THIS WEEK IN THE NEWS
October 13 to October 17, 2014
Schneiderman Awards $20M To Land Banks Across New York State
Joined by elected officials and housing advocates in Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo Attorney General Schneiderman announced $20 million in awards to 10 New York State land banks that are working to rebuild and restore neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis. This new round of awards is in addition to the $13 million distributed by his office last year, bringing his total commitment to fighting blight in New York communities to $33 million. The Attorney General made his announcements at properties in Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo that are undergoing rehabilitation by a local land bank, thanks to funding provided by the Attorney General’s Office.
Schneiderman Sponsors Long Island Gun Buyback As Part Of Ongoing Statewide Program For Safe Streets And Safe Homes
As part of his statewide gun buyback program, Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office held its seventh gun buyback in Hauppauge. Sponsored by Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone and the Suffolk County Police Department, the event accepted working and non-working, unloaded weapons in exchange for compensation on site, to encourage New Yorkers to safely remove unwanted firearms from their homes. At the buyback, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that 111 firearms had been turned in to his office, including 26 handguns, 83 rifles and two assault weapons. In total, the Attorney General’s gun buybacks statewide have resulted in the turning in of 749 firearms.
A report issued by Attorney General Schneiderman this week found widespread illegality across New York City listings on Airbnb, an online lodging rental platform. Data indicates that as much as 72 percent of Airbnb reservations over the last several years violate New York law. The report also found commercial enterprises using Airbnb to operate multimillion-dollar businesses: In one instance, a single commercial user made $6.8 million in less than five years. The Attorney General also announced the formation of a new joint enforcement initiative with the City of New York to investigate and shut down illegal hotels in the five boroughs.
Schneiderman Sues Papa John’s Franchisee For Underpaying More Than 400 Delivery Workers, Seeking More Than $2 Million
Attorney General Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against New York City-based Papa John’s pizza franchisee and its owner for significantly underpaying more than 400 delivery workers. According to the complaint, the restaurant not only failed to pay delivery workers the minimum wage, but also required them to pay for bicycles and safety equipment used to do their jobs. The lawsuit seeks more than $2 million in restitution, damages, and interest for the defrauded workers, and seeks to halt the owner’s ongoing illegal business practices.
Joined by eight other state attorneys general, Attorney General Schneiderman reached a $850,000 settlement with TD Bank regarding a 2012 data breach, in which 1.4 million files were compromised. The settlement follows an investigation by the states into the events leading up to the breach, and requiring the bank to reform its practices to help ensure that future incidents do not occur. If you are looking to safeguard your personal information, follow the Attorney General’s tips here.
Attorney General Schneiderman encouraged New York consumers to take basic steps to reduce heating costs as temperatures begin to drop. Many New York families face the dual challenge of harsh temperatures and the expense of heating bills but there are ways to reduce costs and obtain assistance, if needed.
Schneiderman Ensures Major Hospitality Companies Protect New Yorkers From Misleading Timeshare Practices
Attorney General Schneiderman secured a pair of agreements with Hilton Resorts Corporation and Wyndham Vacation Resorts to help protect purchasers of timeshares from potential deception and confusion. Under the agreements, the two hospitality companies will end certain practices and enact reforms to make the timeshare industry safer, more transparent, and more accessible to investors.
Schneiderman Bars Two NYC Developers From Securities Work After They Allegedly Sold Condos Under False Pretenses
Attorney General Schneiderman reached a settlement agreement that bars two New York City developers from offering or selling securities, including condo and coop sales, in New York. The agreement is the result of an investigation by the Attorney General’s Real Estate Finance Bureau into allegations of fraud by the developers of the Mirada in Harlem, including disguising their identities and questionable business background from investors.
Attorney General Schneiderman announced a national $31 million national settlement to resolve allegations that drug manufacturer Organon underpaid rebates to Medicaid, offered improper financial incentives to nursing home pharmacy companies, promoted its antidepressants for unapproved uses, and misrepresented its drug prices. As part of this settlement, New York will receive nearly $2.5 million in restitution and other recoveries.
Schneiderman & D.A. Gascón Applaud Release Of Android Kill Switch, Continue To Push For Default Solution To Smartphone Theft
Attorney General Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón praised the release of Google’s new version of Android software, which will incorporate theft deterrent technology for the first time – innovation that will give the majority of smarphone users access to a solution that deters thieves. As co-chairs of the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, they also urged every actor in the smartphone industry – including Google – to take the necessary, additional step of ensuring this technology is opt-out on all devices – the only effective way to ensure violent criminals lack the incentive to steal any smartphone.
Attorney General Schneiderman announced the arrest and nine-count indictment of a Utica nurse’s aide, who allegedly abused a physically disabled nursing home resident. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 21 years in prison.
In Other News…
Attorney General Schneiderman honored Domestic Violence Awareness Day on Wednesday, “going purple” on his social media pages. Staff members at the Attorney General’s Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton and Brooklyn offices also wore purple to raise awareness.
For more information on Attorney General Schneiderman or other politicians please hit us up at RandyKFisher@gmail.com.
Posted by Charles and Randy Fisher (Twitter / FaceBook / Instagram @HHSYC).