Wednesday, May 31, 2017

PSE&G transformer caught fire and fell from the pole, landing on two cars and causing them to go up in flames in Bayonne, New Jersey

A transformer failure in Bayonne, New Jersey Wednesday sparked a fire that damaged at least two cars and sent plumes of smoke into the sky.

The incident happened in front of a home on Avenue C in Bayonne around 11:45 a.m.

PSE&G said the transformer caught fire and fell, landing on the two cars and causing them to go up in flames as well.

Tavar Hamaakarim tells Eyewitness News she had just gotten her small child out of the car and entered her home when the vehicle caught fire.

"This was very scary," she said. "I heard a big sound, and I saw the car burning."

Neither she nor her son was injured.

"We were upstairs and heard the bang, ran out to see the cars on fire," said Shvan Samakaram, the owner of the other car. "It was shocking the fire shooting from my hood."

Bayonne's Engine 2 and Ladder Tower 2 responded, along with PSE&G. Firefighters sprayed foam on the vehicles, and the utility began work right after to repair the lines to restore power to approximately 53 customers who lost it.

The accident was a near-miss for Raymond Maldonado, whose red mini van was parked right behind the cars that caught fire.

"I'm blessed," he said.

The cause of the failure is under investigation.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday tightened rules on where injury lawsuits may be filed, handing a victory to corporations by undercutting the ability of plaintiffs to bring claims in friendly courts in a case involving Texas-based BNSF Railway Co.

Supreme Court Limits Where Injury Lawsuits Against Firms Can Be Brought 

though BNSF has more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of track and 2,000 employees in Montana, it cannot be held liable for “claims like Nelson’s and Tyrrell’s that are unrelated to any activity occurring in Montana.”

By Andrew Chung | May 30, 2017 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday tightened rules on where injury lawsuits may be filed, handing a victory to corporations by undercutting the ability of plaintiffs to bring claims in friendly courts in a case involving Texas-based BNSF Railway Co.

The justices, in a 8-1 decision, threw out a lower court decision in Montana allowing out-of-state residents to sue there over injuries that occurred anywhere in BNSF’s nationwide network. State courts cannot hear claims against companies when they are not based in the state or the alleged injuries did not occur there, the justices ruled.

BNSF is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Businesses and plaintiffs have been engaged in a fight over where lawsuits seeking financial compensation for injuries should be filed.

Companies typically can be sued in a state where they are headquartered or incorporated, as well as where they have significant ties. They want to curb plaintiffs’ ability to “shop” for courts in states with laws conducive to such injury lawsuits.

Plaintiffs contend that corporations are trying to limit their access to compensation for injuries by denying them their day in state courts.

The case involves two lawsuits against BNSF brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, a U.S. law that allows injured railroad employees to sue for compensation from their companies.

BNSF fuel truck driver Robert Nelson sued in 2011 over a slip-and-fall accident in which he injured his knee. Kelli Tyrrell, the widow of railroad employee Brent Tyrrell, sued in 2014 alleging her husband was exposed to chemicals that caused him to die of kidney cancer.

Neither BNSF employee lived in Montana and their allegations did not occur in the state, according to court filings.

BNSF argued that the Montana courts did not have jurisdiction over the cases. The Montana Supreme Court in May, however, ruled that state courts there can hear cases against BNSF without violating due process rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution because the company does business in the state.

Writing for the majority on Tuesday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that even though BNSF has more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of track and 2,000 employees in Montana, it cannot be held liable for “claims like Nelson’s and Tyrrell’s that are unrelated to any activity occurring in Montana.”

The Supreme Court is also expected to rule before the end of June in a similar challenge brought by drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb, which says it should not have to face injury suits filed by hundreds of out-of-state residents in California over its blood-thinning medication Plavix. The company is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York.

Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the majority on Tuesday, the first ruling he has participated in since joining the court in April.

CORRUPTION IN NEW JERSEY'S JUDICIARY AND LEGAL SYSTEM: Passaic County prosecutor and Judge collude and throw innocent man in jail after he discovered conspiracy against him by Passaic County sheriffs

Dr. Basilis N. Stephanatos, Ph.D., P.E., J.D., Q.E.D.

 CORRUPTION IN NEW JERSEY'S JUDICIARY AND LEGAL SYSTEM: Passaic County prosecutor and Judge collude and throw innocent man in jail after he discovered conspiracy against him by Passaic County sheriffs


Tax foreclosure companies in New Jersey (American Tax Funding, LLC, and others see for example this link: failed to follow the Anti-eviction laws and the Summary Dispossess Act and obtained a writ for removal without a hearing before a law-division judge - they basically used a self-certification and fooled the Office of Foreclosure in Trenton that had no jurisdiction over his real estate property as he had objected to the legal proceedings and no issues were ever adjudicated.

American Tax Funding, LLC, Robert Del Vecchio, Esq. and others also lied to the sheriff that he had threatened them with violence if they try to evict him from his home that he fully owned (no mortgage on the home). The sheriff then lied to the grand jurors that he displayed a gun at them and lied that they were injured.

In any event, five years ago, the grand jury indicts Dr. Stephanatos based on the fraudulent grand jury presentation and the willful failure to disclose to the Grand Jury clearly exculpatory evidence. In 2011, Dr. Stephanatos asked for speedy trial, but that never happened.

In early 2016, Dr. Stephanatos had been publishing in a blog the proceedings of the meritless criminal case against him. Based on the publishing, a good Samaritan came forward who provided evidence that Dr. Stephanatos was framed by Passaic County sheriff officers Lucas and d'Agostino. In his blog, Dr. Stephanatos has been complaining about the violation of hisspeedy trial rights: the delay of the case is now at 5.5 years and running!

In March 2016, and in order to prevent the spreading of the truth, the Passaic county prosecutor, Peter Roby, then claimed that Dr. Stephanatos was crazy and that he must be submitted for psychiatric evaluation. He also claimed that the State’s witnesses could be threatened by Dr. Stephanatos.

Dr. Stephanatos' lawyer, Mr. Miles Feinstein, Esq of Clifton, NJ vehemently opposed the incarceration as violative of his first amendment rights, etc. In any event, they locked him up at the Bergen county jail from March 21, 2016 through May 25, 2016. During the last two weeks of his jail time, a state physiologist came and evaluated him. He found him intelligent, sane and competent. When Dr. Stephanatos asked him why it took them two months to show-up at the jail to evaluate him, he said he only got the assignment during the last week of April 2016.

Dr. Stephanatos then filed a complaint against judge de la Carrera (the judge who ordered his incarceration) with the presiding judge Ernest Capossela. Judge Capossela immediately dismissed Judge de la Carrera from the case and started presiding over the case on his own. He said that what de la Carrera and Passaic county prosecutor, Peter Roby, did was illegal and unconstitutional, as no threats were ever made by Dr. Stephanatos against anyone. All this stuff is in on the record. He made these statements and much more in open court on May 26, 2016 when he ordered Dr. Stephanatos' release.

The corrupt former sheriff officer Ronald A. Lucas
After more than five years on bail, the accuser, Ronald A. Lucas (a sheriff employee) is convicted for insurance fraud for faking his injury. The judge in Dr. Stephanatos' case is fired by the assignment judge, who then proceeds to dismiss the case for a number of reasons: violation of speedy trial rights, perjured testimony, failure to provide discovery, misleading the grand jury, prosecutorial misconduct.

Dr. Stephanatos suffered significant economic and non-economic losses. Many millions in damages.

In addition to the loss of his freedom and the loss of his dignity, he also lost income, family time, etc. You can understand.

The criminal case against Dr. Stephanatos is meritless, that is why it has been delayed for 5.5 years and counting. They have not even provided discovery!

Here are some links regarding Dr. Stephanatos' criminal case:


The corrupt former sheriff officer Ronald A. Lucas has jersey #41


As part of an investigation we have been performing, we discovered that Ronald A. Lucas, a former Passaic County sheriff officer with the Civil Division lied about his on-the-job shoulder injury. Lucas claimed that he fell on the job on June 28, 2011 at 687 Indian Road, Wayne, NJ and that he injured his left shoulder requiring several pins. He then filed a disability claim with the New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits (Police and Firemen Retirement System). He was granted disability for one year with subsequent review. After he retired with claimed disability, he obtained a job as part-time security guard at the Pequannock High School.

We discovered that Mr. Lucas suffered shoulder injuries while playing football and lifting heavy weights over his lifetime. He was a linebacker with the Pompton Lakes Cardinals, using his shoulder to hit and tackle his opponents during practice and during football games. We are attaching a picture showing that he was #41 in the Cardinal’s Pompton Lake football team. Lucas has fallen on his shoulder probably thousand times during his athletic and training career.

Everybody knows that linebackers hit and tackle their opponents using their shoulders. These athletes also lift heavy weights and they end-up injuries their shoulders. He even made the All County Team in 1980, showing how hard he was working out. Based on our investigation, we found that weight lifting athletes do suffer shoulder injuries of the type claimed by Lucas.

He also trained his two sons (Dean Lucas and Ronnie Lucas) into playing TE and DE positions also with the Cardinals football team. In fact, linebackers suffer at least 13.5 percent of all football injuries and at least 65 percent of the linebackers end up undergoing surgery.

We have obtained photos showing Mr. Lucas lifting weights, after his alleged job-ending disability. See for example the attached image that is dated December 2013.

It is obvious to a reasonable and objective person that Lucas (in his mid-50s) took this incident on June 28, 2011 to claim on-the job-injury to be able to repair his previously injured shoulder at taxpayers’ expense and to retire and then blame Basilis Stephanatos for his injuries. After he retired, he started the double dipping. The finest of New Jersey at "work". But he was caught and he will face the consequences.


Monday, September 30, 2013
Two New Jersey Investors Plead Guilty for Their Roles in Bid-rigging Schemes at Municipal Tax Lien Auctions
Investigation Has Yielded 14 Guilty Pleas

Two financial investors who purchased municipal tax liens pleaded guilty today for their roles in a conspiracy to rig bids at auctions conducted by New Jersey municipalities for the sale of those tax liens, the Department of Justice announced.

A felony charge was filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark, against Robert U. Del Vecchio Sr., of Hawthorne, N.J. According to the charge, from in or about 2000 until approximately December 2008, Del Vecchio Sr. participated in a conspiracy to rig bids at auctions for the sale of municipal tax liens in New Jersey by agreeing to allocate among certain bidders which liens each would bid on. Additionally, a felony charge was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Newark, against Michael Mastellone, of Cedar Knolls, N.J. for participating in a similar conspiracy from in or about 2000 until approximately February 2009. The department said that Del Vecchio Sr. and Mastellone proceeded to submit bids in accordance with the agreements and purchased tax liens at collusive and non-competitive interest rates.

“By conspiring to rig the bids of municipal tax liens, the conspirators profited at the expense of those already struggling financially,” said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “Protecting Americans from these types of bid-rigging schemes remains a high priority for the division.”

The department said the primary purpose of the conspiracy was to suppress and restrain competition in order to obtain selected municipal tax liens offered at public auctions at non-competitive interest rates. When the owner of real property fails to pay taxes on that property, the municipality in which the property is located may attach a lien for the amount of the unpaid taxes. If the taxes remain unpaid after a waiting period, the lien may be sold at auction. State law requires that investors bid on the interest rate delinquent property owners will pay upon redemption. By law, the bid opens at 18 percent interest and, through a competitive bidding process, can be driven down to zero percent. If a lien remains unpaid after a certain period of time, the investor who purchased the lien may begin foreclosure proceedings against the property to which the lien is attached.

According to the court documents, Del Vecchio Sr. and Mastellone were involved in the conspiracy with others not to bid against one another at municipal tax lien auctions in New Jersey. Since the conspiracy permitted the conspirators to purchase tax liens with limited competition, each conspirator was able to obtain liens which earned a higher interest rate. Property owners were therefore made to pay higher interest on their tax debts than they would have paid had their liens been purchased in open and honest competition, the department said.

A violation of the Sherman Act carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The maximum fine for a Sherman Act violation may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims if either amount is greater than the $1 million statutory maximum.

Today’s pleas are the 13th and 14th guilty pleas resulting from an ongoing investigation into bid rigging or fraud related to municipal tax lien auctions. Nine individuals – Isadore H. May, Richard J. Pisciotta Jr., William A. Collins, Robert W. Stein, David M. Farber, Robert E. Rothman, Stephen E. Hruby, David Butler and Norman T. Remick – and three companies – DSBD LLC, Crusader Servicing Corp. and Mercer S.M.E. Inc. – have previously pleaded guilty as part of this investigation.

Today’s charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office and the FBI’s Atlantic City, N.J., office. Anyone with information concerning bid rigging or fraud related to municipal tax lien auctions should contact the Antitrust Division’s New York Office at 212-335-8000, visit or contact the Atlantic City Resident Agency of the FBI at 609-677-6400.

Meldrum Mechanical Services, 4455 South Ave., had failed to ensure guarding was in place on one of its automated lathes. OSHA fined $12,675 company in fatal machine-shop accident that killed David Brewer, 49,

Toledo, Ohio firm fined $12,675 in fatal machine-shop accident
OSHA cites 2nd company over fall-safety violations


Published on May 30, 2017 | Updated 1:23 a. m.

The employer of an Oregon man who was killed in December while operating a machine shop lathe has been fined after an investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The agency said Meldrum Mechanical Services, 4455 South Ave., had failed to ensure guarding was in place on one of its automated lathes.

Authorities previously said David Brewer, 49, was killed Dec. 1 when he became entangled in the lathe. An incident report prepared by OSHA said Mr. Brewer was alone in the machine shop when the incident happened about 5 p.m. A co-worker who returned to the shop to check on Mr. Brewer found his body atop the lathe.

Though no one witnessed the accident, OSHA said investigators could see part of what happened from security video. The agency said the interlock doors, which should close when the lathe is spinning, had been disabled.

Meldrum Mechanical Services was cited for a “serious” workplace safety violation and fined $12,675 by OSHA.

OSHA also recently issued a fine of $33,740 to a Toledo construction company after violations were found at a commercial roofing job on Laskey Road in Toledo.

Investigators said that SNS Absolute Construction LLC, 2095 Auburn Ave., had failed to provide fall protection for employees and did not keep proper records to verify employees had received training on fall protection and fall hazards. Investors also observed improper ladder use.

OSHA cited the company for one “serious” and three “repeat” safety violations. Absolute Construction had been cited before for not using fall protection.

Both companies can contest the findings and fines, if they choose to do so.

David Scott 

David Scott Brewer, 49 of Oregon, Ohio, passed away unexpectedly Thursday, December 1, 2016. David was born in Toledo on January 26, 1967 to Dennis L. and LaVerne (Minton) Brewer. He was a Clay High School graduate. David was a machinist for Meldrum Mechanical Services. Anyone who knew David knows he was a friend to all. David loved his Harley motorcycle and attending bike rallies. He had a passion for music with his favorite band being AC DC. He also enjoyed working outdoors, and was a great cook. What he loved most of all was being with his family, friends and of course his dog Bailey!
Surviving are his parents, Dennis and LaVerne; love of his life, Janet Haywood; son, Steven (Sara); brothers, Dennis L. (Suzi), Timothy M. (Susan); 2 grandchildren; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his son, Joseph James.

Costa Roofing, Inc. female worker critically injured after falling 30-feet through a skylight in Norwood, Mass.

Worker Critically Injured In Skyline Fall
Norwood police and fire are at the scene and OHSA has been notified.

By Daniel Libon (Patch Staff) - May 30, 2017 3:32 pm ET

NORWOOD, MA — A worker fell through a skyline on Broadway, public safety officials confirmed.

Norwood Police Chief William Brooks confirmed on Twitter that a woman was seriously injured in the 30-foot fall. Norwood detectives and Norwood Fire are at the scene and OSHA officials have been notified.

A worker told WFXT that the woman was working for a subcontractor and that skylights often have a barrier around them. It is unknown if there was a barrier around the skylights in this incident.

The name of the victim has not been released.


Female worker critically injured after falling through skylight in Norwood

Updated: May 30, 2017 - 7:10 PM

NORWOOD, Mass. - A woman fell through a skylight Tuesday morning in Norwood while working on renovations to the building.

Officials said she was seriously injured in the approximately 30-foot fall. She's currently at Beth Israel in critical condition.

The building reads Sansone's Charter Service, but it has been unoccupied for quite some time. Construction workers from Costa Roofing, Inc. of Milford were there to renovate the building.

A worker on scene told Boston 25 News that the woman was working for Costa Roofing. He said that skylights normally have a barrier around them; it's not known if the skylight at the Norwood business did.

Costa Roofing was cited for failure to have fall protection by OSHA less than a year ago. According to the OSHA citation notification, the violation happened at a property in Weymouth. The violation said that a safety net system or guardrail systems weren't being used to prevent employee falls. The company paid a $1,400 dine and the case was closed.


OSHA said it is investigating.

Erick Begle, 34, with of Begle's Property Maintenance was trimming trees using a BIL-JAX 4527A trailer mounted boom lift when he was electrocuted to death in Cape Coral, Florida

Erick Begle, 34, with of Begle's Property Maintenance was trimming trees using a BIL-JAX 4527A trailer mounted boom lift when he was electrocuted to death in Cape Coral, Florida


A Cape Coral husband and father of four lost his life in a moment while he was just doing his job.

Erick Begle, 34, was trimming trees when he was electrocuted.

NBC2 spoke with Erick's wife, Samantha, about her husband and their four children.

She said some of their kids have health issues, and she's worried about how she's going to provide for them, but at the same time, she's breathing a little easier thanks to help from a friend and support from the community.

"He was 34 years old, healthy, and in blink of an eye ... gone," Samantha said.

"He's always been my rock to get me through everything."

The Begles are part owners of Begle's Property Maintenance. Erick was the sole provider for the family. He was trimming trees in a Cape Coral neighborhood when he hit a powerline.

"The life insurance policy that we thought we had on him, we don't, and at this point, I don't know what we're going to do to provide for our kids."

A family friend set up a GoFundMe account for the family. It has raised more than $9,600 so far.

"She never asked, she's not asking for a dollar, a penny, nothing. But, it's just the fact of a mother myself, a wife, thinking what would be helpful?" said Heather Sperrazza, who set up the account.

"It's going to help a lot. We do have some children that are not exactly healthy children, and it's been a struggle for the last few years already so this definitely threw me for a curve ball," Samantha said.

She also wants to thank everyone who has reached out in support.


Man electrocuted in Cape Coral

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A man was electrocuted and died, Saturday, while he was trimming a tree for a client on Vendome Court, off Cape Coral Street.  Erick Begle, 34, with of Begle's Property Maintenance was trimming trees using a BIL-JAX 4527A trailer mounted boom lift when he was electrocuted to death in Cape Coral, Florida.

The area was blocked off with crime scene tape through the afternoon, but has since cleared. Glenn Embrie, who lives at the home where the accident happened called it tragic. "I wasn't home. I got the phone call from one of the neighbors that everything was going on," he said. "Apparently he touched the power line with the pole-saw."

The man, whose identity has not been released by police, was a local landscaper in the area and a father of four, according to Embrie.

Fox 4 spoke with a neighbor who saw the aftermath of the accident. "I came out and I saw the guy in the air and he was burnt," he said.

Fox 4 reached out to LCEC, the power company that serves the area, and we have not heard back yet. However, LCEC and FPL offer tree trimming services to avoid dangerous accidents like this one. FPL's tree trimming service can be reached here. LCEC's service can be reached here.

Cal-OSHA is looking at other speed slides in California water parks to compare them with the Emerald Plunge in Dublin, CA where a boy was injured Saturday during the grand opening of the waterpark.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 05:38PM
DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- Cal-OSHA is looking at other speed slides in California water parks to compare them with the Emerald Plunge in Dublin where a boy was injured Saturday.

The park was closed Tuesday, but investigators were drilling into the angle of the green slide better known as The Emerald Plunge. Cal-OSHA says many speed slides in California have 30-degree drops. The Emerald Plunge is pretty extreme with an 80-degree drop.

On the park's opening day Friday, a 10-year-old boy fell off of the Emerald Slide. He was checked out at the hospital and is OK.

On Saturday, a 10-year-old boy careened out of the bottom trough of The Emerald Plunge slide during the grand opening of the waterpark.

The day before, Cal-OSHA gave the green light and issued a permit for the ride after they said the water park, owned by the city of Dublin, corrected a long list of issues noted in an April inspection-- including loose bolts at the base.

They're zeroing in on what they say appeared to be pooling or puddling of water in the trough at the bottom.

"Because that may have contributed to the accident, that's one of the things they're looking very very closely at," said Erika Monterroza, a spokesperson for Cal-OSHA.

"I have asked if there are other slides like this one at other parks in California. I am waiting for a response," said Monterroza.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Cal-OSHA said they are actively pulling records for each and every speed slide across the state with similar angles and heights.

The manufacturer of the slide and many others, White Water West issued the following statement: "We are thankful the 10-year-old involved in the incident walked away without any serious injury."

They said they are working closely with officials at Dublin's Waterpark, where both of the high-speed slides are closed down during the investigation.

Thousands enjoyed the new park over the weekend. It will reopen on Saturday.


Boy flies off slide at Dublin water park on opening day

A 10-year-old boy was thrown from a water park slide on the water park's opening day in Dublin Saturday. (KGO)

by Leslie Brinkley
Saturday, May 27, 2017 03:48PM
DUBLIN, Calif. (KGO) -- A 10-year-old boy from San Francisco was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he slid off a waterslide at a new Dublin waterpark Saturday. He was treated for scrapes and then released.

The boy went down a new three story slide called the Emerald plunge. As he came down and got to the bottom of the slide he flew up and over the edge and rolled onto the concrete. That slide is now closed as is the blue slide next to it. They both have steep 80-degree drops.

This was the very first day this city owned water park was open. It's called "The Wave" and cost $43 million to build. Hundreds of other people stayed at the park Saturday afternoon, most of them unaware of the accident. They enjoyed the other four slides and the pools. The assistant city manager witnessed it all. "I was standing there. He seem to be shook but seemed to be OK. He immediately got up and went into the first aid room. He was assessed by staff and his parents were here," Linda Smith said.

The city of Dublin says the slides went through extensive testing and were just permitted yesterday. The manufacturer was on site Saturday, and will see if they need to add a weight requirement or adjust the pressure or flow of the water on the slide.