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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pfau Defends Lippman's Corrupt Financial Foolery

Pfau Defends Judiciary's Proposed Budget
The New York Law Journal by Joel Stashenko - February 10, 2011

ALBANY, NY - Rebutting a suggestion that the state courts had shown "blatant disregard" of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's efforts to slow state spending, Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau warned legislators yesterday that the courts would face widespread disruptions if required to accept the 10 percent in cuts imposed by Mr. Cuomo on the agencies he controls. "We have tried to be as prudent as possible because we take very seriously what is going on in New York and…to be as fiscally careful while we continue to provide justice," Judge Pfau said at a joint Senate-Assembly hearing on the Judiciary's proposed 2011-12 budget. "We have a fundamental, constitutional duty to provide justice to the people of New York." The Judiciary is seeking to spend $2.7 billion in the year that begins April 1, a $50 million increase—or 1.7 percent—over this year. But Judge Pfau argued that the Judiciary's operating budget—the portion the court system controls—would fall by .02 percent. She said the overall increase was due to higher salary and pension fund payments to employees, spending on which court administrators have no say. Mr. Cuomo's budget calls for $133 billion in spending, a 2.7 percent reduction, and for almost 10,000 layoffs. He criticized the Judiciary in his budget message for "not participating" in his efforts to close a $10 billion gap in the 2011-2112 fiscal year (NYLJ, Feb. 2). The court budget does not project any layoffs, although Judge Pfau pointed out that there are 1,000 fewer nonjudicial employees than there were two years ago, due to last year's early retirements. She added that savings have been achieved though limiting overtime, banning non-essential travel, restricting equipment purchases and increasing the use of the Internet for remote training.

She told legislators that "thousands" of layoffs would result if the courts were forced to make further cuts of the magnitude sought by Mr. Cuomo. After the hearing, Judge Pfau told reporters that perhaps 2,000 to 2,500 layoffs would be necessary, from a workforce of 15,000. In other states, cuts like that have forced the closure of courts one day a week or one day a month or have trimmed daily hours, she said. "If we could possibly do what the governor asked, the repercussions for the citizens is they would see closed courthouses," Judge Pfau told reporters. "And while there is a budget process to work this out, to try to resolve this, to see where we end up, to go into the budget process agreeing to abandon our constitutional responsibility is not something we think we can do." Although lawmakers probed for additional cuts yesterday in quizzing Judge Pfau, they adopted a respectful tone toward the court system. "With all due respect," Assemblyman James Hayes, R-Williamsville, said before arguing that the proposed reductions in the Judiciary's operating budget are inadequate in light of the state's budget woes. "It doesn't come anywhere near what the governor has asked everyone else in the state, every other operations in state government, it doesn't even come close," said Mr. Hayes, the ranking Republican on the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee. "I'm wondering if you see that as a problem just in terms of the collaboration, where we're separate branches of government, but certainly we all go through the same budget process, in terms of the blatant disregard for the governor's call." Judge Pfau responded, "When the governor has said to us he would like us to cut 10 percent, we are talking about cutting thousands of employees. There is no way I can cut thousands of employees without shutting down the courts. … You would be shutting down the citywide courts of New York City, that's the volume [of 10 percent cuts] we're talking about, Family and Civil and Criminal courts. Or [I could] shut down the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Judicial districts."

More Cuts Sought

However, Senator John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, asked Judge Pfau whether smaller but significant savings could be achieved by scaling back non-essential programs that were instituted in better fiscal times. The senator asked specifically about the potential for savings within the child-care programs offered to litigants in Family Court. Mr. DeFrancisco also wondered if the judicial training institute at Pace Law School could be cut. He requested a list of programs not crucial to the core mission of keeping the courts open that could be cut to save money, and for statutory changes the Legislature could make to help costs. Judge Pfau said she would provide that.

Senator John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, inquired whether Mr. Cuomo's promotion of consolidating state and local government entities could work to cut the costs of the courts. Judge Pfau said a consolidation of the court system, which would require amendments to the state Constitution, could create significant savings. But the process would take at least until 2013 and, as Judge Pfau noted, would have to be approved twice by a Legislature that has shown little interest in court consolidation in recent years. Senator Michael Nozzolio, R-Seneca Falls, said he would like a better accounting of per-judge spending. Judge Pfau said budgeting for the court system is not as easy as for the Legislature because judges only have up to two employees assigned specifically to them, with the bulk of workers assigned by judicial district administrators to where they are needed most. Judge Pfau said she would work with the Legislature to make the process more "transparent." Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, D-Brooklyn, praised Judge Pfau and Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman for juggling resources to keep courts open. "The New York courts have been open every day" while courts in some states "close their doors on certain days," Ms. Weinstein said. Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman, D-Queens, a practicing attorney, said that many litigants cannot afford a lawyer but are ill-equipped to represent themselves in foreclosure, consumer credit and child-support cases. Judge Pfau said one reason the decline in the Judiciary's operating budget is not higher is because the court system is intent on including $25 million in new funding for civil legal services for the poor and $11 million to reduce the workload of attorneys assigned in New York City to represent children in Family Court. "I urge you to stand firm," Mr. Lancman told Judge Pfau of the Judiciary's budget. Mr. Bonacic questioned the wisdom of spending $23 million on a project to renovate an Albany building to create living quarters for Court of Appeals judges when they are in session. The former Centennial Hall also would house the Law Reporting Bureau (NYLJ, May 12, 2009). Judge Pfau said the money, which has all been committed, was appropriated for the project starting in the mid-2000s, when the economy was in better shape. The living quarters are scheduled to open in 2012. "If we were going to make this decision today, certainly this is not the decision we would make," she conceded to reporters after the hearing. Representatives of several organizations spoke in support of the proposed budget. They included representatives of the New York State Bar Association; Legal Services of New York City; the Fund for Modern Courts; the Legal Aid Society of New York; the New York City Bar; the Correctional Association of New York; the Empire Justice Center; and the New York State Defenders Association. The Legislature and governor are now free to make changes in the Judiciary budget, which was proposed late last year. Mr. Cuomo is bound legally to forward it as is to the Legislature as part of the 2011-12 executive budget, which he did on Feb. 1. Joel Stashenko can be contacted at


in attendance said...

Did you know that the top administrative 'judge' Ann Pfau has NEVER been elected as a judge, and actually never voted in to anything. Nope, not once. She's been put in various places to do the devil's work, and boy has she done a nice job at that. Shouldn't judges be VOTED IN in New York State. What a scam. Ann Pfau was Gail Prudenti's errand boy for a long time but now she shines Jonathan's shoes. Her testimony was exhibit A on what's wrong with New York's court system. She sounded like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Rumor going around that Westchester County Judge Tolbert got the boot today. Too many funny games with family court cases. Anyone know anything?

Anonymous said...

Cuomo needs to get rid of Pfau and Lippman. They are well established parts of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Judge Pfau, a hybrid pig/pit bull(seek German translation),is guarding the trough for her master, "The Swine in Chief", Lippman." Some of the pigs feeding at the trough appeared also, ie. "New York State Bar Association; Legal Services of New York City; the Fund for Modern Courts; the Legal Aid Society of New York; the New York City Bar; the Correctional Association of New York; the Empire Justice Center; and the New York State Defenders Association."
Pfau's voice is a melding of yelping and oinks. Guard your backside, Pfau, when your master is close behind you; he'd do his own mother.

Anonymous said...

That's right. Pfau is not a judge. The bogus "Acting Supreme Court Justice" is not a legal or constitutional position. It's a job title that the OCA crated to use as payoffs to insiders.

There is no job title in NY for "Acting Supreme Court Justice" and there is no salary authorized by the NYS Legislature for any such position.

Pfau and Lippman want to continue this fraud on the citizens and taxpayers of the state. Pfau is not going to bite that hand that literally feeds her.

The entire court system is a cesspool of connected insiders and family members. There is probably no other government agency that has as many relatives on its payroll as the judiciary, and they keep it hidden.

It's very interesting to go to the website that has government employee salaries on it to see how many family members work for the courts and how much they make.

Anonymous said...

Scheinkman moved a couple of judges out of matrimony and brought in others.

But, how many times have the same judges been moved out of matrimony only to be returned within a very short time?

Anonymous said...

Nepotism is rampant in the court system. It's so blatant it's disgusting! Concept of Conflict of interest doesn't exist in their small pea brains. Best is when judges preside over cases that a close friend/family like relationship exists with the attorney handling it!

Anonymous said...

New York State Payroll information (includes pensions, etc.) Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Just look at AD1

Anonymous said...

Question: If a judge is a mentor for someone, gets them their first legal job and has very, very close family ties, can that judge rule on the cases that attorney handles? Not only rule on cases, but ALWAYS rules favorably for that attorney's position and always makes that attorney win without disclosure?!

Anonymous said...

There's a certain female judge at AD1 who is notorious for above!

Anonymous said...

That's the 9th Judicial District. in the 2nd AD.

Anonymous said...

Wonder which attorney has strong family/friendship ties with AD1 judge?

Anonymous said...

To 10:35am: Definitely NO. Look at judicial disqualification rules.

Anonymous said...

Guess it must be an attorney at the DDC with close ties to AD1 judge. Would that be a surprise to anyone? The infamous DDC!!!

Anonymous said...

Gross judicial and attorney misconduct!!! Removal required!!!!

Anonymous said...

tell them to sell hotel lippman
get thier money back
they should have never approved that one years ago.
then tell them to cut back the perks and benifits judges get

Anonymous said...

What is name of Pfau's husband?

Anonymous said...

David Hochfelder.

"Ann Pfau and David Hochfelder toast to a good time."

Hell's Journal said...

To David Hochfelder: Ann sold her soul for her job and that obviously includes her body. How do you measure up compared to Judge Lippman? Is there honor among swine?
Will Lippman enjoy her services in Hell?

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting.

According to the Court's own website, Ann T. Pfau was only appointed as a judge until 2008, when her term expired.

"Judge, NYC Criminal Court, Appointed by Mayor Giuliani, 1999 to 2008"

If Ann T. Pfau is not a Judge as allowed by the Constitution or by Law, then she cannot be an "Acting Supreme Court Justice." The Constitution and the Law only permit a Constitutional and Legal Judge to be appointed (temporarily) to that position.

Ann T. Pfau is using the title of Judge when she is not and cannot be a judge.

Who would be responsible for this sham?

Yet another example of the total disregard for the Constitution, Laws, Rules and Ethics of New York. No wonder judges and attorney can a do whatever they want with impunity.

What would be a good way to describe this? Oh, I know.


Anonymous said...

How many more of these illegal "Acting Supreme Court Judges" are out there?

Let's see how long it takes Pfau, Lippman and the OCA to scramble to cover-up this fraud.

Did Pfau, or any other illegal judges hand down any judicial decisions while pretending to be a judge?

If the top administrators of the Courts (and one who is a Judge who sits on the Court of Appeals, NYS highest Court), can't get something as simple as this right, how can they be trusted to get anything right?

Anonymous said...

Pfau lies. Check out this link to an OGS request for bids in August 2009.

insider said...

Ann's husband's last name is Falcone and a fellow lawyer. Wonder if he also happens to be in the construction biz?

Anonymous said...

Pfau is a front for the boys. The question is why doesn't the press report the corruption? Who is paying them off? This is a very big nut.

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