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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Judge Shines Light On Court System Vermin Infestation

Bronx Surrogate Judge, Facing Discipline, Defends Himself
The New York Times by John Eligon -  January 10, 2012

The complicated arrangement of letters and numbers in the myriad rules and protocols governing his court’s procedure rolled off Judge Lee L. Holzman’s tongue as easily as the alphabet as he testified on Tuesday.  He referred casually to rules — like Section 1418 of the S.C.P.A., a reference to the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act — that, he insisted in a Manhattan courtroom, he had long strongly enforced in his court.  Judge Holzman explained the specific guidelines about what fees lawyers can collect when they administer an estate and when they can collect them. Veering from those procedures, he testified, would require a thorough explanation.  And so it was with indignation, he said, that he met the news that rules were being broken right under his gavel.  “I was shocked,” Judge Holzman said, referring to his reaction when he learned that Esther Rodriguez, the former Bronx public administrator, and her former counsel, Michael Lippman, had allegedly deviated from that protocol.  Judge Holzman, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, is in the midst of a disciplinary hearing in which he is charged with allowing his staff to run amok and to take fees that were excessive and unearned from estates that it was handling. Judge Holzman could lose his job as a result of the hearing.  The hearing provides a rare look at such a proceeding in New York State. Normally, they are closed, but Judge Holzman waived his right to confidentiality. This is just the 11th time in the state that a judge has waived confidentiality in more than 750 formal disciplinary proceedings spanning three and a half decades, said Robert H. Tembeckjian, the administrator of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which is prosecuting the case.  The hearing is being held before Felice Shea, a retired State Supreme Court justice, who will advise to the commission whether the charges against Judge Holzman have been proven. If they have, the commission then makes the decision on Judge Holzman’s fate; its options range from admonition to removal.

Judge Holzman, who as surrogate oversees proceedings for wills and the settling of estates of people who die without wills, portrayed himself as the victim of dishonest employees.  He said he first had an inkling of wrongdoing in 2004, when he noticed that a man whom Ms. Rodriguez had hired to clean out the properties of deceased people was receiving more money than usual. Judge Holzman later learned that the city was investigating the man, John Rivera, and told Ms. Rodriguez to stop using him, he said. As the public administrator, Ms. Rodriguez was to oversee the administration of estates of people who died without wills, including paying legal fees for that work.  Judge Holzman said he later learned that Ms. Rodriguez was still using Mr. Rivera, who, unbeknown to the judge, was her boyfriend.  “At that point, I had absolutely zero confidence in Esther Rodriguez,” Judge Holzman testified, adding that he gave her an ultimatum in January 2006. “I said, ‘You have two choices. You can resign or I’m going to fire you,’ and she gave me a letter of resignation.”  It was only after Ms. Rodriguez — who, along with Mr. Rivera, faces criminal charges — resigned, Judge Holzman said, that he learned of what the commission has said were improper billing practices by Mr. Lippman. He was prematurely advancing fees from estates he oversaw and taking money he had not earned, according to the commission. Judge Holzman testified that Mr. Lippman worked for the public administrator, and it was her responsibility, not his, to make sure Mr. Lippman was getting proper fees.  But the commission has argued that as the person authorized to hire and fire the Surrogate’s Court staff, Judge Holzman, by law, was responsible for making sure that the court’s employees followed proper procedure. The commission has also criticized Judge Holzman for his response after learning of Mr. Lippman’s reputed practices. Judge Holzman did not alert the authorities, and instead of firing Mr. Lippman, let him work on other estates to pay down the improper fees he had drawn on prior cases.  “He had not, to my knowledge, violated any law,” Judge Holzman said.  Mr. Lippman has been indicted in the Bronx on charges including scheming to defraud and grand larceny for his actions in the Surrogate’s Court.

-----Related Story:

Bx. judge testifies -- on his own behalf
The New York Post by Jose Martinez  -  January 10, 2012

A judge charged with misconduct took the rare step today of testifying publicly in his own defense.  Bronx Surrogate Lee Holzman, who is accused of allowing a lawyer pal loot the estates of people who died with no wills, said he was "shocked" to learn in 2006 that there may have been misdeeds on his watch.  The veteran judge, the Bronx surrogate since 1988, became only the 11th judge to testify in more than 700 disciplinary cases brought since 1978 by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.  Holzman said he was clueless that lawyer Michael Lippman - also his chief campaign fundraiser - had been repeatedly granted advance legal fees by Esther Rodriguez, a former public administrator in Bronx Surrogate's Court. Holzman probates will and oversees estates at the court.  "I was shocked when I learned that apparently Mrs. Rodriguez, at the request of Mr. Lippman, had deviated from that protocol," Holzman said, saying the pair, who are both facing criminal charges, deviated from guidelines on payment standards.  Bronx prosecutors in 2010 charged Lippman with billing more than $300,000 in excess legal fees.  Holzman could be removed from the bench or censured by the commission, which is is having the case heard in Manhattan by a retired state judge.  The former law school adjunct professor apologized for sounding "professorial" during his turn on the stand, and said he had limited contact with Lippman, who he's known since 1974.  "I might have gone to a Yankee game or two with him, I'm not sure," Holzman said.

16 comments:

in the know said...

I always said that the inside hacks (read: RATS) put their special friends in special places. That's how files get lost. When you think about it, I'd rather have a part clerk in my pocket than a judge.

Anonymous said...

It show how bold the OCA rats are when they put their loyal rats right in your face. OCA doesn't stand for Officer of Court Administration, it is an Organized Crime Association.

Anonymous said...

You have to give Holzman credit for standing up to the CJC and letting the attack against him to be open to the public. Why are they going after a judge who's almost 70 years old and has to retire at 70?! Someone has probably already paid to have a certain replacement stooge put in the Bronx Surrogate court. All they have to do is oust Holzman and put their own person in- no election needed- the public be damned. Sometimes it's more important to follow the money than to follow the one wearing the black robe.

Anonymous said...

The scam disciplinary hearing against Judge Holzman has resumed: December 14, 15, 16 and 19; January 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. The hearing is being held at 111 Centre Street, Room 687, in Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

The rot seeps down from the top with Lippman and Cuomo and the corrupt CJC with Tembeckjian. Every apple in the barrel becomes rotten.

Retired BX Pol. said...

Mike Lippman has been around the Surrogate's Ct. and the Public Administrator's Office since the corrupt disgraced Surrogate Bert Gelfand was removed by the Ct. of Appeals in Albany back in the day. Lippman was part of Gelfand's crew and most insiders didn't like or trust him. Looks like somebody is making a move on Lee Holzman or is Mike Lippman attempting to make trouble for people to save himself. Lippman should go to jail and then come down to Florida like Stanley.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the Judge pays complete attention to the transcript or tape recorder that the CJC uses often for alterations in testimony..since this behavior is used by OCA and their connections to achieve the termination results they desire in employment cases.
Who can argue with a certified court transcript from a potent US court system, taken under oath..unless you have someone else who heard the correct version testify..which is usually impossible.. but if possible,like someone with a tape recorder..but you then must divinely hope OCA can be stopped before they persecute the person offering the truth...another OCA angle..destroy all witnesses who expose their deviate behavior.
So many tricks OCA has.... to corrupt the law and order of America!

kris sergentakis said...

In the Feds the US Attorney's office just edits the transcript then the Court hold it back for a few years so it cannot be challenged.

I know this for a fact.

Anonymous said...

How do I get police into an english court,for falsified evidence of blood,manipulation of evidence and witnesses,I'm Neil Scott. Twitter. @lauraneiltina1 and Neil Scott facebook. I was convicted on blood found at the scene,says police,but th ewitnesses brought inyto thge case against neil scott stated that Neil Scott is innocent via testimoniers,of blood WAS taken at a police station 4miles away from a crime,48 hours after a crime7,and that officers DC Crawford and his collegue stated he hafd blood belonging to neil scott and he sent it to forensics

Anonymous said...

My appeal was also stopped and m rights to legal aid,if police had such a secure case with 3 samples of blood found at the scene,and 15 witnesses at a court hearing why would a judge stop an appeal if there was not corruption involved

Anonymous said...

My appeal was also stopped and m rights to legal aid,if police had such a secure case with 3 samples of blood found at the scene,and 15 witnesses at a court hearing why would a judge stop an appeal if there was not corruption involved

Anonymous said...

I will also say that your favoured chief of police is favouring our mayor RAY MALLON ,william Bratton is now the english governments police advisor,he is also a chairman of KROLL integrity risk international,Homeland,I believe G4S and securicor is part of the contractors to every police station and jails in England,these G4S staff at the police station in my case were the witnesses in my case who stated as civilians in a police station,they were the civilians that took my blood and DNA from me,the same blood used against me at court,the same blood that convicted me showing corruption by officers at the police station,and in England justice system

Anonymous said...

It won't cost 8 million to expose Teeside Court judges,Royal Courts of Justice Judges,the CPS,the Forensics,the Cleveland Police Officers,the IPCC,Erimus Housing,doctors,Psychologists, in NEIL SCOTT's Court outcome,because one thing lead to another in his case,it will take one person to go to his home and find the allegations are as true as he says it,they all had the evidence in front of them,well if they didn't its down to those involved to give it to them not neil scott,the facts are there,to consider at the time,and after the consequences of there own actions in the events that lead up to the conviction of NEIL SCOTT for BURGLARY,they said they had a strong case yet they stopped his appeal knowing of there involvement,

Anonymous said...

The BUZZ in the Surrogate Courts is Lee Holzman is rocking the joint! What has he said that the rats have a problem with. The concern is that he has revealed TOO MUCH. I say let him talk a lot more!

Anonymous said...

If you look at my case you will see the solicitors did not defend me,the CPS were flawed by there own testimony of themselves and the witnesses they brought into the court case,judges who also had the evidence suppressed it from the jury,all guilty,a request was sent to inspectorate of constabulary for the missing cctv footage of me getting my Blood taken from me on the day My Dna was said to have been taken,23march2009,and the 5-6 august 2009,also a request for the statements of all the witnesses and police involved in the case,forensics etc,see what I get

Anonymous said...

6 million pound FRUAD,for this One man over 23 arrests,for ONE Conviction, Middlesbrough police/CPS/forensics/top judges fraud in the judicial system of England. Http://Wp.me/p2euOV-cQ. Serious misconduct fraud,evidence tampering,interference with the course of justice,treason at the QC bar in the royal courts of justice they stated I'm a Mental,psychotic,delusional,psychosis,Empty house £160,800 burglar,so they gave me Back my passenger carrying Licence to drive buses and coaches,a mistake or a miss-printed version of events by a judge who tried to corrupt the justice system with LIES,and treason,I believe this is the case,from Middlesbrough to the Royal courts of Injustice

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