Morning Headlines | Selected by the WNYC News Hub

Must-read headlines from around the city, curated by the WNYC Newsroom.

Plea Deal Seen in Queens Mortgage-Fraud Scheme (Crain’s)
Chris Bragg reports: “Southeast Queens real estate magnate Edul Ahmad has reached a tentative plea agreement with federal investigators on charges that he orchestrated a $50 million mortgage fraud scheme, according to documents filed Wednesday by the office of Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. The plea agreement could have political implications. Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks, a close associate of Mr. Ahmad, has drawn scrutiny—and a House Ethics Committee investigation—for failing to disclose a $40,000 loan from Mr. Ahmad. Democratic Senate Minority Leader John Sampson is also considered a close associate of the real estate player.”

Why is the N.J. Unemployment Rate Rising While the State Gains Jobs? (Asbury Park Press)
Michael L. Diamond tackles the same question WNYC’s Ilya Marritz asked about New York City’s own jobs paradox: Charles Steindel, chief economist for the state Department of Treasury, said the jobless rate told a story that was 180-degrees different from another survey that showed the state added 5,300 jobs in August. If the unemployment rate is accurate, ‘this would mean we were losing 600 jobs a day in August, including weekends,’ Steindel said in a conference call with reporters. ‘It didn’t happen.’”

Zadroga Funds Lobby Forms (WSJ)
Andrew Grossman reports: “A group of unions and advocates for people exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center site are forming a lobbying organization to fend off threats to federal money set aside under the Zadroga Act for the medical care of sick workers, first responders and others. The new organization, 911 Health Watch, launched as supporters of the program—created by Congress in 2010 after nearly a decade of lobbying—seek to defend it from automatic budget cuts that would take effect across the federal government if lawmakers and President Barack Obama can't agree on a deficit-reduction plan by the end of the year.”

Hoping to Replace Mayor, and Taking Him to Court (NYT)
David Chen reports: “One sure sign that the 2013 Democratic primary for New York City mayor is under way: the likely candidates, seeking to differentiate themselves from Michael R. Bloomberg, are suing him.”

Vito Lopez Nemesis Lincoln Restler Closes Gap to 50, Awaits Chance (NYDN)
Reuven Blau reports: “It's do or die for former Brooklyn boss Vito Lopez's arch nemesis Lincoln Restler on Friday. The reform poster boy believes that approximately 50 votes now separates him from Chris Olechowski in their contentious race for the 50th assembly district leader post. The Board of Elections is set to announce the final tally once the hundreds of absentee and affidavit ballots are counted on Friday.”

Parents Seen Less Involved In Schools (WSJ)
Lisa Fleisher reports: “New city statistics are showing a steep decline in parent involvement in New York public schools, giving potential ammunition to critics who say the Department of Education under Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been unresponsive to families. City officials attributed part of the plummet to a new data-collection system. But critics, including some possible mayoral contenders, said the numbers in the annual Mayor's Management Report were hard evidence of long-held frustrations by public-school parents.”

Buyouts Idea for Teachers Is Stalled (WSJ)
Lisa Fleisher reports: “A proposal to give buyouts to New York City public schoolteachers who don't have permanent jobs at schools is "dead in the water," teachers union President Michael Mulgrew said Thursday. Chancellor Dennis Walcott proposed the buyouts in May as a way to get rid of teachers who remain on the payroll but have struggled to find a new job after being let go, often because of budget cuts or school closures.”

Bronx Rallies to Save Mysterious Horse Left in a Condemned Stable (NYT)
Winnie Hu reports: “It has been the Bronx’s own heart-tugging Black Beauty story: a lonely horse desperately in need of rescue. So began the campaign to save Rusty the horse. That effort reached a peak on Thursday when a state legislator and more than three dozen residents and animal lovers rallied in front of the run-down stable on Pelham Parkway South. As the news cameras rolled, they waved signs emblazoned with slogans like ‘Stop Horsin’ Around, Save Rusty’.”