Thursday, April 2, 2009
In Our Opinion...
We Need Transparency In Local Government
Someone once said, “Tyranny is when the people fear the government; Democracy is when the government fears the people.” We believe an important component in either equation is transparency, or the lack thereof. Without transparency, there can be no true consent of the governed.
Our entire system of democratic government is predicated upon the separation of powers; executive, legislative, and judicial. When one branch, most often the executive branch, seizes control of, or exercises too much influence over either one, or both, of the other branches, we are dealing
with a dictatorship, straight and simple.
Here, in Westchester, that is precisely what we have been suffering with under the Spano Administration. For nearly a dozen years that Andy Spano has been the County Executive and Larry Schwartz, until recently, the Deputy County Executive, that operation, by virtue of its control of
political contributions, and selection of candidates, has exercised dominion over both the County Legislature and much of the state and local judiciary. And, make no mistake, all of the special interests, corporate and otherwise, have depended upon that reality and responded in kind.
There have been times in our nation’s history when Congress has been accused of not being cooperative enough, possibly obstructionist with respect to a particular president’s agenda; but, that circumstance, even at the extreme, cannot be seen as violating the Separation of Powers
Doctrine; quite the contrary. Conflict between branches, particularly involving the executive and legislative branches of government, open and notorious, represent healthy and foreseeable activity in our form of democracy.
Then there are those, most often in the executive branch of the federal government, who will strongly protest what they refer to as “activist judges.” The claim that particular federal judges, or particular circuits, have “legislated from the bench,” has been a common cry throughout our
history. But, clearly, even at its worst, such judicial activity does not represent any form of dictatorship.
No, it is most likely to be the executive branch at every level, right down to municipal government where claims of mandates from the voters, will be used to justify the Unconstitutional seizing and usurping of vested powers, the establishment of unlawful, clearly un-American practices.
Such egregious movements usually occur under cover of emergency, exigent circumstances, threats to security and peace, à la George W. Bush/Dick Cheney. Of course, there will always be situations that demand covert responses. But, secrecy must never characterize any administration.
Here in Westchester, under the Andy Spano Administration, we continue to witness an executive branch of government grown out of control, engorged with far too much influence and control; and the key, for the most part, has been the raising and distribution of money. If it’s not unlawful for huge amounts of money, much of it contributed by “special interests” and controlled by the County Executive, to be spent on the campaigns of county legislators, it’s certainly unethical and goes against the spirit of Separation of Powers, producing 13 rubber stamps out of 17 legislators.
From such unholy arrangements, come the purchase of buildings that are totally unneeded, for possibly as much as $20 million before they are completely renovated, despite universal taxpayer resistance. Also, from such unholy arrangements, come the switching of carting contractors to
a company that the City of New York refused to do business with, and the paying of tens of millions of dollars more for the privilege.
From our standpoint, two remedies must be applied. Firstly, taxpayers must be vigilant and must exercise their vote. Secondly, however, given the disproportionate registration majority of the Democratic Party, rank-and-file Democrats must rise up and insist that funds contributed to the Party, as opposed to the County Executive, end up in a separate depository not controlled by Andy Spano or any of his appointed puppets such as a party chair who also sits as his part-time Democratic Election Commissioner at $155,000 a year plus thousands more in credit card perks
and Chairman’s Fund lulu.
Like charity, transparency must begin at home.
Our Readers Respond....
Rader Takes Issue With Court Appointed Writer
I am sending a copy of a letter I wrote to Colleen Carew in regard to her article in The New York Law Journal. After reading several copies of The Westchester Guardian and doing my own research on the Internet, I would expect articles of this nature to come from Third World countries.
In addition to my own feelings of complete helplessness, I cannot help but think there are many other people with the same outrage! If the average person conducted themselves in the same manner as the Westchester Surrogates Court, they would be facing jail time.
I find it totally absurd that a person who is employed by the Surrogates of Westchester would write an article completely overlooking the facts. Can you or any of your readers please explain to me why Judge Scarpino does not follow the law?
“Dear Ms. Carew:
This letter is in regards to the article that was written by you on February 18, 2009 in the New York Law Journal. After reading your article, I was outraged, disappointed, and disgusted. It clearly demonstrates to me that you only read Judge Scarpino’s decision and not the facts of the case.
Judge Scarpino only considered one portion of the separation agreement and not the agreement in its entirety. As a professional, do you not feel that you have an obligation to your readers to report accurate facts especially, when those facts affect people’s lives?
For instance, my father clearly did not fulfill any of his obligations as stated in his separation agreement, and took full advantage of all the benefit.
At the time of his death, the value of his estate as per the Public Administrator’s filing with the Court was in excess of $1.2 million.
The case involved fraud, deceit and perjury as well as grossly undervaluing the assets of the estate by the Court-appointed Public Administrator.
The Public Administrator was clearly manipulated by the defendant and outside parties with Judge Scarpino’s approval.
In conclusion, after receiving a total unjust treatment by the Surrogate Court and reading your article I now have a better understanding as to why our Judicial System is in the condition that it is in.”
Re: Paul Cote
I have been following the Paul Cote story since it first broke. Each week I immediately turn to the “Readers Respond” section to keep up with what folks are saying about this story.
I cannot believe what this man has gone through. If Cote was such a “wild card” why would he be allowed to assist a fellow officer in the altercation? Why wouldn’t his supervisor step in and ask him to stand down? As I see it, his immediate reaction was to come to the aid of a fellow officer in distress, to do the right thing, to follow what he was taught to do. Did they expect him to just stand by and do nothing? Walk away? So he did his job and in doing so became a victim, a criminal, the bad guy. How ridiculous is this?
There are so many unanswered questions. Where are his fellow officers and workers in all of this? Where are the supervisors? Are they afraid to make a statement? What kind of a system are we running here? What an injustice, to a man who has lost so much just for doing his job.
I believe the prosecutors wanted a win more than they wanted the truth. This man deserves back his freedom, his family and what little life is left of the mess made by what appears to be incompetent officials.
Eddie J., Yonkers
Re: Paul Cote
I am responding to the January 8th and January 15th articles about the former Correction Officer Paul Cote. I have but one thought on the whole situation. I feel the whole situation is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money in this time of economic crisis to have placed Mr. Cote in jail when, for six or seven years, he has changed career and adhered to supporting his family. What is the benefit of his incarceration to himself, his
family, and to society?
Enough said. Please continue to print the truth in your weekly paper, the Westchester Guardian.
Angie Aquino, Bronx
Rockland County Reader Opens Pandora’s Box
After reading Catherine Wilson’s article, I thought it was one of the best things I had ever read. Then comes her next article of Feb. 26, ‘09, and I was totally amazed. Even without an accounting background, I knew the document masquerading as an accounting which was forced into our hands
in the hallway, (a Court of No Record) outside Judge Riordan’s Court, I had no idea, at the time, that material evidence of theft was concealed by partial truth, and being presented by the opposing lawyers as a full truth and a full disclosure accounting. It was a charade, pulled by the lawyers
and the Judge for the public’s, and my, hypnotization, so they could conceal the fact that they had stolen my uncle’s assets, dividend checks, pension checks, bank accounts, and his expensive, two story house in the Irish stronghold of Woodside, New York.
I have to point out that the opposing Lavallee law firm had broken numerous court orders to produce the accounting for nearly three years and, their pal, the Judge, issued no sanctions or reprimands, and allowed them to withhold evidence for years, and to halt our attempts to get to the
truth. This fact is backed up by my lawyer’s letters of August 23, 2002 to the Queens Assistant DA in charge of public integrity, who told us, “Whoever did an investigation of the Charles C. Maxwell estate theft would open up a Pandora’s Box of forged mortgages, forged deeds, and forged estate account holdings in New York.
She commenced a grand jury investigation which disappeared when it hit Nassau County. When I read Ms. Wilson’s list of what goes into a true and real accounting in the Feb. 26 issue of The Guardian, I was stunned. Ms. Wilson points out, on page 17, that among a real accounting, are these items; “All bank statements for both personal and business accounts, including cancelled checks or copies of both the front and back of each check as well as details of all deposits.” Incredible! Not one item like that is found in this deceptive document. The Judge has no excuse, not to know this, for he is an Officer of the Court!
It is my belief he was assisting in theft and fraud. That is why, in the hall, the Judge’s chief hatchet man, Mr. M. Ryan, the clerk, told us the Judge would allow us a trial where we could put people on the witness stand and question all aspects of the accounting. That was a promise the Judge broke once we had the fake in our hands.
The Judge and the clerk promptly lied to us, and then threw us out of Court; the need to conceal.The Court dare not allow a trial or a true accounting with a trial which would have shown where my uncle’s bank accounts went. They were hung if they allowed a true accounting, or a trial/hearing as demanded by law.
One of Ms. Wilson’s last few lines devastated me. She pointed out the need for, “Purchase, escrow, transfer and closing documents on any assets purchased or disposed of, the dates of all transactions, and names of all individuals involved.” That is the wooden stake to Dracula’s heart. This to
me is the key to Pandora’s Box, a forged estate accountings around New York. There is not one iota of this critical type of information involved in this rag, masquerading as an accounting and forced into our hands by the Judge. An outrage of fraud by the Court.
I’m sure you know it better than I, but I believe Ms. Wilson and your newspaper have more deliberately than accidentally, tripped into an immense secret, “The Truth Key” to hidden power bases of stolen funds from the families of New York; the secret key to the lost City of Gold, Inca or Surrogates Courts.
We were told from persons inside the Nassau DA’s Office that there was an all-out effort to put a pillow over all the details of the Charles C. Maxwell Estate Theft Case. A Queens Assistant DA says the case will open up Pandora’s Box in New York State. What’s going on? I didn’t get it. My lawyer said, “You see cases like this in the movies, or read about them in books.” But, he never suspected he would have one come across his desk. He said, “Your case is a movie thriller.” Right On!
I could never understand why my uncle’s case was so important to them, but I understand now. That case is a key, and major component, with and within Ms. Wilson’s bigger disclosure of corruption via false accountings, and the stealing of assets by criminals. I believe she is going to have to fight fire with fire. And, by that, I mean fight them with more exposure of fake accountings. Tell Ms. Wilson that she can pick apart all the trashing of law used to conceal theft in this fake pass to me.
I believe all of us, including Ms. Wilson and I, are tipping over something gigantic. There are many, many nursing home estate accountings that have none of the items that Ms. Wilson points to as lawfully necessary; but, that the estates are being fast-tracked through the Courts which have
become laundries for criminals. It is my belief that the uncontested forged will was created by the Lavallee law firm as a concealment device to hide movement of stolen bank accounts and the money stolen from the quick sale of our stolen home. All started before my uncle’s death. I said it before and I’ll say it again: They had done this before. They had this all down to a science.
My elderly mother, dying of cancer, who would not harm a fly, was to them a worthless piece of trash, standing in front of a home and money they wanted. But my mother and I figured out what they were doing, and they did not like it. That dislike shows in a fraudulent, back-dated decision put out by the Appellate Court in Brooklyn to hide a theft ring which Ms. Wilson is disclosing.
They did not expect us to find that the will was a forgery, and it caused them major problems. They tried to find an expert to refute our expert, but no one dared to refute After 30 days much less years, our uncontested forgery report now stood as fact and truth. The only way around that was a fake accounting forced into our hands in a hallway, a Court of No Record. Slick or what? Who could believe all the twists and turns in this amazing
charade, including three disappearing investigation files.
One investigation of the Judge, and the law firm, conducted by Ellen Biben’s office, lasted seven or eight months. It went to Suffolk County and then it vanished. Lawyer Ms. Lisa Lashley, from Senator Sampson’s office, was, at first, very kind to us. But, now is starting to throw road blocks up. I believe she is starting to hear from the masses, and your readers, about how big this Court asset theft thing is. The Pandora’s Box in New York may have uncomfortable implications for Sampson or lawyer Lisa Lashley.
Her major roadblock to me is, “You don’t have a report from an accountant. How do I know your accounting is a fake? I don’t know about accountings or/if they are real.” Come on, Ms. Lashley, you’re being paid to help the public, not to get rid of them. Be open, listen, you are there to assist the public, not to obstruct. Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles could see this was a fake. This document, whatever you want to call it, is really a device to conceal material evidence and, to hide a feeding frenzy of ghoulish lawyers, judges, and guardians, ripping apart a conveyor belt of our
dead and disabled family members to get at their homes, bank accounts, and other assets. Nevermind if lawyers have to attack seniors with lies and frauds, or crush disabled children; we want to make their assets ours. Now get out of our way, or we will attack you with every dirty trick we can pull. But, please, do not expose us. How many millions in senior citizens assets coming out of nursing homes into estate courts have been fraudulently transferred away, as so cleverly done in Judge Riordan’s laundry court without the lawful disclosing of the front and backs of checks or the names of all individuals whose accounts received those transferred funds?
Is it any wonder they’re striking back at Ms. Wilson? There is little doubt in my mind that The Guardian and Ms. Wilson have now started to crumble the walls of secrecy put in place to hide The Lost City of Gold, or is that AIG Surrogates Bonus Money? Removed by ghouls from the
still-warm cadavors of our beloved dead family members.
I believe The Guardian and Ms. Wilson are driving a bulldozer down the middle of the field now, and through the wall. You are opening up the Pandora’s Box of massive corruption and theft here that the Queens DA told my lawyer, and me, about many years ago. Fantastic job, Westchester Guardian!!