MLK said: "Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere"

End Corruption in the Courts!

Court employee, judge or citizen - Report Corruption in any Court Today !! As of May 15, 2014, we've received over 137,835 tips...KEEP THEM COMING !! Email: CorruptCourts@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Former Local Judge Pleads Guilty to Assaulting His Wife

Former Local Judge Pleads Guilty to Assaulting His Wife

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A former municipal judge in New Jersey has pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife, who is a New York City radio personality. Under a plea deal, John Paragano is to receive probation and provide free legal services. Paragano admitted that he assaulted Diane Prior, who works at New York City's 103.5 WKTU-FM, in their Chester Township home in December 2007. Authorities said he pushed her down some stairs. The 43-year-old Paragano, who now lives in Brick, was a municipal judge for a time. He resigned in November 2004 after he was accused of assaulting Prior, who was then his fiancee, trashing their house and driving drunk. The assault charge was dismissed, but he pleaded guilty to drunken driving.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Public Airs Concerns On Disciplinary Procedures

Public Airs Concerns On Disciplinary Procedures
The New York Law Journal - September 25, 2009 (page 6)

A PANEL led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, and including Senator Ruben Diaz, D-Bronx, held a second public hearing yesterday on the procedures for disciplining attorneys and judges. At the hearing, Senator Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn, suggested creating a task force to investigate alleged corruption in New York courts. The task force, Mr. Adams told some 80 people at the lower Manhattan hearing, "would assist us in navigating how this problem is being hidden from public view." Victor A. Kovner, a partner at Davis Wring Tremaine and a former chairman of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, testified in support of more transparency by holding open hearings to remove "any rumor or innuendo" from the outcome of disciplinary proceedings for judges. Over four hours, a dozen witnesses complained about the confidential nature of the process, as well as about how their own cases had been handled. The panel's first hearing was held in Albany in June (NYLJ, June 6), and a third hearing may be held for Buffalo, although no date has been set.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

* HIGHLIGHTS OF NEW YORK SENATE SAMPSON HEARING *
  • Senator Adams Asks Chairman Sampson to Appoint a TASK FORCE....
  • The Next Hearing will be in October..... exact date to be announced soon...
  • More Horrific Examples of 'Criminal Enterprise' in and about Statewide Courts
The Live Feed of the Sampson Hearing ended at approximately 3:40pm on Thursday, September 24, 2009. The hearing transcript and video will be posted soon.....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jury: New York Lawyer Guilty of Sex With Client

Jury: Lawyer guilty of sex with client
The Albany Times Union by CAROL DeMARE - September 23, 2009

ALBANY, NY -- A City Court jury found a former assistant public defender guilty late Tuesday of having sex with a client in return for promising to work harder on her case. The six-member panel convicted Matthew Swedick, now 39, with one misdemeanor count of official misconduct. He was acquitted on two other counts of the same charge. The case against him goes back two years when he was assigned to represent Latoya Gorton on drug charges following an April 2007 raid on the Albany home Gorton shared with a boyfriend. Gorton testified when the attorney-client relationship started Swedick essentially told her he would work harder, prioritize her case and treat her as a private-paying client if she engaged in sex with him. Those allegations constituted criminal activity because of Swedick's role as an attorney on the public payroll, Special Prosecutor Michael Koenig said.

The jury seated before Judge Thomas Keefe heard two tapes that Gorton secretly made at times when she was in Swedick's law office. Keefe allowed the tapes to be introduced as evidence at the request of Koenig. Defense attorney James Long objected to them. Gorton used a hidden recorder on the advice of an attorney in Kingston whom she consulted. Much of the tapes were inaudible. However, the one in which she performed oral sex in August 2007 supported the third misconduct charge, and that was the charge on which he was convicted. He was acquitted on the two counts involving sexual intercourse that took place in Swedick's office in May of that year to which Gorton testified. The jury deliberated six hours. Keefe did not set a sentencing date to allow Long to make post-trial motions. A Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in the county jail. Also, it is expected the disciplinary committee that oversees attorneys' conduct could look into the case, court officials said.

Swedick testified he had sex with Gorton after the two developed a relationship, and while it was a mistake in judgment it had nothing to do with his job. He said he made no promises to her, and there were no demands. Flirting and joking around went on in that office, he said. Long said if private lawyers had sex with a client it wouldn't be handled as a crime but something possibly the disciplinary committee would look into. Long said he plans an appeal to Albany County Court on several grounds, including the tapes should never have been allowed into evidence. At least 80 percent of the tape was inaudible, he said. Gorton, now 32, and a resident of Newburgh, met with Swedick at his office several times to discuss her case. It was her first arrest and she told the lawyer she didn't think she should go to prison. Police had confiscated 39 grams of crack cocaine and $10,375, in cash at the Ontario Street home. Gorton said $1,951 of that was from her job at Coldwell Banker where she worked as a real estate agent and insisted the lawyer get it back. Detective Mike Haggerty, who handles forfeiture cases for Albany police, testified the department wrote Gorton a check for that amount.

SEE RELATED STORIES:


Monday, September 21, 2009

NY State Court Insider Calls For Federal Prosecutor

Christine C. Anderson
Attorney at Law
227 Riverside Drive, Ste. 2N
New York, New York 10025


September 13, 2009 (via Confirmed Overnight Delivery)

The Hon. Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States

Office of the Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

The Hon. Preet Bharara
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York

United States Department of Justice
One St. Andrews Plaza
New York, New York 10007


Hon. William M. Welch II
Chief, Public Integrity Uni
t
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

The Hon. John L. Sampson,Chairman
New York State Senate Judiciary Committee
409 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247



Re: Request for Federal Investigation Into Allegations of Corruption and
Witness Intimidation and Appointment of Federal Monitor


Gentlemen:

My name is Christine C. Anderson. For six and one-half years, I was a Principal Attorney of the New York State Appellate Division, First Department’s Departmental Disciplinary Committee (the “DDC”). The DDC is responsible for investigating and disciplining attorneys found guilty of misconduct in representing the public in the Bronx and Manhattan. After discovering and reporting of acts of misconduct and corruption at the DDC, which acts constituted an abuse of power and a fraud upon the public, my employment was summarily terminated in June, 2007.

Prior to my employment with the DDC, I was in private practice for over twenty years. Before that, I worked for the Human Resources Administration of New York City. In other words, I am a thoroughly seasoned attorney, with a broad based knowledge of general practice.

As a result of my wrongful termination in retaliation for my reporting misconduct in violation of my First Amendment rights, I instituted a lawsuit captioned Anderson v. State of New York, et al., 07 Civ. 9599 (S.D.N.Y. 2007). (A copy of my complaint in this action is attached hereto as Exhibit A.) Specifically, I discovered and reported that employees of the DDC had engaged in, inter alia, the “whitewashing” complaints of misconduct leveled against certain “select” attorneys and law firms. This “whitewashing” sometimes involved burying cases or destroying evidence, so that certain complaints were inevitably, unavoidably, dismissed. I witnessed this destruction of evidence myself. Other reported misconduct involves victimizing attorneys lacking privileged positions or connections.

Although the then Chief Counsel of the DDC, Thomas Cahill, stepped down in 2007, evidence clearly establishes that under the leadership of Alan Friedberg, the current Chief Counsel, the same practice of corruption and whitewashing of complaints continues. Such practice robs the public of any hope at justice; it also works to the detriment of the very public the DDC is duty-bound to serve.

During the course of my litigation against the DDC, a former colleague of mine, who still works as a Principal Attorney at the DDC, agreed to testify on my behalf at a deposition. This former colleague, Nicole Corrado, has been employed by the DDC for approximately eight years, prior to which she worked as a prosecutor for New York State. On the morning of her deposition, however, while en route to her deposition, Ms. Corrado was approached on the street by a supervisor at the DDC, who threatened and intimidated her with respect to her upcoming deposition testimony. Although terribly shaken, Ms. Corrado nonetheless sat for her deposition and testified truthfully. Following her deposition, however, Ms. Corrado has been subjected to further harassment and intimidation at the hands of the DDC. She has been forced to take a leave of absence as a result.

On June 8, 2009, I testified at a hearing convened by John L. Sampson, New York State Senator and Chairman of the New York State Standing Committee On The Judiciary. (A copy of my affidavit submitted to the Committee is attached hereto as Exhibit B.) At that hearing, several witnesses testified as to their shocking experiences with the grievance and judiciary committees in New York State. Shockingly, within days of my testimony, in my lawsuit, my sealed medical and psychiatric records were filed and posted publicly on the court’s Internet filing system by counsel for the defendants – i.e., the New York State Attorney General’s Office. I regard those actions as horrifically unethical and malicious, and taken in deliberate retaliation for my testifying at the Senate hearing.

The detailed testimony presented by innumerable witnesses at the June 8th Senate hearing reveals the manifold reports of corruption and abuse by the State’s Disciplinary Committees. (A copy of the transcript of this hearing is attached hereto as Exhibit C.) Charges included concealment of evidence, obstruction of justice, extortionate sexual threats by attorneys, pilfering of estates by attorneys, abuse of power, fraud, conspiracy and repeated violations of state and federal constitutional rights.

In light of the foregoing, it is plain that the enduring practice of allowing attorneys in this state to police themselves is fundamentally flawed. With the numerous reports of abuse by both attorneys and state officials, the corruption in the court system has reached a critical stage. Accordingly, I respectfully request that you authorize the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the epidemic of honest services fraud in the New York state court system, and the appointment of a Federal Monitor, to oversee the lawful operation of the same.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to your response.

Very truly yours,

Christine C. Anderson

cc w/o enc:

The Hon. David A. Paterson
New York State Governor
Office of the Governor of New York State
State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

The Hon. Boyd M. Johnson III
Deputy United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York
Public Corruption Unit
United States Department of Justice
One St. Andrews Plaza
New York, New York 10007

The Hon. Loretta A. Preska
Chief U.S. District Judge
United States Courthouse
Southern District of New York
500 Pearl Street
New York, New York 10007-1312

The Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
New York State Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General of New York State
The Capitol
Albany, New York 12224-0341

The Hon. Luis A. Gonzalez
Presiding Justice, New York State Appellate Division,1st Department
27 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10010

The Hon. Joseph M. Demarest, Jr.
Assistant Director in Charge, New York Division
26 Federal Plaza, 23rd Floor
New York, New York 10278-0004

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Attorney Tessitore Dead; Another Victim of State's Corrupt Oversight

William Francis Tessitore, admitted as an attorney in the Third Department in 1991 is dead. Just another sad example of the fallout of New York's failed, and grossly corrupt, so-called 'ethics' system. As an attorney, Mr. Tessitore promised much to society, but human temptations that were to be kept in-check by those charged with insuring 'attorney ethics' failed him. In fact, the corruption of New York's 'ethics' oversight encourages corruption, fraud and widespread abuse of the law. Two items follow:

1. A Scheme that stretched Across the Globe
(The Albany Times Union, October 26, 2008)
2. Obituary of William Francis Tessitore

A scheme that stretched across the globe
Fraud cases raise questions about the work of attorneys whose clients later faced criminal charges
The Albany Times Union by BRENDAN J. LYONS - October 26, 2008

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — The money was supposed to come from overseas: a $100 million deal to finance a ski resort in Utah. The wealthy investor on the other end of the telephone line listened closely to three men from Saratoga County, including an attorney, who cast themselves as international financiers with access to billions. The investor, Brent Ferrin, who lives in Park City, Utah, was skeptical. The men making the pitch were speaking in garbled sentences about Latvian banks, Patriot Act restrictions and shadowy European bank executives who, it would turn out, actually lived in Las Vegas. But Ferrin played along. He questioned why the paper work for a major international loan was being handled by a ''personal injury lawyer'' from Saratoga Springs. The attorney, John M. Hogan Jr., jumped in to defend himself.

''Let me tell you why,'' Hogan said. ''Because I, I am tenacious. I don't let go of things when I get my hands onto them. I was for, did they say I was an accountant before I was a lawyer? ... And did they tell you that ah, I don't like to lose and that I'm a bulldog? That's what people call me.'' Unbeknownst to Hogan and his partners in the deal, Ferrin was recording every word for the FBI. It wasn't the first time Hogan, 73, a member of a longtime Saratoga Springs law firm, played a role, knowingly or not, in a questionable loan deal, court records show. But like several upstate New York attorneys who figured in recent federal investigations of real estate and mortgage fraud, Hogan was not charged.

Indeed, a months-long Times Union examination has uncovered instances in which federal authorities investigated the roles of lawyers and other licensed professionals embroiled in schemes involving mortgage or bank fraud, without bringing charges. It comes as other lawyers and their clients, who have been prosecuted in upstate federal courts, are accusing the Justice Department of being selective in its prosecutions and of failing to pursue potential conspirators due to a mix of whimsical decision-making and limited law enforcement resources. As the U.S. economy is reeling in the wake of years of sloppy mortgage lending, the government's decision to limit its prosecutions has exposed a gap in law enforcement priorities. It also highlights a shift in focus by the FBI and Justice Department toward combating terrorism and child pornography.

In June, that issue bubbled up in a federal courtroom in Albany as U.S. District Judge Gary L. Sharpe sentenced two men, Thomas Disonell and Matthew Kupic, to prison for a series of mortgage fraud crimes that could have put them behind bars for much longer than the 24 months they received. Sharpe reacted strongly as the government sought to credit the men for cooperation that was never used to prosecute anyone else. ''This case caused me to crack an eyebrow,'' Sharpe declared on the bench that day. ''How can they do what they did without the complicity of the lawyers that are involved in the closing? ... I'm not oblivious to the fact that the criminal cases filed with the FBI as the investigating agency is almost nil compared to what they were before 9/11. I know where their resources are. And I'm not attacking that one iota. ... But I happen to know that the amount of time and energy invested in white-collar fraud in criminal investigations is not what it was prior to 9/11.''

Andrew T. Baxter, acting U.S. attorney for New York's Northern District, while declining to comment on any specific case, said it is not a matter of being selective. He said that ''attorney-client privilege can make it more difficult to gather evidence.'' ''In investigating a fraudulent scheme, a key issue as to every subject is the strength of the evidence of the knowledge of the fraudulent nature of relevant transactions and the criminal intent of those involved,'' Baxter said. ''The fact that a subject of an investigation is a lawyer or licensed professional may affect our ability to prove knowledge and intent.'' Still, the Saratoga County case and others like it have exposed a trend in which people accused of federal fraud-related charges turned to attorneys and other professionals who, unwittingly or not, allegedly helped them complete their crimes.

In 2005, a year after Ferrin recorded his telephone conversation with Hogan, two other men on the conference call that day, Philip Rechnitzer of Clifton Park and Ronald Persaud of Saratoga Springs, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Albany. The indictment accused them of bilking Ferrin and other investors of more than $1.6 million. Persaud's wife, Indranie, his ex-wife, Esther, and their son, Shawn, a student at Albany Law School, also were indicted. The charges allege numerous investors lost money while seeking financing for high-end development projects like theme parks, Caribbean resorts and even a Lake George hotel.

The investors have testified in federal court they believed they were dealing with high-powered financiers who had access to billions of dollars in overseas funding, and not a husband-and-wife team from upstate New York who were having financial troubles. In 2004, at a time when Esther Persaud was claiming to be the managing director of at least three overseas banks, she listed her job as an office manager and stated she had $50 cash on hand when she filed for bankruptcy in Albany. Ronald Persaud, whom prosecutors have cast as the ringleader, also filed for bankruptcy that year, claiming assets of under $11,000. It took place at a time when federal prosecutors say he was fabricating official-looking European bank notes purported to be worth billions of dollars and using those, often with local lawyers at his side, to convince investors to give him money to secure multimillion-dollar loans.

Defense attorneys in the case say lawyers were integral in the deals. As the ongoing trial of Ronald and Esther Persaud opened two weeks ago, their criminal attorneys cast blame on at least five business attorneys, including Hogan. Their pitch to the jury in Albany is that lawyers approved documents and wire transfers, and handed over the fraudulent bank notes to investors. The only attorney charged in connection with the scheme was William Tessitore, who lost his law license and pleaded guilty to bank fraud Aug. 11, admitting he looted $624,000 from his escrow accounts. Prosecutors agree that the presence of attorneys is exactly why many victims fell for the scheme, but they have been silent on whether any of the other attorneys violated any laws. In their trial briefs and other court filings in the Persaud case, they make clear that ''the subject fraud was advanced through the assistance of attorneys'' and ''attorney accounts were used to receive alleged wire fraud proceeds.''

According to court records in the case, and the testimony of witnesses at Persaud's trial, Hogan played a key role. He served as a point of contact for duped investors and attended at least one purported ''closing'' for a loan in Zurich, Switzerland, that never took place. Also, Hogan's law firm helped Ronald and Esther Persaud file for bankruptcy in 2004. Early that year, Ronald Persaud listed assets of less than $11,000 and his job as a ''mortgage consultant'' while months later he was posing as an overseas banker during conversations with Hogan and investors. The bankruptcy documents make no mention of Persaud's purported work as an international financier. ''Hogan, by virtue of his law license and his status as a member in good standing of the bar, gave the outward appearance of legitimacy to the fraud conspiracy,'' according to a government memorandum filed in Persaud's case.

Still, court records and an FBI document shared with the Times Union show Hogan wasn't the only attorney who aided — if unwittingly — in the alleged crimes of Rechnitzer and Persaud. Anthony Ianniello, a well-known real estate lawyer in Clifton Park, handled the closing on a mortgage in which Persaud's wife, Indranie, a $40,000-a-year postal worker, sharply inflated her income on loan documents so her husband could secretly obtain an $890,000 home in Saratoga Springs. Ianniello also set up a partnership through which Persaud purchased a $135,000 Porsche coupe a year after filing for bankruptcy, and with the proceeds of his alleged crimes, according to the indictment. There is no indication that Ianniello knew Indranie Persaud was committing mortgage fraud. Ianniello declined to comment.

But the Porsche deal raised suspicions of authorities. A state motor vehicle investigator who examined the Porsche transaction, and Ianniello's files, concluded in a government report that ''the unsatisfactory and illogical explanations provided by the attorney, lead him to the conclusion that the Porsche transaction was 'classic money laundering to hide an asset,' '' according to a memo filed in court by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Ianniello was never charged. Last year, Ianniello was called in for an interview with the FBI and federal prosecutors. He appeared alone. An FBI report detailing Ianniello's responses to questions indicates he gave carefully worded answers about his dealings with the Persauds, for whom he had handled dozens of real estate transactions. The FBI report indicates Ianniello said he was unaware Ronald Persaud and his wife had laundered money through Ianniello's private attorney escrow accounts. ''He also did not know why money would be transferred from Latvia,'' the FBI report states. ''Ianiello advised that he never dreamed there was a Latvian bank involved. ... He did not recall his staff telling him about these transfers. ... He stated that he was busy and preoccupied.'' Both Ianniello and Hogan are listed as witnesses by the government in the ongoing trial of Ronald, Esther and Shawn Persaud in U.S. District Court in Albany. It's unclear whether they will testify.

During a conference in court Thursday, U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy asked prosecutors whether Hogan would be able to testify this week. The judge told the attorneys that based on what has transpired in the courtroom, including new information that Hogan was allegedly a member of the board of directors of at least one of the shell banks controlled by the Persauds in Scandinavia, that Hogan could put himself in legal jeopardy by testifying. ''He's in danger,'' McAvoy told the attorneys, referring to Hogan. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Capezza responded that the government had not offered Hogan an immunity deal. ''We will have backup witnesses in the event something happens with John Hogan,'' Capezza told the judge. Brendan J. Lyons can be reached at 454-5547 or by e-mail at blyons@timesunion.com.

***********

OBITUARY William F. "Buster" Tessitore -

William F. 'Buster' Tessitore, 61, entered into the arms of the Lord on Thursday, September 17, 2009. Bill was born in Schenectady on October 21, 1947, the son of Natalie Battaglia Tessitore and the late Joseph W. Tessitore. He was active in his community, volunteering each Thanksgiving serving dinner to those in need. He participated in countless other charitable activities where he aided and assisted many individuals and their families. Bill was caring and devoted to his family and friends. He was of the Roman Catholic faith and lived a full Christian life. He was predeceased by his father, Joseph W. Tessitore; and his loving daughter, Dana Tessitore in 1975. He is survived by his beloved wife, Janet Krystofik Tessitore. William was the devoted father of his son, Joseph W. Tessitore and his wife, Rebecca; and his daughter, Lea Tessitore. Loving son of Natalie Tessitore; devoted brother of Anita Tessitore, Christine Riccio, Frank W. Tessitore and Joseph P. Tessitore; adoring grandfather of John Vincent Tessitore and Nicolina Tessitore; also survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, Union Street, relatives and friends are invited to attend. Interment will follow in St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Brandywine Avenue. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial contributions be made in William's memory to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 423A New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Formal Invite to NY's 'Attorney Ethics' Leaders

Integrity in the Courts Invite

Counselors:

Greetings. Your presence is respectfully requested at the September 24, 2009 public hearing by New York State Senator Sampson, Chairman of the NYS Judiciary Committee. (See the Senate Notice Below). CLICK HERE to review the Transcript of the Committee's first hearing held on June 8, 2009 in Albany. (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE HEARING VIDEOS)

The hearing will be held on the 19th floor, in the "Senate Hearing Room," at 250 Broadway in Manhattan, across from City Hall. You will need ID to gain access to the building. If you get there early, be sure to visit City Hall Park, a lovely park containing a 13-foot statue of Nathan Hall. As you are aware, Nathan Hall's famous quote is, "I only regret that I have but one life to give my country," and he his widely regarded as an American hero who fought against tyrants. You may also want to visit the Tweed Courthouse, just north of City Hall, an architectural marvel and best known as the centerpiece of Old Boss Tweed's public corruption in the Tammany Hall scandal. If you need a list of good "watering holes" in the area, please contact the First Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee.

The Public looks forward to your attendance and participation.

TO:

First Department

Chairman Roy L. Reardon, Esq.
Chief Counsel Alan W. Friedberg, Esq.

First Department Disciplinary Committee
61 Broadway, 2nd floor, New York, New York 10006
212-401-0810 fax

Second Department

Chief Counsel Diana Maxfield Kearse
State of New York Grievance Committee for the
Second, Eleventh & Thirteenth
Judicial Districts,
Renaissance Plaza,
335 Adams Street, Suite 2400
Brooklyn,
New York 11201-3745
718-624-2978 fax

Chief Counsel Gary L. Casella, Esq.
State of New York Grievance Committee for the
Ninth Judicial District

Crosswest Office Center,
399 Knollwood Road, Suite 200,
White Plains, NY 10603
914-949-0997 fax

Chief Counsel Rita Adler, Esq.
State of New York Grievance Committee for the
Tenth Judicial District

150 Motor Parkway, Suite 102,
Hauppauge, NY 11788
631-231-4005 fax

Third Department

Chief Counsel Mark Ochs, Esq.
Committee on Professional Standards
40 Steuben Street, Suite 502
Albany, New York 12207
518-474-0389 fax

Fourth Department

Chief Counsel Gregory J. Huether, Esq.
David L. Edmunds, Esq.
Principal Counsel Anthony J. Gigliotti, Esq
.
Attorney Grievance Committee, 224 Harrison Street, Suite 408
Syracuse, New York 13202, 315-479-0123 fax

Principal Counsel Daniel A. Drake, Esq.
50 East Avenue, Suite 404
Rochester, New York 14604
585-530-3191 fax

Principal Counsel Vincent J. Scarsella, Esq.
438 Main Street, Suite 800
Buffalo, New York 14202
716-856-2701 fax


*******************************************

SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING


SUBJECT: The Appellate Division First Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee, the grievance committees of the various Judicial Districts and the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

PURPOSE: This hearing will review the mission, procedures and level of public satisfaction with the Appellate Division First Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee, the grievance committees of the various Judicial Districts as well as the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

New York City
Thursday September 24, 2009 - 10 A.M.
250 Broadway, 19th Floor Hearing Room
New York, New York 10007


ORAL TESTIMONY BY INVITATION ONLY

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court is the entity that is legally responsible for enforcing the Rules of Professional Conduct governing the conduct of attorneys in New York State. The Appellate Division Departments have created grievance committees that are charged with the investigation of complaints against attorneys. Within the First Judicial Department the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division investigates complaints against attorneys. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct was created by the State Constitution and is charged with investigating complaints against Judges and Justices of the Unified Court System.

According to the 2009 Report of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, there were 1,923 complaints filed in 2008. Yet of these complaints only 262 were investigated and of those, 173 were dismissed. This hearing will examine the processes and procedures that are followed by the various agencies charged with the responsibility of enforcing the rules and regulations that must be followed by the Judiciary and the Bar in the State of New York. It will also evaluate public satisfaction with the disciplinary process.

Senator John L. Sampson

The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1

CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2

Thursday, September 17, 2009

National Challenge to Restore the Trust in Lawyers

A Trusted Lawyer's Fall Into Suspicion
$300,000 Is Missing From Client's Estate in Charles County Case
The Washington Post by Matt Zapotosky - September 17, 2009

Mary P. Jameson wanted to be certain that her money would be safe for her heirs after she died. So as one of her final acts, she hired a lawyer whose credibility was unquestioned in the town of La Plata: Frank P. Jenkins. Jameson's niece, Cecilia Johnston, was put in charge of executing the will, but Jenkins, a longtime family friend, was to help with the practical matters -- moving money among accounts, paying bills and taxes. Jenkins had performed similar services for two other relatives, Johnston said, and no one noticed any problems. This time, though, the problems were almost immediate. Last week, Jenkins, 44, was accused of stealing more than $300,000 from Jameson's estate and charged with theft. Investigators are exploring the possibility that he stole from several other clients, and they are encouraging others who dealt with Jenkins to reexamine their finances for irregularities. "This was a family that has known our family for decades. He wasn't a stranger," Johnston said. "I mean, how could this happen?" Authorities in Charles County have the same question.

To say Mary P. Jameson was meticulous is a bit of an understatement. After her terminal cancer was diagnosed in April, Jameson, who worked for several decades at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, sat down with her niece to work out the seating arrangements at her funeral. She instructed Johnston to buy dozens of file folders to keep financial matters organized, and she prepaid for Jenkins's services, telling her niece to contact the lawyer as soon as possible after her death. Jameson, 73, of Bryantown, knew the drill. Only a year before, she had worked with Jenkins in handling her late husband's estate. Johnston, 47, had never before executed a will. Jameson died July 10, leaving behind four accounts totaling more than $899,000, according to her niece and charging documents. Jenkins told Johnston to move all the money into one account, and eventually, the lawyer took control of the money, according to the charging documents. That's when Jenkins started acting strangely, Johnston said. He refused to provide even basic documentation that bills were being paid and that accounts were being maintained, Johnston said. When questioned, he would change the subject, she said. "He would start to answer and then ask me questions: Did I get the plumber? Have I gotten things for the house? 'How's the dog doing?' 'How's cleaning?' " Johnston said. "He just kept putting me off." On Sept. 4, Johnston decided to go to the bank to check on the money. She found two -- not one -- with a combined value of $500,000, and neither was earning interest, according to authorities. When Johnston started asking questions about the accounts, bank officials told her that they could not answer because neither was in her name, according to the documents.

Johnston, a lieutenant with the Charles County Sheriff's Office, asked some of her colleagues Sept. 7 whether something was amiss or she was just paranoid. The next day, she confronted Jenkins. He told her that he had spent $375,000 of the money to buy property in St. Mary's County, which he intended to flip for $500,000 to "make me look good to all the family members," Johnston said. "I don't even think I could form words other than 'We bought property? We did what?' " Johnston said. "He was full of surprises, just one thing after another." Diane Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Charles County Sheriff's Office, said Jenkins appeared to buy the property before Jameson's death, although it is unclear why. It was clear, she said, that he did not intend to give it to Johnston as a pleasant surprise. On Sept. 9, officers from the sheriff's financial crimes unit froze the accounts and arrested Jenkins, Richardson said. A sheriff's office audit found three accounts worth just over $587,000, leaving about $300,000 unaccounted for, she said. A woman answering the phone at a number listed to Jenkins hung up when a reporter identified himself, and no one responded to subsequent messages. A sign outside Jenkins's office and a message on his voice mail indicate that his practice is closed indefinitely. On Tuesday, Jenkins agreed to be disbarred, said Melvin Hirshman, bar counsel with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission. Hirshman said Jenkins had never before been publicly disciplined as a lawyer.

Court records show that a former client sued him in December 2007, alleging that he had failed to perform legal services on her case, but the suit was dropped after Jenkins repaid the woman $500. Jameson's heirs have not divided her estate, Johnston said, because bills and estate taxes have not been paid. Johnston said she has no access to the money and is not sure when she will get it. That, though, is a secondary concern, Johnston said. When her "Aunt Pat" died, Johnston said, she felt like she had lost her mother -- again. Johnston's mother died when she was in her 20s, and Jameson became "the person you call instead of calling your mom." To let a friend pillage Jameson's estate -- and her memory -- would be truly unjust, Johnston said. "In the big scheme of things, it really doesn't matter how much money," Johnston said. "He's a trusted friend of the family. And he stole from people he knows, who trusted him to take care of us."

See Related Story on Lawyers' Creation of 'Criminal Enterprises.'

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Public Committee Welcomes Sampson's Senate Hearings

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Public Committee on Attorney Conduct Welcomes
New York State Senate Judiciary Committee Call for
Expanded Hearings into Lawyer Grievance Process

PCAC Urges New York Senate Committee Chaired By Senator John Sampson to Draft Legislation to Replace Current Attorney-Controlled Grievance Administration With Citizen Review Boards

New York, NY. - Public Committee on Attorney Conduct (PCAC) has issued a statement following the announcement by New York State Judiciary Committee chaired by Senator John L. Sampson, D-Brooklyn (19thDistrict) scheduling expanded hearings to review the mission, procedures and public satisfaction with the Appellate Division First Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee, the grievance committees of the various Judicial Districts, as well as the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct . The hearings are slated for Thursday, September 24 at 250 Broadway (19th Floor Hearing Room) beginning at 10 AM. The Committee’s action follows an earlier hearing in Albany at which a series of witnesses presented testimony outlining charges of widespread fraud and corruption by the current staff and administrators of the lawyer disciplinary committees.

PCAC has issued the following statement to Senator Sampson and the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Public Committee on Attorney Conduct (PCAC) welcomes the scheduling of expanded hearings into the record of fraud and abuse by the Attorney Grievance Committees in New York State. PCAC also renews its request that the New York State Judiciary Committee draft legislation to replace the current attorney-controlled grievance committees with new citizen controlled boards to review lawyer misconduct. PCAC advocates that control of the grievance process should be placed in the hands of capable and honest citizens, who have requisite knowledge and experience in dealing with ethical issues, including business owners, management executives, the clergy, teachers, professors, personnel administrators and human resource executives.

A continuing series of citizen lawsuits filed in federal courts has showed clear evidence of corruption and abuse by the state’s disciplinary committees. Charges have included concealment of evidence, obstruction of justice, sexual assault by attorneys, pilfering of estates by attorneys, abuse of power, fraud, conspiracy and repeated violations of Constitutional rights. These lawsuits have led to the present hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee. PCAC seeks the immediate replacement of the present lawyer-controlled disciplinary system with a fair, open and totally impartial and transparent public process. This needed reform will make it be possible to restore faith in the state’s legal system and the bar on which it relies.

In announcing the issuance of the Committee’s statement, John T. Whitely, Chairman of the PCAC Organizing Committee, stated, “PCAC applauds the actions of Senator John Sampson and the Senate Judiciary Committee in holding wide ranging hearings on the state’s corrupt attorney disciplinary process, which we and others have found to be managed and controlled by money, favoritism and cronyism. The keystone of these reform efforts must be the replacement of the current failed system with a new structure controlled by non attorneys. The thought that attorneys should be left alone to police themselves is simply ridiculous. Immediate reform is needed. “

PCAC was established in 2007 by affiliated member organizations, including Litigation Recovery Trust (LRT), a New York based rights administration organization, and Integrity in the Courts, the Frank Brady Organization and Expose Corrupt Courts, three Internet sites focused on judicial and attorney disciplinary processes and procedures. The objective of the PCAC is to assist in replacing the existing New York State Attorney Grievance Committees with a body controlled by non-attorneys . PCAC is headquartered in New York City.

PCAC represents the first bar review mechanism in the United States established by non-attorneys. Since news of the formation of the PCAC was first made public, individual complainants have been submitting requests in growing numbers to the committee to review both past and current matters before the New York State grievance committees. Requests and documents are being received by PCAC at its email address: pcacinformation@gmail.com. Telephone inquiries can be directed to 347-632-9775. For additional information, contact the PCAC website at www.pcac.8k.com.

####30####

For additional information please contact:

John T. Whitely
Chairman Executive Search Committee
Public Committee on Attorney Conduct
515 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10022
Telephone 347-632-9775
E-mail: pcacinformation@gmail.com
Web: pcac.8k.com


Expose Corrupt Courts
Email:corruptcourt@gmail.com
Web: www.exposecorruptcourts.blogspot.com


William J. Hallenbeck
Executive Director
Litigation Recovery Trust
515 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10022
Telephone 6462019269
E-mail: lrtinformation@gmail.com
Web: litigationrecoverytrust.8k.com


Integrity in the Courts
www.IntegrityintheCourts.com
Email: integrityinthecourts@gmail.com

The Frank Brady Organization
www.frankbrady.org
Email: FranknBrady@gmail.com

About Public Committee on Attorney Conduct

The newly formed Public Committee On Attorney Conduct will review both past and present cases brought before the New York State grievance committees to provide an independent review and analysis of the facts, and issue proposed findings. With respect to past cases, the committee will hear from persons who maintain that they have been treated unfairly and unjustly by the state disciplinary committees. As part of its initial efforts, the new committee is actively seeking documentation of all complaints against any attorneys dating to January 1, 1988. Public Committee On Attorney Conduct will include as members individuals, who through their personal and professional lives have established a reputation of responsibility and fairness. While attorneys will be available to the PCAC as advisers, all voting members issuing formal reports and decisions will be non attorneys. PCAC is the first such lawyer conduct review organization in the U.S. to be controlled solely by non attorneys.

About Litigation Recovery Trust

Founded in 1995, Litigation Recovery Trust is a New York based claims and rights administration organization. LRT pursues claims and causes of action worldwide, and processes single and group litigation claims, as well as general rights fees and awards. LRT also participates in legislative and administrative initiatives designed to protect or advance individual claims and rights.

About Integrity in the Courts Blog

Integrity in the Courts is a daily Internet blog, which focuses on ethical and legal issues related to the administration of justice nationwide. Issues impacting both the judiciary and the bar are examined, including compliance with codes of judicial conduct, and codes of professional responsibility. Violations of law and failure to abide by codes of conduct are monitored, together with actions leading to disciplinary rulings, including attorney admonishments, reprimands, censures, suspensions and court ordered losses of licenses to practice law.

About Expose Corrupt Courts

Since beginning publication in March 2007, Expose Corrupt Courts has become one of the leading sources of both public and inside information concerning bench and bar misconduct. While the blog focuses primary attention on the court system of New York State, it regularly covers stories of interest throughout the U.S. Expose Corrupt Courts has led coverage of the massive corruption charges that have been filed against the attorney grievance committees in New York resulting in the filing of over a dozen law suits with the federal district court in Manhattan.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2nd Sampson Hearing Set for September 24, 2009

Published on New York State Senate (http://www.nysenate.gov)
Senate Standing Committee on the Judiciary Notice of Public Hearing
By John L. Sampson - Created 09/14/2009 - 3:57pm

SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING


SUBJECT: The Appellate Division First Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee, the grievance committees of the various Judicial Districts and the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

PURPOSE: This hearing will review the mission, procedures and level of public satisfaction with the Appellate Division First Department Departmental Disciplinary Committee, the grievance committees of the various Judicial Districts as well as the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.


New York City
Thursday September 24, 2009 - 10 A.M.
250 Broadway, 19th Floor Hearing Room
New York, New York 10007


ORAL TESTIMONY BY INVITATION ONLY

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court is the entity that is legally responsible for enforcing the Rules of Professional Conduct governing the conduct of attorneys in New York State. The Appellate Division Departments have created grievance committees that are charged with the investigation of complaints against attorneys. Within the First Judicial Department the Departmental Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division investigates complaints against attorneys. The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct was created by the State Constitution and is charged with investigating complaints against Judges and Justices of the Unified Court System.

According to the 2009 Report of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, there were 1,923 complaints filed in 2008. Yet of these complaints only 262 were investigated and of those, 173 were dismissed. This hearing will examine the processes and procedures that are followed by the various agencies charged with the responsibility of enforcing the rules and regulations that must be followed by the Judiciary and the Bar in the State of New York. It will also evaluate public satisfaction with the disciplinary process.

Senator John L. Sampson

The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

Monday, September 14, 2009

New York's Corrupt Ethics Committee Trial, Anderson v. The State of New York, set for Tuesday, October 13, 2009...... CLICK HERE FOR BACKGROUND INFORMATION, "Anderson's $10 Million Lawsuit Proceeds Against Corrupt Discipline Committee."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Certainty: These Judges Can't Get Due Process from Tembeckjian Thugs

Sloppiness or Dishonesty? Judges Probe Removal Issues
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - September 10, 2009

ALBANY, NY - An attorney for the Commission on Judicial Conduct faced close questioning yesterday from members of the Court of Appeals on whether the tangled finances and incomplete financial reporting of two state judges who are also brothers warrants their removal from the bench. Supreme Court Justice Joseph S. Alessandro and Bronx Civil Court Judge Francis M. Alessandro engaged in dishonesty that should forfeit their right to remain on their respective benches, commission attorney Edward Lindner insisted to the Court of Appeals. "You have in these two cases an extended and intertwined pattern of deliberately dishonest conduct that renders both of these petitioners unfit for public office," Mr. Lindner said. But the judges seemed through their questioning to suggest that the often confusing chain of events that began in 2003 when Joseph Alessandro borrowed $250,000 from his then-campaign manager for Westchester County Court left the question of whether either brother committed deliberate misconduct less clear than the commission had concluded.

"You're painting a picture of this very knowledgeable, careful, precise lawyer who did everything right," Judge Robert S. Smith told Robert P. Roche, attorney for Francis Alessandro. "Isn't the record also open to the interpretation that your client was sloppy, but not dishonest?" Mr. Roche, noting that Francis was in the Albany courtroom yesterday, declined to answer Judge Smith's question. "Your honor, I defer to you and suggest that you have said it," Mr. Roche replied. Joseph Alessandro was also in court. Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. wondered how Joseph could have filed such incomplete financial disclosure forms to the Office of Court Administration that failed to list all of the judge's properties, a charge that also formed the basis of the commission's decision to recommend his removal. "The disclosure statement, to be kind, looked like it was, I don't want to say it was filled out by a fourth-grader, but I mean it was really, really sloppy," Judge Pigott told Joseph's attorney, Paul DerOhannesian II. "I don't think I'd let something like that out of my office and I don't think most judges would." Mr. DerOhannesian said Joseph did correct omissions on his disclosure forms when the errors were brought to his attention.

"The history of commission determinations is that a prompt correction when brought to someone's attention is not something that justifies removal," Mr. DerOhannesian said. "We are not saying that it's proper. We don't ask the court to say that it's proper." He said a lesser sanction is warranted for his client than removal, which the attorney referred to as a "judicial beheading." The Commission on Judicial Conduct decided earlier this year that both Alessandros have "irretrievably" lost the public's trust as judges because of deceptive financial dealings and misstatements about transactions on disclosure forms and loan applications (NYLJ, Feb. 24). "In its totality, respondent's conduct demonstrates 'a pattern of injudicious behavior and inappropriate actions which cannot be viewed as acceptable conduct by one holding judicial office,'" the commission held in Francis' determination. It used similar words to describe the impact of Joseph's filing of "incomplete, inaccurate information" on disclosure and loan applications. Both men's problems largely revolved around a 30-day, $250,000 loan Joseph took out in the closing stages of his 2003 run for Westchester County judge from the manager and treasurer of his campaign.

Both brothers initially co-signed for the loan, but Joseph said he solely signed a second loan for 15 years just before the 2003 election because he realized that if the loan was not repaid within 30 days of election day, it would be treated as a contribution far in excess of legal limits. The second loan agreement did not involve Francis, who said he was assured by his brother that the obligation would be taken care of. Mr. Lindner conceded yesterday that Francis' conduct was "certainly...less egregious" than his brother's. But Mr. Lindner said the commission nonetheless determined that it warranted removal. The campaign manager, Barbara Battista, ultimately filed a civil suit naming both Alessandros seeking repayment of the loan. Joseph settled with her for $273,000 in 2005. Both Alessandros argued in briefs before the Court that the loan, and their failures to fully detail it and other financial dealings on financial forms, occurred during a difficult period personally in which their parents died and Francis' wife began to exhibit early stages of Alzheimer's disease (NYLJ, July 9). Joseph, 64, was a Westchester County judge from 2004 to 2005. He was elected to Supreme Court in the Ninth Judicial District, covering Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange and Rockland counties, beginning in 2006. He had been sitting in Orange County. Francis, 70, has been a Civil Court judge in the Bronx since 1990. In a brief arguing against his removal, Mr. Roche noted that his client will be forced to step down at the end of this year due to mandatory retirement and that his judicial legacy should not be defined by removal.

The commission voted 9-0 to recommend the removal of Joseph and 8-1 for Francis' removal. The lone dissenter in Francis' case, Elizabeth B. Hubbard, argued that censure was the proper punishment and that Francis depended on the word of his brother when he was assured that Joseph would take care of the campaign loan obligation. Both judges have been suspended with pay since appealing the commission's decision. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman did not take part in yesterday's arguments. Under a deal worked out in 2005 by political leaders in the Ninth Judicial District, Joseph, a Republican, won the cross endorsement of Democratic leaders while Judge Lippman, a Democrat, received the endorsement of Republican leaders to a second Supreme Court seat open that year in the district. The cross-endorsement deal held even though Joseph was found not qualified for the seat by the Westchester County Bar Association after he failed to appear before the group for screening (NYLJ, Sept. 28, 2005). The Court is expected to rule by the end of October. Since 1978, the Court of Appeals has upheld 65 removal recommendations by the commission and in nine other instances reduced removals to lesser sanctions. None has managed to escape sanctions entirely. Joel.Stashenko@incisivemedia.com

Saturday, September 12, 2009

NY Senate Passes Bill for More Judges

New York State senate passes bill providing for additional family court judges in the state
Albany CPS and Family Court Examiner by Daniel Weaver - September 12, 2009

On Thursday, September 10, 2009, the New York State Senate passed Bill S5968 which provides for additional family court judges in the City of New York and certain counties throughout New York State. The bill was delivered to the Assembly the same day.
The bill was introduced at the request of the Chief Judge of the state. It amends the Family Court Act to establish 21 new Family court judgeships. These include seven in New York City beginning January 1, 2010. Each of the following fourteen counties will also receive a new judgeship: Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Schenectady, Suffolk and Westchester. An explanation for the need for new family court judges was presented in the bill. "While the past several decades have seen increasing legislative recognition of the needs of children and families in New York, in the form of landmark statutes promoting child permanency and enhancing family justice, these salutary efforts have not been matched by provision for a corps of Family Court judgeships sufficiently large to meet the greater caseloads and complexity of proceedings in our courts today. The consequences of this neglect, if not attended to soon, will be disturbing, indeed heartbreaking - and utterly unacceptable: justice delayed for children and families whose safety and welfare can require immediate intervention, children growing up in foster care instead of permanent homes, children graduating from Family Court to Criminal Court instead of high school and college, missed opportunities and spiraling inefficiency for juvenile justice and legal defense agencies. This measure will go a long way toward redressing this unintended and lamentable condition. If enacted, it would represent the first major infusion of new Family Court Judges in New York in over three decades and begin to provide the State's family justice system with the resources needed to protect the most vulnerable members of our community." The mayor of New York City appoints all family court judges in the city. Upstate New York family court judges are elected by the people. The bill provides for the new judgeships outside of New York City to be filled in the November 2009 general elections, although at this late date it is not known if that is still possible. The measure will take place immediately once passed by the assembly and signed by the governor. For more info: CLICK HERE TO READ MORE articles by Dan Weaver on family court.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Judge Pleads Guilty to Federal Corruption Charge

Imagine a U.S. Attorney in New York EVER being able to say: "The essence of the honest services fraud charge was that the defendant allowed his judicial decisions to be manipulated by outside influences from improper sources, such as the requests of particular individuals who had his ear regarding special treatment for some of those who appeared or had cases before him," said [Macon, GA] Acting United States Attorney G. F. "Pete" Peterman, III.

Former Clinch judge pleads guilty
The Associated Press - September 11, 2009

MACON, Ga. (AP) - A former Georgia Superior Court judge has pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge, in a deal with proseutors that keeps him out of prison. The plea by Brooks E. Blitch III ends a lengthy investigation by state and federal authorities who toppled him as one of rural Clinch County's most powerful politicians. The plea Friday morning came before U.S. District Court Judge Hugh Lawson. Blitch pleaded guilty to a single count of honest service fraud conspiracy for granting favors to defendants outside of court. He admitted to reducing sentences and bonds and terminating probations without hearings or notifying prosecutors. The 74-year-old Blitch resigned last year to settle misconduct charges by a state agency that investigates judges. Federal prosecutors indicted him on criminal corruption charges two months later.

Here is the press release for the U. S. Attorney's Office-
ALAPAHA CIRCUIT SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE PLEADS GUILTY

Former Alapaha Circuit Superior Court Judge Brooks E. Blitch, III, pled guilty before the Honorable Hugh Lawson, United States District Judge for the Middle District of Georgia, to one count of Honest Services Fraud Conspiracy in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341, 1343, 1346 and 1349. The maximum sentence for this offense is twenty years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release, and a mandatory assessment of $100.00. Blitch had already surrendered his judicial position and agreed to never again seek such as the result of prior proceedings instituted by the Judicial Qualifications Committee of Georgia. Pursuant to a plea agreement between the government and Blitch, he would receive a probated sentence and a fine, the length and amount of each to be set by the court after a pre-sentence investigation and report are completed by the United States Probation Office. The agreement will not be final until approved by the court, which announcement is usually made at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set, but normally is scheduled approximately sixty days after a conviction or plea of guilty.

"The essence of the honest services fraud charge was that the defendant allowed his judicial decisions to be manipulated by outside influences from improper sources, such as the requests of particular individuals who had his ear regarding special treatment for some of those who appeared or had cases before him," said Acting United States Attorney G. F. "Pete" Peterman, III. "Our goal throughout this and related prosecutions has been to ensure that judicial and law enforcement decisions made in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit are properly based on the dictates of the law and basic fairness, in an open and public proceeding, rather than through favoritism and improper influence in private chambers." In prosecutions connected with this matter one sheriff, a court clerk, and a Clinch County State/Juvenile Court Judge, in addition to other individuals, have pled guilty to criminal charges, as well. This case was investigated by the Thomasville and Valdosta offices of the Atlanta Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The lead investigators were Special Agents Jim Grady and Tony Smith. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Leah McEwen, Jim Crane and Graham Thorpe. Further inquiries should be directed to Sue McKinney, Public Affairs Specialist, United States Attorney's Office, at (478) 621-2602.

NY's "Ethics Leaders" Celebrate Complicity in 9/11 Fraud

New York's "Ethics Leaders" Celebrate Complicity in 9/11 Donation Fraud
Tembeckjian and Friedberg Continue Cover-Up of Stolen $120,000.00; Surrogate Judge and Court Attorney Gloating.....

New York, NY - September 11, 2009 - Robert Tembeckjian and Alan Friedberg whitewashed the criminal acts of 3 Judges who covered-up a politically active attorney's 9/11 Donation Fraud where over $120,000.00 in 9/11 donation cash was stolen, an insurance company was defrauded and a death occurred.

Tembeckjian and Friedberg also ignored another complaint where Surrogate Scarpino confronted the pro se litigant in the lobby of the courthouse to express his anger: "I don't like the fact that you asked me to recuse myself" and "I wasn't the judge when your brother killed himself" and "So where do we go from here?"

And Tembeckjian and Friedberg knew that other New York top administrative judges were also aware of the complaint against three judges for conspiring to cover up an alleged fraudulent court filed “assignment of interest” that was designed to prevent the repayment of over $120,000.00 stolen in 2001 from 9/11 donations made to the American Red Cross. The judges named in the complaints are from Westchester County, in White Plains, New York: Surrogate’s Court Justice Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr.; former 9th Judicial District Administrative Judge Francis A. Nicolai; and Civil Court Judge Gerald E. Loehr.
(Click on the names Scarpino, Nicolai and Loehr for additional stories)

3 Blind Mice

The allegations against the judges include the organized stifling of justice- and for one reason: to protect their political friend and supporter, attorney Frank W. Streng of McCarthy Fingar, LLP, who drafted and filed the alleged fraudulent instrument in November of 2003. The allegations include: judicial steering, corruption, denial of due process and obstruction of justice.

History Repeats Itself

Surrogate Scarpino, who handled the Harry Winston estate and is currently hearing the Brooke Astor estate, refused to remove himself from the Tom Carvel estate proceeding when it was found that he had loans from one of the parties. Also, it was reported that for over 4 years attorney Frank Streng advertised on the internet, and his law firm website, the fact that he was on Surrogate Scarpino’s election transition committee- a fact that angered many as Streng and McCarthy Fingar implied he had an "in" with the court.

Mr. Streng, in various capacities, has also been involved in the Astor and Carvel estates. And as reported in the New York Law Journal last year, allegations of judicial steering are nothing new to the Westchester County courts under Administrative Judge Nicolai. That brouhaha resulted in a large court organizational shake-up in Westchester. (CLICK HERE to see "The Sordid Nicolai Story"

The underlying matter, The Estate of Margaret A. McKeown, has lingered in the Westchester courts since 2003, and the related 9/11 Red Cross donation fraud was subject of an April 28, 2006 article in The New York Times article, though the judges' names nor the allegations against them were not mentioned.

Better Late Than Never

And though the alleged fraudulent assignment was filed in November of 2003, it would take until July of 2007 for the Westchester County Surrogate's Court Chief Clerk, Charles T. Scott, to “locate” the assignment papers and place them in the court’s estate case file. Oddly, and also in July of 2007, Chief Clerk Scott advised in writing that he had corrected the three and one-half year “administrative oversight” by "back-dating" the filing date in the court’s computer. Surrogate Court court attorney Joseph M. Accetta, and who has close ties to Streng and McCarthy Fingar, has been recently implicated in the cover-up.

Here's the Complaint Filed in September of 2007, and completely ignored by Robert Tembeckjian and Alan Friedberg:

September 11, 2007 COMPLAINT RE:

Hon. Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr.
Hon. Francis A. Nicolai
Hon. Gerald E. Loehr

1.0 NATURE OF COMPLAINT:

Gross Misconduct

Public Injustice & Corruption

Denial of Due Process

Obstruction of Justice

2.0 COMPLAINTANT:

Kevin McKeown, P.O. Box 616, New York, New York 10156, 212-591-1022 tel 212-591-6022 fax, kmck22333@aol.com

3.0 COMPLAINT AGAINST:

3.1 Hon. Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., Westchester County Surrogate

3.2 Hon. Francis A. Nicolai, Westchester County Civil Court Judge

3.3 Hon. Gerald E. Loehr, Westchester County Civil Court Judge

(hereinafter collectively as “The Justices”)

4.0 OVERVIEW:

4.1 The Justices fully considered and furthered financial sanctions against me in favor of attorney Frank W. Streng, who at all times relevant was simultaneously advertising his (Streng’s) implied favoritism with the Surrogate Court on his McCarthy Fingar LLP law firm website, and on the internet. Specifically, attorney Frank W. Streng was advertising the fact that he (Mr. Streng) had served on Surrogate Scarpino’s Election Transition Committee. In addition, The Justices were aware at all times relevant through court filings and correspondence that allegations were made that Mr. Streng drafted, executed and filed a fraudulent assignment of an approximate $200,000.00 estate related asset concerning a pending claim over $100,000.00 in stolen Red Cross 9/11 donation monies. Also, The Justices were knowledgeable that the “assignment” was executed by an impaired person who had been ordered by a criminal court judge to in-patient and out-patient care and who, in fact, committed suicide shortly after the purported “assignment” was executed (See attached New York Times Article)

5.0 DETAILS:

5.1 All Times Relevant- The Justices were aware that attorney Streng had served on the Surrogate’s Election Transition Committee when the Court considered and subsequently granted monetary sanctions to Mr. Streng on June 8, 2004 and on June 1, 2005. It is notable that from at least early 2004, Surrogate Scarpino continuously failed to present for remittal, or to disqualify or recuse himself while he was considering the thereto related filings and issues which resulted in the June 8, 2004 and June 1, 2005 decisions.

5.2 June 8, 2004- Surrogate Scarpino granted monetary sanctions to attorney Streng at the same time Mr. Streng was advertising on the internet and the McCarthy Fingar firm website that he served on the Judge’s Election Transition Committee.

5.3 June 1, 2005- Surrogate Scarpino again granted monetary sanctions to attorney Streng at the same time Mr. Streng was advertising on the internet that he served on the Judge’s Election Transition Committee.

5.4 All Times Relevant- The Justices denied all requests to address the “fraudulent assignment” prepared, executed and filed by the same person who was advertising his implied favoritism with the court on the internet, Mr. Streng. In fact, Judge Scarpino denied without prejudice to renew , indicating that the issue could be raised at a future time in the estate accounting phase. But in that very same ruling Judge Scarpino imposed a motion prohibition. And acting-surrogate Loehr immediately imposed a total ban of any motions at his first hearing. Notably, Judges Scarpino and Loehr knowingly and purposely avoided ruling on the fraudulent assignment prepared by their close political associate Frank Streng.

5.5 April 7, 2005- Judge Scarpino again chose to ignore his duty to remit, disqualify or recuse himself on his own initiative when he signed an April 7, 2005 Order to Show Cause, which sought to have Mr. Streng and his law firm disqualified for advertising its implied favoritism with the Court, wherein documents were presented showing that Mr. Streng was in fact actively advertising on his law firm website and on the internet the fact that he was a “[m]ember, Transition Committee of Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., Surrogate of Westchester County (2001)” Notably, and as also presented in the April 7, 2005 OSC, one website posting listed, “serves on the Transition Committee of Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr., Surrogate of Westchester County (March, 2001 – present).” (emphasis added) Subsequently, and at all times relevant, Judges Nicolai and Loehr would also ignore their duty to remove themselves from any involvement in the proceedings

5.6 June 3, 2005- In his Decision and Order denying, without prejudice to renew, the disqualification of the McCarthy Fingar law firm and Mr. Streng, Surrogate Scarpino again ignored his own obligation to sua sponte disqualify or recuse himself, or to on his own initiative, present the matter for remittal. Notably, in the June 3, 2005 order, Judge Scarpino denies the requested relief without prejudice to renew (See attached June 3, 2005 Decision and Order, page 9)

Most Notably, and less than one page later on page ten, Surrogate Scarpino

pre-conditions his own without prejudice to renew, and orders,

…on its own motion the court hereby prohibits

any of the parties and/or counsel from filing any

additional motions/applications or commencing

any additional proceedings in connection with this

estate without the court’s prior approval (i.e., by

order to show cause) (see e.g. Matter of Brown,

NYLJ, June 28, 1999, at 32, col 4 [Westchester]).

5.7 August 3, 2005- Westchester Surrogate Anthony Scarpino finally recuses himself from The Estate of Margaret A. McKeown, not on his own initiative but only after being requested to do so by the herein movant. (Note #1: on the record in open court on August 3, 2005, Judge Scarpino specifically voiced that the case may not be transferred outside of Westchester County) (See Court Transcript of August 3, 2005 Surrogate Scarpino Recusal Hearing) (Note #2: Judge Scarpino recused himself from my Order to Show Cause which pointed to the Surrogate’s bias concerning attorney Frank W. Streng, who in these proceedings the Surrogate twice awarded financial sanctions to while attorney Streng was simultaneously advertising on the internet and his law firm website the fact that he was on Surrogate Scarpino’s election transition committee. Judge Scarpino had denied motions without prejudice to renew concerning Mr. Streng’s drafting, executing and filing of a fraudulent assignment in the estate proceedings concerning stolen Red Cross 9/11 donation monies, but before any motions could be renewed Surrogate Scarpino Sua Sponte ordered that no parties could file any additional motions. There is clear bias here by Judge Scarpino to protect a member of his Election Transition Team by denying my right to due process, and by obstructing justice concerning fraudulent assignment inquiries.

5.8 On August 8, 2005, I overnighted a letter, with material attachments, to the 9th Judicial District Administrative Judge Nicolai specifically advising him of the troubling facts concerning the handling of my mother’s estate, and I specifically requested that the case be transferred to another county. I had been mindful of Surrogate Scarpino’s now-confirmed prophetic statement during the August 3, 2005 hearing that the case may stay in Westchester County. (See Transcript of August 8, 2005 recusal hearing)

5.9 My August 8, 2005 letter, with material attachments, to Judge Nicolai specifically advises:

5.9.1 “During oral argument on August 3rd , Surrogate Scarpino mentioned that the case may stay in Westchester County. I respectfully wish to bring to your attention certain facts that highlight the very troubling and unique circumstances surrounding this matter that strongly, I believe, suggest that this matter should be transferred to a county outside of Westchester.” See available August 8, 2005 dated two-page letter to the Hon. Francis A. Nicolai, which contains the following attachments:

(i) August 3, 2005 Decision and Order of Recusal (3 pages);

(ii) November 4, 2004 letter from Gary L. Cassella (1 page);

(iii) June 13, 2005 letter from Westchester Public Administrator (4 pages); and

(iv) April 25, 2005 e-mail from Public Administrator’s attorney (1 pages)

5.10 Judge Nicolai, I have since been informed, has had a long-standing political relationship with attorney Streng. And at all times relevant, Judge Nicolai failed his duty to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Subsequently, Judge Nicolai refused to transfer the matter outside Westchester County, choosing instead to assign the proceeding to the most junior county court judge, and longtime political associate, Justice Loehr.

5.11 At all times relevant, Judge Loehr was fully knowledgeable of issues concerning the fraudulent assignment and, sua sponte, directed his own motion prohibition so that the issue against attorney Streng could be litigated.

6.0 CONCLUSION

6.1 I believe The Justices have not only failed at all times during the estate proceedings to Avoid the Appearance of Impropriety by not presenting for remittal the known issues as presented herein, or by disqualifying or recusing themselves. But they collectively participated in a scheme to cover the misdeeds of their political friend, Mr. Streng. At no time did any of The Justices act in a way to assist in the $100,000.00-plus repayment of the stolen 9/11 donations. The Justices grossly failed their duty to insure judicial integrity and impartiality of court proceedings in the Westchester County Surrogate Court.

6.2 I believe The Justices knowingly failed their judicial oath by denying due process and, remarkably, concerning an issue where their own close associate, attorney Frank Streng, filed papers meant only to prohibit the return of over $100,000.00 in 9/11 donations stolen from the American Red Cross.

6.3 I believe appropriate inquiry and action is necessary as The Justices knowingly and with purpose chose to ignore their judicial obligation to submit for remittal, recuse or disqualify, or to correct any of the troubling acts against due process and justice. In fact, while ignoring their duty to avoid even the appearance of bias and impropriety, The Justices took deliberate action to thwart the right of due process, obstruct justice and disgrace simple decency by their acts against 9/11 victims.

DATED: September 11, 2007

Respectfully submitted,

Kevin McKeown

Enclosures:

April 28, 2006 New York Times article

June 3, 2005 Decision and Order

April 7, 2005 Order to Show Cause

August 3, 2005 Transcript

April 21, 2005 Internet Archive Affidavit

Here's the New York Times Article:

Officials of the American Red Cross say they try to recover ''every last dollar'' lost to theft or fraud, but a Connecticut case involving the theft of $120,000 has raised questions about that commitment when it carries the risk of bad publicity. The Red Cross is under intense scrutiny over its response to Hurricane Katrina, including accusations of fraud and theft of relief supplies that volunteers say were ignored for months. In the Connecticut case, the Red Cross settled for less than half the money from its insurance company rather than pursue the full amount through litigation even though the agency was urged to do so by the suspect's brother. The brother, Kevin McKeown, said he was told by a local chapter official that pursuing the money would make the agency look bad. ''They were worried that any further publicity would create a scandal that would harm their fund-raising,'' Mr. McKeown said. National Red Cross officials now argue that a lawsuit would have been expensive and that success was far from certain. Volunteers and former Red Cross executives say the organization often places a higher priority on avoiding scandal than recovering stolen money, and a former president of the Red Cross, Dr. Bernadine Healy, offered support for that view. In an interview, Dr. Healy, who was pushed out after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, said the Red Cross board criticized her for firing the executive director of the Hudson County chapter in New Jersey, after she learned that he and the bookkeeper had embezzled almost $2 million from the organization. ''They told me I was too tough and too fast in firing the guy and moving in on this fraud,'' Dr. Healy said. ''I was told the way to handle these things was quietly and that nobody needed to know.'' Melissa Hurst, the Red Cross's assistant general counsel, disputed Dr. Healy's recollection. ''The Red Cross pursued that, and it was supported throughout the organization,'' Ms. Hurst said. The Connecticut case is full of legal twists and turns.

The suspect in the case, Ronald P. McKeown Jr., was the executive director of the southeastern Connecticut chapter of the Red Cross from July 2001 until he resigned on March 1, 2002. Eight months later, he was charged with larceny, money laundering and forgery in connection with the embezzlement of more than $120,000 collected by his chapter for the families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Almost a year after he was charged, however, Mr. McKeown committed suicide at age 52. His brother Kevin said his mother had been working on a plan to repay the Red Cross with her own money when she died in August 2003, leaving an estate of more than $1 million. ''We were hoping the repayment of the money would somehow lessen the criminal outcome of the charges,'' he said. The money to make good on that desire then became entangled in a fight over his mother's estate, and Ronald McKeown's death put it even further out of reach because he signed documents transferring his part of the inheritance to his recently remarried former wife.

But Kevin McKeown contacted the Charter Oak chapter of the Red Cross in Connecticut, which had merged with the chapter his brother had run, and urged officials to try to regain the money Ronald McKeown was thought to have taken. The chapter's senior director of program services, Carla Burgess, told him that the Red Cross did not want any more publicity about the matter, he said. According to a copy of an e-mail message provided by Kevin McKeown and dated Oct. 8, 2004, Ms. Burgess said: ''Thank you for thinking of us. I also appreciate the fact that you seem to understand our position in choosing not to file a claim against the estate. I do wish you the very best in your efforts to honor your mother's wishes.'' Mr. McKeown said Ms. Burgess had misunderstood him. ''While I do understand their position -- they don't like bad publicity -- I have never and will never understand why they don't want their money back,'' he said. He said he was under no obligation to pay the Red Cross out of his part of his mother's estate. ''It was his responsibility, and now his estate has that responsibility,'' Mr. McKeown said. ''The only obligation and duty I feel is toward my mother's wishes.'' Ms. Hurst noted that the Red Cross had pursued prosecution of Ronald McKeown until he died. She said the organization had to consider the cost-effectiveness of various avenues of recourse. Mr. McKeown had not been convicted of theft before his death, and he had other financial difficulties related to collapse of a business he owned with another brother -- a chain of restaurants called Steak 'N' Egg -- both of which might have complicated recovery of the money. ''This individual committed suicide prior to going to trial,'' Ms. Hurst said. ''There was no judgment of guilt, no adjudication. We went through an evaluation of recourse and chose to file a claim with our insurance company.''

On Tuesday, Mr. McKeown learned via an e-mail message from the insurance company that it had decided to try to recover from his brother's estate what it had paid out to the Red Cross. In recent months, critics of the Red Cross have questioned why it waited months to address accusations of theft and fraud in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina, charges that have led to investigations by the F.B.I. and the Louisiana attorney general's office. ''From what I've witnessed and what I've been told, they don't go after everything they find,'' said Michael A. Wolters, one of the volunteers who made the accusations in a report he filed with the organization. Mr. Wolters said he was involved in uncovering fraud involving a police officer in Texas who obtained Red Cross debit cards and handed them out to law enforcement officials. ''He had access to just go get these cards and not even sign for them,'' Mr. Wolters said. ''Who knows how much he took? We turned over reports documenting about $400,000 that was missing.'' Ms. Hurst said the matter involved $360,000 and had been turned over to law enforcement officials.

Kevin McKeown, an author and screenwriter, has refused to drop his argument with the Red Cross. In January, he told his story to members of the Senate Finance Committee and various high-ranking officials at Red Cross headquarters in Washington, but heard nothing until this month. On April 10, Mr. McKeown said, a lawyer from the national headquarters called him and said that the Red Cross had recovered from its insurance company 80 percent of the money his brother was accused of stealing. Mr. McKeown said the lawyer told him that the Red Cross considered the matter closed and that recovering the remainder of the money would be cost prohibitive. Mr. McKeown contacted the insurer, the Royal Insurance Company, which supplied records showing that, after a $50,000 deductible, it had paid the Red Cross $47,710.59 to cover his brother's theft, or roughly 40 percent of the original amount Devorah Goldburg, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said she could not confirm that Mr. McKeown had initially been given the 80 percent figure, but she said that on Thursday, April 20, in another conversation, the lawyer told Mr. McKeown about the deductible and the breakdown of what the organization recovered Mr. McKeown remains dissatisfied.''Thievery against the Red Cross is hardly discouraged when the crimes are underwritten by insurance companies and premiums are paid by unsuspecting donors,'' he said. ''I was shocked to learn this was how they handle things.''

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2