Issues: Consumer Protection

Local pols reject Morgan Stanley price fixing settlement

The Queens Courier wrote an article about the Department of Justice's $4.8 million settlement with Morgan Stanley for their illegal pricing scheme, which cost ratepayers roughly $300 million. Senator Gianaris and other local politicians are pushing the Dept. of Justice to increase the fine, arguing that the current settlement is unacceptable and would allow Morgan Stanley to keep millions in profit.

Local elected officials are expending “energy” to ensure Morgan Stanley doesn’t get a quick “fix” to its illegal pricing ploy.

January 23, 2012
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Community Victorious Over Strip Club

An editorial by Queens Tribune talks about the State Liquor Authority's denial of the Gypsy Rose strip club's liquor license application, which was a favorable result for Long Island City community members. According to Senator Gianaris, the type of person and business that adult establishments tend to attract are not welcome in Long Island City.

The community spoke and its voice was heard by the State Liquor Authority, who denied the 21 Group Inc.’s application for a liquor license for the Gypsy Rose establishment in Long Island City during a hearing Jan. 18 in Manhattan.

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January 23, 2012
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A slap on the wrist for illegal millions?

The Queens Chronicle investigates the alleged prixe-fixing scheme employed by Morgan Stanley and KeySpan that overcharged New Yorkers for electrictity while garnering Morgan Stanley and KeySpan $21.6 million. Senator Gianaris believes that the Department of Justice's recommended fine of $4.8 million is inadequate.

A price-fixing scheme allegedly concocted by Morgan Stanley and KeySpan, and involving Astoria Generating Co., may have overcharged New Yorkers for electricity while garnering Morgan Stanley and KeySpan millions, according to published reports and two area politicians outraged at the scheme: Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria).

January 20, 2012
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Elderly Passengers Upset About TSA’s Strip Search Denials

CBS posted a video with Senator Gianaris' comments on the TSA's response admitting some wrongdoing. 

Watch the video here.

January 20, 2012
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TSA regrets 'discomfort,' but says elderly fliers weren't strip-searched

CNN reports that although the TSA has altered their responses to the allegations that they wrongfully strip searched two elderly women travelling through John F. Kennedy Airport, they are standing by their statements that neither of the women were asked to remove any clothing. Senator Gianaris believes the TSA has failed in admitting to their misconduct and in making sure their procedures are welcoming to the flying public.  

January 20, 2012
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TSA apology? Two elderly women were screened improperly

The Los Angeles Times investigates the matter involving two elderly women who claim to have been strip searched while travelling through Kennedy Airport and the subsequent denial by the TSA that such strip searching actually occured. Senator Gianaris says that the letter he received from the TSA acknowledges standard procedures were violated but that it didn't go far enough in admitting the strip searches were done and in apologizing to the victims.

The Transportation Security Administration has offered a mea culpa, of sorts, for the screening of two elderly women who said they were partially strip-searched at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in November.

January 20, 2012
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TSA admits wrongdoing in cases of two elderly woman who claim they were strip-searched

The New York Daily News reports that the Deptartment of Homeland Security admitted that TSA screeners violated standard practice in the cases of two elderly women who alleged they were victims of humiliating strip searches at Kennedy Airport.

In an about-face, the feds have admitted wrongdoing in the cases of two elderly women who say they were strip-searched at Kennedy Airport by overzealous screeners.

Federal officials had initially insisted that all “screening procedures were followed” after Ruth Sherman, 89, and Lenore Zimmerman, 85, went public with separate accounts of humiliating strip searches.

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Gianaris, who wrote to the TSA requesting a full investigation, said the feds’ account is still full of holes.

January 20, 2012
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Pols’ power play

The New York Post wrote an article about community leaders from Queens who are complaining that a $4.8 million fine issued to Morgan Stanley for a price-fixing scheme is not enough. Senator Gianaris feels that such an insignificant fine would continue to permit the bank to reap the benefits of its illicit profits.

Two local lawmakers have asked a judge to pull the plug on a deal that leaves victims of a huge electricity price-fixing scheme out in the cold.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., both Queens Democrats, wrote Manhattan federal Judge William Pauley asking him to order Morgan Stanley to refund millions of dollars to Con Ed customers.

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January 20, 2012
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RITCHIE WANTS HEARING ON TV BLACKOUTS

Frustrated Viewers Pay While Contract Fights FesterState Senator Patty Ritchie is calling for a public hearing into the growing incidences of TV blackouts--like the ongoing disputes that have yanked New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres hockey games, and popular programs like "Bachelor" and "Grey’s Anatomy" off some local airwaves--saying consumers are being denied services they are paying for.Senator Ritchie has written to the Chair of the Senate’s Energy and Telecommunications Committee, Niagara Falls-area Sen. George D.

January 18, 2012
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STATEMENT FROM SENATOR MICHAEL GIANARIS PRAISING SLA DENIAL OF LIC STRIP CLUB APPLICATION

“I am thrilled the State Liquor Authority stood with the Long Island City community today when it voted against the Gypsy Rose liquor license application. This neighborhood is no place for a sex-based business, and today’s vote brings us one step closer to ensuring the wholesome, family-friendly environment in which an increasing number of people live and work. It is clear the SLA takes community input to heart and I commend the board for today’s decision.”

January 18, 2012
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TV 'BLACKOUT' COVERAGE

Watch Ch. 5's Jim Kenyon report on my call for a public hearing into recent TV "blackouts" that are denying viewers access to sports and other programming. You can read more about my efforts here.

January 17, 2012
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ASTORIA LEADERS FIGHT TO PROTECT RATEPAYERS

Queens, NY – Continuing their efforts to protect energy ratepayers, Senator Michael Gianaris and Council Member Peter F. Vallone, Jr. are pushing a federal judge to reject the proposed settlement for an illegal price-fixing case involving Morgan Stanley and two western Queens power plants that caused ratepayers to lose nearly $300 million in two years.

January 17, 2012
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January 15, 2012
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Schumer, Gianaris Calling For TSA Passenger Advocates

The Queens Gazette wrote an article about the announcement made by Senator Gianaris and Senator Schumer, which called on the TSA to designate on-duty passenger advocates at airports in order to resolve disputes between passengers and agents over screening issues. 

“While the safety and security of our flights must be a top priority, we need to make sure that flying does not become a fear-inducing, degrading, and potentially humiliating experience,” Schumer said. “Right now, passengers who feel that their rights are about to be violated have nowhere to turn, but by training passenger advocates at each of our airports, the TSA can finally give passengers a voice.”

January 13, 2012
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Senator Fuschillo Reminds Residents to Protect Themselves from ID Theft

With identity theft ranking as the number one consumer fraud complaint, affecting 9 million people nationwide, Senator Fuschillo is reminding residents about steps they can take to protect themselves from identity thieves and scams.

“Identity thieves can create serious financial problems that can take victims weeks, months, or even years to recover from. Following a few simple steps can help consumers better protect themselves and their private information from ID thieves and consumer scams,” said Senator Fuschillo, who has authored several anti-identity theft laws.

Senator Fuschillo offered residents the following tips from the New York State Division of Consumer Protection and the Federal Trade Commission to prevent ID theft:

January 12, 2012
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Committee Meeting: Consumer Protection Meeting

Senate Standing Committee on Consumer Protection Senator Lee Zeldin, Chair 12:30 PM, Wednesday, January 18, 2012 Room 801 LOB

January 18, 12:30 PM - 12:40 PM
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PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT

Identity theft is the number one consumer fraud complaint, affecting over 9 million Americans every year. However, there are steps that you can take to help reduce the risk of your personal information falling into the wrong hands:

STEPS TO TAKE TO PREVENT ID THEFT (from the New York State Division of Consumer Protection and the Federal Trade Commission):

* Regularly Check Your Credit Report. Consumers are entitled by law to one free copy of their credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). A credit report is an important record of an individual’s finances, and is used by creditors, insurers, and other businesses when determining applications for things like credit, insurance, loans, and mortgages. Regularly checking your credit report can help you uncover and report inaccurate information or fraudulent activity. Knowing what’s in your credit report will enable you to act quickly to minimize the damage.

January 12, 2012
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Senator Gianaris discusses MTA issues at a Sunnyside town hall

Senator Gianaris speaking at a Sunnyside town hall, hosted by Councilmember Van Bramer, focusing on MTA issues affecting the neighborhood.

January 12, 2012
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Independent Democratic Conference Releases 2012 Legislative Agenda

 

NEW YORK, NY - The Independent Democratic Conference  released its 2012 legislative agenda Thursday aimed at strengthening this state's economy, improving the lives of New York residents, and preserving New York's progressive tradition.

The agenda was released on the anniversary of the IDC's formation and after a successful year that saw many of the conference's 2011 priorities made into law.

January 8, 2012
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Senator Carlucci Announces Consumer Protection Bill

NANUET, NY – Just in time for the holiday season, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Orange) today announced consumer protection legislation that warns parents of the potential dangers associated with artificial Christmas trees.  Senate bill (S1644) sponsored by the Senator would require that a warning label be attached to any holiday decorations containing lead that are sold in New York State.

December 23, 2011
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