PAKET UMROH BULAN FEBRUARI MARET APRIL MEI 2017

TRAVEL UMROH RESMI KEMENAG RI

Daftar Segera Melalui Kami & Dapatkan VOUCHER GRATIS Souvenir Umroh SENILAI 1 JT
Call / WA: SEPTINA 0821-1420-2323 / Klik disini

 
Lihat Biaya Umroh 2018 Lihat Paket Umroh Desember 2017




Artikel lainnya »

saco-indonesia.com, Bentrokan antarwarga telah terjadi di Jalan Yos Sudarso, Sanggeng, Manokwari, Papua Barat, Minggu malam. Peristiwa ini diduga telah dipicu oleh tewasnya seorang bocah. Akibat dari bentrokan tersebut sejumlah bangunan ludes terbakar.

"Ada dari masyarakat Kerukunan Keluarga Sulawesi Selatan (KKSS) infonya ada yang marah, kemudian memalang jalan," ujar Kabid Humas Polda Papua AKBP Pudjo kepada merdeka.com, Senin (30/12).

Mengenai penyebab utama, Pudjo juga mengaku masih belum mendapat informasi yang lebih lanjut. Dia juga belum dapat untuk memastikan adanya korban dan jumlah bangunan yang telah dibakar oleh warga.

"Secara umumnya kita cek apakah cerita yang didapatkan dari semuanya. Kapolres siaga di sana. Untuk lebih lengkapnya, data korban, juga masih belum," katanya.

Untuk saat ini, kata Pudjo, situasi di lokasi juga masih dijaga ketat oleh aparat kepolisian yang dibantu dengan TNI. Namun dia juga belum dapat informasi apakah bentrokan sudah berhenti.

"Belum tahu kondusif atau enggaknya," tandas Pudjo.

Seperti yang diketahui, aksi saling serang antarwarga dengan parang, tombak, dan petasan, telah terjadi kemarin malam. Sejumlah tembakan peringatan juga sempat dilepaskan untuk dapat melerai bentrokan.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

BENTROK WARGA YANG TERJADI DI MANOKWARI

    saco-indonesia.com,

    dan jangan kau bersedih
    ku tahu kau lelah
    tepiskan keruh dunia
    biarkan mereka, biarkan mereka

    tenangkan hatimu disana
    tertidur kau lelap
    mimpi yang menenangkan
    biarkan semua, biarkan semua

    kurangi beban itu
    tetap lihat kedepan
    tak terasingkan dunia
    dua jiwa perih

    masih ada disana
    tempat kita berdua
    dan hati yang menyatu
    tempat kita berdua

    kurangi beban itu
    tetap lihat kedepan
    tak terasingkan dunia
    dua jiwa perih

    masih ada disana
    untuk kita berdua


    Editor : Dian Sukmawati

  

ARIEL DARA

Aku mengenalnya  12 tahun yang lalu, dalam sebuah acara pengajian rutin kami,…

Sosoknya terkadang membuatku bergegas untuk bersegera memenuhi apa yg beliau sarankan kepada kami, entah apa penyebabnya..di awal pertemuan dengannya pun aku merasa deg degan.karena konon dari informasi yang aku dapat beliau ini orangnya tegas (afwan ya…nggak berani dong kalo aku sebut beliau galak…emang singa/) dan benar…bahkan untuk menatap matanyapun terkadang aku tidak berani.sekilas dari pertemuan pertama kami, aku menangkap bahwa beliau memang   orang yang cerdas, gesit dan sibuk.itu kesanku…

aku biasa memanggilnya dengan mba Sari…seindanh namanya,…kata katanya memang selalu menjadi sari bagi kehidupanku…banyak hal hal yg beliau kritik dalam kehidupanku…meski terkadang sakit hati di awalnya tetapi manis di akhirnya…

seiring berjalannya dengan waktu…aku mulai bisa memahami beliau..kelihatannya beliau adalah seorang koleris melankolis sejati.he…he…bisa di bayangkan kan?karisma yang ada padanya terpancar karena kesholehahannya…

ketegasan beliau memang terkadang membuaku stress…tapi melihat kedekatan beliau dengan ilahnya membuat aku menutup mata dengan segala hal yg terkadang bisa membuat aku menangis…tapi itulah beliau, kedekatan dengan Robbnya ini membuat semua nasihatnya terdengar bernas, mencambuk hati,dan memaksa jazadku untuk selalu menjadi lebih baik.

meski terkadang ada bebrapa temanku yang terheran heran dengan persahabatan kami…kok..mba heni bisa tahan ya?dengan orang yg keras sperti itu?aku hanya bisa tersenyum…yah…di sekelilingku banyak sekali orang orang keras, saat aku kecil,saat aku sekolah di sd,smp dan sma, bahkan tatkala kuliahpun banyak orang orang yang keras, tetapi Alhamdulillah aku bisa berdamai dengan mereka…aku bisa mendengarkan mereka bercerita…aku fikir…justru di balik kekerasan mereka tersimpan kelembutan loh….

seiring berjalannya waktu juga…beliau  jadi seperti kakak , dan sebagai seorang adik pasti aku juga tahu dong…kehidupannya, subhanalloh..sangat sederhana..beliau berdua dengan suaminya..kalo boleh saya katakan betul betul rajin sekali bersedekah…bukan cuma dengan sedekah uang, tapi juga bersedekah dengan ilmu mereka,pekerjaan tetap suaminya adalah seorang pedagang buku…yg terkadang laku terkadang juga tidak.kesan yang aku tangkap adalah bahwa pekerjaan mereka berdua sebetulnya bukan berjualan buku …tapi justru berdakwah..dan pekerjaan sambilannya adalah pedagang buku.Alhamdulillah Alloh mencukupkannya untuk membiayai kehidupannya bahkan untuk kuliah ketiga anak mereka.

” Jangan takut masalah rejeki,.Allohlah yg mencukupkannya ” kata kata itu yg selalu beliau katakan, “yang penting Intan surulloha yansurukum,wa yu tsabit aqdamakum” barang siapa yang menolong agama Alloh pasti Alloh juga akan menolong kita dek…

Masya Alloh…resep mujarap ini pulalah yg aku terapkan sampai sekarang dalam berbisnis…orientasi sebenarnya adalah bisnis akhirat…sehingga Alloh pasti akan melancarkan bisnis kita di dunia…

tak masuk akal memang tapi inilah yang aku jalani…terkadang hampir satu minggu penuh aku berpindah dari majelis taklim ke majelis taklim..tanpa sempat mempromosikan jualanku (bakso, mpek@ dsb) tapi…Allohlah pemilik rezky,,selalu ada saja yang memesan daganganku…

kembali ke cerita tentang  mba sari…

hingga awal januari 2011 , beliau tiba tiba meng sms “dek..doain mba ya..insya Alloh mba berangkat haji tahun 2015.iyya mba insya Alloh..waktu haji kemaren tanpa mba minta juga sudah aku doain kok…

ternyata ceritanya tidak akan sampai di 2015…karena 2 minggu yang lalu…tiba tiba telepon rumahku berdering jam 11 malem…

“dek…hick…hick…terust…hening….cuma ada suara tercekat menahan tangis…” ada apa mba?tanyaku penuh ke khawatiran,

“mas dek…” katanya meneruskan..”ada apa dengan mas Handoko mba? tanyaku khawatir…

“Alhamdulillah barusan dapat kabar kalo mas di tugaskan jadi TPHD” katanya masih dengan penuh haru…Alhamdulillah dong mba…terus kenapa menangis mba?bukannya harus bersyukur? tanyaku…

“hick..doain mba ya…adek kan tahu, mba sari nggak mau kalo kami hajinya sendiri sendiri,mba bener bener minta di dorong dengan doa, semoga Aloh benar benar mengundang kami berdua menjadi tamnu Nya …sekarang mas han lagi berusaha cari peluang kursi kosong di daerah temapt beliau di tugaskan, bener bener minta di dorong dengan doa ya dek…”

iyya mba insya Alloh, tenang saja mba…semua kejadian kan sudah di tulis di lauh mahfudz..pasrahkan semua kepada Alloh swt.mudah mudahan semuanya di mudahkan oleh Alloh swt.

2 hari kemudian aku mendapat sms…”dek nanti malem mba ke rumah yah”. meski penasaran juga , beliau mau apa ke rumah, tapi langsung aku jawab “siap mba”.dan ternyata bd magrib…beliau sudah di depan pintu rumahku sambil membawa martabak coklat manis kesukaan anak kami…” dek…katanya seolah tak sabar, mba Insya Alloh jadi berangkat haji sekarang..”katanya sambil memelukku, menangis berdua kami sambil berpelukan di depan pagar, Tabarakalloh…mba…alhamdulillah..” mba kesini mau belajar banyak yah…soalnya mba kan nggak sempat manasik…

“ah…mba ada ada saja..”biasa saja mba..kebetulan saja kami pergi lebih dahulu…kalo dari segi ilmu mba dan mas han lebih dari kami, kataku merendah…”.eh…serius dek…mba mau belajar…kan manasik itu sunah” kata beliau merendah.

dan malam itu, kami berempat benar benar berdiskusi, berbagi pengalaman sambil sama sama membuka kitab tentang haji.mempelajari hukum hukum mana yang rukun, mana yang syarat dan mana yang sunah, sambil berbagi pengalaman tentang pengalaman yg pernah kami lalui.

seperti dugaanku bukan manasik sebenarnya yg menjadi intinya…karena kalo dari segi ilmu beliau beliau ini lebih mumpuni dari kami.Dengan suara yang sedikit berat mas han menceritakan bahwa..dalam 2 hari ini beliau membutuhkan uang sekitar 20 jutaan sebagian untuk  melunasi bpih mba sari, sebagian untuk bekal dan biaya beli hadyu, dan yang paling penting adalah uang saku untuk ketiga putra putri beliau.

kami berdua tercekat…ya Alloh,…seandainya kami punya, dan belum sempat kami mengemukakan alasan kami, mas han sudah mendahului, sebenarnya kami masih punya cadangannya sih..mobil VW tua  kami…insya Alloh kalo di jual juga laku 20 an juta.tapi menjual mobil tua dalam waktu 2 hari sepertinya hal yang susah…katanya mengaakhiri pembicaraannya.

Dan malam itu kami tercenung…”allohumma yasirru wa la tu ashiru” ya Alloh…hamba yakin engkau pasti akan menolong dan mencarikan jalan keluar yang baik bagi dua orang sholeh ini…ehm…mas…coba nanti ana browsing ya ke komunitas mobil VW..siapa tahu ada yang minat…ana lihat mobil antum masih cukup terawat”, ana cuma butuh fotonya saja, besok pagi kalo sudah terang , yah sekitar jam tujuhan lah sebelum ana ke kantor ana foto dulu ya mas, siapa tahu bisa laku cepat.Alloh kan melihat usaha kita.

dan malam itu…mereka berpamitan.

esok paginya bersama suami aku berangkat ke rumah mba sari,

“assalamu’alaikum,”

“wa alaikum salam….masuk dek…”

kulihat mukanya ceria sekali meski matanya terlihat sembab bekas bekas air mata masih terlihat jelas di wajahnya.

‘duduk de…sebentar ya,,mas han lagi mandi dulu”

tak berapa lama mas han muncul dari dalam rumah.

wah..sudah siap bawa kamera nih katanya sambil menjabat tangan suamiku.

begini ah…ana jadi tambah bingung nih…kata mas Han membuka pembicaraan,

“antum sudah cerita ke mana saja akh?” tanyanya dengan serius…

“cerita apa mas?” dengan suara dan mimik yang tak kalah serius suamiku balik bertanya.

“cerita bab uang 20 juta?” kata mas Handoko

“ha?” kata suamiku kaget…”belum akhi,..belum sempat cerita cerita…kan tadi malem kita selesai jam 11 malem.ada apa mas?”

“begini akh johni, tadi malem sepulang dari tempat antum, ana dapat sms dari sesorang minta nomor rekening, ana kira berkaitan dengan iklan mobil vw , malah ana sempat berfikir..wah..antum cepet juga yah cara kerjanya,jadi ana kasih saja tuh nomor rekening”,kata mas han serius

“terus akh”kata mas johni nggak sabaran..

“tadi pagi ana dapat sms lagi..nih bunyinya”, kata mas han sambil memberikan hpnya ke tangan suamiku

Perlahan tapi pasti mas johnipun membaca sms tsb.dengan suara keras agar semua bisa mendengar : “mohon di cek apakah sudah di terima uang sebesar 25 juta?”

“ana langsung cek tuh akh john,

“Subhanalloh..ternyata memang ada uang masuk sebesar 25 juta, jadi ana sms balik”,uang sudah masuk, maaf ini dengan pak siapa ya?”mobil mau diambil kapan?kata mas han sambil memperagakan gerakan tangannya ketika sms.

“nggak berapa lama kemudian,kemudian orang itu sms “barakalloh..semoga antum bisa menjadi haji yang mambrur insya Alloh uangnya halal dan anggaplah itu rejeki dari Alloh”,  sampai di sini ana jadi lemesh akh…ana masih bingung apa sebenarnya maksud sms tersebut, sampai ana ulang bersama istri di baca bolak balik…apa benar ini maksudnya si akh ini ngasih Rizki ke ana?”….dengan tetap  berwajah tawadhu mas meneruskan ceritanya ,

“ana telepon saja nomornya,ternyata sampai sekarang nggak nyambung nyambung, bahkan dari tadi pagi ana sudah sibuk mencari cari adakah yg kenal dengan nomor kontak ini…tapi tak ada satupun yang faham…dan kenal…sepertinya “ikhwah ini” sengaja membeli kartu prabayar akh…yang sekali buang…subhanalloh…ana ingin sekali bertemumuka langsung…

Dan seperti tadi malam…kamipun menagis terharu…”Hal jazaa ul ihsanu ilal ihsan…” hal yang baik pasti akan di balas dengan kebaikan, kami yakin, orangnya pasti orang dekat dengan beliau…tapi subhanalloh…kami tak bisa menbaknya satu persatu.. siapapun yang menolong sahabat kami ini. kami yakin seratus persen…pasti akan mendapatkan balasan atas semua kebaikannya oleh Alloh SWT.

Dan Sekarang Alhamdulillah kedua sahabat kami sedang di Madinah sekarang sedang bersiap menuju ke makah al mukaromah, untuk bersiap melakukan prosesi haji. semoga di mudahlkan dalam menjalani ibadah mereka dan menjadi haji yg mabrur.aamiin.

ALLOH BUKAN MEMANGGIL ORANG YG MAMPU,TETAPI MEMAMPUKAN ORANG YANG MENJAWAB PANGGILAN NYA

saco-indonesia.com, Popularitas phablet Advan kian moncer. Terbukti produknya telah makin diminati dan dinanti oleh konsumen. Hal ini tidak lepas dari komitmen Advan untuk dapat menyajikan produk yang berkualitas dan berdaya saing.

Seperti halnya S5G, telah memiliki spesifikasi layar IPS full high definition (1920 x 1080), kamera 18 MP, memori internal 32 GB, RAM 1 GB, serta prosesor quad-core. Performanya tidak kalah dengan brand global dan telah menjadi salah satu produk high-end Advan.

Advan juga telah memiliki phablet fenomenal lainnya sepanjang 2013, seperti S5F, S5K dan S5E. Malahan untuk penjualan, Vandroid S5E telah tercatat sebagai phablet terlaris yang mana sepanjang tahun 2013, S5E sudah terjual sekitar 1 juta unit.

Tjandra Lianto, Marketing Director Advan, telah menegaskan bahwa prestasi ini juga merupakan kerja keras seluruh tim, baik itu divisi produk, marketing maupun sales.

Dengan dukungan tim yang solid, produk berkualitas serta strategi marketing yang tepat, Advan hadir sebagai brand yang telah diperhitungkan di tanah air.

Respon positif tersebut telah memacu seluruh manajemen untuk dapat terus merilis produk inovatif dan berdaya saing. Salah satu phablet yang akan dirilis dalam waktu yang dekat adalah Vandroid S5H.

Phablet ini telah didukung dengan OS Jelly Bean 4.2, prosesor Cortex A7 quad-core 1,2 GHz, ruang penyimpanan 4GB serta slot micro SD yang bisa menambahkan memori hingga 32 GB.

Selain itu untuk dapat mendukung aktivitas fotografi, sudah tertanam kamera belakang 8 MP dan kamera depan 2 MP.

Vandroid S5H dirancang untuk yang berjiwa muda dan aktif serta dibanderol dengan harga terjangkau. "Kehadiran phablet ini juga akan menambah varian dari tipe yang sudah ada. Kami juga berharap S5H lebih sukses dari produk sebelumnya," ungkap Tjandra dalam siaran pers, Senin (3/2).

Sementara itu, pengamat telematika, Teguh Prasetya telah menilai eksistensi dan prestasi Advan pantas mendapat apresiasi dari masyarakat Indonesia. Malahan menurut Teguh, Advan telah memiliki potensi besar untuk dapat menjadi pemimpin pasar di industri smartphone, phablet dan tablet.

"Dari sisi brand awareness sudah dapat, dari kualitas pun tidak kalah dengan brand global, dan dari sisi penjualan sangat membanggakan. Bisa saja nantinya, ketika bicara Indonesia, produk representasinya adalah Advan. Seperti yang terjadi sekarang ini, bicara produk Korea identik dengan nama Samsung," ucap Teguh.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

ADVAN AKAN RILIS VANDROID S5H

MQ Travel mengadakan Wisata Muslim China (9 hari 8 malam) pada 20-28 Desember 2013
Rute: BEIJING – SHANGHAI – HANGZHOU – SUZHOU

 

Hari 1 Jakarta – Beijing , 20 Desember 2013
Penerbangan dengan GA 890 Pk. 22.45 WIB.

Hari 2 Beijing, 21 Desember
Tiba di Beijing sekitar Pk.06.55 | kunjungan ke Lapangan Tiananmein yang merupakan alun-alun kota terbesar di dunia, berbatasan dengan Aula Besar Rakyat dan Mausoleum Ketua Mao, dilanjutkan tour ke Kota Terlarang, kompleks kekaisaran istana dan Sholat Dzuhur dan Ashar bersama di  Mesjid Nan Dou Ya.

Hari 3 Beijing, 22 Desember 2013
Perjalanan ke Tembok China | Kunjungan ke Museum Giok dan belanja di Burning Cream Center, Stadion Olimpiade | Berbelanja di Wang Fu Jing Shooping Street dan Pasar Makanan.

Hari 4 Beijing, 23 Desember 2013
Kunjungan ke Istana Musim Panas, Masjid Madian | dilanjutkan berbelanja di pasar lokal Pasar Xiushui.

Hari 5 Beijing – Shanghai, 24 Desember 2013
Perjalanan ke Shanghai menggunakan kerta api cepat (high speed railway-5,5 jam) | Kunjungan ke Masjid Xiaotaoyuan yang merupakan mesjid paling terkenal di Shanghai dan Oriental Pearl TV Tower (menara TV tertinggi di Asia dan tertinggi ketiga di dunia) | ditutup dengan program Huang Pu River Cruise, makan malam sambil menyusuri sungai.

Hari 6 Shanghai – Hangzhou, 25 Desember 2013
Perjalanan dengan bus ke Hangzhou mengunjungi Leifeng Pagoda, Changqiao Park, Phoenix Mosque, and Ming & Qing Dynasty Ancient Street.

Hari 7 Hangzhou – Suzhou, 26 Desember 2013
Sampai di Suzhou mengunjungi West Lake, Viewing Fish and Lotus Ponds at Flower Harbor | Kunjungan ke Well Tea Village (kampong teh)

Hari 8 Suzhou – Shanghai, 27 December 2013
Masih di Suzhou: kunjungan ke Ou Yuan Garden, The Jinji Lake Scenic Area from outside | Perjalanan ke Shanghai, kunjungan ke Oriental Pearl TV Tower (the 2nd Ball) dan Old Shanghai History Museum.

Hari 9 Shanghai – Jakarta , 28 December 2013
Kembali ke Jakarta dengan GA 895 Pk. 10.05 waktu lokal. Diperkirakan tiba di Jakarta jam 15.25 WIB.

===========================================================================

HARGA
Hotel    Twin/Triple Sharing    Single Supplement
4 Star    USD 1,825 / pax (Adult)
USD 1,700 / pax (Child with Bed)
USD 1,650 / pax (Child no Bed)    USD180 / pax

HOTEL YANG DIGUNAKAN :
Beijing: Rosedale Hotel (www.longdinghuahotel.com) atau setaraf
Shanghai: Holiday Inn Express Zhabei (www.holidayinn.com) atau setaraf
Hangzhou: Hotel Amethyst (www.zjzjhotel.com) atau setaraf

HARGA SUDAH TERMASUK:
1.    Tiket pesawat menggunakan Garuda Airline (economy class) pp
2.    Sudah termasuk Visa Cina dan Air port tax
3.    Hotel, makan 3x sehari (Halal Food)

HARGA BELUM TERMASUK:
1.    Tour tambahan dan Asuransi
2.    Pengeluaran yang bersifat pribadi, seperti minuman, souvenir, panggilan telepon,dll
3.    Tips untuk supir dan guide (US2.00/ hari/pax untuk guide , US1.00/hari/pax untuk supir.

INFORMASI & PENDAFTARAN
PT. MANAJEMEN QOLBU TAUHIID (MQ TRAVEL)
Jl. CIPAKU  NO. 18, KEBAYORAN BARU, JAKARTA 12170
Telepon: +62-21-7235255; HP: 0838 20201111; 02193151617 Fax. +62-21-7235258,
E-mail: mqtravel@dtjakarta.or.id, website: www.mqtravel.co.id

KBIH DAARUT TAUHIID BANDUNG
JL. GEGER KALONG GIRANG
CP: LUKMAN – 0815 7113700

*Jadwal sewaktu-waktu dapat berubahan tanpa mengurangi waktu dan tempat tujuan yang dikunjungi

Sumber : http://www.mqtravel.co.id

Baca Artikel Lainnya : MENGETAHUI CARA KEBERANGKATAN HAJI

WISATA MUSLIM CHINA

As governor, Mr. Walker alienated Republicans and his fellow Democrats, particularly the Democratic powerhouse Richard J. Daley, the mayor of Chicago.

Dan Walker, 92, Dies; Illinois Governor and Later a U.S. Prisoner

From sea to shining sea, or at least from one side of the Hudson to the other, politicians you have barely heard of are being accused of wrongdoing. There were so many court proceedings involving public officials on Monday that it was hard to keep up.

In Newark, two underlings of Gov. Chris Christie were arraigned on charges that they were in on the truly deranged plot to block traffic leading onto the George Washington Bridge.

Ten miles away, in Lower Manhattan, Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on accusations of far more conventional political larceny, involving a job with a sewer company for the son and commissions on title insurance and bond work.

The younger man managed to receive a 150 percent pay increase from the sewer company even though, as he said on tape, he “literally knew nothing about water or, you know, any of that stuff,” according to a criminal complaint the United States attorney’s office filed.

The success of Adam Skelos, 32, was attributed by prosecutors to his father’s influence as the leader of the Senate and as a potentate among state Republicans. The indictment can also be read as one of those unfailingly sad tales of a father who cannot stop indulging a grown son. The senator himself is not alleged to have profited from the schemes, except by being relieved of the burden of underwriting Adam.

The bridge traffic caper is its own species of crazy; what distinguishes the charges against the two Skeloses is the apparent absence of a survival instinct. It is one thing not to know anything about water or that stuff. More remarkable, if true, is the fact that the sewer machinations continued even after the former New York Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, was charged in January with taking bribes disguised as fees.

It was by then common gossip in political and news media circles that Senator Skelos, a Republican, the counterpart in the Senate to Mr. Silver, a Democrat, in the Assembly, could be next in line for the criminal dock. “Stay tuned,” the United States attorney, Preet Bharara said, leaving not much to the imagination.

Even though the cat had been unmistakably belled, Skelos father and son continued to talk about how to advance the interests of the sewer company, though the son did begin to use a burner cellphone, the kind people pay for in cash, with no traceable contracts.

That was indeed prudent, as prosecutors had been wiretapping the cellphones of both men. But it would seem that the burner was of limited value, because by then the prosecutors had managed to secure the help of a business executive who agreed to record calls with the Skeloses. It would further seem that the business executive was more attentive to the perils of pending investigations than the politician.

Through the end of the New York State budget negotiations in March, the hopes of the younger Skelos rested on his father’s ability to devise legislation that would benefit the sewer company. That did not pan out. But Senator Skelos did boast that he had haggled with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, in a successful effort to raise a $150 million allocation for Long Island to $550 million, for what the budget called “transformative economic development projects.” It included money for the kind of work done by the sewer company.

The lawyer for Adam Skelos said he was not guilty and would win in court. Senator Skelos issued a ringing declaration that he was unequivocally innocent.

THIS was also the approach taken in New Jersey by Bill Baroni, a man of great presence and eloquence who stopped outside the federal courthouse to note that he had taken risks as a Republican by bucking his party to support paid family leave, medical marijuana and marriage equality. “I would never risk my career, my job, my reputation for something like this,” Mr. Baroni said. “I am an innocent man.”

The lawyer for his co-defendant, Bridget Anne Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, a Republican, said that she would strongly rebut the charges.

Perhaps they had nothing to do with the lane closings. But neither Mr. Baroni nor Ms. Kelly addressed the question of why they did not return repeated calls from the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., begging them to stop the traffic tie-ups, over three days.

That silence was a low moment. But perhaps New York hit bottom faster. Senator Skelos, the prosecutors charged, arranged to meet Long Island politicians at the wake of Wenjian Liu, a New York City police officer shot dead in December, to press for payments to the company employing his son.

Sometimes it seems as though for some people, the only thing to be ashamed of is shame itself.

Finding Scandal in New York and New Jersey, but No Shame

The 6-foot-10 Phillips played alongside the 6-11 Rick Robey on the Wildcats team that won the 1978 N.C.A.A. men’s basketball title.

Mike Phillips, Half of Kentucky’s ‘Twin Towers’ of Basketball, Dies at 59

As he reflected on the festering wounds deepened by race and grievance that have been on painful display in America’s cities lately, President Obama on Monday found himself thinking about a young man he had just met named Malachi.

A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.

“Malachi, he just talked about — we should talk about love,” Mr. Obama told a crowd afterward, drifting away from his prepared remarks. “Because Malachi and I shared the fact that our dad wasn’t around and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn’t around and what had happened. But really, that’s what this comes down to is: Do we love these kids?”

Many presidents have governed during times of racial tension, but Mr. Obama is the first to see in the mirror a face that looks like those on the other side of history’s ledger. While his first term was consumed with the economy, war and health care, his second keeps coming back to the societal divide that was not bridged by his election. A president who eschewed focusing on race now seems to have found his voice again as he thinks about how to use his remaining time in office and beyond.

Continue reading the main story Video
Play Video|1:17

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

Obama Speaks of a ‘Sense of Unfairness’

At an event announcing the creation of a nonprofit focusing on young minority men, President Obama talked about the underlying reasons for recent protests in Baltimore and other cities.

By Associated Press on Publish Date May 4, 2015. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

In the aftermath of racially charged unrest in places like Baltimore, Ferguson, Mo., and New York, Mr. Obama came to the Bronx on Monday for the announcement of a new nonprofit organization that is being spun off from his White House initiative called My Brother’s Keeper. Staked by more than $80 million in commitments from corporations and other donors, the new group, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will in effect provide the nucleus for Mr. Obama’s post-presidency, which will begin in January 2017.

“This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle not just for the rest of my presidency but for the rest of my life,” Mr. Obama said. “And the reason is simple,” he added. Referring to some of the youths he had just met, he said: “We see ourselves in these young men. I grew up without a dad. I grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. The only difference between me and a lot of other young men in this neighborhood and all across the country is that I grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving.”

Advertisement

Organizers said the new alliance already had financial pledges from companies like American Express, Deloitte, Discovery Communications and News Corporation. The money will be used to help companies address obstacles facing young black and Hispanic men, provide grants to programs for disadvantaged youths, and help communities aid their populations.

Joe Echevarria, a former chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, will lead the alliance, and among those on its leadership team or advisory group are executives at PepsiCo, News Corporation, Sprint, BET and Prudential Group Insurance; former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell; Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey; former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; the music star John Legend; the retired athletes Alonzo Mourning, Jerome Bettis and Shaquille O’Neal; and the mayors of Indianapolis, Sacramento and Philadelphia.

The alliance, while nominally independent of the White House, may face some of the same questions confronting former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she begins another presidential campaign. Some of those donating to the alliance may have interests in government action, and skeptics may wonder whether they are trying to curry favor with the president by contributing.

“The Obama administration will have no role in deciding how donations are screened and what criteria they’ll set at the alliance for donor policies, because it’s an entirely separate entity,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One en route to New York. But he added, “I’m confident that the members of the board are well aware of the president’s commitment to transparency.”

The alliance was in the works before the disturbances last week after the death of Freddie Gray, the black man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody in Baltimore, but it reflected the evolution of Mr. Obama’s presidency. For him, in a way, it is coming back to issues that animated him as a young community organizer and politician. It was his own struggle with race and identity, captured in his youthful memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” that stood him apart from other presidential aspirants.

But that was a side of him that he kept largely to himself through the first years of his presidency while he focused on other priorities like turning the economy around, expanding government-subsidized health care and avoiding electoral land mines en route to re-election.

After securing a second term, Mr. Obama appeared more emboldened. Just a month after his 2013 inauguration, he talked passionately about opportunity and race with a group of teenage boys in Chicago, a moment aides point to as perhaps the first time he had spoken about these issues in such a personal, powerful way as president. A few months later, he publicly lamented the death of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teenager, saying that “could have been me 35 years ago.”

Photo
 
President Obama on Monday with Darinel Montero, a student at Bronx International High School who introduced him before remarks at Lehman College in the Bronx. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

That case, along with public ruptures of anger over police shootings in Ferguson and elsewhere, have pushed the issue of race and law enforcement onto the public agenda. Aides said they imagined that with his presidency in its final stages, Mr. Obama might be thinking more about what comes next and causes he can advance as a private citizen.

That is not to say that his public discussion of these issues has been universally welcomed. Some conservatives said he had made matters worse by seeming in their view to blame police officers in some of the disputed cases.

“President Obama, when he was elected, could have been a unifying leader,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for president, said at a forum last week. “He has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions.”

On the other side of the ideological spectrum, some liberal African-American activists have complained that Mr. Obama has not done enough to help downtrodden communities. While he is speaking out more, these critics argue, he has hardly used the power of the presidency to make the sort of radical change they say is necessary.

The line Mr. Obama has tried to straddle has been a serrated one. He condemns police brutality as he defends most officers as honorable. He condemns “criminals and thugs” who looted in Baltimore while expressing empathy with those trapped in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

In the Bronx on Monday, Mr. Obama bemoaned the death of Brian Moore, a plainclothes New York police officer who had died earlier in the day after being shot in the head Saturday on a Queens street. Most police officers are “good and honest and fair and care deeply about their communities,” even as they put their lives on the line, Mr. Obama said.

“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” he added. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”

Moreover, if society writes off some people, he said, “that’s not the kind of country I want to live in; that’s not what America is about.”

His message to young men like Malachi Hernandez, who attends Boston Latin Academy in Massachusetts, is not to give up.

“I want you to know you matter,” he said. “You matter to us.”

Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues

THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.

In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.

One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.

But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.

JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”

Photo
Three of the nearly 50 works of urban fiction published by the Colemans over the last decade, often featuring drug deals, violence, sex and a brash kind of feminism.Credit Marko Metzinger

In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”

That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”

THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.

In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.

“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”

They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.

They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”

Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”

The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.

Photo
The roots of street lit, found in the midcentury detective novels of Chester Himes and the ‘60s and ‘70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.Credit Marko Metzinger

Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”

The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.

Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.

The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”

Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”

Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.

For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”

Photo
The Colemans in their new four-bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Detroit.Credit Courtesy of Ashley and JaQuavis Coleman

Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.

The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.

But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:

WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS

“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”

One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”

 
From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple

Hockey is not exactly known as a city game, but played on roller skates, it once held sway as the sport of choice in many New York neighborhoods.

“City kids had no rinks, no ice, but they would do anything to play hockey,” said Edward Moffett, former director of the Long Island City Y.M.C.A. Roller Hockey League, in Queens, whose games were played in city playgrounds going back to the 1940s.

From the 1960s through the 1980s, the league had more than 60 teams, he said. Players included the Mullen brothers of Hell’s Kitchen and Dan Dorion of Astoria, Queens, who would later play on ice for the National Hockey League.

One street legend from the heyday of New York roller hockey was Craig Allen, who lived in the Woodside Houses projects and became one of the city’s hardest hitters and top scorers.

“Craig was a warrior, one of the best roller hockey players in the city in the ’70s,” said Dave Garmendia, 60, a retired New York police officer who grew up playing with Mr. Allen. “His teammates loved him and his opponents feared him.”

Young Craig took up hockey on the streets of Queens in the 1960s, playing pickup games between sewer covers, wearing steel-wheeled skates clamped onto school shoes and using a roll of electrical tape as the puck.

His skill and ferocity drew attention, Mr. Garmendia said, but so did his skin color. He was black, in a sport made up almost entirely by white players.

“Roller hockey was a white kid’s game, plain and simple, but Craig broke the color barrier,” Mr. Garmendia said. “We used to say Craig did more for race relations than the N.A.A.C.P.”

Mr. Allen went on to coach and referee roller hockey in New York before moving several years ago to South Carolina. But he continued to organize an annual alumni game at Dutch Kills Playground in Long Island City, the same site that held the local championship games.

The reunion this year was on Saturday, but Mr. Allen never made it. On April 26, just before boarding the bus to New York, he died of an asthma attack at age 61.

Word of his death spread rapidly among hundreds of his old hockey colleagues who resolved to continue with the event, now renamed the Craig Allen Memorial Roller Hockey Reunion.

The turnout on Saturday was the largest ever, with players pulling on their old equipment, choosing sides and taking once again to the rink of cracked blacktop with faded lines and circles. They wore no helmets, although one player wore a fedora.

Another, Vinnie Juliano, 77, of Long Island City, wore his hearing aids, along with his 50-year-old taped-up quads, or four-wheeled skates with a leather boot. Many players here never converted to in-line skates, and neither did Mr. Allen, whose photograph appeared on a poster hanging behind the players’ bench.

“I’m seeing people walking by wondering why all these rusty, grizzly old guys are here playing hockey,” one player, Tommy Dominguez, said. “We’re here for Craig, and let me tell you, these old guys still play hard.”

Everyone seemed to have a Craig Allen story, from his earliest teams at Public School 151 to the Bryant Rangers, the Woodside Wings, the Woodside Blues and more.

Mr. Allen, who became a yellow-cab driver, was always recruiting new talent. He gained the nickname Cabby for his habit of stopping at playgrounds all over the city to scout players.

Teams were organized around neighborhoods and churches, and often sponsored by local bars. Mr. Allen, for one, played for bars, including Garry Owen’s and on the Fiddler’s Green Jokers team in Inwood, Manhattan.

Play was tough and fights were frequent.

“We were basically street gangs on skates,” said Steve Rogg, 56, a mail clerk who grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, and who on Saturday wore his Riedell Classic quads from 1972. “If another team caught up with you the night before a game, they tossed you a beating so you couldn’t play the next day.”

Mr. Garmendia said Mr. Allen’s skin color provoked many fights.

“When we’d go to some ignorant neighborhoods, a lot of players would use slurs,” Mr. Garmendia said, recalling a game in Ozone Park, Queens, where local fans parked motorcycles in a lineup next to the blacktop and taunted Mr. Allen. Mr. Garmendia said he checked a player into the motorcycles, “and the bikes went down like dominoes, which started a serious brawl.”

A group of fans at a game in Brooklyn once stuck a pole through the rink fence as Mr. Allen skated by and broke his jaw, Mr. Garmendia said, adding that carloads of reinforcements soon arrived to defend Mr. Allen.

And at another racially incited brawl, the police responded with six patrol cars and a helicopter.

Before play began on Saturday, the players gathered at center rink to honor Mr. Allen. Billy Barnwell, 59, of Woodside, recalled once how an all-white, all-star squad snubbed Mr. Allen by playing him third string. He scored seven goals in the first game and made first string immediately.

“He’d always hear racial stuff before the game, and I’d ask him, ‘How do you put up with that?’” Mr. Barnwell recalled. “Craig would say, ‘We’ll take care of it,’ and by the end of the game, he’d win guys over. They’d say, ‘This guy’s good.’”

Tribute for a Roller Hockey Warrior

Ms. Pryor, who served more than two decades in the State Department, was the author of well-regarded biographies of the founder of the American Red Cross and the Confederate commander.

Elizabeth Brown Pryor, Biographer of Clara Barton and Robert E. Lee, Dies at 64

Late in April, after Native American actors walked off in disgust from the set of Adam Sandler’s latest film, a western sendup that its distributor, Netflix, has defended as being equally offensive to all, a glow of pride spread through several Native American communities.

Tantoo Cardinal, a Canadian indigenous actress who played Black Shawl in “Dances With Wolves,” recalled thinking to herself, “It’s come.” Larry Sellers, who starred as Cloud Dancing in the 1990s television show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” thought, “It’s about time.” Jesse Wente, who is Ojibwe and directs film programming at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, found himself encouraged and surprised. There are so few film roles for indigenous actors, he said, that walking off the set of a major production showed real mettle.

But what didn’t surprise Mr. Wente was the content of the script. According to the actors who walked off the set, the film, titled “The Ridiculous Six,” included a Native American woman who passes out and is revived after white men douse her with alcohol, and another woman squatting to urinate while lighting a peace pipe. “There’s enough history at this point to have set some expectations around these sort of Hollywood depictions,” Mr. Wente said.

The walkout prompted a rhetorical “What do you expect from an Adam Sandler film?,” and a Netflix spokesman said that in the movie, blacks, Mexicans and whites were lampooned as well. But Native American actors and critics said a broader issue was at stake. While mainstream portrayals of native peoples have, Mr. Wente said, become “incrementally better” over the decades, he and others say, they remain far from accurate and reflect a lack of opportunities for Native American performers. What’s more, as Native Americans hunger for representation on screen, critics say the absence of three-dimensional portrayals has very real off-screen consequences.

“Our people are still healing from historical trauma,” said Loren Anthony, one of the actors who walked out. “Our youth are still trying to figure out who they are, where they fit in this society. Kids are killing themselves. They’re not proud of who they are.” They also don’t, he added, see themselves on prime time television or the big screen. Netflix noted while about five people walked off the “The Ridiculous Six” set, 100 or so Native American actors and extras stayed.

Advertisement

But in interviews, nearly a dozen Native American actors and film industry experts said that Mr. Sandler’s humor perpetuated decades-old negative stereotypes. Mr. Anthony said such depictions helped feed the despondency many Native Americans feel, with deadly results: Native Americans have the highest suicide rate out of all the country’s ethnicities.

The on-screen problem is twofold, Mr. Anthony and others said: There’s a paucity of roles for Native Americans — according to the Screen Actors Guild in 2008 they accounted for 0.3 percent of all on-screen parts (those figures have yet to be updated), compared to about 2 percent of the general population — and Native American actors are often perceived in a narrow way.

In his Peabody Award-winning documentary “Reel Injun,” the Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond explored Hollywood depictions of Native Americans over the years, and found they fell into a few stereotypical categories: the Noble Savage, the Drunk Indian, the Mystic, the Indian Princess, the backward tribal people futilely fighting John Wayne and manifest destiny. While the 1990 film “Dances With Wolves” won praise for depicting Native Americans as fully fleshed out human beings, not all indigenous people embraced it. It was still told, critics said, from the colonialists’ point of view. In an interview, John Trudell, a Santee Sioux writer, actor (“Thunderheart”) and the former chairman of the American Indian Movement, described the film as “a story of two white people.”

“God bless ‘Dances with Wolves,’ ” Michael Horse, who played Deputy Hawk in “Twin Peaks,” said sarcastically. “Even ‘Avatar.’ Someone’s got to come save the tribal people.”

Dan Spilo, a partner at Industry Entertainment who represents Adam Beach, one of today’s most prominent Native American actors, said while typecasting dogs many minorities, it is especially intractable when it comes to Native Americans. Casting directors, he said, rarely cast them as police officers, doctors or lawyers. “There’s the belief that the Native American character should be on reservations or riding a horse,” he said.

“We don’t see ourselves,” Mr. Horse said. “We’re still an antiquated culture to them, and to the rest of the world.”

Ms. Cardinal said she was once turned down for the role of the wife of a child-abusing cop because the filmmakers felt that casting her would somehow be “too political.”

Another sore point is the long run of white actors playing American Indians, among them Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn and, more recently, Johnny Depp, whose depiction of Tonto in the 2013 film “Lone Ranger,” was viewed as racist by detractors. There are, of course, exceptions. The former A&E series “Longmire,” which, as it happens, will now be on Netflix, was roundly praised for its depiction of life on a Northern Cheyenne reservation, with Lou Diamond Phillips, who is of Cherokee descent, playing a Northern Cheyenne man.

Others also point to the success of Mr. Beach, who played a Mohawk detective in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and landed a starring role in the forthcoming D C Comics picture “Suicide Squad.” Mr. Beach said he had come across insulting scripts backed by people who don’t see anything wrong with them.

“I’d rather starve than do something that is offensive to my ancestral roots,” Mr. Beach said. “But I think there will always be attempts to drawn on the weakness of native people’s struggles. The savage Indian will always be the savage Indian. The white man will always be smarter and more cunning. The cavalry will always win.”

The solution, Mr. Wente, Mr. Trudell and others said, lies in getting more stories written by and starring Native Americans. But Mr. Wente noted that while independent indigenous film has blossomed in the last two decades, mainstream depictions have yet to catch up. “You have to stop expecting for Hollywood to correct it, because there seems to be no ability or desire to correct it,” Mr. Wente said.

There have been calls to boycott Netflix but, writing for Indian Country Today Media Network, which first broke news of the walk off, the filmmaker Brian Young noted that the distributor also offered a number of films by or about Native Americans.

The furor around “The Ridiculous Six” may drive more people to see it. Then one of the questions that Mr. Trudell, echoing others, had about the film will be answered: “Who the hell laughs at this stuff?”

Native American Actors Work to Overcome a Long-Documented Bias

Pronovost, who played for the Red Wings, was not a prolific scorer, but he was a consummate team player with bruising checks and fearless bursts up the ice that could puncture a defense.

Marcel Pronovost, 84, Dies; Hall of Famer Shared in Five N.H.L. Titles

Gagne wrestled professionally from the late 1940s until the 1980s and was a transitional figure between the early 20th century barnstormers and the steroidal sideshows of today

Verne Gagne, Wrestler Who Grappled Through Two Eras, Dies at 89

WASHINGTON — The former deputy director of the C.I.A. asserts in a forthcoming book that Republicans, in their eagerness to politicize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya, repeatedly distorted the agency’s analysis of events. But he also argues that the C.I.A. should get out of the business of providing “talking points” for administration officials in national security events that quickly become partisan, as happened after the Benghazi attack in 2012.

The official, Michael J. Morell, dismisses the allegation that the United States military and C.I.A. officers “were ordered to stand down and not come to the rescue of their comrades,” and he says there is “no evidence” to support the charge that “there was a conspiracy between C.I.A. and the White House to spin the Benghazi story in a way that would protect the political interests of the president and Secretary Clinton,” referring to the secretary of state at the time, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But he also concludes that the White House itself embellished some of the talking points provided by the Central Intelligence Agency and had blocked him from sending an internal study of agency conclusions to Congress.

Photo
 
Michael J. Morell Credit Mark Wilson/Getty Images

“I finally did so without asking,” just before leaving government, he writes, and after the White House released internal emails to a committee investigating the State Department’s handling of the issue.

A lengthy congressional investigation remains underway, one that many Republicans hope to use against Mrs. Clinton in the 2016 election cycle.

In parts of the book, “The Great War of Our Time” (Twelve), Mr. Morell praises his C.I.A. colleagues for many successes in stopping terrorist attacks, but he is surprisingly critical of other C.I.A. failings — and those of the National Security Agency.

Soon after Mr. Morell retired in 2013 after 33 years in the agency, President Obama appointed him to a commission reviewing the actions of the National Security Agency after the disclosures of Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor who released classified documents about the government’s eavesdropping abilities. Mr. Morell writes that he was surprised by what he found.

Advertisement

“You would have thought that of all the government entities on the planet, the one least vulnerable to such grand theft would have been the N.S.A.,” he writes. “But it turned out that the N.S.A. had left itself vulnerable.”

He concludes that most Wall Street firms had better cybersecurity than the N.S.A. had when Mr. Snowden swept information from its systems in 2013. While he said he found himself “chagrined by how well the N.S.A. was doing” compared with the C.I.A. in stepping up its collection of data on intelligence targets, he also sensed that the N.S.A., which specializes in electronic spying, was operating without considering the implications of its methods.

“The N.S.A. had largely been collecting information because it could, not necessarily in all cases because it should,” he says.

The book is to be released next week.

Mr. Morell was a career analyst who rose through the ranks of the agency, and he ended up in the No. 2 post. He served as President George W. Bush’s personal intelligence briefer in the first months of his presidency — in those days, he could often be spotted at the Starbucks in Waco, Tex., catching up on his reading — and was with him in the schoolhouse in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when the Bush presidency changed in an instant.

Mr. Morell twice took over as acting C.I.A. director, first when Leon E. Panetta was appointed secretary of defense and then when retired Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair with his biographer, a relationship that included his handing her classified notes of his time as America’s best-known military commander.

Mr. Morell says he first learned of the affair from Mr. Petraeus only the night before he resigned, and just as the Benghazi events were turning into a political firestorm. While praising Mr. Petraeus, who had told his deputy “I am very lucky” to run the C.I.A., Mr. Morell writes that “the organization did not feel the same way about him.” The former general “created the impression through the tone of his voice and his body language that he did not want people to disagree with him (which was not true in my own interaction with him),” he says.

But it is his account of the Benghazi attacks — and how the C.I.A. was drawn into the debate over whether the Obama White House deliberately distorted its account of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens — that is bound to attract attention, at least partly because of its relevance to the coming presidential election. The initial assessments that the C.I.A. gave to the White House said demonstrations had preceded the attack. By the time analysts reversed their opinion, Susan E. Rice, now the national security adviser, had made a series of statements on Sunday talk shows describing the initial assessment. The controversy and other comments Ms. Rice made derailed Mr. Obama’s plan to appoint her as secretary of state.

The experience prompted Mr. Morell to write that the C.I.A. should stay out of the business of preparing talking points — especially on issues that are being seized upon for “political purposes.” He is critical of the State Department for not beefing up security in Libya for its diplomats, as the C.I.A., he said, did for its employees.

But he concludes that the assault in which the ambassador was killed took place “with little or no advance planning” and “was not well organized.” He says the attackers “did not appear to be looking for Americans to harm. They appeared intent on looting and conducting some vandalism,” setting fires that killed Mr. Stevens and a security official, Sean Smith.

Mr. Morell paints a picture of an agency that was struggling, largely unsuccessfully, to understand dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa when the Arab Spring broke out in late 2011 in Tunisia. The agency’s analysts failed to see the forces of revolution coming — and then failed again, he writes, when they told Mr. Obama that the uprisings would undercut Al Qaeda by showing there was a democratic pathway to change.

“There is no good explanation for our not being able to see the pressures growing to dangerous levels across the region,” he writes. The agency had again relied too heavily “on a handful of strong leaders in the countries of concern to help us understand what was going on in the Arab street,” he says, and those leaders themselves were clueless.

Moreover, an agency that has always overvalued secretly gathered intelligence and undervalued “open source” material “was not doing enough to mine the wealth of information available through social media,” he writes. “We thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage Al Qaeda by undermining the group’s narrative,” he writes.

Instead, weak governments in Egypt, and the absence of governance from Libya to Yemen, were “a boon to Islamic extremists across both the Middle East and North Africa.”

Mr. Morell is gentle about most of the politicians he dealt with — he expresses admiration for both Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, though he accuses former Vice President Dick Cheney of deliberately implying a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq that the C.I.A. had concluded probably did not exist. But when it comes to the events leading up to the Bush administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq, he is critical of his own agency.

Mr. Morell concludes that the Bush White House did not have to twist intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged effort to rekindle the country’s work on weapons of mass destruction.

“The view that hard-liners in the Bush administration forced the intelligence community into its position on W.M.D. is just flat wrong,” he writes. “No one pushed. The analysts were already there and they had been there for years, long before Bush came to office.”

Ex-C.I.A. Official Rebuts Republican Claims on Benghazi Attack in ‘The Great War of Our Time’

The live music at the Vice Media party on Friday shook the room. Shane Smith, Vice’s chief executive, was standing near the stage — with a drink in his hand, pants sagging, tattoos showing — watching the rapper-cum-chef Action Bronson make pizzas.

The event was an after-party, a happy-hour bacchanal for the hundreds of guests who had come for Vice’s annual presentation to advertisers and agencies that afternoon, part of the annual frenzy for ad dollars called the Digital Content NewFronts. Mr. Smith had spoken there for all of five minutes before running a slam-bang highlight reel of the company’s shows that had titles like “Weediquette” and “Gaycation.”

In the last year, Vice has secured $500 million in financing and signed deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with established media companies like HBO that are eager to engage the young viewers Vice attracts. Vice said it was now worth at least $4 billion, with nearly $1 billion in projected revenue for 2015. It is a long way from Vice’s humble start as a free magazine in 1994.

Photo
 
At the Vice after-party, the rapper Action Bronson, a host of a Vice show, made a pizza. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

But even as cash flows freely in Vice’s direction, the company is trying to keep its brash, insurgent image. At the party on Friday, it plied guests with beers and cocktails. Its apparently unrehearsed presentation to advertisers was peppered with expletives. At one point, the director Spike Jonze, a longtime Vice collaborator, asked on stage if Mr. Smith had been drinking.

“My assistant tried to cut me off,” Mr. Smith replied. “I’m on buzz control.”

Now, Vice is on the verge of getting its own cable channel, which would give the company a traditional outlet for its slate of non-news programming. If all goes as planned, A&E Networks, the television group owned by Hearst and Disney, will turn over its History Channel spinoff, H2, to Vice.

The deal’s announcement was expected last week, but not all of A&E’s distribution partners — the cable and satellite TV companies that carry the network’s channels — have signed off on the change, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.

A cable channel would be a further step in a transformation for Vice, from bad-boy digital upstart to mainstream media company.

Keen for the core audience of young men who come to Vice, media giants like 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Disney all showed interest in the company last year. Vice ultimately secured $500 million in financing from A&E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has invested in Facebook and Netflix.

Those investments valued Vice at more than $2.5 billion. (In 2013, Fox bought a 5 percent stake for $70 million.)

Then in March, HBO announced that it had signed a multiyear deal to broadcast a daily half-hour Vice newscast. Vice already produces a weekly newsmagazine show, called “Vice,” for the network. That show will extend its run through 2018, with an increase to 35 episodes a year, from 14.

Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said when the deal was announced that it was “certainly one of our biggest investments with hours on the air.”

Vice, based in Brooklyn, also recently signed a multiyear $100 million deal with Rogers Communications, a Canadian media conglomerate, to produce original content for TV, smartphone and desktop viewers.

Vice’s finances are private, but according to an internal document reviewed by The New York Times and verified by a person familiar with the company’s financials, the company is on track to make about $915 million in revenue this year.

Photo
 
Vice showed a highlight reel of its TV series at the NewFronts last week in New York. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

It brought in $545 million in a strong first quarter, which included portions of the new HBO deal and the Rogers deal, according to the document. More of its revenue now comes from these types of content partnerships, compared with the branded content deals that made up much of its revenue a year ago, the company said.

Mr. Smith said the company was worth at least $4 billion. If the valuation gets much higher, he said he would consider taking the company public.

“I don’t care about money; we have plenty of money,” Mr. Smith, who is Vice’s biggest shareholder, said in an interview after the presentation on Friday. “I care about strategic deals.”

In the United States, Vice Media had 35.2 million unique visitors across its sites in March, according to comScore.

The third season of Vice’s weekly HBO show has averaged 1.8 million viewers per episode, including reruns, through April 12, according to Brad Adgate, the director of research at Horizon Media. (Vice said the show attracted three million weekly viewers when repeat broadcasts, online and on-demand viewings were included.)

For years, Mr. Smith has criticized traditional TV, calling it slow and unable to draw younger viewers. But if all the deals Vice has struck are to work out, Mr. Smith may have to play more by the rules of traditional media. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and a member of Vice’s board, was at the company’s presentation on Friday, as were other top media executives.

“They know they need people like me to help them, but they can’t get out of their own way,” Mr. Smith said in the interview Friday. “My only real frustration is we’re used to being incredibly dynamic, and they’re not incredibly dynamic.”

With its own television channel in the United States, Vice would have something it has long coveted even as traditional media companies are looking beyond TV. Last year, Vice’s deal with Time Warner failed in part because the two companies could not agree on how much control Vice would have over a 24-hour television network.

Vice said it intended to fill its new channel with non-news programming. The company plans to have sports shows, fashion shows, food shows and the “Gaycation” travel show with the actress Ellen Page. It is also in talks with Kanye West about a show.

It remains to be seen whether Vice’s audience will watch a traditional cable channel. Still, Vice has effectively presold all of the ad spots to two of the biggest advertising agencies for the first three years, Mr. Smith said.

In the meantime, Mr. Smith is enjoying Vice’s newfound role as a potential savior of traditional media companies.

“I’m a C.E.O. of a content company,” Mr. Smith said before he caught a flight to Las Vegas for the boxing match on Saturday between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. “If it stops being fun, then why are you doing it?”

As Vice Moves More to TV, It Tries to Keep Brash Voice

Since a white police officer, Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in a confrontation last August in Ferguson, Mo., there have been many other cases in which the police have shot and killed suspects, some of them unarmed. Mr. Brown's death set off protests throughout the country, pushing law enforcement into the spotlight and sparking a public debate on police tactics. Here is a selection of police shootings that have been reported by news organizations since Mr. Brown's death. In some cases, investigations are continuing.

Photo
 
 
The apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Anthony Hill, 27, was fatally shot by a DeKalb County police officer. Credit Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Chamblee, Ga.
Fatal Police Shootings: Accounts Since Ferguson

Ms. Plisetskaya, renowned for her fluidity of movement, expressive acting and willful personality, danced on the Bolshoi stage well into her 60s, but her life was shadowed by Stalinism.

Maya Plisetskaya, Ballerina Who Embodied Bolshoi, Dies at 89

Over the last five years or so, it seemed there was little that Dean G. Skelos, the majority leader of the New York Senate, would not do for his son.

He pressed a powerful real estate executive to provide commissions to his son, a 32-year-old title insurance salesman, according to a federal criminal complaint. He helped get him a job at an environmental company and employed his influence to help the company get government work. He used his office to push natural gas drilling regulations that would have increased his son’s commissions.

He even tried to direct part of a $5.4 billion state budget windfall to fund government contracts that the company was seeking. And when the company was close to securing a storm-water contract from Nassau County, the senator, through an intermediary, pressured the company to pay his son more — or risk having the senator subvert the bid.

The criminal complaint, unsealed on Monday, lays out corruption charges against Senator Skelos and his son, Adam B. Skelos, the latest scandal to seize Albany, and potentially alter its power structure.

Photo
 
Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, discussed the case involving Dean G. Skelos and his son, Adam. Credit Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The repeated and diverse efforts by Senator Skelos, a Long Island Republican, to use what prosecutors said was his political influence to find work, or at least income, for his son could send both men to federal prison. If they are convicted of all six charges against them, they face up to 20 years in prison for each of four of the six counts and up to 10 years for the remaining two.

Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, of Long Island, who serves as chairman of the Republican conference, emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday night to say that conference members agreed that Mr. Skelos should be benefited the “presumption of innocence,” and would stay in his leadership role.

“The leader has indicated he would like to remain as leader,” said Mr. LaValle, “and he has the support of the conference.” The case against Mr. Skelos and his son grew out of a broader inquiry into political corruption by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, that has already changed the face of the state capital. It is based in part, according to the six-count complaint, on conversations secretly recorded by one of two cooperating witnesses, and wiretaps on the cellphones of the senator and his son. Those recordings revealed that both men were concerned about electronic surveillance, and illustrated the son’s unsuccessful efforts to thwart it.

Advertisement

Adam Skelos took to using a “burner” phone, the complaint says, and told his father he wanted them to speak through a FaceTime video call in an apparent effort to avoid detection. They also used coded language at times.

At one point, Adam Skelos was recorded telling a Senate staff member of his frustration in not being able to speak openly to his father on the phone, noting that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon” carrying a message.

The 43-page complaint, sworn out by Paul M. Takla, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position; it also lays bare the extent to which a father sought to use his position to help his son.

The charges accuse the two men of extorting payments through a real estate developer, Glenwood Management, based on Long Island, and the environmental company, AbTech Industries, in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.

Glenwood, one of the state’s most prolific campaign donors, had ties to AbTech through investments in the environmental firm’s parent company by Glenwood’s founding family and a senior executive.

The accusations in the complaint portray Senator Skelos as a man who, when it came to his son, was not shy about twisting arms, even in situations that might give other arm-twisters pause.

Seeking to help his son, Senator Skelos turned to the executive at Glenwood, which develops rental apartments in New York City and has much at stake when it comes to real estate legislation in Albany. The senator urged him to direct business to his son, who sold title insurance.

After much prodding, the executive, Charles C. Dorego, engineered a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company even though he did no work for the money. But far more lucrative was a consultant position that Mr. Dorego arranged for Adam Skelos at AbTech, which seeks government contracts to treat storm water. (Mr. Dorego is not identified by name in the complaint, but referred to only as CW-1, for Cooperating Witness 1.)

Senator Skelos appeared to take an active interest in his son’s new line of work. Adam Skelos sent him several drafts of his consulting agreement with AbTech, the complaint says, as well as the final deal that was struck.

“Mazel tov,” his father replied.

Senator Skelos sent relevant news articles to his son, including one about a sewage leak near Albany. When AbTech wanted to seek government contracts after Hurricane Sandy, the senator got on a conference call with his son and an AbTech executive, Bjornulf White, and offered advice. (Like Mr. Dorego, Mr. White is not named in the complaint, but referred to as CW-2.)

The assistance paid off: With the senator’s help, AbTech secured a contract worth up to $12 million from Nassau County, a big break for a struggling small business.

But the money was slow to materialize. The senator expressed impatience with county officials.

Adam Skelos, in a phone call with Mr. White in late December, suggested that his father would seek to punish the county. “I tell you this, the state is not going to do a [expletive] thing for the county,” he said.

Three days later, Senator Skelos pressed his case with the Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, a fellow Republican. “Somebody feels like they’re just getting jerked around the last two years,” the senator said, referring to his son in what the complaint described as “coded language.”

The next day, the senator pursued the matter, as he and Mr. Mangano attended a wake for a slain New York City police officer. Senator Skelos then reassured his son, who called him while he was still at the wake. “All claims that are in will be taken care of,” the senator said.

AbTech’s fortunes appeared to weigh on his son. At one point in January, Adam Skelos told his father that if the company did not succeed, he would “lose the ability to pay for things.”

Making matters worse, in recent months, Senator Skelos and his son appeared to grow wary about who was watching them. In addition to making calls on the burner phone, Adam Skelos said he used the FaceTime video calling “because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill,” as he told Mr. White.

In late February, Adam Skelos arranged a pair of meetings between Mr. White and state senators; AbTech needed to win state legislation that would allow its contract to move beyond its initial stages. But Senator Skelos deemed the plan too risky and caused one of the meetings to be canceled.

In another recorded call, Adam Skelos, promising to be “very, very vague” on the phone, urged his father to allow the meeting. The senator offered a warning. “Right now we are in dangerous times, Adam,” he told him.

A month later, in another phone call that was recorded by the authorities, Adam Skelos complained that his father could not give him “real advice” about AbTech while the two men were speaking over the telephone.

“You can’t talk normally,” he told his father, “because it’s like [expletive] Preet Bharara is listening to every [expletive] phone call. It’s just [expletive] frustrating.”

“It is,” his father agreed.

Dean Skelos, Albany Senate Leader, Aided Son at All Costs, U.S. Says
biaya umroh desember di Jatinegara jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh ramadhan di Pondok Kopi jakarta
harga paket umroh maret di Utan Kayu Selatan jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Cililitan jakarta
harga paket umroh januari di Kramat Jati jakarta
paket promo umrah desember di Makasar jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Balekambang jakarta
paket umroh april depok
biaya paket berangkat umroh juni di Makasar jakarta
harga paket berangkat umrah desember di Cakung Timur jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh ramadhan bekasi barat
harga paket umrah ramadhan di Bambu Apus jakarta
promo berangkat umroh awal tahun di Penggilingan jakarta
promo berangkat umrah mei di Pulo Gadung jakarta
biaya paket umrah ramadhan di Cilangkap jakarta
paket berangkat umrah ramadhan di Kelapa Dua Wetan jakarta
biaya paket umroh akhir tahun di Kramat Jati jakarta
harga umrah akhir tahun di Cilangkap jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh juni di Munjul jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah awal tahun tangerang
biaya paket berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Dukuh jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh mei di Cakung Barat jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh februari bekasi utara
harga umrah ramadhan di Lubang Buaya jakarta
biaya paket umroh ramadhan di Kramat Jati jakarta
harga paket berangkat umrah ramadhan di Susukan jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh mei di Kalisari jakarta
biaya umrah mei umrohdepag.com
harga paket umroh ramadhan di Rambutan jakarta
harga berangkat umrah mei di Cipinang Besar Utara jakarta
promo berangkat umroh februari di Kramat Jati jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh maret di Cibubur jakarta
promo umrah desember di Jatinegara Kaum jakarta
paket umroh desember bogor
promo umrah mei di Pulo Gadung jakarta
harga paket umroh juni di Pulo Gadung jakarta
harga paket umrah ramadhan di Kampung Melayu jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh ramadhan di Matraman jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh desember di Kebon Pala jakarta
harga berangkat umroh mei di Kebon Pala jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh januari di Cakung jakarta
paket umroh april di Cipinang Cempedak jakarta
paket berangkat umrah april umrohdepag.com
harga paket berangkat umroh desember di Rawa Terate jakarta
paket berangkat umrah akhir tahun di Rawa Bunga jakarta
harga paket umroh april di Pondok Ranggon jakarta
biaya berangkat umrah januari di Pekayon jakarta
paket promo umrah ramadhan di Duren Sawit jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Cakung jakarta
biaya umrah april di Halim Perdanakusuma jakarta
paket promo umrah maret di Cililitan jakarta
harga umroh desember bekasi selatan
paket umrah desember di Klender jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Bidaracina jakarta
promo umroh maret di Cipinang Besar Selatan jakarta
promo berangkat umrah awal tahun di Halim Perdanakusuma jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh desember di Lubang Buaya jakarta
paket berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Penggilingan jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah mei di Pisangan Baru jakarta
paket promo umroh februari di Rawamangun jakarta
paket berangkat umrah awal tahun tangerang
paket umroh ramadhan di Cibubur jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh januari di Batuampar jakarta
paket berangkat umrah april di Setu jakarta
biaya berangkat umroh februari di Pondok Kopi jakarta
paket umroh januari depok
biaya paket umroh februari di Pondok Kopi jakarta
paket umrah mei di Munjul jakarta
harga berangkat umroh april di Cipinang Besar Selatan jakarta
paket umroh maret di Kampung Tengah jakarta
promo berangkat umroh februari di Utan Kayu Selatan jakarta
biaya umroh ramadhan di Dukuh jakarta
biaya paket berangkat umrah juni depok
paket umroh februari di Bidaracina jakarta
harga umrah januari di Cililitan jakarta
harga paket umroh mei di Cipinang Besar Selatan jakarta
harga umroh januari di Dukuh jakarta
biaya paket umrah desember di Cakung jakarta
biaya umrah akhir tahun bekasi selatan
biaya umrah ramadhan di Kayu Manis jakarta
promo umrah januari di Rawa Bunga jakarta
promo berangkat umroh maret di Pisangan Timur jakarta
biaya paket umrah awal tahun di Pondok Bambu jakarta
paket umrah april di Ciracas jakarta
paket berangkat umroh april di Cawang jakarta
harga paket umroh juni di Pulo Gadung jakarta
harga paket berangkat umrah februari umrohdepag.com
promo berangkat umrah ramadhan di Pisangan Timur jakarta
harga berangkat umrah maret di Bambu Apus jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Jatinegara jakarta
harga paket berangkat umroh maret di Batuampar jakarta
harga paket umroh maret bekasi selatan
biaya paket berangkat umroh april di Ceger jakarta
paket umroh maret di Makasar jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh awal tahun di Makasar jakarta
paket promo berangkat umroh akhir tahun di Jati jakarta
harga paket umroh januari di Cibubur jakarta
biaya umroh mei di Bambu Apus jakarta
paket promo berangkat umrah maret di Klender jakarta
harga umroh ramadhan tangerang