Thursday, February 25, 2010

Westchester Guardian Article/The Court Report.

Judge Sentences Kerik To Substantially More Than Upper Level Of Federal Guidelines.

Grants Him Three Months Before Surrendering To Prison United States District Court, 300 Quarropas Street, White Plains Judge Stephen C. Robinson, Presiding.

Last Thursday morning, February 18th, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik appeared for sentencing before United States District Court Judge Stephen C. Robinson following his plea of guilty to eight separate felony charges. Although not binding on Robinson, Kerik’s attorney, Michael Bachner, had come to an agreement several months ago with federal prosecutors Michael Bosworth, Perry Carbone and Elliot Jacobson, that his guilty plea would subject him to a sentence of between 27 to 33 months should the sentencing judge elect to follow the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Robinson opened the session at 10:11am with the statement, “We are here to sentence Mr. Kerik on his guilty pleading to eight felonies.” Addressing Kerik’s attorney, the Judge then said, “Let me first turn to you, Mr. Bachner; have you had a chance to go over the pre-sentence report?”

Bachner replied, “We have,” and then indicated that any prior issues with the report were “deemed to be resolved.”
Robinson then turned to Bosworth, Carbone and Jacobson, who indicated they, too, were satisfied with the report.


The Judge then reviewed all of the five documents that he had read, (1) the pre-sentence probation report, (2) the sentencing memorandum from Defense Attorney Bachner, (3) the sentencing memorandum from the Government, (4) letters and statements from Kerik supporters, and (5) Kerik’s plea allocution.

Robinson then said, “Let’s move forward,” signalling Attorney Bachner’s opening remarks. Bachner declared, “Bernard Bailey Kerik is before
you with the deepest humility and remorse, Your Honor. He knows by his conduct that he’s let people down.” Bachner emphasized the need for the Court to impose a sentence “sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to achieve the Court’s goals.”


Bachner took the opportunity to remind Robinson that his client’s plea understanding with the Government involved a sentence that would be between 27 and 33 months. He then went into an account of how Kerik, as a detective with the NYPD, had saved the life of a fellow detective, Hector Santiago, at the scene of a “drug buy gone bad.” Bachner referenced “a Talmudic” that “One who saves a life, saves the World.” He then declared, “Your Honor, Bernard Kerik has rescued the world many times over.”

Robinson then broke in with, “I’m going to interrupt your statement. At the same time we have a good cop, the good commissioner, we have the man who was violating the law. Not a bad day, or bad week, or bad year, but all the time.” The Judge repeats, “At the time he is doing good things, he is also violating the law.”


The Judge went on, “He had things on his website that trouble me no end; making it appear he was innocent, and prosecutors were not acting in good faith. We had Mr. Kerik violating orders of this Court, willing to violate the law and obstructing the investigation.”

Bachner broke in with, “Mr. Kerik is a complicated person. He would acknowledge he was inconsistent and wrong. When you’re so high on the pedestal, your fall is very painful.”

Robinson came back with, “At one point I told Mr. Kerik, ‘as you rise through the ranks of public service, you now receive but’...” The Judge was making the point that high office was not necessarily accompanied by high financial reward. He declared, “My law clerks will leave next year and make more money than I do. I can’t afford to send my daughter to the college she goes to.”


He then asked rhetorically, “What is the message that is sent by this sentence today?”

Bachner, as if to calm Robinson down, countered with a remark about general deterrence, and then added, “Twenty-seven months is no slap on the wrist.”


But Robinson was not to be stifled. He came right back with, “I am very seriously thinking about going above the Guidelines.”

Bachner then reminded him of the “27 to 33 month agreement.”


Again, the Judge came right back, “That doesn’t bind me.”

Bachner, going for broke, then said, “Heroism and public service must be taken into account.” Then shifting gears a bit, he declared, “Mr. Kerik is an extraordinary good person in so many ways. We have an obligation to remember the good someone has done. The good outweighs the bad he has done.”


Then, assuming a sentence closer to 27 months for his 54-year-old client, Bachner said, “At age 56 there will be many people who admire him, but many more who don’t. He is remorseful and begs the Court to allow him to resume his life. His supporters are heartbroken by his conduct.”

Now, Robinson began to reveal his own fears, declaring, “People will look at what happens here and it will either resonate with them or it won’t.”

Bachner, who earlier spoke of the sentencing, some years earlier, of a former Connecticut governor, John Roland, now made the mistake of invoking that case again. This time Judge Robinson informed him, offering, “I was the United States Attorney who started that investigation.” (Connecticut Governor John Roland had received some $250,000-worth of renovation to his summer home from a developer doing business with the state.)


All told, Kerik’s attorney argued in his client’s behalf for some 40 minutes.

The Judge now offered Bernard Kerik the opportunity to speak in his own behalf. Kerik rose to his feet and told the Court, “I make no excuses, and take full responsibility for the mistakes I’ve made. I ask only that you allow me to return to my wife and our two little girls as soon as possible.”

Assistant United States Attorney Bosworth now had his say, declaring, “However committed he was to enforcing the law when it came to others, he violated the law when it suited his purposes though.” He then remarked, “The Defendant alone is the architect of his public fall from grace. He committed crime after crime in service of himself over a period of a decade.”


And, now Judge Robinson chimed in with, “There are multiple felonies that Mr. Kerik has pled guilty to that do not influence the Guidelines.”

It was now 11:30am, an hour and twenty minutes into the sentencing, and Robinson was seriously agonizing, “As I’ve already mentioned, for me, Mr. Kerik is a complicated character. The Guidelines don’t take into account the almost operatic properties of this case. We don’t just have anyone here; we have the Police Commissioner of New York City continuing to commit crimes. I have been particularly troubled by the way Mr. Kerik, and people on his behalf, continue to behave.”


Robinson continued, asking, “What is the appropriate consequence for his misconduct?”

Drawing closer to a pronouncement of sentence, but still agonizing, Robinson now opined, “That Mr. Kerik would use the 9/11 event for self-aggrandisement is a dark place in the soul for me.”


He then went on to sentence Kerik to 48 months; 15 months more than the high end of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, plus three years of probation. He was, however, persuaded, after much discussion, to allow Kerik to turn himself in to the designated federal prison on May 17, rather
than remanding him immediately to jail.

Analysis:


The two-hour-long sentencing of Bernard Kerik was ‘vintage’ Judge Robinson, complete with much agonizing and thoughtful consideration to all aspects and individuals sure to be impacted by his decision.

In imposing a 48-month incarceration, 15 months longer than suggested by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Robinson was not ignoring those Guidelines, but, rather, rejecting them because of his appropriate concerns for the message he would convey both to the Defendant and to the world of observers.

However, having so lengthened Mr. Kerik’s term of incarceration, the good Judge remained reasonable and fair, allowing him to surrender to prison authorities in 90 days despite the Government’s arguments to immediately remand him.




Thursday, February 18, 2010

Westchester Guardian Article/Kurt Colucci/Sam Zherka.

Tax Activist Tells Guardian

Politicians Are Greatest Threat To America

“The Power To Tax Is The Power To Destroy” Kurt Colucci, Author And Tax Activist,Tells Publisher Sam Zherka, “Politicians Are Brokers Of Greed” Urges Citizens To Embrace Tea Party Movement

New Rochelle, New York, February 9, 2010... A city, roughly 10 square miles, with a diverse population over 80,000, New Rochelle is the birthplace of Westchester County Taxpayers Association founder Kurt Colucci, a former college professor presently a businessman who continues to make The Queen City Office Sound his home. Last Tuesday Colucci was interviewed by Guardian publisher Sam Zherka.

Colucci, a very outspoken political critic, tax activist and author of the soon-to-be published A Tax Slaves’ Manifesto, has been ruffing feathersand taking potshots at Westchester and Albany politicians. Last year, he helped organize a dozen Tea Parties all over Westchester, including a modest one in New Rochelle, attended by more than 300 people, and a much larger rally in White Plains on April 25th that drew over 2500 people.

The Guardian asked Colucci if he thought the Tea Party Movement will make a difference in races going forward?

Colucci responded, “The Tea Party Movement is in its early stages; they haven’t seen anything yet. The year 2010 will usher in the Rise of the Taxpayer!”

Colucci went on, “It is important that taxpayers, the economic backbone of this country, steer clear of political party loyalty. Both major parties have merged into one national party, The Party Of Big Spending, and are to blame for the current economic crisis. Our Liberty is hanging by a thread.”

During this very difficult economic climate dubbed, ‘The Great Recession’, Colucci’s message would seem to be resonating with taxpayers all over Westchester County and the nation.

Municipalities throughout Westchester are raising taxes at an unsustainable rate, further economically enslaving its citizens and stripping them of their equity, their homes, and, in many cases, everything they’ve worked long and hard to achieve.

George Nivkor, a Yonkers resident and Tea Party supporter, is calling upon every taxpayer to unite against politicians.

“My father, a hardworking immigrant from Communist Poland, is saddened by what is happening in Westchester County, and America at large, and can only compare it to Communism,” says Nivkor.

Turning to his own city, New Rochelle Colucci pointed out Mayor Noam Bramson and City Manager Chuck Strome, two of New York State’s highest paid municipal officials. Colucci reminded The Guardian that in recent weeks both the Mayor and City Manager have come under heavy fire for their exhorbitant tax increases and the layoff of several firefighters from an already understaffed fire department.

In 2007 readers will recall that Bramson, a staunch political ally of former County Executive Andrew Spano, together with the New Rochelle City Council, orchestrated a nearly 50% pay hike for themselves at a time when our present economic downturn was already becoming very evident. At the time many New Rochelle citizens expressed outrage, some calling the pay raises outright corruption. Numerous calls from The Guardian to Mayor Bramson went unanswered.

“The biggest threat to the American Dream is our own elected officials,” Collucci went on. “they are putting our families in harm’s way by reducing essential services in police and fire departments, all the while spending our hard-earned tax dollars faster than we can earn them and, further enslaving us economically.” Millions of Americans are currently losing their homes to bank and tax foreclosures due to bad lending, and, Predatory Taxation by government. Economists are predicting that property values will continue to decline so long as taxes continue to increase, turning the American Dream into an American Nightmare.

As for the average hardworking, economically enslaved, and exhausted American taxpayer, the Tea Party Movement seems to be the only way to take back Westchester County and the country from self-serving, corrupt politicians who appear to be on a course to destroy the American way of life.

The sentiment amongst citizens throughout the nation, and especially here in Westchester, the highest taxed county in the United States, is antiincumbent. As for this 2010 election cycle, it’s a bad time to be one of the incumbents, or, as Colucci calls them, ‘Tax Terrorists’ as 2010 is the year of the Taxpayer Revolution.

George Nivkor reiterated to The Guardian, by telephone, that “2010 is the year of the Taxpayer’s Revolution.”

Chief Judge John Marshal, in the McCulloch v Maryland case, declared, “The unlimited power to tax is the power to destroy.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Westchester Guardian Article/In Our Opinion/Social Services Department.

Westchester ‘Slush Fund’
Dept. Of Social Services

In Our Opinion...

Will They Ever Learn, Will They Ever Learn?

It’s not too often we find ourselves comfortably supporting a position taken by Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton I. Young. This newspaper has made no secret of our disappointment with the Young Administration on any number of occasions. However, with respect to the City Council’s proposed elimination of the Office of Inspector General, Mr. Young is clearly on target when he suggests his city “needs to have as many internal controls in place as possible to avoid corruption.”

After all, although former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael J. Garcia, despite announcing a major effort to flush out public corruption, and managing to only produce a handful of offenders, nevertheless found all of those offenders in Mount Vernon; former Buildings Department Commissioner “Gerri” Post and her boyfriend Wayne Charles, Department of Public Works Supervisor James Castaldo, and hauler Albert Tranquillo. Those two schemes, together with $1.7 million of HUD money that mysteriously disappeared, totalled more than $5 million that surely could’ve been put to much better use by Mount Vernon taxpayers.

The present Inspector General, Harry Stokes, earns $110,000, and his secretary receives $55,000. Apparently the City Council, under the leadership of Council President J. Yuhanna Edwards, has concluded that those salaries could be saved. Edwards was quoted as saying, “We don’t feel the Inspector General is needed at this time; we feel we have things in place.” In place? Yes. Under control? No.

Edwards was further quoted stating, “Each department should take it upon themselves to audit themselves.” We believe Edwards, and apparently a majority of the City Council, are naive, indeed, if they believe a self-policing scheme will suffice in the City of Mount Vernon given its history.

We have reason to believe there is massive corruption in Mount Vernon at this very moment, and that HUD funds are but one source of federal monies getting into larcenous hands. We are aware of hundreds of thousands of dollars hemorrhaging from 100 East First Street, the Department of Social Services, into the pockets of relatives, friends, and political connections of Deputy Commissioner Diane Atkins, a 41-year employee who is accountable directly to Kevin Mahon.

Atkins’ unlawful antics have been causing great anguish and anxiety in otherwise competent, diligent, and honest examiners and supervisors throughout Westchester’s Department of Social Services as they are repeatedly instructed by Atkins to make payments to ineligible individuals; federal monies being used as her personal slush fund. It is our understanding that Janet DiFiore continues to mentor and protect Atkins, and that she has also been closely connected with Reggie LaFayette and Serapher Conn-Halevi, both former Mount Vernon Democratic Chairpersons.

Halevi operates a childcare enterprise reportedly drawing several hundred thousand dollars annually from the Department of Social Services. Her son, her daughter, and other relatives have been cited in the media in the recent past for their own questionable dealings with the Department of Social Services, as well. All that federal investigators will need to do is to speak with supervisors and examiners.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Westchester Guardian Article/Publisher Sam Zherka.

VOL.IV NO. 27 (Thursday, Feb. 04, 2010)

A Bunch Of Morons?

“They Just Don’t Get It”

Obama, Predatory Government, And Economic Policies Could K.O. Democratic Party Tea Party Movement Picking Up Steam

By Sam Zherka, Publisher

Republican Scott Brown’s victory in the special race for United States Senate from Massachusetts, the country’s Liberal stronghold, was, in fact, a knockout blow to President Obama and his minions, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, “the Queen and King of Pork” and the pig himself, Barney Frank, his staunchest proponent of the government-run hostile takeover of the entire nationwide healthcare system.

In a record deficit year, with nearly $13 trillion in national debt, these four have nothing else in mind but national healthcare reform and pork spending which equate to nothing less than hidden taxes, more taxes, and finally, higher taxes.

No matter from which side of the aisle the rhetoric flows, the proposed Health Care Reform Bill will, in fact, include a barrage of new and higher taxes at a time of national economic turmoil dubbed, “The Great Recession”. In addition, this 2733-page, backroom-orchestrated and camouflaged national disaster, promises to raise premiums, cut benefits for seniors, the sick and impaired, burden students and place a massive mandate on many states already near bankruptcy. Democrats can’t change the fact that the government derives its money from the People, and the only way to pay the estimated $3 trillion needed to implement this plan, is to further burden the economically exhausted, enslaved and disoriented American taxpayer, further depressing economic activity, delaying recovery and possibly sending us into a double dip recession.

If passed, this bill requires that all of the 138 million American taxpayers in a country of more than 300 million, pay the increased tax burden for four years before receiving any benefit at all. Basically, the taxpayer will pay in advance for a promise of limited health care, which they may or may never receive.

The latest nationwide polls show that 62 percent of the people believe America is headed in the wrong direction, while 27 percent of the American public currently support the Tea Party movement.

In the states of New Jersey, West Virginia, Massachusetts, as well as Westchester County and Nassau County in New York State, all Democratic strongholds, major races have been lost by well-entrenched Democrats to Republicans in this latest election cycle which may be indicative of an existing anti-Obama tsunami.

The public sentiment is not pro-Republican by any stretch of the imagination, but pro-low taxes, smaller government, anti-illegal immigration, and healthcare reform, which has given rise to the nationwide Tea Party Revolution; the driving force behind the anti-Democratic and incumbency movement. Last year the nationwide Tea Party movement attracted the attendance of an estimated two million people to a rally in Washington, D.C. Tea Party organizers say, “It’s not about politics, but about survival, and taking back America from self-serving politicians.” Hundreds of Tea Party rallies are scheduled to be held all over the country this year, including one right here on Saturday, April 17th in White Plains.

In closing, if this healthcare bill does become law, Nancy Pelosi, referred to by many as ‘The Face lift Queen’, will be subject to a five percent tax on every plastic surgery procedure she gets, including Botox; and that could cost her plenty.

Below is a list of some of the tax increases the Democratic Congress and Obama have proposed to finance health care reform:

• A 5.4% income surtax on taxpayers earnings more than $500,000. A year;

• An excise tax on high cost Health Insurance Plans which cost more than $8500. per year;

• An excise tax on medical devices such as wheelchairs, breast pumps, and syringes used by diabetics for insulin injections;

• A limit on itemized deductions for taxpayers;

• A profit tax on health insurance companies which will force higher health insurance premiums;

• A value added tax, which would tax the value added to a product at each stage of production (which will be passed on to the consumer aka the taxpayer);

• Higher taxes on Alchoholic Beverages including beer, wine and spirits;

• An increase in the Medicare Portion of the payroll tax to 3.4% for incomes above $200,000;

• An excise tax on sugar, sweetend beverages non diet soda and sports drinks;

• A tax on individuals with out acceptable healthcare coverage of 2.5% of their gross income;

• An 8% tax on all wages paid by employers that do not provide their employees health insurance that satisfies the requirements of the Secretary of Health And Human Services;

• A limit on contributions on flexible spending arrangements;

• Elimination of the deduction for expenses associated with Medicare;

• An increase in taxes on International Business;

• Elimination of tax credits paper companies take;

• Increase payroll taxes on students;

• An extension of the Medicare payroll tax to all state and local government employees;

• An increase in the estate tax;

• An increase in taxes on hospitals;

• A 5% percent tax on cosmetic surgery and similar proceedures such as botox treatments, tummy tucks, and face lifts;

• A tax on drug companies (which will be passed on to the consumer);

• An increase on corporate tax on companies that provide health insurance;

• A $500,000. deduction limitation for the compensation paid by health
insurance companies to their officers, employees, and directors.

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