It would take more than 5 years after Judge Anthony Scarpino took the Surrogate Court bench before finally addressing his lawyer-friend's internet advertising of his law firm's implied favoritism with the court. "I suggest you speak to a 15-year old. They tend to know how to do that," said Judge Scarpino. (August 3, 2005 Westchester Surrogate's Court transcript, page 32, lines 17-19) (See transcript to the right: "Scarpino & Streng on Internet")...
It was recently reported on this forum that the Manhattan based legal powerhouse Paul Weiss had engaged the small White Plains, New York firm McCarthy Fingar to handle proceedings in the Estate of Brooke Astor in the Westchester County Surrogate's Court.
The lone Westchester Surrogate, Anthony A. Scarpino,Jr., does not, however, explain why it took so long--nearly five years--for him to address the issue of any lawyer advertising over the internet, or on their law firm website, the implied inside connections with the Scarpino court that would further suggest favored treatment by the court.
But it is now revealed in an August 3, 2005 transcript that Judge Scarpino knew about the advertising. The Surrogate confirms that he had prior knowledge of the advertising,
"Mr. Streng, I feel that this Web site to the general public and…has caused difficulty for the Court, and this is not the first time I've heard it, and I'm glad to hear that you have taken steps to remove it from your Web site, and I'm requesting that you take whatever steps you can to try to have it removed from other Web sites whatever else is out there if you can do that." (Transcript page 31, line 25 thru page 32, lines 1-12)
The August 3, 2005 transcript makes clear that Surrogate Scarpino acknowledged that he knew his personal and political friend had been advertising their close association on his law firm website and on the internet. And in one of the advertising sections, it mentions that attorney Frank Streng was on Judge Scarpino's election transition committee from "2001-present", suggesting that the inside connection to the court was an on-going event.
And though he mentions it, Judge Scarpino failed to correct, or take any other required action, concerning the fact that financial sanctions had been twice granted by him (the judge) to the advertising friend of the court, Mr. Streng and his firm McCarthy Fingar-- financial sanctions simultaneously with the "closeness to the court" advertising.
Such advertisements, which strongly imply favoritism and partiality by any court, are strongly frowned upon by the Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Attorney Disciplinary Committees.
Most observers, though, are alarmed that it took Judge Scarpino over 5 years from his being elected Surrogate in 2000 to even address the troubling issue with his close associate Frank Streng who was, at all times relevant, the person at the McCarthy Fingar law firm in charge of the content on the firm website.
Attorney Frank W. Streng and the law firm McCarthy Fingar continue to regularly appear before Westchester County Surrogate Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., and have done so, quite successfully, at all times since the Surrogate election in 2000.
End Note: In that same estate, attorney Frank Streng and McCarthy Fingar have been accused of filing a fraudulent "assignment" designed to prevent any claim to recover approximately $100,000.00 stolen from the Red Cross in 9/11 donation monies. Surrogate Scarpino denied any of the relief sought against Mr. Streng and McCarthy Fingar, without prejudice. But in the same "without prejudice" order, Surrogate Scarpino, sua sponte ("on his own") ordered a prohibition of any motions- thus, barring anyone from filing any motions.
Oddly, McCarthy Fingar advised all parties in November of 2003 that they had filed the "assignment" papers, but only in July of 2007 was the newly-installed Surrogate's Chief Court Clerk, Charles T. Scott, Esq., able to correct the three and one-half year "administrative oversight." And, according to Chief Clerk Scott, when his office finally filed and entered the 2003 dated "assignment" documents in July 2007, they backdated the entry date to show November of 2003.
(See transcript to the right: "Scarpino & Streng on Internet")