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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bronx News Roundup, April Fool's Day

Not surprisingly, the state government failed to meet it's April 1 budget deadline, passing only one budget bill last night.

However, Bronx State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, provided some drama and heroics when she was rushed to the hospital, diagnosed with walking pneumonia, and then later returned, accompanied by three paramedics to vote on the one budget bill. Her fellow lawmakers gave her a standing ovation.

From now on, we will call Hassell-Thompson the Willis Reed of New York state senators.

And MTA rescue plan, which was reportedly coming together yesterday, was again derailed by a small group of state senators (this time of the upstate variety) who balked at a higher payroll tax.

Two Liberian immigrants who lived in the Bronx and were killed in the former Long Island condo of football player Jonathan Vilma may have been murdered as payback for a counterfeit money scam they concocted.

Yesterday, the Daily News' Bob Kappstatter dished on the vacant county clerkship, Diaz, Jr.'s plans for a swift transition and district leader Kenny Agosto's language skills.

More from the Times on the mishandling of the Yankees community fund money.

Just to flesh this out a little here: Basically, a lawyer hired by the Yankees to oversee the fund filed a lawsuit against Serafin Mariel, who is the chairman of fund, for putting the money into the bank (New York Community Bank) he founded and still works for. The lawyer says this constitutes a conflict of interest. And also, because the money isn't earning any interest, he says it's just irresponsible investment. The lawyer also says the fund hasn't paid him the $35,000 he says the Yankees said he would be paid for overseeing the fund.

Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Councilman Joel Rivera (who helped appoint Mariel) both defended him, but said the matter would be up to the courts to decide. Hope that helps.

Speaking of the Yankees, Metro-North officials say the stop at the new Stadium will open on May 23.


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