Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stench From Activities Involving NYC Public Administrators Remains Unrelenting As Allegations Of More Ripoffs Of Dead People Without Wills Continue

In The Bronx, New York, the New York Daily News reports:

  • Surrogate Judge Lee Holzman let cronies loot the estates of Bronx residents who died without wills, the court's watchdog agency charged Monday. Holzman repeatedly approved dubious fees for a lawyer pal who was his chief campaign fund-raiser and allowed estate cases to languish for up to 10 years, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct charged.

  • Commission probers recommended the agency's board take disciplinary action against Holzman. The penalty could range from reprimand to removal.

  • The charges come two years after the Daily News exposed Holzman's lax oversight of estates in the Bronx, revealing fees the judge approved for his top fund-raiser, lawyer Michael Lippman. Lippman, who raised $125,000 for Holzman's 2001 campaign, was for years counsel to the Bronx public administrator, whose office oversees estates.(1)

  • In a complaint Monday, the commission said that between 1995 and mid-2009, Holzman repeatedly approved Lippman's fees without documentation that Lippman had done anything to earn them. Over several years, Lippman collected "advances" on these fees at a time when he faced daunting debts, including foreclosure on a $400,000 mortgage and $1 million in gambling losses.

  • Last year, Lippman was arrested on charges of billing for $300,000 in work he hadn't performed. He's denied wrongdoing and awaits trial.

For more, see Surrogate Judge Lee Holzman let lawyer pal loot estates, panel finds.

(1) The stench is not limited to The Bronx. See NYC Controller Urges All Brooklyn Residents To "Make Out A Will ASAP!" To Avoid Risk Of Getting Fleeced By Public Administrator's Office.

For one New York Times story in this regard dating back over 20 years involving the alleged illegal clipping of dead people, see 3 in Surrogate's Office Charged With Thefts:

  • Three investigators from the Brooklyn and Bronx Public Administrators' offices were arrested [] and charged with falsifying public records and stealing valuables from rooms they believed had been occupied by people who died without leaving a will.

For similar stories of alleged state-sanctioned ripoffs of the dead, as well as the elderly, infirm and others deemed by government bureaucrats to be unable to take care of themselves, see:

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