Officer Convicted in Sexual Assault

A jury on Tuesday found a police officer guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in Upper Manhattan last August, but it remained deadlocked on two rape counts.

The officer, Michael Pena, 27, was found guilty of three counts of criminal sexual assault and three counts of predatory sexual assault, which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Although the jurors said they remained at an impasse on the two rape counts, Justice Richard D. Carruthers of State Supreme Court in Manhattan ordered them to resume deliberations.

Officer Pena had been out drinking and pursuing women unsuccessfully for about six hours when he came upon the victim just after 6 a.m. on Aug. 19, prosecutors said. The woman, 25, was waiting on the sidewalk for a ride to her first day at a new job, teaching second grade.

The woman testified that Officer Pena displayed a gun, and had threatened to shoot her in the face if she made any noise or opened her eyes during the attack, which took place in a courtyard behind an apartment building.

Ephraim Savitt, Officer Pena’s lawyer, acknowledged that his client had committed a brutal attack, but said the prosecution had not proved that he actually penetrated the victim.

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Mayors Shouldn’t Live in Gracie Mansion, Bloomberg Says

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Tuesday that he believed the next mayor should not live in Gracie Mansion, where mayors from Fiorello H. La Guardia to Rudolph W. Giuliani have lived, because to do so would be a waste of the city’s money.

Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire with several homes around the world, decided when he was elected to continue living in his elegant Beaux-Arts town house on East 79th Street rather than move into Gracie Mansion. He was the first mayor not to live in the mansion since 1942, when it became the official residence.

But on Tuesday, he said that he thought the tradition should end, and that his successor should follow his example.

“To take one of the great houses in this city away from the public I just think is wrong,” he said at a news conference about the city’s efforts to nurture small businesses.

“The mayor should not live there,” he added. “And I think, you know, everybody’s going to understand if a mayor lives there, then what they’re doing is they’re costing this city a lot of money, and depriving the rest of the city of one of the great facilities any city has.”

Mr. Bloomberg rarely brings up such topics on his own, but on Tuesday he did, appearing eager to respond to an article in The Wall Street Journal saying the next mayor would probably live in Gracie Mansion, which is at East End Avenue and 88th Street.

After the reporter who wrote that article, Michael Howard Saul, asked Mr. Bloomberg a question about the budget in the process of being finalized by the State Legislature, Mr. Bloomberg said, “I thought you were going to ask about living in Gracie Mansion.” And he then offered his thoughts on the matter.

Referring to former Mayor Edward I. Koch, who told The Journal that Gracie Mansion was “one of the most beautiful places in the whole city to live” and that he urged any future mayor to live there, Mr. Bloomberg said he loved and respected Mr. Koch, but disagreed with him.

“It’s a great house for everybody and not for one family, and it should be used as we use it now,” he said. “There are events every day at Gracie Mansion throughout the whole house. If a mayor’s family is living there, most of that house, a good half of it, is just not available.”

“A lot of people want to be mayor,” he said. “You don’t have to give them extra money as a housing allowance.”

Mr. Bloomberg, in addition to eschewing taxpayer-financed housing, takes only $1 a year in salary. He did not say whether he thought the next mayor should continue his practice as well.

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A Word From Our Sponsor On What Is An Intermodal Program

When first looking into different and specialized types of policies, insurance agencies may be overwhelmed with the numbers and types of specialized policies. However, finding the right one for the right situation can make a difference between salvaged goods and services and tragedy after unfortunate incidents. This is very important both to the agency and the client they serve, as salvaging as many goods as possible helps both to continue to function and have an open and friendly business relationship. In certain cases, especially those for intermodal transportation businesses, there are specific programs that can be implemented in order to help keep coverage complete and comprehensive. Basically, underwriters work with insurance agencies to implement an intermodal program to more specifically insure the needs of intermodal transportation businesses.

Through the different types of transportation businesses, as well as the relative size of each, finding coverage that is affordable and available for all types and parts of the business can be a complicated process. However, utilizing the underwriters’ knowledge, experience, and suggestions, agencies can provide unique policies for their clients without having great amounts of hassle and stress. Through the implementation of an intermodal program, agencies are able to provide ways for businesses to insure their equipment, the inventory they ship, the warehousing or storage of goods and inventory, and other aspects of the transit business. This can be as general as specific as it needs to be, and the intermodal transportation businesses can benefit as much as the agency through the provision of these services.

A Word From Our Sponsor On How Investing In Car Dealer Insurance Can Help You

As the owner of a car dealership, you obviously already have a lot of responsibility. One of the most important things, though, is to protect the long term viability of your dealership, and investing in car dealer insurance can help you in this. There are many ways in which having insurance for your car dealership can help you; let’s look at a couple of these things.
One of the primary ways in which having coverage for your dealership can benefit you is in the comfort that having insurance can bring those who have it. Without insurance, you must leave yourself open to the possibility that you’ll lose everything should a worst case scenario occur. If you have insurance coverage, you can have the assurance that, if such a situation were to occur, you wouldn’t be completely left in the cold.
A second way that car dealer insurance can help you comes from the coverage itself. Instead of being left completely on your own should you encounter a less than favorable situation, you can have the assistance you need to get your dealership back to where you need it to be.
There are abundant benefits in addition to the ones discussed above that come along with investing in car dealer insurance. The bottom line is that those who have insurance coverage are in a much better position than those without it.

Morning Buzz, March 27: A Path Through Midtown

Good morning. Today will climb only to a sunny 50 degrees, down from last week’s blast of heat, which is probably for the best.

Here’s what we’re reading this morning, starting with the N.Y./Region section in The Times.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers reached a deal that establishes oversight for state gambling initiatives, gives $805 million to schools, and could help pass the state’s budget by the April 1 deadline for the second time in two years.

Pivoting from a harsh reputation, lawmakers hope to soften New York’s juvenile justice system and move offenders closer to their homes.

Representative Charles B. Rangel agreed to pay a $23,000 fine for having misused a rent-stabilized apartment as a campaign office in violation of city and state regulations.

City politicians criticized the proposal at the Park Slope Food Co-op to boycott products from Israel a day before its members vote on the issue.

Some Queens streets regained their old names as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stripped them of their disliked numbers.

After a year in office, Governor Cuomo distinguishes his administration by involving himself in all aspects of it. [Crain’s New York]

Some state legislators, spurred by the public outrage over the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, donned hoodies in protest and called for their Republican colleague to withdraw a bill they fear would lead to similar episodes. [Times Union]

During an event at the New School, the city’s comptroller, John C. Liu, proposed a new fund to help New Yorkers save for retirement and dodged questions about his campaign finance controversy. [The Village Voice]

Christine C. Quinn, City Council speaker and favorite to succeed Mayor Bloomberg, said she would have participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement if it took place during her adolescence, according to her forthcoming New Yorker profile. [New York Post, The New Yorker]

Ms. Quinn also called for a boycott of an East Village McDonald’s in an effort to force the establishment to hire security and limit the violence that occurs there. [DNA Info]

The city plans on carving a pathway through Midtown by linking buildings’ existing thoroughfares with crosswalks and speed bumps to shield pedestrians from traffic. [New York Observer]

Occupy Wall Street adapts to new circumstances as the movement decamps north from Zuccotti Park to Union Square. [Runnin’ Scared]

Uptown has the highest rat infestation rate in Manhattan, according to city data, edging out the Lower East Side and East Village, which came in second. [DNA Info]

A Staten Island man who sued his mother after falling at her home settled the lawsuit with her insurance company for $400,000. [Staten Island Advance]

A man was found dead lying near a headstone in a Queens cemetery with his pants down around his ankles and a cowbell beside him. [New York Post]

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A Language Lesson in Arabic

Dear Diary:

Metropolitan Diary

Reader Tales From the City

I was on the treadmill in my Midtown hotel on a visit in February, when I noticed the Secret Service come pouring in to the room. Tons of them — I don’t know why they are called “secret” when they are simply so obvious. The next thing I know, they put this older gentleman on the treadmill next to me.

A few minutes later, I hear him speaking Arabic, so when he looks over at me, I say hello in Arabic. I hear him saying to his guards that he thinks the American girl just said hello to him in Arabic. He starts asking me a few questions in Arabic, and I respond the best I can (I have been living in Saudi Arabia for 14 months and have picked up small amounts of the language), then he asks me if I know it fluently, and I’m fairly certain that I responded with the equivalent of “How much do you cost?” Whatever — I’m trying.

He asks me a few more questions about how far I’m running and why I’m living in Saudi, and then I ask him where he is from. He and the Secret Service start to laugh, and after a few seconds he tells me that he is from Yemen.

After parting ways, I go back to my room and Google “Yemen official in NYC,” and his picture and name pops up. He’s the president of Yemen, here for medical treatment.

I basically propositioned him. OOPS.

Welcome to Metropolitan Diary, 2.0! Beginning this week, City Room is publishing one item each weekday morning. For our dedicated newspaper readers, not to worry. You’ll still be able to read items in print on Mondays; but online, you can now share and comment on your favorite New York tales. Our guidelines have changed slightly and so has our desire for new kinds of storytelling. Please take a moment to read the new rules. Your suggestions and submissions are welcome via email: [email protected] or telephone: (212) 556 – 1333. Join us this week on NYTMetro’s Facebook page as we share our favorite entries from decades past. Follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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A Word From Our Sponsor On Purchasing Flood Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance policies cover many types of disasters, but there are a few natural disasters which will not be covered in the standard homeowner’s policy. One example is floods. For protection against flood damage and loss, you will need to carry separate flood insurance.
Losses you experience due to a flood are covered by flood insurance New Jersey, and the list of items the standard flood policy covers is significant. Your flood insurance New Jersey will cover structural damage, the replacement of most major appliances, plumbing and electrical systems, carpeting, and debris cleanup.
You also have the option to add additional coverage which would cover certain belongings such as furniture, food, and items of significant value such as jewelry or artwork. Of course all of this coverage would only apply up to the limits outlined in your policy.
There are flood insurance New Jersey policies suited to people in various housing situations. Homeowners would carry a dwelling flood insurance policy. For those leasing their housing, the best flood insurance policy would be a general property policy, which covers much of their property but not structural damage.
Of course some areas are more prone to flooding than others. If your home is in a floodplain, your mortgage lender will likely require you to carry flood insurance. Many mortgage lenders will require you to carry flood insurance in the maximum limit available for the type of structure you are purchasing, and will require that you carry this insurance for the full term of your mortgage loan.

Decades-Old Housing ‘Emergency’ Continues, and So Does Rent Regulation

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed a bill on Monday that extended the city’s participation in rent regulation for another three years by redeclaring a state of housing emergency, even as a challenge to rent regulation laws looms in the United States Supreme Court.

“The Department of Housing Preservation and Development reports the vacancy rate in rental apartments to be at 3.12 percent,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the bill-signing ceremony. That, he continued, is “well below the 5 percent rate at which the law requires that rent regulation be discontinued.”

The city has had a vacancy rate of less than 5 percent since the department began keeping track more than 40 years ago, which means it has been in a state of housing emergency for all that time. But critics of rent regulation argue that an emergency by definition must be temporary.

Among them are James D. and Jeanne Harmon, who own a brownstone on the Upper West Side that has rent-stabilized apartments. The Harmons have been challenging the state’s rent-regulation laws, and they have taken their battle to the Supreme Court.

The court is expected to decide next month whether to hear their case.

“My family is making a last stand,” Mr. Harmon said. “We believe that the Constitution gives us the freedom to decide who lives in our own home. The mayor is free to think otherwise.”

Supporters of rent regulation, however, are not convinced. They say that a dearth of low-cost housing persists, especially for the poorest New Yorkers. The New York State Legislature renewed rent regulation laws last year, increasing the ceiling for a regulated apartment from $2,000 to $2,500 per month.

“There are not enough affordable apartments available,” said State Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, who points to the vacancy rate cited by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development as proof. “We have to keep the system we have and try to make improvements in order to keep New York an option.”

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