“CI-7.” That’s the name by which famed civil rights activist and MSNBC host Reverend Al Sharpton used to go by during his days as a top secret FBI informant, according to a new report from The Smoking Gun.
The detailed report highlights the reverend’s alleged time spent as an FBI informant, interacting with New York City’s most famous organized crime families and tipping off the feds in the process.
According to The Smoking Gun’s William Bastone, “CI-7” spent four years during the 1980s as a paid informant, secretly recording conversations and helping the FBI to bring down the top mob organizations in the city.
The Smoking Gun says their report, “is based on hundreds of pages of confidential FBI affidavits, documents released by the bureau in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, court records and extensive interviews with six members of the Genovese squad, as well as other law enforcement officials to whom the activist provided assistance. Records obtained by TSG show that information gathered by Sharpton was used by federal investigators to help secure court authorization to bug two Genovese family social clubs, including Gigante’s Greenwich Village headquarters, three autos used by crime family leaders and more than a dozen phone lines.”
In an interview with the Daily Beast following the shocking allegations from The Smoking Gun, Sharpton vehemently denied the claims, saying that if he “brought down the mob, I want my ticker tape parade.”
“I think they take a lot of leaps here,” said Sharpton of the allegations. The Smoking Gun article takes a lot of time to really comprehend, but one of the most shocking parts about it are the claims that Sharpton was “flipped” by the FBI and brought on as informant, instead of being prosecuted, after he was caught on camera talking about helping import cocaine at $35,000 a kilo. Sharpton denies those allegations completely.
“The government was trying to entrap a civil rights kid on some crimes that were never committed, and failed to trap him,” said Sharpton of the cocaine accusations. “That’s the unsaid part of it: Why did they go after Sharpton in the first place? What was the crime? The one interesting thing that we’re looking at, three decades later, is that no one can identify, with all of the documents Bastone’s got, what it is they came after me for? There is no crime here.”
Still, William Bastone, who authored the article and founded the Smoking Gun website, says that even if Sharpton doesn’t believe or won’t admit he was an informant, FBI documents prove otherwise.
“If he didn’t think he was an informant, the ‘Genovese squad’ of the FBI and NYPD officials sure knew him to be an informant,” said Bastone. “He was paid to be an informant, he carried a briefcase with a recording device in it, and he made surreptitious tape recordings of a Gambino crime family member 10 separate times as an informant. He did it at the direction of the FBI, he was prepped by the FBI, was handed the briefcase by the FBI and was debriefed after the meetings. That’s an informant.”
Despite lengthy FBI documents and convincing proof provided by Bastone, Sharpton is still sticking by his claims that the entire story is a stretch.
“I was never told I was an informant or I had a number or none of that,” said Sharpton. “Whether or not they used some of the other information they got during that period for other purposes, I don’t know.”
A brawl between the New York Police Department and Fire Department broke out Sunday during an annual charity hockey game, which delayed the game for 25 minutes.
The fight began during the second period with a score of 3-3. It started as a one-on-one battle but quickly escalated into multiple individual struggles. Within five minutes from the first fight’s start, the benches had been entirely cleared.
“It was reminiscent of the old-time Rangers-Flyers games in the mid-70s,” an NYPD cop who was at the game at the Nassau Coliseum said. “I was waiting for [legendary Philadelphia Flyers enforcer] Dave Schultz to come out on the ice.”
The game was delayed for 25 minutes as equipment was picked up off the ground and referees made lists of penalties.
Despite numerous black eyes and bruises, no one was seriously injured.
When the game continued, the NYPD eventually won 8-5 against the FDNY, which was their first victory in six years.
Nine of New York City’s private schools have measles vaccination rates lower than any country in the world, according to statistics from the World Health Organization.
Data for the 2012-2013 school year obtained by Daily Intelligencer from the New York State Department of Health shows 245 NYC private schools fell short of the vaccination rate required to keep measles from spreading, which is 95 percent of students immunized.
Of these schools, 125 had rates below 90 percent, and 37 had rates below 70 percent, according to New York Magazine.
Nine private schools were so underimmunized, falling between 41.5 and 18.4 percent, they collectively have the worst measles vaccination rate compared to any country in the world.
NYC public schools, on the other hand, have an average vaccination rate of 98 percent, according to the Department of Education.
Measles can be spread to those who have been vaccinated. Keeping the vaccination rate at 95 percent ensures “herd immunity.”
New York immunization laws have long been touted as being stricter than those in California, where exemptions are made for personal beliefs.
A measles outbreak in Orange County, Calif., now has 21 confirmed cases.
In 2011, Silicon Valley private schools reported that only 23 percent of kindergartners were fully vaccinated.
Twenty cases of measles have been reported in NYC and New York-Presbyterian Hospital is reaching out to 600 patients who they say may have been inadvertently exposed to measles.
A New York City mother who chose to forgo cancer treatment so she could deliver her baby died just weeks after giving birth.
Elizabeth “Liz” Joice, 36, was told she would never get pregnant, so when she did she considered it a miracle.
“Having a kid was one of the most important things in the world to her,” her husband Max told The Post. “She said, ‘If we terminate the pregnancy and it turns out I can’t have a baby [later], I’ll be devastated. She knew this might be her only chance.”
Originally diagnosed with a tumor in her back in 2010, Liz underwent four rounds of chemotherapy, surgery, and more chemo.
She was cancer-free for three years. A month after she learned she was pregnant, doctors told her the tumor was back.
It was surgically removed, but because she was pregnant she was unable to have an MRI scan to check the rest of her body.
A beautiful baby girl, Lily, was delivered by C-section in February, but Liz’s health rapidly declined. The tumor spread to her heart, right lung, and abdomen.
“Liz came home five days after Lily was born,” Max said. “That one night at home was all we had.”
“We said our goodbyes,” he said. “It was like something out of a movie. We sat there and cried. We tried to tell stories, talk about all the great things.”
She died on March 9, with her husband at her side.
“Liz’s magic rubbed off on Lily,” Max said. “She’s beautiful and remarkable. It provides me with the strength to get through this.”
A Lower East Side movie theater upset parents this week by offering free admission to children, accompanied by an adult ticket-holder, to the unrated movie “Nymphomaniac: Vol. I.”
Landmark Sunshine Cinema has a Wednesday series called “Rattle & Reel” encouraging parents to take kids to the theater. Previous showings have included “12 Years A Slave” and “The Secret.”
Lars Von Trier’s new movie, which Sunshine will play on March 26, was rated NC-17 before the studio opted for the “unrated" label.
The Sunshine series is based on the idea that caregivers can get a break and see a movie, while the kids would probably nap.
“Nymphomaniac,” in all its carnal glory, might be a little too novel for kids to snooze through, especially given the heavy metal soundtrack.
“That’s a little appalling to include it in the series,” said Marcy Dermansky, 44, a New Jersey mom who brought her then-7-month-old daughter to a prior screening.
“My child slept halfway through the movie, but the babies don’t sleep through all of it,” she added. “Even if the kid doesn’t really process it ... as a parent, having that much violence or nudity on with her in the room just doesn’t really work for me.”
Sunshine stood by the scheduled screening.
“Offering these particular screenings to parents with infants gives them an opportunity to see new films in the marketplace,” a representative told the New York Daily News. “Our policy is to offer all films to our patrons regardless of subject matter or rating."
A New Yorker who rented out his home on Airbnb.com returned to discover the renter allegedly throwing a sex party featuring “Big Beautiful Women.”
Ari Teman, 31, says he rented out his apartment over the weekend while he would be out of town. He gave his keys to David Carter, 32, and stepped out to dinner. When he returned to his apartment to get his luggage, Teman found a half-dozen nearly-nude overweight people moving his furniture around, throwing some of it in the hallway.
“There was a huge posse of large men and women in hip-hop attire looking like they got tossed from a club, hanging out in front,” he said.
Carter was throwing a “BBW Panty Raid Party.” While he rented the apartment for $300 a night through Airbnb, he was charging a $20 cover for each guest.
Teman said Carter was a nervous wreck over being caught.
“This guy had a look of horror on his face,” Teman said. “He didn’t expect to see me for a few days. He said, ‘They shut us down, man, they’re shutting it down.’”
There was a bag of condoms and liquor strewn across the floor, he said.
“I caught them taking my white sofa out into the backyard alley,” he said. “You assume most people have basic human decency and won’t destroy your stuff.”
The damage to his belongings was so extensive, Teman’s been living in a hotel since the March 9th incident.
Airbnb says that “problems for hosts and guests are incredibly rare, but when they happen, we try to help make things right.”
The website agreed to pay Teman $23,817 to cover the damages to his home. Teman estimated the damage was more like $67,000.
“I just don’t want to touch anything in there,” Teman said. “I threw sheets all over everything.”
Carter told the New York Post the he didn’t throw an orgy.
“I had six people, friends and family,” Carter said. “He is making a big to-do because he is being evicted.”
He says he booked the apartment as a place for his in-laws to stay while in town for a wedding.
If the flier for the party, found online, is any indication, this is the second “Panty Raid Party” he’s thrown.
“He had a verified account and he seemed legit,” Teman said. “He had three positive reviews and so I approved the deal.”
“I was not arrested. I did nothing wrong,” Carter told The Post.
New York woman Natalie Estrella is threatening a law suit against Queens restaurant Nuevo Mundo after she reportedly found a silverfish in her soup and had to be treated at the hospital.
Estrella ordered a bowl of sancocho and was halfway through it when she noticed the bug. When she showed the restaurant manager, he allegedly said “it’s nothing” and threw it away.
She says she was given a refund for the soup, but afterward had to go to the hospital for food poisoning.
“I felt dizzy, my stomach started hurting and then I threw up,” Estrella said.
Estrella called the day the worst of her life.
When interviewed by news channel Pix 11, a Neuvo Mundo manager identified himself only as Carlos. He argued that his food was only of the highest quality, and even allowed cameras in the kitchen.
Despite Carlos’ confidence, the restaurant has a pending “C” grade from the Department of Health, with 44 violation points. In the most recent report, there was reportedly evidence of mice in the facility’s food or non-food areas and it was classified as not vermin proof.
“People, please don't eat there for your safety,” Estella pleaded. “They just want your money they don't care about your health.”
Irish brewer Guinness announced on Sunday that it was pulling its sponsorship of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. According to Reuters the Dublin based brewing company made the decision because event organizers have excluded gay and lesbian groups from marching in the parade.
"Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade," the company said in a written statement. "As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”
Two other beer companies have made similar moves recently. Heineken had already pulled its support from the New York parade and Sam Adams brewer Boston Beer Company pulled its sponsorship from the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade over the same issue.
Fox News reports that the brewing companies won’t be the only traditional participants who will be conspicuously absent from Monday’s parade. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has also announced he won’t be marching due to the dispute. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh — the city’s first Irish-American mayor in 20 years — sat out his city’s parade on Sunday.
Gay groups are not explicitly excluded from the New York event but they are not allowed to carry banners identifying themselves as gay. The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the organizers of the parade, have not commented on the controversy.
In New York, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny drew criticism for his decision to participate.
"The St. Patrick's Day parade (in New York) is a parade about our Irishness and not about sexuality, and I would be happy to participate in it,” he said earlier in the week, responding to critics.
Gay-rights activists had announced plans to dump Guinness from the roof of the famous Stonewall Inn bar in Greenwich Village in protest over the exclusion of gay-advocacy groups and Guinness’ decision to continue sponsorship. That protest has been cancelled following the announcement by the brewing company that they won’t be sponsoring the event. The Stonewall Inn is considered by many to be the birthplace of the gay-rights movement.
“It’s amazing how the times are changing,” Carmine Tzavis, a Stonewall bartender, told the New York Post. “Thirty years ago, gay people had to hide in fear, and now look what we can accomplish.’’
Justin Casquejo, 16, reportedly sneaked past a sleeping guard and made it to the top of the unfinished World Trade Center #1 tower in New York City.
The New Jersey teen crawled through a hole in a Ground Zero fence at 4 a.m. on Sunday, took an elevator up to the 88th floor without an I.D. and sneaked past a sleeping security guard to make it to the 104th floor where he tweeted, "Inspired."
After two hours at the top of the new WTC tower, the teen was headed back down when a construction worker caught him, noted Mediaite.com.
Casquejo has been charged with one count of misdemeanor trespassing.
According to court papers, Casquejo told the police, “I walked around the construction site and figured out how to access the Freedom Tower rooftop."
The new WTC tower is supposed to be guarded by the Port Authority, NYPD and two private security companies.
While sleeping security guard was fired, the New York Post reports the elevator operator kept his job because he is in an union.
A New York family filed a lawsuit this week after they were forcibly escorted out of the Empire State Building when they began kneeling on the observation deck to pray to Mecca.
Fahad Tirmizi, his wife, and their two young children were on the observation deck on July around 11 p.m., when the family’s "religious beliefs require them to recite the evening prayers wherever they may be at the time," according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan District Court.
The couple knelt in an isolated area of the deck, where they claim there was little foot traffic.
No one disturbed his wife, Amina, but a guard interrupted Fahad’s prayer. The claim says the guard “menacingly poked” him "with his hands and feet several times in various parts of his body.”
The guard told Fahad he wasn’t allow to pray on the observation deck, which hosts annual wedding ceremonies on Valentine's Day and even acrobatic performances from Cirque du Soleil.
The family was then “forcibly” escorted to the ground floor exit. The lawsuit says they were "shamed, humiliated and embarrassed in front of each other, their children, and the general public.”
The family is suing the publicly owned Empire State Building management company, two security guards and the security firm that employs them.
The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages for multiple civil rights violations and violations of the first and 14th Amendments.
"The claims are totally without merit and we will respond to them in court,” Empire State Realty Trust spokeswoman, Brandy Bergman, told CNN.
The family’s attorney, Phillip Hines, told CNN that removing people who pray is evidence of an “unwritten rule or policy being enforced.”
"They weren't bothering anybody, they were out of the way, and for them to be thrown out of the building is just an ignorant and shameful exercise in discriminatory conduct," Hines said.
Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, released a statement Wednesday supports the Tirmizi’s.
“Muslims who pray in public, including in public accommodations, are simply exercising their constitutional rights,” the statement said. “In play are two First Amendment rights: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We hope that Hines investigates the extent to which security guards are expected to censor religious speech. We wish him, and this innocent Muslim couple, well."