Critics of asset forfeiture have warned for years that it not only warps the priorities and incentives of law enforcement agencies, but creates a slush fund ripe for abuse by sidestepping the appropriations process. Now investigators accuse longterm Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes of using forfeiture funds to pay more than $200,000 to a P.R. consultant whose labors were largely devoted to advancing Hynes’s campaign. The consultant’s firm was paid more than $1 million over a decade. [New York Times]
Says the man who sued because he tried to climb a boulder in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park and fell off. Good news, Mr. Stock: you not only get to explore the world, you also get to explore the legal concept known as “assumption of the risk.” [Gothamist]
“A Connecticut man who says he was injured on New York City’s Citi Bike has filed a $15 million lawsuit against the bike-share operator. … His attorney says the 73-year-old now suffers from traumatic nerve palsy that left him unable to smell or taste.” [AP, NY Daily News]
Although we call it “rent control,” the key thing it controls is often not so much what you can charge for a lodging as whether you can ever reclaim it. This recluse successfully held out for $17 million to relinquish his moldy, squalid rented lodging at what is now 15 Central Park West. [New York Post]
P.S. But at least the U.N. likes the idea. While on the subject of legal insanity in NYC real estate: Andrew Rice, New York mag, “Why Run a Slum If You Can Make More Money Housing the Homeless?” I wrote about the epic New York City homeless-rights litigation in Schools for Misrule, and more links are here.
Queens, N.Y.: “A mailman who admitted making about $35,000 selling undelivered coupons wants $25 million-plus from JCPenney for blowing the whistle on his scheme. … it was unclear if Tang still works as a letter carrier.” [New York Post]
An arbitrator overseeing negotiations between New York City and unions is also a fund-raiser for incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio [Capital New York]
“…Because It Looks Too Much Like Smoking.” The invention and rapid spread in popularity of e-cigarettes might be seen as a sort of lab experiment to test the proposition: when you banned smoking, were you mostly concerned about the spillover effects on third parties or mostly being paternalistic toward tobacco users? [Jacob Sullum, Reason]
[Yasmin] Rahman tried to commit suicide in 2001 by jumping in front of a subway train. NYPD officers saved her life. She was 15. Now, 27, she’s suing the city for $7 million, claiming the city and the NYPD posted pictures, police reports and hospital records of her failed suicide attempt on a database open to the public. She claims that has prevented her from obtaining a job.
Although her lawsuit alleges that the publication of the material has prevented Rahman from “obtaining any type of job,” a reporter “found that she actually did have a job from 2010 to 2012,” among other difficulties with the story. Rahman’s lawyer, Andrew Schatkin, commented on the $7 million demand: “I put a large figure in because if I put a small figure in I would only get that small amount. It’s not that I’m making an outsized or frankly a lie about it for a better word. I’m simply enabling a figure that would get her as much compensation as possible.” [MyFoxNY.com; Eric Turkewitz on ad damnum clauses in New York]
“The female FDNY probie who was allowed to graduate from the Fire Academy without passing a required running test has quit” after a sixth unsuccessful try to run a mile and a half in 12 minutes or less. Wendy Tapia will “return back to EMS ranks,” said a fire spokesman.
“It’s really not about her, it’s about preferential treatment,” said Paul Mannix, president of Merit Matters, a firefighter group that opposes hiring quotas. “People are encouraged that she won’t be fighting fires, not because she’s a woman, but because she couldn’t meet the standards.”
For an excerpt from my discussion in The Excuse Factory of litigation challenging timed tests for firefighters, see this 2007 post. [New York Post, earlier]
“Despite failing a required FDNY running test five times, Wendy Tapia was allowed to graduate from the Fire Academy and become a firefighter. On Dec. 2, she is taking the test for an unprecedented sixth time.” [New York Post] In The Excuse Factory, I told the story of how prolonged litigation from civil rights groups claiming to speak for the interests of female applicants had severely eroded testing for strength, endurance and agility among many urban fire, police and trash services.