News & Politics

Thompson isn’t only pol to write a “Dear Judge” letter

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On Halloween, Rudy Giuliani will join Mayor Bloomberg and
Staten Island boro prez James Molinaro (pictured) at a big pre-election “Prelude to
Victory” rally and fundraiser on Staten island. This is one place
— like Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Borough Park where Team
Bloomberg unleashed Giuliani last weekend — where
Giuliani might actually be useful in revving up the pro-Bloomberg base
(assuming there is one out there). Who knows, maybe Rudy will also
escape nasty questions about why his former police
commissioner, Bernie Kerik, was ordered jailed on Tuesday.

But in the interest of fair play, one question for this tough law-and-order
Republican trio should be about the appropriateness
of another “Dear Judge” letter, one very much like the 1982
leniency plea that Bill Thompson made on behalf of an ex-
congressman who was his former employer and that the Post
made into a front-page scandal on Monday.

This one wasn’t written a quarter-century ago, but on
October 3, 2003 when Molinaro – using official Borough
President stationery – wrote to a federal judge in the same
Brooklyn federal court house where disgraced ex-Brooklyn
rep Fred Richmond was sentenced. Unlike Thompson’s letter,
Molinaro’s plea wasn’t for an ex-congressman for whom he’d
served as chief of staff. It was for a pair of organized
crime associates who pleaded guilty to being part of a mob
ring that had ripped off taxpayers for millions on local
construction projects, using Mafia extortion tactics to get
its way.

In his letter, Molinaro asked Judge Sterling
Johnson to go easy on John and Jamie DeRoss, sons of
Colombo crime family underboss Jackie DeRoss, a neighbor
that Molinaro told the Staten Island Advance he knew as “a
regular guy.”

“Both John and Jamie grew up around the corner from my home
on Staten Island,” wrote Molinaro, who said one of his sons
was friendly with them. “The reputation of these boys in
the community was always a good one. It is also my
understanding that this is the first time the boys have
been in trouble with the law. Please weigh and consider
these remarks positively when determining an appropriate
sentence for these young men.”

The DeRoss “boys” – they were 34 and 37 years old at the
time – were sentenced to 27 and 33 months in prison.

As for Richmond, the tax charges against him stemmed from
his failure to declare payments made by one of his companies
toward costs of his Sutton Place co-op. The bribery was
$7,400 towards the college tuition of the child of a Navy employee who
had provided information on contracts to a Richmond
campaign supporter. And those drug charges against the “druggie” pol, as the Post put it? Richmond admitted that
he’d possessed a few marijuana joints that members of his
own staff gave him.

Not that Richmond, a multi-millionaire, was much of a role
model. He made lots of bad deals with Brooklyn’s old Democratic bosses. And one of the ways he stayed in office was by doling
out generous philanthropic donations to citizens groups in
his district. Which sounds somehow familiar.

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