Sunday, March 1, 2009

Long Island Legal News -- February 2009 In Review


Suffolk Count continues to respond to the disturbing wave of anti-hispanic hate crimes. The murder trial of seven Patchogue youths who brutally murdered an Equidorian man, Marcelo Lucero, as part of what they called their "sport" of roaming the streets of Patchogue on bicycles assaulting hispanic men. According to matters discussed in the pre-trial hearings, a gang of youths, larger than the seven who were charged in the case, had been allowed to roam the streets of patchogue on bicycles, unchecked, randomly assaulting at least twenty other hispanic men over the course of a year. (NY Times, 2/2/09). Although the situation in Suffolk County is particularly eggregious, it is part of a growing trend of anti-hispanic hate crime nationwide. ("Feeling the Hate, No Matter What The Motive," NY Times; "Why they hate hispanics," Mexia Daily News, TX.; Huffington Post.) Mr. Lucero's family has called for the County Executive's resignation, and is contempating a lawsuit. (Newsday).

Some elements of local Suffolk County government are being called to task for their long-entrenched discriminatory practices. Smithtown settled minority housing suit, alleging that the town unfairly favored white applicants for Section 8 welfare housing by giving preference to Smithtown residents. (Newsday, by Stacy Alther). Despite outrage amongst advocacy groups, Suffolk County's police complaint forms continue to ask crime victim's residency status. (Newsday, by Reid Epstein). And, a Central Islip Town Employee has files a sexual harassment suit. (See Newsday, Jennifer Maloney).


The County Government took a few significant steps to improve public health. Following New York City's lead, Suffolk County has banned trans-fats at fast food eateries, and will require such establishments to post calorie listings on their menus. (Long Island Press, NY Times, 2/4/09). Taking the lead, the County was the first in the country to ban Bisphenol A -- a plastic additive that can seep from into food and may be toxic -- from baby bottles. (See Daily Green , Attorney At Law Blog, Scientific American)

The County and Federal Government also both took steps to curb the pollution problem, fining a duck farm $776,000 for pollution, and seizing $1 Million the estate of a deceased Long Island polluter for toxic waste cleanup. (North Country Gizette, Newsday)


The Agape World scandal continues to develop. Last year, Michael Kessler, a private investigator specializing in financial investigation, was hired by a potential investor to look into Happauge based Agape World. What Kessler found was a organization run by men with criminal histories and little financial experience. The company's founder, Nicolas Cosmo, had been a stock broker in the late 1990's, operating out of Carle Place, but had his license revoked and was sentenced to 21 months in Federal prison when, in 1999, it was discovered that he was swindling investors. Upon his release from jail, he started Agape World The company had all the signs of a classic pyramid scheme, and Kessler contacted the Suffolk County District Attorney's office, who confirmed these findings in their own investigation.

The Suffolk County DA uncovered a $37o Million operation that had duped more than 1500 investors. The investors believed they were investing in high interest short-term loans, and many even paid additional fees for bogus "investment insurance." Most of the investors were blue-collar individual Long Islanders, but the investors also included numerous businesses, and even some investment firms. With the business investors, Cosmo also convinced them to have all of their employees deposit money into fake IRA accounts.

After the scandal broke, Agape was quickly forced into bankruptcy, and -- adding insult to injury -- when the company opened its books it was revealed that Cosmo had started the company using a Federally subsidized small business loan with the support of a local small business association. Several lawsuits have been filed, but the authorities have yet to find where the money is being hidden.

SOURCES: Happauge Ponzi Scheme, NY Times, News 12 NJ; Investors call for Agape Bankruptcy, Newsday. Interview with The Private Investigator Who Uncovered the Agape Scandal, Long Island Business News. 2/12). Agape forced to open files to bankruptcy trustee, Newsday, Michael Amon). Agape World had two federal subsidized loans, Newsday, Michael Amon. First lawsuit filed against Agape, Newsday).

Other Financial Fraud News:

* County Claims "100 Black Men Misused Funds," Long Island Business News,

* Rockland County Investors file RICO suit against Long Island Hedge Fund, Lower Hudson News,

* CoStar alleges fraud by Long Island Based Polimeni International, MSNBC


Relations with local indian tribes continue to be strained. The Unkechaug Chief has called for negotiations after legal victories against Suffolk County and New York City related to the County and City's attempt to dissuade sale of untaxed cigarettes on Indian land. (Sag Harbor Express.) The US Supreme Court issued a ruling that suggests local governments may have jurisdiction over some Indian land used for commercial development but the Long Island Shinnecock tribe says that the ruling should have no effect on their long-fought battle to build a casino in Suffolk County. (27 East)

Quality of life issues made news on both sides of the island. Nassau County has sued a Queens strip club over because of its racy billboard, saying the billboard is a nuisance that can be seen across the County line, Newsday, Long Island Press, Queens Chronical (February 6, 2009). Out east, the town of Riverhead has sued Suffolk County to prevent a sex-offender trailer park from being located there. Long Island Press.

An ongoing wave of unrelated scandals suggests an endemic problem with abuse of power on Long Island. An ex-fire official from Montauk Pleaded guilty to embezzling more than a half-million dollars. (SI Live, 2/13). A Nassau County land developer has filed suit against Freeport and Nassau County officials, claiming they conspired to steal land. (Newsday, Eden Laikin). And Fire Island Police face criminal charges for thuggishly beating a litterer and attempting to cover up the assault; the town faces criticism for quietly settling prior similar incidents. (Newsday)


* Judge Dismisses LI Screamer Suit, (Newsday, 2/2/09)

* Judge Throws Out $50 million Lawsuit Against 50 Cent, People Magazine. 2/5/09

* A Long Island School Bus crashed and killed 17 students, Justice News,

* Wal-Mart stampede suits continue, Insurance Journal.

* A Suffolk County police officer was killed when his Crown Victoria burst into flames after a crash, prompting some critics question the Crown Victoria's safety., Newsday.

* Construction safety Vigil for fallen worker, one of three so far this year. (27 East)

* Computer Associates and Rocket Software settle lawsuit, Forbes.

* The woman accused of drunk driving who, last month, sued Nassau County and forced it to remove its "wall of shame" depicting drunk drivers, has plead guilty to her DWI charge (Newsday). (See also Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents).

* Long Island Ducks minor league baseball player is sued for hitting an opponent with a bat,Hartford Courant, Associated Press,

* The Law Firm of Dell, Little, Trovato & Vecere has moved to Ronkonkoma, Long Island Business News

* Review of Nassau and Suffolk 2007 "Social Host" laws, imposing criminal liability on private persons who serve alcohol to minors resulting in motor vehicle accidents, Manhasset Press

* A Long Island Teen Has Sued Facebook over cyber-bullying, Albany Times Union, CBS News,Fox News

* a Lindenhurst High School Student Files Suit Over Bible Club. (Newsday, Chau Lam; WNCT;)

* Southhampton Hospital and Stonybrook Hospital named in malpractice suit over failed organ transplant (27 East).

* Developer's suit against WestHampton for civil rights violations is thrown out, 27 East.

* Port Washington School District Wins Suit, Port Washington News.

* Suffolk County has appointed a new consumer affairs commissioner, Denis McElliot, Empire State News,

1 comment:

  1. Concerned about our SocietyMarch 30, 2009 at 8:53 AM

    · The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise would die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day.

    · Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals.

    · There would be no one to smuggle across our southern border the heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines, which plague the United States, reducing the U.S. supply of methamphetamines that day, by 80%.

    · Our hospital emergency rooms would not be flooded with everything from gunshot wounds, to anchor babies, to imported diseases, to hangnails, giving American citizens the day off from standing in line behind illegals.

    · Eight American children would not suffer the horror as victims of sex crimes.

    easy conduit for terrorists entering the USA

    · massive escalation in crime

    · surge in foreign national prisoners to support for years

    · increases Balkanization of US

    · increases multiculturalism/segregation/divisiveness instead of the American melting pot

    · increases desire for Aztlan (reclaiming SW states for Mexico)

    · increasing number of traffic accidents

    · main contributor to surging US population

    · dramatic impact on society and infrastructure, including education

    · destruction of fragile ecosystems in American SW

    · main cause of emergency rooms and hospitals closing as well as service cut backs

    · introduction of third world diseases

    · increased welfare costs

    · massive costs to society – over and above contributions

    Illegal immigration is a huge strain and drain on our society. Not that a person deserves to be murdered, however, there are consequences for everything in life.

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