Friday, August 19, 2016



THE LAW FIRM OF

RAVI BATRA

                         HE ATRA UILDING                                                                                                                      RAVI@RAVIBATRALAW.COM

                  142 LEXINGTON AVE.                                                                                                                        FAX: 212-545-0967
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10016

212-545-1993

August 12, 2016

By Fax 347-750-8344

Hon. Frank Seddio
Democratic County Leader, Kings County
Re: Justice Laura Jacobson
Dear Frank,
I have the high honor and sacred duty to represent Justice Laura Jacobson, and to protect her judicial independence.
As I'm "old school," respect is due to a Leader. So, I called you first to remedy the wrong that your appointed Judicial Screening Committee has caused out of personal malice or reckless disregard of the truth. That they exacerbated their discretionary injury with violation of statutory confidentiality under color of law is inexcusable - as the reputational damage is total.
I respectfully request that you dismiss your Committee and institute a new committee which does not carry out contract-kills and/or pierce necessary confidentiality required for judicial screening; and then re-interview Justice Jacobson - as Judicial Independence is the alter upon which Lady Justice presides, something every Screener, aware of their "Officer of the Court" status, ought cherish.
Let me know if you will dismiss the Screening Committee for cause by Monday, August 15, 2016 4pm. The law is a many splendored thing and it can remedy many wrongs, including, what has been done to my client - Justice Jacobson. I include a copy of my September 9, 2004 Letter to Chairman Marty Edelman, when the late Justice Louis Marrero, fiercely independent of Screener-misconduct.
Warm personal regards to Joy and you,
Encl.
\JJacobson. HonFrankScddio.081216Ltr

The Law Firm of

RAVI BATRA P.C.
The Batra Building                                                                                                      ravi@ravibatralaw.com
142 Lexington Ave,                                                                                  Fax: 212-545-0967
New York, N.Y. 10016
212-545-1993
September 9, 2004
By Mail and Fax 212-943-0001 Hon. Martin R. Edelman, Esq.
Chair, Kings County Democratic Independent Judicial Screening Committee
61 Broadway
New York, NY 10006
212-943-1200
                  Re:        Honorable Louis J. Marrero, Justice of the Supreme Court
Dear Mr. Edelman:
Being committed to promoting excellence in the law, I write to offer unequivocal support for the approval by the Edelman Committee and subsequent renomination of Honorable Louis J. Marrero as a Justice of the Supreme Court. He is a sensitive jurist with ingrained compassion, uncommon integrity, a work ethic that society seldom sees, and a talent that is recognized by the very apex of our profession: Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. Chief Judge Kaye selected Justice Marrero to preside over the first-ever Citywide pilot project--- Violation of Probation Part. He did so well, that the Pilot graduated to Citywide operation in all other counties. He is what society prays a judge is, but does not always get. Justice Marrero comprehends the awesome power and fiduciary responsibility of judging one's fellow human being, and does so in an exemplary way. He deserves to be approved and has earned the renomination.
Starting almost 12 years ago, I witnessed for nearly five years Justice Marrero preside in
Richmond Supreme during the pendency of a tortured case, in which I had parachuting into (after the departure of the 3 or 4th counsel that left the client reeling financially and emotionally) while Justice Marrero's Solomonic, highly nuanced and compassionate finding and order was concurrently on appeal; Justice Marrero was affirmed by the Appellate Division, Second Department, with PJ Mangano presiding. In the appealed Order, Justice Marrero while finding the charge of sexual abuse unsubstantiated, did not apply the penalty of forfeiture of custody, as is typically done, finding that the mother was too dedicated and invested in her child to make such charge maliciously. Parenthetically, it is a pity that ineffective counsel safeguard is not a standard part of our protocol whenever our system deals with children. While I have never had but that one case many years ago, I have since observed
Page 1 of 2
Justice Marrero in different settings, including, dealing with attorneys, staff, litigants, court personnel, and the lay public. He is a honest and unassuming gem of a judge. That our Chief Judge selected him to preside over a pilot project confirms the court system's finding of excellence in him, and I submit, collaterally estopps the Committee from any finding other than "qualified."
I am dismayed by the front-page coverage by Elizabeth Stull in today's New York Law Journal, which reports that Justice Marrero received one vote shy of a 2/3 super majority vote at his rehearing finding him "qualified;" had the same vote occurred at the initial hearing, these same screeners would have found him overwhelmingly "qualified." However unintended, this is a cavalier injustice to Justice Marrero and family and our society he has ably and demonstratively served, and breaches the essential covenant of screening: that at least when merit appears, merit will be found (albeit, the converse may not be true). This is a renomination, and hence, how the process works is as important as the candidate; or else, judicial independence, the core of our freedoms, will lay wounded. The issue of political registration is irrelevant, as screening, like the law, must operate and apply in a manner that is merit-based and devoid of political considerations. I enclose an op-ed piece published on July 5, 2004.
May I urge you and your Committee to expeditiously do what it needs to so as to protect the very important function that judicial screening serves in New York State's protocol of electing Justices of the Supreme Court.
With regards,
Encl: Op-Ed "Answering Call for Judicial
\B.201 \090904Marrero.EdelmanComm
Page 2 of 2
Op-Ed piece
Ron Patafio, Editor, Editorial Page, The Journal News (914)694-5031 Rpatafio@theiournalnews.gannett.com
Re: Answering the call of Chief Judge Kaye for systemic reforms
Accepting the challenge from New York's reform-minded Chief Judge Kaye, Fordham Dean John Feerick, fondly known as John The Good, and his Commission acted. Now, a second great step has been taken---the NYS Assembly has responded, as surely will the Senate and the Governor. That our elected representatives, including District Attorneys, will honorably rise to the occasion is not in dispute; neither is the appropriate consideration of the pros and cons of alternatives suggested and to-be-suggested to not only promote confidence, but to make it almost impossible for a corrupt or corruptible candidate to make it to the noble bench. The law is the law, and not a political party-appendage. The overwhelming members of the bench are hardworking and honest, comprehend the awesome power and fiduciary responsibility ofjudging one's fellow human being, and that the absolute predicate is actual, not just merely apparent, integrity; being in agreement with conventional wisdom is not required, or else slavery and antisemitism would still be legal.
Having served as one of New York County Lawyers' designee to the City Bar's Judiciary Committee, and then later, on Kings County Democratic Independent Judicial Screening Panel for Supreme Court (not for NYC Civil Court, as there was no such panel operating in Kings County at the time) and absorbed subsequent events, I offer a solitary nuance for public consideration: politics is the ultimate escrow account.
All screeners are and will remain human beings, with human dynamics and the inherent lack of x-ray capability of seeing the future or into another person's heart and motivation; even Superman's x-ray vision was not so super. Most screeners are persons of integrity, and will exercise their judgment without fear of retribution or seeking illegal favor. Screeners while screening must rely upon the self-policing organs of the profession for professional safety and not seek political immunity, or else even axegrinding or contract-candidate killers could function on panels with improper collateral immunity and chill judicial independence; I have seen or smelled some version of that on the panels. Taking a page from our founding fathers and their singular contribution to history's march from tyranny to selfdetermination is that "absolute power" is bad, and "separated power" is better. If at every turn, our reform minded leaders work to dilute power, rather than concentrate power in the judicial selection and election process, then the greater-separated power will reduce the chance of a corrupt or corruptible candidate getting through to the noblest status of all: a judge.
The challenge for political parties is to see themselves as escrow agents holding democracy itself in escrow. They are then free to argue that their ideology is better than that of other political parties, and that theirjudicial candidate deserves voter approval. To increase the pool of meritorious candidates, aside from screening reforms, judicial salaries also need to be substantially adjusted upwards. As for all other matters, politics can safely go back to seeking political consensus, while the honest judiciary separate truth from lie and injury from frivolity, and painstakingly fashion justice, one case at a time. Dated: June 17, 2004
/s/
Ravi Batra, Esq.
The Law Firm of Ravi Batra, P.C.
142 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
212-545-1993; Ravibatralaw@aol.com

Saturday, July 23, 2016








Ethics Board Also Ignores Lobbyists Working to Elect Candidates to Help Them Make $$$ Off of City Contracts 
A gift for MelissaMark-Viverito: Ethics watchdogs let the City Council speaker off easy forconflicts of interest (NYDN Ed)  By all rights, were justice equal in New York government, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito would be out of her job today. The city’s ethics regulations bar public employees from accepting gifts — but the Conflicts of Interest Board comes down hard, in fact, unforgivingly hard, only on the little guy or gal for even trivial rule violations. Consider 24-year veteran sanitation worker Lenworth Dixon, who accepted a $20 tip from a grateful homeowner for whom he had carted off yard waste. In 2014, the board forced Dixon to retire and fined him $1,500. Or consider 20-plus-year sanitation workers Robert Bracone and Rene Torres, who had each accepted a $5 tip. The board drove both men to retire and pay $2,000 fines. Now, consider Mark-Viverito. In 2013, she accepted freebie services from a lobbyist as she campaigned among her colleagues to be speaker. Still worse, the firm represented clients who would need the speaker’s backing for legislation. According to the conflicts board, the gifted services had a value of $3,796. Despite the fact that the amount was more than 700 times larger than a $5 tip, and despite the fact that Mark-Viverito had undermined the integrity of her office, the board imposed a fine of only $7,000 Which was $18,000 less than the top penalty. Which Mark-Viverito can pay out of her campaign funds, rather than out of the city salary she’ll continue to receive. Parks Department manager Cristina Badillo never got a break like that. The board last year fined her personally $1,000 for accepting a $15 gift of chocolate liqueur and an $8 box of Whitman’s chocolates. Still worse, the board ordered Mark-Viverito to pay $4,000 to the lobbying firm of Scott Levenson, who was her partner in crime. She will take that money, too, from a campaign account. Still worse, Levenson can take that $4,000 and pay his fine, in that exact amount. Still worse, Mark-Viverito admitted guilt only after waging a long battle against the board, running up legal bills of $123,313, with more to come. Again, she’ll


Another Slap of the Wrist for Lobbyists Advance Group This Time Illegally Working for Mark-Viverito Speakers Campaign 

An Interlocking-Directorate of Lobbyists That Controls the Council Speaker
Setting precedent, Conflict of Interest Board settles with Mark-Viverito   (CapitalNY) Lawyers for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have reached a settlement with the city’s Conflict of Interest Board following an investigation into free political consulting services that Mark-Viverito accepted during the race for speaker in 2013. As part of the settlement, the speaker has agreed to pay a $7,000 fine for accepting the services, a small fraction of the $25,000 statutory maximum she faced when the inquiry was first launched. The ethics board launched the non-criminal investigation in January of last year, alleging she acted improperly by accepting help from the Advance Group — a lobbying firm which has business dealings with the city. Elected officials are barred from accepting anything of value from registered lobbyists including a gift in the form of a service. The settlement decision was strengthened by the fact that the structure of Mark-Viverito’s undeclared campaign account is different because the race was not subject to regular campaign finance rules. Normally, elected officials are barred from using campaign money to run for another office, or to spend money from transition committees which typically only help pay for inauguration events. During the race, The Advance group helped Mark-Viverito prepare for the race, which included several community forums and debates as well as behind-the-scenes politicking with council members and county party leaders who helped collect votes in her favor. * Melissa Mark-Viverito Drops Advance Group for Speaker Bid(NYO) Ms. Mark-Viverito insisted today that this was not the case but out of an “abundance of caution,” the relationship would end. Melissa Mark-Viverito Drops Advance Group for Speaker Bid - Blogs(TU) * An operative with the controversial Advance Group, Jonathan Yedin, who has been working in Brooklyn Democratic Party politics for more than a decade and belongs to Mr. Seddio’s political club. Though Ms. Mark-Viverito eventually stopped taking free advice from the Advance Group, Mr. Yedin remained a crucial player in the brokering of the deal, sources said.  Inside Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Road to Victory(NYO) * Nailed! @MMViverito must pay $7K fine for accepting free help from lobbyists in bid for job (NYDN) In addition to the $7,000 fine, which Mark-Viverito can use campaign funds to pay, she’ll pay the Advance Group $3,796.44 for its work.
loophole.







NYCLASS
United for the Future and Campaign for One NY

Why was there no prosecution? 

While the press and de Blasio


Campaign Coordination: Warning to Political Candidates and Related Super PACs
https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/public-policy/b/public-policy-law-blog/archive/2015/07/29/campaign-coordination-warning-to-political-candidates-and-related-super-pacs.aspx?Redirected=true#sthash.TnPWQRVZ.dpuf

Tyler Harber’s prosecution, and the two year federal prison sentence he recently received, are clearly warning shots across the bow of federal political campaigns around the country. And the blatant and unsympathetic nature of Mr. Harber’s crime should give no comfort to those watching and advising political candidates and campaigns.  The United States Department of Justice means to pursue the illegal coordination between official campaigns and Super PACs, and Mr. Harber’s is the first of many investigations into the world of big money politics coming to an election cycle near you.  Now, Mr. Harber is not a guy who engenders much sympathy.  During a three month period in 2012 he was Campaign Manager and general consultant for a Congressional Candidate in Virginia.  While leading that campaign he directly coordinated and participated in the purchase of $325,000 in advertising by a political action committee (PAC) that opposed his candidate’s opponent, and thus benefitted his candidate.  He was paid more than $9,000 as a “commission” for his work.











Judge sentences former Ragsdale aide Tyler Harber to 2 years in federal prison (Knocville New Sentinel)
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/crime-courts/judge-sentences-former-ragsdale-aide-tyler-harber-to-2-years-in-federal-prison-ep-1133694700-362197231.html

A nationally prominent political operative whose abrasive, anything-to-win style frequently landed him in trouble in Knoxville a decade ago is going to prison for two years for breaking federal campaign laws.

Tyler Harber, who worked as an aide to former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale but now lives in northern Virginia, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady in Alexandria, Va. Harber said he also was motivated in part because he had seen other political operatives commit the same offenses without being caught and prosecuted.  Harber, 34, pleaded guilty in February to illegally coordinating campaign spending between a political-action committee he had helped create and a Virginia congressional campaign he was managing in 2012. He also pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents investigating his activities. “The defendant’s criminal conduct was not borne of ignorance, naiveté or mistake,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark D. Lytle wrote in a pre-sentencing memo filed with the court. “Rather, the conduct engaged in here was undertaken by an intelligent and careful man with significant experience in politics and campaign finance. He knew exactly what he was doing and exactly the best way to conceal it from his party and from law enforcement.” “He is, in short,” Lytle said, “the most dangerous sort of political operative by virtue of his knowledge and experience.” Lytle had recommended that O’Grady sentence Harber to 46 months in prison.


Republican operative sentenced to 2 years in landmark election case (Wash Post)

Crossing The Line: Political Operative Gets 2 Years In Prison (NPR)

Why Mayor de Blasio Will Have to Resign
Why the council was illegally elected




Monday, May 2, 2016

While de Blasio and the press focus on Putnam $$$ laundering the FBI looks at the Terminator: Citizens United

Why Citizen United Violations Will Force Mayor de Blasio to Resign


The Press Follows the Mayor's Spin like a Dog Follows a Bone
As usual, the weak press is taking its clues from the mayor's spin doctor lobbyists and ignoring the facts. The mayor has got his lawyers and media puppets and even Common Cause all singing that the governor is also laundering money though party committees to get around election law spending limits.

FBI in the No Spin Zone
Nobody but the Feds are looking at how team de Blasio violated Citizens United. Last year the feds not only warned campaign consultants not to coordinate campaigns with Super PACs they put a major campaign consultant in jail. Tyler Harber, who worked as an aide to former Knox County Tennessee Mayor Mike Ragsdalen, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady after Harber, 34, pleaded guilty to illegally coordinating campaign spending between a political-action committee he had helped create and a Virginia congressional campaign he was managing in 2012.  


The FBI Task of Connecting Campaign Consultants to Coordinating With Super PACs They Controlled Will Be Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel
All the FBI has to do is to chart the interlocking directorates of the following PACs: NYCLASS, Campaign for One New York and the UFT's United for the Future. True News has already reported that to better understand why and how the mayor's distraction spin operates a good place to start is Laurence Laufer’s law firm: Kantor Davidoff Wolfe.

Laufer is the election lawyer who wrote the counter attack against NYSBOE Chief Enforcement Office Risa Sugarman’s report, sent to the Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance for a criminal investigation, which found “willful and flagrant” violations of election law by a group of political operatives known as Team de Blasio. The NYSBOE’s report says that the fundraising effort was run out of Mr. de Blasio’s City Hall and involved Emma Wolfe, his top political aide on the city's payroll, Ross Offinger, a fundraiser and treasurer for both the mayor’s election campaign and Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit created by Mr. de Blasio to support his agenda.

The report also names several union officials and political consulting firms, including Berlin Rosen, which has longstanding ties to the mayor. Both Berlin Rosen and Red Horse, which work for the mayor's Campaign for One NY PAC that raised money laundered through a Putnam Democratic Party Committee, also work for Democratic Senate Campaign Committee on the same campaigns as consultants that the Campaigns for One NY PACs raised money for.

It is hard to understand why the Campaign Finance Board, Conflicts of Interest Board and the Attorney General did not prosecute the Advance Group, NYCLASS PAC and others for violating Citizens United by coordinating campaign spending they controlled with a PAC they also controlled. On June 1, 2013 NYCLASS received another large donation, this time for $175,000. It came from UNITE HERE!—a labor union headed by John Wilhelm, de Blasio’s cousin—and a prolific fund-raiser for him. Wilhelm raised $6,950 for de Blasio’s 2009 race for public advocate and $80,000 for de Blasio’s successful campaign for mayor. Two days after that contribution, on June 3, NYCLASS sent the same amount, $175,000, to the anti-Quinn campaign. 



NY's Prosecutors Ignored the Only Way to Control Citizens United: Stop the Coordinating Between the Campaign Consultant and the PACs  Why?
On October 8th, 2015, the Campaign Finance Board, Conflicts of Interest Board and AG Schneiderman fined the Advance Group for coordinating campaigns with NYCLASS, which they controlled with campaigns they ran. No mention in the report spoke to the violation of Citizen United. No mention in the report answered the question why the UFT paid Advance through a made up name "Strategic Consultants Inc." The FBI has subpoenaed those UFT records and personal records of the union’s president, Michael Mulgrew.  

Why was there a cover-up of the UFT's United for the Future and NYCLASS PACs' Citizens United violation? 1. The mayor and speaker control all the appointments to the Campaign Finance Board and Conflicts of Interest Board, which ignored the Advance Group violation of Citizens United. 2. A lawyer from Laurence Laufer’s (the guy who attacked the NYSBOE criminal referral on team de Blasio) law firm Kantor Davidoff Wolfe, Lawrence Mandelker, is de Blasio’s lawyer for his campaign committee and the Campaign for One NY PAC. Mandelker also was the lawyer for the Advance Group during the CFB, AG and Conflicts of Interest Board investigations. Mandelker is also the lawyer for the WFP in all the Data and Field investigations. 


The Interlocking Directorates of Campaign PACs, City Hall PACs and Team de Blasio



The campaign consultant PAC coordination was not limited to NYCLASS and Campaign for One NY. The biggest consultant PAC coordination helped elect 37 of the 51 members of the Council, including the Speaker. The Advance Group was fined by the CFB for their campaign consultant Super PACs, NYCLASS and the UFT coordination in Councilmember Cumbo and Levine’s campaigns. The CFB ignored the fact that Berlin Rosen worked as a lobbyist for the UFT, as well as on both the Cumbo and Levine campaigns that Advance worked on. Berlin Rosen worked on 10 Council campaigns while their employer, UFT, funded those 10 candidates with their PAC United for the Future. Red Horse, a campaign consulting firm that worked for the mayor's Campaign for One NY PAC (as did Berlin Rosen), also worked for the UFT's PAC United for the Future and ran 7 Council campaigns that were also funded by UFT PAC. 


Who Is Watching the Lobbyists? The City’s Top Law Enforcement Officials Must Recuse Themselves
It is now clear that the DAs count on the same campaign consultant lobbyists for re-election. Red Horse consultants worked in 4 or the 5 New York City DA campaigns. Berlin Rosen started out working for Eric Schneiderman when he 















Why Mayor de Blasio Will Have to Resign
Why the council was illegally elected
Law Frim  that makes millions in lobbying was involved in a cover up with the CFB Bd of Ethics and Advance Group
Bate and Switch 

Campaign Coordination: Warning to Political Candidates and Related Super PACs
https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/public-policy/b/public-policy-law-blog/archive/2015/07/29/campaign-coordination-warning-to-political-candidates-and-related-super-pacs.aspx?Redirected=true#sthash.TnPWQRVZ.dpuf

Tyler Harber’s prosecution, and the two year federal prison sentence he recently received, are clearly warning shots across the bow of federal political campaigns around the country. And the blatant and unsympathetic nature of Mr. Harber’s crime should give no comfort to those watching and advising political candidates and campaigns.  The United States Department of Justice means to pursue the illegal coordination between official campaigns and Super PACs, and Mr. Harber’s is the first of many investigations into the world of big money politics coming to an election cycle near you.  Now, Mr. Harber is not a guy who engenders much sympathy.  During a three month period in 2012 he was Campaign Manager and general consultant for a Congressional Candidate in Virginia.  While leading that campaign he directly coordinated and participated in the purchase of $325,000 in advertising by a political action committee (PAC) that opposed his candidate’s opponent, and thus benefitted his candidate.  He was paid more than $9,000 as a “commission” for his work.











Judge sentences former Ragsdale aide Tyler Harber to 2 years in federal prison (Knocville New Sentinel)
http://www.knoxnews.com/news/crime-courts/judge-sentences-former-ragsdale-aide-tyler-harber-to-2-years-in-federal-prison-ep-1133694700-362197231.html

A nationally prominent political operative whose abrasive, anything-to-win style frequently landed him in trouble in Knoxville a decade ago is going to prison for two years for breaking federal campaign laws.

Tyler Harber, who worked as an aide to former Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale but now lives in northern Virginia, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady in Alexandria, Va. Harber said he also was motivated in part because he had seen other political operatives commit the same offenses without being caught and prosecuted.  Harber, 34, pleaded guilty in February to illegally coordinating campaign spending between a political-action committee he had helped create and a Virginia congressional campaign he was managing in 2012. He also pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents investigating his activities. “The defendant’s criminal conduct was not borne of ignorance, naiveté or mistake,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark D. Lytle wrote in a pre-sentencing memo filed with the court. “Rather, the conduct engaged in here was undertaken by an intelligent and careful man with significant experience in politics and campaign finance. He knew exactly what he was doing and exactly the best way to conceal it from his party and from law enforcement.” “He is, in short,” Lytle said, “the most dangerous sort of political operative by virtue of his knowledge and experience.” Lytle had recommended that O’Grady sentence Harber to 46 months in prison.


Republican operative sentenced to 2 years in landmark election case (Wash Post)

Crossing The Line: Political Operative Gets 2 Years In Prison (NPR)

Why Mayor de Blasio Will Have to Resign
Why the council was illegally elected