First Woman To Serve As State Police Second-In-Command

Patricia Groeber has been appointed the second-in-command at the State Police, making her the highest-ranked woman in the history of the 98-year-old law enforcement agency.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday Groeber had been named the first deputy superintendent of the State Police, serving under Superintendent Joe D’Amico.

“First Deputy Superintendent Groeber is a proven leader in the finest traditions of the New York State Police,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I know she moves into her new position with the experience and dedication that’s necessary to serve all New Yorkers. I congratulate Patricia Groeber on her appointment to this incredibly important post.”

A 1984 graduate of SUNY Albany, she later obtained a master’s degree in criminal justice from the Rockefeller College. Groeber joined the State Police in 1986 and was appointed a field commander in 2013. SHe was the first woman to have served as third-in-command at that post and has overseen operations of the Uniform Force, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the New York State Intelligence Center and the Office of Counter Terrorism.

“Patricia Groeber has been committed to protecting the people of New York for nearly 30 years,” D’Amico said. “Her career has taken her to all corners of the state, rising through the ranks to be the first female to hold a number of leadership positions within the New York State Police.”

Lopez Trains His Fire On Faso

Though the Republican field in the 19th congressional district is a crowded, Assemblyman Peter Lopez is training his fire on one rival candidate in particular: His former boss, John Faso.

Lopez questioned in a radio interview on Monday with Fred Dicker whether Faso could properly understand the needs of constituents in the Hudson Valley district if elected to the House of Representatives.

“Where was he during the floods?” Lopez said in the Talk-1300 radio interview. “Where was he during the SAFE Act?”

Lopez is one of four Republicans who have filed to run for the Republican nomination to replace Rep. Chris Gibson, a three-term incumbent who will retire at the end of his current term as he considers a run for governor.

Lopez was an aide to Faso, who is a former minority leader of the state Assembly and later ran for governor in 2006. For the last decade, Faso has worked as a lobbyist for Manatt, Phelps and Phillips — a resume that another Republican candidate, Andrew Heaney, has also sought to criticize in the early weeks of the campaign.

Lopez’s criticism of his former boss likely reflects Faso being the best known candidate on the Republican side for the moment and that his greatest liability could be his work for the firm.

“He certainly has name recognition,” Lopez said in the interview. “People have said, ‘Really Pete, you’re like the incumbent because you’re on the ground.'”

In knocking Faso’s time as a lobbyist, Lopez sought to play up his own work in the district, especially on behalf of constituents — a potentially crucial connect he’ll have to cultivate given the fundraising advantages both Heaney and Faso are expected to bring to the race.

“John has not been there for more than a decade,” Lopez said. “People have said, ‘Really Pete, you’re like the incumbent because you’re on the ground.'”

Senate GOP Critics Latch On To Skelos Trial

senate1From the Morning Memo:

Supporters of Senate Democrats are once again knocking Republican lawmakers over the corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

In particular, Democrats are taking Sen. Jack Martins to task after he was recorded in a wiretap about supporting water quality projects.

Skelos is accused of his using his official power to help his son Adam’s business interests, which included various environmental related projects.

Martins hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

Still, Democrats are pouncing on the connection for Martins, who represents what has been a battleground Senate district on Long Island.

“It is disturbing that Senator Martins is more concerned with getting credit for taking action rather than actually taking action,” said Lisa Tyson, the director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “Long Island needs some new Senators that don’t have this cloud of corruption hanging over them and are willing to stand up for the people of their districts.”

Martins’s 2014 Democratic opponent, meanwhile, also called out lawmakers in an op/ed for failing to address ethics and disclosure in Albany in the wake of Skelos’s arrest (Democratic Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s arrest earlier in the year prompted new disclosure requirements for lawmakers with legal clients).

“Transparency will help voters believe that elected officials are true public servants,” he wrote. “Many of our elected officials seem to have forgotten what transparency is, and, more specifically, what it looks like.”

It remains to be seen, however, whether voters this time will vote on ethics and corruption issues. Skelos himself is due to run for re-election next year and could face Democratic Assemblyman Todd Kamsinsky.

Astorino Joins de Blasio-Cuomo Feud

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s feud with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is gaining a supporting player: Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Last week, Astorino joked the governor was in need of his county’s mental health services.

Astorino has formed alliances with Cuomo’s critics before.

Last year, he appeared in a news conference with Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout. But that was during an election season, when Cuomo was feeling pressure from the left flank of his party.

The Astorino-de Blasio team up, while likely temporary, comes a month before state lawmakers are due to return to Albany for the legislative session.

In other words, governing has to get done soon, for all ides.

On Wednesday last week, he continued his attacks against Cuomo in a radio interview with Talk 1300.

“Yeah, I think this guy does need some serious help,” Astorino said. “I mean, he’s obsessed with me, he’s obsessed with de Blasio, there’s no reason to do that. He’s the governor, act like the governor.”

The de Blasio feud spilled out into the public earlier this year when the mayor sharply criticized the governor for siding with Senate Republicans during the legislative session. Astorino says that since then, Cuomo’s agenda has been defined by going after de Blasio.

“I honestly believe the governor is like a scorpion. Unless he is angry, unless he’s biting somebody, he can’t function,” said Astorino.

Astorino is considering another bid for governor in 2018 and Cuomo has said he plans to seek a third term.

Cuomo has insisted his feelings weren’t necessarily hurt.

“You know, I gave up feelings a long time ago. I don’t know if you can have feelings in this business,” he said.

Nevertheless, Cuomo criticized de Blasio for standing with Astorino, who is well-known for socially conservative views, but Cuomo himself has worked closely with conservative Republicans, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

“I can tell you the Republican I ran against – this is a Republican who is against a woman’s right to choose, this is a man who wants to lock refugees out of this country. It is not a person I would stand next to,” Cuomo said.

Here and Now

Happy Cyber Monday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

The jury resumes its deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, while proceedings resume in the federal corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam.

At 9 a.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will convene a special meeting of the Manhattan Borough Board to consider resolutions on de Blasio’s Zoning for Quality & Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposals, 1 Centre St., Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., New York Army National Guard Soldiers from Latham’s 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters will join Airmen of the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia to volunteer to help load about 125 Christmas trees being donated and sent to military bases around the country to support troops and military families this holiday season, Ellms Tree Family Farm, 468 Charlton Rd., Ballston Spa.

At 10 a.m., NYC Council members Ritchie Torres and Vanessa Gibson join NYCHA residents, the mayor’s office of Criminal Justice, and social and legal service providers for an oversight hearing on violent crime in public housing, Johnson Houses Community Center, 1833 Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Assemblyman John McDonald and others will honor Avery Moses, a first grader at the Giffen Memorial Elementary School, for the the life-saving actions he took during a Nov. 19 fire at his Broad Street home, South End Station of the Albany Fire Department, on the Corner of Morton Avenue and South Pearl Street, Albany.

At 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a public hearing on and signs into law a number of bills, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 11:15 a.m., US Sen. Charles Schumer makes final push to urge the House of Representatives to restore mass transit funding cuts, Centro Transit Hub, 559 S. Salina St., Syracuse.

At 12:30 p.m., de Blasio will speak at a NYC DOT recognition ceremony for FDR re-paving crews, who are completing the first full resurfacing of the FDR since it was first built, East 75th Street and FDR Drive, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Schumer completes his 17th consecutive tour of all 62 counties in New York, Central Fire Station, Troy.

At 4:30 p.m., Assemblyman Keith Wright; NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer; Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner; developer Don Peebles; NYC Councilmember Jumaane Williams; National Anti-Gun Violence Activists Tamika D. Mallory & Erica Ford and others introduce a resolution designating June 2016 as Gun Violence Awareness Month, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 5:30 p.m., Brewer attends Lincoln Square BID Winter’s Eve Kickoff and Tree Lighting at Lincoln Square, Broadway and West 63rd Street, Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Brewer speaks at anniversary party for the New York Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 7 p.m., residents join Clean Up North Brooklyn, Transform Don’t Trash NYC, El Puente, and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance to discuss commercial waste management practices in North Brooklyn, La Luz, 135 Thames St., Brooklyn.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t on trial, but his political style and personality have been on display throughout the concurrent public-corruption trials in the past few weeks of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Adam Skelos, the former Senate majority leader’s son, who is also on trial, believed he knew how things got done in Albany: Don’t hire a New York City lobbyist to influence the Senate Republican majority, which was led by his father until earlier this year. It’s friendships, familiarity and an upstate ZIP code that move the levers of power.

Cuomo will highlight New York’s progress in fighting AIDS – in part due to its embracing of the use of Truvada for H.I.V.-negative people at risk of infection – at a speech at the Apollo Theater in Harlem tomorrow as part of World AIDS Day.

Cuomo’s plan to rejuvenate the Catskills and other parts of upstate New York with casino gambling is off to a slow start. Nearly a year after officials named the locations for the first commercial casinos in New York, state regulators have yet to issue gaming licenses to any of the operators.

Sen. Kemp Hannon, a Long Island Republican and head of the powerful Senate Health Committee, has up to $130,000 in investments in pharmaceutical and other health-related companies, state records show.

State lawmakers are set to begin a probe of New York’s prison system following last summer’s escape of two convicted murderers from a maximum security facility. The Assembly’s Correction Committee on Wednesday will hold the first of what’s expected to be a least two public hearings to examine the operation of the state’s prison system as well as recent allegations of inmate abuse.

Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Cuomo’s choice to challenge NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in a 2017 primary, is having doubts about entering the race, as Democratic unhappiness over the governor’s “belittling” of the mayor grows, senior Democrats tell Fred Dicker.

The NYC Council is proposing to eliminate property taxes for the city’s 1,271 limited-income co-ops in exchange for tighter rules, an effort designed to preserve an unusual affordable-housing resource in the city.

The NYPD has added 525 specialized officers to its counterterrorism force, making for a total of 1,500 cops “trained, prepared, briefed” to prevent and respond to violence such as the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris.

Ten lobbying firms and nine companies with in-house lobbyists have registered with Nassau County during the first six months of its new disclosure requirements – with most focusing their efforts on County Executive Edward Mangano’s office.

The NY Post says the teachers union “broke” the governor, thanks to reports that he plans to abandon the effort to use student scores on state tests to help judge teacher performance.

The Port Authority is having a hard time filling its chief executive officer post in part due to concerns of applicants over their ability to be independent.

It is taking longer for Erie County’s toxicology lab to provide test results because of a surge in drug cases and fatal overdoses, as well as newer designer drugs with hard-to-detect formulations. That lag time puts more criminal cases at risk, say law enforcement officials.

Several black pastors invited to meet with Donald Trump have denied reports that they had plans to endorse the presidential candidate at the event, and the campaign has canceled a press conference with Trump and those religious leaders.

More >

The Holiday Weekend That Was

In light of the recent attacks on a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday that police will increase patrols around the more than 60 Planned Parenthood facilities in New York, and troopers will also visit every facility on Monday to assist with emergency planning measures.

Ex-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has spent $72 million in the past four years to boost his chosen candidates and pet causes across the country, winning 67 percent of the races in which he has invested.

NYC could be days away from settling a federal lawsuit accusing the NYPD of “religious profiling” and unwarranted spying on Muslims even as the Paris massacres have heightened terrorism fears.

Comparing the plight of Syrian refugees to the pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621, President Obama made a holiday plea on Thanksgiving for Americans to accept the migrants with open arms. “So much of our greatness comes from our generosity,” he said in his weekly radio address.

The cosmetic industry says the broad wording of a microbead ban under consideration by the NYC Council would include polymers that commonly appear in cosmetic products, including nail polish, lipstick, foundation, mascara and sunscreens. In short, all makeup.

A billboard in Times Square that accuses NYC construction unions of racial bias has co-opted the name of a growing activist campaign, declaring that black workers matter. The message has an unusual sponsor – Richard Berman, a white millionaire and a former labor management lawyer, who critics say plays fast and loose with economic data.

Fred LeBrun on Cuomo’s reported about face on linking test results with teacher evaluations: “If what we’re being told is true, this reversal by the governor would be a long overdue triumph of common sense over ideological idiocy. If. We’ll believe it when we see the law changed.”

The NY Post thinks Cuomo’s new energy mandate on renewables is both “fanciful” and expensive.

Global Contact Services, the North Carolina-based company that runs Access-A-Ride, the MTA’s transit service for people with disabilities, is the subject of an inquiry by the authority in response to the workers’ persistent complaints. They also voted last year to join TWU Local 100, and this month, they threatened to strike.

The collapse of the nation’s largest nonprofit cooperative health care firm, New York-based Health Republic, has left hospitals statewide with more than $165 million unpaid and several physicians with outstanding claims.

Quentin Tarantino — under fire for recent comments about police violence — has claimed for decades that, as a young man, he served time in a Los Angeles County jail. But there’s no record that stint behind bars ever actually took place.

After being threatened on Facebook by an armed Arizona man, a Muslim community in the Catskill Mountains – and local law enforcement officials – are taking precautions.

Chris Christie’s long-shot presidential campaign got a lift on Saturday night with the endorsement of The New Hampshire Union Leader, an influential paper in the state where the New Jersey governor has camped out in the hopes of catching fire.

Christie’s stance against the state accepting refugees from Syria has set off a wave of controversy and confusion as a family from the war-torn country is scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

With anti-immigrant sentiment soaring among Republican presidential candidates, and immigration reform stalled in Congress and the courts, New York advocacy groups, with the support of the Obama administration, are redoubling their efforts in one area they can control: citizenship.

Bishop Hezekiah Walker, a high-profile black Brooklyn minister who signed up to join dozens of colleagues in a meeting with Donald Trump, said on Friday that he’s considering skipping the event over recent comments by the 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

Trump said he couldn’t have been making fun of a reporter’s disability because he doesn’t know the man. Not so, says the reporter, Serge Kovaleski of The New York Times, who says he has met Trump repeatedly, interviewing him in his office and talking to him at news conferences, when he worked for the New York Daily News in the late 1980s.

The New York Press Club demanded that Trump apologize to Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a condition that limits joint function.

The UFT and education activists cheered recent revelations that Cuomo may seek to reduce the role of state tests in teacher evaluations. State education officials and others who are familiar with the matter said the governor may make the announcement around the time of his upcoming State of the State address.

Activist Bertha Lewis is blasting NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on minority contracting, slamming the city’s hiring of a controversial firm to study the issue.

Kriner Cash now has in place the elements to move forward on the reforms he has promised since he started three months ago as Buffalo school superintendent. Central to those actions will be finalizing plans for five district schools at risk of an outside takeover if they fail to show serious improvement by the end of the school year.

The price of pursuing athletic glory continues to climb at the University at Buffalo. And footing much of the bill are students who don’t suit up for games, or even attend them.

Members of the state attorney general’s office have inquired about municipal energy projects in Rensselaer County in the wake of an investigation of a Warren County cogeneration plant project that could have resulted in criminal charges had prosecutors decided to go that route.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer’s annual budget grew at twice the rate of the rest of the government over the last two years, rising from $71 million in fiscal 2013, when his predecessor, John Liu, was in charge, to $86 million in fiscal 2015, a 21 percent jump.

Eight years after it was started by a group of professional skiers and snowboarders concerned about sparse snowfall, Protect Our Winters is steadily gaining support among members of the snow sports industry.

Individual and local advocacy can help fight global climate change, environmental activists said Saturday at an afternoon forum in Albany’s Westminster Presbyterian Church – one of many events across the world in advance of the Paris climate talks that start tomorrow and run to Dec. 11.

Sales at retail stores on Black Friday fell to $10.4 billion this year, down from $11.6 billion in 2014, according to preliminary figures from research firm ShopperTrak.

Here and Now

Happy day after Thanksgiving! Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the New York City area and Albany with no public schedule.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is traveling to Connecticut, where his son Dante is a student at Yale University. He has no public events scheduled and will return to the city on Sunday.

At 9 a.m., Walmart workers, clergy, and supporters fast outside the estate of Alice Walton, whose family owns half of Walmart, as part of a national day of action to “demonstrate the hunger crisis for Walmart workers and their families that are struggling to put food on the table this holiday season,” and protest for a $15-an-hour minim wage, 515 Park Ave., Manhattan.


Black Friday – and all the craziness that goes with it – is well underway. (Some people got an early start on “Gray Thursday”).

The 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, where there was a record police presence by the NYPD, went smoothly.

…but out on Long Island, unexpectedly windy conditions forced the pilot of a blimp to make an emergency landing — on an elementary school’s playing field.

An increase in fatalities and injuries amid a building boom in New York City has mostly affected undocumented immigrant laborers and far exceeds the rate of new construction. The view increasingly held by safety inspectors, government officials and prosecutors, is that safety measures at these job sites are woefully inadequate.

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s colleagues are pondering what his role in the chamber will be if he’s acquitted of federal corruption charges. He could return to Albany for the 2016 legislative session, which begins in January. But few, if any, of his fellow Democrats believe that he could retake the position he ceded to Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat who was elected speaker in February.

The NY Post: “Gov. Cuomo’s pre-holiday slap at Mayor de Blasio’s handling of homelessness was far more than the latest blow in their supposed feud — because Andrew Cuomo has some serious history on this issue.”

De Blasio is struggling to govern as his feud with Cuomo drags on, insiders say.

While fighting – an ultimately winning – its battle with de Blasio, the ride-sharing company Uber cultivated a relationship with Cuomo.

Daily fantasy sports web sites DraftKings and FanDuel are permitted to operate through this holiday weekend, thanks to a judge’s action Wednesday in the case brought against the sites by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

After tracing the cross-country movements of a menacing anti-Muslim rabble-rouser from Arizona, the FBI took the unusual step of issuing an alert to New York law enforcement agencies to look out for him.

While Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and County Executive Mark Poloncarz are often at odds, they both look at the county’s improved financial health – for which they both take credit – and question the long-term need for a local control board that costs taxpayers about $480,000 a year.

The state’s Department of Financial Services is promoting one of its division leaders as its acting superintendent departs next week. According to a memo sent to the agency’s staff on Wednesday, Shirin Emami will take the reins as acting superintendent on Monday.

The NYC Council is set to vote to give city-funded security to some private schools, after striking a deal with de Blasio on the controversial legislation. The bill will provide at least one security guard, at city expense, to religious and private schools with 300 or more students if the school opts in.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance, which represents restaurants, bar owners, food suppliers and some hotels, registered a political action committee with the state Board of Elections Nov. 23.

The Business Council has expressed its support for the Crestwood Midstream liquefied petroleum gas storage project in a letter to Cuomo. The Texas-based company wants to store some 88 million gallons of liquid propane and butane in underground salt caverns on the west shore of Seneca Lake.

Normally, regulations require the police officers of Buffalo to be clean shaven unless they’re working undercover. But that rule has been suspended for a fundraiser known as “No-Shave November.”

Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign has scheduled more than a dozen December events featuring her husband, the former president, as her team prepares for an end-of-year finance deadline ahead of the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Republican 2016 candidate Donald Trump denied that he mocked a New York Times reporter with a disability in a South Carolina speech, despite appearing to imitate mannerisms of the “poor guy” and make fun of him.

New York state plans to mount a public awareness campaign about the risks and consequences of female genital mutilation, a practice that health officials say puts thousands of girls and young women in New York at risk.

Two million dollars in grants are available to organizations for projects to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in New York State’s waterways.

Syracuse defeated the UCONN Huskies 79-76 to reach the Atlantis championship game, where it will meet Texas A&M Friday at 3 p.m. And the Orange can credit the play of its two savvy, fearless freshmen for helping it advance.

A man jumped the White House fence yesterday afternoon while the first family was inside celebrating Thanksgiving.

Actor Will Smith thinks he might have a future in politics.

RIP Niagara Falls Councilman Robert Anderson, who passed away Wednesday following a battle with cancer.

Extras, Holiday Schedule Info

A programming note regarding the Thanksgiving holiday weekend:

For those of you in our viewing area, there will be no Capital Tonight show tomorrow or Friday. We will return at our regularly scheduled time (8 p.m.) on Monday. There will be no blogging and no morning memo tomorrow as we give the CapTon/SoP team some well deserved time off to celebrate with their families. An abbreviated memo will be sent out Friday morning, accompanied by some light blogging, as the news cycle dictates. There will be a weekend headline wrap on the blog sometime Sunday afternoon.

We are thankful to all of you who make what we do possible, and we hope you enjoy your holiday. Here are some headlines from today…

This year’s pardoned presidential turkeys: Honest and Abe.

Still no verdict in the federal corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The jury gets the holiday weekend off – no sequestering – and will reconvene Monday.

Judge Valerie Caproni has been propelling the parties forward at a brisk pace in Silver’s trial, insisting on using just about every minute of every day to keep proceedings moving.

Silver and his attorneys were smiling as they left the courthouse today.

For the first time since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, New York State is reporting zero infections passed from mother to child for an entire year.

A ruling is expected in the next few weeks on whether fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel will remain in business in New York following a hearing today in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

With the Paris terrorist attacks in mind, the NYPD is increasing the number of officers on duty for the event tomorrow — while assuring New Yorkers there is no specific threat.

Cuomo is urging New Yorkers to protect themselves from identity theft and beware of scams during the holidays.

There’s a dispute over why the MTA removed a set of ads promoting a new Amazon series that feature Nazi and Imperial Japanese insignia from several New York City subway cars.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he heard reports about people cheering the 9/11 terror attacks, but didn’t – unlike 2016 Republican candidate Donald Trump (or so he claims) – see it for himself.

Citing a labor dispute between some Albany trade unions such as the painters and the operators of the city’s Hilton hotel, PEF has decided to move its upcoming Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 executive board meeting.

The Syracuse basketball team will get one scholarship back per year over the next four seasons after winning its appeal of the NCAA Committee on Infractions decision, the school announced.

No, it’s not illegal to give your kids instant lottery tickets as gifts this holiday season. But it’s probably not the best idea, either, the state Lottery said.

A Schuyler County legislator’s “deer season” Facebook comment has sparked concern and anger among foes of the plan by Crestwood Midstream to store liquefied petroleum gas at a 576-acre site on the southwest shore of Seneca Lake.

The United University Professions, the union that represents SUNY faculty, has opened the application period for $3,000 scholarships for up to four SUNY undergraduates, and one graduate or professional student.

Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, along with other law enforcement officials, spoke out against a new law meant to increase prison time hit-and-run drivers — claiming the legislation has too many exceptions.

No Decision Yet In Daily Fantasy Sports Challenge

A state Supreme Court judge on Wednesday is yet to rule on whether to impose an injunction on the operations of daily fantasy sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel.

Judge Manuel Mendez heard arguments from both Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office as well as lawyers for fantasy sports companies as the state seeks to block their activities in New York, arguing they are providing a form of illegal gambling.

“Today, we presented compelling evidence that Daily Fantasy Sports competitions are as legal now as they have been for the past seven years that New Yorkers have been playing them,” DraftKings said in a statement. “We look forward to Justice Mendez’s ruling.”

DraftKings continues to operate despite a cease-and-desist letter from Schneiderman’s office issued earlier this month. Its rival, FanDuel, has restricted use for New Yorkers amid the legal challenge.

Fantasy sports websites insist players predominantly use skill to win cash prizes in selecting players. Schneiderman’s office has argued, as have officials in other states, fantasy sports relies on the luck of the actual performances.

“We were glad to have an opportunity to make our case to the court that DraftKings and FanDuel are operating illegal gambling operations in clear violation of the law, and we await the judge’s decision,” said Schneiderman spokesman Damien LaVera.

State lawmakers have introduced legislation in recent weeks that would classify fantasy sports as games of skill, which would be allowed under state law.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has largely sidestepped the issue, saying he wants to see the legal process play itself out.

Rapfogel Approved For Work Release

Willie Rapfogel, the former head of a prominent Jewish charity and a friend of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, has been approved for work release, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on Wednesday confirmed.

Rapfogel, the former executive director of Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, was convicted of siphoning millions of dollars from the charity over the years. His case was closely watched in state and city political circles, given his ties to key officials, including Silver, now on trial in an unrelated corruption case.

Rapfogel on Tuesday left the Sullivan County prison facility he was assigned to and transferred to Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem. He must stay at that facility for 10 days before he starts hi work release, said DOCCS spokesman Patrick Bailey.

Once he starts his job, Rapfogel is allowed to leave the facility for work and come back to sleep at the prison. He is allowed one weekend visit and may in the future apply for a furlough, which would allow him to spend part of the week at home before returning to prison.

Rapfogel is due to serve at least 3 years and four months in prison and is eligible for parole in November 2017.