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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Former NYS Supreme Court Judge Indicted for Extortion

Indictment: Spargo solicited $10,000
Former jurist, GOP lawyer targeted in federal shakedown investigation
The Albany Times Union by BRENDAN J. LYONS, Senior writer - December 11, 2008

ALBANY-- A former state Supreme Court justice from Albany County was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on attempted extortion and bribery charges in connection with a scandal that led to his removal from the bench two years ago. The felony indictment alleges that Thomas J. Spargo, 65, of East Berne, pressured an Ulster County attorney who had cases before him to give Spargo $10,000. The money, solicited in 2003, was intended to help defray Spargo's legal bills in connection with a state judicial panel's years-long effort to have him removed from the bench, records show. "The indictment further charges that Spargo solicited the money by causing the attorney to fear that Spargo would use his official acts and influence to harm the attorney if he was not paid and, conversely, to help the attorney if he was paid," states an FBI release announcing the indictment. The investigation of Spargo was first publicly disclosed by the Times Union in Wednesday's editions. The case is being handled by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C., and the FBI's Albany division. "This case should demonstrate that the FBI will pursue all allegations of judicial corruption vigorously, as public corruption violations are among the most serious of all criminal conduct and can tear at the fabric of a democratic society," said John F. Pikus, special agent in charge of the Albany division, in a prepared statement.

It's unclear why the case is being prosecuted by the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice rather than by federal prosecutors with New York's Northern District. E. Stewart Jones, Spargo's attorney, could not be reached for comment. Late Tuesday, Jones had declined to comment on the investigation. Spargo is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Albany next week on the indictment. In May 2006, Spargo, an attorney in private practice, was removed from the bench following an approximately three-year investigation by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. The Court of Appeals later affirmed the commission's determination that Spargo be removed. The commission's probe centered on Spargo's alleged shakedown of at least one attorney; by the fall of 2003, Spargo's legal bills to fight a removal action against him had mounted to more than $140,000, records show.

Spargo, an expert in state election law, won an election for Berne town justice in the late 1999 and used the victory to buoy his successful bid for state Supreme Court in 2001. His victory in that election was buttressed by a cross-endorsement from the Republican and Democratic parties, which secured his name on both lines in the seven counties of the Third Judicial District. But Spargo's tenure on the bench almost immediately became clouded as the state judicial panel began examining a series of misconduct allegations. The panel determined Spargo should be removed for doling out coupons for gas and coffee and buying drinks for voters during his 1999 campaign. The panel determined this was an effort to "buy votes." Another charge sustained by the commission is that Spargo, while sitting as a town court justice, had presided in cases involving the Albany County District Attorney's Office without publicly disclosing that then-District Attorney Paul Clyne had been his client in an election law case, and still owed him $10,000. Still, "The commission's emphasis in removing Judge Spargo was on the money transactions, the attempt to get the lawyers to give him money," said Robert H. Tembeckjian, administrator and counsel for the Commission on Judical Conduct.

The two-page indictment handed up Wednesday does not identify the attorney Spargo is accused of attempting to extort a bribe. But the judicial panel's files indicate Spargo explicitly pressured an attorney named Bruce Blatchly. "While they were alone in chambers, respondent told Mr. Blatchly that the legal expenses associated with his litigation against the commission were rising, that he was going to be raising funds, and that he was looking for $30,000 from attorneys in Ulster County," the commission's 2006 report states. "(Spargo) further told Mr. Blatchly that rather than solicit a number of lawyers for small contributions, he had decided to go to three attorneys who were often in court, Mr. Blatchly, Mr. (Alfred) Mainetti and Maureen Keegan, and that he would be asking for $10,000 from each of them," the report continued. Spargo, a former counsel to the state Republican Party, came under scrutiny in the mid-1980s when as an attorney for the Pyramid Company development firm he allegedly funneled more than $750,000 into a Poughkeepsie Town Board race for candidates who were supportive of a shopping mall project. Spargo invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during testimony before a state panel in that matter, and was never accused of wrongdoing. CLICK HERE TO READ THE INDICTMENT ..... Brendan J. Lyons can be reached at 454-5547 or by e-mail at


Anonymous said...

Why is this a story? This is how things are done. I don't understand the big fuss. You want something, you pay for it, it's that simple.

Anonymous said...

Is this a joke?

Anonymous said...

What did Pikus pick his agents out of Kaye's skanky dress for this proclamation he made, stating the FBI WILL investigate public corruption seriously...I know for a fact..that is a lie...agent!

Anonymous said...

this is standard proceedure, some Judges are very open and blatant about it and others have their law secretaries or clerk's let you know the rules of the road. As a result I decline to practice in some courts because I don't need this crap. It's pay to play or it's the highway. Everyone is reading about Chicago and the Gov. selling the Senate seat, hey it's the same in New York, but the US Atty and the FBI do nothing here.

Anonymous said...

for a few days during some months and some weeks of this year i as well began to believe that the Feds were going to be "do nothings" and was particularly troubled when reading that Garcia's Hotline for Corruption was known as an inside joke to "appease the citizens" or something to that effect.

however, as someone who practiced law for over 10 years in upstate new york and simply did not have any desire or interest to "go along with the program" of how the Courthouse Mobs are run and simply thought filing papers based on the "law" was the way the system was supposed to run, this is absolutely most encouraging news and actions by the Feds and hopefully just the Tip of the Iceberg.

It is of particular interest that the Public Integrity folks out of DC are involved since the legal game in upstate appears to have been such an inside deal for so long only the guidance and efforts of outsiders will fully break through the logjam.

Public Integrity Investigators out of DC and those working in Albany should try to locate a woman from the Hudson area named Chelle Mayer who is a mother of several charming daughters who was literally driven in to the ground and destroyed economically, lost her rights to her children and pummelled by "the system" in upstate and apparently even told by her Assigned Appellate attorney that the "word from Albany" was she should back off her positions on corruption while pursuing her Appeal.

A website called which apparently has recently been taken down had reports of how Ms Mayer was appointed 2 different County Law 18-B Assigned Counsel attorneys during her saga both of whom were "regular" attorneys assigned by County Judge Paul Czajka who was also friends with Judge Tom Spargo who was just indicted.

According to the reports at the website, both of these attorneys tried to "shake down" Chellie Mayer as well by telling her that if she wanted her case done "right" she would have to pay extra as the assigned counsel fees were not enough.

Chelle Mayer apparently even reported this to Judge Czajka on the record but when she tried to get the Transcripts she was repeatedly denied access to the transcripts. It is suspected of course that the Judge knew full well what the lawyers were doing as this was part of the way "cases are done" in the area so investigators will have a lot of uncover there.

This is the tip of the iceberg on her case alone and is but one of the many horror stories to come out of this upstate rural county. So for those who comment here that "pay to play" is expected and the way it is, well not only is that illegal, but also inherently a Constitutional equal protection issue in my book since all folks may not be able to pay to get "equal justice".

Let's Hope NY gets Rocked the way some have predicted.

Anonymous said...

Proof of an OCA deliberate and now proven, altered transcript.... taken under oath and entered into now in federal court evidence itself.
OCA should be appalled at their judicial misconduct, but knowing that they feel immune to punishment, their arrogance and criminal acts are on now on record for future public review!

Anonymous said...

How does Judy Kaye look in pinstripes?

Anonymous said...

Judge John K. McGuirk is another one involved in fixing cases in Orange County Goshen, New York. I wonder how much $$$$ is he charging to sell the best interest of children with his judgment. While endagering the welfare of minors and covering up for some dirty rats involved in the sexual exploitation of children.

Anonymous said...

Here in Los Angeles, California -
The largest Superior Court in the U.S. claiming to serve the most populous county in the U.S. (9.5 millions) is thoroughly corrupt. I am dealing with this corruption for two years now in one case. Any advice on how to coeerce the FBI to take action would be greatly appreciated. There is money to be made as well - the fraud by the court is on an almost $2 million property, and in addition, there are related false claims act violations by Countrywide that by now totaled in the billions. The case also includes criminal evidence against Countryside's President- Angelo Mozilo and Chief Legal Officer - Sandor Samuels, at a time that purportedly the FBI is investigating such issues.

FBI Fails to Investigate for Almost Two Years Allegations and Abundant Evidence of Corruption Relative to the Conduct of Judges Jacqueline Connor, John Segal and Terry Friedman, in Relationship to Countrywide.
FBI refuses for almost 2 years to investigate well documented judicial corruption.
Allegations of corruption by Judge Jacqueline Connor were first reported to the Los Angeles FBI in March 2007. Later on further detailed information was provided, such as in records listed below. But even in mid 2008, Steven Goldman, Chief of the White Collar Crime Squadron explained his failure to investigate as follows: "If what you are saying is true, it is wide-spread public corruption, and well above my head."

After congressional inguiry by the Honorable Senator Diane Feinstein and the Honorable Congresswoman Diane Watson, Kenneh Kaiser, Assistant Director fo the FBI explained the failure to investigate the corruption of the LASC judges in failure to "demonstrate federal investigational jurisdiction". Kenneth Melson, Director of the U.S. Department of Justice, explained the failure of his department to take action, in concern about interference in FBI investigation.

Evidence for corruption of the court:

1) Grant Deed filed on behalf of the court by Att David Pasternak, former President of Bet Tzedek, "House of Justice" - certified as fraud.

2) A year and a half after judgment was purprotedly entered by Judge Connor in Samaan v Zernk, LA Superior Court Presiding Judge and its Clerk are refusing to either certify existance or certify non-existence of such judgment.

3) On July 24, 2007, Judge Connor entered a false and deliberately misleading notice of filing in the Register of Actions of Samaan v Zernik, back-dating it to the absurd date of 2004, prior to the filing of complaint in this case. With that - the position of this false notation was secured on the opening page of the records. That false notation listed Countrywide as "Real Parties in Interest".
In court, the judges to this very day are confused regarding Countrywide's party designation - "Defendant", "Plantiff", "Cross Defendant", "Intervenor", are all used interchangeably, at times two or more contradictory desigations in the same very document, all without any legal foundation at all. Counrywide itself chose to be designated "Non-Party". It is assumed that Cotunrywide, under Chief Legal Officer Sandor Samuels elected to use such fraudulent designation to cover up its participation in such sham court procedure, and avoid reporting requirements.
Then again, none of the judges in this case has ever held valid assignement order, and therefore, their actions were with no legal validity, and also with no immunity.
To resolve such complicated confusion, Defendant Zernik filed in Judge Friedman's court in early 2008 a proposal to designate Countrywide "Judge".

4) The LA Superior Court maintains a fraudulent Case Management System, and its fraudulent use in Samaan v Zernik is documented in the following manuscript:

5) Half a year after take over of Countrywide by Bank of America, the court conveniently allows Att Moldawsky, who has so far failed to file the required corporate disclosure and any record validating her designation as an attorney by BOA to appear in court and file papers on behalf of that corporation.
Bank of America, in a show of intergrity and corporate responsibility - by phone denies that Att Moldawsky apears in its name, but refuses to issue any written notice of the identity of its counsel.

6) Routine production of false and deliberately misleading trial court litigation records.

7) Conduct of key proceedings off the record, off the calendar, including, but not limited to: Initial Case Conference, Trial Setting Conference, Disqualifications, Assignments.
Failure to ever issue an assignment order through a succession of judges, and even upon motion to such effect.
Failure to enter judgment, as required by law, while claiming to execute judgment.

8) Appointment of fraudulent “Receiver” with reference to no section of the code, no reference to judgment, and failure to enter such order as required by law.

9) Fraudulent Grant Deed Filed by Att David Pasternak: See 1 above.

10) Separately, corruption of the LA SC could be documented also by the Blue Ribbon Review Panel 2006 report. The report describes the failure to release those falsely imprisoned in LA County as part of the Rampart scandal.

Anonymous said...

For the person who left a note about Chelle Mayer---If you don't know all the facts, you shouldn't speak about how unfair things were for her.Why don't you ask her children why they no longer with her.

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