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Thursday’s Headlines: You Can’t Spell ‘Corrupt Senator’ Without ‘Car’ Edition

The indictment of Sen. Robert Menendez more or less began with a fatal car crash that his then-girlfriend Nadine Arslanian caused in New Jersey. Plus other news.

12:00 AM EDT on October 5, 2023

It always starts with a car.

It always starts with a car.

This week's headlines are sponsored by the LIC Summit on Oct. 17. Click graphic for info and tickets.

As the NY Times and North Jersey reported yesterday, the indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez more or less began with a fatal car crash that his then-girlfriend Nadine Arslanian caused in Bogota, New Jersey, in 2018.

And suburban car dependency played a role, too. According to prosecutors, Arslanian needed a car so badly that the senator "was willing to try to suppress an unrelated criminal prosecution for a New Jersey businessman in exchange for a $60,000 Mercedes convertible," the Times reported.

And the whole "interrogation" of Arslanian will remind so many victims of road violence about how easy it is for a driver to get off. "He just jumped on my windshield," the killer driver says. (Watch it below.)

The Mercedes deal also involved alleged insurance fraud by a Menendez-linked trucking company (jump to page 19 of the indictment linked above).

So, as we always say at Streetsblog, all corruption starts with a car.

In other news:

  • The biggest story that probably won't have much impact was the news that MTA Chairman Janno Lieber actually has a stake in the success of Silverstein Properties' casino bid. Yes, the stake is small and yes, Lieber says he's "recused" himself, but it doesn't only look bad. From my perspective as an unrepentant socialist, it is bad. It makes it look like all government is just an oligarchy. Again, from where I sit. (NYDN)
  • The Daily News got a second day out of Mayor Adams's failure to hire the flood coordinator promised by former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Everyone took an angle on the MTA's "20-Year Needs Assessment" report, with the Daily News, NY Times and Gothamist focusing on climate change, Streetsblog focusing on the lack of dollar figures and the Post revealing other flaws (amNY and Crain's played it straight). We might also have some follow-ups, because Dave Colon keeps pitching me angles. And you know me, I love an angle.
  • The driver of a wrong-way moped was killed in a crash with a truck on the Upper East Side. (Upper East Site)
  • Why can't The Bronx have nice things? Ask Veo, the scooter company. (amNY)
  • Hey, car drivers ... cry me a river. (Crain's)
  • It took 13 years, but cops finally arrested killer driver Anthony Cherestal. (NY Post)
  • Hell Gate followed the Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn Dodger story as the former proud resident of Kings County becomes just another Lincoln square.
  • And, finally, you have to hand it to Riders Alliance for a kick-ass video from Fordham Road featuring bus riders angry at the mayor for capitulating to "seven white people" who don't even live in the borough:

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