Daily News from New York, New York on November 18, 1988 · 555
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Daily News from New York, New York · 555

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, November 18, 1988
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Friday, November 18," 1988 ' DAILY NEWS 25 .5 -MM (fete? Trial of 9 LS begin By RUBEN ROSARIO Daily News Staff Writer Former city health inspectors Avere engaged in a massive restaurant shakedown scheme that stretched from exclusive midtown eateries to corner delis, a federal prosecutor charged yesterday. .-- "dlean restaurants were harassed and closed because they didn't pay up and dirty restaurants were allowed to stay open because they did pay up," Assistant U.S. Attorney t Sean O'Shea said in opening arguments at the trial of six former Department of Health inspectors and three food consultants. "It was'a system, ladies and gentlemen, of utter corruption." Forty-seven people the majority of them city health inspectors and supervisors were indicted last July in Brooklyn on racketeering charges. All; except those on trial have - pleaded guilty to one count of extortion, and several have agreed to testify for the government. O'Shea portrayed the inspectors as corrupt public servants who brazenly demanded payoffs by threatening to close down businesses or iissue ' nonexistent violations.' He named the Four Seasons and Broadway Joe's as among scores of restaurants victimized in the decadelong shakedown. He said certain inspectors would walk into restaurants and5 hold up fingers to indicate the size of the payoff,.for example, two fingers meant a payment of $200. Some inspectors would write the amount on a piece of paper and others would rub together their fingers and thumb '.'in the universal sign thai 'meant I want money," O'Shea said. Restaurant consultants, meanwhile, got a piece of the payoff money by advising reluctant clients that they had no choice but to pay up. A defense attorney for consultant Harvey Cohen agreed that the inspectors had engaged in a "cesspool of corruption" but said his client was among those victimized. William Fredreck, representing retired inspector Carl Bower, blamed corrupt restaurateurs who bribed corrupt inspectors "all of whom - are now government witnesses." 2 die In blaze LONDON (AP) - A suspicious fire broke out at a psychiatric hospital at 3 a.m. yesterday as the patients slept, killing two of them as 150 oth-.?.r.ferswertf'evacuated.''fir-TiT'lr m A FT -W i .', 5 , :j s : i e -4 ' i Ul 1 ? IHiliip uuac; pi it (inwn wpQtprrlav tn hp Rnrkpfpllpr npntpr'R Fifith Christmas jf ins ww i w uiu i vmy a way ojji ut u ovvung vw v v ... . w . . . into position on specially designed truck in Raritan Township, N.J. It tree. Its lights go on Monday evening, Dec. 5. mtcmwou. daily news 1 DQQOo)f Would cut out 343M in projects M ft ftDgtti By JOEL SIEGEL Daily News Staff Writer The Transit Authority yesterday proposed bumping $343 million in projects including the purchase of 300 new buses from its multi-billion-dollar capital spending program. The TA also said that a city-wide subway fare-card system will cost much more than the $52 million originally budgeted. The TA made the announcements in proposing revisions to its five-year, $6.5 billion capital spending plan. The plan began two years ago, but the TA revises it annually to reflect cost overruns and other changes. While it proposed to drop a total of $343 million in projects, in part because of cost overruns, the authority also proposed to add $94 million in work. Some of the added work already is under way. TA President David Gunn said he expected the dropped projects to be included in a 1992-97 spending plan, which has not yet been financed. The TA's proposal to delay buying 300 buses in 1991, at a cost of $60 million, would not: affect riders, Gunn said. A, reason for the delay, he said, ir. Js.Tthat'a- testing, program for,.' new buses won't be in place by 1991. Delay on Times Square The TA also wants to delay the $23 million renovation of the Times Square shuttle platforms, which was scheduled for 1991. Gunn said the work can be deferred because the renovations are to progress in tandem with Times Square's overhaul, which is behind schedule. The shuttle renovations include eliminating one track and moving the platforms closer to other lines beneath Times Square. Gunn said the overhaul of 750 R46 subway cars, used on the E, F, G and JFK Express lines, will begin shortly, months ahead of schedule. Capital spending plans for 1989, totaling $1.3 billion, include the overhaul of 440 other subway cars; $192 million in track work; $143 million in signal work; and $151 million in bus depot work. When the five-year capital program began, the TA set aside $52 million for a hightech subway fare-card "system. But the TA has determined that more money is needed to provide all the phone and power lines necessary to support such a system. How much more has not been determined, Gunn said. "We know AFC is going to cost a lot more than what is in the budget," Gunn said. The TA believes a fare card system will mean less inconvenience for riders and encourage more people to use the system. Parole hearing NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -James Earl Ray, serving 99 years in prison for the 1968 assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., has been granted a parole hearing in January. lliEDijlJlOtflSUml-Ll An explosion in a house in Ozone Park, Queens, last night injured four people, two of them seriously. A firefighter was also hurt while searching the house. The blast ripped through the two-story frame house on 103d Ave. at 5:53 p.m., de-. stroying the first floor and the porch. "We heard a big explosion like a really loud bang," said Cathy McCrory, 24, a neighbor. "We went outside and the front of the house was blown out" . '5! . A fire department spokesman said' mar. ' -V f I It; Cr t 4 f ' h ( f.lfV.'f ' ' shals were still trying to determine the cause of the explosion. Barbara Leeb and Helen Catalanotta were in serious but stable condition at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center burn unit Christine Leeb, 18, and her grandmother Mary Strong, 73, suffered smoke inhalation, and were admitted to Jamaica Hospital. Firefighter Jack Gremse Vof LadderCa.4?, ,was treated, fpc if &cuts . v v and released. r t Sharon Broissard t . a it '', m . a. ! '

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