Wednesday, January 17, 2018


While There is Much to Like, NYLCV is Disappointed by the Failure to Include a Solution to Carryout Bags
  Although expectations are lower in this challenging budget year than in the past two budget cycles, there is a great deal for environmentalists to like in Governor Cuomo's 2018-2019 Executive Budget. Previously, the Environmental Protection Fund was one of the first targets for austerity cuts. This year, Governor Cuomo has left it at its historic level of $300 million. Similarly, the spend down of the $2.5 billion promised for clean water promised last year will remain in place. While it is easy to take these funding levels for granted, they are important to applaud. We sincerely look forward to spending the next ten weeks pushing for progress rather than trying to undo painful cuts. We are also pleased to see funding for fixing our parks, building the Empire State Trail, finally finishing Hudson River Park, combatting algal blooms in our waterways, and remediating the Grumman contamination in Bethpage.

Two long-discussed new programs made it into the Governor's budget and they rank high on our priority list. For the second consecutive year, Governor Cuomo included a proposal requiring large generators of food waste to donate edible food and recycle the rest. Similarly, after years of behind-the-scenes efforts, a plan to reform the forestry tax credit to encourage owners of private forests not to develop the land was included for the first time. Both of these proposals have well-resourced opponents and it will take significant advocacy for them to reach the finish line. Along with our partners, we are gearing up for a serious push. We hope that both the Governor and our legislative allies join us in this effort. 

We are also pleased to see the Governor include a proposed compromise solution to the expansion of the Pine Barrens he vetoed in December. The Governor's version would not include the Mastic Woods, allowing a solar farm to move forward, and replaces this land with state and county lands not in the original plan. We hope that all parties come to the table to agree on a reasonable solution that does not pit land preservation against renewable energy. 

The Governor's embracing of a fee on all vehicles entering the central business district in his speech today is a step in the right direction on congestion pricing. We need to hear more details and look forward to the report of the Fix NYC panel later this week. Time is short for such a major proposal and we are concerned it is already starting from behind by not being included in the Executive Budget. Inaction, however, is not an option since the long-term consequences pose a major threat to our climate goals and to the Downstate economy. We are hopeful that the unusually high stakes will bring all of the relevant players to the table to get something done before April. 

Of course, we cannot agree with the Governor on everything and we strongly believe that leaving a solution to single-use bag waste out of the budget was a serious oversight. Last year, when Governor Cuomo overturned New York City's attempt to deal with the problem, he promised a statewide solution. We are still waiting for it after a disappointing Plastic Bag Taskforce report was released on Saturday night over the holiday weekend. Instead what we are left with is an inconsistent and inadequate patchwork of local laws. When Governor Cuomo wants to get something done, few can rival his rate of success. If he is serious about making good on his pledge, we expect that he will include a plan to either institute a ban on plastic bags and a fee on paper bags, or a fee on both in his 30 Day Amendments or through a program bill. 

You're invited to attend Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s 2018 State of the Borough Address on Thursday, February 22, 2018, at The Bronx High School of Science. Doors open at 10:30 AM, program begins promptly at 11:30 AM. RSVP at

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictment And Arrests Of Medical Testing Company Owners In Multi-Million Dollar Medicaid Fraud

Tea Kaganovich And Ramazi Mitiashvili Indicted For Grand Larceny In The First Degree For Stealing From Medicaid By Billing For Fake Medical Tests
Attorney General’s Civil Lawsuit Seeks $24 Million Under The State’s False Claims Act
If Convicted Of Top Counts, Defendants Each Face Up To 25 Years In State Prison
  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment and arrest of Tea Kaganovich, 45, and Ramazi Mitiashvili, 57, both of Brooklyn, NY for Grand Larceny in the First Degree and other related charges for illegally billing Medicaid for fraudulent diagnostic testing services and laundering the criminal proceeds from their scheme. The Attorney General also filed a civil lawsuit seeking $24 million in damages from the defendants under the State’s False Claims Act and other laws. The indictment alleges that Kaganovich and Mitiashvili, operators of Sophisticated Imaging, Inc., East Coast Diagnostics, Inc., and East West Management, Inc., engaged in a systematic scheme to subject Medicaid patients to a battery of diagnostic tests that were not medically necessary and not ordered by real physicians. Kaganovich, Mitiashvili, and the indicted corporations then caused the Medicaid program, including Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (“MCOs”), to be billed for medical testing, some of which was never rendered at all. The defendants later laundered their illicit proceeds through various bank accounts and paid co-conspirators hundreds of thousands of dollars to perpetuate the scheme. The Attorney General’s civil lawsuit alleges that defendants’ illegal conduct cost Medicaid over $8 Million.
“Medicaid is meant to be a healthcare safety net for New Yorkers, not a bank account for criminals,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who try to undermine the Medicaid program and defraud New York taxpayers.”
During its ongoing investigation into “medical mills”, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) discovered that the pattern of fraud at each medical mill was similar. Medical mills are purported healthcare clinics that solicit Medicaid recipients who have no apparent medical concerns with promises of a cash payment, usually ranging between $20 and $50. After getting the recipients in the door and obtaining their Medicaid identification, the mills, using licensed healthcare providers complicit in the scheme, submit fraudulent claims to Medicaid or MCOs for services that are never rendered or medically unnecessary. Prosecutors allege that the licensed healthcare providers who purportedly staff the mills are paid by the mills for the use of their medical licenses and Medicaid credentials, but often never see the patients in whose names they submit claims to Medicaid. 
In 2016, MFCU sent undercover investigators posing as Medicaid recipients into one of the mills. The investigators discovered individuals who held themselves out as physicians even though they did not have licenses. To maximize billing, the unlicensed “doctors” subjected the patients, including MFCU’s undercover agents, to an array of medical tests from individuals purporting to be diagnostic technicians with a variety of medical equipment. The “tests” were whatever equipment the technicians happened to bring to the medical mill that day.
Prosecutors allege that Kaganovich, Mitiashvili, and their corporations participated in the “medical mill” scam by funding and staffing it. Prosecutors also allege that to keep the scheme going, Kaganovich and Mitiashvili paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks to the owners of medical clinics for patient referrals. Prosecutors further allege that Kaganovich and Mitiashvili also employed the purported diagnostic technicians who rotated between mills and contracted with licensed physicians to read the medically unnecessary diagnostic scans their employees generated. Prosecutors also allege that operators further caused the physicians to bill Medicaid and MCOs for the fraudulently obtained scans, and that once reimbursed by Medicaid or MCOs, the physicians paid Kaganovich and Mitiashvili for administering the allegedly medically unnecessary scans.  
In October 2016, investigators from MFCU executed search warrants at two medical mills related to the defendants’ scheme located at 2423 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Manhattan and at 2781 Webster Avenue in the Bronx.
A grand jury sitting in Manhattan returned an indictment charging all defendants with Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony; Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony; and Prohibited Practices (Kickbacks) in violations of the New York Social Services Law, a class E felony. The grand jury also charged Kaganovich and East Coast Diagnostics with Money Laundering in the First Degree, a class B felony; Mitiashvili and East West Management with Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a class C felony; and Kaganovich and Sophisticated Imaging with Money Laundering in the Third Degree, a class D felony. Lastly, Kaganovich and Mitiashvili were indicted for Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony. If convicted of the top counts, each defendant faces up to 25 years in state prison.
Notably, a federal grand jury sitting in Brooklyn indicted Kaganovich and Mitiashvili last month for various federal crimes related to a similar healthcare fraud scheme.
Today, Acting Justice Mark Dwyer of the Supreme Court, New York County arraigned the defendants and adjourned the case to April 6, 2018. Both defendants pled not guilty. The Defendants continue to be held in federal custody. 
The Attorney General would like to thank the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG), the U.S. Department of Justice Medicare Strike Force, which operates with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York; the Office of the Kings County District Attorney; the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG); the New York City Human Resources Administration, Medicaid Provider Investigations and Audit Unit, and the managed care company HealthFirst for their assistance and cooperation in this investigation. 
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

AG's Special Investigations And Prosecutions Unit Releases Report On The Death Of Edson Thevenin

  Today, the Attorney General’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit (SIPU) released its report into the shooting death of Edson Thevenin. Over the course of the investigation, SIPU did not obtain adequate evidence to make a finding of criminal culpability. As part of today’s report, SIPU recommends that the Troy Police Department make several urgent and systemic reforms to departmental practices.
Attorney General Schneiderman released the following statement:
“Edson Thevenin’s death was a tragedy. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. 
Our investigation uncovered significant problems with the Troy Police Department’s evidence collection, preservation, and analysis practices in this case. These problems included a flawed, prejudged analysis of the evidence and a failure to properly interview all of the available witnesses to the shooting. As detailed in the report, these failures undermined the homicide investigation and must be quickly and thoroughly addressed. 
As a matter of law, regardless of the ultimate conclusions reached by our office, criminal prosecution in this case was made impossible because the officer involved testified before a 2016 grand jury without having waived immunity from prosecution.
We are always committed to conducting a fully independent review of the facts in these cases, and to providing an exhaustive and transparent accounting of our investigation.”


  Monday, January 15, 2018, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the borough's Annual Interfaith Service honoring the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Residents and elected officials from throughout the borough gathered at Trinity Baptist Church, which served as the event's co-sponsor, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. King’s, uniting in honoring the legacy of civil rights leader’s message of peace and unity.
“This year is the 50th anniversary of that tragic day when Dr. King was assassinated,”said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “In light of the vitriol that comes out of the Oval Office on a daily basis, we can find hope in the path laid down by leaders such as Dr. King; a minister, civil rights activist and nonviolent leader who showed us that we can change the world if we work together.”

Borough President Diaz Jr. later attended the afternoon service honoring Dr. King at Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church, in the West Farms area of the Bronx.
“Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church is pillar in our borough,” said Borough President Diaz. “Their efforts in elevating the spiritual quality of life and focusing on the betterment of communities across our beautiful borough very much lines up with the beliefs of Dr. King’s legacy.”
Borough President Diaz finished the day in Brooklyn, and attended a community celebration honoring Dr. King held at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in Clinton Hill. The event recognized the contributions community leaders make to their neighborhood and their constituents.
United States Congressman Hakeem Jeffries presented Borough President Diaz with an “Excellence in Leadership” Award, recognizing the borough president’s contributions in helping the both The Bronx and New York City continue its upward growth.
“To receive an award on such a day is truly an honor, as we celebrate the remarkable efforts of Dr. King in addressing the needs of the community,” said Borough President Diaz. “I am honored to receive this award.”


$1.5 million public-private partnership to help formerly out-of-work and out-of-school young adults improve job retention

  Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships, announced a $1.5 million new initiative, “CareerLift,” driven by the NYC Center for Youth Employment (CYE). Spearheaded by an $850,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation, the pilot aims to grow targeted opportunities for formerly out-of-school and out-of-work young adults to help them stay employed and advance in their careers. Through this investment, CYE, a project of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, and its non-profit partners JobsFirstNYC and Social Finance will support vulnerable youth by working with private-sector employers to help reduce employee turnover rates and improve productivity. This project will also evaluate the feasibility of a “Pay for Success” model, in which employers assume the cost of job retention services only if proven successful — a first-of-its-kind funding model in the U.S. for employment retention services.

“Investing in the success of our emerging workforce is essential to a thriving local economy,” saidMayor de Blasio. “CareerLift will help our young people succeed in the private sector. It’s a win for them, it’s a win for employers and it’s a win for New York City.”

“This generous investment of $1.5 million, will open a pathway of possibilities for more young adults from some of the City’s most vulnerable communities. These young New Yorkers are the future of our city, and with this program they will have the tools they need to be successful in the workplace, develop healthy professional relationships and secure networking opportunities,” saidFirst Lady McCray, Chair of the Mayor’s Fund.

“Today we are thrilled to announce CareerLift, an innovative public-private partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and Pinkerton Foundation. CareerLift helps advance Mayor de Blasio’s goal to ensure that every New Yorker can achieve steady work at a living wage,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships. “This partnership will help newly employed young adults stay on the job and advance toward a career. Most exciting, it utilizes a first-of-its-kind  funding model through which employers help themselves by financing retention services that will cut their turnover costs and boost workers’ performance.”

“The support services offered by CareerLift will help to ensure that vulnerable youth are not only better equipped to connect to and stay in work, but to grow and thrive in their careers as well,” saidAbigail Carlton, managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “We are proud to support this project, which sits at the intersection of The Rockefeller Foundation’s work to improve employment outcomes for vulnerable Americans and our long history of supporting pay-for-success financing models.”

The program will be implemented by two nonprofit workforce development organizations: Seedco—supported in part through a $150,000 grant from The Pinkerton Foundation—and Madison Strategies Group, as well Q Services, the employer partnering with Madison Strategies to place young adults in office service jobs. Seedco will work with a number of food service employers to place young adults in jobs. In addition to testing the feasibility of the model, funding will support staff from the provider organizations to help workers and employers address challenges, from housing and transportation to healthcare and workplace conflicts that might otherwise lead to losing their jobs.

New York City’s job growth under Mayor Bill de Blasio has spurred new work opportunities for thousands of young adults. However, a major issue facing many businesses hiring entry-level workers is the cost associated with employee turnover. Similarly, for workers with relatively low educational attainment and limited work history, finding a job can prove easier than keeping one. By improving retention and advancement outcomes, the CareerLift model has the potential to make a crucial difference in the lives of this new workforce, while also yielding savings for employers and the public programs that support this emerging workforce.

CareerLift draws from and builds upon proven local and national models, including Seedco’s Youth Advancing in the Workplace and WorkLife Partnership in Colorado. Such an approach has the potential to assist employers of young adults entering the workforce by reducing employer costs related to turnover and helping to establish policies and procedures that support employee retention. The program will place staff from workforce development organizations on-site at employers to provide retention supports to employees. These staff members will connect employees to needed services at local service providers (e.g. housing, child care, benefits enrollment, up-skilling) on an individualized basis, and the support will help entry-level employees stay in their jobs and advance in their careers.

“Far too many young adults in New York City work hard to land a job, and then struggle to keep it,’” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “CareerLift steps in where most workforce programs leave off: it delivers ongoing support for both young workers and their employers to resolve challenges to retention and advancement as they arise. We see great potential in this model to advance the Center’s mission of helping every young New Yorker achieve economic stability and get on a career path.”  

“Finding and developing new approaches to critical local issues is work we take great pride in, which is why we are thrilled to see the Center for Youth Employment partner with this great group of social innovators to launch this new, and first-of-its kind, “pay for success” effort,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “Programs that support new entrants into the workforce provide well-established benefits to both businesses and employees alike. And the promise of delivering a new model for funding and supporting these important interventions will provide a valuable and lasting benefit for businesses, the local talent they hire, and our city as a whole.”

About JobsFirstNYC
JobsFirstNYC is a youth workforce intermediary working to reduce the number of out of school, out of work young adults in New York City. Its model is to design, test, and scale innovative partnership models responding to the unique needs of communities they are invited in to. As a neutral intermediary, JobsFirstNYC raises consciousness about the challenges young adults face, coordinates and leverages community assets, builds institutional and field capacity, and convenes stakeholders like employers, philanthropy, workforce development agencies, and policymakers.

About Madison Strategies Group
Madison Strategies Group leverages deep strategic partnerships with employers to prepare people for employment and advancement. Working in partnership with other community organizations, Madison Strategies Group specializes in providing support to a diverse population. This includes low income individuals such as young people, immigrants, justice involved and the homeless with the tools  to overcome barriers and regardless of background, to distinguish themselves as job candidates and workers. Madison Strategies currently operates programs in New York City and Tulsa, Oklahoma. More information can be found at

About Seedco
Founded in 1987, Seedco is a national nonprofit organization that advances economic opportunity for people, businesses, and communities in need. Using a long-term career case management model, Seedco’s workforce development programs help individuals with barriers to employment obtain, retain and advance in jobs. Seedco’s work and family supports programs help low-income families successfully enroll in benefits and assistance programs and move towards self-sufficiency. Seedco currently operates programs in five states: New York, Tennessee, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut. Learn more at

About Social Finance
Social Finance is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing capital to drive social progress. Social Finance is committed to using Pay for Success to tackle complex social challenges, facilitate greater access to services for vulnerable populations, and direct capital to evidence-based social programs—all with the goal of measurably improving the lives of people most in need.

Social Finance has deep experience in the design and implementation of Pay for Success projects, from early-stage feasibility assessment, to project development and capital formation, to post-launch performance management and investment support. Our sister organization, Social Finance UK, launched the world’s first Social Impact Bond in 2010. For more information and to learn how to support our work, visit

Housing New York By the Numbers (through 12/31/17)

Construction Type

Construction Type CY 2017 HNY Starts HNY Starts to Date HNY Starts to Date %
New Construction 7177 28492 33.00%
Preservation 17359 59065 67.00%
Total 24536 87557 100.00%

HNY Starts

Borough CY 2017 New Construction to Date Preservation to Date HNY to Date
Bronx 11032 11572 17586 29158
Brooklyn 4451 8291 14336 22627
Manhattan 5265 5275 19839 25114
Queens 3731 2849 5740 8589
Staten Island 57 505 1564 2069

Affordability Levels

Affordability AMI % 3-Person Household    CY 2017 HNY Starts HNY Starts
Extremely Low 0-30% ≤$25,770 4339 13320
Very Low 31-50% $25,771-$42,950 7531 15883
Low 51-80% $42,951-$68,720 9108 41659
Moderate 81-120% $68,721-$103,080 1723 5477
Middle 121-165% $103,081-$141,735 1681 10760
Other Super N/A 154 458

Homeless and Senior Units

Homeless & Senior Units CY 2014 HNY CY 2015 HNY CY 2016 HNY CY 2017 HNY HNY to Date
HNY Homeless Start Units
923 1691 2554 2020 7188
HNY Senior Start Units 1789 1088 1158 1522 5557