Sunday, February 25, 2007
Profile: AgentHR delivers Powerful Recruiting with the expertise and specialization of the country's finest veteran recruiters. Our recruiting philosophy is founded on the practice that Integrity, Expertise, Dedication, and Confidentiality will translate into a winning solution for both our clients and candidates.
View all of AgentHR's job openings in Westchester
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Sam Zherka, publisher of The Westchester Guardian, is presented an award for his tireless support of and contributions to The Integrity Committee of the Westchester Independence Party, by Chairman Nader Sayegh.
Thursday evening, February 8th, the Westchester Integrity Committee of the Independence Party ran a cocktail reception headlined “A New Direction For Responsible Government,” to honor Sam Zherka, Publisher of The Westchester Guardian. More than 300 guests from diverse political affiliations and positions, from all over the lower Hudson Valley paid $125-a-plate to attend.
Mike Edelman, well known attorney, and Republican political analyst spoke at length regarding the need to do away with Cross-endorsement, the device permitted here in New York State, and only four other states, that permits minor parties to endorse the candidates of the Republican or Democratic Party, without running a candidate of their own. Given the closeness of countywide and other local elections, the cross-endorsement of a minor party, particularly the Independence Party, with its substantial enrollment, has often been the critical difference, determining the outcome of elections.
Cathy L. Stewart, New York County Independence Party Chairwoman, spoke about the need to bring about reform and honest elections. She reflected upon the history of the Independence Party in New York stressing the constructive influence of party members such as the Integrity Committee and praising the courage and accomplishments of Nader Sayegh, master of ceremonies and leader of the movement.
State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins made a very frank and heartfelt presentation as keynote speaker, particularly in light of the fact that the Independence Party of Westchester was under the virtual control of her opponent, former State Senator Nick Spano, through Party Chair Giulio Cavallo, in the election of 2004, and in her victorious attempt last year. Stewart-Cousins described the difficulties and obstacles she had to overcome, in a race, many close observers believe she won in 2004, but which was denied her by a systematic and calculated disenfranchisement of hundreds of voters. She encouraged those present to continue their efforts to reform the Independence Party, and to work hard to eliminate election irregularities, and disenfranchisement of voters.
Nader Sayegh, Esq., Chairman, and leader of The Integrity Committee, presented Honoree Sam Zherka with a plaque in appreciation of his tireless efforts on behalf of the Committee, in their attempt to “Reorganize The Westchester Independence Party.”
Accepting the award, Mr. Zherka, born in the United States, of Albanian parents, spoke of his father’s struggle against the Communists, and of the ten years he spent as a political prisoner for his beliefs and his resistance to Communist dictatorship. He explained his own resistance to injustice and election fraud here in Westchester, declaring, “I am my father’s son.”
Publisher Zherka, from the podium, called upon Jeffrey Deskovic, recently released exoneree, formerly of Peekskill, to share his thoughts and experiences with the guests present. Coming forward to a standing ovation, Mr. Deskovic, for nearly 15 minutes, kept the audience, which included a number of law enforcement personnel, spellbound with his description of the activity that imprisoned him for a crime he clearly had nothing to do with at age sixteen, but served the next sixteen years of his life in prison for.
Several other individuals, including Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, and former candidate for Westchester DA, Tony Castro, came forward and congratulated Sam Zherka for his contributions to the Independence Party.
A Reader’s Kudos
Your newspaper is absolutely wonderfull in this cesspool corrupt county. Please try to distribute copies at the Will Library in Yonkers.
Copies distributed at the Radisson Hotel were a wasted effort.
Tom Rossi, Yonkers
Keep Up The Good Work!!!
I was a resident of Westchester County for nearly 40 years and I have many fond memories of the place and the people there.
The only negative feelings I have of Westchester County concern the brazen and outrageous legal corruption that I have observed
As a resident of Manhattan now, I was delighted to recently happen upon The Westchester Guardian sidewalk vending box on First
Avenue and 57th Street (southeast corner; next to Citibank). My advice to young attorneys (or politicians) who are considering
Westchester County: Don’t, not now, because you will be forced to sell your soul. Wait, be patient. The corruption in
Westchester County will soon end.
My advice to The Westchester Guardian: Keep up the good work!!! You have no idea how many people are applauding the
long-overdue exposure, and necessary cleansing, of Westchester County’s sad corruption.
A happy, and anonymous, reader
Residents’ Persistence Pays Off
The half-acre strip of land on Flandreau Avenue that was the subject of much controversy in recent weeks will now become part of the
Greenway Trail. Recently this county-owned vacant parcel was offered to New Rochelle for $1. The Mayor and City Council decided to
lease it instead. The January issue of the New Rochelle Review claims the city will be responsible for its operation and maintenance. Leased
for how long, for what price, and why is it preferable to lease rather than own it? The same paper applauded Councilwoman Marianne
Sussman, “for leading efforts to preserve parkland on Flandreau.”
To correct the record, it was County Legislator James Maisano who worked hard to keep the Flandreau land out of the hands of developers.
Although she says this turn of events is, “welcome news,” where was Councilwoman Sussman while the neighborhood struggled to preserve this open space? How did she assist those of us who fought to achieve this goal through petitions, telephone contacts, letters to newspapers, etc.? Mayor Bramson and the New Rochelle City Council were part of the problem. The persistance of neighborhood residents solved the problem, though Noam Bramson attempted to take credit for its successful outcome. Instead he was guilty of currying favor with County government rather than putting the interests of our city first resulting in unnecessary, on-going expenses for New Rochelle. He was wrong again. Shame on Mayor Bramson!
June Carletti Sambol, New Rochelle
In Our Opinion...
You’ll Attract More Bees With Honey
We believe Eliot Spitzer would do well to reconsider his tactics when dealing with state legislators whose votes, and/or positions, may “terribly disappoint” him. Gestapo tactics, coming into an Assemblyman’s neighborhood and badmouthing him, and threatening to support another candidate to primary him, as he did to George Latimer about ten days ago, is both in bad taste and counterproductive.
Spitzer’s attack on Latimer, of Rye, and on fellow Democratic Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, of Greenburgh, came in response to the Legislature’s choosing of Tom DiNapoli, Democratic Assemblyman from Nassau County, for State Comptroller, rather than one of three choices put forward by a panel of former comptrollers appointed by the Governor. And, while the Governor may have felt let down, and disappointed, going around bullying the home team was definitely a miscue.
Eliot must remove his prosecutor’s helmet, and replace it with a governor’s bowler, or perhaps a fedora, something softer. A man who enters the Governor’s Mansion with a record seventy percent plurality should not need to intimidate and humiliate legislators, particularly those of his own party. Patience and humility, and the ability to take one’s self a little less seriously, will go a lot further towards achieving even the most urgent goals.
People know, and like George Latimer. He is not someone to be trashed, or run over by a young governor, perhaps a little too full of himself. George, former Chairman of the County Legislature, as well as the Westchester Democratic Committee, has deep roots, and an impressive history of public service.
His friends and constituents will not take too kindly to Eliot’s ridiculing him, bloodying his nose. After all, people are entitled to differences of opinion, and, the governor, and state legislature are part of a system of checks and balances, legislative co-equals.
Port Chester’s Only The Beginning
We are pleased that the Justice Department is moving ahead full throttle with their effort to expose and remedy the long-standing disenfranchisement of Latino voters and candidates in the Village of Port Chester. No serious observer can deny that the “at large” system of electing village trustees is essentially a device to prevent Latinos from electing one of their own from their immediate community.
We are confident that the testimony that began surfacing in Federal District Court last week will ultimately be the basis of removing that discriminatory system, and bringing about the election reform that has been called for in “Living Latino” and other columns in The Westchester Guardian.
However, We fervently hope that having cracked open the lid on Unconstitutional election practices, beginning with the Village of Port Chester, the United States Justice Department, and specifically, United States Attorney Michael Garcia, will now go on to broaden the investigation into the widespread election fraud which has plagued countywide, state, and municipal elections in Westchester for many years.
A good starting point might be the so-called “non-aggression pacts” of the incumbents in the countywide contests of 2001. From there, the contest for 35th District State Senate seat in 2004, and again the countywide elections of 2005, particularly the race for District Attorney, will provide a treasure trove of evidence demanding prosecution.
One never knows just how many foxes may be found in the henhouse!
By Richard Blassberg
Pro Se Defendant Charged With Harassment and Stalking Wins Acquittal
Westchester County Court, White Plains
Judge John P. Colangelo Presiding
Last Tuesday, February 13th, Peter Petrov, a naturalized American citizen from Bulgaria was acquitted by a jury of five men and a woman, having chosen to conduct his own defense in a trial that extended over four days before Judge John P. Colangelo in Westchester County Court. Mr. Petrov who had previously been divorced from his wife of more than six years, Maria Besheva Petrov, by Judge Robert Neary, a year earlier, had originally been hauled into White Plains City Court on charges of violation of a Temporary Order of Protection, allegedly having harassed and stalked his former wife at the Galleria, and the City Center Mall in late November, and early December 2005.
Instructed to attend classes for domestically violent individuals, without having been convicted of any of his former wife’s allegations,
Mr. Petrov refused, on general Constitutional grounds. Apprehended and brought into County Court for arraignment, he stood his grounds,
demanding a trial to determine his guilt or innocence.
The District Attorney’s Office over a period of a year repeatedly lessened the charges, ultimately offering Petrov an ACD. However, he
refused to compromise, insisting on his innocence and demanding his day in court. A man of modest income and means, Petrov was compelled to dismiss his attorney. Opting to conduct his own defense, but mindful that a conviction could bring up to a year in jail, he accepted legal advice, but not representation, from Attorney Richard Ferrante, assigned by the Court.
Tuesday brought summations, the Prosecution and Defense having rested. Prior to the commencement of their closing statements, Judge Colangelo, really for the benefit of Mr. Petrov, cautioned both sides to confine their remarks to those subjects that had been allowed into evidence. Mr. Petrov opened with, “I think the Prosecution has not met their burden of proof.” Referring to his former wife, the complainant, he declared, “Ms. Basheva thought that the Order of Protection barred me from White Plains. She stated that she felt safer on a deserted street than in a mall full of people.”
Holding the jury’s attention, despite some problems with his pronounciation, Petrov went on, “She went to the police ten days after she saw me, and three days after she saw me a second time.” Appealing to the jurors’ common sense he declared, “You spent four days trying to determine the truth. Do you believe an Order of Protection barred me from the City of White Plains? I believe that it is time the DA investigates the perjury.”
ADA Bloom took a two-pronged approach. She told the jurors that a “lawful Order of Protection had been issued,” and yet Mr. Petrov had appeared approximately ten days apart both at the Galleria and the City Center Mall when his former wife was present. Claiming, “he beat her so bad,” she explained that Mr. Petrov had told her, “I will sponsor your mother to come to the United States, if you will have another child.”
Bloom, indicating that Mrs. Petrov did not want another child, declared, “She was defying him.” She then showed the jury a photo of the Defendant’s former wife, claiming that a dark spot on her face was blood from an injury.
Bloom repeatedly told the jurors the Defendant had a car and access to a hundred shopping areas where he could have purchased the television and cable he claimed he had been shopping for. Without offering any evidence that Petrov had any prior knowledge that his former wife would be present either in the Galleria or the City Center Mall on any particular day at a particular time, she attempted to persuade them that he was actually in those malls at a time when she was for the express purpose of stalking and harassing her.
The jury was not buying the DA’s logic. Within three hours of the Judge’s charge they returned a verdict of not guilty on each of five counts.
• • •
Big Change Coming At The Top
Confidential sources tell The Guardian that Administrative Judge Francis Nicolai will be retiring in April, and that Judge Anthony Scarpino, formerly of the Surrogate Court, will be assuming his position.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Larry Schwartz Losing His Grip?
His Gun Permit Bill Shot Down, His Drop-In Shelter Dropped Out, Larry Schwartz Was Stunned, Speechless
Last week Deputy County Executive Larry Schwartz, the fellow most people working in Westchester County Government acknowledge as “ the Force on the Ninth Floor,” the guy they must get an okay from to do anything other than breathe, was rocked by two reversals days apart. Mr. Schwartz’ first disappointment came when it was discovered that the County Executive’s Office had failed to do their homework prior to selecting the area behind the Hawthorne Headquarters of the Westchester County Police as the proposed site of a new 100-bed “Drop-In” Shelter for adult males.
The Guardian revealed that three years ago, Larry Schwartz, Tom BelFiore, and then-State Senator, Nick Spano conspired to, and, in fact, diverted a $100,000 State Grant obtained by Nick Spano, ostensibly to be used to bolster the efforts of the County Pistol Permit Unit in their search for unregistered hand guns. The money was instead used to pay the salary of Terry Malone, a County Police Officer in the Unit who was then reassigned to be the full-time chauffeur of Nick’s father, County Clerk, Leonard Spano. That information, the subject of a civil law suit brought in Federal District Court, White Plains by another County Police Officer, was eye-opening and clearly demonstrated the inappropriateness of entrusting Schwartz and Belfiore, of all persons, with control over the handgun permit process.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Last Tuesday evening The Guardian attended a seminar in New York City at Fifth Avenue and 125 Street, in Harlem, at which Jeffrey Deskovic, and two other well known exonerees, spoke before a group of more than one hundred individuals rallying against the reinstatement of the Death Penalty.
Sponsored by The Campaign To End The Death Penalty, accompanying Deskovic were Alan Newton, who
served 22 years of a 40-Year sentence for Rape, Assault, and Attempted Murder that he was totally innocent of, and Yusef Salaam, who served more than six years in prison as one of the falsely accused, and convicted, attackers in the so-called Central Park Jogger case.
Mr. Deskovic opened his remarks declaring, “I am here tonight because the Criminal Justice System in New York State is broken. In the past thirteen months there have been eight New York exonerees.”
He then quoted Roy Brown, “The wheels of Justice are flat.” Deskovic, falsely accused, and convicted, at 16, of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old Peekskill High schoolmate, walked out of prison as the result of the untiring efforts of the now famous Innocence Project, a little more than four months ago.
He has been frequently speaking at colleges, and before civic organizations, and attending Mercy College in New
York City as well as Dobbs Ferry in an effort to obtain the bachelor’s degree he nearly completed before Governor Pataki withdrew schooling from the state’s correctional facilities, replacing it with the Death Penalty.
Deskovic declared, “We need statements to police video-taped.” He then reminded those assembled, “In 1999, when my appeals ran out, I would have been executed if there was a Death Penalty. It should be enough con-
cern to everyone that it could happen to anyone.
”His delivery was clear and his argument compelling, and well thought out, without a trace of bitterness or vindictiveness. The audience, many accustomed to prison horror stories, was nevertheless transfixed by his account. His colleagues Newton, and Salaam also delivered thought-provoking testimony, likewise free of bitterness for the ordeal they had also been through.
Two weeks ago The Guardian called for the ring of Peekskill Police Chief Eugene Tumolo by Mayor John
Testa. We promised that we would not relent until the Mayor did the right thing by the People of Peekskill.
Once again, we call upon Mayor Testa to place the interests and the well-being of all Peekskill residents
above his personal and political concerns. Mr. Tumolo’s conduct with regard to Jeffrey Deskovic demands his
ring. And, if the Mayor fails to perform his sworn duty to the People, the People will take matters into their own hands come Election Day.
Jeffrey Deskovic is available for speaking engagements.
His slogan is, “Have message, will travel.”
Darren Wilkins is his manager and contact person, and can be reached at (914) 356-1999
Take Action Against Judge
In regard to the plight of Ms. Jing, I suggest the following if Judge Schecter continues her illegal conduct after the
1. A motion should be made in the Appellate Division for an Order recusing Judge Schecter from the case by reason of her questionable impartiality. The applicable rule is that “recusal of a Judge is required when the impartiality of the judge is in question.” The record shows that the Judge is not impartial when she refuses to conform to orders of an appellate court.
2. A complaint may be filed with the Committee on Judicial Conduct against the tyrannical Judge for disciplinary
action upon the grounds of her refusal to comply with orders of the appellate court. Further, a habeas corpus proceeding may be commenced in the Federal Court to produce the child by reason of the deprivation of constitutional rights to due process citing the orders of the Appellate Division.
Three Musketeers Step Up To The Plate
At the February 14th Greenburgh Town Board meeting 3 residents of a group home on Chatterton Parkway –Jason Kingsley, Raymond Frost Jr and Yaniv Gorodischer will speak about the need for sidewalks on Chatterton Parkway They all have Downs Syndrome. The “three musketeers” were involved in a petition drive about a year ago –seeking sidewalks. They went door to door. All of the neighbors were enthusiastic and signed in support of constructing a sidewalk along Chatterton Parkway down to Central Ave.
The two holdouts were an elderly man who didn’t want to shovel snow (the boys offered to do it for him) and one man who was concerned about having sidewalks placed on his property.
Jason, Raymond and Yaniv will speak before the Town Board at 7:15 PM on February 14th at Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Ave, Greenburgh.
I am very pleased that these three young men are getting involved in the community and hope that the Town Board will consider their request. Last year the Town Board requested Supervisor Feiner to develop a proposed sidewalk policy. The Board has not yet approved any sidewalk policy.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
In Our Opinion...
When Prosecutors Need To Be Prosecuted
Now that the ugly facts regarding the behavior of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office with respect to the prosecution of Mr. Anthony DiSimone for the killing of Louis Balancio some 13 years ago, despite his actual innocence of the crime, and despite the fact that DA Jeanine Pirro had a confession from the actual murderer within six days of the killing, has fi-nally been exposed to the light of day, it is incumbent upon all right-thinking individuals to reflect upon the broader implications of what we now know.
While it is mind-boggling, and very disillusioning to realize that the very of-fice entrusted to protect all of us from crime, and harm, could possibly have engaged in such criminal and harmful behavior as to charge, prosecute, and send to prison for life, a man they knew very well was not guilty, it is most important to realize that such conduct is far from rare. In fact, in the Westchester County DA’s Office, under the Jeanine Pirro Regime, for twelve years, it routinely occurred.
And, the Westchester DA’s Office, while perhaps extreme in its willingness to engage in such reprehensible violations of individual’s Constitutional and Civil Rights, clearly does not stand without peer in its practices. Consider DA Nifong, of North Carolina, and his year-long prosecution of four innocent Duke University students, all the while withholding critical exculpatory DNA evidence.
Prosecutorial misconduct is not limited to state prosecutors, as we have come to realize, from transgressions at every level of federal investigation and prosecution exposed over the last several years. Even so-called ‘special
prosecutors’ have not been averse to violating Constitutional rights in service of whatever agenda they are representing. In a world increasingly driven by media hype and spin, where image has become dominant over reality, the search for truth, and the bringing about of justice, have become secondary, if not illusory, priorities in many prosecutor’s offices, elected, or appointed.
What was ruthlessly perpetrated against Mr. DiSimone by Jeanine Pirro, in concert with her small army of assistant district attorneys, police officers, medical examiners, paid expert witnesses, and loyal press, and media corps, was repeated over and over again, in high-profile case after case; Richard DiGuglielmo, Steven Nowicki, Marci Stein, Jing Kelly, Matthew McKerrick, and the tragic death of Rob Viscome, to name but a very few. And, while the Di-Simone case may have stretched the limits of prosecutorial misconduct to a point that even the most jaded and savvy ‘insider’ would be compelled to denounce, the above-referenced cases are each no less egregious and shocking in their cruel and mindless destruction of innocent people and their families.
It is critical that thinking, caring individuals, entrusted with the power to legislate into existence the necessary safeguards to bring such horrific betrayals of the public trust, and the public well-being, under control, in fact, do so without delay. Specifically, what is desperately needed is federal legislation which calls for the criminal prosecution of any prosecutor, elected, or appointed, state, or federal, who knowingly engages in conduct calculated to deny any accused, regardless of the offense charged, their Constitutional right to Due Process. Such legislation must be firm, carrying both significant fines, and substantial prison sentences. It is obvious that civil penalties, no matter how large the awards, have not been an effective deterrent, because in most instances the actual perpetrator is only marginally harmed, if at all, as governmental bodies, and insurance companies absorb the costs.
We now call upon our congressional representatives, Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, as well as Representatives Nita Lowey, Elliot Engel, and John Hall to express their support for such legislation, publicly. We believe that a confab between Congressional legislators and experts in the field of Prosecutorial Misconduct,
Pace University Law Professor, Bennett Gershman, prominent among them, would be very beneficial and catalytic to the passage of the needed legislation. The Westchester Guardian is anxious to hear from our readers on this most vital subject, and will promptly pass all correspondence along to the above legislators.
By Richard Blassberg
Anthony DiSimone Innocent All Along!
United States District Court Southern District Of New York
300 Quarropas Street White Plains, New York
Judge Charles L. Brieant Presiding
Tuesday February 6th United States District Court Judge Charles L. Brieant issued his ruling in the Anthony DiSimone case, that had been remanded several months earlier by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for the purpose of an evidentiary hearing into just what, if anything, the Defendant, or his counsel at trial, some seven years ago knew, or should have known, about a mountain of Brady material, evidence, that if exposed to the jury would have tended to establish the innocence of the Defendant, and likely produced a different outcome at trial.
As the District Attorney’s Office was compelled to disclose many weeks earlier, literally moments before the commencement of the hearing, there were some 372 pages from 52 boxes of evidence, including exhibits, never shared with DiSimone, or his attorney at trial, involving a confession and corroborative evidence that one Nick Djonovic had, in fact, committed the Intentional Murder for which DiSimone was convicted under a theory of Depraved Mind Murder.
Back in the summer of 2006 Judge Calabresi, of the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals, presiding over oral arguments in an appeal by the Westchester County District Attorney from a writ of habeas
corpus which had been granted by Judge Brieant in response to Defendant’s claim that he had been convicted of a crime, Depraved Indifference Murder, for which insufficient evidence had been presented, declared, “In twelve years on this bench I have never seen such a Brady violation.”
The DA’s Office had to withdraw their opposition to Mr. DiSimone’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus in order to avoid the protracted evidentiary hearings that surely would have repeatedly demonstrated and exposed publicly, the extreme prosecutorial misconduct engaged in by the DA’s Office under Jeanine Pirro, as well as a year’s worth of activity by that same office under Janet DiFiore, desperately trying to cover up the wrongdoing. And, continuing to keep an innocent man in prison, knowing full well that another individual, Djonovic, had confessed to the murder six days after the incident that took the life of 21-year-old Louis Balancio fully 13 years ago, the DA, nevertheless, was arguing that the Court should only grant the petitioner a conditional writ of habeas corpus thus allowing the commencement of a new trial within ninety days.
Mr. DiSimone’s attorneys argued that to grant a conditional writ would have been Double Jeopardy under the provisions of the Fifth Amendment, as he had already been acquitted of Intentional Murder at trial, and he could not be convicted of Depraved Mind Murder today, under Policano, as he was seven years ago. Judge Brieant, additionally, pointed to the fact that “the Brady materials have raised very serious issues of actual innocence,
clearly rising to the level of reasonable doubt as to whether DiSimone, as opposed to Djonovic, was the killer.” And, despite showing great kindness to the present district attorney, Brieant, did, however, note, “The only purpose of a remand to leave this issue for further litigation in the state court, (as DA DiFiore was moving the Court to do) when it could only come out one way, is to impose on the Defendant and continue his unconstitutional incarceration into the foreseeable future.”
Judge Brieant, always a gentleman, fully mindful of other cases currently in the appeals process or likely to be in the future, that may very well have been wrongfully prosecuted as well, and, wishing to encourage the DA’s Office to be more forthcoming and more fair, was indeed kind and gentle in his handling of the present administration of the District Attorney of Westchester County’s Office. Even when he emerged from chambers after a spontaneously called conference, many weeks earlier, when Assistant DA Livingston, moments before the start of the mandated evidentiary hearing, confessed to the presence of a mountain of Brady material, the great judge thoughtfully emerged with words of kindness rather than scorn.
His kindness was intended to encourage frankness, not only from the DA’s Office that, for twelve years, and often engaged in tyrannical, criminal practices, but was also intended as a message to all prosecutors entrusted with the solemn responsibility of bringing about justice by not only prosecuting the guilty but protecting the innocent.
Judge Brieant ruled:
“Accordingly, this Court, as a matter of discretion orders the entry of a Final Judgment which shall grant an unconditional writ of habeas corpus to Mr. DiSimone, provide for his release, bar his retrial, dismiss the indictment, and expunge the conviction on Count II from the record.”
He further declined to issue a stay pending appeal, but did stay the execution of his ruling for 20 days “to permit the District Attorney, if so advised, to seek a further stay pending appeal from our Court of Appeals.”
District Attorney Janet DiFiore would be well advised to shut down any further effort to obtain a conditional writ of habeas corpus. Under the circumstances, in light of the extreme heights of prosecutorial misconduct engaged in by her predecessor, and protected for more than a year by her own office, any further pursuit of Mr. DiSimone would only serve to confirm the already obvious conclusion that she is essentially of no different stripe than Mrs. Pirro, a district attorney she once rated with an A-plus.
DA DiFiore must by now recognize the wisdom of the adage, “Be careful what you wish for.” Anxious as she was to become District Attorney, and willing to do what many would not have done to rise to that throne, she must now endure a ‘rough ride’, one that was however clearly foreseeable, particularly by one who had spent several years in the Office. Surely, upon taking office more than a year ago, Ms. DiFiore had to have acquainted herself with those high-profile cases on appeal, and had to have known that there were 52 boxes and 372 pages of Brady material that had been kept from Anthony DiSimone, an innocent man, for 13 torturous years.
Given the double mandate imposed upon every prosecutor, and woven into the trust invested by the People in their sitting prosecutors, to both “prosecute the guilty, and protect the innocent,” how could she perpetuate the fraud that Jeanine Pirro, in her sick, self-promotional, agenda had perpetrated against Mr. DiSimone and his loved ones. Why did it not occur to her, before Defense attorneys skillfully put her back to the wall, that what she discovered regarding the wrongful prosecution, and conviction of Anthony DiSimone needed to be set right, as
only she could have? Indeed, Judge Brieant, a prince of a judge, was most gentle and kind in referring to such a criminally malicious scheme as was worked against Mr. DiSimone by DA Pirro, and defended by DA DiFiore, as a “botched job.”
What ADA Clem Patti, and ADA Steven Bender knowingly did to Anthony DiSimone, and his family, in order to continue to collect their County-paid salaries, and their retirement benefits can only be described as cruel and inhumane. Currently in private practice, reached at his office for a comment, Mr. Patti’s response was, “I have nothing to say about it.”
The time has come when Congress must consider legislation that will reign in those who are capable of such prosecutorial misconduct. Civil remedies, even millions of dollars, cannot replace the life, the years, stolen by such mindless, and venal behavior, nor such ruthless, intentional betrayal of the public trust. Prosecutors, both State and Federal, guilty of engaging in such prosecutorial misconduct must be held accountable, and exposed to both financial and incarcerative penalties without the “safe haven” of any statute of limitations.
Now that it is evident that Anthony DiSimone did not murder Louis Balancio, the District Attorney’s Office of Westchester has a solemn obligation to publicly apologize to both the DiSimone and the Balancio families for having perpetrated and defended such a cruel hoax for so many years. And, furthermore there is an obligation to the People of Westchester, to bring to trial, and to justice, Nick Djonovic, if, in fact, he is still living and can be apprehended.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Cavallo Tries to Silence Press, Sues Guardian for $25Mil.
Publisher Promises To Subpoena All Judges and Officeholders Who Ever Received Cavallo’s Cross-Endorsement.
In a deliberate, but feeble, attempt to silence the truth, Giulio Cavallo, former chairman of the Westchester Independence Party, and notorious influence peddler, has filed a lawsuit seeking $25 million in damages against Guardian News Corporation, The Westchester Guardian, its President and Publisher, Sam Zherka, and its editor-in-chief, Richard Blassberg. The complaint, filed in State Supreme Court, New York County, alleges, for the first of four causes of action, that the words, “AXIS OF CORRUPTION”, along with a photo of the Plaintiff, Cavallo, on the front page of the January 4, 2007 edition of The Westchester Guardian, was falsely and maliciously written“ with an intent to destroy, humiliate and disparage and defame” him, and that it injured his reputation, causing him financial loss.
“ There was no malicious intent, nor defamation, and all of the actions attributed to Mr. Cavallo by TheGuardian are true and documented. We intend to subpoena every judge and public office-holder who ever received the cross-endorsement of the Independence Party from Mr. Cavallo...We stand on our First Amendment Rights, under Freedom of the Press, to keep our readers fully informed of the activities within our community, particularly those that directly affect the electoral system, and the right of citizens to participate in a free and unfettered process. As an individual who has chosen to be deeply involved in that most sacred of democratic processes, Mr. Cavallo is subject to a very high level of scrutiny.”
Apply for this carpenter job
Ability to learn quickly, excellent customer service skills, ability to work in a fast paced environment, excellent verbal and written communication skills.
Essential qualifications for a Shift Leader:
High School graduate, minimum 1 year experience in a restaurant environment, strong multi-tasking skills, excellent customer service skills.
Locations that are hiring:
50 Purchase Street
Rye, NY 10580
15 S. Moger Avenue
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
1298 Boston Post Road
Larchmont, NY 10538
77 Quaker Ridge Road
New Rochelle, NY 10804
Please apply online or in person. For more information about Cosi, get the inside look at: www.getcosi.jobs
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Shortly after closing on Saturday morning, police repsonded to yet another fight at Coyote Crossing at Market and Walnut. Upon arrival, 1 actor was taken into custoday after starting a fight with an employee. Fortunately, it didn't erupt into a repeat of last month's brawl in which 6 were arrested...
At around 01:00, police responded to the area of 721 S High St for the report of a fight. Upon arrival, at least 1 of the actors involved in the fight ran from police, but was apprehended on the 700 block of Sharon Alley. Two suspects were arrested after being positively identified by one of the victims. GFAC was dispatched for at least one patient with lacerations, however it's unclear whether it was one of the victims or one of the perps. While the victim in this incident was lucky to escape with minor injuries, another victim wasn't so lucky...
At around 02:45, police responded to the 100 block of East Gay for a report of a disturbance in the area of the Spare Rib. Upon arrival, police discovered a male who was assaulted and reported unconsious. Police reported that at least 3-4 black males who were dressed in white - one of whom head dreadlocks - allegedly punched and kicked the victim multiple times in the head. GFAC and Medic 91 were dispatched to the Spare Rib, though the victim was later located by Station 52. PennStar #2 ended up flying the victim to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with traumatic head injuries. It was believed that the victim may have been drinking heavily during the course of the night; at least one witness claimed that the victim had been bar hopping and drinking since 20:00 Saturday night. It's unclear whether the assault was related to any type of incident earlier in the night or if this was a possible robbery attempt.
For those keeping score, this makes at least 7 violent incidents that could be traced back to the restaurants in the East End this year - 2 at 15 North, 2 at Coyote Crossing, 2 at Baxter's, and now 1 at the Spare Rib, in which at least 3 people were transported as ALS or trauma patients - 1 by ground to CCH, 1 by ground to Crozer, and 1 flown to HUP. Haven't heard much from the other end of town so far this year...
Friday, February 9, 2007
A dispute between Coyote Crossing patrons and employees recently ignited a 100-person riot outside the borough bar, forcing police to use pepper spray and batons to calm the disturbance, according to reports.
Police said six people were arrested on multiple charges for their involvement in the riot, which occurred after the bar closed on Jan. 28.
Police provided the following account of the incident:
A West Chester patrol officer was walking in the unit block of South Walnut Street when she heard yelling and screaming from the front of Coyote Crossing, located in the 100 block of East Market Street, at about 2:10 a.m.
The officer responded to the front of the bar, where she saw several Coyote Crossing employees attempting to back away from Enun A. Ajong. The officer said Ajong, 27, of Chester, was trying to punch the bar’s bouncers and anyone else who approached him. Ajong was also swinging a set of keys and trying to hit people.
The officer told Ajong, who was described to be about 6 feet tall and 300 pounds, to stop and get on the ground, but Ajong ignored her command and started swinging at her. Another officer arrived and ordered Ajong to stop, but Ajong would not get on the ground.
Police used pepper spray on Ajong and even struck his legs with a baton, but nothing would calm the man down. He continued to try to punch the officers and hit them with his keys.
Ajong was eventually taken to the ground, where police said he continued to resist their orders.
He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, obstructing administration of law, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
Police also said Ajong’s actions fueled the riot, as others began fighting and resisting police orders.
While police were trying to arrest Ajong, Ajong’s girlfriend, Danielle T. Foxwell, interfered with police, placing herself between an officer and Ajong.
Foxwell, 24, of Media, grabbed an officer’s arm, but the officer was able to get her on the ground and arrest her. She was charged with obstructing administration of law, riot and disorderly conduct.
Also during the riot, John E. Candelas-Bush, with several others, tried to prevent officers from arresting other individuals.
Police said Candelas-Bush, 23, of Philadelphia, ignored police orders to leave the area and approached officers while they were trying to make arrests. He also left the area, but soon returned to try to photograph officers with his cell phone.
He was arrested and charged with riot, obstructing administration of law and failure to disperse upon official order.
Heather Lynn Wills and John Iannucci III were also arrested for trying to prevent officers from making arrests.
Wills, 24, of Media, repeatedly tried to stop police from arresting Candelas-Bush, but police pushed her away and arrested her. Iannucci, 25, of Media, tried to stop police from arresting Wills.
Wills was charged with riot, failure to disperse upon official order and obstructing administration of law.
Iannucci was charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing administration of law, failure to disperse upon official order and riot.
Also, Paul N. Onofrio, 24, of Newtown Square, was charged with failure to disperse upon official order for not leaving the area and repeatedly trying to photograph officers with his cell phone.
The individuals were arraigned by Magisterial District Justice Theodore P. Michaels in Phoenixville District Court. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for March 16 in West Chester District Court.
Note that none of these individuals appear to be of college age, nor were any of those arrested residents of Chester County, much less from West Chester. So, at least in this case, that's one time that the arguement about college students causing major problems doesn't exactly fly (not to say that this disproves the theory, but still).
Coyote Crossing and it's next door neighbor Baxter's have been major problems for the immediate neighborhood almost since it opened its doors just a couple of years ago. While nobody seemed to want to say it publicly (or privately), the impression that I got from Borough Council was that those two bars, along with 15 North Cafe, and the major problems that have been associated with those bars over the past year, were one of the primary reasons why the license for Bar Blue II , LLC to open the Market Street Theater at 142 E Market St was rejected.
At least last weekend was relatively quiet, except for a purse snatching at Baxter's in which the victim was reported to have had a "chemical imbalance" and was reportedly unconsious when police arrived. Inital reports implied that the victim was assaulted as part of the robbery, but that was not the case. Other than that, it was a quiet weekend; hopefully this weekend will be just as quiet...
Thursday, February 8, 2007
By Richard Blassberg
Last week Assemblywoman Sandy Galef co-sponsored, and spoke out on behalf of a bill intended to bring runaway election campaign financing under control. Not only would the legislation set reasonable limits for private, and corporate fundraising, but it would also integrate a system of public financing, keyed to a candidate’s gathering of small donations from actual constituents.
Reportedly, New York State currently has the highest campaign contribution limits in the country. To the extent that the proposed legislation may help to get a handle on the problem of corporate and special interests who routinely overpower the fundraising contributions and efforts of actual local constituents, such measures must
be explored and supported. And, to the extent that it cultivates a broader dialogue with respect to the state’s disgraceful election process, all the better!
While campaign financing is surely a very important element that must be reconciled in any serious attempt to re-
turn the process by which public office is acquired in New York to the People, it is not the only, and certainly not the most, corruptive element. The cornerstone of corruption in New York State politics is the practice of CROSS-ENDORSEMENT.
We, here in Westchester, are only too well aware of the fact that our state is one of only five states in the Union that permits that destructive practice. The United States political system has, for the most part, been predicated on a two-party equation. And, while it is true that third-party movements have enjoyed some limited success,
from time to time, such independent parties have run their own candidates. Ross Perot, who garnered 19% as an alternative to the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates of 1992, remains the modern-day high-achiever nationally.
Th e Independence Party of New York State actually ran their own candidate, Tom Golisano, for governor in 1994, 1998, and 2002. In his last attempt her managed to pull down 14%. Unfortunately, the legacy for Westchester of the formation of the Independence Party has been the establishment of a corrupt and cynical
machine under the control of Guilio Cavallo, a scheming and larcenous creature, who together with similarly motivated power brokers, Larry Schwartz, Deputy County Executive, Zehy Jereis, Chairman of the Yonkers
Republican Committee, David Hebert, former campaign director and mouthpiece for Jeanine Pirro, and former
State Senator Nick Spano, have virtually controlled the nominations for, and outcomes in, all major county and judicial elections for years by use of the “cross-endorsement device.”
Literally scores of candidates, many of them current office holders, and sitting judges in municipal, County, and
State Supreme Court, as well as the Appellate Division, Second Department, willingly paid as much as $15,000, and more, to Cavallo, and the so-called Independence Party Club, to obtain the Independence Party’s endorsement. It is shameful that this situation will not be rectified by legislation in Albany. Eliot Spitzer, neither as State Attorney General, nor as the new “Everything Changes On Day One” governor, ever once even suggested that this most fraudulent, corruptive device needs to be eliminated.
Instead, the task has fallen to the capable hands of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Michael Garcia, to investigate and prosecute Cavallo and Company, and to put an end, at least in Westchester, to the wholesale election fraud and thievery engendered by cross-endorsement.
Your Jan. 25 issue is an excellent issue, from the expose of Cavallo, the informative piece on the hospital shutdowns, to Fred Polvere’s on Iraq.
You got me, I’m gonna be a Guardian regular from now on.
Distressed with New Castle Town Board
Not only is the Town of New Castle not holding Lt. Vize responsible for his bad acts, they have rewarded him. This past summer his son was given a job with the New Castle water department. The son has since resigned to be appointed to the Mount Vernon Police Department. The New Castle Police Department does not hire from a Civil Service list. Chief Breen fills vacancies by taking transferees from other police departments. By doing
so Breen does not have to pay for a new hire to go through the police academy.
I am sure that as soon as a vacancy occurs in the New Castle Police Department Vize Jr. will be hired away from Mount Vernon. I can’t believe the Town Board has not taken action against Breen, Vize, et al. Please keep the heat on them!!
An Authoritative Warning
Clearly, there are weather variations, climatic oscillations, and spikes in temperatures cause by the Earth’s natural geologic processes but there is no compelling proof to support the theory of global warming beyond one’s limited observations, imperfect weather records, and inadequate computer simulations. However the evidence for pollution, toxic poisoning, and contamination of our waterways by man is overwhelming and undeniable.
Local, state and national leaders, legislators, and lawyers have abrogated their responsibility to protect our groundwater, rivers and oceans in fear of their political career, lobbyist pressure, and losing contributions from big business. Water conservation is one thing but contamination is another. It is unconscionable to divert attention away from the life-threatening pollution of the world’s waterways by alleging global warming. The time to act is now before we and the planet are destroyed by foul water.
Edwin P. Heideman
The writer is a Professor of Physics/Geology.
In Our Opinion...
Columnist Phil Reisman’s recent piece, Media Still Feast On Pirro Foibles, is but one of several instances over the years where he would appear to be trying to separate himself from the superficial, gossipy pack, offering commentary intended to appear detached, insightful, and relevant. Somehow, whenever his Pirro treatments appear, one can’t help hearing strains of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain in the background. After all, has he not been an integral part of the media hype and pablum so essential to maintaining the celebrity status of a chief law enforcement officer whose spouse just happens to be the most outrageous white-collar criminal in the county?
And, make no mistake; it has never been Mr. Reisman’s intention to bite the hands that, quite literally have fed him, neither Jeanine, nor Al, whose business partner, Gary Sherlock, just happened to be the President and Publisher of The Journal News. Unfortunately, constrained as he found himself, from really telling the whole ugly Pirro story, somehow others’ less constrained accounts were distressing to him, causing him to describe such uninhibited reporters as “ranters.”
Mr. Reisman’s essential cynicism has served as an obstacle to his identifying, and dealing with, the outrageous criminal activities, and serious harm brought into the lives of innocent families by the “Power Couple,” as the media used to refer to the Pirros, as they stepped on and trashed morality and decency in their venal quest of fortune and power. Even now, as the horrific reality of their abuses bubbles to the surface, and the unmistakable stench of ripe septic surrounds them, Reisman would waste our time with comparisons of the Pirros with the Clintons, and with references to Jeanine such as “She’s a survivor, a climber, and, whether you hate her, or love her, one of the few Westchester politicians with guts to try to break out of the minor leagues of local politics to
make a run for the national scene.” Alas, what an obscene personal servicing.
He actually admires the evil, self-promoting wretch. He’s a columnist, not a reporter, and exposure of the truth is not his mandate. He can pretend that she didn’t arrange the kidnapping of Jing Kelly’s baby, didn’t keep Jeffrey
Deskovic in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, didn’t withhold 376 pages of exculpatory evidence from Anthony DiSimone, didn’t send police officer Richard DiGuglielmo to prison with coerced altered testimony for
saving his middle-aged father’s life from a bat-wielding assailant, didn’t cut a deal with two dozen teens who let Rob Viscome die, because her daughter Kiki was at the party, didn’t send police officer Matthew McKerrick to
prison with perjured testimony, etc. To Phil Reisman these violations of civil rights are mere “warts.” To him, “Jeanine is interesting. She is one of us.”
Here’s a news flash, Phil: She may be one of yours, but she certainly isn’t one of ours. She is a criminal, whose violations of the human rights of virtually hundreds of decent, innocent, individuals, through the blatant abuse
of her powers over a dozen years, will soon result in her indictment, and conviction. And, will ultimately cost you, and every taxpayer of Westchester, tens of millions of dollars in civil damage awards. Pretty expensive warts!
By Richard Blassberg
Chief Judge Judith Kaye Has Her Nerve
New York State’s Chief Judge Judith Kaye, apparently will rule the state’s judicial system, for the next twenty-two months, until her compulsory retirement, at age 70, having successfully lobbied Eliot Spitzer to leave her in place, ostensibly to accomplish in fewer than two years what she has dismally failed to accomplish in more than twelve. Now, she is turning to the most heavily-taxed citizens in all these United States, the Taxpayers of New York, and asking them to support a pay raise for the 1,300 state-paid judges. New Yorkers are by nature very understanding and reasonable people. However, Judge Kaye has chutzpah enough for three to come before us looking for pay increases for a state judicial system that has never been more corrupt, more dysfunctional, or
more fundamentally unethical in fifty years than it is right now.
Throughout the state citizens are only too well aware that the “clubhouse system” of choosing candidates for State Supreme Court, a position that carries a 14-year term, has resulted in a scandalous mess, with party
bosses from Kings County to Monroe County, and everywhere in between selling their support for whatever the market will bring. Democratic Chairman Norman in Brooklyn stands trial for allegedly pocketing tens of thousands to insure nominations; the wife of a Supreme Court Judge in New York City alleges she paid out more than $200,000 to buy his seat. Here in Westchester the Independence Party Boss Guilio Cavallo has taken
$15,000, and more, from those wishing his party’s cross-endorsement, a fact that he repeatedly boasts about.
The State Supreme Court candidate nomination process has been so openly corrupt that a Federal District Court Judge stepped in and demanded a revision of the process. And, speaking about cross-endorsement, in the Ninth Judicial District, we have witnessed the most egregious trickery of all: the cross-endorsement of each other by Democratic and Republican candidates for Supreme Court, thus limiting the choices available to voters. Jonathan
Lippman and Joseph Alessandro pulled that stunt in 2005, the two ma-jor parties essentially telling the voters of Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange Counties, “Like it or lump it,” all on Judith Kaye’s watch. Not so incidentally, the State Committee on Judicial Credentials found Judge Alessandro “Not Qualified.”
Those who have had the misfortune of going through divorce and having to deal with the Matrimonial Part of Westchester Supreme Court, know very well why the United States Attorney’s Office has been investigating
numerous complaints alleging steering and a RICO-type criminal enterprise between certain judges and particular matrimonial attorneys from certain law firms. Said judges and attorneys are accused of acting in concert with law
guardians and community-based agencies, in a conspiracy to bring about the transfer of huge sums of money for the purpose of denying custody, and marital assets, most often to the un-monied spouse in the litigation.
Last summer, literally scores of complainants who contacted federal authorities forced Judge Kaye to bring about a so-called “historic rotation,” sending all four judges then sitting in the Matrimonial Part elsewhere, and bringing in other judges. The tactic was nothing more than a temporary band-aid, and, in fact, one of the judges about whom there had been numerous complaints, Bruce Tolbert, has been reassigned to his old spot, much to the displeasure of those previously mishandled by him.
Un-monied spouses have been routinely kicked out of their marital homes, stripped of their contact with, and association with, their infant and school-aged children, often relegated to poverty and homelessness, by the proffering of totally false charges by the monied spouse, and the issuance of bogus temporary orders of protection by judges eager to further the conspiracy that fuels the matrimonial ‘cash cow.’ Judith Kaye is damn well aware of the situation and remains ineffectual with respect to a meaningful remedy.
Then there are the Family Courts, horrible little fiefdoms, particu-larly in New York City where judges routinely violate both the spirit and the intent of New York State’s Family Law, as well as the Constitutional rights of children and parents alike. Westchester residents who have been following the agonizing and outrageous actions of one such judge, Sara P. Schechter, in New York County Family Court, who has been succeeding in keeping Jing Kelly and her infant son, Tristram apart for more than four years now, know only too well what ‘hell-holes’ those courts can be. In the case of Jing, and Tristram Kelly, it is important to note that Judge Kaye has been made aware of Judge Schechter’s continued vicious, and unlawful activities in repeated defiance of the orders
and mandamus of the Appellate Division, First Department, but has failed to intervene. It’s about collegiality to the point where “The best interest of the child,” much less the parent’s and child’s civil rights, be damned; “Let’s spare the judge’s feelings at any cost.”
Finally, there’s Judge Kaye’s own tribunal, the state’s highest, The Court of Appeals. Once the epitome of intellectual, and judicial wisdom and integrity, it has become feeble, self-conscious, and political, void of the
courage, and spirit which once made it the forum of choice for dispute resolution between corporations from all over the world. It will forever be a matter of disgrace that the state’s highest court, given repeated opportunities
to set the ambiguity inherent in the Deprived Indifference Murder Statute, straight, failed to do so. First put on the books forty years ago, and repeatedly abused by prosecutors with increasing frequency, to send innocent individuals, acquitted of intentional murder, to prison for a crime they clearly did not commit, the issues involved with the statute remain essentially unresolved, despite a request by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, for certification.
Presently, State Supreme Court Judges earn approximately $135,000, as do County Court Judges. And, while it is true that their salaries have not been adjusted in many years, and clearly the majority of honest, hardworking jurists certainly deserve a substantial raise, there is no reason to believe that any fewer scoundrels and unqualified
jurists will result in the future from increases in compensation. Before she comes looking for more money, this “Judge Judy” needs to repair the product, ensuring that New Yorkers may once again have a reasonable, and realistic, expectation of justice, and fairness from the bench of whichever court they rely upon.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
FBI And Federal Prosecutors Having A Field Day In Westchester Election Fraud, Misappropriation Of Funds, And, Everywhere Arrogance.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Executives at People's say to expect 7 more branches opening in Westchester in 2007. For more information on People's Bank click here.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Brutality, Cruelty, and Lies...Chief Tumolo Must Be Fired!
“Sorry” Is Not Enough: How Many InnocentsMust Go To Prison? How Many Must Die?
Those who have read Mr. Deskovic’s accounts in The Westchester Guardian over the past several weeks know that he is neither bitter nor vindictive over what was done to him. Calls for Police Chief Tumolo’s removal are not about reprisal. They are about the safety and well-being of every man, woman and child in Peekskill. We do not believe that that responsibility should be left in the hands of someone who would do what Eugene Tumolo did to young Jeffrey Deskovic.
County Clerk on Why You Need A U.S. Passport
As new passport requirements go into effect I want to remind you that our office handles more passport applications than any office in this region. Why? Because we have a knowledgeable staff available from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. to handle not only routine applications, but also more complex cases.
Passports have always been a necessary document for those who traveled outside of the North American continent, but now a U.S. Passport will be required for travel even closer to home. So as you are planning your next family vacation or business trip, here are some things to keep in mind:
The New Rules: As of January 23, 2007, everyone, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda will be required to have a passport or other acceptable documentation in order to enter the United States. As early as January 1, 2008, the requirements
will be extended to those traveling by land or sea and many cruise lines are already requiring a passport to travel
to any destination outside of the United States.
Do not wait until the last minute: Apply now. Routine passport applications generally take approximately six weeks. For an additional charge, expedited service will result in your obtaining your passport in three weeks. But only in emergency circumstances can a passport application be processed more quickly, so do not delay.
Be sure to bring the proper documentation: Please review our website, www.westchesterclerk.com, to learn what documents you will need to bring with you when you apply for a passport. Be sure to bring original documents with raised seals to avoid having to make a second trip. If you have questions, never hesitate to call
our office at 995-3086 between 8 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Note special requirements for children: In order to protect our children from the threat of child abduction and parental kidnapping, children applying for a U.S. passport must be present in our office and accompanied by their parents or legal guardian at the time of application.
Information about how to apply for a U.S. Passport is available on the Westchester County Clerk’s website, www.westchesterclerk.com, by calling 995-3086, or by traveling to the Office of the Westchester County Clerk, 110 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., White Plains, NY. We hope you will give us the opportunity to help you with your U.S. Passport application.
Timothy C. Idoni
Westchester County Clerk
Legislator Responds to Schwartz Article
Thanks for your comments. I was actually unaware of the Malone incident but have expressed concerns about the transfer of the permitting operation to the Police Department for wholly other reasons.
You may recall that I was the proximate cause of the 1997 state law change limiting gun licenses in Westchester to five years, etc.
At the time, I studied and was uncomfortable with the “administrative department” approach and chose to leave the court as the issuing authority.
While my mind is open about the new proposal, I still tend to prefer the “checks and balances” approach of
application filings administration at the county clerk, recommendations by the police and decisions by the court. I
didn’t think this major decision can be made in a few days at the legislation committee on a “home-rule” request.
I will suggest a task force of legislators to study the issue.
Greenburgh County Legislator
Work, Not Welfare
DSS pays $68 biweekly for ongoing needs. They pay $271 a month for rent (where can you live in Westchester
County for $271? The average room rents for $500+). You paper spoke of those cashing out $155 for $90, I don’t know what the men in the shelters do with that money but most people living outside the shelter are trying to come up with $500 to keep a roof over their heads ($271 + 136 + 90 = $497).
The only place an unemployed person can stay and be sure the rent is paid in full is the shelters. DSS would rather pay $3,400 a month for a cot, to criminalize and dehumanize those men. Real employment, not Workfare, is the answer to a waste of taxpayers’ money.
More on New Castle Police
Recently I read Rene Smith’s article on Jan. 25th about corruption in the New Castle Police department.
I find this type of abuse and corruption very troubling and hope that this type of activity is investigated fully. If this is found out to be true, this is outrageous for a police department to be engaged in this activity. I would also like to know what is being done to the police chief in New Castle. If this criminal activity is going on, one must wonder, what else is going on in the New Castle police department or any of New Castle’s other government agencies. is must be investigated fully to either bring the appropriate people to justice or clear the air as to what is going on.
This story is very troubling and I hope you do some follow up stories on this very important issue. Not
only for other police department’s but for citizens as well. All people need to be reassured that our government
agencies are obeying the law and that we don’t have rouge police departments out there operating in a criminal environment. ank you and I hope to see a follow up story as to the findings.
Thomas R. Colavito
Reader Loves Judge’s Column
Just a line to let you know how much I enjoy Judge Kenneth Lange’s articles. I look forward to reading them
each time I pick up the newest issue of your paper.
In Our Opinion...
It’s almost laughable that Albert Pirro, getting his law license restored, made the front page of the only daily newspaper in Westchester. We say almost, because its restoration by the Appellate Division, Second Department of State Supreme Court, is just so typical of the corruption, and lack of adherence to fundamental principles of law, characteristic of the New York State Court System after twelve years of Pataki influence. The re-issuance was a perfunctory gesture, at best, given the fact that Albert Pirro never stopped practicing law, in spite of all of the prohibitions attached to his gift three-year suspension, issued May 12, 2003, fully three years after he was convicted of 38 felony counts in Federal District Court, June 22, 2000.
Within sixteen days of the issuance of the suspension, that clearly barred him from representing either clients, or his own, interests before any governmental body, Albert Pirro was appearing before the City of White Plains, Planning Board, and continued to do same over and over again, as official minutes of municipal agencies reveal. If, in fact, Albert shares anything with his spouse, it’s their common contempt for the Law. Albert and Jeanine Pirro each believe they are above the Law.
It is the criminal, and antisocial behavior of individuals such as the Pirros, and the loathsome failure of a corrupt and venal state judiciary to respond under the Rules of Law that are surely brought to bear against ordinary citizens, that causes the cynicism and distrust for the “System” most intelligent individuals harbor today. One would have to be stupid, in light of what has gone on, not to realize there is a two-tiered system, one for the wealthy, and politically influential, and another for the hardworking Joes and Janes struggling to raise their families and pay their taxes.
And, speaking about taxes, it was the failure of Mr. and Mrs. Pirro to pay more than a million dollars in taxes, using corporate funds for personal expenses, without declaring those funds as personal income, that ultimately, after ten years of doing it, (1988 through 1997) landed only Albert, in prison. The tax fraud might, in fact, have been going on for many more years. However, even the IRS is constrained by a ten-year statute of limitations. It should be understood that the tax fraud involved joint tax returns for nine of the ten years involved. Then-DA Jeanine Pirro, repeatedly said, “I didn’t know what I was signing.” Everyone knew that was a lie.
At trial, it came out that Mrs. Pirro, the sitting District Attorney, was involved in no fewer than seven separate tax-evading schemes, “hands on.” Naturally, the same daily newspaper that now headlines the restoration of Albert Pirro’s law license, never published any of the information that clearly implicated Mrs. Pirro. It just so happened that the president, and publisher of The Journal News was Gary Sherlock, a business partner of Albert Pirro.
Some have asked over the years, why Mrs. Pirro was not included in the federal indictment, given the significant, day-to-day role she played in the scheme over so many years? The simple fact of the matter was that United States Attorney, MaryJo White, for all of the smarts and toughness she brought to the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, completely missed the mark with the Pirros. When the facts regarding the Pirro’s blatant tax fraud first became known to White’s office in December of 1997, Jeanine Pirro had just won re-election to the DA’s Office by a two-to-one plurality. What she didn’t know, and never took the time to figure
out, was that it was a fixed race, against a candidate nobody knew, who was willing to stand in at the behest of Larry Schwartz, the real County Executive.
Mary Jo White made two serious miscalculations, each of which would produce very damaging outcomes for numerous innocent Westchester residents and taxpayers, as she decided to preclude Mrs. Pirro from indictment. White’s first miscalculation was that the People of Westchester, who would ultimately serve on the jury in any tax fraud trial that might be held in Federal District Court in White Plains, were so enamored, so in love with Jeanine, that to include her in the prosecution, even though she was equally liable, would be to risk losing the case altogether.
She obviously did not hold a very high opinion of our intelligence, or our morality. White’s second miscalculation was the notion that Mrs. Pirro was any less a sociopathic creature than her husband. She believed that if she could convict Albert of a massive ten-year joint tax fraud, surely his wife, the sitting DA would be compelled to step down, or at least, would not run again. Of course, that was what might have been expected from an individual of healthy mentality, and some level of morality. She was wrong on both counts.
Finally, although convicted of 38 felony counts, the original indictment involved 29 more, for a total of 67. It was shameful that former District Court Judge, Barrington Parker, Jr. who now sits in the United States Court of Appeals, for the Second Circuit, saw fit to cut Albert Pirro a break, redacting the last 29 counts, all of which were far more egregious, as they involved the ripping off of the Hudson Valley Hospital Center for more than $600,000, a despicable act against the poor people of Peekskill carried out between 1991 and 1993.
No, Albert Pirro’s getting his “License To Steal” back is hardly front-page news. He’s been doing just fine without it.
By Richard Blassberg
Incredible Struggle to Reunite Mother and Child Continues
(Ed. Note: Last Wednesday, Robert Wayburn, attorney for the parents of Jing Kelly, grandparents of Tristram Kelly, Ling Mei Xing and Hua Xing, contacted The Westchester Guardian to inform us that his clients, and Jing, would be appearing in Family Court once again before Judge Sara P. Schechter the following day, and to update ongoing developments in the continuing battle to reunite Jing and Tristram.
The comments of Mr. Wayburn, who readers will recall has been involved with the case from the very beginning, are reproduced here in the form in which they were conveyed.)
“It is expected that Jing’s mother, Ling Mei Xing, will testify on behalf of her Visitation Petition and that the Legal Aid Society social worker, Ms. Lauter, will testify regarding her visit to California to see Tristram one year ago. That will, hopefully, conclude the Dispositional Hearing. ACS may have a report from California as Douglas
and Corrine Kelly have been bringing Tristram to a therapist there on their own. Jing has not seen her son Tristram since January 3, 2003.
Fourteen months have elapsed since the Appellate Division First Department reversed the March 20, 2003 aware of custody of Tristram to Gail Hiler and directed Judge Schechter to hold an immediate visitation inquiry and an expedited Dispositional Hearing.
Instead of complying with that ruling, Judge Schechter, to this very day, has forbidden this mother to contact her son in California and has forbidden visitation both to her and to the maternal grandparents. The premise on which this judge has made these unconscionable rulings is that Tristram may be emotionally disrupted by learning that his true birth mother and only surviving grandparents, all of whom live in New York City, want to reestablish contact with him and eventually gain his return.
RATHER THAN DO JUSTICE BY THIS MOTHER AND CHILD, JUDGE SCHECHTER ERRONEOUSLY PERMITTED THE PATERNAL UNCLE (unauthorized caretaker of Tristram since July of 2003) TO INTERVENE IN THE NEGLECT DISPOSITIONAL HEARING AND TO CALL WITNESSES IN HIS OWN RIGHT AND TO INTRODUCE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE. This ruling was also reversed on appeal by the Appellate Division First Department.
Perhaps the day will come that Judge Schechter heeds the admonition of the Appellate Division First Department in a MANDAMUS ruling in early August of 2006, DIRECTING HER ATTENTION TO THE PRIOR VISITATION RULING IN THE INITIAL APPEAL DECISION OF NOVEMBER 2005.
ONE WOULD THINK THAT A FAMILY COURT JUDGE WOULD INDEED FOLLOW THE LAW, ESPECIALLY WHEN REMINDED AND REDIRECTED BY AN APPELLATE COURT TO DO SO.
BUT THERE IS LITTLE HOPE THAT THIS WILL BE DONE. TOMORROW WILL NO DOUBT BE ANOTHER TRAGIC DAY IN THE LIFE OF THIS MOTHER AND CHILD AND THIS FAMILY COURT JUDGE WILL, NO DOUBT, AGAIN SCHEME TO IMPROPERLY DENY THIS MOTHER AND CHILD THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO ASSOCIATION AS A FAMILY.
I have been asked by several media sources to comment on the January 23, 2007 decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in a case entitled IN RE ADOPTION OF A.M.H.
MY COMMENT IS THAT JING KELLY’S CASE IS EQUALLY AS TRAGIC AND UNJUST. The parents in that case WHO ALSO ARE CHINESE fought for many years to regain custody of their daughter and finally have prevailed. It is gratifying to see that the highest court in the State of Tennessee has put matters
aright for this family and my heart goes out to Shao-Qiang and Qin Luo He that their valiant struggle to regain contact with their daughter, Anna Mae He, now 7, is successfully concluded.
That case involved an improper determination that the parents had “abandoned” their daughter by failing to visit her for a period exceeding four months (the “4 month rule”) and that, accordingly, Anna Mae He could be adopted against their wishes and would not be returned to their care.
It seems that the trial court was prejudiced and biased in that the Chinese parents intended to return to China with their child and it also seems that the trial court favored the caretakers of the child as they were American and better off financially. THIS SAME BIAS HAS BEEN ILLUSTRATED IN THE JING KELLY CASE THROUGHOUT THE LITIGATION HISTORY.”
(Ed. Note: It should be noted that there has never been an issue of abandonment in the Jing and Tristram Kelly case. In point of fact, prior to removing Tristram from the United States to protect him from his violent and abusive father, Jing and Tristram’s separation was brought about by New York County ACS unlawfully.
And, following their return after 18 months in China, upon the death of Craig Kelly, they were separated a second time by the actions of District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, who arranged for the child to be kidnapped from Vancouver, Canada by his maternal aunt, Gail Hiler, more than four years ago.)
“JING AND TRISTRAM SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WAIT EIGHT YEARS FOR VINDICATION OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO BE A FAMILY, TOGETHER, AS MOTHER AND SON. THIS CASE IN TENNESSEE HAS GIVEN JING KELLY RENEWED HOPE THAT ULTIMATELY SHE WILL PREVAIL IN HER LEGAL BATTLE (but alas, I feel it will be left to appellate courts to again undo the harmful and unlawful and improper rulings of a rogue family court trial judge).
PERHAPS THESE TWO CASES WILL GENERATE SUFFICIENT PUBLIC INTEREST IN WHAT GOES ON IN FAMILY COURT TO OBTAIN NECESSARY MODIFICATION AND REFORM SO THAT FAMILY COURT TRIAL JUDGES NO LONGER FEEL FREE TO BASE IMPORTANT FAMILY/CHILD DETERMINATIONS ON HOW THEY FEEL ABOUT THE PARTIES BUT INSTEAD
ARE AT LONG LAST REQUIRED TO OBSERVE AND APPLY THE LAW AS IT IS WRITTEN. WE ARE SEEING FAR TOO MANY EXAMPLES OF TRAGIC, NEEDLESS SEPARATION OF CHILDREN AND PARENTS ON THE PART OF THE FAMILY COURT. APPELLATE REMEDIES WHEN GRANTED DO NOT RESTORE THE LOST TIME, THE LOST CHILDHOOD, THE LOST PARENTHOOD.”