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"News12" featured Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "Legal expert: Case against Mount Vernon mayor not a slam dunk"

03/19/2018

"News12" featured Law Professor Bennett Gershman in "Legal expert: Case against Mount Vernon mayor not a slam dunk"

The case against the mayor of Mount Vernon may not be a slam dunk, according to one legal expert.

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas was arrested Monday on corruption charges. Thomas, 35, is in his first term as mayor and is accused of using campaign and inauguration funds as his own personal piggy bank. Authorities say he spent thousands of dollars on rent, car payments and expensive purchases.

Some of Thomas' constituents are standing behind him, saying they don't believe the allegations are true.

Bennett Gershman, a legal scholar and Pace Law School professor, says the charges against the mayor are serious but he believes the mayor could potentially mount a powerful defense because the campaign finance laws offer a lot of leeway for politicians.

"As I see it, I don't see it as a slam dunk," says Gershman. "I see there are certain places where he could argue lack of intent, mistakes and argue he had no culpable intention."

Residents say they are willing to give the mayor the benefit of the doubt until his day in court. 

Thomas is due back in court May 1. He faces six years behind bars if convicted.

Watch News12 clip.

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"The Wave" featured Pace University Students in "Rebuild Crew Comes To Belle Harbor"

03/16/2018

"The Wave" featured Pace University Students in "Rebuild Crew Comes To Belle Harbor"

Pace University students chip in on local relief effort

As many college students indulged in the sun and sand of Cancun, Los Cabos and other tourist destinations during their spring break, a group of community-minded Pace undergraduates opted to spend their week contributing in the rebuild of a Belle Harbor residence that hasn’t yet fully recovered from the onslaught of damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy.

Starting on Tuesday, March 13, the 16 students spent three days toiling at the Newman residence at Beach 126th Street, where they installed new sheetrock in the basement that had been flooded with eight-feet of water during Superstorm Sandy over five years ago. The work also included the addition of new insulation along with painting and finishing upstairs.

The basement was still attracting mold, according to St. Bernard’s Project (SBP) Disaster, Relief and Recovery Community Engagement Manager Angela Calabro, who was at the site monitoring the work along with two of her supervisors and two Pace program coordinators, Ashley Kueneke and Tyler Kalahar.

The homeowners were able to get some money from their flood insurance company to address their living space on the main floor, according to Calabro, but they weren’t able to obtain any financial assistance to address the other areas of the two-story dwelling.

The homeowners were able to get some money from their flood insurance company to address their living space on the main floor, according to Calabro, but they weren’t able to obtain any financial assistance to address the other areas of the two-story dwelling.

Pace University’s Annual Spring Break (ASB) effort has agreed to lend a hand in the renovation of homes, like the Newman property, by teaming up with SBP by allowing students to perform much-needed volunteer work for low-to-moderate homeowners on the peninsula.

“SBP coordinates all the contracts. So, once we leave here, another group comes in,” explained Kueneke, who along with Kalahar, select and help train the ASB applicants before driving the students to their work sites in school vans.

“They sign up for this because they’re interested in volunteering and they want to get more involved in the community,” continued Kueneke. “We’re from this area, so they get to learn a little bit about the Rockaways. It’s an opportunity to give back and learn a little about disaster relief. We talk about the impacts of race and class, and so it’s an educational experience.”

ASB has been helping in the relief effort on the peninsula since 2012 by providing new rotations of student workers, who spend eight-hour days tearing down old walls, ceilings and floors as well as replacing damaged infrastructure, under the supervision of SBP personnel that remain on-site to ensure that the work is performed both properly and efficiently.

Calabro informed The Wave that the Newman home is on-schedule for a March 30 completion, and unlike Build-It-Back contractors that specialize in elevating residential properties, SBP is a non-profit organization that focuses on interior work.

SBP, which is reportedly the only remaining rebuilding agency, is a nationwide outfit that most recently partnered with NFL star J.J. Watt in rebuilding homes in Houston and is actively contributing to the disaster relief taking place in Puerto Rico. The group came into existence 13 years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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"Westchester Rising" featured "Pace Joins Ellen DeGeneres' 'Acts of Good' Campaign

03/15/2018

"Westchester Rising" featured "Pace Joins Ellen DeGeneres' 'Acts of Good' Campaign

More than 100 students at Pace University gathered February 27 to pack boxes with food and inspiring notes as part of Ellen DeGeneres’ Million Acts of Good campaign, aimed at spreading good will. In partnership with General Mills, the campaign donated pallets of food to be packed by students across the country and donated to charitable organizations.

Pace donated more than 250 “Matter boxes” with food, supplies and personal notes to Food Bank for Westchester for distribution.

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"Westmore News" featured Pace University's Elisabeth Haub School of Law in "Facts of Life"

03/15/2018

"Westmore News" featured Pace University's Elisabeth Haub School of Law in "Facts of Life"

Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law has announced that the school will accept Graduate Record Exam scores in addition to those from the Law School Admissions Test for all applicants. The school is currently accepting applicants.

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"Westchester County Business Journal" features "Pace Students Volunteer To Do Good"

03/15/2018

"Westchester County Business Journal" features "Pace Students Volunteer To Do Good"

The One Million Acts of Good campaign launched by TV personality Ellen DeGeneres came to the Pace University campus in Pleasantville recently. More than 100 students volunteered to prepare boxes of food and other items for the Food Bank for Westchester to distribute. The students assembeled what are called “Matter Boxes,” filled with food, supplies and personal notes.

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"NY1" features Pace University in "Students' Spring Break At The Beach — To Fix Sandy-Damaged Home"

03/15/2018

"NY1" features Pace University in "Students' Spring Break At The Beach — To Fix Sandy-Damaged Home"

College students are hitting the beach for spring break — but it's not warm and sunny.

16 Pace University students are spending their vacation at Beach 126th St. in the Rockaways, repairing a home that Hurricane Sandy damaged.

"When you're, you know, our age and in college, you have a lot of free time on your hands — more than you probably realize — so it's a good time to make a difference," said volunteer Joseph Kelly, a college junior.

They are volunteering with the storm recovery non-profit organization, the Saint Bernard Project.  For four days this week, they are renovating and painting.

The students also take part in a series of discussions about the impact natural disasters can have on a community.

While the homeowners did not want to appear on camera, they said they felt blessed to have the support.

They lived in their Belle Harbor house for 27 years before Sandy hit, and said they cannot wait until it feels like home again.

Read the aticle and watch the news clip.

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"News12" features "Pace University journalism students to cover Puerto Rico"

03/14/2018

"News12" features "Pace University journalism students to cover Puerto Rico"

A group of Pace University journalism students plans to head to Puerto Rico in an effort to shed light on the continuing hardships residents of the island are facing following the slow recovery after Hurricane Maria.

About a dozen students are preparing to head out next Tuesday and cover what appears to be the biggest story of their fledgling careers.

But it's also going to be educational.

"Students learn how to tell a story from start to finish," says Maria Luskey, who has overseen the school's documentary program for the past 15 years.

Past trips have sent students to Costa Rica, Brazil and Cuba. The school had planned to go to Puerto Rico earlier, but the storm forced Pace to cancel those plans.

Months later, with the recovery lagging and many on the island left isolated and ignored, the school decided to try again.

"These are 3.5 million American citizens who are in a desperate and dire situation, that months after the hurricane, they still need our help," says Gabriel Rivera, a Bronx native who has relatives in Puerto Rico.

In the next two weeks, News 12's Aime Rodriguez will be following the class to Puerto Rico for updates.

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"Westchester County Business Journal" featured Haub Professor Vanessa Merton in "Westchester legislators approve Immigrant Protection Act"

03/14/2018

"Westchester County Business Journal" featured Haub Professor Vanessa Merton in "Westchester legislators approve Immigrant Protection Act"

...Local community groups that work with the county’s immigrant population cheered the passage of the Act.
“Federal law enforcement is not the job of county personnel,” said Vanessa Merton, director of the Immigration Justice Clinic at Pace University. “County agencies should not be required to enforce federal immigration regulations any more than they enforce federal tax regulations.”

Carola Otero Bracco, executive director of Neighbors Link, a Mount Kisco nonprofit that assists immigrants, said the act is an important measure for the entire county.
“We are committed to our unyielding conviction to celebrate and cultivate diversity and inclusion, and the passing of this strong legislation is a key step toward that vision,” said Bracco.

The act will now head to County Executive George Latimer for his approval.

“This legislation in no way goes against federal law, and in no way will allow criminals to be harbored. To say otherwise is simply not true,” Latimer said in a statement following the vote. “This legislation goes to the heart of protecting good honest citizens in their home.”

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"Miami Herald" quoted Law Professor Leslie Garfield Tenzer in "Hundreds of 15-year-old brides in Missouri may have married their rapists"

03/14/2018

"Miami Herald" quoted Law Professor Leslie Garfield Tenzer in "Hundreds of 15-year-old brides in Missouri may have married their rapists"

...Overall, statutory rape cases come in three varieties, said Leslie Garfield Tenzer, a law professor at Pace University in New York:

“There are the sick cases,” she said, “the teacher sleeping with the child, or the 29-year-old sleeping with the child. That’s an easy case.

“Then you have the case in which the parent alerts the authorities and pushes for it. The parent is irate.” Those, too, tend to get prosecuted, she said.

But the third and thornier type is one in which the law has clearly been broken, but neither the child, partner nor parents are complaining.

“When you have a crime,” Tenzer said, “basically you’re saying that the defendant wronged society. Convicting someone gives the family of the victim some sense of retribution, it maybe rehabilitates the defendant and it is a deterrence to society: Don’t do this.

“But if you have this girl who’s in love with this guy, we really don’t need to rehabilitate them. We don’t necessarily need retribution if the parents understand that there’s love there. And the question is, ‘Do we want to take the time of prosecutors and taxpayers’ money for a case to basically send a message to the rest of the world?’”

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"WAMC North East Public Radio" quotes Haub Professor Vanessa Merton in "Westchester Legislators Pass Immigrant Protection Act"

03/14/2018

"WAMC North East Public Radio" quotes Haub Professor Vanessa Merton in "Westchester Legislators Pass Immigrant Protection Act"

The Westchester Board of Legislators approved an Immigrant Protection Act Monday night. Democratic County Executive George Latimer intends to sign the bill. A few Republican legislators say the measure puts safety on the line. And some attorneys believe Westchester will become the first county in New York to have such legislation on the books.

Democratic Westchester County Legislator Virginia Perez says the Act prevents individuals from being targeted solely because of their immigration status. Perez chairs the Legislation Committee.

“I’m an immigrant myself. And I’m the only Hispanic on the Board of Legislators. So, as a Hispanic immigrant, it means a lot to me as a resident of the City of Yonkers,” Perez says. “But as a Hispanic legislator, as an immigrant legislator, it means the world to me that I’m able to provide this for my community. Not everyone is an illegal immigrant.”

She says the legislation is not a sanctuary bill, but defines what county law enforcement can ask about a person's citizenship or immigration status and what information the county will share with federal officials. Attorney Vanessa Merton teaches and directs the Immigration Justice Clinic at Pace University School of Law in White Plains. She helped work on the legislation and believes it is the first of its kind.

“We are not aware of any other county, Board of Legislators, or similar body that has undertaken to disentangle, clearly, to clearly disentangle county employees, county personnel, from doing the federal government’s job,” says Merton.

Perez says there is a lot of misinformation about the bill.

“Some of that misinformation that’s being spread around the community is that we have just passed a law to protect criminals,” Perez says.

Read the full article.

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