Operators of ‘High Class’ Escort Service Are Indicted

The name may say “high class,” but the activities are still illegal, the authorities said on Wednesday.

Owners, employees and investors of a Sheepshead Bay escort service called High Class NY were indicted on prostitution and drug charges in Brooklyn, according to District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, who said the service earned $7 million over three years.

Some clients paid more than $10,000 a night, and the owners not only hid the nature of the transactions on clients’ credit card statements, they falsely reported the profits of the business, the indictment said.

“There is no such thing as a high-class pimp, and as we do with all other pimps, my office will prosecute these defendants and seek the maximum sentences available under the law,” Mr. Hynes said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the district attorney’s office, 17 people and 5 corporations were named in the indictment, including the service’s owners — Mikhail Yampolsky; his wife, Bronislava; his son, Alexander; and his stepson, Jonathan Yampolskaya. Eleven managers and supervisors and two investors were also indicted.

High Class NY’s Web site says that the service introduces “fashion models, pageant winners, exquisite students, graduates and women of successful careers to gentlemen with exceptional standards.” It also carries a disclaimer:

In no way, shape or form does High Class NY consent to or have knowledge of any illegal activity. The exchange of money is only for time and discreet companionship. Anything other than this is by personal choice between adults of legal age and is not allowed by anyone through High Class NY.

The indictment said that even though escorts were required to sign employment contracts describing themselves as “models” and prohibiting sexual contact with clients, High Class accepted money from clients in exchange for sexual contact. The indictment also charged that the “models” provided cocaine and other controlled substances to clients.

A lawyer for Mr. Yampolsky did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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Manhattan Borough Chief Says Council Earmarks Should Stop

The Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, called on Wednesday for the abolition of the $49 million pot of money the City Council distributes each year to nonprofit groups, saying the process for giving out the grants had become overly political.

Mr. Stringer, whose office conducted a yearlong study of the funds, said the current system had led to vast economic disparities. He pointed to one Upper East Side district that received twice as much in grants as a far less affluent district in Washington Heights.

“At a time of dwindling government resources, New York City must be more committed than ever to allocating tax dollars in a way that is transparent, equitable and free of political favoritism,” Mr. Stringer said in a 24-page report (pdf).

Every year, each of the 51 council members gives out grants ranging from $80,000 to more than $1 million. The Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, has her own fund totaling about $18 million.

In his report, Mr. Stringer said that city agencies, not the Council, should decide how to distribute the funds. He said that each district should get a lump sum or that the money should be distributed on the basis of economic need.

Almost immediately after releasing his report, Mr. Stringer, a likely mayoral contender in 2013, faced questions about whether he was taking aim at Ms. Quinn, a potential rival for the mayoralty. He brushed aside those suggestions.

“This is not about any one person,” he said. “This is about a system that has been broken for decades and needs to be fixed.”

Ms. Quinn has said that the grants are a lifeline to many small community groups, and that council members are often best positioned to know the needs of their districts.

The pot of money has come under scrutiny after a series of fraud and abuse scandals involving several council members.

An analysis in The New York Times earlier this year showed that some of the city’s poorest districts received the smallest amount in earmarks. In addition, politically connected nonprofit groups often receive a large share of the Council’s money.

Maria Alvarado, a council spokeswoman, said that Ms. Quinn was proud of her efforts to increase transparency in the budget. “We look forward to reviewing his report,” Ms. Alvarado said in a statement.

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Then and Now, Worrisome Times in the Subways

My candidate for the best New York film ever was shown on a cable channel the other day. This was the classic “Taking of Pelham One Two Three,” released in 1974.

The Day

Clyde Haberman offers his take on the news.

Unlike an insipid television remake in 1998 or an intensely violent version with Denzel Washington and an over-the-top John Travolta in 2009, the original thriller about a hijacked subway car had everything: fast-paced dialogue, terrific acting, plenty of cynical wit and a good feel for the city of that era. It even had a Koch-like mayor — a prescient bit of casting, given that Edward I. Koch wasn’t elected until 1977.

(This may be the time to ’fess up to the obvious, namely that no one pays me to be a movie critic. Feel free to offer your own favorite film set in New York. My own list of other possibilities would include “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Serpico,” “Mean Streets,” “Sweet Smell of Success,” “Hester Street” and “Marty,” but you no doubt have your own ideas.)

The reason for bringing up “Pelham” is that a colleague, Michael M. Grynbaum, wrote an article about how crowded the subways are on weekends compared with decades ago. He invited City Room readers to submit their memories of life underground in the 1970s and ’80s. The reminiscences appeared on Monday, some laced with nostalgia, others with what amounted to shouts of “Good riddance to those days.”

I’ve chosen to enter the conversation and throw my lot in with the “good riddance” crowd.

These are worrisome times in the subways. Service has been reduced while fares have gone up. Anyone who waits for a train for what seems like an eternity, or who crams into an impossibly crowded car on a Sunday, or who watches the rats scurry across the tracks, or who puts up with any number of other indignities, has every right to feel aggrieved.

That said, most New Yorkers today are either too young or too new to the city to know how things were 30 or 40 years ago. Trust me on this one: the subways were truly awful back then. They’re in far better shape now.

Not that anyone ever hijacked a train. But the air of menace and decay was so pervasive that people in the ’70s could have been forgiven if they mistook “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” for a documentary.

Black spray-painted graffiti covered almost every inch of every car. The likes of Norman Mailer breezily extolled this defacement as urban art. But New Yorkers who actually rode the subways (unlike Mr. Mailer) saw mindless vandalism and solid evidence that no one was in control.

Another movie spoke to the miserable service of that era: “Last Train From Gun Hill.” It was a 1950s western. But the title could have served as an allegory for mass transit. If you just missed a train at the Gun Hill Road stop on the No. 2 line in the Bronx — or at any other station, for that matter — you couldn’t be sure when, or if, you would ever see another one.

Panhandlers were aggressive, even threatening, compared with today’s more polite bunch. Google “Bernard Goetz” if you want a sense of what can happen when riders feel in constant jeopardy, and decide not to take it anymore.

Routinely, the sliding doors of subway cars failed to open, turning the out-and-in movement of passengers into something on the order of a rugby scrum.

Universal air-conditioning was still years away, although that amenity does come at a price. It may be indispensable. But so much external heat is thrown off, especially from the new cars, that temperatures on platforms, already insufferable, shoot way up.

As for the fare, it was set in July 1981 at 75 cents. That is equivalent to about $1.80 today.

While the basic fare now is $2.25, the average that riders actually pay is put by officials at about $1.65. That’s a result of discounts made possible by the MetroCard, which didn’t exist back in the day.

Those hijacked passengers aboard Pelham One Two Three plunked metal tokens into slots for the privilege of having their lives put on the line. But then, as a petulant trainmaster in the film says, “What the hell did they expect for their lousy 35 cents — to live forever?”

For more local news from The Times, including illegal rice wine sales in Chinatown, a guilty plea from the leader of a drug ring at Columbia University and progress for New Jersey’s proposed medical marijuana program, see the N.Y./Region section.

Here’s what City Room is reading in other papers and blogs this morning.

Children are ducking turnstiles — and fares — in great numbers. [Daily News]

Bedbugs infested city schools at nearly epidemic rates last year. [GothamSchools]

Lance Cpl. Jabari Thompson, 22, from Brooklyn, died in Afghanistan. [New York Post and Daily News]

Republican fund-raisers again urged Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to enter the 2012 presidential fray. [New York Post/FoxNews.com]

Too soon? Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Hillary Rodham Clinton lead a 2016 presidential poll. [New York Observer]

The Harry Potter lookalike: gift or curse? [New York Observer]

Potbelly sandwich shop is opening in Midtown. [DNAinfo]

Borders could be gone by Friday. [WNYC]

All 35 bikes were stolen from a charity group in Queens. [A Walk in the Park] (Also see The New York Post.)

Nudists dream of a Coney Island swim, despite city opposition. [Brooklyn Paper]

The police are writing fewer traffic tickets in 2011. [New York Post]

A Frank Sinatra favorite, closed in 2008, reopens in Brooklyn. [Daily News]

Boxers hope to knock out cancer at a Bronx benefit. [Daily News]

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A Milestone in Brooklyn: 112 Birthdays

By now, Susannah Mushatt Jones knows her tastes are not changing.

She likes men, but not her ex-husband. She likes bacon and watermelon, though not necessarily together.

She likes Ronald Reagan — the actor, not that older guy who made speeches on television.

And she likes to think that somewhere out there in this big, sprawling city there is someone who has been around longer than she has.

Ms. Jones, who lives at the Vandalia Senior Center in Brooklyn, turned 112 this month. She is believed to be the oldest resident of New York State, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

“Who said that?” Ms. Jones demanded when told of the distinction, her mouth agape between smiles. “I can’t be.”

Born on July 6, 1899, in Lowndes County in Alabama, she was honored with a birthday party at the senior center on Tuesday. Though blind and hard of hearing, Ms. Jones, who uses a wheelchair, appeared to understand the meaning of the gathering.

Wearing a red hat, a dark floral dress and white socks with black shoes, she thanked the other residents at the center and her family for attending. She nodded through most verses of “Happy Birthday,” a live version and a Stevie Wonder recording, and clutched her niece’s hand as tribute letters from the offices of the mayor and the governor were read aloud.

“I wish it could be like this all the time,” Ms. Jones said as the party concluded.

Ms. Jones moved to New York in 1923, in the early stages of the Harlem Renaissance, after graduating from the Calhoun School in Alabama. (At her graduation, on March 4, 1922, according to a program discovered by Ms. Jones’s niece, Lois Judge, last week, she gave a presentation on “Negro Music in France.”)

She married a man named Henry Jones in 1928, but divorced quickly and said she didn’t know what became of him. She has no children.

Ms. Jones worked mostly as a child caretaker for wealthy families before retiring in 1965. She also took in many of her own relatives who migrated to New York. Madge Price, whose mother was Ms. Jones’s first cousin, said she moved in with Ms. Jones on St. Nicholas Avenue when she was 17.

“She was like a mother to me,” Ms. Price said. “She packed my bag for my honeymoon.”

Like other oft-uttered superlatives — most likely to succeed, best burger in town, fastest car on the lot — the title of oldest living person in the state can be difficult to prove.

As of Tuesday, Ms. Jones ranked as one of 89 confirmed supercentenarians — people at least 110 years old — in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which sifts through dozens of claims a year. Many prove false, or at least unconfirmed, said Dr. L. Stephen Coles, the group’s director.

The oldest person in history whose age had been confirmed, Jeanne Calment of France, died in 1997, at 122. Of the 89 confirmed supercentenarians today, 83 are women, including all but one of the 53 oldest. Ms. Jones is among 22 Americans, all female, to make the cut.

“We call it the female advantage,” Dr. Coles said. “We can’t really explain it scientifically, though we know it’s inherited.”

Gloria Cooke, 65, hopes it’s also contagious. She traveled Tuesday morning to Ms. Jones’s party from her condominium across the street to “rub her for luck.”

Other attendees grumbled that the proceedings had delayed the start of lunch — a salmon platter that cost $1 for seniors and $2.50 for others. Some wondered where they could pick up their party favors: a visor, a bag and a pill box, provided by a health care company.

Many, though, approached Ms. Jones to embrace her after the party.

One relative asked how it felt to reach another birthday.

“You don’t feel now,” Ms. Jones said. “You’re just thankful.”

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Catalog Printing Musts

Catalogs are one of the best ways to market goods and services. Businesses use this to gain better sales. Catalog Printing is serious work, consider using a professional rather than doing it on your own.

Things to remember when youre having catalogs printed:

1) Collate

Put together all the pictures and product or service information you have in mind to place in the catalog.

2) Ideas

Think about how you want the catalog to be. Binding methods, colors, size even layouts. It doesnt have to be concrete, just simple ideas that come to mind.

3) Draft

Put all your ideas and the things that collated into a drawing. It doesnt necessarily have to look like art, just simple stick figures that the professional catalog makers could understand. If drawing is not your thing, simply list down all the things you want and vividly describe each of your ideas (where you want the pictures to be, the colors or how you want the catalog to look).

4) Pages

How much information are you sharing? Do you need 5 pages or a hundred? Make sure you have though this over before you ask for a professionals help so you have a general idea on how many pages you require.

5) Style

The entire theme of the catalog is your style. Think target market, your ideas and a designer. Put them all together and you get a good style. It is always better to let a catalog designer assist you with the theme and layout and save yourself some time.

6) Bulk

How much people are your target audience? Printing by the bulk gets you more discount, so it is a good idea to finalize everything first and make sure there are no errors before printing.

7) Budget

How much are you willing to spend for this project? Consider your budget and your choices for paper, color, binding etc. You cant expect to save if you choose a high grade paper with gloss with a hundred pages and get only 10 copies. Compare rates and quality with different Catalog Printing Company.

8) Paper

What kind of paper would you like to use? You should also consider your budget and the volume of printing you need for your target customers. Do you intend to just use it for a quarter of a year and renew it? If so, you can choose the thinner

9) Gloss

Most catalog papers used are nowadays are glossed to cover it. Apart from the shine, it gives the paper an extra layer of protection from tearing and water spots thus giving the catalog longer life.

10) Binding

How your pages are put together is vital. We strongly suggest that you let the professionals (catalog printers) do it for you. Be sure though that the printers have different methods of binding so you have several choices.

11) Design

While you may think that designing your own catalog is the cheapest way to go, think again.

What ever you do how ever you want your catalogs done, is entirely up to you. Always remember though that your viewers perception is the most important factor so decide for them not for yourself. Give them something to be excited about and introduce your products and services. Catalog Printing is one of the key to your success, choose the right one.

Visit this site for more high quality print products that would surely make an impression: catalogs.

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Future liabilities and obligations demand financial planning by professional financial adviser

At every stage of life one requires money, from beginning of the life till the end but surly every one do not start earning and keeps on earning at all the stages of life also there are certain obligations one needs to pay at different stages of life. Financial planning is very important to pay such obligations and to pay future monetary requirements. Financial Planning is a process of ensuring supply of money when and where it is required and to optimise the return of savings.

In lay man language financial planning can be a budget or plan to save present and future income for certain contingent liabilities like marriage, education and Medicine. This plan allocates future income to various types of expenses, such as rent or utilities, and also reserves some income for short-term and long-term savings. Financial planning also include investment of present and future income in certain ventures or assets to generate maximum returns on the savings, few such ventures could be investment in new business plan, Investment in stock market and in real estate.

However financial planning changes its mean slightly in context of organizations where financial planning is based on three main financial documents – balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. Financial planning also depends on the forecasted income of the organization and then estimates the amount for different uses showcased in budget. In this article we should be talking about personal financial planning.

Many people urge that they dont know about financial planning neither do they trust on financial Planner or financial advisor. My answer lies in the success of financial planning companies or portfolio management companies managed by financial advisers. Ask your relatives or friends about the services any financial advisor will offer and how much monetary value such financial adviser can add to your savings. At the same time I agree that not all the people perform true multidisciplinary financial planning. Investment professional expertise in certain areas of financial planning such as retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning and investment management.

Another good question people may ask that at what stage a person must hire a financial advisor? If you have significant assets like home, land and cash and are willing to protect or grow these assets then you should consider any financial planner for assistance. However at beginning level when you don’t have sufficient amount of assets with you. Self financial planning should be done like budgeting and other investment plans. Experts advise to save thirty percent of your total income in zero risk depositories in order to avoid any future financial obligation.

So if you are looking to hire a financial planner then what is stopping you? I guess that you doubt on the performance of financial advisor you are considering for financial planning purpose. Ask questions and ask as many as you can. Ask questions from your friends or referrals already availing services of financial advisor, ask them about the performance of their financial advisor and amount they have earned by different investment policies and procedures. Ask questions from financial planners you are considering hiring for your financial planning process, asking how long they have been into the business and what are their biggest achievements, ask about the number of clients, what their credentials are, how they operate, etc.

To complete your personal financial plan you may also require Financial Advisor , Financial Planner, specialist advice on matters which are not within our area of expertise (such as Financial Adviser, Financial Planning). In these circumstances we will flag these issues with you.

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Episcopal Bishop in Western N.Y. to Allow Priests to Officiate at Gay Marriages

After much consultation, the Episcopal bishop in Western New York on Tuesday joined two of his peers in the state in allowing priests to officiate at same-sex weddings.

“My personal view of the Marriage Equality Act is that this was another advance in the long march of the civil rights movement which has brought forward the full equality of all Americans, without regard to race, gender and now sexual orientation,” the bishop, R. William Franklin, wrote in a pastoral letter. “At the same time, I was keenly aware that many in our church are distressed by this legislation and anxious about the shape of things to come.”

As The Times reported on Tuesday, the lack of a national policy within the Episcopal Church on gay marriage has left it to bishops — New York has six — to decide how to respond to the new marriage law. In the Diocese of Long Island, which includes Brooklyn and Queens, the Diocese of Central New York, and, now, Western New York, priests will be able to conduct the marriage rite.

In the Diocese of New York, which includes Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, the bishop has allowed priests to bless same-sex marriages but not to preside over the marriage itself. In Albany, the bishop has directed priests not to do either.

The national Episcopal Church has been developing liturgies for same-sex marriage and is expected to take up the issue when it meets next summer.

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Columbia Student to Be Sentenced to 6 Months Over Drug Ring

The Columbia University student who was the main target of a investigation into a ring that sold drugs from the school’s campus will be sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty Tuesday to selling cocaine.

The student, Harrison David, is expected to begin serving his time on Rikers Island on Aug. 30, when he is to be sentenced.

The cases against the four other students arrested last year along with Mr. David, 20, are pending as their lawyers seek resolutions in which their clients could get treatment and avoid a criminal record.

Mr. David is likely to be expelled from Columbia as a result of the guilty plea and his felony conviction may present hurdles going forward in his efforts to attend a new university, said his lawyer, Matthew D. Myers.

“He has huge regrets about it,” Mr. Myers said of his client’s conduct. “I think he is taking responsibility for it. He is not being combative. He’s not disgruntled about the results.”

After he is released from jail, Mr. David will have to serve five years probation.

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