This blog is word-searchable, you can put "Kevin Dowd" in the Search window and see all blogs I "dedicated" to this antihero of the upstate New York courts.
Kevin Dowd was specifically sued by my husband, Pro Se (Neroni v Coccoma, NDNY), for collusion in litigation and for granting to Ellen Coccoma, a private attorney in that litigation, the free use of the Delaware County building for private depositions.
Ellen Coccoma was sued in the same lawsuit, among other things, for fraud and fraud upon the court in concealing the death of her client and continuing litigation, including making false statements on behalf of her dead client, misleading the previous judge, misleading her opponent and leading her opponent to incur unnecessary costs in litigation.
Specifically, Ellen Coccoma:
- failed to disclose the death of her client to Judge Lambert (when a client dies, jurisdiction of the court stops - until the Estate of the dead party is put into the litigation instead of the party, through (1) doing the estate in the probate court; (2) making a motion in the Supreme Court),
- made a motion on behalf of that dead client,
- won that motion, and then
- tried, on behalf of a dead client to conduct depositions (for free to her, using her pedigree as a judge's wife, in three public buildings - she tried the Delaware County Court, Delhi Town Court and Delaware County building), made a statement that the standing of her remaining three clients are based on a VALID power of attorney, indicating that her dead client is alive (because that is the condition for a power of attorney from him to be valid).
Ellen Coccoma's conduct was clearly frivolous and fraudulent. There is case law where other attorneys - not as blue blood as Ellen Coccoma - were punished for such behavior.
Not Ellen Coccoma. Not by Judge Kevin Dowd who is close in age to mandatory retirement at 70, and there is an appearance that Kevin Dowd is making every favor possible to Ellen Coccoma in order to obtain authorization for post-retirement perks from Ellen Coccoma's husband, Chief Administrative Judge Michael V. Coccoma (whose subordinate self-servingly assigns Kevin Dowd to actions litigated by Ellen Coccoma).
Recently, I found yet another evidence of Kevin Dowd pandering for Ellen Coccoma in litigation - Kevin Dowd ruled against a 62-year-old widow of a Vietnam Veteran who has lost her home to a taxpayer auction in Otsego County, where the County appeared to be in multiple violations in how it handled the tax sale, and where the County unnecessarily cost taxpayers, reportedly, $250,000 in litigation costs alone (not to count costs of handling the tax auction by a private auction firm) - even though the homeowner, and three other homeowners in the same position as the widow, offered to pay off the tax debt to the County long before the scheduled auction - thus making auction expenses and litigation expenses, funded by taxpayers, unnecessary.
The fact that Kevin Dowd was assigned to the action litigated by the Otsego County, where Ellen Coccoma is the County attorney that has an obligation to litigate on the County's behalf, is not surprising.
Kevin Dowd is stuck like glue to cases where he is working off his future post-retirement perks from Ellen Coccoma's husband.
By the way, it is interesting to learn how Ellen Coccoma was litigating, as a private attorney for private clients, in the case where Kevin Dowd gave her a gift of free lease on the Delaware County building for her private depositions - while Ellen Coccoma was also a full-time Otsego County employee.
What is surprising is that Ellen Coccoma, Otsego County Treasurer Dan Cowell and the members of the Otsego County Board of Supervisor who gave Dan Cowell - and Ellen Coccoma - a free reign as to how to handle tax sales, which so far has cost Otsego County taxpayers, unnecessarily, hundreds of thousands of dollars, are not impeached yet and are not investigated for self-dealing by the New York State authorities.
Kevin Dowd ruled against the Vietnam war veteran's widow and in favor of Ellen Coccoma's client (as I said earlier, with an appearance that he is working hard to win a post-retirement benefit from Ellen Coccoma's husband) despite the fact that tax foreclosure - as any other foreclosure - is an equitable action, and equity (fairness) must be the rule of such actions.
If the homeowner, especially a senior homeowner, a widow of a war veteran, offers to pay the back taxes in order to keep her home, long before the scheduled sale, I do not believe that the County had a right to turn her down, sell the property anyway and plunge the county into hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation costs.
I want the readers to read the hand-written letter of the Vietnam war widow Maria Ajello to the Otsego County Board asking for copies of public records.
That was a FOIL request that the County had to respond to within 5 business days, Public Officers Law 87.
The County arrogantly refused to provide the public records Maria Ajello requested claiming "litigation privilege".
That claim was made with knowledge of the County's legal counsel Ellen Coccoma and on her advise and shows just how arrogant in defiance of the laws this woman is - obviously because she believes that, based on her pedigree, on prior rulings of Kevin Dowd (and Appellate Division whose judges are similarly, many if not most of them, close to retirement age and, as it appears, are looking into the hand of Ellen Coccoma's husband for post-retirement favors), and on her prior membership in the Appellate Division 3rd Department's "Committee for Professional Conduct", she will never be brought up for discipline.
Especially when her husband, after the lawsuit against him for fraud, misconduct and violations of constitutional rights, where his own insurance company refused to provide legal representation because of the issues of fraud involved was dismissed by a judge whose son was employed by Michael Coccoma's attorney, the New York State Attorney General, was elevated by NYS Chief Judge Lippman, buddy of the former NYS Speaker Silver who is currently being prosecuted by the fed for corruption, to the position of the Chief Administrative judge in charge of fiduciary issues.
From a lawsuit for fraud (dismissed without reaching the merits, so issues whether Judge Coccoma was involved in a conspiracy to commit fraud upon the courts and to violate constitutional rights of an individual remain) - to an appointment as a Chief Fiduciary judge. Nice. Now Michael Coccoma is in charge of even more perks to give out to attorneys and judges. Now favoring Ellen Coccoma in litigation has become even more valuable for judges close to retirement, including Kevin Dowd.
Ellen Coccoma or the County had absolutely no right to respond to a FOIL request by claiming "litigation privilege", since FOIL is not linked to litigation, it is a separate statutory right of any individual to make a Freedom of Information request, and it is a separate statutory duty for the County to respond to it within 5 business days, even if public records provided in that response will affect the County's position in litigation.
If I were Ms. Ajello's attorney, I would, of course, move to disqualify Kevin Dowd from the case.
Moreover, it appears that Otsego County, led by County Attorney Ellen Coccoma, engaged in misconduct by unlawfully refusing to provide copies of documents to Maria Ajello on her FOIL request in order to obtain an advantage in litigation.
I do not know whether Maria Ajello raised the issue of County's misconduct in stonewalling her legitimate FOIL request before Judge Dowd.
I would also like my readers to read the letter by, seemingly, the only Otsego County Board Representative who cared for transparency and appearance of impropriety in the tax sales handled by the County - Rep. Betty Anne Shrewd.
Rep. Shrewd's letter is, similarly to Maria Ajello's letter, is a request for copies of public records. The County had to respond to that request, with copies of those records, within 5 business days, as required by statute.
Instead of those copies of public records, the County gives Ms. Shrewd a run-around with claims of good faith not supported by documents, which in itself, puts the County's good faith in doubt.
Rep. Shrewd told news reporters that the current composition of the County Board is the most self-serving Board she has ever seen.
As to Maria Ajello, whether she did or did not raise issues in litigation regarding the County stonewalling her FOIL request, there were enough points in the case in her favor - and Judge Dowd still ruled against her, under circumstances that appear to be an act of self-service of the judge.
So - were the law and the rights of a widow of a Vietnam war veteran, Maria Ajello, sacrificed for the future (or present - who knows) benefits of Judge Kevin Dowd from Ellen Coccoma's high-ranking husband?
On the one side of the scale - self-serving interests of various well-paid public officials.
On the other side of the scale - rights of Bob Force, a disabled Vietnam war veteran who, similarly to Maria Ajello, a Vietnam veteran's widow, lost his home because of the County's self-dealing tricks, under the cover of Ellen Coccoma, an unsinkable attorney allowed to anything she wants because of her husband's position.
While I will continue my investigation of this matter and will post my results, please, read about and listen to Bob Force, his wife Donna Force and Maria Ajello here, as reported by WKTV.com.
Because, as Maria Ajello reportedly said at the Board meeting (which did not find its way into the meeting's minutes, by the way - begging the question as to completeness and correctness of ANY minutes of meetings of this Board, and the Board does not have as an excuse that the secretary could not write as fast as people speak, for that there is an audio recorder and a transcription afterwards, it is easy to do, and if not done, is not done for a self-serving purpose).
Once again, this is what Maria Ajello said to the Otsego Board which Otsego Board refused to put into the minutes of the meeting:
"I am the human face of parcel 53. Me. I'm not a nothing. I'm not a nobody. I'm not a number. I am a human being pleading for my home.”
Maria Ajello, Bob and Donna Force and other homeowners stripped of their homes because of self-serving interests of County officials and a State judge, deserve better.
They are not nothings.
They are human beings.
They sacrificed a lot for this country.
They deserve to at least keep a roof over their heads.