By Ben Brasch,
Kelsey Ables and
Updated September 13, 2023 at 10:43 a.m. EDT|Published September 13, 2023 at 8:47 a.m. EDT
Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted killer who escaped a Philadelphia-area prison in late August, has been captured, officials announced Wednesday morning, ending a 13-day manhunt that involved hundreds of law enforcement officers, temporarily closed nearby schools and put the surrounding area on edge.
Pennsylvania State Police Lt. George Bivens said at a news conference that an aircraft picked up a heat signature about 1 a.m. Wednesday and that after weathering a storm a tactical team crept up on the area.
Once the team moved in, Cavalcante detected them and started to crawl away through thick underbrush with a stolen rifle in tow. “It played out very quickly then,” Bivens said. A K-9 dog “subdued” Cavalcante, leaving a minor bite wound on his scalp as he tried to escape.
PUBLISHED: September 13, 2023 at 1:26 p.m. | UPDATED: September 13, 2023 at 3:24 p.m.
A series of much-anticipated indictments unsealed in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday accused former New York City Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich of accepting and soliciting $150,000 in bribes – including season tickets to the Mets and a painting by the last surviving apprentice of Salvador Dali – by brazenly exploiting his elected and appointed government positions.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said “at every possible turn” Ulrich, 38, used each of his taxpayer-funded positions – city council member, senior advisor to Mayor Adams, and the city’s Buildings boss – to line his pockets with money he mostly spent on gambling.
“He is charged alongside businessmen, friends, and associates, who paid him in return for access and favors,” Bragg said. “Whether appointed or elected – and Ulrich was both, over the years – when you enter public service, you are bound to abide by laws, ethics, and regulations that are essential to the public trust. Flying in the face of all of that, Eric Ulrich, we allege, monetized each elected and appointed role that he held in New York City government. Each and every one.”
Among the six others charged in five indictments naming Ulrich as a defendant were brothers Joseph and Anthony Livreri, who co-own Aldo’s Pizzeria in Queens, tow truck magnate Michael Mazzio, Brooklyn real estate developer Mark Caller, DOB filing representative Paul Grego, and former city Corrections Officer Victor Truta.
As a city council member, Ulrich hired Livrevi as a part-time aid and ensured Grego got the docs he needed to apply for permits. He helped Mazzio resolve licensing problems with the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protections when he was a senior adviser to Adams and his daughter get a pay rise and better job at the city DOC, Bragg said his two year investigation found.
“He also pulled strings to make sure that the Livreri brothers’ companies, including a pizza parlor and a bakery, passed inspections and stayed open for business,” the DA said, fast-tracking a health inspection after their businesses were shut down for health code violations.
“And in less than seven months as the Department of Buildings commissioner, a position of significant trust for our city’s development – not just the safety of our residents, but also our workers – he attempted to help Mark Caller and his real estate firm secure a zoning change to build a luxury building in Rockaway Park.”
When DOB staff resisted, Ulrich moved to hire and reassign them based on what Grego wanted, the DA said.
Much about the case against Ulrich has been public knowledge for months, with tidbits leaking out to various news outlets, including the Daily News, since July. The News reported that Ulrich told Bragg’s prosecutors that he first learned he might be in trouble in May 2022 from Mayor Adams shortly after his appointment as Buildings boss.
Adams allegedly told Ulrich to “watch your back and watch your phones.” Six months later, he was out of City Hall after DA investigators seized his phone, and the criminal probe hit the headlines.
The mayor has denied the encounter and has not been accused of criminal wrongdoing. Bragg did not directly answer whether he had evidence Adams knew Ulrich was being investigated, citing strong cooperation from the city. He similarly did not speak to whether the defendants have mob ties, as has been reported, nor how some are reported to have been major donors to Adams.
Ulrich was expected to plead not guilty to charges including conspiracy, receiving bribes, and offering a false instrument for filing. His lawyer, Sam Braverman, did not immediately comment on the charges.
This story will be updated.
Michael Gartland | City Hall reporter
Michael Gartland is an award-winning reporter who’s covered four NYC mayors. Prior to coming to The News, he worked for the NY Post, The Bergen Record and The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.
09/13/2023 03:13 PM EDT
NEW YORK — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg released a multi-count indictment Wednesday of former Department of Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich, accusing him of abusing his position and in his role as a former adviser to Mayor Eric Adams.
Ulrich surrendered to authorities and was expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon. He was among seven people charged in the wide-ranging indictment.
The charges are more expansive than previous reporting has suggested: Ulrich is accused not only of misdeeds as head of the city’s buildings department, but also his role as a one-time confidante to Adams and as a former member of the City Council, where he served as a Republican lawmaker from 2009 through 2021.
“We allege that Eric Ulrich accepted or solicited more than $150,000 worth of bribes in less than two years by monetizing each elected and appointed role he held in New York City government,” Bragg said.
“At every possible turn, he allegedly used his taxpayer-funded positions as City Councilmember, then senior mayoral advisor, and finally Department of Buildings commissioner to line his pockets.”
Ulrich’s attorney, Samuel Braverman, told POLITICO he would refrain from commenting until after the arraignment Wednesday afternoon.
Manhattan prosecutors, along with the city’s Department of Investigation, have accused Ulrich of accepting $150,000 in cash and gifts over a two-year period covering each of the three jobs in government. In general, the indictment lays out multiple cases where Ulrich is accused of nudging city government to help a particular friend or acquaintance and then receiving money or gifts in exchange.
In particular, the indictment alleges Ulrich used his position to benefit brothers Joseph and Anthony Livreri, who own a Queens pizzeria, and Michael Mazzio, who owns a towing company, by expediting various inspections and violation remedies at businesses run or connected to the trio. In exchange, Bragg alleged that Ulrich received money he used to gamble at an illegal gaming club in Ozone Park, which was partially owned by Joseph Livreri.
From the New York Times
Sept. 13, 2023Updated 2:30 p.m. ET
Manhattan prosecutors on Wednesday charged the former commissioner of New York City’s Buildings Department with accepting or soliciting more than $150,000 in bribes, using his power to help friends and associates and reaping New York Mets season tickets, a custom suit, a painting by an apprentice of Salvador Dalí and cash for gambling.
The details of the charges were announced by the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, and the head of the city’s Department of Investigation, Jocelyn Strauber. Mr. Ulrich was scheduled to be arraigned at 2:15 p.m.
In a statement, Mr. Bragg said that Mr. Ulrich accepted or solicited the bribes over just two years as a city councilman, senior adviser to Mayor Eric Adams and finally as the commissioner of the Department of Buildings.
“At every possible turn,” Mr. Ulrich used his taxpayer-funded positions “to line his pockets,” Mr. Bragg’s statement said. He elaborated further at a news conference where he scolded the former commissioner for abusing his public offices.
Morocco’s Quake Zone Now Fears for Its Livelihood, Too
Reporting from the earthquake-stricken village of Ouirgane in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.
Sept. 13, 2023Updated 3:09 p.m. ET
Before the tourists came to marvel at the valley cradled in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, with its arid red slopes splashed with lush green and its deep-blue lake, the only living to be made was in olive farming, and not much of a living at that.
Then came the modest little hiking lodge and the luxury resort, and the quasi-palace owned by the British entrepreneur Richard Branson and the inns set up by the people of the Ouirgane Valley, many of whom are members of the Amazigh ethnic group, more commonly known as Berbers.
As more and more tourists discovered over the last few decades that the area was only an hour’s drive from the city of Marrakesh, the residents of villages like Ouirgane got jobs as guides for mule riding and hiking, drivers, waiters, hoteliers, restaurateurs and more.
Many were able to move back home from Moroccan cities like Marrakesh and Essaouira, where they had taken jobs to support families in their villages.
Sept. 13, 2023Updated 12:28 p.m. ET
On a sweeping patio overlooking the golf course at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., former President Donald J. Trump dined Sunday night with a close political ally, Marjorie Taylor Greene.
It was a chance for the former president to catch up with the hard-right Georgia congresswoman. But over halibut and Diet Cokes, Ms. Greene brought up an issue of considerable interest to Mr. Trump — the push by House Republicans to impeach his likely opponent in next year’s election.
“I did brief him on the strategy that I want to see laid out with impeachment,” Ms. Greene said in a brief phone interview.
Mr. Trump’s dinner with Ms. Greene came just two nights before Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced his decision on Tuesday to order the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, under intense pressure from his right flank.
By Cecilia Kang
Reporting from Washington
Sept. 13, 2023Updated 12:35 p.m. ET
Yet in Washington, lawmakers have struggled to keep up with the technology, which they are only beginning to understand.
On Wednesday, both sides collided in one of the tech industry’s most proactive shows of force in the nation’s capital. Elon Musk of Tesla, X and SpaceX, Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, Sam Altman of OpenAI, Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Jensen Huang of Nvidia are among a dozen or so tech leaders in Washington for the bipartisan A.I. Insight Forum, organized by Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, along with labor union leaders and civil society groups.
The closed-door meeting is the first in a series of crash-course lessons on A.I. for lawmakers. More than that, it is an opportunity for tech leaders who represent companies with a collective value of more than $6.5 trillion to influence A.I.’s direction as questions swirl about its transformative and risky effects. And it is a chance to be seen as relevant and leading on the technology.
SEOUL—Kim Jong Un got the treatment worthy of a head of state in an unusual setting—a tour as Vladimir Putin’s guest at the Vostochny Cosmodrome east of Russia’s Amur River from which the Russians have been launching rockets into space since 2016.
The personal tour on Wednesday, followed by a sumptuous state dinner, may signal that the Russians are willing to provide Kim’s regime with the technology needed to fulfill his dream of putting satellites into orbit as a reward for supplying Russian forces with much needed artillery shells. North Korea was also expected to sell the Russians a wide range of other infantry and artillery equipment from its stockpiles as well as brand new stuff being produced in factories hidden around the country.
By Jack Tamisiea
Sept. 12, 2023
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When a mountain-size slab of space rock rammed into the Yucatán Peninsula 66 million years ago, the fallout was apocalyptic. Tsunamis washed away coastlines, raging fires engulfed forests and dust and debris blotted out the sun for months. Roughly three-fourths of the planet’s species, most notably non-avian dinosaurs, were wiped out.
But one group appears to have weathered the maelstrom. In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters, researchers present evidence that flowering plants survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene, or K-Pg, mass extinction relatively unscathed compared with other living things on Earth at the time. The catastrophe may have even helped flowering plants blossom into the dominant green things they are today.
“It’s just bizarre to think that flowering plants survived K-Pg when dinosaurs didn’t,” said Jamie Thompson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Bath and one of the authors of the study.
From the NYTimes
By Guy Trebay
Sept. 13, 2023Updated 2:33 p.m. ET
“Nothing has a vibe anymore,” Carlos Quirarte said last Thursday, quickly adding the disclaimer that “people use the word vibe, or whatever, way too much.’’
As a restaurateur and urban Pied Piper who, over the past decade, has turned one establishment after another — the Smile, Le Turtle, Ray’s, Jac’s on Bond — into outposts for a certain demographic of urban cool kids, Mr. Quirarte ought to know a vibe when he catches one.
So, too, should his ride-or-die, the actor Justin Theroux, who’d accompanied him that evening to a party celebrating an exhibition of, well, luggage.
On the face of it, an event built around some extremely stylish, fanciful, cleverly customized, costly suitcases (about $650 to $2400) holds limited promise. And yet, like so many other events in an era when real-life experience often takes a back seat to its digital doppelgänger, this one had it all.