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Monday, July 6, 2009

NY's Surrogate's Courts are "Criminal Enterprises"

Before ‘Coup’, State Senate Hears Of Hundred of Millions Stolen Through Westchester Courts

Shocking Testimony At New York State Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Corruption

The Westchester Guardian by Catherine Wilson – June 25, 2009

Pamela Carvel, the niece of Tom Carvel Ice Cream, flew in from London earlier this month to testify at a State Senate hearing in Albany concerning the corrupt practices in our Westchester State Supreme Court; practices she referred to as “A criminal enterprise that is a pattern in Surrogate’s Court.” Ms. Carvel, a victim of the Court’s practices, is also an expert fraud investigator who use her professional knowledge to outline the sad saga of her family’s fortune at the hands of local attorneys, judges, and bankers, all of whom profited from the millions amassed by Tom Carvel, leaving his wife with nothing. Carvel testified that there was approximately $250 million in the family estate when her uncle died. She told senators that shortly before his death, she was contacted by her uncle when he notice $100 million missing from his accounts. On the Saturday before his death, according to her testimony, “He told people he was going to fire the secretary and lawyers he thought were responsible.” But the next day, Tom Carvel was dead. Upon investigations, she noticed that her uncle’s death certificate was forged to avoid an autopsy. She is currently requesting an autopsy to determine if her uncle was murdered, possibly poisoned. Ms. Carvel’s testimony about the horrors her family suffered at the hands of our local “judicial” system rivals the saga in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. Her investigation has uncovered a financial connection between the Surrogate Judge handling her family’s estate, Judge Anthony A. Scarpino, and the bank in charge of the assets, Hudson Valley National Bank.

According to Ms. Carvel, Judge Scarpino received $100,000 for the Hudson Valley Bank during his election campaign; another $200,000 in the form of a “loan” just prior to the trial on Tom Carvel’s estate; and, another $100,000 from the same bank just prior to the trial on her aunt’s estate, Tom Carvel’s wife. She documented and reported her findings to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Testifying to the Senate hearing that she was told by them that “They [the Judicial Commission] didn’t see a problem with Scarpino not only receiving money from Hudson Valley Bank but allowing Hudson Valley Bank’s controlling shareholder to receive all of the assets from her uncle’s estate, and “to allow him to appear before Scarpino as a witness without ever disclosing that there were financial arrangements between Hudson Valley Bank and Judge Scarpino!”

The financial arrangements surrounding the Carvel estate were not just limited to the money given to the Judge. Hudson Valley Bank and the attorneys involved in the case also profited handsomely. According to Ms. Carvel, “In the course of investigating, I found out that the controlling shareholder of Hudson Valley Bank, William Griffin, was given control of all of my aunt’s real estate which consisted of 19 acres in Ardsley, New York. Griffin was allowed to flip that property to himself through Hudson Valley Bank through one of his former law partner’s brothers. In other words, Griffin signed that property over and then the property came back to Griffin as Hudson Valley Bank. The whole proceeding took place for $2,000,000 on paper that never changed hands. The property is worth $10 million or more”. Pamela Carvel brought this to the attention of Surrogate Scarpino who again found “There was no problem because of the dealing being done by William Griffin who was responsible for paying Surrogate Scarpino at least $400,000”. Her aunt’s attorney, Eve Markowitz, knew of all of these violations, yet, according to Ms Carvel, “[she] betrayed any representation for us on the promise that William Griffin allowed her to be paid $4,000,000 in legal fees. When I filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Conduct on her lack of representation and also her complete knowledge of the ethical violations by other attorneys as well as her refusal to take any action herself which was her duty as a lawyer, the decision came back that ‘Her problems would be handled in a lawsuit’ but there was no venue for this lawsuit!”

Ms. Carvel said, “I put in a similar complaint with one of Eve Markowitz’s fellow attorneys, Frank Streng, who didn’t tell me that he was employed by the Judge. He was hired as an attorney of mine and was supposed to represent me. He converted approximately $1,000,000 that I paid him and then took another $1,000,000 from the estate. I was informed that one of his law partners is on the Attorney Ethics Commission in Westchester and that ‘nothing would be done’. The same answer cam back that it would be handled ‘in litigation’ but again there was no litigation in which Frank Streng’s ethics were part of the litigation”. Ms. Carvel said she calls our judicial system a “criminal enterprise” because, as she noted, “the exact tactics being used are in the New York State Penal Code: ‘Coercion, Larceny, Conspiracy’. These are all being operated out of the Surrogate’s Court, in particular Westchester, but I know it is happening in Manhattan, it’s happening in Dutchess. They’re using a one-sided system of favoritism”.
Ms. Carvel revealed how the system is stacked against family members: “My aunt and I, as fiduciaries, should have had equal access to indemnification as all the other fiduciaries. We were the only two fiduciaries denied indemnification because we were the only two working with law enforcement. All the others were paid completely. As long as my aunt lived, she never received a penny from my uncle’s estate!” In contrast, Hudson Valley Bank has continually been allowed to control $100,000,000 of Tom Carvel’s money by Judge Scarpino since his demise over ten years ago “My aunt was the sole beneficiary of this,” Carvel testified. “Yet it’s all been given to them over the last ten years by Judge Scarpino. All of the money in my uncle’s estate and my aunt’s estate has been passed over to Hudson Valley Bank without notice to the named beneficiaries, without notice to the creditors. Without Court approval, assets have been disposed of that were supposed to be in constructive trusts. None of these facts have fazed the Judicial Commission!”

Senator Sampson of Brooklyn hosted this hearing in Albany. When Ms. Carvel completed her testimony, Sampson commented, “Since this is an election year” he wanted to look further into this issued and invited Ms. Carvel to speak with him further. Before stepping down from her testimony, Carvel noted, “Most times when you complain about a decision or a judge’s actions, you have the avenue of appeal. In Surrogate’s Court, the judges either don’t render decisions, even though there’s a 60-day rule, or they may not render a decision for two years or more. They do not hold trials; Surrogate Emmanuelli did not hold a trial for ten years! My aunt’s issues, on my uncle’s estate, were not litigated at trial until five years after she was dead! You’re denied trial by jury or decisions are rendered by transcripts which cannot be appealed. Or, they’re rendered in such a way that it’s too late; the issue, the money, everything has already been gone by the time the [Court] decision has been rendered. This is a pattern and it’s in more than one estate”. Carvel called for complete transparency in our State Courts and noted that no one judge should have control over a case for 20 years. She suggested disposing of the Surrogate Courts entirely and called for a blind rotation of cases instead to judges in the main Supreme Courts as a way to assure that money is not passed to judges handling cases. Lastly she called for an enforcement of the Constitution so that the people appearing in Court will be guaranteed their equal rights under the law.

One witness before the Senate hearing testified that his attorney refused to honor an arbitration decision favoring him and continued to hound him for five years for payment despite both State and Federal laws governing attorney ethics and allowable debt collection methods. One litigant revealed a tape recording he has of the Chief Clerk of the State Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department, in Brooklyn, James Pelzer, who state to him, “The Courts may dispense with the rules”. As this litigant noted to the Senators, “that is not true. The Senators cannot dispense with the rules; the citizens cannot dispense with the rules; the President cannot dispense with the rules.” An attorney who spoke at the hearing, Mr. John Aritakis, of New York City, specializes in cases for children who have been abused. He testified that many of his cases involve priests. Aritakis revealed that the Ethics Committee in Albany has stretched their rules to file 50 investigations against him claiming they have “jurisdiction” because he attended Albany Law School over 2- years ago but hasn’t practiced law there in over two decades! The attorney spoke of how he has removed sexual offenders for their jobs and they retaliate by filing complaints. The ethics rules clearly sate that an attorney may only be investigated by the Commission for their county but Mr. Aritakis believes that he is being singled out for investigation by the Albany Commission for his sexual abuse cases against the Catholic Church. He asked, “Why is the Committee going down the Thruway over 150 miles to investigate me? This system is rife with abuse and it needs to be controlled.”

Another attorney, Ms. Eleanor Capogrosso, called for transparency in the disciplinary proceedings against judges. She noted that the current system violated the Federal Constitution but the Senate had an opportunity to correct the process: “By not making it [the system] public, what you are doing is allowing the rigging of the election system in this State. By the State Commission on Judicial Conduct not turning over these complaints to the screening committees who screen the judges, what you’ve done is rig these elections. Nothing more complicated than that! And this is what they’re trying to preserve. They want these elections rigged so they can put the people into power that they want to put in power. It’s Unconstitutional.” Ms. Capogrosso also noted, “The ‘Uniform Judicial Questionnaire’ is hidden under a veil of confidentiality by the Office of Court Administration. The Board of Elections controls the election process with any other politicians in this State but not with the judges. They keep it secret; they keep it under a veil of secrecy. And by doing so, you’re not giving the capability to the public to look carefully at these responses, to look at the resumes of these judges, to see whether or not they’re making false statements.” Ms. Capogrosso referred the State Senators to the Federal website for the Supreme Court appointment hearings for Judge Sotomayer where her answers to her judicial questionnaires and the transcripts to her appointments in the past are posted so the public can view it. “Why should this state deserve anything less? Capogrosso asked. She also quoted the section of New York Sate Election Law (128.17) that states that any public officer who willfully omits, refuses, or neglects to perform any of his duties, is guilty of a felony. As Ms. Capogrosso noted, “When you have administrative judges who are not being truthful to the screening committee when asked ‘if there are any complaints filed against these judges now seeking an elected post,’ they run afoul of this because that questioning is done by an informal process where the screener calls the judge up over the phone where they can say anything or conceal anything. It’s not done under oath with the penalty of perjury with a court reporter in the room.” Ms. Capogrosso revealed that she personally has boxes of letters she sent to administrative judges of ethical violations. But as Ms. Capogrosso concluded “There is no administration of this system!”

One woman, Ms. Esposito, spoke of sexual harassment and assault by her attorney. But despite her videotaped evidence of his sexual abuse, demanding sexual favors from her in lieu of payment for his services, her charges against him were dripped by the state’s legal Ethics Committee. Esposito testified, “I was treated as the criminal. All of my complaints were either dismissed or denied.” She was denied an opportunity to have her attorney present at the hearings and her transcribed video-recordings were tampered with and a redacted version was submitted by the attorney “investigating” for the Ethics Committee. Esposito tearfully quoted a portion of her videotape of her attorney, Alan H. Issac, boasting of his unethical practices and his influence in the Courts. “Yesterday, I was in the Appellate Court, First department. There were 16 cases and my case was the last. I wasn’t arguing it but the client wanted me there because some of the judges on the panel are very close to me. So I wanted them, the Appellate Judges, to know that I am really interested in that case. This is all bullshit politics and they saw me. That case you know is worth $200,000,000. Not like your case.” As this young asked “to whom and where to you report this kind of outrage on the citizens of New York?” She asked the Senators at the hearings to “have the courage to bring these people to justice before they do irreparable harm to our society’s perception of the courts.”

Too late. The readers of the Guardian are sadly all too familiar with the corruption in our courts from previous articles. A full video transcript of the recent State Senate hearings has been posted online on the “You Tube” website by “NYSenateUnCut.” Unfortunately, Senator Sampson’s hearing that day was cut short by the “coup” staged by the out-of-control Republican members of the Senate; ironically a perfect display for the members of that hearing of what happens when power is abused. Senator Sampson promised the attendees that he would be holding additional hearings to investigate this serious issue further. The Guardian intends to be present at those hearings, along with some of the individuals whose cases we have reported, to bring the dire situation in our State Courts to the attention of our representatives in Albany.


Anonymous said...

The courts aren't about justice, they are about making insiders rich.

Anonymous said...

Surrogate's courts are vestiges of Boss Tweed.

It hasn't lasted this long because if wasn't effective in doling out patronage.

Scarpino learned those lessons well.

Anonymous said...

What are the FEDS waiting for?..Bring down the DDC NOW!!!!

Anonymous said...

Everyone did a GREAT JOB testifying in Albany...God Bless Senator Sampson!!!!

Iviewit Technologies, Inc. said...

Regarding Albany hearings and the Iviewit matters which were not heard due to the Coup, perhaps the reason for the Coup.

Westchester Surrogate Court Victim said...

I have seen first hand how corrupt the Surrogate Court of Westchester is. It is a cesspool of corruption and Anthony Scarpino and the prior Jduge Al, John Kelly, Jody Keltz etc. are all involved. And the deals are made with the lawyers who want to continue to practice in this court and no one does anything when it's reported except cover it up. No oversight, just corruption.

Anonymous said...

Next on the docket: Surrogate's Court, NY County.

Victim Manhattan Surrogate said...

they do whatever they want, there is no law on Chambers Street. they tell you that you have to have a lawyer and if you don't they kill you. I've heard such tales of the things that go on mostly from the folks that work there.

Anonymous said...

You can learn alot, alot, alot about court antics, crimes and abuses that the political hacks who are thickly embedded in them are getting away with...without any disrupton from anywhere or anyone...if you just befriend an employee!
Civil service employees are the best and if they work in a struck gold. All exempt...non-civil service slugs are political picks...believe nothing they say...they are propogandists.
OCA is taking great strides to make all civil service jobs exempt and appointee only. CSEA allows this, as long as they can collect dues and the jobs are non-supervisory. The more friends and family OCA can get to support their organized crime enterprize....the better they can destroy the traditional judicial system....and are in the process of doing same.
Believe cannot keep track of the family members that are working in all courthouses...the numbers are in the high teens and up... and one of their jobs is to report on all independent civil service employees..hired through high test scores and ability.. and create disturbances relative to their work product...even, but not exclusive to concocting false situations where the innocent employee is bashed wth accusations from the local district judicial families in conjunction with OCA headquarters NYC!
OCA is not only embarrassingly corrupt...but they have a judicial goal unknown to outsiders of creating an inside envrionment of fear,hostility, abuse and assist OCA in creating the power monster that is being reported today...and they are not stopping this operation yet....Lippman is just the switch of commanders!

Anonymous said...

"Victim" - I know for a fact there's one employee (not a clerk) who does nothing but surf the net all day (your tax dollars "at work")when, according to OCA net priviledges are supposedly only allowed for "supervisory personnel" and she's NOT a supervisor, is extremely obnoxious and rude to the public as well as to other coworkers, and has been allowed to get away with her behavior despite numerous complaints. Why? Simple. Because she's kissing up to "management."
That place is a minefield.

Anonymous said...

Net priveleges are for all employees...and the rules for the net vary depending on if the employee is connected or not.

Yes...many employees are all over the net in the NY state courthouses...against their own net policy...which has been testified to as being unknown, often changed, or non- existent for those OCA deems "dangerous and threatening" their mission!

Obnoxious employees remain because they serve the purpose of keeping outsiders from viewing the inside......becauseeee hostility is soo brutal, it makes sticking around the courthouse a non-choice!

The method behind OCA making the courthouses as offensive as pre-determined.
They purposely hire overweight, unattractive and very nasty keep the friendliness factor to a minimum and to repulse the court users, lawyers, police etc from hanging out to view or converse with those employed.

I watched this method happen for mnany years and asked my supervisor hack friends why they were hiring the grossly overweight and poorly dressed candidate as opposed to the attractive and equal in smarts candidate. Of course the friend supervisor eventually became equal to the unattractive ones...and her remark to me was... they work better with little disturbance from the public eye...a shot AT my continued popularity....which as she got older...seemed to bother her greatly!

OCA wants employees to be willing to attack other employees and court users.... and if one feels bad about themselves ...they harbor hatred that OCA can contain and use for wild and as harsh as this is a fact!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, re "net priviledges" - you raise very good points. Thanks for your insights.

As you stated-those with little/no self esteem/ethics are the ones being used by OCA. They figure they've "got it made" but in reality what they don't get is: Nothing Goes Unchecked In This World. Those who dance to OCA's music will have to pay the piper in due time.

Anonymous said...

I want to see Anthony Scarpino and crew in handcuffs, pray people....

Anonymous said...

MAY 23rd, 2014

Surrogates Court In The Bronx
I'm a victim of all the crimes inside the Public Administrators Office & The Bronx Surrogates Court

They steel homes from innocent family members to allow there Judges and Attorney's become Rich they work mainly for all the MAFIA FAMILY'S that live in The Bronx

Anonymous said...


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
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