann believes it was a clear attempt by the district to forego a legitimate bidding process. The board initially received 11 bids, none from Ramapo. The town then received a partial payment of $400,000 to remove soil, which still hasn’t been sorted and removed from Sloatsburg and Hillburn. Ramapo Supervisor and member of the board Christopher St. Lawrence declined to comment. 

Richard Brega Returns to Court in May

On May 8, former Brega bus owner, Richard Brega will return to court on May 8 at the federal courthouse in White Plains. His attorney, Kerry Lawrence, said his client needed another 30 days to review the documents and computer files given to them by the US Attorney’s Office. The Assistant US Attorney approved of the extension.

Richard Brega is on trial for allegedly falsifying documents to show his company had repaired Rockland BOCES school buses when no work had actually been done. He also allegedly paid bribes to BOCES Transportation Director William Popkave , 61, and falsified documentation regarding the work done by one of his companies, Brega D.O.T. Maintenance Corp.

Brega, 49, pled not guilty after his arrest on January 26 on the federal charges. Since then he has given up his ownership of his transportation and repair companies. The federal government banned Brega from putting his name on future contracts. These charges carry a maximum penalty of 80 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Train Derailment Causes Commuting Headache 

On Monday April 3, a slow moving New Jersey Transit train derailed off the tracks in Pennsylvania Station in New York. Trains stopped running to and from the station for part of the day with delays starting Monday night continuing through the week. The derailment knocked eight of the stations 21 tracks off schedule, causing delays and cancellations among the New Jersey Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak services. Ten LIRR trains are cancelled for Thursday April 6 between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. continuously affecting the commute. New York City will cross-honor LIRR tickets and the New Jersey Transit continues to cross-honor tickets for the path train to Hoboken.

Ewing Named Georgetown’s Next Coach

Patrick Ewing, the form All-American player for Georgetown and perennial Knicks All-Star, is returning to his alma mater. He’s been hired as the Hoyas’ basketball coach.

The announcement came on Monday April 3, naming Ewing as John Thompson III’s replacement.  Ewing led the team to three Final Fours and one national title. In the 1985 NBA draft he was selected No. 1 by the New York Knicks.

Since his career as a player ended, he has been an assistant to the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Orlando magic and currently the Charlotte Hornets. Ewing has never coached at the college level.

Rice Names Trump Team Members Caught in Surveillance

Susan Rice, former national security adviser to President Barak Obama, was requested to release the names of Trump officials who were mixed into her office’s surveillance efforts. According to Fox News the names of those accidently subjected to electronic surveillance were sent to the National Security Council, previous CIA Director John Brennan and others.

A former Obama State Department spokeswoman and Fox News contributor Marie Harf told Fox News, “If the intelligence community professionals decide that there’s some value, national security, foreign policy or otherwise in unmasking someone, they will grant those requests.” Names of people who have had information incidentally collected are supposed to be redacted – but there are ways to unmask those unintentionally involved.

Trump State Park Sign Stolen 

A person was caught on camera stealing the entrance sign to a section of the Donald J. Trump State Park in Yorktown. The sign was stolen on Wednesday March 22. Connecticut State Police-Western District Major Crime Squad shared surveillance images and are working with the New York Park Police on an investigation. The suspect is described as a white man, aged 30-40 and possibly wearing glasses. He was driving a dark late-model Ford Transit passenger van. Trump donated the park to New York State in 2006 and according to the agreement his name must be “prominently displayed” at both sites. Two months ago signs at both entrances were removed for vandalism. 

Westchester Sues Over Indian Point Closure

Westchester County filed a lawsuit to prevent the Indian Point Energy Center from closing. County Executive Rob Astorino said the governor’s decision to close the center robs citizens of their right to be a part of deciding the future of Indian Point. An environmental impact statement must be assessed before the plant is shut down. Closing the plant could risk losing the Hendrick Hudson School District more than $60 million.

East Ramapo School District Seeks Change

Superintendent of East Ramapo, Deborah Wortham made a promise to revive the East Ramapo School District when she was appointed in 2015. She aimed to make a vigorous change for the school district.  Many students in the district are receiving subpar little instruction in math, English, social studies and science, critics contend. This includes students in the public schools and especially students in private yeshivas. 

According to a Lohud op-ed by Naftuli Moster, a social issues activist, at public meetings, Wortham runs through lengthy, show-and-tell presentations that provide poor content. Parents have gone to these meeting to complain to Wortham and the rest of the board about the poor education their kids are getting. Wortham earns a base salary of $250,000 a year. 

Trump Drops Steve Bannon From Security Council

President Donald Trump removed senior strategist Steve Bannon from the U.S. National Security Council. A BBC article questioned if Bannon, former chief of Breitbart News, was put on the council to keep an eye on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign in February. The White House did not make a huge public announcement for this change – instead it was brought up during a regulatory filing. Bannon’s critics label him an extremist and some Washington insiders might be happy with his removal.