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Friday, April 22, 2011

Presiding Judge Fights Back Against OCA and Tembeckjian Thugs

Gonzalez's Lawyers Rebut Claims of Fraud in Brooklyn Mortgage



The presiding justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, who is facing accusations of mortgage fraud and nepotism after an article was published in the New York Post, has hired two prominent attorneys to represent him. Presiding Justice Luis A. Gonzalez (See Profile) has retained Paul Shechtman of Stillman, Friedman & Shechtman, a former chief of the criminal division of the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office; and Ben R. Rubinowitz, a partner at Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Bloom & Rubinowitz, a plaintiff's personal injury firm, both lawyers confirmed. The lawyers also confirmed that the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct has opened a preliminary inquiry by asking Justice Gonzalez to answer questions about all aspects of the March 27 Post article. As to the prospects of a criminal probe, Mr. Shechtman said, "It is unimaginable to me that any prosecutor's office, after reviewing the relevant documents, would not close an investigation within days of opening it." The Post article also reported that Justice Gonzalez authorized the hiring of relatives of several First Department employees, including his ex-wife, Vivian Gonzalez, as a clerk. The Office of Court Administration has confirmed that a Vivian Gonzalez was hired in December as an associate appellate clerk at an annual salary of $65,000 (NYLJ, April 13). The hiring of relatives of court employees, as claimed in the Post article, is not a crime and would not be the subject of a criminal inquiry, Mr. Shechtman said."Time will show that everyone who was hired was qualified for their post," Mr. Rubinowitz said.Though Mr. Rubinowitz is known as a plaintiff's lawyer, he has developed a sub-specialty representing close to "a dozen" judges in matters before the conduct commission. Many of the judges who retained him, he said, knew him through his trial work before them.

Timeline of Events

Dec. 27, 2000: Justice Gonzalez signs a lease for a rent-stabilized apartment in the Bronx for a term starting on Jan. 1, 2001.

March 14, 2002: He is appointed to the Appellate Division, First Department, from Bronx Supreme Court.

Nov. 27, 2002: Gonzalez buys a home in Brooklyn.

Aug. 31, 2007: He moves from the Bronx to Brooklyn and notifies his landlord, terminating the lease on the Bronx apartment.

Jan. 13, 2009: First Department Presiding Justice Jonathan Lippman is nominated as chief judge.

Feb. 6, 2009: Gonzalez refinances the mortgage on his Brooklyn home with a federally insured mortgage for $510,276; submits a required affidavit stating he "now occupies" the Brooklyn home.

Feb. 12, 2009: Lippman is confirmed as chief judge.

March 1, 2009: Gonzalez rents a different apartment in the same Bronx building where he had signed the earlier lease.

March 6, 2009: He applies to become presiding justice of the First Department.

March 24, 2009: He is appointed presiding justice.
The Post reported that Justice Gonzalez had simultaneously claimed a rent-stabilized apartment in the Bronx and a home he owns in Brooklyn as primary residences. But he said on a 2008 application for a mortgage on the Brooklyn property that he "now occupies" the property. Mr. Shechtman agreed that lying on an application for a federally insured mortgage would be a crime, but he insisted that his client had not lied about his residence. He explained in an interview that Justice Gonzalez lived in the Bronx for several years, moved to Brooklyn, and then moved back to the Bronx. But Mr. Shechtman acknowledged that when Justice Gonzalez moved back to the Bronx shortly after taking out a $510,276 mortgage on the Brooklyn house, he did not notify New York City that he was no longer using the Brooklyn home as a primary residence. The omission was inadvertent, Mr. Shechtman said, because under the terms of the mortgage the bank paid the property tax and received all correspondence from the city concerning it. Because of the oversight, Mr. Shechtman said, Justice Gonzalez has repaid the $560 he was mistakenly paid under the STAR tax exemption program. Mr. Shechtman provided a detailed rebuttal of the claims in the Post that Justice Gonzalez "really resided" in a rent-stabilized apartment in the Bronx when he took out the $510,000 federally insured mortgage on the Brooklyn home, which he had purchased from his aunt in 2000.  Mr. Shechtman made available to the Law Journal a copy of the lease Justice Gonzalez signed for a rent-stabilized apartment in the Bronx starting in January 2001. At the time, he was the administrative judge of the Bronx Supreme Court. Mr. Shechtman also showed the Law Journal a copy of a notice that the judge gave his Bronx landlord stating he would be terminating his lease effective Aug. 31, 2007. It was at that time, Mr. Shechtman said, that Justice Gonzalez moved to the house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The judge lived in a basement apartment while his daughter and her child occupied the rest of the two-bedroom home, Mr. Shechtman said. Mr. Shechtman also said that the house was in need of major repairs when Justice Gonzalez purchased it, and that the work had proceeded slowly. He decided to move to Brooklyn "for purely economic reasons" because he could no longer pay for both properties, the lawyer said. The $510,000 mortgage, one of several he received on the property, closed on Feb. 6, 2009. Justice Gonzalez had submitted his application for the mortgage "at the latest" on Nov. 25, 2008, Mr. Shechtman said. On Feb. 12, 2009, the First Department's then presiding justice, Jonathan Lippman, was confirmed as the state's chief judge. Justice Gonzalez, who had been on the First Department bench since 2002, moved back to the Bronx shortly after the chief judge appointment so he could apply for the presiding justice slot. In anticipation of the possibility that he might be appointed, Mr. Shechtman said, Justice Gonzalez rented a different rent-stabilized apartment in the same Bronx building where he lived previously. The lease, a copy of which was shown to the Law Journal, was for two years starting on March 1, 2009. Associate justices of the Appellate Division are not required to live within their departments, but presiding justices must. For the First Department, that means Manhattan or the Bronx. Brooklyn, where Justice Gonzalez's house is located, is in the Second Department. Mr. Shechtman said he is charging Justice Gonzalez at the same rate he bills the city and state, rather than charging his normal rates. According to the New York City Corporation Counsel's Office, Mr. Shechtman's billing rates for city work have ranged from $250 to $350 an hour. Mr. Shechtman has argued three cases before the First Department since Justice Gonzalez joined the court. Justice Gonzalez did not sit on any of those panels, according to a Westlaw search. Mr. Rabinowitz has only argued one appeal during that time, and Justice Gonzalez was not a member of the panel. Daniel Wise can be contacted at dwise@alm.com.

29 comments:

ring leader said...

What a fine collection of people we have running our court system- especially the clowns at the top!

Anonymous said...

I wonder who wanted the original 'story' placed in the NY Post?

Lippman?
Pfau?
Tembeckjian?
Friedberg?
Shelly Silver?
Cuomo?

You have to wonder.

Anonymous said...

This swordsman and his cunt of a personal assistant have got to go and take the 40 unqualified friends and relatives they hired on the tax payers dime.

Anonymous said...

At 8:21 : probably any number of people he screwed over both in the Bronx an the appellate division.

termite inspector said...

The black robed vultures are fighting and kicking excrement at each other. The winner gets to keep all the new carcasses generated in the first department.
Eric Holder in car 54, where are you with federal fraud? Andrew Cuomo, when are you directing Schneiderboy to remove all the nepotism at the courthouses? Are Cuomo and Schneiderboy fearful that a jury would believe hiring all those relatives was not official misconduct? The rot is everywhere.

Anonymous said...

And exactly how is this guy a "Judge"?

Anonymous said...

This "judge" should not be on the bench ruling on other peoples cases any longer.

Anonymous said...

Good for Justice Gonzalez.

Anonymous said...

Fight them Justice Gonzalez--kick their backsides all around the 1st Dept.

Anonymous said...

Who is paying for this guys defense.
I think it is the taxpayers. So we pay to prosecute him them we pay to defend him.
They should have to pay for thier own defense. They can stall this case for years because the defense has a blank check to stall it for years.
And all the time Gonzalez will keep getting paid and pension benifits.

Anonymous said...

Gonzalez is a perverted prick who needs to step down

Anonymous said...

People outside of NYC are getting mixed reports as to whether this Judge Gonzalez is a good guy or a bad guy.
Could someone with full knowledge of him and this situation, please let us outsiders know who he really is.

Anonymous said...

The 40 or so relatives he hired on the tax payers dime love him but trust me, he's a crook. Look back at some past posts, he is under investigation for lying on his mortgage document (a federal crime), and his nepotism at the appellate division forced the state to shift surplus money from one court to pay off the 400,000 debt he rang up - all during a time of layoffs. Furthermore he hired his mistress, girlfriend as well as illegitimate son not to mention a ton of other relatives in high paying positions at a time when the state is cutting money forcing others to be laid off.

Anonymous said...

there is nothing criminal in that previous post, lying on mortgage doc's, going on for decades, see banking crisis.... hiring mistresses and family members,
going on for decades......
we need real dirt!

Anonymous said...

there is nothing criminal in that previous post, lying on mortgage doc's, going on for decades, see banking crisis.... hiring mistresses and family members,
going on for decades......
we need real dirt!

Anonymous said...

Its only criminal cause he got caught and its being dragged out because the arrogant moron refuses to step down he has lost all credibility with his fellow justices ad well as every clerk he did not hire.

Anonymous said...

From the profile link in the story.


http://www.news-lawonline.com/nlJusticeList.php?justiceId=17


Judicial Terms

Appointed to Housing Court, 1985
Housing Court, 1985-87
Elected to Civil Court, 1987
Civil Court, 1987-92
Elected to Supreme Court, Bronx County, 1992
Supreme Court, Bronx County, 1993-97
Appointed Associate Justice, Appellate Term, First Department, 1997
Associate Justice, Appellate Term, First Department, 1997-


Can someone show where he was elected so that he is eligible to be appointed to the Appellate Court?

Anonymous said...

Gonzalez became PJ in March or April 2009. Started hiring in June after a minor buyout and hasn't stopped even after last Fall's buyout. Yes, folks, he's added to the appellate division payroll in 2011.

Did he think no one would notice?

Anonymous said...

Again, the Constitution and laws are specific as to how someone can become a judge.

You have to be a legal/constitutional judge before you can get any administrative judge position.

So, what makes this guy a legal/constitutional judge?

p.s. this isn't the only faux-judge to have this type of promotion.

Anonymous said...

THE LAW IS OUT THE FUCKIN WINDOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is going to get very dirty. This PJ is a street fighter. He's not going to go away without a fight and he know where the dirty is.

Anonymous said...

He's a fucking pervert. what low class scumbag hires his own mistress and bastard child. Dirty is indeed what he is made of.

Anonymous said...

Hope that Luis kicks their ass - Leo Milonas and his white shoe friends are behind this

Anonymous said...

Oh yea, this judge knows dirty. How could one not when he's fucking everything that walks

Anonymous said...

The FEDS need to lock down the NYC's COurt's..along with the THUGS that are running it..PERIOD!!

Anonymous said...

THE FEDS ARE RUNNING IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
TRUST MOTHERFUCKIN NO ONE !!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NO FUCKIN ONE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GUNS......BULLETS...PIPE BOMBS
FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LETS FUCKIN ROLL !!!!!!!1

Anonymous said...

from one who has been through the mill in the 8th, watched all kinds of people get hurt, except for the real dirtballs who started all of it........the FEDS are running this......and setting everyone up.....trust no one, except your family!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

and for those who lied to the family......you die by the family!

Anonymous said...

All kinds of people got beatup very badly in the 8th district, esp under Judge Sharon Townsend...one of the most offensive dragdivas existing as a woman in a robe, and yes the FBI are a big part of it, and the political parties are benefiting from family run judicial businesses that they have taken forced ownership of.
Trust no one outside of the expose in the 8th for certain...but support those who are in the fight, because anyone who can go multiple rounds with the monkeys in the 8th are worthy heroes and warrant all the information that is available.
Don't know who you are, but do know that one lawsuit is hitting them hard....but they believe that their influence will help them succeed. They just have to worry about the "surrounding" people that support that lawsuit and the facts that are already out and in many parts of the country.
Too many people that work and worked for OCA support this person...and are willing to come forward...as they stated recently....if it is any consolation B..."everyone" in the 8th...says you are right!

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