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Monday, November 30, 2009

Judges Charge Taxpayers for Frivolous Expenses

Judges charge taxpayers for frivolous expenses
The New York Post by JAMES FANELLI - November 29, 2009
Objection, your honor!

State judges are using taxpayer money to buy everything from spa trips to self-portraits to electronics, The Post has learned. On Nov. 1, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman doubled the expense allowances for his judges to $10,000 a year each. But the special compensation -- which now costs $12.6 million annually and is intended to reimburse judges for work-related costs -- isn't always spent judiciously. Meditation retreats, framed photographs of themselves, and a $233 Apple iPod Touch are among the expense claims reimbursed this year by the New York Office of Court Administration, a Post analysis found. Brooklyn Housing Court judges Cheryl Gonzales and John Stanley decided to get in touch with their inner Buddha by attending a February getaway at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Northern California. Gonzales and Stanley were reimbursed $890 and $780, respectively, for the cost of travel, accommodations and the program. According to the meditation center's Web site, some of the courses include "Heart Practices for Couples," "The Neurology of Awakening" and "Relationships as Spiritual Practice." Gonzales' expense allowance has also extended to her associates. She was reimbursed $1,665 for the cost of an entire table at a May dinner of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, a group she chairs. Other judges have used their allowance to foot travel bills. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Laura Jacobson was reimbursed $2,878.40 to travel to Cuba in late September with the National Association of Women Judges for what one attendee reportedly called a "fact-finding vacation." Vanity also seems like a justifiable cost to the OCA.

At least 10 Queens Supreme Court judges used their allowances to cover the $390 cost to get photos taken of themselves. The framed photos will hang in a public hallway of the Queens Supreme Court house in the near future, according to the OCA. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Delores Thomas submitted a $260 claim for a Poland Springs water cooler for her chamber. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Roger Hayes sought reimbursement for a one-year, $127 New York Times subscription delivered to his home. Brooklyn Civil Court Judge Sylvia Ash put in for a $290 room air purifier bought on Home Shopping Network, and Queens Family Court Judge Linda Tally sought state money to buy the iPod Touch. Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said the OCA should review the expenses "with a fine-tooth comb." "They should reject the ones without merit. They should toss them out of court," Horner said. Lawrence Marks, the administrative director of the state court system, said that while the allowances mirror policies in other states' courts, they are especially necessary in New York because judges "have not had a raise in 11 years." Currently, salaries range from $108,800 for a full-time city court judge to $136,700 for a state Supreme Court justice to the chief judge's $156,000. State legislators must approve any raises, and they have traditionally pegged their own salaries to those of judges. Even though the expense account increase to $10,000 went into effect on Nov. 1, Marks said it would be put in next year's budget request. The court has a $2.6 billion annual budget. Most state judges choose to take the special compensation as one taxable lump sum for which they don't have to account -- a de facto raise. When the compensation was set at $5,000, judges generally took home about $3,700 after taxes, according to Marks. But some judges opt to receive the special compensation tax-free by submitting expenses for reimbursement. Marks said the expenses must be related to judicial duties. james.fanelli@nypost.com

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

just great! Hooray......eeeeeesh! Please dig up some numbers in Westchester. Love to see what they are up to!

Disgusted said...

These bums are like little children in a candy store with someone else's credit card and they don't care because they know they can all get away with it! Jonathan Lippman fixed it! This is the payoff for his buddies!

Anonymous said...

The Judges and Attorneys have lost the respect of the people. They are out for themselves.Rockland County ha
a ring of criminals that work together to defraud the public,while
pretending to do their offical jobs.
They should be tried under the RICCO act !

Anonymous said...

2,878.40 dollars to go to Cuba. Doesnt the U.S still have a travel ban to Cuba. I think the new rules will only allow you to visit thier if you have realatives thier.
So all members on the National Association of women judges have relatives in Cuba?

Someone should look to see if this is a voilation of U.S travel laws

Does that mean that Judges get paid back if they want to visit thier relatives in the U.S
or is it onlt Foreign countries?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

the judges need those $290.00 air purifiers, those robes are never clean!

Anonymous said...

This judicial raise of $5000 is in addition to all the judicial elevations that have been given to them through the acting judge program...if that is what it is called... so their elected jobs have been selected to elevated titles one level up...by the word of the chief judge and in secrecy to the taxpayer!
To clarify for those who did not have the torture and privilege to work for OCA...it means that several judges sitting in city courts are now acting county court judges, county court judges are acting supreme court judges and god knows what the supreme court judges are....probably federal court actors...and the public who elected them to the original jobs years ago when some elections actually took place...believe that those judges are still sitting in the jobs they voted for them to perform in!
Judges in my experience are self-serving, political wipes that have mediocre or minimal legal acumen.
The scam raises that they have received is of no surprise to me, as I have seen their amazing egos and lack of concern for the public or the law, lasting many years.


The frivilous spending of these forcefully sought out and supposedly much.. NEEDED.... raises is in accordance with the men and women in robes I have come to know and work with.
Congratulations robes.... you did not disprove my experiences with you, and as the years go by...you show how acceptionally arrogant and greedy you are willing to become !

Anonymous said...

In Orange County these criminals are out of control. Forging documents,changing records and files,changing transcript, threaten a litigant with physical harm, paying off CPS workers, school Officials, using children for sexual exploitation and more. PIGS all connected and the Orange County District Attorney's Office refusing to investigated. I guess they too get paid extra fess for their silence...Only in dirty New York by the way the FEds should take a look at a bank in Middletown, New York there maybe some money laundring taken place in there involving a dirty, dirty, dirty Jew Officer of Court...

Anonymous said...

can town judges related to Senators just get placed in a position without any opposition, no lawn trash signs,
well I guess if you thought you would keep it on the qt who needs signs...........

Anonymous said...

In Orange County Judge John K. McGuirk can related to Senators. Furthermore, Judge John K. McGuirk is related to Senator Larkin. Corruption runs high in this county. Plenty of family members working in the county engaging in racketerring and many many more crimes against the People.

Anonymous said...

hard to believe...hope they get them all

Anonymous said...

http://gothamist.com/2009/12/01/judge_nypd_officers_commit_widespre.php

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