Skelos Corruption Trial: Exec Said He Had No Choice in Doubling Adam Skelos’ Pay

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An environmental company executive said he had no choice but to more than double the $4,000 a month he was paying a consultant whose father is New York State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).AbTech Industries, an Arizona-based environmental technology company, needed to meet the $10,000 a month demands from the senator’s son, Adam Skelos, or risk losing its biggest contract, a $12-million deal to install smart sponge filters in Nassau County storm water drainage pipes, according to the executive.“I did not believe we had any choice,” Glenn Rink, chief executive officer of AbTech, testified Tuesday during the senator and son’s corruption trial at Manhattan federal court. “The last thing I wanted to do is alienate…the senator.”AbTech is one of three companies that the former state Senate Majority Leader allegedly coerced to get $300,000 in bribes in the form of no-show jobs that his son, Adam, was unqualified for in exchange for illegally manipulating legislation. Both Skeloses deny the accusations.Rink said he was especially concerned about appeasing both men since AbTech needed the senator’s help in getting state legislative approval to complete the Nassau contract. That’s because under state law, government projects need to be designed by one company and constructed by another, but Nassau’s deal with AbTech called for what’s known as a design-build contract allowing the company to do both.But after delays in getting Nassau to pay for the work it had done in preparing to install the filters and Adam’s failure to secure contracts with additional municipalities, the company considered cutting his pay, but it was reluctant because it still needed the design-build legislation approved by the senator.“There was always the concern that if we altered his compensation,” then AbTech projects in the pipeline “could be in harm’s way,” Rink testified.The concern came after Rink got an email from Charles Durego, general counsel and senior vice president at developer Glenwood Management Corp., which is owned by billionaire Leonard Litwin, whose family invested in AbTech. Durego previously testified at the Skelos trial that he had gotten Adam a job at AbTech in order to appease the senator as well as respond to Glenwood’s desire to avoid doing business directly with the son of the senator whom they lobbied and relied upon in legislative negotiations.“He’s hesitant…to do it with the engineers making more money than him,” Durego said in an email to Rink on April 10, 2013, in which Durego relayed Adam’s request for a raise right before the Nassau contract was about to begin the county’s approval process. “If he doesn’t get like a 4 percent commission, I think they don’t think it’s worth pushing through.”Rink characterized the email as “game changing.” Other AbTech officials who also received the email balked.“I can’t believe he’s going to try to hold us hostage to renegotiate the contract,” replied Bjornulf White, an AbTech official, in an email to Rink that was shown in court. “The engineers are getting paid for labor hours to do real work. (I think around ~5500 manhours). Unreal.”The case was adjourned for the Thanksgiving weekend and will resume on Monday morning.last_img read more

Investing in member experience, data strategy and authentication

first_imgWrestling with where to invest limited resources for maximum return is a challenge that all leaders face. Digital transformation has upped the ante and raised the bar on how we deliver the member experience, how we make strategic use of data collected and how we deploy offerings that give members a sense of security. These are three key areas to which all credit unions should analyze for investments:Elevating the Member Experience Credit unions are built to serve their members. Many have conducted research and created plans focused on improving the member experience, so now is the time to execute these plans. Although the reality of ensuring an exceptional member experience requires a significant investment of additional time, energy, effort and development, investment in the member experience should be a top priority – and also a realistic one that reaches a credit union’s member experience goals and preferred end state.In order to enhance the member experience across the board, credit unions should invest in the integration of their service offerings and products. More and more, members want and expect seamless experiences and to be able to access all of their information in one place in a similar fashion, regardless of whether they are visiting the branch, logging into a mobile app or placing a call to the contact center. For many, the credit union’s core provider is different from its mobile banking provider, which is different from its card processor and so on. Credit unions must engage multiple partners on the back end to ensure all of this information is readily available in one place. This can be difficult, however, given the majority of partners do not have the same priorities, processing systems or platforms, among other disparities. Investing in collaboration among these partners to provide a seamless, elevated member experience will be key for credit union success as we move forward.Data Strategy To truly harness the power and reap the benefits of data, credit unions must establish strategies focused on addressing how to best gather and utilize data to improve credit union operations and understand member needs and behaviors. These strategies need to focus on more than just the collection and storage of information – they must ensure data gathered is made actionable and understandable in order to put it to good use. It is important to members, as well as expected, that their credit union should know who they are and what they need in their financial journey, even in the digital channel.In particular, credit unions are starting to consider how artificial intelligence (AI) and similar innovations can lead to efficiencies and increased productivity. For example, AI can remove manual, repetitive processes currently conducted by credit union employees that are typically time-consuming and have a high occurrence of user error. With intelligent documentation and responsiveness implemented into a credit union’s systems and programs through AI, contact center representatives and member-facing employees have an opportunity to provide better service and really focus on members’ needs. AI can also drive automation in order to better understand and consolidate data. Authentication for PrivacyIn today’s interconnected world, ensuring a person is who they say they are when they enter the branch, make a phone call or log into their account online is of upmost importance. As fraudsters look for all points of entry into accounts, authentication is key. But while authentication is important for safety, credit unions also need to keep in mind the member experience when solidifying their authentication tactics.Members expect the view of information to be the same, regardless of the channel. They also expect similar authentication processes. But how does a credit union confirm a person is who they say they are in all of these different settings, given branch authentication is different from contact center authentication, which is different from mobile authentication? With member experience as a top priority, investment in deeper authentication processes to ensure seamless experiences across all channels will be imperative across the credit union industry.Credit unions should also introduce continuing education initiatives to their members to explain how and why the traditional means of authentication, like key questions or the last four digits of a social security number, are no longer enough to protect account and personal information. The more members know about changes in security and expectations for their day-to-day account activities and how their credit union is working to keep their information protected, the more seamless the experience will be for both parties.While there are many other areas of focus competing for resources and investments, credit unions should take the necessary steps toward improving their member experience, data strategy and authentication journeys to set themselves up for success. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Denise Stevens Denise Stevens leads PSCU’s Product Management, New Product Development, Digital Experience, Innovation and Strategic Vendor Alliances teams. Prior to rejoining PSCU in 2015, Denise served as the Executive Vice … Web: www.pscu.com Detailslast_img read more

Confidence in Dems is on the down slide

first_imgI’m having trouble understanding why politicians from both sides of the aisle can’t put aside their hatred for the president and do their job — the job that the American people elected them to do. They are using a group of people a little smaller than the population of Charlotte as a tool to inconvenience the other 320 million citizens of this country. The people of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s socialist party (credit to the five Democrats who can read the handwriting on the wall) will do anything to derail the success of the president. It’s a shame that they care nothing about what is right or wrong, what is good or what is not. They will sell their souls for the party. The economy is on fire, consumer confidence is up, there are 2 million fewer food-stamp recipients, black unemployment is low and trillions of dollars are returning to our country. If this trend continues, the Democratic Party will cease to exist. The last thing that they want is an employed black man increasing the social status of his family. They are the party of minorities as long as the minority must rely on them. As far as the undocumented immigrant situation, almost all are hard-working people who want the best for their families. I work with foreign workers. I’ve met their children and made them smile. They made me smile. If the swamp people can’t get it together soon, we will find their replacements. “Conschumer” confidence is low.Steven McCrumSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%Schenectady department heads: Budget cutbacks would further stress already-stretched departmentsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationSchenectady man dies following Cutler Street dirt bike crashSchenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcy Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Arsenal manager Unai Emery told to sell Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi and sign four defenders

first_img Metro Sport ReporterFriday 17 May 2019 9:19 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3.8kShares Arsenal manager Unai Emery told to sell Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi and sign four defenders Unai Emery has been told to sell two Arsenal players (Picture: Getty)Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been urged to sell Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi this summer and bolster his squad with four new defenders.Ozil reiterated his commitment to the Gunners last month by saying he is ‘very happy’ at the Emirates and determined to stay at the club for at least the next two years.But the German continues to be linked with a departure, with Arsenal keen to cut their wage bill as they target a number of signings.Fellow Germany international Mustafi could also leave north London this summer after enduring another poor season at Arsenal.ADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityGunners hero Charlie Nicholas believes Emery should sell both Ozil and Mustafi and says the Spanish manager needs to sign four new defenders during the summer transfer window.AdvertisementAdvertisementEmery’s side conceded 51 goals throughout the Premier League campaign, with their defensive vulnerability ultimately costing them a top-four spot.‘We need a whole new backline,’ Nicholas told Sky Sports. ‘I am disappointed that Petr Cech is retiring. I would have encouraged them to give him another year.‘Bernd Leno has got mistakes in him and would have benefited from Cech giving him a helping hand. Advertisementcenter_img Charlie Nicholas believes the Gunners should offload Shkodran Mustafi (Picture: Getty)‘We are looking for four defenders, so on top of the crazy situation of letting Aaron Ramsey go for nothing, it is not great. They need two centre-backs and two full-backs.‘Hector Bellerin will come back and play right-back, as Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be pushed on potentially. Sokratis and Sead Kolasinac are good to have as squad players.‘Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny are getting on a bit now. Shkodran Mustafi must be released in my opinion.‘Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding are still to come back when they are fit.’More: FootballBruno Fernandes responds to Man Utd bust-up rumours with Ole Gunnar SolskjaerNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesNicholas added: ‘It comes down to who we can get rid of. If Emery doesn’t want Mesut Ozil then get rid.‘Ozil is on £200,000 a week, but where will he move to? If he won’t play then Ozil won’t stay. He has got too big of a personality to stay and be on the bench.‘If Arsenal can get him out with a transfer fee then I would. I would give the youngsters a couple more games next year and bring Reiss Nelson back, while looking at a big midfielder too.’Arsenal face Chelsea in the Europa League final at the end of the month. Victory over the Blues would see the Gunners return to the Champions League next season.MORE: Arsenal stepping up move for Gremio centre-back Walter Kannemann Advertisementlast_img read more

Dimitar Berbatov sends ‘soft’ Manchester United triple warning about Arsenal clash

first_imgAdvertisement Dimitar Berbatov is worried that Manchester United could struggle at home to Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Dimitar Berbatov believes there is plenty for Manchester United to worry about when they host bitter rivals Arsenal on Monday night.United have only won twice in the Premier League so far this season and were held to a 1-1 draw by League One outfit Rochdale on Wednesday before edging through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on penalties.Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also has an injury crisis to deal with – Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw will both face late fitness tests – while former United striker Berbatov is concerned by Arsenal’s forward lin.‘I am worried about the front players of Arsenal, especially [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang – he is phenomenal,’ Berbatov told Betfair.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City‘I like [Nicolas] Pepe as well, he is so unorthodox, he’s really fast, he can go one-on-one and challenge defenders.‘On this part of the pitch Arsenal are so dangerous, they can kill you with their speed so United need to be careful of that and don’t lose any space to them.’Arsenal have scored 11 times in six Premier League games so far this season but have also conceded 10 goals.Berbatov added: ‘The Arsenal defence isn’t in the best shape of their lives so the Man United strikers have a good chance to hurt them as well.‘Both teams have big strengths and weaknesses, they will both be looking to exploit each other.’United’s weaknesses were exploited the last time the two teams met, the Gunners winning 2-0 at the Emirates back in March.Solskjaer’s men should relish bringing Arsenal back to their home ground but Berbatov is concerned even that could work against them.Berbatov said: ‘United will have some advantage of playing at Old Trafford, but when the results haven’t been going for you, you know the fans will be a little impatient, you can think too much about it, make mistakes and it becomes a difficult situation.‘Sometimes when I have watched them I have noticed that United have been too soft against the opposition, they need to be tough in their challenges, show them who’s in charge and let them know that this is f****** Old Trafford.’More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errors Comment Dimitar Berbatov sends ‘soft’ Manchester United triple warning about Arsenal clashcenter_img Advertisement James GrayFriday 27 Sep 2019 2:47 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy linklast_img read more

Hundred-year-old Queenslander has been restored to its full beauty

first_img1395 Tallebudgera Creek Road“There is a creek which runs through the property and there are always wallabies around, but the birdlife is my favourite,” he said.“Our hobbies revolve around the property, there is so much space to get lost in your own world.” Lush lawns surround the home and paths lead to a covered timber entertainment deck and sun-drenched patio.The 2.4ha property includes stables, a solar powered feed and tack room, lockup float storage and wash-down bay. A pond, fire pit and large dam are other highlights. \1395 Tallebudgera Creek Road Tallebudgera Valley4 2 3Auction: March 26, 3.30pm Features: swimming pool, polished floorboards and stablesArea: 2.4haAgent: Ken Jacob Ray White Tugun 395 Tallebudgera Creek Road Tallebudgera Valley“There was major landscaping done on the property and there was a lot of areas you couldn’t drive on that we have smoothed out. Sandra has made the gardens beautiful and I have put new drainage in.“It was a massive project but we have completely regenerated the property.” Mr Smyth said the home had been the perfect place to unwind and relax with wildlife on the doorstep. 395 Tallebudgera Creek Road Tallebudgera ValleyBringing the property back to life, the couple said they gave the home a more contemporary feel. “Sandra and I were looking for home that was more a of retreat,” Mr Smyth said.“We wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Gold Coast and we spent 18 months looking at homes in Byron Bay and in the hinterland until we found this place. 1395 Tallebudgera Creek RoadWITH its stunning timber verandas, high ceilings and polished floorboards it’s hard to believe this Queenslander is 117 years old. The 1900-era house in Tallebudgera shows no signs of ageing after homeowners Matt Smyth and his partner Sandra Hogg bought it three years ago and restored it to its natural beauty. 395 Tallebudgera Creek Road Tallebudgera Valley“It was even better than what we expected, it had the character and charm we wanted. We were never really looking for a Queenslander either.”Vintage detailing, a gorgeous black and white claw-foot bath and light filled spaces create a chic-luxe style in the traditional Queensland home. More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North9 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoMr Smyth said the couple have left some of the timber unstained to add to the rustic effect.“The neighbours couldn’t believe the transformation,” he said. last_img read more

Improvements in vessel dayrates bring Polarcus back to profit

first_imgSeismic services player Polarcus returned to profit in the second quarter of 2019 from a loss in the corresponding period of 2018 on the back of higher revenues driven by improvement in vessel dayrates.The seismic company said on Wednesday it had recorded a profit of $0.6 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to a loss of $8.1 million in the same period last year.Segment revenues of $64.8 million in 2Q 2019, increased 34% year-on-year from $48.4 million driven by a 50% improvement in dayrates compared to the same quarter last year. Revenue growth was achieved despite a reduction in utilization of the company’s fleet to 72% compared to 85% in 2Q 2018 as vessels were re-positioned early in the quarter for new projects.The revenue increase was also supported by the first Polarcus hybrid project (towed streamer and ocean bottom node) that was completed during the quarter and $3.6 million in multi-client late sales compared to zero in 2Q 2018.The company’s secured backlog at June 30, 2019, is estimated at $200 million compared to $150 million at the same time last year.Polarcus CEO, Duncan Eley, commented: “Polarcus achieved increased earnings in Q2 2019 with revenue and EBITDA improving significantly year-on-year.“Tender activity remains elevated and we expect strong levels of demand to continue. We look ahead to a third quarter with higher fleet utilization and associated further improvements to revenue and EBITDA.”Polarcus said that an oil price around recent levels is a positive driver for E&P spending and that this will increase demand for seismic data acquisition from both E&P companies and multi-client companies.According to the company, the reshaping of the seismic industry has led to an expanded client base of more multi-client companies without vessels. As Polarcus becomes one of only three seismic vessel owners operating globally, the marine acquisition segment is positioned to achieve further improved pricing, Polarcus said.The company’s fleet is 80% booked for the second half of 2019 and backlog of $200 million. The company reiterated its view that it will deliver improved EBITDA and cashflow in 2019 compared to 2018.Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

Why Fathers Really Matter

first_imgNYTimes September 8 2012Motherhood begins as a tempestuously physical experience but quickly becomes a political one. Once a woman’s pregnancy goes public, the storm moves outside. Don’t pile on the pounds! Your child will be obese. Don’t eat too little, or your baby will be born too small. For heaven’s sake, don’t drink alcohol. Oh, please: you can sip some wine now and again. And no matter how many contradictory things the experts say, don’t panic. Stress hormones wreak havoc on a baby’s budding nervous system.  All this advice rains down on expectant mothers for the obvious reason that mothers carry babies and create the environments in which they grow. What if it turned out, though, that expectant fathers molded babies, too, and not just by way of genes? Biology is making it clearer by the day that a man’s health and well-being have a measurable impact on his future children’s health and happiness. This is not because a strong, resilient man has a greater likelihood of being a fabulous dad — or not only for that reason — or because he’s probably got good genes. Whether a man’s genes are good or bad (and whatever “good” and “bad” mean in this context), his children’s bodies and minds will reflect lifestyle choices he has made over the years, even if he made those choices long before he ever imagined himself strapping on a Baby Bjorn. Doctors have been telling men for years that smoking, drinking and recreational drugs can lower the quality of their sperm. What doctors should probably add is that the health of unborn children can be affected by what and how much men eat; the toxins they absorb; the traumas they endure; their poverty or powerlessness; and their age at the time of conception. In other words, what a man needs to know is that his life experience leaves biological traces on his children. Even more astonishingly, those children may pass those traces along to their children.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/opinion/sunday/why-fathers-really-matter.html?_r=1&ref=healthlast_img read more

Mali peace deal to be implemented despite challenges

first_imgAn attack mid this week in Mali, where six UN peacekeeping soldiers were killed, has given a pointer to the kind of difficulties likely to be encountered in implementing a peace deal signed recently.Northern Mali is considered the deadliest region for UN soldiers, 35 of them have been killed in combat since 2013. Will S.Sudan peace deal be implemented? Related Many in Northern Mali are skeptical about peace deal Mali Peace Deal: Peace Deal Raises Hopes of Stability.last_img