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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Carvel's Plea to Spitzer Sparks 2nd Request for Special I.G.

Carvel's Plea to Gov. Spitzer Sparks 2nd Request for Special Inspector General in Westchester

Someone else has joined the Ice Cream party. The meltdown of Westchester's Surrogate's Court began with a letter delivered on April 27, 2007 to New York Governor Spitzer in Albany. Tom Carvel's niece had asked Governor Eliot Spitzer to immediately appoint a Special Inspector General to oversee and investigate estate related activity at the Westchester County Surrogate's Court. And now she has company.

Second Scoop for Carvel

Kelvin McKeown, whose mother died in August of 2003, has also asked the Governor to exercise his power to appoint a person to lead an investigation into what he describes as widespread and troubling happenings in and about the Surrogate's Court.

Attorney Secretly Files Papers Against His Own Client !

Within days after his mother's death, McKeown and his sister Mary Virga, who were both named co-fiduciaries in their mother's will, jointly retained New York attorney Joseph McQuade of McQuade & McQuade. The September 2, 2003 dated retainer agreement was signed by McKeown, Virga and attorney McQuade.

Then sibling cross-allegations began to fly between the two. Though voluminous and disputed by each, what is known is that Virga filed a police report on September 18, 2003, alleging that her brother had assaulted her at a local post office. (See page on right marked MCQUADE COMPLAINT)

The family fighting continued up to the first scheduled court case status hearing on October 8, 2003 when, McKeown says, it was first revealed to him that his own retained attorney, Joe McQuade, had assisted his co-fiduciary sister in the preparation and execution of an Ex Parte Order to Show Cause to stay his (McKeown's) authority as a co-fiduciary of his mother's estate. "I turned to McQuade and said, 'what are you doing? You're MY lawyer."

But after attorney McQuade signed the attorney retainer agreement with him and Virga, McKeown says, "McQuade sneaked around behind my back-behind his own client's back- to have my authority as co-executor stayed by the court." Though McQuade apparently attempted to simultaneously terminate his representation of McKeown the same day the Ex Parte court order was presented to and signed by the Surrogate Judge Anthony A. Scarpino on October 8, 2003, attorney McQuade overlooked one important detail, accordingly to McKeown.

"Besides the obvious ethical deficiencies of McQuade," he says, "McQuade had foolishly notarized the supporting affidavit of a
co-client against another co-client in the same matter-- my sister against me—on September 24, 2003-- 14 days BEFORE his failed attempt to make it appear that he was terminating his representation of me on the same day the papers were to be presented to the judge. McQuade had trouble explaining that one. He also had difficulty explaining his acceptance and cashing of the $18,370.92 check made out to his firm that I co-signed on September 26, 2003."

"Beyond the fact that my own retained attorney was secretly preparing papers against me at the same time that he was representing me, it's quite unsettling that the Surrogate's Court did nothing about it," says McKeown. Though the allegations in the filed police report against McKeown were later found to be false after an investigation, the false police report information had been successfully used by McQuade and Virga in their papers.

And McKeown is equally unhappy about the fact that his attorney disciplinary complaint against McQuade has been pending for over a year. (See page on right marked COMPLAINT STATUS)

"I was told early on by the Surrogate's Court attorney assigned to my mother's estate, Mr. Joseph M. Accetta, that they were a 'nice court' and that I should look beyond what attorney Joseph McQuade had done to me, his client," McKeown says. "Joe Accetta knew that Mr. McQuade had previously filed papers on behalf of Virga and myself, and Accetta let this happen."

The Next Problem….

The Red Cross 9/11 Fraud, the False Assignment and a Connected Lawyer

McKeown also apparently refused to keep quiet about what happened next. A few months after his mother died, his brother Ronald committed suicide at Ronald's home in East Lyme, Connecticut. Ronald had been out on bail facing charges that he stole over $130,000.00 in Red Cross 9/11 donations while he was employed at a local chapter of the Red Cross in Connecticut.

But a few days after Ronald's death, McKeown received in the mail a copy of an Assignment of Ronald's share in their mother's New York estate. It had been purportedly executed by Ronald just days before his death. "It was obvious that certain people wanted to prevent my mother's New York legacy from making its way to Ronald's Connecticut estate where the stolen 9/11 Red Cross monies could be repaid."

"All hell broke loose when I questioned that assignment, " McKeown says. "One attorney told me to just forget about the assignment, and if I didn't I'd "be Fu#$ing destroyed." You don't know what you're up against,” he said. McKeown would soon find out that the undisputed drafter and filer of that assignment was attorney Frank W. Streng of McCarthy Fingar in White Plains. McKeown also learned that Streng had been on Westchester Surrogate Judge Scarpino's election transition
committee. (See page on right marked STRENG FILING)

"I was a bit concerned when I realized that Frank Streng was advertising on the internet and his law firm website the fact that he was on the Surrogate's election transition team. I became VERY concerned when the Surrogate twice awarded Mr. Streng financial sanctions against me at the same time their close ties were being advertised on the internet." (See page on right marked STRENG FILING)

And it would get worse, he says. "When I asked Surrogate Scarpino to disqualify Mr. Streng, the Judge denied my request without prejudice to renew, but in that very same decision, went on to Sua Sponte prevent the filing of any more motions." (See page on right marked JUNE ORDERS)

"Actually, when Surrogate Scarpino was approached with the fact that Mr. Streng was advertising his close association with the Court on the internet and his law firm website which implies an improper posture of favoritism, it was the judge who should have taken action, by way of remittal, disqualification or recusal," says a prominent attorney who asked that his named be withheld. "Lawyers and, most importantly, judges are required to avoid even the appearance of impropriety."

And, of course, McKeown would later find out that the court attorney assigned to his mother's estate, Joseph Accetta, was also quite friendly with attorney Streng. "It didn't come as a complete surprise when a Surrogate's Court employee told me that court attorney Joseph Accetta's wife Susan Hegquist Accetta, of the law firm Stern Keiser Panken & Wohl, was 'working for one of the law firms involved in my mother's estate," he says.

Problem #3:

Recusal, Case Transferred Out the Front Door, But Back in Through Side Door

"After the Surrogate denied my motion to disqualify Mr. Streng, I was forced to file a order to show cause seeking his own disqualification or recusal," McKeown says. "That, as you can imagine, was a big hit with everyone."

Another attorney says, "The big question is why Surrogate Scarpino could not bring himself to remove attorney Streng from involvement in the McKeown estate, but for the very same reasons—and not on his own initiative— the judge removed himself.

But while all this was going on, McKeown had succeeded in removing his sister as a fiduciary, and so the court appointed the Public Administrator as the temporary executor. (And after two attempts by McKeown, the court finally disqualified the
File-Papers-Against-Your-Own-Client McQuade.)

But McKeown would also have problems with the Public Administrator, George Lambert and his attorney Robert A. Korren. "Hey, I'm not making this stuff up," McKeown says. "In a letter to the court, the Public Administrator himself admits that they let a prospective buyer of my mother's home start gutting the house interior before closing and before the buyer had even obtained a mortgage commitment! And before I could get in the house for a long-sought-after court-ordered appraisal!" (See page on right marked NICOLAI COMPLAINT)

So Judge Scarpino recuses himself, and the estate will be transferred, and McKeown will be happy. Well, not exactly. "I wrote a letter to the Ninth Judicial District Administrative Judge Nicolai and described all the troubling issues about the estate: the fraudulent assignment and Mr. Streng, claims against the Westchester Public Administrator, and the urgent need for the estate to be transferred OUTSIDE of Westchester County," says McKeown. "But Judge Nicolai had his own plans for my mother's estate." (See page on right marked NICOLAI COMPLAINT)

He says, "The estate was transferred out the front door of the Westchester Surrogate Court and then back in through a side door-staying in the same county. So the estate, and my trial, brought on by the papers submitted by my own attorney, would be handled by County Judge/Acting-Surrogate-for-the-McKeown-Trial-only, Judge Gerald E. Loehr."

The Fix Was In

McKeown says everything proceeded exactly how he thought it would. "Judge Loehr refused to sign my trial subpoenas, ordered that no motions could be filed, and said that I shouldn't bother presenting any order to show cause applications because he wouldn't sign any." McKeown was not surprised when the trial ended against him. Yes, the papers filed against McKeown by his own attorney resulted in his removal as the executor of his mother's estate.

But why didn't he appeal, or go to the Appellate Division, Second Department in Brooklyn. He has a good answer. "I went to the Appellate Division dozens of times. And I ultimately found out that a judge at the Appellate Division who had ruled against me concerning the McCarthy Fingar "assignment" had recently retired. And, of course, that same justice, former-Associate Appellate Division Judge Sondra M. Miller, "was then hired by McCarthy Fingar (the drafters of the assignment).
I thought it best to look beyond Brooklyn for any justice."

Issuing Judicial Decisions Without Authority

After receiving County Judge Loehr's assignment designations from New York State Court Senior Administrative Assistant William D. Dahl, McKeown says, it was determined that Judge Loehr had not only been improperly assigned to 2 separate proceedings in his mother's estate in which decisions were issued but, in fact, Judge Loehr issued 2 decisions while he lacked the authority to so act as an acting-surrogate judge. (At the time, County Judge Loehr was prevented from so acting because he had been a judge for less than two years and was restricted by law from acting beyond a certain time period.) (See page on right marked LOEHR SPATZ DAHL)

Though the decedent's Last Will was never contested, it took over two years for the Westchester County Surrogate's Court to finally admit the will for probate. And though Virga was ordered to file a judicial accounting nearly two years ago, and which includes other large amounts of monies paid to McQuade, she has failed to file those papers. Meanwhile, McKeown is prevented from filing any papers to compel Virga's compliance with the June 2005 court order.

“I am hopeful that Governor Spitzer, Attorney General Cuomo and a Special Inspector General can bring some correction to the actions of some who improperly corrupt our system of law,” says McKeown.

(Editor’s Note: the allegations contained in this story are so outrageous that the reader is requested to read the provided, and referenced, court filings. There's more. Look for McKeown- Part II)


Anonymous said...

The acts of criminal injustice here monumental!

Anonymous said...

How can things like this occur in our courts? Is there no JUSTICE?

Anonymous said...

From what I see this guy Streng is a bum, but I'll bet he has friends on the Ethics Committee up there!

Anonymous said...

The Judiciary and the Courts are real public serpents!

Anonymous said...

Indeed the "Legal Profession" is the oldest "Profession" in the universe!

Anonymous said...

this is just another embarrassment for the cesspool known as the Surrogate's Court

Anonymous said...

In the old west the solution was simple, these snakes would be dealt with!

Anonymous said...

Anyone putting up with stuff like this is nuts. But, then again, that's what corrupt people in government want- for you to go nuts with frustration. I'd go to federal prosecutors if what happened here happened to me!

Anonymous said...

Another example of the STENCH FROM THE BENCH!

Anonymous said...

Why don't honest court employees report corrupt judges? And why don't honest judges turn in corrupt judges? Is our court system run by corrupt people?!?!?

Anonymous said...

So the guy's mother is dead....the body probably still warm. And this schmuck lawyer signs a retainer agreement, takes money and works behind his client's back against his OWN client?!?!? And the judge knows it. Instead of reporting the lawyer, the judge removes the guy based on papers his own lawyer filed???!?!?!?!?! AND THERE'S A POLICE REPORT that is ultimately found to contain FALSE CHARGES?!?!?!?!? THIS IS UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!!!! Remove the judge from the bench and take away is law license. Take away the schmuck lawyer's law license too!! (Maybe they're lovers or something....just a thought...)

Anonymous said...

I don't know who is worse: the lawyer McQuaid, the court attorney Ascetta, or the judge Scarpino. This is pretty pathetic.

Anonymous said...

The Judge (Scarpino) is a pimp, all lawyers are pimps!!!

Anonymous said...

You have to give the judge a break sometimes. Judges rely heavily on law clerks. Sounds to me that the person to be held accountable is law clerk Joseph Accetta, followed by the Administrative Judge Nicolai for trying to cover up the illegal acts of his subordinates.

Anonymous said...

That lawyer McQuade should have his law license revoked just for being stupid. What kind of lawyer doesn't know how to cover his tracks when he does something illegal? He should know better.

abusedinprobatecourt said...

I think this is common in every state in this nation. We saw abuse involving estate conservation in our case.

Attorneys, bankers, long term care and state bureaucracies are all involved.

Keep up the efforts. It has to break someday. It is so huge that it seems like the "illuminati"

abusedinprobatecourt said...

I can't believe it! These guys aren't even smart. I just got a supposed package of Discovery from the Bank & Trust from our attorney. They used black marker on it!!

Poor Mom didn't even receive her Illinois spousal allowance granted by law let alone the testamentary trust or the missing living trust.

This is not uncommon but in our case the missing trust was actually written to avoid detection, (no accountings to immediate family members) even though they were residual heirs.

The trust was written for a WWII veteran with a mental health disability ever since WWII.

Politicians don't want to touch this. They know who butters their bread.

Anonymous said...

Make these people pay!!! They think they are above the law!!

Anonymous said...

this is all putrid and should be stopped!

Anonymous said...

Why the hell hasn't that lawyer Joseph McQuade had his law license taken away from him yet?

Anonymous said...

Tell everyone about the Rally against court corruption....9am Monday May 14th in front of Westchester County courthouse entrance, 111 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd...Let the thugs know we're not going to take it anymore !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Left some info for you, I have much more. The public hasn't got a clue as to the con the Judges are pulling. You have no idea how the Judges do things, no one would believe it. Westchester is the worst in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Put the word out to everyone about the rally and lets show these bastards that we know their corrupt game

Anonymous said...

How does this schmuck Scarpino get away with this? Does he have a friend in the Mob?

Anonymous said...

Is this a joke? If I didn't see the documents I wouldn't believe it!! Who's doing something about this?

Anonymous said...

This morning I joined a group in front of the West. Co. Court House in White Plains to protest the corrupt courts and Judges. Some of the attorneys going in the building said they knew of corruption, some dismissed us and one attorney after marching in and out several times was furious that we had the temerity to picket, finally she went to a court officer and filed a complaint about our peaceful protest. She must have been sleeping in her Constitutional Law Class. I think that we should hold our next peaceful rally on a Saturday in front of Judge Scapino's home and let all his neighbors know what kind of person he is.

Anonymous said...

these bad people don't care how their actions hurt people. it's that simple.

Anonymous said...

Hard to figure out which person with the law license is the biggest jackass in this sad story.

Anonymous said...

I know it's a crime to impersonate a cop, but is it on the books as a crime to impersonate a judge?!?!?! So this lawyer/hack/judge Loehr is prohibited from acting as a judge in the circumstances mentioned because he had been a judge less than 2 years...and there were/are laws, etc. I can't believe this !!!! Throw that clown Loehr, and the person overseeing him, in jail. NOW !!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think that Gov. Spitzer, who I voted for, should re-do his motto from "Day One Everything Changes," to "From Day One Everything Stayed the Same." Please Mr. Governor, clean up the court corruption. If not, I want my vote back!!

Anonymous said...

This case is about justice....for sale. Loehr, Nicolai, and Scarpino should all be thrown off the bench for this one case alone. If I didn't read the docs, I wouldn't believe it. I've heard other horror stories about Nicolai.

After these guys get the boot, they can star in a remake of The 3 Stooges....

Anonymous said...

Please identify who would be Moe, Larry and Curly. Thank you. Perhaps Boss Tweed can be worked into the mix.

Anonymous said...

These people are fraudulently holding judicial office. They are a fraud, they are ruthless, they are thugs. Now we know why Scarpino got pushed out of the FBI!

Anonymous said...

This an example of how things get out of control when you try to cover up something. The fraudulent assignment by an attorney was covered up by corrupt judges trying to protect that lawyer. How does stuff like this happen?

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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
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