Mother Dearest & the Courthouse Cabal

A Public Advocate Candidate Has a Patronage Problem

A third acting judge who's seeking a Supreme Court appointment, Diane Lebedeff, has awarded four evaluator appointments. Supreme Court Judge Ed Lehner, who was elevated from civil to Supreme Court in 1995 with CFD and Stringer support, has awarded six. A dozen Bronx judges have also appointed Stringer, who is married to Carlos Cuevas, the City Clerk and longtime pillar of the Bronx party.

But Arlene Stringer is hardly the only indicator of Scott's ties to the insider track at Manhattan Supreme, a court dominated by Denny Farrell, another Manhattan assemblyman, who's also been Democratic county leader for 20 years and is a big Stringer backer now. The judge Scott has had the most to do with putting on the Supreme Court, Eileen Bransten, hasn't appointed Arlene to a single case. But she has named Frank Hoare, Farrell's assembly counsel and onetime attorney for the county party, an evaluator or conservator in six cases, far more than any other judge.

Hoare, who has 53 court appointments in total, has contributed $2000 to Stringer's campaign. Another Farrell attorney, Arthur Greig, has 130 appointments, two of which are from Bransten. Greig has given $850 to Stringer. Marc Landis, who is CFD's treasurer and has given $2800 to Stringer's campaign (including donations from his wife), has 31 appointments.

Scott's father Ronald was reprimanded in 1990 by an appellate division panel that stripped him of $150,000 in court fees he'd taken, saying that he and a colleague who'd claimed the same fees had "never drafted a single page of legal documents" except their fee application. Another administrative report assailed him for preparing no reports in 49 cases while taking more than a half million in fees.


Green to Redo Diallo Discipline

When Fernando Ferrer got a single shot at questioning Mark Green in last week's NY1/Timesdebate, he returned to the theme of the Diallo cops, flailing away at Green's refusal to say that he favors their dismissal. Green put on his only grim face of the debate, declaring that it was "just as wrong" for Ferrer to find the four cops who killed African street merchant Amadou Diallo guilty without an administrative hearing, as it was for Rudy Giuliani to pronounce them innocent without one.

Ferrer, who was arrested in the 1999 Diallo protests, sees it as the difference between him and Green that could move black voters into his column. Had Ferrer changed the wording of his debate question, however, he might have forced Green into an unwelcome quandary.

The Voiceasked Green spokesman Joe DePlasco if, as mayor, the current Public Advocate would ask his own top cop to review Giuliani commissioner Bernard Kerik's decision not to fire or punish the officers. After three days of not responding to the question, DePlasco said Green would.

DePlasco pointed out that Kerik took away the guns and badges of the four cops for a year and that in 2002, "the issue of whether to continue the cops in a non-enforcement status" would come up again. "At that point, Mark would ask the commissioner and the first deputy commissioner to consider all the facts before making a decision on the status of the officers," said DePlasco. "There is an issue of double jeopardy here. But it's already established that their status has to be reassessed. Mark believes all the issues should be considered." DePlasco emphasized that under the law, only the two top police officials, not the mayor, can make a decision about disciplining the cops.

The report Green issued in June, after forcing Kerik under threat of a lawsuit to turn over to Green's office the confidential Internal Affairs files on the Diallo incident, leaves little doubt about what Green thinks of the conduct of these cops. Green said that Kerik, who decided not to hold a disciplinary hearing for the cops, "failed to consider specific findings that the officers had made tactical errors along with credible testimony suggesting that the officers may have violated Department firearm guidelines."

"It's impossible to avoid the conclusion that the Mayor improperly put his thumb on the scale of justice," Green charged in June. Green's willingness now to try to balance that scale with his own front finger is inconsistent with the report's conclusion. "Unfortunately, the actions of the Mayor and Commissioner appear to be irrevocable," he wrote. "Any effort to undo the Commissioner's decision would be unlikely to survive legal attack."

Of course, if Green's commissioner is Giuliani's ex, Bill Bratton, his unnoticed comments in the August 2000 issue of Tikkunmagazine might be relevant to Diallo and many of the other crucial policing issues facing a new administration. The Green guru was asked by Jack Newfield and Marc Jacobson: "What about racial profiling—stop and frisk—was that ever a legitimate law enforcement tool?"

"It is still a legitimate and essential law enforcement tool," Bratton said. "Absolutely essential. Now that the city has become much safer, people are examining all these issues, they're saying, 'Well, let's do away with it.' If you do away with it, in five years the city will look like it did in 1970."


Hevesi Still Ducking Campaign Laws

It's not at all clear that Alan Hevesi's problems at the Campaign Finance Board are over. The board's decision that his campaign had to pay consultant Hank Morris at least $250,000 more than it planned to wasn't a fine, as Hevesi endlessly tells us, but it sure was a comeuppance.

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