Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo
Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo
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Cumbo gifts 25 percent of capital budget to museum she created
by Jess Berry
Jul 22, 2014 | 109 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo
Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo
slideshow
Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo’s recent allocation of $1.4 million of capital budget funding to a museum that she founded and later directed has made skeptics of some residents of District 35 in Brooklyn. Cumbo founded the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts (MoCADA) in 1999 and later served as its executive director until she was elected to represent District 35, which includes Fort Greene where the museum is located. The $1.4 million gift amounts to almost 25 percent of her total $5.8 million budget. Cumbo was quoted in Capital New York defending her decision. “This is an African diaspora art institution that is doing valuable vital work, that’s serving tens of thousands of people,” Cumbo is quoted as saying. “It’s the only African diaspora institution of its kind in the district that is serving a vast majority of people of color, and I don’t think it should close because I’m a council member.” Council members often allocate money to institutions that they have been previously affiliated with, and there is nothing illegal about her decision. That is not the issue, however, according to one resident and local activist who chose to remain anonymous. “We know it’s not illegal, but it’s not passing the political smell test,” she said. The real issue, the resident said, is the lack of transparency. “Laurie Cumbo has been secretive in office,” she said. “She’s been in office for six months. People can’t get through to her. Calls and emails have gone unanswered; she doesn’t show up to community meetings. And then all of a sudden, she gives a gigantic award to an institution that has her name on it. That’s the problem. It’s the shroud of secrecy.” Cumbo’s office did not respond to multiple calls for comment. MoCADA Executive Director James Bartlett, however, said that the funding was entirely legal and completely deserved by the museum. “At the end of the day, we’re an important arts institution in Laurie’s district, and unless someone can find a more worthy institution that deserves the funding more, then I don’t see why it’s a problem,” Bartlett said. The museum is preparing for a $9 million expansion and relocation to a permanent home across from BAM Park at 48 Lafayette Ave., according to Bartlett. The money from Cumbo will help achieve that goal and allow for the expansion of the museum’s numerous programs both in and outside of the museum. When the full funding is collected and MoCADA moves to its new location, it will become the first-ever permanent space for a black arts museum in Brooklyn. So far MoCADA has collected $6.1 million of that $9 million goal, with the allocation from Cumbo matched by the Department of Cultural Affairs, and additional funding coming from other politicians and institutions. Bartlett pointed out that Cumbo was not the first council member to allocate significant funds to the museum. In 2012, Letitia James, who then served in the City Council and is now the city’s public advocate, gave the museum $2.5 million, he said. The concerned local resident responded, saying that giving money to the museum is “legitimate,” but that “there are tons and tons of smaller organizations for whom ten thousand dollars would be a lifeline,” and she was curious how, or if, these institutions were being funded. “There is nothing exactly wrong with all of this, but there is nothing open or honest about it either,” she said.
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Eddie Kunkel
Jul 22, 2014 | 116 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Eddie Kunkel passed away on Friday, July 18, 2014 at the age of 26. Beloved Son of Francine A. and Edmund Kunkel Sr. Loving Brother of Annemarie Kunkel. Cherished Grandson of Maria & the late Salvatore Ottomanelli & Leo and Helga Kunkel. Dear Nephew of Jerry Ottomanelli, Michael Ottomanelli, Frank Ottomanelli and Rudy Kunkel. Also survived by numerous loving cousins and friends. Mass of Christian Burial was offered at St. Mary’s Church on Wednesday July 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM Interment followed at St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378 www.papaverofuneralhome.com
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Estate Planning Basics for Newlyweds – How to Get Prepared for the Unexpected
by RobinsonlawPA
 The Robinson Law Firm
Jul 22, 2014 | 275 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

It’s that time of year – the time for beautiful weddings, fun receptions, delicious cakes, special gifts, and romantic honeymoons. While this is a joyous time for everyone, it’s also time for you and your new spouse to plan for your future – for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health.

Why Newlyweds Need to Plan Their Estates

Why should newlyweds care about estate planning? Because everyone – young or old, married or single – needs to protect themselves and those they love.

Unfortunately, many couples spend more time planning their honeymoon than they do planning the best way to protect each other.

What Happens Without an Estate Plan?

This fallout of becoming incapacitated or dying without an estate plan is serious, expensive, and painful. It often causes financial ruin and family discord, lasting for generations.

Without an estate plan:

  • You will leave your spouse and the rest of your family in the dark – they won’t know what you would want to happen if you became incapacitated or died. This often leads to family fights as each individual champions for what she thinks you would have wanted.

  • You’ll leave a huge burden on your loved ones to make tough decisions about medical heroics and the withdrawal of life support.

  • The court or state law, not you, will decide who makes health care decisions if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

  • A judge, not you, will decide who raises your children.

  • The court can lock down your assets so even your spouse has to get court permission before making a financial move.

  • Any assets you leave to loved ones can be taken by their divorcing spouses, bankruptcy creditors, medical crisis creditors, predators, and frivolous lawsuits.

  • You may accidentally disinherit your spouse and your children.

  • Your beloved pet could end up in a shelter or euthanized.

What Should You Do?

We invite you and your new spouse to telephone our office to set up a meeting and discuss a customized estate planning solution that is right for you. We’ll walk you through how to protect each other and those you love; how to protect your beloved pets; and how to protect your assets and make things easier for you and your families. Call now; we look forward to hearing from you.



Contributed by Dahlia Robinson-Ocken on 07/22/2014

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