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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Update on Westchester Surrogate's Court's Dastardly Deeds

Update: Nothing new- Attorney employed by NY State still enjoying Scarsdale home "purchased" under questionable circumstances from 88-year-old widow's estate.... official complaint to be refiled.....

Here's the original Posting from Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Westchester Surrogate’s Court’s Dastardly Deeds
by Frank Brady © 2007

When 88-year-old Berta M. Murray died on August 12, 1997, she probably had not previously considered that the Scarsdale home built by her father, and that had been in her family for decades, would soon be occupied by a Westchester County Surrogate’s Court attorney-referee who worked in the very same court’s law department charged with the duty to oversee the affairs of the deceased-- A fact that has been secreted from her surviving relatives, until recently.

But Westchester Surrogate’s Court employee, attorney-referee Jody B. Keltz and her attorney-husband, Carl T. Peluso of Peluso & Touger in Manhattan, really liked that house at 168 Gaylor Road in Scarsdale, so in they moved in the Spring of 1998. And the two attorneys still call it home, even now as questions swirl as to just how they came to own the dead lady’s house.

By all accounts, the Keltz-Peluso attorneys never knew Berta, and they had most likely never invited the elderly widow to their prior home located at 75 Third Place in Brooklyn, New York.

“It’s outrageous that a Surrogate’s Court lawyer bought Berta’s house,” said an 80-plus-year-old cousin of Berta, and who only recently learned that Ms. Keltz was a lawyer in the Westchester Surrogate’s Court. “This stinks to high heaven, and I’m mad. It’s just not right, I don’t like this at all!” she added.

The real estate deal by the Keltz-Peluso team is reminiscent of a Brooklyn Surrogate Court “arrangement” in 2002 where, as the Village Voice described it, Judge Scholnick’s clerk “…snatched up the 11-room brownstone…of 85-year-old Elsie Perry…in a move that would make Donald Trump proud…” Honorably, Brooklyn Chief Court Clerk, George Crowley, refused to keep quite, saying publicly that, “If I did this, I would expect to be fired. The whole thing was unethical…the judge shouldn’t have allowed it…”

Brooklyn senior court official Crowley was so outraged by the cozy inside real estate deal that he took the highly unusual step of placing a note about it in the decedent’s Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court case file. But in the Westchester Murray-Keltz-Peluso transfer, no such concern has ever been voiced or documented by Surrogate’s Court Chief Clerk John Kelly or Surrogates Emanuelli or Scarpino. “Isn’t a Surrogate Court supposed to make sure everything is on the up-and-up, and handled properly?” asked Berta’s cousin, adding, “I knew Berta over seventy years, and everyone knew she wanted that house to stay in the family.”

Berta’s Dead: Enter The Vultures

A cursory review of Berta Murray’s estate file appears that it is largely normal, according to legal experts engaged to analyze the Murray estate transactions, and who are familiar with New York estate law, ethical obligations and the specific practices of the Westchester County Surrogate’s Court. However, they noted, the complete absence of any estate file “accounting” is quite unusual. And though not required, the name of Surrogate’s Court attorney-referee Jody B. Keltz, is nowhere to be found in the estate file. However, a review of the property Deed on file in the Westchester County Clerk’s office memorializes the transfer of ownership of 168 Gaylor Road in Scarsdale from the “Estate of Berta M. Murray…by The Bank of New York…to Carl T. Peluso and Jody B. Keltz, his wife.”

In a recent telephone conversation, a court employee confirmed that Ms. Keltz was still employed as an attorney-referee in the Surrogate’s Court’s law department. When asked to comment about the Keltz property transfer, she advised that, “If you want to keep your job around here, you keep your mouth shut.” When asked her name, the telephone connection ended.

A quick review of Berta’s estate file also shows a relatively standard probate proceeding, and it is quickly observed that The Bank of New York is the fiduciary and that the house was valued at $350,000.00--approximately one half of the total estate value of $742,968.00.

But an in-depth analysis reveals some eyebrow-raising facts, including that Berta’s last will was substantially different than her stated wishes as expressed to friends and relatives since her husband Elmer died in December of 1982. “In Westchester, everyone gets a crumb,” one estate lawyer noted. But those associated with the “new” wishes of Berta Murray EACH received “crumbs” worth tens of thousands of dollars: (1) attorney W. Rowland Miller of the Judy, Miller & O’Connor law firm in Scarsdale, and who drafted the Will for Berta (and in which The Bank of New York is named as the new fiduciary), and who was then retained as the attorney for the fiduciary, The Bank of New York; (2) attorney Samuel S. Yasgur, then of the Hall Dickler law firm, and who was appointed by former Hall Dicker lawyer and then-Judge Emanuelli to represent “unknown heirs”; and (3) real estate agent Camille Paradise of Claire D. Leone Real Estate, who lived in Berta’s neighborhood and who was the realtor that handled the sale of the house to court employee Keltz and her husband.

“Judges and attorneys have an obligation to avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” observed one White Plains estate attorney who asked that his name be withheld, adding, “But that ethical requirement doesn’t apply here-- every player gets their piece of the pie-- that’s how court business is done in Westchester County.” He conceded that, “On its face, this doesn’t look good-- a state-employed attorney-referee working in the Surrogate’s Court shouldn’t be purchasing a house from any estate her court is overseeing.”

Under Westchester County Surrogate Anthony A. Scarpino, court attorney-referee Jody B. Keltz continues her work insuring a high level of integrity in the administration of estate proceedings, also while holding professional fiduciaries, such as banks, to a high set of ethical and performance standards.

The biggest “crumb” from the Estate of Berta M. Murray went to Westchester County Surrogate’s Court attorney-referee Jody B. Keltz and her attorney-husband Carl T. Peluzo. That “crumb” -- the house and property located at 168 Gaylor Road in Scarsdale is, according to the village of Scarsdale tax office, now conservatively valued at $950,000.00.

www.ExposeCorruptCourts.blogspot.com © 2007
Posted by Corrupt Courts Administrator at 11:32 PM  

27 comments (as of June 7, 2008):

Anonymous said...
Great Blog, will spread the word. I know people that work in the county that get sick over what they see. Some of them will talk. Very good story. When someone is in a postion of trust they should not take advantage of it as Jody Keltz clearly did. No one is above the law including lawyers and Judges. Of course you know the reason they steal from the dead is obvious, they can not complain. I can imagine what other corruption is going on in the Surrogate's Court.  This story should be on TV and in the papers. I wonder why it isn't?  -  March 22, 2007 10:34 AM

Anonymous said...
As a neighbor of Jody and her family we didn't know all of this and if this is all true it is definitely wrong. We were friends of Berta Murray she was a good woman. Where is the supervision in the Courts? We know that Jody and Carl have a place up in Dutchess County, how did they get that? Disgusted  -  March 22, 2007 5:56 PM

Anonymous said...
This is simple! THIS WAS A PAYOFF FROM THE BANK OF NEW YORK. The bank deals with the Surrogate's Court all the time and they don't want any trouble. This means nothing to the bank. Why should they care? Who will expose them?  -  March 23, 2007 12:44 PM

Anonymous said...
I dealt with Jody Keltz invoving a family member's estate and did not have a good feeling if you know what I mean. Good blog, we need more stories like this. The is the only voice we have.  -  March 23, 2007 4:54 PM  

Anonymous said...
Emanuelli had a friend Nicky Cockeyes Rattenni (Genovese Capo)
Jody/Carl have a friend
Scarpino a former FBI Special Agent has a friend
Everyone needs a friend  -  March 24, 2007 8:43 AM

Anonymous said...
Someone better put a lien on her house so she doesn't sell it and leave the county with the money!!!  -  March 24, 2007 2:29 PM

Anonymous said...
These pilagers are not out to help the folks that pay them---they're out to help themselves at everyone's expense. The grave robbing gonifs are runing the store. For another chapter look at Phil Reisman in today's paper.  -  March 25, 2007 11:12 AM

Anonymous said...
More stolen with a pen then ever with a gun  -  March 26, 2007 11:01 AM

Anonymous said...
IT'S A STEAL - "KULTZ STEALS" HOME AND IS SAFE!
The House that "Kultz Built" with a lot of help from her friends in the Westchester Surrogate's Court. The fox is in charge of the Surrogate Court picking the bones of the dead and the live flesh of the heirs. What else has Kultz and her friends stolen? She should be in JAIL for a long time.  -  March 27, 2007 5:03 PM

Anonymous said...
Does anyone know that the Bank of New York entered into a "Non-Prosecution Agreement" with the US Attorney's. This involved criminal acts. Google this for the press release dated 11/8/05. I missed this fact in their promotional materials. So what's a house to them, if someone has to be greased?  -  March 30, 2007 12:28 AM

Anonymous said...
So where is the pistol packing Surrogate Judge Tony Scarpino in this?  -  March 30, 2007 12:47 PM

Anonymous said...
Disbar her and all her friends!  -  March 30, 2007 10:10 PM  

Anonymous said...
Carl & Jody are not friendly in the neighborhood, they don't want to talk, they seem nervous and the kids are inside more. Maybe it's all true?  -  March 31, 2007 10:53 AM

Anonymous said...
Enough already, why don't they just sell the house, get the money along with whatever else is under the mattress that they stole and move to Florida. Let them do another swindle down there. What do you expect, that's what lawyers do!  -  April 2, 2007 3:34 PM

Anonymous said...
Is she still working there?  -  April 3, 2007 3:57 PM
 
Anonymous said...
What's the deal with the Bank of New York? They engaged in felonious acts and should not be in the Surrogate's Court. Where is Judge Anthony J. Scarpino on this?
/s/an appalled attorney  -  April 3, 2007 8:04 PM  

Anonymous said...
This is material for a Federal Grand Jury along with the other stories on this blog.  -  April 4, 2007 1:57 PM  

Anonymous said...
In "IT'S A STEAL" think someone meant "KLUTZ" not KULTZ.  -  April 5, 2007 10:29 AM  

Anonymous said...
Tried to call Jody Keltz at the Surrogate's Court, was told she was not there?  -  April 5, 2007 1:06 PM  

Anonymous said...
do the right thing Jody  -  April 5, 2007 2:00 PM

Anonymous said...
can you still make a deal? time maybe running out babe?  -  April 5, 2007 7:50 PM  

Anonymous said...
As a former court officer I have seen things happen that you would never believe. People get screwed all the time by the lawyers and Judges, they don't care its all about money.  -  April 5, 2007 11:32 PM

Anonymous said...
Have read the prior stories and left comments. I want to know where the accountability is? Someone has to know what is going on. Or is everyone getting paid off!  -  April 7, 2007 7:23 PM

Anonymous said...
Again, Keltz is a skel and belongs in jail.  -  April 8, 2007 1:54 PM  

Anonymous said...
Yasgur - Amilicke? of Hall Dickler now out of business were Al Emanulli's favorites along with his former partner D. Geiss. A lot of people suing Hall Dickler including an attorney who worked for them. Yasgur has retreated to his roots in Sullivan Co.  -  April 8, 2007 9:28 PM  

Anonymous said...
What is the Court's Inspector General doing about this!?!?!?!?  -  April 21, 2007 8:43 PM  

Member of Real World said...
The I.G. is doing nothing, and will never do anything. Cheryl Spudtz is prevented from doing his job by the powers that be. But one thing's for sure, I.G. Spudtz will keep collecting a paycheck.
Hey, where do I get a job for getting paid for doing nothing?  -  April 23, 2007 9:46 PM

44 comments:

Manhattan surrogate victim said...

have never seen this story before, but I will tell you that they do the same dirty deals in Manhattan. Is this Jody Keltz still working for the Surrogate Court? I think she should be fired.

Anonymous said...

This chick should be behind bars.

victim of surrogate said...

I got screwed because I raised issues that the Brooklyn Surrogate didn't want to hear. We got him some press and he's history. I think there's hope.

retired court officer said...

The Westchester courts, including the surrogate's court, is run by a pack of crooks. Just look at who's in charge: Francis Nicolai.

wp atty said...

I've had dealings with Ms. Jody Keltz of the Surrogate's Court and they have not been pleasant. I knew the witch was no good, however, didn't know about this house business. My question is why is she still working there? Where is the oversight at OCA?

abe in New City said...

so how is this Jody Keltz still a lawyer after this? She should be disbarred or is she one of the ones that I read about that the Disciplinary Committee turned a blind eye towards? She should be ashamed of herself.

Ted from bedford said...

How the F&*$ does something like this go on. I bet Nicolai and the probate judge Scarpini are in on it. Just spread the dirty money around between the lawyers ( and yes, that's what almost all judges are: LAWYERS) BRING IN THE FEDS!

ex-140 Grand worker said...

When I worked at the Westchester Surrogate's Court, we used to refer to the court attorneys as "bankers." And the Surrogate was "the bank." This website is doing good work, keep it up. Keep digging deeper in Westchester and you'll find stuff that'll make your head spin.

westchester lawyer said...

when I practiced in the Surrogate's Court (no longer do) I ran into to characters - one was Rob DiBella and the other one was Jody Keltz. Between the two of them I got the message and that was pay to play. They both got in the middle of everything, you couldn't move. That is why I no longer practice in the Surrogate's Court. When I read these things I have to wonder why these people still have a license to allegedly engage in the practice of the Law.

PS It was my impression that Judge Anthony Scarpino, Jr. was also deeply involved. If I ever said that out loud in a court room I would be commiting suicide.

albany guy said...

this story is trouble for all, that's why it got buried and nothing was done. People should go to jail on this one. I would ask where are the federal authorities, but that's a waste of time, they only go for the headlines.

Anonymous said...

what Surrogate Judge permitted this to occur? Where is the oversight that would catch this sort of thing? Once corruption is allowed to happen it just spreads everywhere and this story is a by product of corruption.

nyc mediaman said...

this is a scandal that should be exposed. The parties responsible should be held accountable. How many other things like this have transpired? I'll see what I can do about coverage and will be in contact. This is a front page story.

old Dem pol said...

a small group of thugs have taken control of both political parties here in Westchester Co. Judgeships are only one of the casualties of this castration of the citizens rights. The Surrogate Judge is responsible for his shop. Did they ever ask for an ethics ruling, I would doubt it.

westchester taxpayer said...

I don't understand how Jody Keltz still has a license to practice law? Further, she should be in jail along with the other dirt bags that pulled this swindle. It's called STEALING from the dead.

closet WP attorney said...

It's not just Keltz, it's the whole band of theives at the Westchester Surrogate's court. I know. Oh, boy, do I know....

scarsdaleite said...

Where is Surrogate Judge Anthony Scoarpino on this issue? I've have run into both Jody & her husband Carl and was never impressed with either. If I had known that they stole the house I would have confronted them both. In my opinion what they did was wrong. My husband is an attorney and he can't understand why they have not been disbarred, muchless still working for the State of New York. He said they must have some very powerful friends. I think they are WHORES and shouldn't live in Scarsdale. Take you and your kids and move, Jody. If run into any of you I intend confront you.

Anonymous said...

This has to be illegal. And isn't there a state integrity officer looking into a state employee who's supposed to oversee an estate asset NOT BUY THE DAMN THING AT A DISCOUNT ????!! What the hell is going on?

former surrogate court employee said...

what everyone has to realize is that the Surrogate's Court for better or worse is a big honey (money) pot for all the rogues and theives, please excuse me I mean lawyers, I certainly wouldn't want to give rogues and theives a bad name. It is easy money and everyone makes a good buck just like the undertakers. It is really corruption central because the money goes out from there. Most people (99.9%) don't cause a problem because they are grieving and are therefore an easy mark. It's some business model and it works well. Be advised don't die in Westchester County or NY State.

the green hornet said...

this is yet one example of the plague of corruption that is rampart throughout the State of NY and the country and the authorities choose to do nothing. Wonder why citizens have no faith in the Government? If this scandal and similar corruption like it are not stopped the day may be coming soon when there will be no government! Think about! Why do taxpaying citizens have to be subjected the continuing screwing and have no redress???????

bob in eastchester said...

I've heard about a great many dirty deals in politics, but this one tops them all. Keltz works in the Surrogate Ct. and snaps up a house from an Estate in the Ct. in which she works for a very good price and gets away with it. Who did she and her husband payoff? Hey, I'd like to do that!

retired judge said...

after carefully reading this whole article, I'm shocked and bewildered as to how this could occur. I always ran my court to be above reproach. If even half of what has been written is correct, it reveals a major scandal that will continue to bring discredit on the Judiciary and the Law. Clearly, the New York State authorities must have know about this for sometime and done nothing. If they can't or will not clean-up this scandal then it is time for the Federal Judiciary to step-in and clean-up the corruption.
Needless to say it reflects very badly on the Surrogate Judges that permitted this situation.

yonkers said...

I demand to know why anyone in New York State has not investigated this scandalous matter? Why haven't people gone to jail? This is criminal and someone should pay. If they don't do the time there is no JUSTICE!

Anonymous said...

Tony Scarpino and his crew hump everyone they can in the Surrogate's Court so why would this J. Keltz house thing surprise anyone

retired Court Officer said...

over the years I've seen it happen more and more, but there is no doubt that lawyers are a gang of professional crooks. When I first started the job someone like Jody Keltz would have been fired and disbarred for this. Now no one cares since everyone is doing it. I'm glad I'm out.

ted in mt vernon said...

this bitch JODY has really dissed some people. She should be doing some hard time.

Anonymous said...

Ted in Mt. Vernon, she not a bitch, she is a HOE!
Where is that HOE Judith kaye? What is she and the OCA doing about her fellow HOE Jody keltz?
They all belong behind steel bars.

from the bronx said...

more than a few years back we got rid of a bum Surrogate Judge by the name of Bert Gelfand here in the Bronx. He was a piece of garbage and still is and furthmore his son David, has followed in his footsteps. Understand he is holding 'court' in White Plains. He should have gone to jail, the bum. So for all those in Westchester I would say keep the faith, you may be successful in getting rid of the bum Scarpino.

former fed prosecutor said...

reading this thing makes me feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole. I can't understand why someone hasn't looked at what certainly appears to be a major scandal. This also appears to be obstruction of justice. I don't understand?

Anonymous said...

Apparently the FEDS are going after the the district attorneys....the middle of the corruption totem pole! I can only assume that the FEDS feel if they attack the middle ( THE DA'S), the top( THE JUDICIARY) will fall automatically and NEVER recover, which we all know they will only start building the pole again.. stronger and harder to take apart!
With all the information the FEDS have to not only start an investigation, but probably even to conclude one with the OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION, they start at one of the lowest and easiest levels they can attack. This is probably to show they have some level of interest and awareness to prove they might deal with this NY travesty, polluting the NY taxpayer!
But who is being fooled by this mediocre bust, but those that know "nothing" about this massive and invasive, hierachy of judicial corruption!

ny bar member said...

my understanding was that Jody Keltz Court Attorney-Referee was the go-to person on the Astor Estate. If this information is factual why would Surrogate Scarpino jeopardize his name by putting Keltz at the wheel? Certainly, he is fully aware of all of this information. And where are the state authorities on this matter?

Anonymous said...

Tony hasn't been the same since he lost Rob D. They had a good cop bad act. Rob did all of Tony's dirty work. Mybe Jody has filled that position now. All I got to say is that someday very soon they will catchup with you Tony.

ed in pelham said...

so why is the Surrogate Judge notresponsible for what goes on in his court? Who is looking over his shoulder?

Anonymous said...

I can see that all of these state employees are scoundrels and must be fired

the sleuth said...

be advised that shortly information will surface that will expose the State Judicial System in a major statewide scandal. Please remember you heard it here first folks. Don't forget to do the right thing guys and gals.

tale teller said...

that scumbag Tony Scarpino belong in a jail cell and someday soon they will get him

Anonymous said...

surrogate's court doing their thing ....... stealing from the dead

Anonymous said...

who will be the first to ratout the rats in the SUrrogates' Ct?

pissed off said...

Tony Scarpino is an anti-semite. He has a trial involving a Jewish cancer patient who needs treatment and tony scarpino has refused to give her a penny for needed cancer treatments!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

victim of Westchester Suurogate said...

Jody Keltz Court Attorney/Referee is a first class whore

proud jew said...

I've made other comments on this subject prior on other posting on this blog. This bastard Scarpino is a piece of dreck. Is it his money? It is not Scarpino's money - but this JEW hater works the deal. He's a real NAZI! Give the Jewish Cancer Patient the money she needs to get her needed cancer treatment. Or are you trying to kill her? Prove that you are not a NAZI. The Bank of New York is a criminal.

rye resident said...

How does Charley Scott, the new Court Clerk feel about this? Does he agree with this policy of not giving money to a cancer patient that is needed for treatment? Some day I will see Jonathan Lippman here in Rye and will button hole him on this issue.

jewish said...

I think that it is sickening that the Surrogate Judge Scarpino will not give a jewish cancer victim money that she needs to pay for her cancer treatments. Shame on you!

wp atty said...

the jerk behind this whole thing is Frank Streng. He's the fixer on this case involving the cancer victim. He is such a dirtbag that he jokes about it in private and says he hopes she dies soon that way he wins. He did not have a drink when he said it either.

angryman said...

I have been involved with the surrogates court of westchester since 2005 and the experience is frieghtening to say the least it seems to me that the courts objective is to make the lawyers rich and not procesicute an exexutrix for wrong doing nor the estate attorney who clearly has stepped over the line in his actions and has been derilict in is fiduciary duties to the estate and clearly has his own and the executrix's best interest in mind regardless on th effects of the other benificiaries involved thank you westsheter surrogates court in destroying so many lives while keeping the lawyers working

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