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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Politicians Praise Riverdale Review But Fail to Disclose Conflicts

In this week's Riverdale Review, five politicians (BP Diaz, Councilman Koppell, Congressman Eliot Engel, Assemblyman Dinowitz and State Senator-elect Espaillat) took a not-too-subtle stance on the community boycott raging against the Riverdale Review. They all took full page ads (although I am sure Andy Wolf did not charge them the full freight) to congratulate the Review on 18 years in business. Of course, what 3 of them did not disclose is that they have major conflicts of interest concerning the paper. As previously reported in the Riverdale Press, it was Congressman Eliot Engel who along with Councilman Koppell who helped Andy Wolf acquire the paper 17 years ago by assisting him with obtaining financial support and legal assistance to complete the transaction. So when Councilman Koppell says in his ad "A free press is the hallmark of a great community" he is being about as hypocritical as a politician can be. Before he goes around pretending that the Review is a unbiased newspaper, he should disclose that he was instrumental in making sure Andy Wolf could purchase the paper and he has benefitted greatly from that assistance. The same goes for Congressman Engel. There should be no mystery why Mr. Wolf supports these politicians given this history. The same also goes for Mr. Diaz. One of his top aides is John DeSio, who wrote for the Review for nearly a decade. Just as telling is that when Diaz first ran for BP, Andy Wolf created a blog called Bronx Press Politics that was written almost entirely by -- guess who -- John DeSio. As you can see by checking out the blog (until they take it down), it reads like a Diaz campaign website. So is it any wonder why the public is so cynical about politicians and their motives? And finally, while all these politicians were patting Andy Wolf on the back for his "18th year fighting for better schools and a stronger community" (as Diaz put it), in the very same issue he was busy once again attacking P.S. 24 in 3 of his articles and an editorial. I guess this is what they are referring to as a great service to our community?


  1. "My, oh my...What a highly unethical bunch of hypocrites these five politicians are! It’s shocking to discover the secret relationships that exist BEHIND THE SCENES for this “Gang of Five” … Thanks for helping to connect the dots so that we the public can know rest of the story.

  2. Oh good, hopefully these hypocrites can go down next. I had higher hopes for Espaillat, but looks like he's chosen his side.

  3. Maybe I missed it. Surely Jeffrey Dinowitz, also a Bronx Science Graduate, isn't among them, right? ***mricle***

  4. I never have high hopes for city politicians, but this is very disturbing.

  5. Who do they think they are? How soon these politicos forget who they work for!

  6. In other words, for 17 years Andrew Wolf has been nothing more than a mouthpiece for Engel and Koppell. No wonder he never criticizes these guys! Now we also see that Diaz has joined the gang. Diaz hires DeSio, a mediocre reporter who has written lies at Wolf's bidding, at ~80k in return for a blog by Wolf that writes favorably about Diaz. And Andrew Wolf wants us to think he is the voice of the people. But he has been bought by these politicos. He is in their pockets. Of course, he keeps calling the boycott a "Cassino cabal", but in truth, he, Engel, Koppell and Diaz are a cabal that suppresses public discourse and attacks their political enemies. How disgusting.

  7. Andrew Wolf wants everyone to think he is a muckraker, but he is the one in the muck. He was bought by these politicians years ago. He is as biased as they come. With these revelations,how can anyone believe anything he says? As for the politicians who placed supporting ads in his rag, we can't believe anything they say either. Their "free press" platitudes are merely self-serving. They are trying to protect a yellow journalist who writes glowing reviews for them. Did "muckraking" Wolf ever tell us that Engel is an absentee congressman who lives in Maryland? Or that Koppell is ineffectual and despised by his city council colleagues? Or that Dinowitz is the boss of a political club that is reform in name only? Now we know why these elected officials always look squeaky clean in the Review. Unlike the eponymous animal, Wolf would never bite the hand that feeds him.

  8. I just looked at that web site, BRONX PRESS POLITICS. It's nothing more than a bunch of press releases praising Diaz Jr. No wonder he gave DeSio a job!

  9. By publicizing the hidden connections & conflicts of interest involving the elected officials & Andy Wolf's newspaper, "Bronx Political Chatter" is helping to raise the level of public debate in Riverdale. Thanks & keep up the good work.

  10. I am no longer shocked, horrified or disappointed by the cowardice of politicians.

    When a local politician takes it upon himself to "make a call" for his cronies to a newly appointed community board member in an effort to silence dissent and defend the mismanagement of taxpayer money and the theft of shareholder property by employees of a state supervised housing development, the politician is letting me know that he is not only a coward but a FOOL as well. Mr. Dinowitz called me about a blog from his Assembly Office on Kingsbridge Avenue. He used his position as an Assemblyman to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of EVERY citizen wherever he has a personal interest. He should be censured for doing so.

    If his mission was to ensure his family members continue to receive "top notch" treatment while HUNDREDS of shareholders continue to live in mold contaminated apartments, he FAILED miserably.

    I am the daughter of a Teamster. An Irish American with family far and wide. People of our "ilk" don't run from confrontation, injustice or adversity. We run towards it. We expose it. And then we defeat it.

    If our elected "officials" fall short of the minimal moral expectation of every constituent ... by failing to actively defend and uphold the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution ... we, the people, are DOOMED.

    My faith is reserved for the working people of every income bracket low to middle class. 300 elected officials have done a great job of allowing their egos to nearly annihilate the working class. I have a good feeling about 2011...the year over 100 million strong will hold the 300 accountable. If you think you've seen cowards before, wait until the lights go on and the corrupt scramble for cover like cockroaches...bringing everyone they can grab down with them.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  11. These people are doing tremendous damage to our community and its schools. They all make me sick.

  12. Those five ethically challenged politicians should note that when their lapdog Andy Wolf accuses the officers and board members of SAR Academy & High School of being corrupt, these are the upstanding people he is falsely and maliciously attacking:

    Ludwig Bravmann
    Jack C. Bendheim
    Harvey Beker
    Michael Jesselson
    Sidney Newman
    David M. Sable
    Dr. Bernard M. Weiner
    Dr. Harvey Bennett
    Nachman Mazurek
    Hudi Bellin Askowitz
    Dr. Tzvi Bar-David
    Benjy Belfer
    Louis Benjamin
    Ethan (Tani) Benovitz
    Jeff Bogursky
    Saul E. Burian
    Ilana Chill
    Shelley Cohen
    Adrienne Cooper
    Deborah E. David
    Abe Eisenstat
    Avi Friedman
    Robert M. Friedman
    Stanley Fortgang
    Alan E. Goldberg
    Marvin Goldstein
    Dr. Steven I. Goldstein
    Alan M. Greenberg
    Rabbi Irving Greenberg
    Moshe Greenberg
    Ira A. Greenstein
    Ari Hait
    Adam Ingber
    Benson Jerusalmi
    Esther Joel
    Howard Jonas
    Dr. Dov Kahane
    Nathan Kahn
    Meyer Koplow
    Dr. Michael Kramer
    Faye Landes
    Josh Landes
    Dr. Larry Lerner
    Polina Liberman
    Nathan Lindenbaum
    Dr. Donald Liss
    Steven Major
    Daniel Perla
    Steven S. Pretsfelder
    David Quint
    Michael Raskas
    Tobias B. Schapiro
    Samuel Shapiro
    Gail Schorr
    Mark Semer
    Elissa Shay Ordan
    Susan Shay
    Zev Skolnick
    Marilyn Sopher
    Jonathan Tropper
    Alan Wasserman
    Spencer M. Waxman
    Jonathan N. Wiener

  13. It’s a shame that Ruben Diaz, Jr., Oliver Koppell, Eliot Engel, Jeffrey Dinowitz and Adriano Espaillat cannot recognize a lost cause when they see it. Andrew Wolf is an seething, brainless degenerate who is hellbent on dragging Riverdale down.

  14. It is now painfully clear that the 5 bums who pretend to represent us don’t really care about people like me and my kids.

  15. They're all pathologically lacking in courage!

  16. Since we are on the topic of disclosure, i think its only right that Tony gets a little bit of mud on his face. Once upon a time, Tony Cassino was the campaign treasurer for former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. Andy Wolf and John DeSio often wrote very critical and nasty caricatures of Adolfo and his administration. So i think its safe to assume Mr. Cassino still harbors some anger that his good friend Adolfo was vilified by the Riverdale review.

  17. This is probably the best report on this blog.

  18. The end of the Riverdale Review will be cause for celebration, except by the local politicians.

  19. These dealing and double-dealing local politicians remain professionals only because the voters remain amateurs.

  20. Is it too much to ask the 5 pols to please think of the … school children?

  21. The so-called Gang of Five are nothing more than shifty opportunists!

  22. "Andy Wolf and John DeSio often wrote very critical and nasty caricatures of Adolfo and his administration."-Anon. 12/29, 7;30 am. Tony Cassino should rightly feel some anger about those "critical and nasty caricatures". They were filled with false accusations of wrongdoing by him and Carrion. Where is the proof? Just another example of Andrew Wolf's lies and his practice of character assassination.

    Sadly,it shows that evil is rewarded. John DeSio did Wolf's bidding by signing his name to those lying accusations. Then he put out the kiss-Diaz's-ass blog and got his high-paying job with the BP. It make you wanna puke.

  23. So the Riverdale Review is really a secretly funded attack publication and propaganda machine for the local politicians.

  24. This is symptomatic of the insensitivity and the arrogance of the local elected officials. They have no qualms about engaging unscrupulous backroom deals to prop up a politically motivated scandal rag like the Riverdale Review. Who do these politicians think they work for?

  25. Assemblyman Jeffrey DINOWITZ, Councilman Oliver KOPPELL and the other three politicians only PRETEND to be at the service of their constituents.

    The advertising that they buy in praise of the Riverdale Review is proof that they are HYPOCRITES. In a very real sense, these five politicians are now the DECLARED ENEMIES of SAR, PS 24, RKA and the other schools victimized by Andy Wolf's reckless, lying tabloid.

  26. To Colleen (Dec. 26, 2010 9:32 AM): I agree with you entirely about the local politician Jeffrey Dinowitz, who is obviously a manipulative,
    scheming and petty elected official. I am proud that you stood up so bravely and defiantly to him back when he tried to bully you into obeying him on the Community Board. Keep up your good fight!

  27. Hey Colleen...Jeff Dinowitz is a fool with his head up his ass. Regarding his support of the Riverdale Review, sometime next week, next month, or next semester, Wolf's paper will be gone and Dinowitz will be on the losing side of this.

  28. Dinowitz may be all the things that people say (bully, small-minded, hypocrite, offensive to school parents, etc...), but at least he's not under criminal investigation.

  29. Dear Colleen .... Let's not forget that the whiny and sneaky Jeffrey Dinowitz is not the only political culprit here. Mr. Dinowitz also has four accomplices: Oliver Koppell, Eliot Engel, Adriano Espaillat, and Ruben Diaz Jr. They all deserve our condemnation for their association with the Riverdale Review and its yellow journalist publisher Andrew Wolf.

  30. This week's Riverdale Press has a remarkably powerful letter to the editor signed by TWENTY citizens from Kingsbridge and Riverdale.

    The letter says that the "congratulatory full-page ads these politicians placed on behalf of a publication that has caused so much damage to our community are a blatant betrayal of the public trust."

    The letter writers say that they are "saddened that those we elected to serve and protect have decided not to stand with us, and have put their own interests ahead of the interests of the community."

    Specifically, the letter condemns the following elected officials for their selfish and harmful support of that rag the Riverdale Review:

    1) Congressman Eliot Engel
    2) Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz
    3) State Sen. Adriano Espaillat
    4) Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
    5) Councilman G. Oliver Koppell

    Here's the link to the full letter:,47836?page=1&content_source=

  31. I just read the full letter in The Riverdale Press ... very well said ... Engel, Dinowitz, Espaillat, Diaz & Koppell should be ashamed of themselves.

  32. Yes, it's a good letter. I forwarded it to my friends so they can see what these politicians truly are.

  33. Seriously, someone explain it to me like I'm a dimwitted 12-year-old: how would it benefit local politicians to have around a paper that bashes community institutions and schools? That sort of focus reflects negatively on politicians, and after all they're supposed to be in charge of this stuff.

  34. Don’t be surprised if these self-important politicians try to attack and discredit the boycotters for having the temerity to raise questions about the secret relationship with the Riverdale Review. When criticized, these elected officials often try to change the subject of the debate.

  35. Their complicity with Andy Wolf is a stain on their character and performance as elected officials.

  36. The people have a right to know about how the local politicians are secretly trying to influence their thinking.

    I want to thank the boycott organizers for helping to expose the role played by Messrs. Engel, Dinowitz, Espaillat, Diaz and Koppell as Andy Wolf's partners in deception.

  37. You people in the Bronx are fools for electing these kind of underhanded, self-serving politicians in the first place. That's what you get when you are not selective about who you vote for. So if you want to know who's to blame, you should all just look in the mirror you idiots!

  38. The dimwitted 12-year-old is missing the point. Political Power - The major concern of most politicians is to remain in power. The Review accomplishes this by bashing any and all who threaten the Engel-Dinowitz-Koppell hegemony. Any damage to the community is collateral damage, which they can disavow by blaming others and the Review does this very well. For example,in the case of the schools, the unholy trio can disavow any responsibility while the Review blames the mayor and the DOE.

    The Review never writes anything critical of the trio. (The Review did print some criticism of Koppell once his wife withdrew her weekly ad.) For example, did you ever read that Engel lives in MD? Or that that Dinowitz threatens community board members? Or that Koppell's wife block-busted Tulfan Terrace?

    Unfortunately, in the past the Riverdale Press has often been queasy about questioning the actions of the triumervate. But, unlike the Review, they do not slam opponents.

    Remember, the reason they support the Review is:
    P-O-L-I-T-I-C-A-L P-O-W-E-R.

  39. Funny, but when I think of political power, the last guys I think of would be Eliot Engel, Jeff Dinowitz and Ollie Koppell. They are a dim bunch. They certainly do not rate in the New York pecking order of powerful politicos.

  40. Dim they are, but nasty too when it comes to maintaining their power.

  41. Once those clowns Engel, Dinowitz and Koppell realize that the Riverdale Review is a sinking ship, watch how fast they start distancing themselves from Andy Wolf. Nobody wants to go down with him.

    Also, it's certainly not a smart poltical move to offend the massive number of parents whose kids attend P.S. 24, R.K.A. and S.A.R.

  42. Another week, another full boat of advertisers, this time with a comic twist!

    Marilyn's Diamond Collection (2 ads), C&C Stationery, The Whole You Spa, I & C House Cleaning Services, City University of New York / Partners in Success Conference, Youth Indoor Soccer from I9 Sports, Cithara Hair Salon, The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Manhattan College, Jewish Memorial Chapel, Shalom Jewish Funeral Home, City Funeral Service, Weinstein Memorial Chapel, Salon 5670, Jenni's Salon, Riverdale Y (2 ads, including yet another full-page back page ad), Riverale Oral Health, Lee's Nail Salon, Gotham Driving School, Skyview Apartments (CRAZY low prices), The College of New Rochelle Graduate School, Ponce De Leon Federal Bank, Anita Wolfe Realty, Argo Residential Real Estate, Riverdale Homes, Pasquale's Rigoletto Restaurant,, Relocation Moving & Storage, M. Mehmed Master Craftsman and Contractor, Goodfellas Pizza, Sketch Construction, Sherbee Antiques, and Riverdale Organizer. No ad/testimonial opposite the editorial page this week, just a list of what Wolf feels are some of the problems at PS 24 (as a side note, it is truly disappointing that the Press is asleep on two big local education stories, the lack of an AP at 24 and the new charter school in Kingsbridge recently firing its founding principal and a lot of teachers).

    Oh, right, the comic twist. There's one more ad: A full-color, full-page ad from Wal*Mart! Who knows, if Dems and Republicans can intermingle at a State of the Union address, perhaps one day we'll see Tony Cassino and Andy Wolf laughing and romping through the aisles together at a Wal*Mart location in the Bronx. Dare to dream.