Charges dropped in alleged threat to shoot South Shore councilman

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Criminal charges have been dismissed against a Brooklyn man accused of threatening to shoot then-Councilman Vincent Ignizio earlier this year in a dispute over property near PS 6 in Richmond Valley.

Douglas C. Auer, spokesman for Acting District Attorney Daniel Master, said prosecutors moved to toss the charges against John DePietro “in the interest of justice” at a Criminal Court proceeding Thursday.

“Although the People submit there was probable cause for the arrest of the defendant on the charges, the People believe they would be unable to sustain their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt at trial,” Auer said.

He said the court file was sealed and he couldn’t comment further.

DePietro was charged with a felony count of making a terroristic threat and a misdemeanor count of second-degree aggravated harassment, stemming from a phone call he made to Community Board 3 in Rossville on April 27.

Under state law, a person is guilty of making a terroristic threat when he or she threatens to commit a specified offense with the intent of intimidating or coercing the public, influencing government policy or affecting government’s conduct by murder, assassination or kidnapping, and there is a reasonable expectation he or she will carry out the threat.

According to court documents, DePietro allegedly told a receptionist: “PS 6 is sending their excess runoff water onto my property. Ignizio ruined my life, he demolished my house; I can’t develop my property because of him.”

After stating his name and phone number, DePietro allegedly added: “Ignizio took my house; I’m going to shoot him.”

At the time Ignizio, a Republican, was the South Shore’s city councilman.

Yan Katsnelson, DePietro’s lawyer, previously told the Advance his client said “sue” instead of “shoot.”

A source with knowledge of the investigation said DePietro’s statements appear to be related to an abandoned building packed with debris and combustible propane and gas tanks that was demolished by the city in December 2007.

The razing of the structure at 527 Page Ave. in Richmond Valley came as a relief to staff at PS 6, located across the street from the building that had 15 open building code violations.

Katsnelson said he was gratified to reach such a favorable resolution for his client.

“(Thursday’s) events proved that my client was telling the truth the whole time, and he never threatened the councilman or anybody else,” said Katsnelson.

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Man accused of shooting NYPD officer in New Jersey


MANALAPAN (WABC) — A man accused of shooting an off-duty New York City police officer made his first court appearance Monday.

The shooting happened after the man apparently found the officer with his estranged wife.

Robert Dunbar made his first appearance in court on several charges; including attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm, his attorney entering his plea.

“We plead not guilty, going for bail reduction,” said Yan Katsnelson, Dunbar’s attorney.
Dunbar’s bail is set at half a million dollars with no cash option and no 10-percent.

He’s accused of breaking into his Manalapan home Friday night, where his estranged wife lives and shooting an off-duty NYPD detective who was visiting Debbie Dunbar.

She ran to this neighbor’s house.

“I was awakened by Debbie banging on the door, she said, ‘Bob shot Lou’,” the neighbor said.

Lou is NYPD Detective Louis Pepe, of the 63rd Precinct in Brooklyn.

Police say Dunbar grabbed Pepe’s service revolver during the struggle and fired, one shot grazing the officer’s shoulder.

Published reports are suggesting a motive of jealousy; That Mrs. Dunbar and Pepe were romantically involved.

“The information my investigators are finding out are saying something different than what’s in the paper,” Katsnelson said.

The neighbor says the Dunbar’s 3-young kids were home sleeping during the altercation.

“I asked Debbie if he was gone, I told my wife to go with her to get the kids,” their neighbor said.

After 20-hours on the run, Dunbar turned himself in Sunday.

His parents and other family were in court Monday.

His mother was reduced to tears when she saw her son on video.

They are trying to raise bail to have Dunbar released.

“He’s doing well, stable, there were reports he was suicidal, but he’s not, he just wants to get out and see his kids,” Katsnelson said.

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Foreclosure Auctions Up While Modifications Stall

Foreclosure Auctions Up While Modifications Stall.

According to the most recent numbers provided by Realty Trac, foreclosure auctions were up significantly in the month of November.  Continuing the trend from October and September, New York and New Jersey both saw an increase in scheduled auctions.

Unfortunately for home owners, the banks have not fixed the mistakes nor have they eliminated the bureaucratic road blocks that have hindered the success of the government’s Making Home Affordable Program, and in turn, have caused hardworking people to lose their homes.  The Treasury Department recently scolded JP Morgan Chase for rejecting eligible homeowners for modifications.  This was the third time this year that Chase was criticized for their failure to help out homeowners.  Other banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Ocwen were criticized earlier in the year, but all were able to improve their practices as the year went along.  Furthermore, a recent Reuter’s article (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/18/us-usa-housing-foreclosures-idUSTRE7BH0C220111218) described the struggles of a couple of Staten Island homeowners.

What makes it worse is that some home owners still think that a modification is a do-it-yourself project or decide to hire a company that will only take their money and waste their time.  Within the past month the federal government has shut down over 100 New York based companies that advertised modification help, yet did nothing but take non-suspecting homeowner’s money.  Most homeowners are struggling to keep up with their work obligations and family life, and therefore, do not have the time necessary to conduct a modification on their own.  A homeowner must be in constant contact with the bank to make sure that the requested documents are received, and they must understand that no homeowner’s financial situation is the same.  Homeowners must also anticipate the problems that will arise with their file.  For example, if a homeowner states that they are collecting rental income, they must be able to prove it by showing  unexpired rental agreements and either rental receipts or deposit of rental income.

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