Timelines — 12/1

 Public urinator stabs Nanuet man

On Thanksgiving evening around 7:45 p.m., a 54-year-old man from Nanuet was stabbed after an argument escalated when another man was seen urinating in public. The 54-year-old, a Forest Brook Road resident, was taken to Nyack Hospital for treatment. He told police that he came across a man urinating near a white van and confronted him. Police say they found him on the ground bleeding from knife wounds in the hand and stomach near the Forest Brook and Springbrook intersection in Nanuet. No arrests have been made in connection with this incident.


Disbarred New City lawyer repays stolen money

Raymond Perez, a 69-year-old disbarred attorney from New City, escaped a jail term last week by repaying $52,000 that he stole from a Bronx couple looking to purchase land to build a church. Before paying the restitution, Perez faced two to six years in prison. County Court Judge William Nelson said that because the money was repaid, he would only face probation. Prosecution attorney Anthony Dallicarri was not pleased with the ruling. He believes that Perez should get jail time for second-degree grand larceny as he was disbarred and continued practiced law. Perez apologized for his wrong doings and his lawyer Daniel Bertolino believes his client has upheld his commitment to help right his wrongs. This all began in 2006 when Dexter Martinez, a small Bronx congregation’s pastor, went looking to purchase a piece of land on Park Avenue in the Bronx. Perez at the time represented the seller but getting the proper approvals from New York City for the sale. Perez then walked away with the money. Perez pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of practicing law without a license in March of 2008 in Clarkstown Justice Court. He was disbarred in 1996, eight years after he had begun practicing law in New York.


Local teen kicked out of grandmother’s house, drugs found

The Rockland Sheriff’s deputies were called to an East Orchard Street home on the eve of Thanksgiving to escort a teen from his grandmother’s home. The grandmother asked for an order of protection against Mather Pickford. When police arrived, Pickford’s bedroom had marijuana and cocaine in plain sight. Then, after obtaining a search warrant, police used drug-sniffing dogs to find addition narcotics. Pickford is being held in Rockland County Jail with $20,000 bail on felony drug charges. Two other young men are being charged in relation to this incident. Oscar Guallpa, 23, of Spring Valley, and Venicio Mojica, 18, of Nanuet, are also facing felony charges. Guallpa remains in county jail on $3,000 bail while Mojica has been released on $3,000 bail.


Train service restored for Port Jervis train line

The Metro-North and New Jersey Transit railroads have announced that service is being resumed after Hurricane Irene destroyed 14 miles of the track on the Metro-North Port Jervis Line. For the first time in three months, commuters were able to stay on trains all the way to their major commuter stops in Hoboken and Secaucus. Previously, there were shuttle buses to the Ramsey Route 17 stop in New Jersey. At Harriman, the line’s busiest station, several Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Metro-North Railroad executives greeted the commuters as they boarded their trains. There will still be delays due to continuing track work.


Possible suitcase killer on the loose

Police in Yonkers are investigating a man’s torso, which was found in a suitcase last week. The gruesome discovery was made in an area near Sprain Road and Chatham Terrace, just off Interstate 87. Yonkers Department of Public Works employees came upon the suitcase when they were clearing the brush in the area and smelled the foul odor. They did not open the suitcase and called authorities. Police say the head, legs, and hands have not yet been found. The body parts were severely decomposed, making it difficult to identify the age and race of the person, leaving his identity a mystery. Yonkers police continue to look for evidence in the surrounding wooded area. By using DNA and missing person’s reports, as well as reaching out to other local law enforcement agencies, investigators continue to try and identify the body parts. Local Yonkers residents have expressed concern over the grisly discovery. Anyone with any information is urged to call detectives at 914-377-7724. This apparently is not the first time bodies have been dumped in the area, as at least two other bodies have been discovered in the vicinity in the past. Mamaroneck village police, in a similar case, were unable to identify a woman’s torso that was found in a suitcase that washed up on the beach in 2007. Two legs washed ashore in Long Island that belonged to the torso.


County attorney steps down

Patricia Zugibe, Rockland’s county attorney for 13 years, will be stepping down on Friday for “personal opportunities” that have come up. The 56-year-old democrat has been involved with the county Department of Law for 23 years. She says the choice to leave was not easy and is proud to have served as county attorney. The Department of Law is the county’s legal advisor on civil matters. County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef has expressed regret over her leaving, as he was the one who appointed Zugibe to the post back in 1988. Until a permanent replacement can be found, Jeffrey Fortunato, executive assistant to the county attorney, will be the acting county attorney. Fortunato is a 52-year-old Pomona republican who has been with the county since 1994. Zugibe and Jack Holt, her husband and chairman and CEO of Holt Construction, live in Upper Grandview. The position pays around $143,000 a year.


Syracuse assistant coach fired as a result of sexual abuse scandals

Syracuse University, amidst the recent Pennsylvania State University allegations of molestation, fired Bernie Fine, the assistant men’s basketball coach of 35 years, hours after new reports surfaced regarding allegations of the sexual abuse of boys. Syracuse University Senior Vice President stated on Sunday: “Bernie Fine’s employment with Syracuse University has been terminated, effective immediately.”  Prior to this, Fine was placed on administrative leave after a former Syracuse ball boy Bobby Davis and his stepbrother Mike Lang stated that Fine had molested them. Bobby Davis used to stay at the Fine house as a teenager, frequently sleeping in the basement. A taped conversation from October of 2002, belived to be between Bobby Davis and Lori Fine, indicated that she was aware of the ongoing abuse. The two discussed that Bernie Fine wanted Bobby Davis to grab him and that if he could, Fine would engage in oral sex with him. She also said in the recording, “I know everything that went on… he has issues.” She went on to say that she thought that there “might have been others” who were abused. Fine alluded to a sexual relationship between Lori and Bobby in the phone call as well. ESPN aired the tape which had been in their possession for eight years, saying that until now they had no one to corroborate the story.  Using a voice recognition expert, they believe the recording is in fact that of Lori Fine. The tape will now be used as evidence in the case. The university stated that they conducted an investigation into the matter in 2005 but could not find any truth to the allegations. On Sunday, a third alleged victim, Zach Tomaselli of Maine, said that Bernie Fine molested him when he was 13 in a Pittsburgh hotel room in 2002. Tomaselli said he chose to come out with this allegation after seeing how people not coming forward in the Penn State Sandusky case led to more victims being abused. The men’s basketball head coach, Jim Boeheim, says that he fully supports the school’s decision.


Tensions reach boiling point in Clarkstown, police kept busy

A parent in the Clarkstown school district, Robert Kurkela, has accused the school board president, Douglas Katz, of promoting his business by listing his insurance company as his contact on the school calendar that was mailed out to the thousands of residents in the area. Kurkela filed a petition with the state education commissioner to remove Katz from his position. Kurkela has not publicly discussed the complaint, which he has now withdrawn. Katz claims that when the calendar was being made up he was in the process of moving and prefers that his mail be sent to his business. He also said it was not him who included the name of his business in the calendar. Katz has hired a private investigator as well as a lawyer to try and uncover how the business name came to print. Apparently, the information has been in the calendar for the past two years. This follows months of rising tension over the fate of Superintendent Margaret Keller-Cogan. Four trustees voted to hire a new superintendent while another three voted to keep her. Some of the public feels that Keller-Cogan has been doing a great job and believes the board has not shown any good reason to fire her. Board meetings have been very loud lately as parents vocalize their concerns about the board majority not reflecting the people who elected them. Due to board concerns that violence may break out at the meeting, a police officer has been present at all of the meetings for the past few months. This is not the only thing keeping the local police department busy. Trustee Donna Ehrenberg has contacted the police over an email from Kurkela which she felt was threatening. Former school board President Lorette Adams has filed a complaint for Kurkela’s emails, which she claims, are sarcastic. Ehrenberg also filed a complaint against a teacher married to a board member who she believes spoke to her in a threatening way. Another police report was filed indicating that Kurkela came to Clarkstown High School South during an executive board meeting and was asked to leave the premises.



Barney Frank announces retirement


U.S. Massachusetts Representative for the 4th congressional district, democrat Barney Frank, announced on Monday that he would not seek re-election in 2012 due to recent redistricting that left him with too many new constituents. The new district he presides over has 325,000 more voters, something he does not want to tackle. The 71-year-old has served in Congress since 1980 and says he will miss his job but will no longer “have to pretend to be nice to people [he doesn’t] like.” He promised that he will remain politically active, including the defending of the Dodd-Frank bill that he co-authored after the economy collapse of 2008. The town of New Bedford, where he received a lot of support, was sliced in half. Last year he faced a close election with Republican Sean Beilat after a Herald video went viral of Frank’s boyfriend, Jim Ready, taunting Beilat. This decision is an unexpected one for his peers and it is unclear who will run next year.

Rezko sentenced to 10.5 years in prison

Former top fund-raiser for previous Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and friend of President Barack Obama, Tony Rezko, 56, was sentenced to 10.5 years in federal prison for extortion, fraud, money laundering and bribery. He will spend a total of seven years behind bars as the judge gave him credit for time served. Rezko was convicted in 2008 for plotting to take more than $9.8 million in kickbacks from businesses seeking out state business.

New York Assemblyman Tom Kirwan dies

New York State Assemblyman and Former Stat police lieutenant, Tom Kirwan passed away after a longtime illness. The republican had a reputation for being blunt. During his Newburgh-area election, he lost, and then won the election after 100 days of recounts. Governor Cuomo released this statement on Monday: “Tonight we mourn the passing of a dedicated public servant, Assemblyman Tom Kirwan. For the more than a decade that Tom served in the Assembly, he was an ardent voice for his community and the people of New York State. He will be remembered for his commitment to serving others, as demonstrated by the nearly thirty years he spent protecting our citizens as a member of the New York State Police. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.”

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