Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Courts and the Corrupt Surrogate Court 747





The NYT Who Help Make Chief Judge Along with Silver Says Goodby
As Judge Lippman finishes his seven-year run presiding over the Court of Appeals, his success expanding legal services for the poor and championing a host of other court reforms stands out even more than his decisions as a jurist, legal scholars said. Like his predecessor, Judith Kaye, Lippman took the job far beyond the adjudication of cases and deep into policy making.  Lawyers in New York State will be subject to a uniform disciplinary process under new rules Lippman announced yesterday – a move that caps months of negotiations aimed at standardizing a system long hampered by regional differences.* LIPPMAN'S LEGACY - New York Times': "A few weeks before he was to retire as chief judge of one of the nation's most influential courts, Jonathan Lippman traveled to Brooklyn to open a small storefront office that offers legal advice to poor people in civil cases, like housing disputes and fights with creditors. The ribbon-cutting was one of Judge Lippman's last public acts before he steps down as the leader of the New York Court of Appeals on Thursday, and it emphasized what some say may be his most notable legacy: his campaign to provide lawyers and other legal help to thousands of impoverished New Yorkers who face serious proceedings - such as eviction, foreclosure and the loss of child custody - with no representation ... As Judge Lippman finishes his seven-year run presiding over the Court of Appeals, his success expanding legal services for the poor and championing a host of other court reforms stands out even more than his decisions as a jurist, legal scholars said. Like his predecessor, Judith S. Kaye, Judge Lippman took the job far beyond the adjudication of cases and deep into policy making. * Having served for 11 years as New York’s top administrative judge and for seven years as chief judge on the state’s highest court, Jonathan Lippman left the judiciary with plenty to be proud of, the Daily News writes:




Daily News Albany Pols Don't Respect the High Court
Dereliction of dutyin Albany (NYDN Ed) Flagrantly violating a crystal-clear statute, Flanagan and Bonacic have led the Senate into allowing the state’s highest court to open session Monday without a chief judge. In doing so, they are depriving plaintiffs and defendants in more than 20 crucial cases of the full measure of justice that is their due. Flanagan did not respond to a message left at his office. Previously, he had ruled out calling the Senate to act on DiFiore’s nomination by saying, “I don’t see any reason why we would do that.” In other words, screw the law and screw the parties to the cases that are calendared for oral arguments in the court over the coming weeks. None will have the fullest complement of judges possible, perhaps swaying the outcome one way or the other. Still more, although only five judges will be sitting, four must still agree in order to render decisions. If judges split, a case will be frozen. Finally, the cavalier disregard for the law shown by Flanagan and Bonacic reveals they learned nothing from the convictions of Silver and Skelos. Central to both of the corruption cases was Albany’s way of doing business. Laws are written to be ignored or distorted by the top dogs. Legislators — even committee chairs like Bonacic — do as they are told, often out of fear the boss will cut the legalized bribery that flows from the legislative payroll and campaign committees. And nothing matters until someone else gets arrested.* The story of Daniel Chill, a Sheldon Silver-connected lawyerwho made millions thanks to a Court of Appeals ruling: (Barrett, City and State)




The Governors Top Court
Judged worthy in weighing the seven contenders to be thenew state chief judge (NYDN Ed)
DiFiore, Garcia And Prudenti Round Out Judicial Recommendations (YNN)Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore, along with former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia and former Chief Administrative Judge Gail Prudenti are among the seven potential replacements for Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who faces mandatory retirement at the end of the year. The seven recommendations — the others include four private practice attorneys including former Bar Association President Stephen Younger — were made on Thursday by the state Commission on Judicial Nomination.*Westchester County DA Janet DiFiore said she’s honored to be among seven candidates to be New York’s next chief judge. If appointed, she said she would be “privileged to serve as Chief Judge and would fulfill the duties of that office to the best of my ability.”* Seven Candidates Nominated for New York’s Next Chief Judge (NYT) The choices to succeed Jonathan Lippman include the Westchester County district attorney and a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan.* The slate of candidates to fill the seat of retiring Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, recommended by a state panel that has often put up people friendly with the current governor, is surprisingly short on political considerations, the DailyNews writes:  The court currently lacks an expert in commercial litigation, and the committee nominatedthree highly respected Manhattan litigators who could fill that need: Carey R. Dunne, Rowan D. Wilson and Stephen P. Younger. There are also two Republicans on the list – former US Attorney Michael Garcia and Gail Prudenti, an experienced jurist who retired as the chief administrative judge in July.

The governor in coming weeks must nominate two new members to the Court of Appeals, including for its highest position, chief judge. And by the time he fills an additional scheduled vacancy of an associate judge next year, Cuomo will have appointed every member of the court. So far, he has named only Democrats.*  
In a rebuke of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s recent “overhaul” of the state bail system, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin has labelled the plan an “insult” to the judiciary. * In a stunning rebuke of state Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s recent “overhaul” of the state bail system, a Manhattan Supreme Court justice in a letter to fellow judges labelled the plan an “insult” to the judiciary, the Post reports: *  Judge says bail reform plan is an ‘insult’ to the judiciary (NYP) * The New York City Bar Association’s task force on the state constitutional convention includes two former top aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a former advisor to two Assembly speakers, State of Politics reports:  Bail As part of his efforts to reform New York City’s bail system, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an experimental initiative that could replace the cash-based method with new strategies such as reminders to get people to show up for court, the Daily News reports: * Editorial: Let the judges judge bail (NYDN Ed)* With Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin blasting plans to overhaul the state’s bail system, de Blasio should take note of the Justice's expert opinion and also recognize that bail reviews are already available, the Post writes:   The US Justice Department has granted early release to 167 inmates from Upstate New York as part of a new effort aimed at cutting harsh drug sentences and reducing prison overcrowding, according to federal officials.The Daily News writes some bail reforms are “nuts” and highlights the case of a schizophrenic who allegedly admitted to pouring boiling oil on a child, wasn’t held at Rikers and then allegedly threatened someone with a knife: *The state Commission on Judicial Nomination today will recommend seven potential candidates to be the next chief judge of New York. The powerful post will be vacant Jan. 1 because Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has hit the retirement age of 70.



Judicial Corruption Resigning - That is All?
Brooklyn Judge Resigning Amid Questions About Payments to Her Clerk (NYT) Justice Yvonne Lewis had been accused of improperly approving payments to her clerk, Kimberly L. Detherage, for her work as a court-appointed lawyer, a potential conflict of interest. * Brooklyn judge Yvonne Lewis, who has nearly 30 years on the bench, resigned after being accused of improperly approving payments to her clerk for the clerk’s work as a court-appointed lawyer, the Times reports  * 



More Corruption in the Brooklyn Surrogate Court Public Administration Office
Estates official resigns after office mishandles $2.2M inassets(NYP)The official who oversees estates of people who die without wills in Brooklyn — and whose office was cited for sloppy work by the city comptroller last year — has resigned, The Post has learned. Kings County Public Administrator Bruce Stein stepped down earlier this month, in part because of questions about his ability to perform the job, a source said. Stein’s office was slammed by former Comptroller John Liu in 2013 for mishandling more than $2.2 million in assets, including misplacing a fur coat and allowing $50,000 in cash to sit unclaimed in a safe deposit box for five years. The money was claimed only after auditors pointed it out. The auditors found shoddy work in more than half of the 50 cases that were examined. Stein was appointed to the role in January 2009, and was earning more than $123,000. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Corrupt Surrogate Court
Another Conviction from the Corrupt Surrogate Court

Stealing From the Dead Court
‘Sorry’ estate robber off to jail(NYP) A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to 6 to 18 years in prison. A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to six to 18 years in prison. Crooked bookkeeper Richard Paul * Manhattan DA Statement



The Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute From Widows and Orphans - Robert Kennedy, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia 

Brooklyn City bookkeeper in 600G ‘scam’(NYP) A bookkeeper stole more than $600,000 in taxpayer money by creating a phony check from the Brooklyn municipal office that handles the estates of people who die without wills or next of kin, court papers allege.

Queens  A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (NYT, 11/28/11) *Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (True News, 7/14/11)) Not since the death or old school investigative report Jack Newfield in 2004 has any reporter in New York covered how the corrupt Queens Democratic Machine use the courts as there personal bank.

Bronx  Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline (NYT)  Judge Holzman, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned from estates that it was handling. Judge Holzman could lose his job as a result of the hearing. 

Staten Island Expose Corrupt Courts: Cover-Up Continues in Surrogate's Court 

Brooklyn Lawyer makes millions with no details on fees - New York Daily News *  Is ex-Surrogate Judge Michael Feinberg of New York a degenerate crook?

Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)



An Email Attack on Judge Dear Before His Promotion to Supreme Court?
photoshop picture 
An email was sent to district leaders before the Brooklyn judicial convention that is expected to make Dear a Supreme Court Judge.  The email was made to look like it was send by Judge Robert Miller who fought Dear in a civil court campaign.  The email that was clearly not sent by Judge Miller attacked Judge Dear for his propagandizing on behalf of apartheid, insensitive to minorities, use of charity money for himself, Laundering campaign funds.  No word yet if the Brooklyn DA is Investigating or even if the email was criminal. * In Brooklyn, DistrictLeaders Vote Down Controversial Judge’s Supreme Court Bid(NYO) The vote drew more attention than is typically granted to sleepy judgeship races because of Mr. Dear’s past–many Democrats felt uncomfortable voting for Mr. Dear because of several instances, detailed by Crain’s Insider this week and the Village Voice last decade, in which the former councilman irked minority communities and was chastised for his ethical behavior.* Controversial judge seeks Supreme Court seat (CrainsNY) But questions remain about Mr. Dear’s history, much of it by ex-Village Voice reporter Tom Robbins. Mr. Dear’s record has included organizing a trip to South Africa while on the City Council for what he said was an apartheid fact-finding mission, which was actually funded by the whites-only Johannesburg city council; a nonprofit called Save Soviet Jewry that paid him a $50,000 salary, bought electronics for his house and flew his family around the world; and a congressional bid funded by which prompted a Federal Complaint alleging a six-figure contribution by straw donors.

An Attempt to Clean Up Judicial Conventions
Killed by the U.S. Supreme Court 

WASHINGTON — Sweeping aside complaints that New York State chooses its trial judges through an antiquated, patronage-tainted system that favors party cronies and gives voters no real say, the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the state’s unique system.  Overturning findings by a federal district judge in Brooklyn and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the justices held that New York’s selection of nominees for State Supreme Court by means of party conventions is both constitutional and reasonable. “Party conventions, with their attendant ‘smoke-filled rooms’ and domination by party leaders, have long been an accepted manner of selecting party candidates,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, in a decision that provided ample reminders that judges are politicians as well as somber, black-robed jurists. The justices rejected a lawsuit brought by Margarita Lopez Torres, a Brooklyn Surrogate Court judge who, as an elected Civil Court judge, tried unsuccessfully to get the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s backing to run for State Supreme Court. She was apparently turned away by party leaders after refusing to make patronage appointments to their liking.

2009 Report By Comptroller William Thompson
of the Kings County Public Administrator Office
We determined that during Fiscal Year 2008, KCPA had inadequate controls over its
estate management practices. Management had no written procedures or supervisory review
system and CompuTrust, its centralized computer record - keeping system, was neither secure nor
its data reliable.  Management does not maintain a reliable record log of all estates and




 New York City Comptroller John Liu’s office conducted an audit of the Kings County Public Administrator (KCPA) and found that the KCPA mishandled many of the estates under its supervision as well as uncovering more than $2.6 million in stolen funds.
The KCPA, which is given most of its powers through Article 11 of the New York State Surrogate’s Court Procedures Act, is responsible for administering the estates of individuals in Brooklyn who die intestate, or without a will. The KCPA also handles estates when there is no individual qualified or willing to administer the estate.


Corrupt Surrogate Court

Another Conviction from the Corrupt Surrogate Court


Stealing From the Dead Court
‘Sorry’ estate robber off to jail(NYP) A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to 6 to 18 years in prison. A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to six to 18 years in prison. Crooked bookkeeper Richard Paul * Manhattan DA Statement

More About Corruption in the Surrogate Court


supporting documentation under its administration, and therefore, does not know the total
number of estates it is responsible for. Consequently we cannot be assured that the estate
distributions that KCPA has made were appropriate. We also found that KCPA failed to: (1) report its activities to oversight organizations, as required; (2) adequately review its financial transactions; and (3) track inventory it held for estates. In addition, there were procurement deficiencies, including undocumented vendor selections, missing contracts and 1099s, and inadequate documentation of the December 5, 2007 KCPA real estate auction
2013 Report By Comptroller John Liu
of the Kings County Public Administrator Office 
KCPA failed to properly carry out its fiduciary responsibilities because it did not act in the best
interests of estates, carry out its duties prudently, and comply with statutory rules and
regulations. Specifically, KCPA did not implement internal controls for critical estate administration functions including asset identification, collection, safeguarding, and distribution;
estate accounting including the recording, documenting, and reporting of income and expenses
transactions; bank account administration; and estate management, monitoring, and tracking.
Additionally, KCPA failed to submit to the Surrogate‘s Court, State Attorney General, State and
City Comptroller‘s Office, and the Mayor the required financial and operational reports that
would allow them to effectively assess, monitor, and hold KCPA accountable for its
performance.  On other matters, KCPA‘s failure to establish proper internal controls to monitor and safeguard estate assets may have provided the opportunity for certain mishandling of estate activities and the recently reported misappropriation of funds. During the course of the audit, auditors became
aware of an issue involving the indictment of a KCPA bookkeeper for stealing more than $2.6
million from decedents‘ estates between August 2008 and November 2011. 

Audit Shows Brooklyn Public Administrators Doing Poor Job

The audit showed that assets in over half of the fifty estates that were examined had been mishandled.  And that’s only 50 of 3,300 estates the administrator’s office has been responsible for since June 2011.
Among the missteps, Liu claims the administrator’s office left $50,000 sitting in a safe deposit box for five years, failed to credit an estate after selling a home for $140,000, and misplaced a $1,000 fur coat.
Public Administrator Bruce Stein responded to Liu’s audit with an itemized refutation of its findings.

 

The audit showed that assets in over half of the fifty estates that were examined had been mishandled.  And that’s only 50 of 3,300 estates the administrator’s office has been responsible for since June 2011.

KCPA Bruce Stein adamantly defended his office. Liu found that assertion unsatisfactory, noting that the KCPA and not the OCA is “responsible for substantively reviewing and approving estate expenses — including legal counsel fees. Accordingly, KCPA should have ensured that such expenses were authorized and appropriate. “
Liu countered that the Stein “may have prevented rather than detected the reported misappropriation of funds” had he instituted internal controls.
The public administrator oversees the estates of people who die without wills, and if no relatives claim the funds, the assets are transferred to the city Department of Finance.
Paul, who oversaw the process as a clerk for the public administrator, manipulated the checks to enrich himself and his pals between 2008 and November 2011.

A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse Thursday for his crime before a judge sentenced him to six to 18 years in prison.
 Corrupt Brooklyn courthouse bookkeeper stole $2.6 million ... New York Daily News, May 4, 2012


A former employee of a Brooklyn governmental office has been arrested and charged with illegally pocketing $13,268, some of it from a deceased person's safe-deposit box.
Arthur Orikher, who was employed at the Kings County Public Administrator's Office, could face up to seven years in prison, according to a statement issued by the city's Department of Investigation. The Public Administrator's Office administers the estates of individuals who die without wills or without families who can administer their estates.
Just three months after being hired to perform accounting duties at the office, Mr. Orikher began depositing counterfeit checks worth $9,969 into his personal account, the commissioner of the DOI, Rose Gill Hearn, said.
Then, on April 30, Mr. Orikher stole $3,300 that had been collected from a deceased client's safe-deposit box.
"The charged conduct obviously violates the fundamental obligations and standards of personal integrity required of any public servant, to say nothing of one paid by the City to conserve the money and valuables of the deceased," Ms. Hearn said in the statement.
http://www.nysun.com/new-york/city-employee-arrested-for-stealing-from/80410/


Two convicted in Brooklyn public administrator embezzlement case
http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/two-convicted-brooklyn-public-administrator-embezzlement-case-2013-11-14-200000


Between 1997 and 2001, according to Newfield, the law firm of Queens Democratic Party leader Tom Manton received more than $400,000 in court patronage.
In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world."

Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go | Open Government

Last week, Brooklyn Surrogate's Court Judge Michael Feinberg was removed from the bench because he committed misconduct by improperly awarding nearly $9 million in fees to attorney Louis R. Rosenthal, his long-time friend. The fees in question were taken from the estates of Brooklyn's dead, their widows and orphans. 2005

    It  Does Not Matter If It is Corruption or Incompetenece It is Still Stealing from Widdows and offens

The Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute From Widows and Orphans - Robert Kennedy

Between 1997 and 2001, according to Newfield, the law firm of Queens Democratic Party leader Tom Manton received more than $400,000 in court patronage. * A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens(NYT) * In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world."  Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)




The NYT Which Never Misses An Opportunity to Tell Which Surrogate Judge to Votes Does Report on Corruption Going On in the Court




City Worker Convicted of Stealing $2.6M from Dead People ...(dnainfo) * ‘Sorry’ estate robber off to jail(NYP) A crooked Brooklyn bookkeeper convicted of stealing $2.6 million from the estates of people who died without wills expressed remorse







Corrupt Surrogate Court

Another Conviction from the Corrupt Surrogate Court


Stealing From the Dead Court
DA Vance announced the trial conviction of Richard Paul, the former bookkeeper for the Kings County Public Administrator’s Office, for stealing more than $2.6 million from the estates of individuals who died without a will by manipulating the agency’s check writing system. Paul was found guilty by a jury in New York State Supreme Court of Grand Larceny in the First Degree and Defrauding the Government. Taryn Miller was convicted by the same jury of Grand Larceny in the First Degree for helping facilitate the scheme, and receiving stolen funds. Both defendants are expected to be sentenced on December 5, 2013. * Corruption and the Surrogate Court (True News) *Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)




No Media Coverage of  the Surrogate Trial

The Media Does Not Even Cover Tammany Hall Corrupt Court That Steal Money From Families of Their Readers

Only News of the Decision Came From the Manhattan DAs Website

NYT, WSJ Covers the Indictment, But Not the Trial or  Conviction
Ex-City Bookkeeper Indicted for Stealing from Dead People: DA (NBC) Richard Paul, 34, the former Kings County Public Administrator's office bookkeeper, was charged with grand larceny and defrauding the government * City Bookkeeper Charged With Stealing $2.6 Million From Estates(NYT) An employee in the office of the Brooklyn public administrator and three others pleaded not guilty to what prosecutors said was a scheme that targeted estates without wills. Scheme Targeted Funds of the Dead(WSJ) * Bookkeeper robbed dead of $2.6M, went on shopping sprees: DA *  Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)


The Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute From Widows and Orphans - Robert Kennedy
In the 1960s’ Senator Robert Kennedy came closest to stopping the looting of New York’s dead. Kennedy went to Albany to gain public support to reform the court. He was attacked by the legislatures and by Manhattan Surrogate Judge Samuel Di Falco. “The testimony of Senator Kennedy and Justice Silverman had been based “solely on hearsay, not on facts. . . The committee heard from Kennedy in silence and asked no questions, but after the Senator left, members of the committee, and some Surrogates called as witnesses, denounced him for repeating “hearsay” statements impugning the system.” –NY Times Nov. 30, 1966

Brooklyn City bookkeeper in 600G ‘scam’(NYP) A bookkeeper stole more than $600,000 in taxpayer money by creating a phony check from the Brooklyn municipal office that handles the estates of people who die without wills or next of kin, court papers allege. Lawyer makes millions with no details on fees - New York Daily News *  Is ex-Surrogate Judge Michael Feinberg of New York a degenerate crook?

Queens  A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (NYT, 11/28/11) *Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (True News, 7/14/11)) Not since the death or old school investigative  report Jack Newfield in 2004 has any reporter in New York covered how the corrupt Queens Democratic Machine use the courts as there personal bank.

Bronx  Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline (NYT)  Judge Holzman, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned from estates that it was handling. Judge Holzman could lose his job as a result of the hearing. 

Staten Island Expose Corrupt Courts: Cover-Up Continues in Surrogate's Court 


Corrupt Surrogate Court Groundhog Day

In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world." He believed it was control of the Surrogate's Court of New York County, more than any other factor, that kept the Tammany Hall political machine alive through the lean years when he deprived it of city jobs and President Franklin Roosevelt denied it federal jobs.


The DN says ruling on Bx Surrogate Judge sends a "horrid" message: "Short of taking a bribe in a paper bag, anything goes."
Bronx Surrogate Judge Lee Holzman keeps his job despite breaking the rules(NYDN Ed) State Commission on Judicial Conduct goes way too easy on a rotten judge.  In one of the worst rulings in its history, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct decreed that a judge may stay on the bench despite giving a pass to a lawyer friend who’d grabbed hundreds of thousand of dollars in excessive fees from the estates of the dead. When Holzman’s counsel, Michael Lippman, got caught taking far larger amounts than he was entitled to, Holzman kept him on the job. That way, Lippman was supposed to earn more fees so he could repay the filched funds.Despite citing all these facts, the panel painted Holzman, incredibly, as a misguided soul who clumsily set out to make whole the estates damaged by Lippman. Thus, he will leave his judgeship under his own power, setting a precedent that casual malfeasance will be tolerated.

In 1995 State Commission on Judicial Conduct Let Another Corrupt Surrogate Court Judge Retire
"In the absence of mitigating circumstances," they said, "removal would be appropriate for such conduct."But the commission said there were mitigating circumsrtances, like the 68-year-old Surrogate's age and his experience on the bench, the finding that his misconduct "was not motivated by selfish interests" and the belief that he "has been forthcoming, cooperative and contrite" before the commission.Panel Censures Brooklyn Judge for Lying - New York Times

 


 _____________________________________

 

Brooklyn Surrogate Court Bookkeeper Indicted for Stealing from Dead People

Ex-City Bookkeeper Indicted for Stealing from Dead People: DA (NBC) Richard Paul, 34, the former Kings County Public Administrator's office bookkeeper, was charged with grand larceny and defrauding the government * City Bookkeeper Charged With Stealing $2.6 Million From Estates(NYT) An employee in the office of the Brooklyn public administrator and three others pleaded not guilty to what prosecutors said was a scheme that targeted estates without wills. Scheme Targeted Funds of the Dead(WSJ) * Bookkeeper robbed dead of $2.6M, went on shopping sprees: DA *  Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)


The Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute From Widows and Orphans - Robert Kennedy
Brooklyn City bookkeeper in 600G ‘scam’(NYP) A bookkeeper stole more than $600,000 in taxpayer money by creating a phony check from the Brooklyn municipal office that handles the estates of people who die without wills or next of kin, court papers allege.

Queens  A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (NYT, 11/28/11) *Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (True News, 7/14/11)) Not since the death or old school investigative report Jack Newfield in 2004 has any reporter in New York covered how the corrupt Queens Democratic Machine use the courts as there personal bank.

Bronx  Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline (NYT)  Judge Holzman, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned from estates that it was handling. Judge Holzman could lose his job as a result of the hearing. 

Staten Island Expose Corrupt Courts: Cover-Up Continues in Surrogate's Court 

Brooklyn Lawyer makes millions with no details on fees - New York Daily News *  Is ex-Surrogate Judge Michael Feinberg of New York a degenerate crook?


The Judges of Judges Are Corrupt Also The DN says ruling on Bx judge sends a "horrid" message: "Short of taking a bribe in a paper bag, anything goes."
Bronx Surrogate Judge Lee Holzman keeps his job despite breaking the rules(NYDN Ed) State Commission on Judicial Conduct goes way too easy on a rotten judge.  In one of the worst rulings in its history, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct decreed that a judge may stay on the bench despite giving a pass to a lawyer friend who’d grabbed hundreds of thousand of dollars in excessive fees from the estates of the dead. When Holzman’s counsel, Michael Lippman, got caught taking far larger amounts than he was entitled to, Holzman kept him on the job. That way, Lippman was supposed to earn more fees so he could repay the filched funds.Despite citing all these facts, the panel painted Holzman, incredibly, as a misguided soul who clumsily set out to make whole the estates damaged by Lippman. Thus, he will leave his judgeship under his own power, setting a precedent that casual malfeasance will be tolerated.

In 1995 State Commission on Judicial Conduct Let Another Corrupt Surrogate Court Judge Retire
"In the absence of mitigating circumstances," they said, "removal would be appropriate for such conduct."
But the commission said there were mitigating circumsrtances, like the 68-year-old Surrogate's age and his experience on the bench, the finding that his misconduct "was not motivated by selfish interests" and the belief that he "has been forthcoming, cooperative and contrite" before the commission.Panel Censures Brooklyn Judge for Lying - New York Times

Corrupt Surrogate Court Groundhog Day
Shocking the Bronx Surrogate Court is Being Investigated
In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world." He believed it was control of the Surrogate's Court of New York County, more than any other factor, that kept the Tammany Hall political machine alive through the lean years when he deprived it of city jobs and President Franklin Roosevelt denied it federal jobs. More on Corruption and the Surrogate Court (True News) *Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)

The Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute From Widows and Orphans - Robert Kennedy
Brooklyn City bookkeeper in 600G ‘scam’(NYP) A bookkeeper stole more than $600,000 in taxpayer money by creating a phony check from the Brooklyn municipal office that handles the estates of people who die without wills or next of kin, court papers allege.

Queens  A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (NYT, 11/28/11) *Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (True News, 7/14/11)) Not since the death or old school investigative report Jack Newfield in 2004 has any reporter in New York covered how the corrupt Queens Democratic Machine use the courts as there personal bank.

Staten Island Expose Corrupt Courts: Cover-Up Continues in Surrogate's Court 

Brooklyn Lawyer makes millions with no details on fees - New York Daily News *  Is ex-Surrogate Judge Michael Feinberg of New York a degenerate crook?


The Courts Keep the Machine in Business and add cost to doing business in New York Conn. Newspapers Fighting Plan for Online Notices From True NewsLegal Ads Help Keep the Political Machines in Power Legal Ads Help Keep the Political Machines in Power(True News)


The Courts Keep the Machine in Business and add cost to doing business in New York Conn. Newspapers Fighting Plan for Online Notices From True NewsLegal Ads Help Keep the Political Machines in Power



WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor laid out the party's agenda, but didn't mention it is the subject of investigation by the US attorney's office.















Legal Ads Help Keep the Political Machines in Power

 

Judicial Fix Crooked Brooklyn judge Gerald Garson leaves halfway house; served 6 months less than minimum sentenct *** Outrage over early release of judge who fixed cases Garson took advantage of a state law, which allows non-violent offenders a one-sixth reduction in time off their minimum sentences if they complete mandatory substance abuse counseling and other educational programs, said a department of parole spokeswoman.

Who Judges the Judges? . . . Nobody? The city's corporation council Michael A. Cardozo recently said he was frustrated with repeated delays in trial decisions, and maintained that the “entire culture must be changed” to “improve judicial accountability and, with it, judicial performance.” 18 of 20 justices of the First Judicial Department of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court delivered a letter published Thursday in The New York Law Journal which barely contain their contempt for Cardozo. In a break of the tradition of restraint in at least public comment, the judges lashed out of Cardozo. Cardozo said he was talking for other who felt the court's decision were not timely delivered. From State Judges, a Rebuke of a Top Bloomberg Adviser


Judicial Fix Crooked Brooklyn judge Gerald Garson leaves halfway house; served 6 months less than minimum sentenct *** Outrage over early release of judge who fixed cases Garson took advantage of a state law, which allows non-violent offenders a one-sixth reduction in time off their minimum sentences if they complete mandatory substance abuse counseling and other educational programs, said a department of parole spokeswoman.

Legal Ads Help Keep the Political Machines in Power


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



How Court Ordered Guardians Rip Off Judge Philips and the Slave Theater and Got Away With it

Tug of War Over a Civil Rights Legacy(NYT) The Slave Theater in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, once a hub of civil rights activity, is mired in a bitter battle over ownership rights. Clarence Hardy, the self-proclaimed chief of the Slave Theater in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, said Judge John L. Phillips Jr., the former owner of the neighborhood landmark, wanted him to occupy the theater. * Slave Theater could be sold to pay judge’s ‘debts’ (Brooklyn Paper) * JUDGE JOHN L. PHILLIPS - JUSTICE HAS NOT BEEN SERVED * Guardians of Retired Judge Accused of Lax Accounting and Improprieties(NYT) 

 


Corrupt Surrogate Court Groundhog Day

Shocking the Bronx Surrogate Court is Being Investigated
In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world." He believed it was control of the Surrogate's Court of New York County, more than any other factor, that kept the Tammany Hall political machine alive through the lean years when he deprived it of city jobs and President Franklin Roosevelt denied it federal jobs Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline, Defends Himself(NYT) Judge Lee L. Holzman is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned. * Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)



NYP: Manhattan Surrogate Judge Gets Away With Illegal Campaign Contribution. . .  Calls Committee on Judicial Conduct A Farce
The Post is livid that Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora Anderson got off “scot-free” for violating campaign finance laws and was only censured for her actions
Judicial panel, heal thy self(NYP) To wit, despite being officially censured for eye-popping campaign conduct, Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora Anderson essentially gets off scot-free. As a candidate for surrogate in 2008, Anderson accepted a ton of money from her mentor and former law partner, Seth Rubenstein: He gave the campaign $25,000 and loaned it another $225,000.
Still, Anderson’s campaign needed more cash — and Rubenstein had donated the legal maximum. So the two of them did an end-run around campaign-finance laws. He wired a $150,000 “gift” to Anderson’s personal account — then, declaring it her own money (which is not limited by law), she funneled it into her campaign.  A pretty obvious dodge — which is why the two were later indicted on felony charges. But most of the counts were dismissed by a judge who agreed that they should have been brought in Brooklyn, where the transactions took place, instead of Manhattan. Anderson and Rubenstein were later acquitted on the remaining, less serious counts, and Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes never brought any charges. (No surprise there.).  Enter the commission, which bought her argument (among other things) that she’d relied on Rubenstein — her co-perpetrator — for legal advice and that she didn’t intend to break state election law. There wasn’t a single dissent.

Corruption and the Surrogate Court(True News)






The Surrogate Court is A Political Toll Booth Exacting Tribute From Widows and Orphans - Robert Kennedy

Brooklyn City bookkeeper in 600G ‘scam’(NYP) A bookkeeper stole more than $600,000 in taxpayer money by creating a phony check from the Brooklyn municipal office that handles the estates of people who die without wills or next of kin, court papers allege.

Queens  A Court, Not Votes, Sustains a Political Machine in Queens (NYT, 11/28/11) *Were Have All the Journalist Gone After Newfield (True News, 7/14/11)) Not since the death or old school investigative report Jack Newfield in 2004 has any reporter in New York covered how the corrupt Queens Democratic Machine use the courts as there personal bank.

Bronx  Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline (NYT)  Judge Holzman, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned from estates that it was handling. Judge Holzman could lose his job as a result of the hearing. 

Staten Island Expose Corrupt Courts: Cover-Up Continues in Surrogate's Court 

Brooklyn Lawyer makes millions with no details on fees - New York Daily News *  Is ex-Surrogate Judge Michael Feinberg of New York a degenerate crook?

Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News)

 

Judges Protect Judges

NYT Says That Gonzalez's "violation of ethics rules has badly undermined trust in his judgment. He should relinquish his role as a presiding justice."

Judicial Conduct Unbecoming (NYT) New York courts may be reforming hiring practices so that jobs are not given to favored friends and relatives, but one justice has been given a pass for doing so. But that did not stop Luis Gonzalez, the top judge in the appellate division that covers Manhattan and the Bronx, from treating openings in his part of the court system as personal patronage. A state agency that polices judges’ conduct issued a highly critical report about Justice Gonzalez, yet he remains a presiding justice. * Judges’ jobs injustice(NYP Ed) If you’re a New York City judge and get caught breaking court rules, not to worry: The state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct is only too happy to give you a pass.

  



The state Commission on Judicial Conduct has determined that Surrogate Court Judge Nora Anderson should be censured for accepting $250,000 in “disguised contributions” for her 2008 campaign and failing to report the contributions as required. * Judge Censured for '08 Campaign Ethics Violations(NYT)




  

Special Interests Pour Money Into A Surrogate Judge Campaign And Everyone Gets Away With It
Judge Censured for '08 Campaign Ethics Violations(NYT) The judge, Nora S. Anderson, was criminally tried and acquitted in 2010 for the campaign irregularities, but the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has its own disciplinary process. The News wishes Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora Anderson would get bounced from the bench after she only received censure from the state Commission on Judicial Conduct for committing ethics violations in 2008:


The Surrogate Shame of New York
Mayor Laguardia and Senator Kennedy Tried to Clean Up the Surrogate Courts . .  Now Decades Later A Surrogate Court Race is Being Run in Manhattan and Reform is Not A Campaign Issue
In the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia called Surrogate's Court "the most expensive undertaking establishment in the world." He believed it was control of the Surrogate's Court of New York County, more than any other factor, that kept the Tammany Hall political machine alive




State watchdog recommends removing Bronx judge(NYDN)*
Bronx Judge in Misconduct Case Should Be Forced Out, Head of Panel Says Lee L. Holzman, the Bronx surrogate judge since 1988, was found to have committed official misconduct after accusations of malfeasance by two subordinates. * Surrogate's Court And Why It Should Go (True News) * In Queens, Political Center Is in Surrogate's Court - NYTimes.com * Brooklyn Surrogate Judge Michael Feinberg is Suspended From the Bench *Brooklyn Bookkeeper Charged With Stealing Millions From Estates ...

Robert Kennedy Effort to Fix the Surrogate Was Left Undone After His Murder

Senator Kennedy Serious Try to Reform Surrogate Court  * To clean up corrupt Surrogate Courts, wake up and vote - NY Daily ... * Expose Corrupt CourtsCorrupt Courthouse Bookkeeper Stole $2.6 ...





 

NYP: Manhattan Surrogate Judge Gets Away With Illegal Campaign Contribution. . .  Calls Committee on Judicial Conduct A Farce
The Post is livid that Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora Anderson got off “scot-free” for violating campaign finance laws and was only censured for her actions
Judicial panel, heal thy self(NYP) To wit, despite being officially censured for eye-popping campaign conduct, Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora Anderson essentially gets off scot-free. As a candidate for surrogate in 2008, Anderson accepted a ton of money from her mentor and former law partner, Seth Rubenstein: He gave the campaign $25,000 and loaned it another $225,000.
Still, Anderson’s campaign needed more cash — and Rubenstein had donated the legal maximum. So the two of them did an end-run around campaign-finance laws. He wired a $150,000 “gift” to Anderson’s personal account — then, declaring it her own money (which is not limited by law), she funneled it into her campaign.  A pretty obvious dodge — which is why the two were later indicted on felony charges. But most of the counts were dismissed by a judge who agreed that they should have been brought in Brooklyn, where the transactions took place, instead of Manhattan. Anderson and Rubenstein were later acquitted on the remaining, less serious counts, and Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes never brought any charges. (No surprise there.).  Enter the commission, which bought her argument (among other things) that she’d relied on Rubenstein — her co-perpetrator — for legal advice and that she didn’t intend to break state election law. There wasn’t a single dissent.

Corruption and the Surrogate Court(True News)

 

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Pay to Play Bronx Judges

Politics plays key role in Bronx court appointments(Riverdale Press) Despite years of reforms, in some Bronx courtrooms, it is still just as helpful to know the judge as the law. Sometimes, it’s even more so. That’s the finding of a Riverdale Press review of discretionary appointments by local judges and the legal practices of politically connected attorneys who often appear before them.As a Supreme Court judge, Nelida Malave-Gonzalez, who was elected in November as the Bronx’s new judge of the surrogate court, repeatedly tapped leaders of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, commonly referred to as the Bronx Democratic Party, to serve as court-appointed counsels, designations that yielded tens of thousands of dollars in fees. Since she began making appointments in 2010, Judge Malave-Gonzalez’s most frequent appointee, records show, has been Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who has represented Riverdale and Kingsbridge in Albany for 19 years and who serves as chair of the Bronx Democratic Party’s county committee. 

Howard Vargas, a past executive director of the Bronx Democratic Party who currently serves as the party’s legal counsel, has won 87 appointments from local judges since reforms went into effect in 2003.* Lawyers with political connections earn large fees as receivers for distressed NYC properties (Real Deal)*Party lawyer has record of feasting on foreclosure(Riverdale Press)\ Mr. Vargas, a lawyer with strong ties to the Bronx Democratic Party, has netted more than $350,000 in fees over the past decade thanks to a steady stream of court-appointed positions. Some of that lucrative work has come in the form of receiverships. But the properties he’s been charged with managing have not always done as well. Of the 24 buildings Mr. Vargas was appointed to supervise, five were placed on a list of the city’s most distressed properties during the receivership. Despite those problems, Bronx judges have continued to appoint Mr. Vargas as a receiver. New surrogate joined in old game

 

 



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