Providence Hogan, Former PTA Treasurer, Indicted for Embezzling $100K

Yesterday, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes indicted a scheming PTA treasurer who embezzled $100,000 from a Cobble Hill elementary school that was very popular with parents in the upscale neighborhood.

Providence Hogan served as PTA treasurer at P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill from 2006 until last year. The Brooklyn DA says that an investigation revealed that $100,000 was missing from the school's bank account, and that Hogan had written out large checks to herself. She used the checks to pay for personal expenses including the rent on her apartment and for her business - the fancy Providence Day Spa - and also for fertility treatments.

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Indian Point Not Only Seismically at Risk, Also a Fire Trap

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There's more troublesome news coming out of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Last week, we spoke to Columbia University disaster expert Klaus Jacob about vulnerability at the Westchester County plant, which supplies around 20 percent of New York City's power.

Today, we learned that the aging plant -- located just 38 miles north of the city -- is violating fire safety violations. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to force the agency to take action against the plant's owners for its failure to comply with the agency's own fire safety rules.

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Spofford Finally Emptied Out

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Hard time for Spofford
​Spofford, the plagued juvenile lock-up in the Bronx, is now — finally — empty.

Last April, the city announced it would close the jail, a tough place that had the reputation of turning juvenile delinquents into hardened criminals. According to the New School's Center for New York City Affairs, it has been vacant since March 11.


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Twana Rose, Who Ripped Off Fellow Tenants, Sentenced to Prison

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​Twana Rose, a former secretary of a Bronx tenants' association who was named to the Voice's Ten Worst Tenants list earlier this month, was sentenced yesterday today in Bronx Supreme Court to between 1.5 and three years in prison.

Rose, along with her mother, Arlether Middleton, who served as the tenants' association president, stole $30,000 from the building's bank account. The pair used the money to pay for credit card, cell phone, and other personal bills.

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Klaus Jacob, Columbia Disaster Expert: Why Closing Indian Point Makes Sense

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In October 2008, the Voice profiled Klaus Jacob, Columbia University's expert on urban environmental disasters. In that story, we examined how the Ivy League school had ignored warnings by its own expert about expanding into areas subject to flooding because of climate change.

Today we talked with Jacob about the Japan earthquake and about worst-case scenarios that could take place more close to home, including the prospects for nuclear-meltdown at the Indian Point nuclear power plant, located just 38 miles north of New York City, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has agreed to make a top priority in a review of seismic risk to plants across the country.

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First Glimpse of a Hoarder's Horror House on the Upper East Side

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312 East 86th Street: What a mess! (Amy Zimmer/dnainfo.com)
​New York City officials finally pried their way inside an infamous junk-filled townhouse at 312 East 86th Street this week, thanks to a court order. But still no glimpse of owner Phyllis Battista, one of the city's most cussed and discussed hoarders.

Battista rates her own category — she's neither a bad landlord nor a bad tenant. But she is a bad neighbor. Residents on her block have long complained about the house's heaped-up trash, DNA.info's Amy Zimmer reports.

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Slumlords and Your Tax Dollars

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AM New York had an interesting piece yesterday about a topic that's near and dear to us over here at Runnin' Scared: taxpayer dollars that end up in the pockets of slumlords.
The paper, using data from Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio's office, reported that a beleaguered city program which provides rent subsidies to homeless people who have found stable jobs is placing tenants into some of the worst buildings in the city.

The program, called Advantage, gave a Bronx landlord $221,000 to place tenants in his Bronx buildings, DeBlasio says. Taken together, those buildings, which went into foreclosure and are now managed by a court-appointed receiver, have 1,020 code violations and are on his worst landlords watchlist. (The receiver is Albert Sontag Real Estate, but the real culprit is the landlord who came before him.) All told, DeBlasio tells Runnin Scared that he has identified 12 buildings on his watchlist that are home to Advantage tenants. Four of these 12 are on the city's own official worst buildings list.

But what AM New York doesn't tell you is that some of the fault appears to lie with the tenants themselves.


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One of Our 'Ten Worst Tenants' Is Sentenced

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Last week, one of the tenants named on our 'Ten Worst Tenants' -- our cover story from last week -- was sentenced to five years' probation at the Bronx Supreme Court. Arlether Middleton, a day-care provider who abused her role as tenants' association president to steal thousands of dollars from her neighbors in a building in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, will also have to pay restitution of around $14,000.

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One of Our 'Ten Worst Tenants' Has Seizure While Being Sentenced

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Julienne Sialeu -- named in this week's cover story as one of the city's Ten Worst Tenants -- was convicted yesterday of making false statements after a one-day bench trial in District Court in Lower Manhattan. The judge, Denise Cote, did not actually finish delivering the verdict against her because Sialeu -- a Coney Island hairdresser who stole about $36,000 from the city's Housing Authority by pretending to live in an apartment that she actually did not live in -- had what appeared to be a seizure while the verdict was being read. She slid down to the floor in the middle and went into spasms and convulsions, reports her attorney, Steve Frankel. She was taken to a hospital in downtown Manhattan.

"She's a very troubled woman that had some serious psychiatric issues that affect her behavior," Frankel tells the Voice.

Because the verdict was interrupted, she is yet to be sentenced.

The city's Department of Investigation confirms the incident but does not have comment.

Sports Fans Shut Out: Channelsurfing.net Owner Brian McCarthy Busted for Alleged Video Piracy

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​To the dismay of sports fans, when they now click on channelsurfing.net for free, pirated NBA games and pay-per-view events, they'll find a long announcement that starts: "This domain name has been seized by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations . . ."

The owner of channelsurfing, Brian McCarthy, was charged yesterday in federal court in New York with criminal copyright infringement.

Officials tell the Voice that this is the first time someone in New York City has been charged with illegally streaming live sports games. (He was charged in New York because the FBI was monitoring his computer from computers here).

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