Yet another couple of earthquakes have hit Bronx politics, with a judge turning down candidate Yudelka Tapia’s lawsuit to avoid paying $108,000 in fines and funds owed to the city’s Campaign Finance Board, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson named by feds as POSSIBLY under investigation, and a guessing game on what other Bronx pols might also be under prosecutors’ microscopes.
Yudelka owes the CFB $48,000 in penalities and $60,000 in unaccounted for CFB funds from a previous council race, with she and her campaign treasurer ( son Jorge Javier) responsible for the penalties, and her campaign committee on the hook for the unaccounted funds. Bronx Supreme Court Justice Sharon A.M. Aarons ruled May 7 in a suit brought by Yudelka that she or a representative repeatedly failed to show up at CFB hearings on the matter to defend herself.
Yudelka said she plains to appeal.
Yudelka HAD been eyeing a run for term-limited Council Majority Leader Joel Rivera’s central Bronx seat, but then that big bribery scandal erupted in the west Bronx, with Morrisania Assemblyman Eric Stevenson busted after Assemblyman Nelson Castro and another informant secretly recorded him.
Yudelka, female district leader in Nelson’s 86th A.D. covering University Heights, Fordham and Tremont quickly changed course, targeting Nelson’s seat.
With a majority of the district’s county committee members in her corner, she holds the voting edge at the Bronx Democratic Party’s nominating convention. That is, if she can hold them together now.
With Queens ex-state Senator Shirley Huntley now revealed as a government informant, it comes out that a bunch of electeds, including north Bronx/Mt. Vernon Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson were bugged.
And according to the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s office in a sentencing memo on Huntley, Hassell-Thompson is among eight of nine individuals who “remain the subjects of ongoing criminal investigations.”
Ruth later issued a statement denying any wrongdoing. Which leads to....
A GUESSING GAME
A lotta Bronx pols are wondering who the Manhattan federal prosecutor in the bribery case against Eric Stevenson was talking about at the pol’s arraignment on Monday, May 6.
Prosecutor Paul Krieger told the judge the government has wiretaps in the case with the names of people who haven’t been charged (yet?), as well as information about “potential ongoing parts of this investigation.”
Stevenson, who told the judge who couldn’t afford current Bronx attorney, Murray (Don’t Worry Murray) Richman on his $79G assemblyman’s salary, drove off in a shiny Mercedes.
RUBEN FOR BILL
We normally don’t write about citywide endorsements, but the May 7 endorsement by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. of Bill Thompson for mayor carries some clout among the city’s Latino voters and around the outer boroughs.
Next big question is where the Bronx Democratic Party will go on the race.
Some local electeds have already gone their own independent way, with west Bronx Senator Gustavo Rivera coming out for Council Speaker Chris Quinn, while state Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda are lined up behind Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio.
If you go by the current morning line - and it is still VERRRRY early in the race – the betting is Quinn, whose recent poll numbers appear to be getting shaky, will be facing off against one of the two Bills in a runoff primary.
VOTE ME OUT
Bronx D.A. Rob Johnson responding with a letter to the editor after an editorial in the NY Post comparing him to the NY Jet’s Tim Tebow and that rumor of him stepping down to become a judge:
“I love doing this job, and can only be “nudged” from it through the electoral process.”
Congressman Eliot Engel tells us that after that recent vote to undo the sequestration cuts to air traffic controllers that resulted in mega-flight delays, he and chief of staff Bill Weitz opted to skip flying back to New York, hopping instead aboard an Amtrak Acela express that beat the USAIR flight leaving at the same time by an hour and half.
Engel, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is just back from a delegation trip to Israel.
IN THE HOUSE
Was anybody left in Morris Park Saturday night, April 27 when the Morris Park Community Association held its annual gala at the Marina del Rey? MPCA head Al D’Angelo said about 350 to 400 folks, including ALL the local electeds, showed up to celebrate and show their props. PS 83 Principal Claudia Macek was the honoree.
•Congrats. To Det. Michael Connor over at the 45 Squad in Throggs Neck, upped to Detective Seond Grade.
•Sorry we missed this year’s New York State Shields Memorial Breakfast Sunday, May 5 at the Marina del Rey, with former president Danny Rivera passing the leadership baton to NYPD Capt. Erik Hernandez.
Guest speaker was Bronx native and ‘Bronx Tale’ author and actor Chazz “Now youse can’t leave” Palminteri.
Also on hand, the venerable Rev. Bill Kalaidjian, still going strong and always there for cops.
To former Bronx Times Reporter Jon Minners, now public affairs director at NYC Department for the Aging.
April 29 - Jazz and Latin flutist Dave Valentin.
May 9 - Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke
May 9 – William Martin Joel - singer/composer Billy Joel.
May 12 – Comedian George Carlin
May 15 - Actor/playwright Chazz Palminteri