NY Lawmakers on the Move, Sept. 1, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Colton’s annual Speak Up and Clean Up campaign a success

Assemblymember William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D-Brooklyn) yesterday deemed his annual Speak Up and Clean Up campaign to mobilize a team of volunteers of all ages to beautify neighborhood streets a success. 

“I have mobilized neighborhood clean-ups with the army of high school students who have participated in these clean-ups and over the years they have become ambassadors of spreading the word to family, friends, and fellow students that cleaner streets mean a better quality of life for everyone in the community and it brings out a positive impact on businesses, especially in customer satisfaction,” said Colton.

“Yesterday together with volunteers from all over the district, I carried out another of our Speak Up and Clean Up events, where we cleaned 86 Street and Bay Parkway. In our previous events, we cleaned up Bay Parkway from 60 street to Stillwell Avenue, 18 Avenue from Bath Avenue to Bay Ridge Parkway, 20th Avenue from 86 Street to 78 Street, Kings Highway from McDonald Avenue to Stillwell Avenue, Avenue U from McDonald Avenue to West 12 Street, Bath Avenue from 20 Avenue to 14 Avenue and many more,” the lawmaker added.

The volunteers collected cans, bottles, paper, and cups. Several catch basins were cleared of papers and other garbage. 

“I am continuing my hard work to make the neighborhood cleaner and I am planning to have a number of series of clean-ups throughout the neighborhood to keep our streets clean. Anyone who is interested in participating may contact my office at 718-236-1598 for more information,” Colton said.

AG James Secures $850,000 from Disability Services Not-for-Profit That Defrauded Medicaid 

Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James

New York Attorney General Letitia James yesterday announced a settlement with Maranatha Human Services, Inc. (Maranatha), a not-for-profit organization that provides Medicaid services to people with developmental disabilities in New York. 

The agreement resolves claims brought by the state and federal government in a qui tam action initiated by a former employee against Maranatha and Henry A. Coley, the organization’s former chief executive officer. Maranatha committed Medicaid fraud, violating the New York False Claims Act by knowingly submitting false reports of its costs to the New York State Department of Health (DOH), falsely claiming reimbursement for millions of dollars Maranatha spent on salaries and contractor fees. These funds were used to enrich Coley, his family and friends, and to support side businesses he controlled — not for the provision of Medicaid services.

“As a charitable organization and Medicaid Provider, Maranatha was entrusted with public funds to serve a particularly vulnerable population,” said James. “Instead, Maranatha diverted these critical funds to benefit its chief executive officer, his family and friends. Self-dealing will not go unchecked in New York. My office is committed to holding Medicaid providers accountable, ensuring the welfare and well-being of all New Yorkers, and protecting the integrity of this critical program.”

As part of the settlement, Maranatha has agreed to cooperate with the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and take all necessary steps to transition the operations of its Medicaid-funded programs to one or more other providers to ensure continuity of services. Maranatha has agreed not to submit new claims for payment to state-funded healthcare programs on or after June 30, 2023. 

Within 60 days of the submission of the final claim to state or federal healthcare programs, Maranatha will submit its petition for dissolution under the New York Not-for-Profit Law to the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Charities Bureau.

Sanders Celebrates Queens Carnival 2022

Senator James Sanders Jr.

Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens) deemed the fourth Queens Carnival (formerly the Rockaway Caribbean Carnival), which drew thousands of people to the beach over the weekend a huge success.

Sanders Jr. along with Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson and City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks Powers hosted the event.

The event kicked off with a parade featuring 10 floats stacked with speakers blasting music and featuring DJs including Hot 97’s Massive B (Bobby Konders and Lando) and DJ Koolkat. It started at Mott Avenue and Beach 21st Street in Far Rockaway and ended on the boardwalk at Beach 17th Street.  

Once at the beach, the area was filled with masqueraders wearing mas costumes, singers, dancers, island food, sand castle building contest, fireworks display and much more. 

The main stage featured an all-star lineup of Soca and Reggae performers starring Denise Belfon, and including DJ Cheem, Beniton aka Jack Frostt, Ajala, and General Grant.

DJ Cheem gave a knockout, energy-packed performance including some of his greatest hits like “Ba Ba Ben” and even inviting attendees to join him on stage to dance with him and show off their costumes.

“The party was in Far Rockaway but it felt more like the Caribbean as we brought together the people and cultures that make Queens an iconic melting pot and the most diverse borough in the city,” Sanders said. “It was great seeing people in attendance with their family, friends, children, grandchildren. All were welcome.”

QBP Richards to host inaugural Mid-Autumn, Caribbean Heritage celebration

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. will host a pair of cultural ceremonies in early September — beginning today, Sept. 1, with his inaugural Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration and continuing on Tuesday, September 13 with a Caribbean Heritage Celebration.

“Here in Queens, where nearly 200 countries are represented and at least 350 languages and dialects are spoken, we proudly embrace and celebrate the holidays and heritages of our neighbors. This September, we’ll continue to do just that with our first-ever Mid-Autumn Festival, followed by our Caribbean Heritage Celebration,” said Richards. “Both our AAPI and Caribbean communities define who we are as a borough, and I encourage all our families regardless of background to come enjoy these can’t-miss celebrations of culture and cuisine.”

The Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated across East and Southeast Asia, marks the fall harvest season with family gatherings and shared meals. 

The festival is slated for 6 p.m., today, Sept. 1 at Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens. The Caribbean Heritage Celebration is slated for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Members of the public who wish to attend one or more of the above events are asked to RSVP by visiting www.queensbp.org/RSVP.