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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Corrupt Westchester Surrogate Court Gouls Salivating, Again

Woman, 78, found 6 months after she died
The Journal News by Hoa Nguyen - February 6, 2010

CHAPPAQUA, NY — The body of a 78-year-old woman living by herself who appeared to have died in her home six months ago was found Thursday by New Castle police, officials said. Jane Wild died in the second-floor bathroom of her home at 406 Bedford Road around August but her body, which was reduced to a skeleton, was not discovered until her lawyer contacted police and asked them to break down her door, according to a neighbor and an investigator from the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office. The lawyer had been trying to get in touch with her for the past two months, the medical examiner's investigator said. The utilities to her home had been turned off for months and mail service was discontinued after it began accumulating in her mailbox, according to the medical examiner. Police said the incident remains under investigation. The home sits on an acre, set back from the road and surrounded by trees. Despite the inactivity in the home, the driveway and pathways appeared to have been regularly plowed and landscaping was up to date. Neighbors said Wild was a recluse whom they hardly saw coming and going. Snow plowing and landscaping service was done by a contractor who billed in six-month increments and wasn't particularly demanding when it came to requesting payment, neighbors said. At some point, Wild lived with a sister, but that relative had since died, leaving her by herself. Bedford Road, also known as Route 117, is a main thoroughfare with few walkers and with homes set far apart from one another as to promote privacy, but also isolation, neighbors said. They said the homes sit on large one-acre lots, and they wouldn't have noticed that one home lacked electricity. In general, neighbors said they don't know each other well or socialize much within the community. "It's 117 and hard to do that," said Sarah Dearmont, a Bedford Road resident who had never met or seen Wild. New Castle Supervisor Barbara Gerrard said the town is home to many older residents who live alone, and offers them services designed to help them. "I'm sorry to hear about that," she said of Wild's death. "We do try to provide assistance to those who live by themselves." One such program is called "R-U-O-K," which telephones residents who sign up for the service once a day to check on them. It was unclear whether Wild was enrolled or knew about the program, though Gerrard said the services are well-publicized throughout the town. "She was of that age, she must have known about it," Gerrard said. hnguyen7@lohud.com



We celebrate the 12-year anniversary of the scheme by the Surrogate's Court Law Department charged with over-seeing the wishes of the departed. The Court's own Law Department found their own court attorney moving into a decedant's Scarsdale home with her family. That same Law Department attorney-referee, Jody B. Keltz, is now involved in the Brooke Astor estate proceedings. 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, they say. But Westchester Surrogate’s Court employee, attorney-referee Jody 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.

Move from Scarsdale to an Astor Estate Would Be Nice

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: 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;
  • 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
  • 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.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scarpino- and his oversized, sidekick court attorney thug Joseph Accetta- must have already gotten their commission from the anticipated sale of this house. Nothing happens in Westchester unless "gratitude" is "expressed" to Anthony Scarpino and his wayward farm animals.

sickened said...

Whatever happened to the previous Westchester Surrogate Court Judge Albert Emanuelli?? I heard Scarpino learned all his graft tricks from the master. Pay to play Westchester, you gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

A lot of crimes have been pulled off by judges and lawyers around the state's surrogates courts. It's disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Brim over I to but I contemplate the brief should secure more info then it has.

yet another scarpino victim said...

The Westchester savages are losing their touch. They can usually smell death and pounce on the money. Scarpino was pushed out of the FBI for being what he is: a lowlife bum. The FBI likes taking guys down that have made them look bad. Enjoy the fall Tony.

Anonymous said...

And, Scarpino is going to be indicited when?

Anonymous said...

If you want to keep your job around here, you keep your mouth shut.” When asked her name, the telephone connection ended.


disgusting,pay these court clerks small amounts of money, by the government, and tell them to keep their mouth shut if you want to ever work again, health care pension....NO MATTER WHAT FELONY WE COMMIT!

the previous poster was right, get the court clerks to nail these guys!

Anonymous said...

set them up, maybe I should have used that term........

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

very useful read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

Anonymous said...

nice article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did any one learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

Anonymous said...

Someone's got to do something abut the outright crimes in Westchester. I blame Nicolai and Scheinkman.

Anonymous said...

aka Snakerman! what happened to Sampson, who stated Westchester bothers him, why not send the FEDS into that courthouse......
see our Senators only have the power to lead corruption, they can not stop it..........
HELLO FEDERAL PROSECUTOR WHERE ARE YOU?

Insider said...

Emanuelli named a Guardian for the Berta Murray Estate, he was from Hall Dickler etc., where Emanuelli worked. Jody Keltz was the attorney on the Murray Estate. They have tried to cover the whole thing up. Both Emanuelli and Scarpino are involved in this deal. Some of the records have been destroyed already.

Anonymous said...

What are the similarities between NY Surrogate judges and vultures? They're both dressed in black feathers and pick clean the bones of the dead. The difference:the judges put masks over their blood stained heads to hide their hooked becks.

Anonymous said...

Where is Senator Sampson? What happened to his investigation? I'll tell what happened, he was hired by a large wealthy law firm and given $$$ per month.

He wasn't going to do anything but let people talk..., express... and then he cover everything up and close his investigation.

Anonymous said...

Senator J. Samson sold his soul and his black constituents out for a few pieces of silver from the Trial Lawyers. Saint Andrew rewarded him and has anointed Judas Samson as the new Majority Leader.

Anonymous said...

When Sampson conducted those hearings...he had NO clout...none whatsoever!
Now that Sampson suddenly, in one year's time, obtained a million dollar political fund...he walked away from the hearings to protect this newly obtained power position.
In just a few months.... Sampson proceeded to whitewash and hide all the knowledge he retreived about the NY STATE COURT SYSTEM BEING MASSIVELY CORRUPT......and nixed any investigation of judicial crimes...as this would definitely be career ending.
The proof of what Albany and the syndicate operation of the judicial system can concoct when they are being stripped and exposed naked, relative to their their corrupt activities, can be noticed in what is happening with GOV.PATERSON.
If they ever really report sex and drug usage and participation by our Governor...it definitely would only "mimic" that of many, many of our...... NY STATE JUDGES!
NO NY STATE politician will ever uncover and expose JUDICIAL CORRUPTION...so anyone looking for that is delusional...this is a people's movement that must gather forces today!
The Feds are mostly lawyers that pride themselves in blubbering from the mouth, pitiful reasons as to why they do not find criminal behavior in the robes they were taught to honor. I know...I talked to them about this...and they were shamefully unknowledgable and sinfully unconcerned!

Anonymous said...

The feds should look at Jody's husband and who he gets work from. Jody does a great many favors and there is a payback.

Anonymous said...

At the last hearings (9/24) that Sen. Sampson held he was very interested in the Westchester Surrogate and stated so. Are you now saying that was all a front to get him a better bargaining position to obtain his payoff?

Anonymous said...

What Sampson said last year and what he was really working towards...were conflicts that went into motion faster than he imagined.
He was being prepped for a higher office in a shorter period than he had imagined,so he held those hearings believing that he could placate the victims of the court without damming the entire system, in the span of a year or two.
He never, ever intended to reform the entire NY state Office of Court Administration!
When he took upon those hearings...he definitely knew he had minimal or no clout, so prolonging them, scheduling hearings that were unnecessary beyond the first and kindly showing concern and respect for those testifying...was a method he used to impress the victims, while displaying that he was a different kind of electee, and possibly freightening the more powerful politicians in order to advance his agenda,exposing the dirt in the time honored justice system.
Sampson had an agenda...and he quickly suceeded in achieving that goal and incredibly it took him only one year. I guess dirty courthouse antics scares lots of powerful people!
I wish I could believe that Sampson really cared about those he was responsible for assisting in the state senate judicial committee...and maybe he did a little......but mainly he cared for himself.....and this is an honest "politician" assessment of SAMPSON THE FRAUD!

Anonymous said...

the prior posting is a very forthright and I believe insightful.

Anonymous said...

Who ever put the comment about Jody Keltz's husband Carl (and his law firm) getting work was spot on. Lawyers have little use for her (only a little more than they had for Rob DeBella and that;s why most were glad to see him get his judgeship, to get rid of him) and she is very clever in the way she (and her boss Tony) manipulate people. The big firms that have to deal with her don't need the trouble so they do the right thing by her husband Carl. It's the cost of business.

At 9/24 hearing said...

Sen Sampson definitely expressed more than passing interest in the Westchester Surrogate. The first person to speak with Ms. Wilson detailed corruption at the Surrogate Court got everyones attention especially since her former husband worked for a Judge and she knew all the inside dirt in the courts. She also writes for the Westchester Guardian. When will we read about all the Surrogate Court corruption in the paper? If the feds read about it then they just might do something, do you think?

Anonymous said...

Charley Scott and Jody Keltz are both snakes

Anonymous said...

Tony and his crew are planning a party with the Astor pie, everyone is going to get richer and fatter.

Anonymous said...

I hate to tell you this...but the FEDS are not interested in NY COURT CORRUPTION.
They have tons of incredible insider knowledge given to them in person..at their forced invite to a home....from a long time investigated and credible insider....requested by them for additional information on how to gather their own intelligence...and then within 3 months, they negated their course of action, using false statements to terminate.

Besides the feds dis-interest...there is a new story printed in an upstate newspaper, reporting that Sampson is again suggesting that the NY Senate hold new" public hearings' this March....next month.......relative to some other hot bed issue...and he has yet to complete the hundreds of judical hearings he promised and is required to make a determination on for over a year.
Sampson seems to me, to crave some type of praise and power, coming as a judicial moderator, falsely placating vulnerable people pouring their hearts out to him...so he can assuage his guilt for being a greedy politician...something he ran against, but fell victim to and appears to love that new life.

I feel sorry for all who have faith in him....but it is best to face the stark reality...he is Black Silver!

Anonymous said...

Michael Garcia and hisminions received creditable actionable information from many people particularly in White Plains. What did he do? He did something, he protected his old boss, Judge Judith Kaye and closed his eyes and sat on everthing. So what do we do? Go to the press and cry out! The people who should be doing the job of cleaning up the corruption are not! So we the citizens have to do the job. Fire them all and take their pensions. Screw them all.

insider said...

if and when the feds ever look at Scott, Keltz et al., don't overlook Dom Porco 'a friend of the Court.'

Anonymous said...

Scarpino protected himself in the Winston's matter against the felon Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank. He put the fix in. Scarpino who worked at Bankers Trust never revealed this material fact for over 7 years. He disclosed this information at the start of the trial (on the record) to cover himself. Then after 5 months of trial ruled against the Winston's totally. That's the way Scarpino screws people every day. Charley Scott knows all about this one! The feds have a lot of people to talk to! Get busy guys!
He should be removed from the bench.

corrupt said...

I am currently engaged in litigation against Carl Peluso, the husband of Jody Keltz, in a somewhat related case in which he has essentially appropriated his client's property for his own self-interest. If anyone can provide any further detailed information about the Berta Murray case, it would be quite helpful in establishing a pattern of this behavior. Please email CorruptPeluso@gmail.com if you have any information.

Steve said...

The corruption in the Westchester County "un family court" is alarming and ruins many good families! In the name of politics, nepotism and the county attorneys office, (who are really an influencial ARM and pals with the "Judges" of the "un family court") these bueracats are clock punchers who hate and punish anyone who wants fairness, truth and justice before them.
Get active now for change and real JUSTICE, WE CAN get these bad Judges out by voting a decent one in. We make a difference! Spano lost and Astorino won! Why? We got tired of Spano and wanted someone who cares about our intrests.
"Un Family Court Judge Nilda Morales Horowitz" is up for reelection this November 2010. When voting in the primary in September and election in Nov. pull the tab up above her name (if democrate)so she won't win again. Judge Morales has been brought up for charges and found guilty attempting to fix a cases. She has violated other Judicial Codes of Conduct and is anti men and a "lazy Judge" as one attorney whom is constantly before her stated.
The unfit "Judge" Kathie Davidson White Plains court, has changed testimony of witnesses and many other violations and misconduct in my case.(Evidence) I experienced anything but "due process!"

Contact me to become a part of the change needed in "OUR COURTS." ssteve318@yahoo.com

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