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Mopeds Taking Over Bike & Pedestrian Lanes on Queensboro Bridge

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The Queensboro Bridge on 59th street is becoming increasingly dangerous for pedestrians and bikes due to the invasion of mopeds illegally using the lane. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

By: Benyamin Davidsons

The Queensboro Bridge on 59th street is becoming increasingly dangerous for pedestrians and bikes due to the invasion of mopeds illegally using the lane.

As reported by the NY Post, the narrow, two-lane strip earmarked for pedestrians, bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters now have mopeds zipping by on them. Motorcycles, mopeds and other vehicles which require DMV registration are actually banned from using the lanes but this hasn’t stopped the influx.

On Dec. 14th, Queens mother and nursing assistant, Alison O’Reilly , 54, was walking on the Queensboro Bridge to her job in Manhattan when a moped smashed into her. “I flew like a rag doll,” said O’Reilly. “If something happened to me, I’m a widow. It unnerved me a little bit.” The NY Post counted over 36 mopeds and motorcycles crossing the bridge alongside bikers and walkers in just one hour, on a recent morning. The day after, the paper recorded 31within an hour.

The problem has attracted the attention of the NYPD former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who repeatedly vowed to crack down on the dangerous intrusions. Still, there is not even a sign on the Queens-side entrance of the lane to indicate that motorcycles and mopeds must use the main road.

Last year, the bridge endured 11 reported crashes involving “bicycles or other e-devices”, as per NYPD data. Also, a lot of crashes go unreported. There were 11 deaths involving illegal moped riders on city streets in 2021, up from three deaths in 2020, and just one in 2019.

“It’s really dangerous,” one Sunnyside resident told the Post, referring to motorcycles and mopeds on the bike lanes. “They’re not supposed to be there, but they always are.” Jennifer Paras, another resident, noted that mopeds zoom by at 40 miles per hour, sometimes in the wrong direction, while bikers reach just seven to 10 miles an hour in the uphill sections. “They yell at you. They aren’t even wearing helmets,” she said of the moped drivers. A friend of hers was hit while biking on the bridge, and required brain surgery due to the accident.

An NYPD spokesperson said in a statement that “the Transportation Bureau has conducted “extensive outreach and education” at the Queens entrance of the bridge. Earlier this month, the NYPD posted pictures on its Twitter of an outreach team dispatched at Queens Plaza North educating people about the bridge rules. “Extensive enforcement initiatives were performed and will continue at this location in 2022,” the spokesperson added.

Michael Avenatti Files $94M Suit for Alleged Mistreatment While in Federal Custody

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Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who became known for his representation of adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his battle with former President Donald Trump, alleges in a new filing with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that he was mistreated while in federal custody. Photo Credit: AP

Edited by: TJVNews.com

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who became known for his representation of adult film actress Stormy Daniels and his battle with former President Donald Trump, alleges in a new filing with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) that he was mistreated while in federal custody in retaliation for his criticisms of Trump and former Attorney General William Barr, as was reported by CBSNews.com.

Avenatti, who was later convicted of trying to extort the Nike sportswear company, is seeking $94 million from the United States, or $1 million for each day he says he was held in solitary confinement or lockdown, according to a copy of the filing obtained by CBS News.

The New York Times has reported that Avenatti’s claims come just weeks before he faces trial in Manhattan in another criminal case, on charges that he stole about $300,000 from Stormy Daniels. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

CBS News reported that Avenatti has alleged that under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) that the federal government is liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and false arrest, among other acts, while he was held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan in 2020.

Speaking to the NYT on Thursday, one of Avenatti’s lawyers, Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma with ZMO Law said: “They treated him very differently than anybody else in prison. Once they had him in custody, they held him in a unit for violent criminals and terrorists.”

The claim, known as a Standard Form 95, is the first step toward a potential lawsuit against the government. If a settlement cannot be reached or the agency denies the claim within six months, Avenatti could then file a lawsuit under the FTCA against the U.S. in federal court, as was reported by CBS News.

Avenatti is alleging in part that prison officials limited his contact with other inmates, friends and family, subjected him to harsh conditions in the wing where he was housed, and allowed him access to one book — “The Art of the Deal,” co-written by Trump — as retaliation for being a vocal opponent of the former president, as was reported by CBSNews.com.

The NYT reported that Avenatti, 50, was arrested and jailed in January 2020 after prosecutors said he had violated the terms of his bail in a fraud case he faced in California. Avenatti said in his claim that he had initially been held in solitary confinement in the Santa Ana Jail in Orange County and had then been taken to Manhattan and detained at the now-closed Metropolitan Correctional Center, much of that time in its most secure wing, 10 South.

Speaking to CBS News, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons said it “does not comment on pending litigation or matters subject to legal proceedings” and “for privacy, safety, and security reasons we do not provide information about the conditions of confinement for any particular inmate, to include housing quarters.” The Department of Justice declined to comment.

                 (Sources: CBSNews.com & NYT.com)

Inside The Frontlines of a NYC Hospital During Omicron Surge, NY Times Expose

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The most shocking admission is buried deep within the expose by the NY Times. According to the reporting, roughly more than half the COVID patients are unvaccinated. Photo Credit: AP

By: Gino Carabello

The New York Times has done a hard-hitting report of what the Omicron surge looks like in New York City hospitals. According to The New York Times, “More than 15,000 people with Covid-19 have been hospitalized in the city in the past four weeks, the most since the initial surge. About half of all patients in the city’s hospitals now have Covid-19. And there are simply not enough nurses to care for them all. Across New York, hospitals generally employ fewer nurses than they did at the start of the pandemic, according to the New York State Nurses Association, a union.”

The most shocking admission is buried deep within the expose by the NY Times. According to the reporting, roughly more than half the COVID patients are unvaccinated. This admission blows a giant hole in the narrative that the pandemic is only affecting mainly the unvaccinated, and the vaccinated are only having minor symptoms from COVID. We have been repeatedly told over the last year, that the unvaccinated are flooding the hospitals and using all the resources. The Times claims only roughly “more than half are unvaccinated”, meaning there are far more vaccinated COVID victims in hospitals than the media has repeated endlessly. The narrative has been 90% of hospitalizations are unvaccinated.

The New York Times reports, “like many hospitals in New York City, the Brooklyn Hospital Center is straining under the biggest surge of Covid-19 patients since spring 2020, when ambulance sirens filled the air and more than 20,000 New York City residents died.” Joseph Goldstein of The New York Times writes that, “In the pandemic’s early days, doctors and nurses looked out on emergency rooms filled with patients who were desperate for oxygen.

Today, Covid-19 patients’ symptoms are generally milder — stomach aches, fainting, dizziness, nausea, some shortness of breath — and far fewer people are dying.” When Goldstein spoke with staff at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, he reported, “Dr. Sylvie de Souza, who runs the Brooklyn Hospital Center’s emergency room, said she had enough doctors but had never had so few nurses. Some days, she only had three-quarters of the nurses she needed. On Wednesday, it was closer to half. “During the first wave we were able-bodied,” she said. “But now we’re exhausted, and many are ill.”

Goldstein writes, “The Brooklyn Hospital Center took in wounded soldiers during the Civil War, and treated workers suffering from the bends during the construction of “Bridge No. 3,” known now as the Manhattan Bridge. Standing next to Fort Greene Park, its higher elevation was once said to hasten patient recoveries. Dr. Anthony Fauci was born here.”

Goldstein describes the hospital as, “As other community hospitals merged with larger systems, the Brooklyn Hospital Center remained independent, its finances precarious at times. Most of its patients are Black. More than twice as many rely on Medicaid as on commercial insurance. During the pandemic’s first wave, the hospital attracted national attention after a series of articles in The New York Times and a video posted online that showed a forklift placing a body into a makeshift morgue outside.”

Billionaire GOP Candidate Harry Wilson’s Donation to Alvin Bragg Draws Ire from Opponents

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Billionaire Harry J Wilson may be running for NY state governor. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

By: Jared Evan

While the race for NY Governor is months away, and interim Governor is Kathleen Hochul is up big in Democratic voter polls, while former NYC Mayor De Blasio officially decided not to run. The GOP side is starting to make some noise, after billionaire and political opportunist Harry J. Wilson jumped into the fray.

Wilson, who has served in several high positions in the Obama U.S. Treasury Department and on President Barack Obama’s Auto Industry Task Force and unsuccessfully ran against He was defeated by Democrat Thomas DiNapoli in 2010 for NY State Comptroller, recently launched a campaign for Governor.

It was quickly discovered that Wilson, made a $1000 contribution to radical woke leftist, Alvin Bragg, a year before he entered the race for Democratic candidate for Manhattan District Attorney. Republican candidates were quick to pounce on the Billionaire long shot.

“It doesn’t matter if he gave a penny or a million dollars. The donation certainly raises questions about whether the Republican Party wants a person at the top of the ticket for governor who supported a candidate for district attorney who was pro-criminal in the middle of a crime wave,” said former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, according to the NY Post.

“Anyone who donated to Bragg had to know he was running on a soft-on-crime platform.”

Meanwhile, Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, the GOP frontrunner, said, “I will never turn my back on our law enforcement officers and the New Yorkers they are sworn to protect.

“My support in the Manhattan District Attorney’s race was fully behind [Republican] Tom Kenniff and it’s unfortunate that Bragg is now in office refusing to prosecute many crimes at all across the board and downgrading many others.

“As Governor, I would remove the Manhattan District Attorney for his refusal to enforce the law. I fully support repealing cashless bail, enacting a law enforcement bill of rights, keeping criminals in prison where they belong, and much more.”

Long shot candidate, who has the backing of GOP losing candidate for Mayor Curtis Sliwa, Andrew Giuliani, has been making headlines urging New Yorkers to support his Change.org petition to try to oust Bragg. More than 9,000 people have signed the petition, NY Post pointed out.

NY Post reported:

Wilson confirmed to on Sunday that he gave $1,000 to Bragg on June 21, 2020 — about a year before the Democratic primary election for Manhattan’s top prosecutor — saying they were pals from their time together at Harvard University.

“I thought he would be a strong prosecutor as Manhattan DA based on his years as a prosecutor,” Wilson said, referring to Bragg’s career working as a Manhattan federal prosecutor and as the chief deputy Attorney General for the state.

“Wilson is a non-ideological billionaire trying to buy his way into the GOP political scene in NY, he reminds me of Ronald Lauder, a clueless billionaire who would donate money to anyone who he thinks will be influential, including a radical woke clown like Alvin Bragg, Wilson claiming he thought Bragg would be a strong prosecutor is evidence that he is clueless and just tossing his money around to try to become Governor ”, an unnamed NY Republican party insider told TJV News.

Wilson has worked for Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs. He later became a partner at Silver Point Capital before his retirement at the age of 36.] He joined Yahoo!’s board of directors in May 2012.

Wilson is the CEO of the MAEVA Group, an advisory firm he founded in White Plains, New York in 2011. In March 2021 he was appointed CEO of Genesis HealthCare.

Remote Job Openings in NYC Quadrupled Over the Past Year

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Remote job listings for new applicants by New York City firms quadrupled over the past year

By: Ilana Siyance

Want to work from home? Looks like this might be your chance.

Remote job listings for new applicants by New York City firms quadrupled over the past year, as per data compiled by the NY Post. “And this is just the beginning,” said Kathryn Wylde, CEO of NYC Partnership, a nonprofit which advocates with the City and State government on behalf of large businesses. The business group analyzed figures compiled by Emsi Burning Glass, finding the jump in remote positions. The industries which lead the way in virtual-work listings during the COVID-19 pandemic included administrative, information and financial services.

Before the pandemic, in early 2020, there were roughly 6,700 virtual job offerings out of 163,000 total city job postings, accounting for 4 percent of the total listings. This December, there were roughly 25,800 remote job offerings out of 243,000 total jobs posting, making up 10.6 percent of the total.

Wylde noted that the virtual jobs “allow the employee to work from anywhere in the world”, opening New York City’s job market to candidates from outside the city. Experts know that prolonging virtual employment means that Downtown and Midtown Manhattan will lose out on foot traffic in local stores, restaurants and business districts, potentially leading to more retail closures. Mass transit and apartment rentals in certain areas would also suffer. A city audit found that city and state coffers would lose out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues, by having non-NY residents take on NY jobs.

As per the Post, a poll conducted by Wylde’s organization in November revealed that only 28 percent of Big Apple employees were back in their offices on an average workday, and that a majority were still remote 18 months after the start of the pandemic. A newly published national survey, by Morning Consult, revealed that 55% of employees working from home said they would considering quitting if they are forced to return to their offices before they thought it was safe. All around the country, the same phenomenon is occurring, with large tech firms leading the way in hiring remote workers. A report from Indeed Hiring Lab said the shift to work-at-home employment is “one of the most dramatic effects of the pandemic — and might be one of its most long-lasting.”

“This is a big cultural shift, and I don’t see it reversing,’’ Wylde said of the virtual employment setup. “It will require repurposing retail and older office space for housing and other purposes. It also will require rethinking transit and city services, since long-standing commuter patterns will change.”

Bdwy Struggles But Survives as Omicron Hysteria Swept NYC During Peak Holiday Season

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It was noted that Broadway shows had received tens of millions of dollars in federal aid last year, and that the industry is no longer even disclosing weekly box-office grosses for individual shows, as it did before the pandemic. Photo Credit: AP

By: Mario Mancini

Michael Paulson, the theatre reporter for The New York Times, recently interviewed many of the key players on Broadway for their perspective on the reopening and subsequent closings that have rocked the shows and individuals trying to make a living in the arts.

Paulson reports that, “during the week that ended Jan. 9, just 62 percent of seats were occupied. That’s the lowest attendance has been since a week in 2003 when musicians went on strike, and it’s a precipitous drop from the January before the pandemic, when 94 percent of seats were filled during the first week after the holidays. The casualty list is growing. Over the last month, nine shows have decided to close their doors, at least temporarily. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a huge hit before the pandemic, last week that it would close until June; on Sunday “Ain’t Too Proud,” a successful jukebox musical about the Temptations, closed for good. Most shows struggle each January with a post-holiday slump. The musical, Ain’t Too Proud, was not doing well in January of 2020, prior to The arrival al of COVID-19, so it is not surprising it did not manage to survive.

According to Paulson, “Box-office grosses are falling off a cliff. The all-important Christmas and New Year’s weeks, which producers count on each year to fatten their coffers in anticipation of the lean weeks that follow, generated just $40 million this season, down from $99 million before the pandemic. Requests for ticket refunds are now so high that on some days some shows have negative wraps, meaning they are giving back more money than they are taking in.” The Broadway League has resorted to publishing the box office numbers for Broadway as a whole, instead of as individual shows, so that a single show isn’t stigmatized. The Broadway League has, according to Paulson, “asked labor unions to consider pay cuts to help shows survive this rough patch. At one point, in a step previously reported by The Daily Beast, the League asked workers to accept half-pay when Covid-19 forced performance cancellations; there have also been discussions about offering lower pay for scaled-back performance calendars.”

In a recent statement to The New York Times, “We’re doing everything we can to keep as many shows open as possible,” said Charlotte St. Martin, the president of the Broadway League, citing safety protocols and marketing efforts as well as labor discussions.” A response from the union representing is as follows, “It’s fair to say that all the unions recognize that shows remaining open is important — that represents jobs for actors and stage managers and everyone else who makes a living in the live theater,” said Kate Shindle, the president of Actors’ Equity. But Ms. Shindle noted that Broadway shows had received tens of millions of dollars in federal aid last year, and that the industry is no longer even disclosing weekly box-office grosses for individual shows, as it did before the pandemic. “Pretty universally, the unions’ response has been that if you want us to make financial concessions, we need financial transparency,” she said.

Cold Weather, Wave of Omicron Deal Heavy Blow to NY Small Businesses in January

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As January’s frigid temperatures and storms kick in, coupled with Omicron, New York’s small businesses are back to COVID-19 pandemic practices. Photo Credit: nysenate.gov

By: Hellen Zaboulani

As January’s frigid temperatures and storms kick in, coupled with Omicron, New York’s small businesses are back to COVID-19 pandemic practices.

As reported by Crain’s NY, small businesses are once again using pandemic-era tricks to stay afloat. “Business is just really very slow—the slowest I’ve seen it in the seven years we’ve been open,” said Tara Oxley, the owner of Eugene & Co., a restaurant in Brooklyn’s Bedford Stuyvesant. Restaurants are back to offering delivery and takeout specials. Gyms and other classes are back to offering zoom sessions. Businesses across the board are finding way to reduce costs again, and are looking for another government grant application.

In a survey taken in early January by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, about 75 percent of companies responded to say their holiday sales were lower than in previous years, leaving them more vulnerable to the infamously slow month of January. The survey received responses from restaurants, retailers and gyms. The survey indicated that among respondents about 60% had employees who called out sick, and 1 of 5 had to temporarily close shop during the holidays. Recognizing the hardship, recently, city, state and local business groups have started offering support and funds to aid business owners in holding out till the spring.

“Just when many of our small businesses were hoping to make up some ground for losses incurred throughout the pandemic,” said Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn chamber, “they now face another uncertain winter as we head into 2022.” The MTA’s subways and LIRR has fared similar to the small businesses. As per Crain’s, in November and December things were starting to brighten, with ridership returning to about 55% of its pre-2020 level, and hitting 75% on weekends. Since January, however, ridership is back down to about 40%. “The emotional roller coaster has been one of the hardest parts of the pandemic,” said Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance, who noted how busy the street were again in October but have since died back down.

Small businesses have been doing their best to adapt and cope in ways they learned during the 2020 pandemic. Staffs have been cut, as patrons choose not to show up for any number of reasons including the cold weather, social distancing concerns, vaccine mandates for indoor venues, as well as their own reduced incomes and spending capacity.

Last week, Gov. Hochul announced some good news, saying the wave of Covid-19 cases seems to be losing steam. Hopefully, the spring will come sooner than we expect and New York’s resilience will shine again.

Dr. Fauci’s Financial Disclosure Reveals Over $10M in Investments

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Newly-released records revealed that Dr. Fauci and his wife had $10.4 million in investments at the end of 2020. This includes $2.3 million in unrealized gains, held in mutual funds. It also includes $250,000 to $500,000 in a money-market account, and between $50,000 and $100,000 in a 529 tuition account. Photo Credit: AP

By Serach Nissim

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the U.S. President, may have more to be thankful for than most.

The 81-year-old top American physician-scientist and immunologist had his finances disclosed to the public on Friday night. As reported by the NY Post, the newly-released records revealed that Dr. Fauci and his wife had $10.4 million in investments at the end of 2020. This includes $2.3 million in unrealized gains, held in mutual funds. It also includes $250,000 to $500,000 in a money-market account, and between $50,000 and $100,000 in a 529 tuition account. Fauci’s 2020 filing reveals he is the country’s highest-paid federal employee, having earned $434,312 in 2020, and on track to receive a pension of $350,000 annually upon retirement. Fauci’s salary for 2021 and 2022 do not seem to have been released yet.

As per the Post, Dr. Fauci’s 2020 financial disclosure was prompted and publicized by Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, a Republican, who formerly served as a member of Congress, a military officer and is trained as a physician. Marshall has been one of Fauci’s main foes, promoting conspiracy theories that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were inflating the numbers of people who died of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, during a Senate proceeding, Fauci was caught on a live microphone calling Marshall a “moron” after the Senator had dug up Fauci’s financial disclosures.

Following an extensive spat, in which Fauci said his “financial disclosures are public knowledge and have been so”, Marshall sent a harshly worded letter requesting the National Institute of Health to un-redact the documents, which were not actually public yet.

Sen. Marshall said he will introduce the Financial Accountability for Uniquely Compensated Individuals (FAUCI) Act ,which will make sure similar financial disclosures are opened up to the public, on the official Office of Government Ethics website.

“Dr. Fauci lied to the American people. He is more concerned with being a media star and posing for the cover of magazines than he is being honest with the American people and holding China accountable for the COVID pandemic that has taken the lives of almost 850 thousand Americans,” said Marshall. “Just like he has misled the American people about sending taxpayers dollars to Wuhan, China to fund gain-of-function research, about masks, testing, and more, Dr. Fauci was completely dishonest about his financial disclosures being open to the public – it’s no wonder he is the least trusted bureaucrat in America.”

Fauci’s employer, the National Institutes for Health, did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

Kazakh Funds Back NYC Skyscrapers While Their Country is Under Fire

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The site at 50 W. 66th St. will be constructed into a 755-foot skyscraper with 127 glitzy residences, boasting a pool, squash courts and an outdoor terrace garden, as per the offering plan filed by Extell Development. Photo Credit: snohetta.com

By: Benyamin Davidsons

Two posh condo towers are being built in New York City’s Upper West Side, thanks to what critics are calling questionable Kazakh funds.

Plans for an elegant 70-story condominium tower located between Lincoln Center and Central Park have been filed. , As reported by the NY Post, the site at 50 W. 66th St. will be constructed into a 755-foot skyscraper with 127 glitzy residences, boasting a pool, squash courts and an outdoor terrace garden, as per the offering plan filed by Extell Development. Also, in the Diamond District, at 570 Fifth Ave., the developer has filed permits to construct a 1,100-foot tower with 468 luxury condo units, to add on to his International Gem Tower.

Extell Development is a real estate that is firm involved in residential, commercial and hospitality properties, including several high-profile buildings in New York. The founder and president of Extell is Gary Barnett, who has made a name for himself in the world of New York City real estate.

One of the projects that Extell and Barnett were involved with was the parking space site of the New York Times building. Extell owned the space and in 2001, another real estate titan, Bruce Ratner was seeking to it for the office tower. Wikipedia reported that following lengthy litigation, Barnett was forced to sell the space to New York state via eminent domain.

In 2005, Barnett and Ratner were in litigation once again when they wrangled over the ownership of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, as was reported by Wikipedia. It was then that Barnett offered $100 million more than Rattner and promised to build fewer buildings and not build what would become Barclays Center. Ratner eventually prevailed.

The Post reported that other super tall towers that Extell has been involved with include One57 (where a penthouse sold for more than $100 million) and Central Park Tower (where a unit is on the market for $65 million).

The Post reported, both of the illustrious projects were backed by a shadowy private equity firm known as Meridian Capital. Meridian was founded in 2002 by Kazakhstan’s former oil and gas minister Sauat Mynbayev, along with Kazakh billionaire Askar Alshinbayev and top executives of Kazakhstan’s largest private bank. Meridian, incorporated in Bermuda, owned a $127 million stake in 50 W. 66th St. ad well as a $263.7 million ownership of 570 Fifth Ave. The positions have since been bought out by Extell.

While all this money is backing towers in the Big Apple, Kazakhstan has been all over the new with employees on strike complaining they don’t even have money for groceries. Kazakhstan has been battling unrest, anti-corruption revolts and fires set to government buildings, sparked by exorbitant gas prices. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev warned protesters that security forces are free to “fire without warning”.

“We’ve known [Meridian Capital] for 15 to 20 years,” said a person close to Extell who spoke to the Post, under the condition of anonymity. “They’re just good businessmen who made good investments. What’s wrong with that?” The source pointed to other large Meridian deals like a shopping mall in Saint Petersburg it sold for $1.1 billion to Morgan Stanley. “Meridian couldn’t do deals like that if it was dirty,” the source added. “Real estate is one of the cleanest industries in the world. If you want to launder money, get diamonds or art that you can transport. You can’t carry a building on your back.”

Others beg to differ. NYC real estate assets have been “a favorite placement vehicle for kleptocrats, corrupt officials and criminals,” said Louise Shelley, director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University. “Until very recently, the US government had almost no legal actions it could take against money laundering in real estate.”

Meridian did not respond to a request for comment.

Big Apple Rentals Reach Record Prices in December as Supply Drops

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In December, Manhattan median rental prices reached $3,392 after discounts —a record for any December in the past ten years. Photo Credit: apartments.com

By Hadassa Kalatizadeh

The supply of rental apartments in the Big Apple has become limited, leading prices to jump double digits.

In December, Manhattan median rental prices reached $3,392 after discounts —a record for any December in the past ten years, and 21 percent above last year’s December median price of $2,800, as per a market report by Real Estate Brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraiser Miller Samuel.

As reported by the NY Post, rental inventory is 81 percent lower year-over-year compared to last December. Last month there were only about 4,800 available apartments listed for rent. That’s quite a disparity from Dec. 2020, when there were close to 24,800 available listings. At the time, the pandemic had New Yorkers abandoning the city for greener pastures, sparking debate over whether they would ever return. The vacancy rate is now at just 1.7 percent, down from roughly 11 percent a year ago. “What started as a trickle earlier last year has become like a geyser of demand,” Douglas Elliman rental broker Janna Raskopf told CNBC. “I’ve been doing this for 14 years and it’s absolutely unprecedented.”

The Big Apple apartment scarcity caused the prices to surge, with the biggest leap being apparent in studio apartments. In December, studio apartments in the city had a median rental price of $2,550, which is a 22 percent increase.

Location always matters, and in this case, apartments in downtown Manhattan were most expensive, with a median price of $4,095, indicating a 28 percent rise for December. Overall, luxury apartments had a bigger price jump. This was evident by median prices for doorman buildings which jumped 23 percent to $4,298, while non-doorman buildings increased in price by just 8 percent to $2,695.

Due to the low levels of available inventory, the number of new leases was impacted, falling almost 40 percent, to just 3,345 for the month. In Dec. 2020, new leases were at 5,459. Available apartments were snatched up on average 61 days after being listed, which is slower than the 41 days on the market in Dec. 2020. The recent resurgence of the pandemic, led by the Omicron variant also probably impacted the figures. “The market is coming off of unsustainable activity levels and trending toward more sustainable patterns in the coming months,” Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel, told Bloomberg. “Omicron is in the mix for sure, just slowing down activity too.”

Mary Trump Purchases $7M Luxury Apartment in Downtown Manhattan

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Ms. Trump’s new pad spans about 2,250-square-feet, and was listed with an asking price of $7.8 million. She purchased the property directly from the developer. (Avary Trump via AP)

By Ellen Cans

Mary Trump, former President Donald Trump’s only niece, who wrote a tell-tale book about the Trump family, finally has a million dollar real estate treasure of her own.

As first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, the 56-year-old clinical psychologist has purchased a $7 million luxury apartment in downtown Manhattan. In July 2020, Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” came out. It sold 1.35 million copies in its first week of sales alone, becoming a New York Times Best Seller. Being privy to the family’s countless holiday meals and interactions, her book provides an insider’s perspective to Mr. Trump, his “toxic family” and upbringing.

Based on the derogatory content in the book, it’s not surprising she did not purchase a condo in Trump Towers. The glamorous pad she purchased is at the glassy 30-story tower at 565 Broome Street in Soho. The building is, however, only two blocks away from The Dominick hotel on Spring Street, which was previously named Trump SoHo, and which Trump Co. sold in 2017.

The Post reported, Ms. Trump’s new pad spans about 2,250-square-feet, and was listed with an asking price of $7.8 million. She purchased the property directly from the developer. As per StreetEasy, the unit boasts three bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a powder room. There are views of midtown and the Hudson River through impressive floor-to-ceiling windows. The open kitchen has white oak cabinets and high-end Miele appliances. The master suite features a fully equipped spa-like bathroom. The building offers residents a 55-foot heated lap pool, an interior landscaped lounge and automated parking for purchase. Douglas Elliman’s Marc Palermo was brokering the unit. Douglas Elliman declined to comment on the deal.

Ms. Trump, the daughter of Fred Trump Jr. who passed away in 1981, alleged in a 2020 lawsuit that Donald and his siblings “swindled” her out of tens of millions of dollars in inheritance. The author’s 236-page book, published by Simon & Schuster, includes infamous passages about the former President including, “If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy”. Another popular highlight from her book reads, “A large minority of people still confuse his arrogance for strength, his false bravado for accomplishment, and his superficial interest in them for charisma.”

In Aug. 2021, Ms. Trump authored a second book, a disparaging sequel, entitled “The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal”,

Former NYC Mayor Among Trump Allies Subpoenaed by Jan. 6 Panel

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The House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection has issued subpoenas to some of Donald Trump’s closest advisers, including Rudy Giuliani Sidney Powell stands behind. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

By: Farnoush Amiri & Colleen Long

The House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection issued subpoenas Tuesday to Rudy Giuliani and other members of Donald Trump’s legal team who filed bogus legal challenges to the 2020 election that fueled the lie that race had been stolen from the former president.

The committee is continuing to widen its scope into Trump’s orbit, this time demanding information and testimony from Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Boris Epshteyn. All four publicly pushed Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims in the months after the election.

“The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes,” Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, said in a statement.

Epshteyn in a tweet called the committee illegitimate and its efforts part of a “witch hunt” against Trump and his supporters. The others who were subpoenaed did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Trump’s legal team sought to overturn the election results in the battleground states by filing lawsuits alleging widespread irregularities with ballots and claims by partisan poll watchers who said they couldn’t see everything going on, in part because of precautions taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50 lawsuits were filed, mostly in battleground states.

The lawsuits were soundly batted down in the courts, sometimes within days of filing. But the legal challenges and the multiple press conferences held by Giuliani and others helped galvanize Trump supporters behind the idea that the election had been stolen, even though Trump’s own attorney general said there was no evidence of widespread fraud, and local officials said it had been the most secure election in history.

The committee said it is seeking records and deposition testimony from Giuliani, the 76-year-old former New York City mayor once celebrated for his leadership after 9/11, over his promotion of election fraud claims on behalf of Trump. The panel is also seeking information about Giuliani’s reported efforts to persuade state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results.

Also on Tuesday, the Justice Department notified a federal appeals court that it planned to turn over some Trump records sought by the Jan. 6 committee by 6 p.m. Wednesday barring a new court order.

Trump sued last year to try to stop the committee from receiving notes and other documents even after Biden waived executive privilege. While the federal appeals court in Washington rejected Trump’s request, the court delayed any release of records while the U.S. Supreme Court considers the case.

The Justice Department argued Tuesday that the appeals court opinion doesn’t cover a batch of records for which Biden waived executive privilege after Trump originally sued. It said Trump had been given 30 days’ notice in mid-December to seek a new stay. The appeals court could still intervene to block any release.

Four days after the Nov. 3, 2020, election, while The Associated Press and other media outlets were calling it for Joe Biden, Giuliani held a press conference at a landscaping company in Philadelphia to announce his team planned to challenge the election results. It was the beginning of a pressure campaign to allot electoral votes in battleground states where Biden won over to Trump instead.

Ellis and Powell also appeared with Giuliani at press conferences, pushing false claims of election fraud, and Giuliani met with local elected officials to push false theories about corrupt voting systems. Powell was eventually removed from the team after she said in an interview she was going to release “the kraken” of lawsuits.

(AP)

Shkreli Ordered to Return $64M, is Barred From Drug Industry

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A federal judge on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 ordered Shkreli to return $64.6 million in profits he and his company reaped from inflating the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim and barred him from participating in the pharmaceutical industry for the rest of his life. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

By: Michael R. Sisak & Jennifer Peltz

Martin Shkreli must return $64.6 million in profits he and his former company reaped from jacking up the price and monopolizing the market for a lifesaving drug, a federal judge ruled Friday while also barring the provocative, imprisoned ex-CEO from the pharmaceutical industry for the rest of his life.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote’s ruling came several weeks after a seven-day bench trial in December that featured recordings of conversations that Cote said showed Shkreli continuing to exert control over the company, Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC, from behind bars and discussing ways to thwart generic versions of its lucrative drug, Daraprim.

“Shkreli was no side player in, or a ‘remote, unrelated’ beneficiary of Vyera’s scheme,” Cote wrote in a 135-page opinion. “He was the mastermind of its illegal conduct and the person principally responsible for it throughout the years.”

The Federal Trade Commission and seven states brought the case in 2020 against the man known in the media as “Pharma Bro,” about two years after he was sentenced to prison in an unrelated securities fraud scheme.

“‘Envy, greed, lust, and hate,’ don’t just ‘separate,’ but they obviously motivated Mr. Shkreli and his partner to illegally jack up the price of a life-saving drug as Americans’ lives hung in the balance,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said, peppering the written statement with references to the Wu-Tang Clan, whose one-of-a-kind album Shkreli had to fork over to satisfy court debt.

“But Americans can rest easy because Martin Shkreli is a pharma bro no more.”

Messages seeking comment were left with Shkreli’s lawyers.

Shkreli was CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals — later Vyera — when it raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill after obtaining exclusive rights to the decades-old drug in 2015. It treats a rare parasitic disease that strikes pregnant women, cancer patients and AIDS patients.

Shkreli defended the decision as capitalism at work and said insurance and other programs ensured that people who need Daraprim would ultimately get it.

But the move sparked outrage from the medical community to Congress and was a rare source of bipartisan agreement on the 2016 presidential campaign trail, where Democrat Hillary Clinton called it price-gouging and future President Donald Trump, a Republican, called Shkreli “a spoiled brat.”

Shkreli eventually offered hospitals half off — still amounting to a 2,500% increase. But patients normally take most of the weekslong treatment after returning home, so they and their insurers still faced the $750-a-pill price.

Shkreli resigned as Turing’s CEO in 2015, a day after he was arrested on securities fraud charges related to two failed hedge funds he ran before getting into the pharmaceutical industry. He was convicted of lying to investors and cheating them out of millions and is serving a seven-year sentence at a federal prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, and is due to be released in November.

The FTC and seven states — New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia — alleged in their case that Vyera hiked the price of Daraprim and illegally created “a web of anticompetitive restrictions” to prevent other companies from creating cheaper generic versions. Among other things, they alleged, Vyera blocked access to a key ingredient for the medication and to data the companies would want to evaluate the drug’s market potential.

  (AP)

DA Bragg is a Canary in the Coal Mine of Danger to NYC Democracy & Safety

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DA Bragg made himself a target by making a statement on his first day in office, when he ordered his staff “not seek a carceral sentence” for anything short of murder or deadly assault (“carceral” being progressive double-speak for prison).

All Caused by a Broken Voting System

By: Gary Tilzer

There is a belief in the NYC growing progressive political movement that elected officials have to get rid of the entire criminal justice system, which acts as a safety net for all New Yorkers. They cite it’s unfair to minorities, many who get trapped in the system with no hope of escape. Those that favor defunding the police or limiting bail to all but the most serious crimes, become silent when asked about the causes of rising crime, shootings in the city’s poor neighborhoods and bodegas, which includes the murder of Burger King worker Kristal Bayron-Nieves and one year old Davell Gardner shot in a Brooklyn park in 2020. Those that oppose the progressive crime reforms are silent on the innocent, mostly minorities, trapped in jail and those that can be saved from the criminal justice system. Both sides never discussed the broken criminal justice system beyond the narrative slogans they follow. The progressives want to shut down Rikers Island prison. Those opposed to them have found a new symbol, the clumsy ideological driven new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, blaming him for every crime committed since January 1st, 2022.

Those elected officials that in the past ran NYC understood that the ticking time bomb of mentally ill sick must be separated from innocent New Yorkers like 19-year-old Kristal Bayron-Nieves, helping her mother pay the bills and Michelle Alyssa Go using the Times Square subway station.

DA Bragg Wanted to Make It Clear About His Ideological Mission, Instead Has Become A Target for Ignoring Public Safety

DA Bragg made himself a target by making a statement on his first day in office, when he ordered his staff “not seek a carceral sentence” for anything short of murder or deadly assault (“carceral” being progressive double-speak for prison). Also, he says minor crimes won’t be prosecuted at all. Those that follow criminal justice were shocked because the new DA could have accomplished his hyper-lenient policies quietly over the cause of normal business.

Bragg, 48, is a former federal prosecutor and is one of several progressive DAs to win elections in large cities with the help of money from George Soros, who helps elected prosecutors who behave more as defense attorneys than prosecuting DAs. Other DAs on team Soros include Chesa Boudin in San Francisco, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner, and Kim Foxx in Chicago.

DA Bragg in record time has made himself the target of those that follow the NY Post and Daily News. The NY Times which endorsed Bragg for DA last year’s Democratic Primary is hiding in the witness protection program, as their partners in running NYC, CEO Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership whose members run the worlds finance, banking, real estate systems, is taking the lead in going after DA Bragg. Do Real Estate Barons Know4 How to Protect City Hall and Albany? Or Will Left- Wing Team AOC Take Over?

States like NY that do not have recall elections create powerful elected officials, even when they are corrupt or do not represent the public will, as we have all witnessed over and over.

Nobody is quite sure how to get rid of elected officials in NY. Some think the governor can remove or bring up on charges the DA for dereliction of duty. Gov. Kathy Hochul who faces left-winger public advocate Jumaane Williams and Congressman Tom Suozzi who is running in the Democratic Primary, has the most immediate problem with DA Bragg. There is even a petition drive to recall Bragg.

 

Albany Incumbents have Been Bullying NY’s Voters by Setting Up Voting Rules and Systems that Assure Their Reelection for Decades

There is no support in Albany to give New Yorkers the ability to vote in a recall election or term limits, which would give the voters a chance to limit elected officials power and make them more accountable to public opinion. In fact, Albany is supporting voting changes that increase the incumbent’s reelection chances and make them more powerful, which in a one-party state like NY is dangerous to its democracy & our safety.

After promising independent redistricting for 20 years and ignoring a 2014 vote to change the state’s constitution to require Independent redistricting, Albany will allow one-party to draw safe seats for its Democratic incumbent members. In Addition, the State Senate just passed a bill to expand absentee ballots (which was not approved by the voters as amendments to the state Constitution in November), adding drop boxes, strengthening early voting, and limiting corporate money in campaigns. Allowing no excuse for absentee ballots and drop boxes in one-party NYC will result in targeting or harvesting votes making it easier for incumbents to get reelected. Only 3.4% of the voters in the city voted during the 10 days of early voting in the 2021 primary.

The reason DA Bragg was elected is that the NY voting system allows a DA to be elected in an eight-way split in the Democratic Primary with 32% of the vote; the low-turnout in General Election in most races does not change the outcome. The second-place winner in the Democratic Primary Tali Farhadian Weinstein received 29% of the vote, ran a positive campaign with a lot of heavy weight endorsement, that included Hillary Clinton, AG Eric Holder and several congressional members.

39% of the voters voted for the six other DA candidates, all except Elizabeth Crotty ran as progressives. Bragg, who campaigned at Manhattan political clubs by reducing guns clearly, was not the most left-wing candidate in the race. The third-place finisher, Tahanie Agouti who received 10% ran a much more left-wing activists’ campaign than Bragg. Aboushi wrote on her website that she would “Change the Face of Our Justice System, by ending mass incarceration and investing in our communities, build schools instead of cages, and change the role of the District Attorney to uplift the communities harmed by the prison-industrial complex.”

Another problem that the Bragg’s primary highlights is that NYC primaries heavily favor left-wing candidates. About two million moderate and conservative registered voters in NYC are blocked from voting in the only election that counts, the Democratic Primary. If NYC had nonpartisan elections, voters not registered to vote in a party (1.2 million) or are members of the Republican Party (500,000) would reduce the power of left-wing progressive to win elections.

 

A Perfect Storm Caused by A Broken Election System Designed to Protect Incumbents Elected DA Bragg Put New Yorkers in Danger

Albany incumbents also like the fact that few vote in NY’s elections. Most voters and media understand that the real election with few exceptions are the Democratic Primaries, there was even a failed attempt last year to re-register NYC moderate voters to vote in the mayoral primary. Only 20% of the registered voters in Manhattan voted in the General Election for DA. Only about 10,000 more voters voted in the Manhattan DAs race in the General Elections than in the primary, despite the fact that 384,660 more non-democratic party registered voters were eligible to cast their ballots. 30% of Manhattan Democratic registered voters (877,577) voted in the Democratic Primary for DA. The Republican candidate received only 15% of the vote in the General Election, besides efforts by DA candidate Thomas Kenniff warning the voters about Bragg progressive left-wing views on law enforcement.

A majority of the people who live or work in Manhattan want to reduce crime, their objectives seem to conflict with their new DA. The Partnership knows many of the boroughs rich, middle class and businesses are voting with their feet, moving to places like Florida or Texas rather than deal with the high crime, and high taxes and NY’s new wave of elected officials have a tin ear, thinking their ideological beliefs are more important than public safety and want to reimagine government while ignoring or not knowing the history on the governing that made NYC the greatest city in the world.

 

Homeless Prey on the Innocent

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The sad fact is that the mentally ill ticking time bomb, who have been in and out of jail, were institutionalized before the Willowbrook and other mental health institutions were shut down in the 1970’s. Since then, until recently, they were locked up in the mental ward in the Rikers Island prison. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

NYC’s elected officials have to do more than function as professional mourners after each atrocity, they must protect the innocent.

By: Gary Tilzer

The progressive internet chatter increases every time a mentally ill person pushes someone on the subway, that the city has to do more to help them. They ignore the fact that there are more outreach programs to help those poor souls than ever. Ms. De Blasio alone received over a billion dollars to help them. The sad fact is that the mentally ill ticking time bomb, who have been in and out of jail, were institutionalized before the Willowbrook and other mental health institutions were shut down in the 1970’s. Since then, until recently, they were locked up in the mental ward in the Rikers Island prison. After the movement to empty the city’s prison and Albany’s bail reforms, those suffering from serious mental illness have been allowed to interact by our elected officials with the public on our City’s streets and subway. Those elected officials that in the past ran NYC understood that the ticking time bomb of mentally ill sick must be separated from innocent New Yorkers like 19-year-old Kristal Bayron-Nieves, helping her mother pay the bills and Michelle Alyssa Go using the Times Square subway station.

Gov’t Report Reveals: EU Invested $500M in Illegal PA Takeover of Area C

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The European Union (EU) has invested half a billion dollars in support of the Palestinian Authority’s illegal takeover of Area C in Judea and Samaria, a comprehensive report by the Ministry of Intelligence on the PA’s plan to take over Area C shows. Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir/TPS on 4 July, 2018

By: Aryeh Savir

The European Union (EU) has invested half a billion dollars in support of the Palestinian Authority’s illegal takeover of Area C in Judea and Samaria, a comprehensive report by the Ministry of Intelligence on the PA’s plan to take over Area C shows.

The report was exposed Tuesday ahead of a special discussion at the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee at the initiative of the Land of Israel Lobby, which members are warning that “the battle for Judea and Samaria has reached a critical stage.”

According to the report, the PA employs about 600 workers in some 100 registration branches who are engaged in a huge project to map properties, including in Area C, which is under full Israeli control as per the Oslo Accords. The stated goal of the project is gaining and claiming ownership of the land.

The mapping project, which gained momentum in 2019 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022, is sometimes carried out with threats to landowners, and includes IDF camps and training zones, and Israeli communities.

According to the Israeli report, “in the absence of an alternative (Israeli) registration arrangement, there is a good chance that at one point or another, the courts in Israel or around the world will adopt the Palestinian registration.”

The report further revealed that the PA planning project is being carried out with the funding of foreign bodies, and PA officials attend all meetings and ensure plans are in line with the PA’s “national interests.”

The method is aimed at creating an overload at the IDF’s Civil Administration, to prevent its ability to deal with a wave of referrals and requests, and to take advantage of the Civil Administration’s directive to stop enforcement proceedings wherever a plan for the property in question has been filed.

The report highlights the legal battle that the PA is waging “on every house and every dunam,” amounting to 475 petitions submitted to Israel’s High Court of Justice in just two years. The policy is to flood the system with petitions in a number that does not enable substantive legal procedures, and produces compromises between the parties, according to which the petitions are withdrawn in exchange for an Israeli commitment not to demolish the PA-built and European-financed illegal buildings.

This is a method that aims to nullify the ability to act against the takeover, the report underscores.

The heads of the Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset who initiated the discussion, Members of Knesset Orit Strock and Yoav Kish, stated that “the battle for Judea and Samaria has reached its critical stage. After many years of neglect by Israel, the situation has changed for the worse, and in recent months the Civil Administration, under the guidance of the Minister of Defense [Benny Gantz], and with the entire coalition turning a blind eye, is working for the benefit of the Palestinian interest and against the Israeli interest.”

“After many efforts by the Land of Israel Lobby, the subject of the battle for Area is coming up for discussion in the Knesset. We will make every effort to lead to a change in the Israeli conduct on the issue, and to begin conducting an Israeli campaign in the face of the dangerous Palestinian campaign,” they stated.

The Regavim Movement, which combats illegal takeover of state lands, recently revealed new mapping data on the frightening scope of the phenomenon, including the extent of illegal Arab construction in the area.

Between the years 2019-2021, the Arabs built 5,097 new illegal structures, in areas under the full control of the State of Israel. This means that every day, about seven new illegal buildings are added to the area. The total number of illegal Arab buildings in Area C is 72,274.

At the same time, a PA-guided agricultural takeover of 7,125 dunams of land under Israeli control was recorded during this two-year period, reaching a total of 93,071 dunams.

Israel has rapidly been losing lands in area C to European Union-funded illegal construction projected executed by the PA.

In 2009, then-prime minister of the PA Salaam Fayyad laid out the Plan for the Creation of the State of Palestine, a methodical program for seizing control of territory in Area C, under full Israeli control as prescribed by the Oslo Accords, to form a broad and viable basis for a Palestinian state, specifically in the areas under Israeli control.

Fayyad’s plan essentially bypasses all negotiations or compromises with Israel and creates facts on the ground.

While serving as Defense Minister in 2019, Naftali Bennett threatened to demolish any illegal Arab construction in Area C, even if it was funded by the EU.

In response to an inquiry on the issue by TPS, a senior official in the Defense Ministry stated that the “phenomenon of illegal Palestinian construction in Area C is one of the main issues that Defense Minister Bennett is dealing with, and he has already begun to work to eradicate the phenomenon.”

At his meeting with EU ambassadors in December 2019, Bennet told the ambassadors that “illegal construction in their financing would be destroyed by Israel” and made it clear that “his position on the issue was unequivocal.”

However, he has failed to act on his pledges.

(TPS)