Crime and Punishment
Today, the Manhattan D.A.’s office indicted Donald Russo and Bar Electrical Consulting, Inc. for their alleged role in a construction bribery scheme. The indictments follow a three-year investigation into bribery and fraud in the electrical contracting industry that has resulted in charges being brought against more than 15 companies and 17 individuals, some of whom have already pleaded guilty.
Mr. Russo allegedly engaged in a bribery scheme that steered millions of dollars of business from Unity Electrical Company, of which he was the purchasing agent, to electrical supply companies. He created Bar Electrical as a shell company to accept the bribes, according to the D.A.’s office. Mr. Russo and Bar Electrical have been charged with grand larceny in the second degree, falsifying business records in the first degree, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree and commercial bribe receiving in the second degree.
HUSTLE AND FLOW (AND PARENTING)
It’s hard to rent an apartment in New York without feeling like you’re getting ripped off. The exorbitant monthly rents, the brokers’ fees, the multiple deposits—all in exchange for dwellings that are smaller and darker and more ill-suited to human habitation than those in almost every other city. Indeed it can be difficult to explain to out-of-towners that while, in a sense, everyone is being ripped off by the high cost of housing in this rapacious city, you are not literally being ripped off.
Of course, in a city filled with so many desperate apartment seekers, more than a few people do fall victim to rental scams. Like the 40 unfortunate would-be renters who each coughed up thousands of dollars to secure a phony rental in Chelsea.
If you thought the tale of Anna Gristina—the soccer mom accused of being the ruthless leader of a prostitution ring catering to wealthy, powerful clients that’s supposedly corrupted New York City’s most ostensibly incorruptible people (like the D.A.’s office)—was just a New York story, you were wrong. Matt Lauer interviewed her from Rikers Island for this morning’s Today show. Notable moments:
Yesterday afternoon, news broke that the Manhattan D.A. office was going to request that all criminal charges of sexual assault against former I.M.F. chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn be dropped. This followed a meeting with Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, and her lawyer, Kenneth Thompson. Mr. Thompson had requested yesterday that a special prosecutor be appointed to the case; his request was denied this morning. Moments ago, Dominique Strauss-Kahn sat down in a courtroom in Lower Manhattan, and received a verdict on his long-contested innocence: the case against him has collapsed. He is a free man, and the conclusion of his long, strange, epic entanglement with the American judicial system has officially began.