Harlem Parking Lot Owner Pleads Guilty to Pocketing His Employees' Payroll Taxes

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Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey via Compfight cc
Pay them.
Trevor Whittingham of Fort Lee, New Jersey, owner and operator of two commercial parking lots in Upper Manhattan, pleaded guilty to willfully withholding his employee's payroll taxes from 2006 to 2009. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Whittingham "used the corporate funds of EZ Going Park Here and We Have Cars II to pay for various personal items and otherwise finance a lavish lifestyle."


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Rev. Calvin Butts in Damage-Control Mode Over Voice Article; Invokes Don Corleone

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Reverend Calvin Butts, the politically influential Harlem pastor, is in damage-control mode following the Voice's article last week about the Abyssinian Development Corp., addressing the contents of the piece in a closed-door meeting with church elders, known as deacons, and in Sunday's sermon.

See also: The (Very) Earthly Pursuits of Rev. Calvin O. Butts III

The article raised questions about the financial situation at ADC, which was founded by Butts, the longtime leader of Abyssinian Church, in 1989, and about a series of high-end vacations billed to the organization by senior staff. The article also disclosed the contents of a lawsuit alleging that ADC swindled an elderly man out of a parcel of land worth close to $1 million. The article caused a buzz both in Harlem and elsewhere.

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The Emancipation Proclamation (Or What's Left of It) Is In Harlem Right Now!

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In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln was torn: with the War Between the States raging, the clarion call to free the slaves was louder than ever. However, to do so, Lincoln feared a backlash from his own Union forces, who were more concentrated on the rebels then the abolitionists. In the end, the 16th President of the United States of America decided to take the higher moral ground, turning the crisis into a true war for liberty, and this culminated in what is now known as the Emancipation Proclamation.

Fast forward 150 years. Although the original printed document was burnt to ashes in the Great Chicago Fire decades ago, its historical prominence and pride lives on. And so does preliminary versions of the Proclamation. So, for its century-and-a-half birthday, you can go check out the piece of paper that freed millions from bondage until Monday in Harlem.

At the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on Malcolm X Boulevard, the last remaining copy of the Proclamation hand-written by Lincoln himself will be on display, alongside a preliminary copy of the document that justifies the Constitutional foundation of the decree. In the words of Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the Center's Director, "In 150 years, these documents have not sat next to each other since they were in the presence of President Lincoln."

You can almost hear the buzzing of history nerds from here. Don't worry - we're as excited as you are.

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Q&A: Leanne Stella, on Founding Harlem's Art in FLUX Pop-Up Gallery

Categories: Art, Harlem
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Leanne Stella, Founder of Art In Flux

When Leanne Stella moved to Harlem last fall, she was on a personal quest to discover the area's art scene. She quickly realized that her neighborhood was filled with local artists and performers with no space to showcase their work. Enter Art in FLUX, a pop-up gallery that began this spring that gives local artists a chance to introduce themselves to the community without gallery fees.

Art in FLUX opened in the Morellino Building on Adam Clayton Powell for the second time this summer to take advantage of the bustling corner of 118th Street. We stopped by this month's exhibit, "Small," on opening night to chat with Leanne Stella about the pop-up art gallery business, upcoming exhibitions, and what makes the Harlem art scene unique.

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Juneteenth 2012: Photos from Harlem's Celebration

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Juneteenth is a national holiday celebrated in 41 of the 50 states. Across the country African-Americans celebrate the day with parades, festivals and street fairs. In Harlem, residents discussed voter registration and political involvement and almost on cue Rep.Charlie Rangel arrived to much fanfare. There was also a bike show put on by the Ruff Ryders motorcycle club, music provided by a DJ, pick-up basketball games and children's face painting.

We hung and snapped a few photos.


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Fathers of Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham Speak on Eve of Protest March

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"It's hard to imagine Father's Day without Trayvon," said Tracy Martin, "I want to stand for the million voiceless fathers that have lost their children."

Just hours before Father's Day, the father of the young boy gunned down by George Zimmerman spoke somber words and held back tears in front of a crowd of 200 people. Once again, Mr. Martin was forced to face the undeniable reality of a dad's worst nightmare: to outlive his son. 

Speaking at Al Sharpton's National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, Mr. Martin joined forces with Franclot Graham, the father of Ramarley - the young Bronx teen who was mistaken for having a gun and shot dead by a police officer this past February. Graham did not hide his emotions on the subject either:

"To me, my son was murdered. I lost my son to people we pay to protect us," he said.

While Zimmerman awaits his trial for second-degree murder and the police officer behind Ramarley's death faces manslaughter charges, Tracy Martin and Franclot Graham stood side-by-side to lend their voices to a larger cause; one that will take off this afternoon and, some believe, will attract thousands of people. 
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Adam Clayton Powell IV Endorses Charlie Rangel: 'We've Always Been Friends...Even When I Ran Against Him'

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Sam Levin
Adam Clayton Powell IV and Charlie Rangel on 125th Street today.
It's just politics!

That's how Adam Clayton Powell IV brushed aside questions today about why he is endorsing longtime Congressman Charlie Rangel for re-election -- after running against him (and thus frequently and harshly criticizing him) in a crowded race two years ago.

In one of the most watched local congressional races, Rangel, the incumbent who has held his Harlem seat for 40 years, is facing tough opposition in the primary as he fights to be re-elected to Congress to represent a newly-drawn district that now includes parts of the Bronx and has a larger Latino population.

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Freelancers, Rejoice! Christine Quinn Pushes Forward With Health Center Plan

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Sam Levin
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on a tour of the Hotel Trades Council Health Center with Dr. Robert Greenspan and Peter Ward, both from the HTC.
In her state-of-the-city address last month, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is expected to run for mayor, announced that the City Council would work with the Freelancers Union to launch a flagship health center that would provide low-cost care to the city's self-employed residents.

This morning, Quinn, alongside two other colleagues in the City Council and Freelancers Union Executive Director Sara Horowitz, toured the Hotel Trades Council's health center in Harlem, which she and the union plan on using as a model for a flagship clinic for freelancers in Brooklyn.

Runnin' Scared tagged along with the Council members and union reps for the hour-long tour, passing through dental offices, exam rooms, the center's pharmacy, and going up and down elevators, as the Hotel Trades representatives explained to Quinn how their operation works.

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Historic Jazz Site in Harlem Rehabilitated, Houses Formerly Homeless New Yorkers

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Cecil Hotel, a supportive housing project in Harlem.
At a time when social services are facing sometimes difficult cuts, one organization is celebrating the funding it received from the city to rehabilitate a housing project in Harlem that provides homes and services to the chronically homeless.

Housing and Services Inc., or HSI, -- an organization that develops and manages affordable housing for New Yorkers with special needs -- announced this week that it has completed construction on its rehabilitation project for supportive housing at the Cecil Hotel in Harlem and the Narragansett Hotel on the Upper West Side. The projects were awarded $16.4 million from the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, HSI said.

The Cecil Hotel -- which in the 1990s was one of the city's first supportive housing projects of its kind according to HSI -- is located at 118th Street and St. Nicholas Ave. in a five-story building that once housed Minton's Playhouse, a legendary jazz club famous for its "bebop" music (The site is on the New York State Register of Historic Places).

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Redistricting Controversy Continues As Advocates Push for Dominican Congressional District

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Just days after a U.S. District court judge ruled to intervene in New York state's redistricting process, local political leaders in Upper Manhattan are calling for the legislature to redraw district lines to favor the local Dominican community's voting power.

The 15th Congressional District, which includes some storied parts of Upper Manhattan such as Harlem and Washington Heights, is currently 46 percent Latino, according to the 2010 census. Redrawing district lines to create an even stronger Latino majority in the district would increase the chances that another Latino congressional candidate would be voted into office -- but it also means stretching the limits of what is considered a "district" along vague geographical lines.

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