Photo by Joseph Akbrud

Photo by Joseph Akbrud

A very deep quote by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi.

Photo by Joseph Akbrud

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

Sampson (File photo)

State Senator John Sampson had just scant hours to celebrate his victory in Tuesday’s primary elections before a former top aide and Democratic consultant was found guilty on Wednesday of conspiring with the pol to defraud the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee out of $100,000.

Melvin Lowe, 52, was found guilty by a federal jury of wire fraud, tax violations and swindling the DSCC out of the cash in 2010. He faces up to 82 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines, according to the New York Post.

Crain’s details the scam, in which prosecutors said Lowe directed the funds to a political consulting firm that then kicked it back to him.

Twenty-thousand dollars also went to political consultant Michael Nieves, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Nor has political operative Elnatan Rudolph, a former Brooklynite who owned Cornerstone Management Partners and who received $5,000.

In addition, Mr. Lowe was convicted for tax violations for his failure to report more than $2 million in consulting income, causing his bank to make a false statement to his mortgage lender, and for defrauding a Yonkers resident of $66,000.

Lowe told an IRS agent that Sampson ordered the $20,000 payment to Nieves, although prosecutors found the consultant was owed no money from the party’s campaign fund. The fund was controlled by Sampson, who at the time was the head of the Democratic conference, and Sampson approved the $100,000 payment. Prosecutors told the New York Times that they had not yet decided if they would pursue charges against the pol in connection to the kickback scheme.

Sampson faces unrelated criminal charges for allegedly lying about his ownership of a liquor store and, separately, for allegedly embezzling $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes.

He won his primary election on Tuesday with more than 54 percent of the vote, and is expected to win reelection in November.

An example of a bait station (Source: DOH)

An example of a bait station (Source: DOH)

After a raccoon tested positive for rabies in Bensonhurst last month, the city announced today that vaccine-treated bait will be placed around Southern Brooklyn to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

Raccoons will be vaccinated using bait containing oral rabies vaccine in parks, public green spaces, and on private property along the southern border of Brooklyn and Queens. The brown, fish-scented bait will conceal a small packet of pink colored liquid vaccine about one square inch in size. When raccoons chew the bait, they will become immunized.

It’s an expansion of a program initiated by the United Stated Department of Agriculture and Cornell University, and is already being conducted in Long Island and parts of upstate New York.

An example of the bait. Quarter for size comparison purposes. (Source: DOH)

An example of the bait. Quarter for size comparison purposes. (Source: DOH)

The bait itself is harmless to humans, but exposure to the liquid can cause a rash. If neighbors somehow stumble across one of the fixed bait stations, rummage through the bait, puncture the packet and get the liquid on their skin – an unlikely scenario – they’re advised to wash the affected area with warm, soapy water and notify the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. The bait is not harmful to pets, but can cause vomiting if too much is consumed.

More information about the bait program can be found here.

The Department of Health is also sharing the following tips to help prevent the spread of rabies:

  • Get your cat or dog vaccinated for rabies. It’s the law.
    • Check with your vet to see if your pet is up-to-date with vaccinations. Pets need a rabies booster shot every one to four years.
    • Call 311 or visit nyc.gov and search for “rabies” for information on rabies.
    • Always keep cats, even vaccinated cats, indoors and supervise your dog when it is outdoors. Cats and dogs that roam could come into contact with a rabid animal, get infected, and then expose you.
  • Avoid wild, stray or unfamiliar animals. Keep children and pets away from them too.
    • Avoid any wild, stray, sick, or injured animal, no matter how helpless it looks. Even stray cats can be dangerous.
    • Raccoons, skunks, and bats are more likely than other animals to have rabies. Be careful around them—especially if they appear sick or behave strangely. For example:
      • Normally tame animals, like cats, acting too aggressive or wild animals acting too friendly.
      • Difficulty walking around.
      • Night animals like raccoons walking around during the day.
    • Call 311 and ask for Animal Care and Control to find out what to do
    • Keep garbage in tight containers to avoid attracting animals.
  • If you are bitten by an animal, wash the wound, consult a doctor, and call 311 or Poison Control to report the bite.
    • First, wash the wound with soap and water IMMEDIATELY.
    • Talk to a doctor right away to see if you need a tetanus shot or a rabies evaluation. If you don’t have a regular doctor, go to a hospital emergency room.
    • Call 311 to report the bite. After business hours, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.
Photo by Ariela B.

The offices of Grigory Shyknevsky, D.D.S., at 2523 Ocean Avenue, where one of the accused worked. (Photo by Ariela B.)

First phony lawyers, now phony dentists.

Authorities arrested four people for pretending to be dentists and practicing on patients out of two Sheepshead Bay area clinics.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed felony charges against Konstantin Shtrambrand, Ilya Zolotar, Sergey Tolokolnikov and Hakob Gahnapetyan for practicing dentistry without a license. They face up to four years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say that Shtrambrand, 43, Zolotar, 48, and Tolokolnikov, 54, saw patients at J.S. Atlantic Dental at 1707 Avenue P.

Gahnapetyan, 44, worked out of the dental offices of Grigory Shyknevsky, D.D.S., at 2523 Ocean Avenue.

The first clinic is owned by Joseph Grigory Shyknevsky, the son of the owner of the second clinic. Both are also being investigated, although no charges have been filed.

The sham practices came to light after the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit dispatched undercover investigators to the clinics. There they spotted each of the defendants wearing scrubs and performing dental work. Zolotar was seen drilling a patient’s tooth, and the other three were overheard doling out medical advice.

Schneiderman blasted the alleged frauds for putting unsuspecting patients at serious risk.

“New Yorkers deserve to have confidence that the people providing them healthcare are licensed professionals,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Plain and simple: there is one set of rules for everyone and my office will not tolerate those who seek to skirt the rules, including in the medical profession.”

The August 28 bust, in which the clinics were raided by authorities, comes just weeks after FBI agents raided a Brighton Beach law office. In that bust, a man allegedly had stolen the identity of a retired lawyer and fraudulently represented clients in at least 11 court cases.

shisha

Shisha Lounge at 2711 Avenue U has closed for good after less than a year in business.

It looks like the business shuttered a month or so ago, and “For rent” signs are now up at the location. The Egyptian hookah lounge and restaurant opened in December 2013, promising “the best shisha you’ve ever had” on their website. Prices on both food and hookah were below what many in the area charge, yet it seemed the restaurant couldn’t get a foothold.

Best of luck to its owners on their future endeavors!

American Flag on 4th Avenue

Today marks 13 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks. In addition to visiting the 9/11 Memorial site, the Wall of Remembrance in Coney Island, and pledging to do a good deed, here are some ways to honor the memory of those who were lost and those who helped on that day:

  • The Brooklyn/Bedford Park 9/11 Memorial Committee is hosting its annual memorial and candlelight vigil at Bill Brown Park, Avenue X and Bedford Avenue, at 7pm, rain or shine.
  • State Senator Martin Golden will host two memorials: in Marine Park, at Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway, at 6pm, and then at 7:30pm on the American Veterans Memorial Pier at Shore Road and Bay Ridge Avenue.
  • The September 11 Family Group is holding a ceremony at 9/11 Memorial Square in Asser Levy Park at 4pm. The park is at Ocean Parkway and Surf Avenue, by the Brighton Beach – Coney Island boardwalk.
  • The Children of Abraham Peace Walk returns to Cobble Hill at 6pm, starting at Congregation Baith Israel Anshei Emes at 236 Kane Street.
  • At 7pm, Brooklyn Heights’ St. Ann & The Holy Trinity Church are hosting their annual public interfaith memorial service on the Brooklyn Promenade at Montague Street.
  • Bargemusic will hold a free Memorial Concert at 8pm at Brooklyn Bridge Park, led by violinist Mark Peskanov and featuring music by Bach, Haydn, Schubert, and more. No reserved seating; doors open at 7:30pm.

Do you know of a local memorial service that we missed? E-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com or let us know in the comments.

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Photo by Dmitri Kalinin

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.

deutsch-flier

UPDATE: The trip is booked up and they are not taking any more reservations.

Original post:

Does 30 years old count as a senior? According to Councilman Chaim Deutsch’s office (and most sane people), the answer is “No,” because they’re not letting this reporter go on the trip.

But if you’re a bonafide senior, even if you don’t feel like one, you can take the local pol up on his offer of a free trip to Governors Island next Thursday, September 18.

The trip includes free transportation to the island from the Sheepshead Bay area, as well as a bus tour of the island’s architecture and other sites narrated by a National Parks Service guide.

All you have to do is call (718) 368-9176 to reserve a spot.

Sampson (File photo)

State Senator John Sampson is well on his way to reelection after besting three primary opponents last night despite multiple criminal indictments for corruption.

Sampson garnered 7,218 votes, or 54.17 percent of those cast – nearly double that of his closest rival, union organizer Dell Smitherman, who pulled in 3,981, or 29.88 percent of the vote. Homeless advocate Sean Henry, who ran a spirited and well-funded campaign, pulled in 1,668 votes, or 12.52 percent. A fourth candidate, Elias Weir, earned 3.44 percent.

It’s a strong win for the embattled pol. Prior to the election, some observers wondered if Henry and Smitherman would split the anti-Sampson vote and help usher in a victory for the incumbent; however, even if there was only one challenger, Sampson still would have won the Democratic nod.

The district is a Democratic stronghold, making reelection almost a sure thing for Sampson.

The pol will return to Albany in January, but will lose his seat if found guilty of the criminal charges on which he’s been indicted. He allegedly embezzled more than $400,000 from the sale of foreclosed homes to finance a political campaign, as well as separate charges for lying to the FBI about a liquor store he owned.

The 61st Precinct Community Council Meeting will meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight, September 10, at YDE School, 2533 Coney Island Avenue.

The Community Council is comprised of concerned residents and top brass from the 61st Precinct, and offers neighbors an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns about crime and safety issues in the area. The monthly meetings are attended by the commanding officer of the precinct, who will present a report on incidents and trends in the neighborhood, and speak face-to-face with neighbors about specific concerns.

For further information, or if you have questions or comments concerning Community Affairs, call (718) 627-6847.