New York City briefs

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Top court lets $105M Exxon verdict stand

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to alter a $105 million verdict against Exxon Mobil for contaminating New York City's groundwater.

The justices had no comment Monday on their order rejecting Exxon Mobil Corp.'s appeal of the 2009 verdict the city won for the costs of removing a gasoline additive known as MTBE from drinking wells in Queens.

The city argued that the company ignored warnings from its own scientists and engineers not to use the additive in areas that use groundwater for drinking. Exxon Mobil argued that the city's alleged injuries were too speculative and that MTBE was the safest additive to comply with a federal mandate.

Court officer gets prison for sex abuse

A New York City court officer could spend three decades in prison for sexually abusing two young relatives and possessing child pornography.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown says Kerbet Dixon, 50, was sentenced Monday to roughly 25 to 32 years. Dixon was last assigned to the state Supreme Court in Jamaica, Queens. He was convicted last month.

The victims were 14 and 10 years old at the time.

Fraud charges over sales of forged art

Manhattan federal prosecutors announced art fraud charges yesterday against a Spanish partner of Glafira Rosales, the Sands Point art dealer who pleaded guilty last year to peddling forgeries of modernist masters in an $80 million swindle.

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Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, 58, a Spanish citizen and formerly a resident of Sands Point, was arrested over the weekend in Seville. He was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion for devising the scam with Rosales.

Also charged were Jesus Angel Bergantinos Diaz, 65, his brother, and Pei Shen Qian, 75, a Chinese street artist who was hired to create forgeries of works by artists such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko that were sold by some of New York's top galleries.

Both Jose and Jesus Diaz are in custody in Spain and expected to face extradition. Qian is at large and believed to be in China, officials said. Rosales pleaded guilty last year and is cooperating with the government.FDNY leader will be replaced, mayor says

New York Fire Department Commissioner Sal Cassano will be replaced, Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday. De Blasio said Cassano has always had "an interim role" and said that won't change.

"Yeah, he's been in an interim role, and I think he's performed admirably, and I give him a lot of respect, particularly for what he did in the middle of the East Harlem tragedy, which was an extremely difficult moment," De Blasio said.

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Cassano, appointed commissioner by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has served as the FDNY's chief of department and chief of operations in his 40-year career.

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