Gounden is being prosecuted by the notoriously racist Queens County District Attorney’s office. It’s the only DA office in New York that does not have a Conviction Review Unit. In Brooklyn alone, more than 30 wrongfully convicted people, mostly of color, have been exonerated including in murder cases.
The case against Gounden is another phony one, similar to the more than a dozen others, all stemming from wrongful arrests by officers from the 106 precinct and leading to serial malicious prosecution by the Queens DA.
The case that heads to trial Monday is so bogus that even the wife of the complainant told her own husband, Joseph Adorno, that she was prepared to tell the court that he “made up” the whole thing. Still, the ADA, Peter Lomp, is pressing on with the case.
This is not surprising. The same Queens DA’s office has been in cahoots with the corrupt NYPD 106 precinct whose officers always initiate the cruel charade by arresting Gounden. It’s part of a politically- and racially-motivated vendetta that dates to 2007. The same 106 precinct is also home to Valerie Cincinelli, the officer arrested in March and charged with plotting to kill her husband. Cincinelli too has been involved in one of the more than a dozen arrests of Gounden through the years.
Many readers of The Black Star News and listeners of WBAI Radio are familiar with Gounden’s ordeal.
He’s lost his home and businesses and his wife, just as the hate-mongers planned. In fact a married NYPD officer is now carrying on relations with his wife and moved into his home.
Today we focus on some of the cases.
Gounden’s crime is that he’s a dark-skinned ethnic Indian from Guyana who had the audacity in 2007 to buy a two-house waterfront property for $800,00 and move in with his family to Howard Beach. He’d worked several jobs and saved for decades and had support from his family. His American Dream became a nightmare. He immediately faced backlash from his White neighbors, including dumping of garbage on his yard and people relieving themselves on his compound. It culminated in an attack by a bat-wielding neighbor spewing the N-word. There was plenty of coverage in New York media when the attacks started in 2007. In an article dated Aug. 24, 2007, under the headline “Family Haunted By Hate In Queens” The New York Daily News described the harassment as akin to something “from the deep South circa 1950.”
The Goundens had NYPD police protection 24 x 7 for months. At the time there was push-back from then New York City Council member Joseph Addabbo Jr., now a state senator, who claimed it was Gounden who had played the race card. After the NYPD protection was withdrawn, retaliatory actions by the 106 precinct and the Queens County DA’s office began.
Numerous city agencies starting writing up tickets and issuing fines to violations that previously didn’t exist on Gounden’s residential as well as apartment rental properties. Things escalated when officers from the 106 started arresting Gounden on concocted allegations, leading to malicious prosecution by the Queens DA. Invariably, a judge dismisses the case or Gounden is acquitted. There is another arrest, new charges; and the cycle is repeated. At no point has any of the judges, who are party to the circus, seen fit to say “enough is enough.”
One of the most obnoxious cases against Gounden, covered by The Black Star News, stemmed from an arrest in August, 2015. Gounden was charged with switching price tags on merchandize at a Home Depot store so he could pay $80 less and the case lasted for over two-and-one-half-years; all on the taxpayers’ dime.
The Queens County DA maintained for years that he had a video of the alleged crime, yet kept asking for one adjournment after the other. The judge handling the case for most of the period, Michelle Johnson, routinely granted the request.
Finally, during one session an ADA named Brian Cox told Judge Johnson he couldn’t locate the incriminating video. It was also impossible to obtain a new copy because Home Depot’s policy was to destroy videos two weeks after incidents, he claimed; the arrest was from 2015. Gounden filed a motion for Johnson to sanction Cox for destroying Brady material. On the next court date Cox, miraculously, claimed he’d obtained a new video from Home Depot; notwithstanding the two-weeks destruction policy he’d previously claimed. In front of Judge Johnson –witnessed by this reporter– Cox handed a DVD container to Gounden. When Gounden stepped out into the hallway and opened the DVD container, it was empty.
Gounden immediately returned into the courtroom and told Judge Johnson about ADA Cox’s scam. Cox handed Gounden another container, this time with a DVD inside. Gounden took it to five different computer experts who all told him there was no retrieval-information on it. On the next court date Cox returned with a senior ADA named Kevin Fogerty to press on with the case. Basically, the ADAs wanted Johnson to convict Gounden because two White men –the ADAs– were saying he was guilty. They had not a shred of evidence.
Johnson acquitted Gounden on the Home Depot case on Feb. 22, 2018. No disciplinary action has been taken against ADA Cox for charade; he’s still with the Queens DA’s office.
There are several other cases of malicious prosecution against Gounden covered by The Black Star News available via an online search.
There was also a campaign to damage Gounden’s reputation when a Jan. 15, 2014 story in The New York Daily News referred to Gounden as aslum lord whose building were in disrepair. The story neglected to mention that Gounden had been unable to maintain his apartment rental buildings because the City had issued hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for bogus violations. Unable to pay, the City then stopped payments for Section-8 tenants on his properties as The Black Star News reported in a subsequent article.
Ironically, when the city agency HPD first started writing the bogus tickets and slapping Gounden with the fines, way back in 2007, The Daily News wrote an article about it. One article, on Aug. 25, 2007, under the headline “NYPD Is Probing Police Race Bias In Howard Beach” reported: “Inspectors went to Gounden’s home nine times in the past year, according to Buildings Department records. Seven of the complaints resulted in fines totaling $10,500.”
The case that is being tried beginning Monday is just as bogus as the Home Depot case. Here is the background:
On Feb. 5, 2018, Gounden was driving from his grandmother’s home –he’s lived with her since harassment by officers from the 106 drove him from his own nearby home– in Queens to pick up his three young children from school. He’d stopped at a red light when a man he later learned was an NYPD auxiliary police officer named Joseph Adorno, repeatedly bumped the back of his car with his black BMW. Adorno repeated the attack at the next street light. When Gounden pulled over, Adorno drove by him, stopped his car in the middle of the road, ran back and kicked and punched Gounden’s car several times.
Fearful for his life, Gounden dialed 911 at 2:26 PM and reported the assaults and took photos of Adorno’s car. He drove back home for safety. Adorno, meanwhile chased his car and repeatedly rammed it from behind. Gounden again dialed 911 at 2:34 PM and reported the ongoing attack.
Gounden was joined outside his grandmother’s house by Posr Posr, a friend who is also his paralegal and who had been waiting for him. Officers from the 106, the same precinct that’s been conducting a vendetta against Gounden since 2007, responded to his 911 call.
Gounden reported the incident to an officer named Carlos Bello, who took notes. Adorno and his wife, Evaline Orosco, who was his passenger during the entire incident, claimed Gounden had hit Adorno, who had been walking, and fled from the scene. They claimed Adorno had just stepped out of a hardware store. The Adornos claimed they had a video recording of the incident on their cell phone. Unbeknownst to the Adornos, and Officer Bello, Gounden had the voice recorder of his second cell phone taping the entire interaction between all of them after Bello arrived on the scene.
Gounden told Bello the Adornos were lying. He demanded that the Adornos show the video they claimed they had to Officer Bello. Officer Bello did not even ask the Adornos to produce the alleged video, as Gounden’s phone recording shows. Instead, Bello arrested Gounden.
Later, when Bello filed his police report, he went along with Adorno’s statement that he’d been the victim of a hit and run. He also wrote down the location of the incident as 116-32 117 Street, in South Ozone Park, Queens, which is the location Gounden had provided when he dialed 911. Adorno himself later provided a different address, including to Allstate insurance, when he filed a claim.
When Adorno testified on April 26, 2018 during an Examination Under Oath before Allstate lawyer Daniel Gilley, he made statements that shot down his credibility, the transcript shows.
“Now, when that accident took place, were you operating a motor vehicle?” Gilley asked.
“Yes,” Adorno said.
Whereupon Adorno’s lawyer, Matthew Marchese, interjected: “No, you weren’t operating it. You were outside the car. You had just gotten out.”
Adorno in his sworn testimony claimed the incident occurred at 130-34 117 Street, one block from his home. Apparently, he’d forgotten to coordinate this statement with Officer Bello, to match the police report.
The purported intake report of the incident, at the Queens DA’s office is signed by ADA Cox and dated Feb. 5, 2018 –the same Cox who tried to convict Gounden on the Home Depot case with the empty DVD container as his evidence. According to the report signed by Cox, Adorno claimed he’d been struck on his hand by Gounden’s vehicle. During his testimony to Allstate, Adorno made no mention of his hand and said it was his neck, his back and his knees that hurt.
He also told Gilley there had been a “black man” in the car with Gounden; this was an apparent race-card ploy. He hadn’t even offered this information to Bello, the arresting officer. Gounden also recorded a call he made to Posr when he was driving back to his grandmother’s home while Adorno was chasing him.
Gilley also got Adorno to concede that he’d filed several claims against insurers in the past for alleged accidents. Allstate still cancelled Gounden’s insurance coverage and paid Adorno more than $14,000 to settle his claim even after his not-credible testimony to Gilley.
The Black Star News contacted Allstate about Adorno’s testimony and asked if the company was bothered by its inconsistency with the Bello police report and Gounden’s audio recording –Gounden had also provided a copy of his recording to an Allstate investigator. When asked whether the company is investigating Adorno for insurance fraud, Christina Kelly, a spokesperson said, “Due to privacy laws and restrictions, Allstate is unable to comment on any open claims.”
Gounden isn’t taking any chances. He believes the Queens DA is determined to get him convicted –even after Adorno’s wife said she was willing to tell the court he “made up” the whole thing– so he can be killed while in prison.
He’s hired Ron Kuby to represent him.