"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.

Monday, February 18, 2019

#TheCrimeOfBeingNamedMelania. Part 7. Who benefits? The interesting tenants at 189 Main Street and the Lambert-Merzig-Delgado connection.

This is Part 7 of the article series #TheCrimeOfBeingNamedMelania, about the apparent collusion between some local, state court and now federal public officials to ruin the business and undermine the real estate value, for easy takeover, of a prime piece of real estate belonging to a Romanian American couple, Melania and Nicolae Pervu, in the middle of a business district of the City of Oneonta, New York.

Part 3#TheCrimeOfBeingNamedMelania. How to steal a lucrative business from an immigrant with the help of a New York court. A tutorial. Part III. The burden of proof is on the Respondents - when a judge's and a city attorney's wives are involved in the mess. But, of course! - can be read here.

Part 4  - #TheCrimeToBeNamedMelania.  The case of The City of Oneonta v Melania and Nicolae Pervu, Part 4.  How the City of Oneonta tried to stamp out "a Russian crime family" supporting Trump - can be read here. 

Part 5#TheCrimeToBeNamedMelania. Part 5. No immigrant farmer will own prime real estate in the middle of the business district of Oneonta, New York. A special kind of due diligence necessary before buying property in Oneonta, New York and Otsego County - can be read here.

Part 6 #TheCrimeToBeNamedMelania. Part 6. On cross-endorsements of judges. Judge John F. Lambert. When you need only one vote, your own, to be re-elected - can be read here.

In my experience in dealing with corrupt public officials, people drunk with power eventually lose the grip on reality and start to slip up and show loose ends of their backroom deals to the public - inadvertently, of course.

Not that they are stupid.

They are just, once again, drunk with power, think that they are above the law, nobody will touch them, nobody will connect the dots, and, especially, even if anybody does connect the dots, nobody will dare point out what kind of picture these connected dots create.

The picture created when we pose the ancient "who benefits?" question as to raiding the business of Melania and Nicolae Pervu by the corrupt Board of Public Service of the City of Oneonta (Chairmen-wife Margery Merzig represented in court by her husband, City Oneonta Attorney David Merzig) and the Otsego County Supreme Court, first, corrupt judge Michael V. Coccoma, and now, not less corrupt judge John F. Lambert is a very, very interesting one.

First of all, the Oneonta Hotel is a prime piece of real estate.

And, next to it, there is one other piece of prime real estate, which the City of Oneonta puts into reports about the case against Melania and Nicolae Pervu very often - 189 Main Street.

So, what is 189 Main Street and who rents offices there?

Here is what 189 Main Street management writes about the building:

With T1 and Fiber access allowing to "stream on all of your devices at once", no doubt.

In other words, luxury business offices.

At this time, I am verifying the ownership of this building - it takes time since the Otsego County does not put its land records online, like other counties (Chenango County, for example), do.

Yet, it is easier to verify the building's tenants.

For example,  attorney Andrew Puritz, often assigned to cases of poor people, but who advises those same poor people, reportedly, that he does not have time to prepare for their cases, despite the County pay, because he has private clients' cases to prepare for.   Attorney Andrew Puritz likes luxury office spaces - and dislikes to be a neighbor of poor tenants at the Oneonta Hotel.  After all, getting money off the poor and "having" to reside or have a business office next to them are two different things.

And, lo and behold, the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Inc. likes to rent luxury office spaces using tax-free donations and grants for the poor, but does not like the poor as their neighbors.

And - the same suite as the Legal Aid Society - Attorney Donald Schwartz, who is also assigned left and right by local judge to represent the poor, but likes luxury office spaces and does not like the poor as his neighbors.

Attorney Schwartz' official attorney registration shows another address, by the way,

but attorneys in New York, especially those politically connected, are notoriously slow to change their registration, no matter the requirements.

For example, attorney Claudette Newman, former law clerk for the now-retired Chenango County Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dowd, still lists herself, as of today, as working at the Chenango County Supreme Court:

Even though there is a new judge in place in Chenango County Supreme Court, who has brought his own team, which definitely does not include Claudette Newman:

And, attorney Antonio Delgado still lists himself, as of today, as working for a real estate developer law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, Feld LLP - even though he has been a U.S. House Representative since January 1, 2019, for exactly 49 days now,

and the State of New York requires to change registration information within 30 days of the actual change.

By the way, here are some other interesting dates and coincidences:

On August 30, 2018 Judge Michael V. Coccoma, 
  • the first presiding judge in Melania Pervu's case, 
  • the husband of a witness in the proceeding, attorney for DSS Ellen Coccoma who had to approve DSS-subsidized tenants for the Pervu building, and, before the approval, had to check the building where she puts the poor, subsidized by taxpayer money, for habitability and safety:

assigned the case to Judge John F. Lambert who at that time faced a re-election and whose cross-endorsement and running unopposed for the re-election depended on the good graces of Judge Coccoma, and those who support him politically.

In a week's time, the then-candidate for U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado opened his election campaign office in Oneonta, New York, at 8-12 Dietz Street, Suite 202.

You know whose suite the Suite 202 was?

I told you people drunk with power slip up and do not hide their loose ends well.

Suite 202 was, and is now, the law office of the City of Oneonta Attorney, David Merzig.

So, the Oneonta City Attorney David Merzig was renting his law office and services as an attorney to candidate for U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, during the pendency of the Melania Pervu lawsuit.

And, do you know where the U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado opened his brand new district office in Oneonta, New York?

One cannot make this up, really.

At 189 Main Street, Oneonta, New York, as announced on February 1, 2019.

The announcement being made a week after Mark Oursler, law clerk of Judge John F. Lambert gave legal advice to Rep. Delgado's attorney David Merzig of what to do to evict tenants from the neighboring Pervu hotel.

When U.S. Rep. Delgado, a "working class" kind of guy, 

was assured that the poor people from the neighboring hotel serving them, will be conveniently removed, and he would not have to pay for extra security for having an office next to where the poor people live, nor will he have to see the poor people, other than humble, dressed up and knocking on the door of his office, at appointed hours.

Remember, the office of Rep. Delgado, client of David Merzig, was supposed to open on February 7, 2019?

Judge Lambert obliged that the Pervu hotel be empty by that date.  Here is his order to empty the hotel by 4:30 PM on February 7, 2019.

Consider the actions of Judge John F. Lambert.

  1. On January 24, 2019 Judge Lambert gives legal advice, through his law clerk Mark Oursler, to a party in litigation, the City of Oneonta how to conduct litigation to evict tenants from the building neighboring to the building coveted for an office by U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, a client of City of Oneonta Attorney David Merzig - which triggers a motion of Melania and Nicolae Pervu's attorneys to withdraw, note that one of those attorneys was a town justice and an Albany Law School adjunct professor, a political animal who begged Melania not to mention the word "corruption" anywhere close to those court proceedings;
  2. On January 25, 2019 the city claims that Melania Pervu threatened an inspector of a furnace AND that, supposedly, smoke detectors went off - guess where - at 189 Main Street.  All of that should have been subject to an evidentiary hearing with witnesses, but so far, was not, because Mark Oursler and Judge Lambert not only gave the City of Oneonta legal advice how to act, but pre-planned how they will decide what was still to be filed by the City of Oneonta.
  3. On February 5, 2019, 2 days before Rep. Delgado is to open his office next door to Melania and Nicolae Pervu's hotel, Judge Lambert issues an order with the following mutually exclusive directives:
    1. that attorneys for Melania and Nicolae Pervu are allowed to withdraw, in the middle of a contempt of court proceedings commenced before Judge Lambert according to legal advice of Judge Lambert's law clerk Mark Oursler;
    2. no provision is made by Judge Lambert for assignment of counsel - as Melania and Nicolae Pervu ARE ENTITLED TO, FOR FREE, in case they cannot afford counsel - because it is a freaking contempt of court proceeding that Mark Oursler advised the City of Oneonta to file, and that Judge Lambert continues with and scheduled the case for a freaking PUNISHMENT PHASE, carrying a risk of incarceration for both of the Pervus, which, under New York law, as Judge Lambert is fully aware, requires assignment of free counsel if respondents cannot afford one - and, he has JUST RELEASED their private attorneys because THEY CANNOT PAY THEM.  But, Lambert:
      1. does not ask whether they can afford a new attorney;
      2. does not advise them of their right, in a contempt of court proceedings, to free assigned counsel; AND
      3. HE PROCEEDS, AFTER HE RELEASED COUNSEL of two people, to decide the case on the merits - and DID decide the case on the merits:

Moreover, Judge Lambert serves his spectacularly illegal order UPON THE ATTORNEYS WHO HE HAS JUST RELEASED, not upon Melania and Nicolae Pervu, now Pro Se, no thanks to Judge Lambert. 

And, of course, he serves the order upon Rep. Delgado's - and city of Oneonta's - attorney David Merzig.
No wonder the "Honorable" Ryan T. Donovan representing Melania and Nicolae Pervu until then, could not run from this case fast enough - after ripping her off to the order of $16,000, and $21,000 "owing", for selling her out at every turn of the case and leaving her, once again, mid-contempt of court proceedings, which he knew was illegal.

Imagine - an attorney, after listening how a judge's law clerk TEACHES the opposing party how to do their job in litigation, how and in what way to file a contempt proceeding, instead of making a motion to recuse the judge, makes a motion to withdraw for non-payment - and leaves his client while the judge continues to proceed on the merits, while the clients remain without counsel!

The honor and ethics of such conduct of the Honorable Ryan T. Donovan...

The attorney who did not want to pronounce the word "corruption".

Of course, Donovan was right to a certain degree.

The case does not reek of just corruption.

There are no adequate words to describe misconduct in the case and the stink coming from it.  

Especially in view of the apparent involvement in the case of the U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, an attorney out of an influential real estate developer law firm who was propelled into his Congressman seat by donations from lawyers, businesses and real estate developers.

  • Will Judge Michael V. Coccoma be taken off the bench and disbarred because of this case?
  • Will Judge John F. Lambert be taken off the bench and disbarred because of this case?
  • Will Judge Lambert's law clerk Mark Oursler be disbarred because of this case?
  • Will the City of Oneonta, and U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado's Attorney David Merzig be disbarred because of this case;
  • Will the Hon. Ryan T. Donovan, the now-former attorney for Melania and Nicolae Pervu, be disbarred because of this case?

I am not asking whether these people will be ashamed of themselves.

They knew very well what they were doing, and they definitely have no shame, only greed and a desire to grab more and more power.

But, will Lambert have at least the good grace to vacate his shameful February 5, 2019 order and recuse from this case?  On his own?  Without the necessity to turn him into the New York State Commission for Judicial Conduct?  And into the Attorney Grievance Committee?  The corrupt toothless tigers that they are, anyway?

The worst of it, though, is that all these 9 yards that brought so much anguish and expense to so many people and that raped people's trust in the rule of law and justice in the U.S., are based on a jurisdictionally defective petition that any minimally honest and competent judge was obligated to throw out of court the moment he reads it.

About that - in my next blog, a short one.

Stay tuned.

#TheCrimeToBeNamedMelania. Part 6. On cross-endorsements of judges. Judge John F. Lambert. When you need only one vote, your own, to be re-elected.

I continue to publish the series about the City of Oneonta, NY, with the help of corrupt public officials in the judiciary and not only in the judiciary, is trying to destroy the business of an immigrant, American Romanian, couple, Melania and Nicolae Pervu.

Part 3#TheCrimeOfBeingNamedMelania. How to steal a lucrative business from an immigrant with the help of a New York court. A tutorial. Part III. The burden of proof is on the Respondents - when a judge's and a city attorney's wives are involved in the mess. But, of course! - can be read here.

Part 4  - #TheCrimeToBeNamedMelania.  The case of The City of Oneonta v Melania and Nicolae Pervu, Part 4.  How the City of Oneonta tried to stamp out "a Russian crime family" supporting Trump - can be read here. 
Part 5#TheCrimeToBeNamedMelania. Part 5. No immigrant farmer will own prime real estate in the middle of the business district of Oneonta, New York. A special kind of due diligence necessary before buying property in Oneonta, New York and Otsego County - can be read here.

In 1992 attorney Doris Sassower, a trailblazer, a former chairperson of the Westchester County Women's Bar Association, was suspended from the practice of law, indefinitely.

The suspension of Doris Sassower happened close after she announced - and The New York Times featured that announcement - that she will pursue, PRO BONO, an appeal to the New York State Court of Appeal a challenge to constitutionality of cross-endorsements (secret agreements to support candidates in elections) by political parties in New York of judicial candidates.

Her lawsuit also pursued violations of Elections Law by conventions nominating judges as to quorum, roll call and other requirements.

Doris Sassower received an award from "The Giraffe Project", for sticking out her neck for the public - but remains suspended until now.

Her husband was disbarred and bankrupted.

Judge Richard C. Wesley remains a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and continues to block, for Doris Sassower, Elena Sassower and other whistleblowers of judicial corruption, their civil rights lawsuits on appeal.

That somebody went to federal prison for publicly, with the help of boxes of documents, opposing his judicial confirmation, is not listed in his official biography.

Both Jonathan Lippman and Joseph Alessandro were, nevertheless, elected according to the illegal cross-endorsements.

Moreover, Jonathan Lippman became the state's Chief Administrative Judge, and then Chief Judge, and retired only at the end of 2015, and only after he fought tooth and claw to change the State Constitution in order to prolong his own time as Chief Judge of the State of New York for 10 more years.

The author of the bill to prolong Lippman's retirement age was, predictably, an attorney - Rep. Helene Weinstein, who was, for some time, reportedly, "of counsel" in a personal injury law firm of her family while she is also a state legislator sponsoring bills for judges, regulators of her own license, her family members' licenses, and upon whom their family's financial well-being and "victories" in court depend.

Helen Weinstein is not practicing law at present - at least judging by her attorney registration.

Moreover, while Helene Weinstein received complaints from her constituents about injuries that insurance companies do not want to compensate, her law firm litigate personal injury cases.  God only knows whether or how many of complaints by constituents were referred by Rep. Weinstein to her family's personal injury law firm.

Business as usual.

Judge Joseph Alessandro - whose cross-endorsement as part of Jonathan Lippman deal Doris Sassower fought in 2005 - was eventually taken off the bench in 2009, for refusing to return (stealing money) a $250,000 private loan to finance his judicial election campaign in 2003, as a County Judge, which paved his way later to the endorsement for the New York State Supreme Court.

Judge Joseph Alessandro was disbarred for that behavior in 2012 

and in the court mentioned in the order of disbarment the following:

In determining an appropriate measure of discipline to impose, we note the respondent's arguments that he "cooperated, assisted and appeared in all proceedings . . . including the{**100 AD3d at 214} present action, without any hesitation or reservation"; that, since his removal from the bench, he has not practiced law in the Second Judicial Department but, rather, has been providing pro bono services to senior citizens in the Bronx; that, prior to his removal from the bench, his character and reputation as a lawyer and judge were unblemished; that "[his] inexperience as a political candidate in 2003 may have contributed to his decision to accept a problematic loan from his campaign [*3]manager"; that he faced several " 'unfortunate events' " in his life during the subject period such that a "black and white" description of those events—and the underlying conduct—fails to paint the "full color picture" necessary to understanding the "context" of the charges; that a monetary claim against him was settled and, therefore, there was "no monetary loss involved"; that he accepts the findings made against him, is sorry for the hurt he caused, and realizes that his actions "reflect adversely on everyone with whom he was associated or dealt"; and that he has already been punished for his conduct through his removal as a judge and the "attendant publicity and public humiliation." Moreover, we have considered the numerous letters submitted on the respondent's behalf. However, the Commission, in its determination, concluded that the respondent engaged in "truly egregious behavior" that "[in] its totality . . . constitutes a departure from the high standards of conduct required." The Court of Appeals concluded, similarly, that the respondent failed to meet the "highest level of . . . honesty and integrity." It is notable that the Commission rejected the same claims of mitigation offered herein. Just as " 'deception is antithetical to the role of a Judge who is sworn to uphold the law and seek the truth' " (Matter of Alessandro [State Commn. on Jud. Conduct], 13 NY3d at 248, quoting Matter of Myers, 67 NY2d at 554) so, too, is it incompatible with the position of trust and confidence occupied by an attorney at law. "[L]awyers must be held to the 'highest standards of ethical conduct' because the legal profession needs the respect and confidence of society if it is to play its critical role in sustaining the rule of law and the concept of justice upon which our free and democratic society depends" (Matter of Bikman, 304 AD2d 162, 165 [2003], quoting Matter of Rowe, 80 NY2d 336, 340 [1992], cert denied sub nom. Rowe v Joint Bar Assn. Grievance Comm. for Second & Eleventh Jud. Dists., 508 US 928 [1993])."

Once again:

"[L]awyers must be held to the 'highest standards of ethical conduct' because the legal profession needs the respect and confidence of society if it is to play its critical role in sustaining the rule of law and the concept of justice upon which our free and democratic society depends".

These lofty words said, the suspension of Doris Sassower for challenging corrupt and criminal backroom deal to "elect" judges, or rather, put puppets of political parties and businesses on benches, continues, despite the fact that she was suspended 

  • without a petition;
  • without a hearing; and 
  • without a court order listing the reasons for her suspension - 

Note that Doris Sassower's constitutional appeal was directed also to Rep. Helene Weinstein - who, in several more years, supported Lippman in prolonging his stay on the bench until he turns 80, by sponsoring a respective bill for such a referendum:

As to the professional fate of Doris Sassower, of course, nothing helped - showing to the public and to attorneys that when an attorney who challenges even an abuse of power by the attorney's own regulators judges, that attorney is committing, in the "rule-of-law" United States of America, an unavoidable and merciless professional suicide.

And, yet another female attorney, Susan Settenbrino, wrote a book about illegal cross-endorsements in judicial nominations in New York

and, as an apparent direct result of that, was forced - without a suspension - to stop practicing law in New York.  Her registration does not show her address, indicating that she is not practicing law at this time.

With that history, it is easily discernible, so to say, that whenever a judge runs in his election, for a lucrative, well-paid and all-powerful seat, without any opposition, which means, his own voice is enough to get him elected - a cross-endorsement is involved.

And, you know who in the Watershed/upstate New York area was elected without an opposition - and, thus, likely with a secret cross-endorsement?

Kevin Dowd - in 2012, as a state Supreme Court justice,

for 14 years, while he had to retire at the end of 2017 because of his age, meaning that his election in 2012had, and did cost New Yorkers another election 1/3 through his term.

Dowd was incompetent, anti-Semitic, dumb as a brick (for which he was quickly yanked from an assignment in Binghamton, a bigger city with larger businesses that did not want such a dummy deciding their cases, no matter how favorably he ruled) and notoriously corrupt.

You know who else was - JUST this past election - elected unopposed?

The Otsego County Judge John F. Lambert, during the pendency of Melania and Nicolae Pervu's case, where Lambert was assigned by the notoriously corrupt previous judge in that same case, the Chief Administrative Judge for upstate New York (and, "coincidentally", husband of a witness in the proceedings, Ellen Coccoma), Michael V. Coccoma.

I am writing this part before 
  • analysis of the main jurisdictional defect of the petition that would require any minimally honest and competent judge to toss the petition after reading it for 5 minutes, with sanctions against the City of Oneonta and attorney David Merzig who filed it, and before 
  • analyzing all others, gross, judicial errors, that simply CANNOT be made by judges of minimal honesty and competence

for a reason.

When conditions of election are created for a judge where the judge
  • does not need even to set up a financial campaign support committee, or collect funds - as other judicial candidates have to do - to get elected, 

  • and is allowed to be re-elected, for a salary of $209,000, with no other votes than one, his own - 

such "gifts" are not given to anybody, especially not in New York, for free.

John F. Lambert owed - big time - to people who allowed him to stay on that bench and draw that salary and wield that power.

And those people were not voters.

The were politicians and businesses.

As to what kind of politicians and what kind of businesses were interested in getting Melania and Nicolae Pervu's property, the Oneonta Hotel, in downtown Oneonta, New York, I will write in my following blogs in this series.

Stay tuned.