"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Did Otsego County take a disabled Vietnam veteran's property to give it to a County employee's relative?

I encourage public investigation on the following matter.

A Vietnam veteran Bob Force of Otsego County recently lost his home to, allegedly, a "second bidder" in the auction, Neil J. Fogarty.

That's the same last name as Otsego County public defender Dolores Fogarty.

Neil J. Fogarty paid for the property not immediately, as required by law, but 6 months after the auction - while the homeowner's offer of payment BEFORE the auction was rejected by the County.

Now, a last name "Fogarty" is not as common as, let's say, a last name "Smith".

In view of the potential appearance of impropriety, I encourage my readers from Otsego County to ask their County government - is Neil J. Fogarty related to County employee Dolores Fogarty, and is the suspiciously lenient attitude of the County to Neil J. Fogarty's 6-months-after payment, while the homeowner's before-the-auction payment was rejected, due to that connection?

I would like to draw my readers' attention to the recent results of audit by the New York State Comptroller in the adjoining Delaware County where Delaware County found similar self-dealing by the Commissioner of Social Services Bill Moon where his wife was buying up properties foreclosed upon by the County.  

It is interesting that Commissioner Moon's wife had a different-than-him last name, which obscured the relationship of the bidder to the County official, which makes me wondering, how many deals like that did Commissioner Moon "enjoy" before his speedy retirement.  And how many proceeds did he, potentially, share, with his friends the County Attorney and the County (and Acting Supreme Court) judge to prevent disclosure of self-dealing?

Now the Delaware County introduced a prohibition for County employees and their relatives to bid on County-foreclosed properties.

It is interesting whether Otsego County has a similar self-prohibition.

By the way, the audit of the Delaware County by the NYS Comptroller apparently dug very deep and found that the County provided "insufficient oversight" over $129.6 million dollars worth of annual procurement contracts to third-party providers (that is a politically correct double-speak instead of saying that the County officials - Richard Spinney, William Moon, the current County Attorney Porter Kirkwood), and paid $770,000 to vendors without any written contracts, see the audit here, in other words, County officials gave contracts to their friends without putting them up for public bidding.

Here is also the full report from the NYS Comptroller about the audit of the Delaware County on vehicle usage.

The period under audit was January 1, 2013 to August 15, 2014.


Immediately before the audit started and right after it ended, three key players, and also three long-time buddies, who could have a hand in financial improprieties discovered in the County retired - without any accountability for their actions, by the way:

Do we need an audit in Otsego County, too, to get to the bottom of self-dealings in tax sales of properties that are plucked out of the hands of war veterans and their families and given to people with same last names as County employees (and, in Dolores Fogarty's case, people who are close to Judge Kevin Dowd who presided over tax sale litigation)?

That is an interesting question especially that the property that the disabled Vietnam was veteran Bob Force has lost to Neil J. Fogarty is 111 acres of farmland?

By the way, at an auction of August 20, 2014 Neil J. Fogarty, of Mt. Vision, NY, purchased yet another property at the Otsego County foreclosure sale, for 5 (five) thousand bucks, previously owned by Patrick and Larry Ward, on State Highway 7.

Which makes the question of the interesting last name even more interesting.

And what makes it even more interesting that I found an attorney in New Jersey with this exact name - Neil J. Fogarty.

Attorney Neil J. Fogarty is also admitted to practice law in New York. 

Is it a coincidence or is Neil J. Fogarty a New Jersey attorney and/or is he related to the Otsego County employee, full-time public defender and a person close to Judge Kevin Dowd's law clerk Claudette Newman, attorney Dolores Fogarty?

Let's explore this interesting issue.

I am waiting for your feedback and will do my own investigation.

Stay tuned.

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