Monday, January 01, 2007

 

Rumors Swirl Seddio to Turn In Gavel

Rumor mongers claim that Surrogate Court Judge Frank Seddio is planning on resigning. It may be hard to believe, but working in the black robes may not be as much fun as one would think.

So appears to be the mantra of one-time assemblymember and current Brooklyn Surrogate Court Judge Frank Seddio, who has allegedly voiced his displeasure with his new post to a number of political colleagues, a move that has opened up a Pandora’s Box of rumors that he is thinking of resigning.

According to a recent editorial in the Daily News as well as an article in the New York Law Journal, Seddio is planning on leaving for a host of reasons ranging from sheer boredom at the job to allegations that he is stepping down to ward off an investigation by the Commission of Judicial Misconduct.

There are also widespread whispers that a number of judges are preparing to fill the void once Seddio officially announces his resignation.

When contacted, Seddio would not comment on the rumors.

But those in Brooklyn’s political circle believe that Seddio is protesting too much and that he isn’t planning to step down.

“He’s not going anywhere,” said one close colleague who wished not to be named. “Frank’s one of those guys who wears his heart on his sleeve and he says what he feels. He’s said that the job is boring and that he’s living a monkish existence, which is bad for a guy who likes to schmooze and be with his friends all the time. But that doesn’t mean he’s resigning.”

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“He might not be meant to be a judge, but everyone I talk to from the bar association tells me he’s doing a good job,” the insider said.

After being an assemblyman for seven years, Seddio came to the Surrogate court post mired in controversy, with challengers claiming that the judgeship he filled was created in the fall – late in the political season — preventing any other viable candidates from running for the position.

Albany’s “date game” ensured that the first judge for the new spot would be selected by the reigning political party which, in Brooklyn’s case, is the Kings County Democratic Party.

The party’s executive committee selected Seddio in September 2005 after the man who was expected to warm the bench, State Assemblyman Joe Lentol, opted out.

Seddio was elected to the bench without any opposition. In January, he began sharing the Kings County Surrogate Court with Judge Margarita Lopez Torres, who won her spot following a three-way primary.

Interviewed last year, Seddio looked at his new post with optimism, claiming that he hoped to change the scandal-scarred Surrogate Court, the administrative body that holds sway over estate probates as well as adoptions.

Historically, Surrogate Court judgeships were considered the cash cow of patronage positions because of the judge’s power to dole out lucrative estate cases to attorneys.

“My main goal in 2006 will be in working on improving the image of the court, and I hope to do that by being a fair and honest judge in a court that requires compassion and a need to take care of the little guys,” he said.

Currently, it is unclear if the Commission of Judicial Misconduct was looking into allegations that Seddio gave money from his Assembly campaign fund to State Senator Carl Kruger and Assemblymember Alan Maisel last year.

Critics allege that he gave the money out after he announced he was running for the Surrogate Court, which is illegal.

Experts, however, believe that even if he is found guilty of misconduct – which is a long shot — he would only get a public admonishment and nothing more, not enough of a reason to step down from his post.

By Thomas Tracy 12/22/2006
Couier Life Paper

 

With Friends Like These

I'm really not sure what this says about the State Senate, but the first wave of affirmations of the GOP Majority Leader came from labor unions.
Now here's one from a Senate Democrat, Carl Kruger of Brooklyn:
Recent reports putting into question the integrity and even-handedness of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno are both appalling and ironic when you consider his strong commitment to openness and fairness within the Legislature and on behalf of the people of New York State.... His emphasis on bipartisan dialogue demonstrates his belief in the democratic process – a process that will vindicate him when all the facts are aired.

One thing to keep in mind: When legislative leaders fall, it tends to be pretty abrupt. And Room Eight's Yoda, who has a pretty good track record of predictions and a baseball cap to prove it, has called this one for Skelos.
Posted by Ben Smith at December 26, 2006 11:07 AM

Comments
Kruger is a slimeball piece de merde, so his endorsement of Bruno is hardly reassuring. What a DINO brown-nosing a**wipe! Thanks for sitting in on the Green '01 mayoral campaign's "secret" meetings on hitting Ferrer on Sharpton without revealing that you had already switched sides and endorsed Ferrer, Carl, you treacherous viper!
Posted by: Some Donkeys Don't Forget, Either at December 26, 2006 11:19 AM
are you fuckin'kiddin' me?!
Posted by: jaq at December 26, 2006 11:22 AM
No, and Kruger's belated cluck-clucking over the below-the-belt flyer reprinting the Sean Delonas cartoon of Ferrer and Sharpton -- Carl clearly was the leak to the Daily News -- was hypocrisy on stilts. Two-faced doesn't even begin to get at the bottomless depths to which that hack will sink to serve his own perceived interests!
Posted by: Freddy Kruger at December 26, 2006 11:25 AM
Thanks for the compliment Ben. Doesn't it say a lot about the Senate Republicans that when Bruno needs help, he asks Dennis Rivera & Randi Weingarten. Bruno apparently know that traditional groups that might have influence among Republicans (Business Council, Conservative Party) have less clout with Republicans than unions do.
Posted by: Yoda at December 26, 2006 11:28 AM

Oh, as far as Kruger's statement - this is one of the rare cases of a rat jumping ON a sinking ship.
Posted by: Yoda at December 26, 2006 11:30 AM

why insult a rat by comparing it to kruger?
Posted by: anon at December 26, 2006 12:01 PM

Kruger was the one pushing for Mark Green's mayorial campaign to put out the racist flyer of Ferrer kissing Sharpton ass from the Post cartoon
Posted by: Anonymous at December 26, 2006 01:53 PM
Do these guys know that Bruno is about to be indicted for felonies?
Posted by: Anonymous at December 26, 2006 02:11 PM

when is someone going to start investigating keugers fundraising with the real estate and russian business interest - sidepoint - check out if carl ever graduated from tilden as he claims -- everything about him is phony - even his alleged family
Posted by: anon at December 26, 2006 03:52 PM

looks like someone is trying to cash in on some extra member item dollars if bruno survives, which seems increasingly unlikely
Posted by: Anonymous at December 26, 2006 05:15 PM

if there is a way to cash in - kruger will
Posted by: anon at December 26, 2006 06:44 PM

How come Kruger has so much money in his campaign account. Why so much from realestate? Why does this nut make all his workers clean off their desks every night?
Posted by: Anonymous at December 26, 2006 06:54 PM
Kruger has an absolute fortune in his campaign account! And when has he ever had a competitive election??? I really don't want to know what he did to get those donations.
Posted by: Anonymous at December 26, 2006 09:41 PM

before they tear tilden high down, someone ought to check the records. ck claims to be a graduate. another lie of his. when will the public wake up an realize that kruger is like a house of cards that is ready to topple. carl.s phoney tilde and college graduation stories are just the start.
Posted by: anon at December 26, 2006 10:07 PM

I wonder what Kruger did for Bruno that earned him $500,000 in member item money last year....a fortune for a Senate Dem.
Posted by: Anonymous at December 26, 2006 10:57 PM

Kruger would turn Republican if the Democrats pick up a few more seats and there was a tie.
This lowlife wants to run for controller or public advocate as a Democrat?
Dream on dummy
Posted by: Anonymous at December 27, 2006 09:22 AM

How many months until Kruger changes parties and then follows in the footsteps of Espada, Mendez and Nancy Lorraine Hoffman?
Posted by: Anonymous at December 27, 2006 08:20 PM

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

 

Don't let the door hit you, Frank

NY DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL 12/04/06

Last February, we predicted that Frank Seddio, then newly installed as a Brooklyn surrogate judge, might well "go down as having had one of the shortest judgeships in New York history" because of ethical improprieties uncovered by, well, us.
And correct we seem to have been. According to pals, Seddio wants to bail out of his 14-year term right-quick because, they say, he discovered that presiding over the estates of the dead while handing out rich patronage assignments is terribly, terribly boring.

Which is the kind of patently unbelievable thing you say when you have been caught red-handed violating the canons of ethics, prompting the state Commission on Judicial Conduct to take a close look at bouncing you from the bench. Rather than suffer such a disgrace, you hang up your robes, declaring that the job you once wanted so badly, a $136,700-a-year post coveted by scores of your fellow Democratic Party hacks, is an intolerable yawn.

Seddio is a stalwart of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club and was serving as an assemblyman from Canarsie when Gov. Pataki and legislative leaders created a new surrogate judgeship for Brooklyn last year and timed the opening so that party bosses, rather than voters, would fill the position. Seddio went after it hot and heavy - with money.

At the time, he had a healthy Assembly campaign bank account, and he spread $55,090 of it generously among party chums, the Thomas Jefferson club and local groups. Unfortunately, judicial candidates are barred from making any political contributions (even to honorable charitable organizations) to avoid the perception, if not the reality, that judgeships can be bought. It's an offense that can get you tossed from the bench.

Seddio did not return phone calls seeking to discuss his career plans, but close associates say he's angling for a new berth in the Brooklyn political sphere. As we said in February, in an editorial headlined "Don't get too comfy, Judge Seddio," easy come, easy go.

Monday, August 28, 2006

 

Why go to the meeting Carl?

ENDORSEMENT RECALLS LOBSTER HOUSE MEETING: Councilman Al Vann, who endorsed Freddy Ferrer for mayor in 2001, is backing Council Speaker Gifford Miller this time. But State Senator Carl Kruger and Councilman Lew Fidler are backing Ferrer.

Astute newspaper readers noticed that Fidler’s endorsement (leaked by the Ferrer campaign) showed up on page 2 of the New York Post while Kruger’s was buried on page 22. As someone cleverly noted, it’s not the first time Fidler and Kruger weren’t on the same page.

Kruger’s endorsement reminded us of his 2001 endorsement of Ferrer, which came after Kruger attended a controversial strategy session of the Mark Green campaign at Nick’s Lobster House in Sheepshead Bay. Though Kruger denies this, numerous sources have told us that it was Kruger who animatedly advised Green’s people to tie Ferrer to Al Sharpton in order to hurt Ferrer among white voters.

At that meeting, sources said, Green’s people rejected Kruger’s advice, prompting the senator to walk out and endorse Ferrer shortly thereafter. The irony is that the Green campaign ultimately took Kruger’s advice a step too far, anonymously producing an allegedly racist flier that included a Post cartoon of Ferrer kissing Sharpton’s behind.

Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes investigated, but never brought charges. The campaign may have broken campaign finance laws by not disclosing the expenditure for printing the flier or thousands of phone calls to white Brooklyn voters.

Kruger maintains it was Green’s people who suggested the Sharpton strategy. Kruger says he advised against it and left the meeting when Green’s people refused to drop the idea.

Brooklyn Politics by Erik Engquist
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze4mzty/id10.html
February 14, 2005

Sunday, August 27, 2006

 

A sign of things to come?

Queens Assembly Race Spurs Dispute on TacticsThree weeks after Election Day, a State Assembly election in Queens has produced a forgery investigation, charges of questionable campaign tactics and a protest meeting of civic activists.

The controversy surrounds campaign mailings and literature of John F. Duane... in southeast Queens. . .

Two other Assembly aids, Carl Kruger and Bernard Catcher, a partner with Mr. Genovese in a Brooklyn travel agency, worked full time in the Duane campaign.
New York Times, November 23, 1982

John Duane: A Reformer Goes Sour
Village Voice



Duane's enemies and former friends agree that his campaign became ugly - false and unsigned litature, unauthorized endorsements and signatures, a last minute negative blitz - in mid October, shortly after the Political Professionals from Assembly Speakers Stanly Fink's Democratic Campaign committee stepped in. . .

One of Duane volunteer worker who watched the campaign change described it this way: "We were running a door to door campaign until the last couple of weeks, when Pink's office suddenly figured they could win this seat. They putting thousands of dollars and sent over the so called pros. Very shortly, these fellows were running the campaign. Some of what they did was good, but a few days before the election they put out pieces we wanted nothing to do with, half-truths, and typical last minute campaign stuff. They had to bring in a busload of kids from Brooklyn to have it out because the volunteers wouldn't touch it." He paused a minute then added, "John margin was substantial. He could have won without all that crap hauled in by Fink's guys . . .

That crap: included according to Prescott, Queens weeklies, and some of Duane's fellow reformers, included a racially polarizing piece which referred ominously to Rochdale Village, a mostly black cooperative development, an unsigned leaflet asking why his opponent Prescott did not vote against Medicaid funding for abortion (Duane is pro choice), palm cards and posters on election day linking Duane to Republican state senator, Frank Padavain's popularity, and another saying Prescott had lied about Duane's opposition to the death penalty; and bulk mailing without any return address (a violation of U.S. Postal regulations). . .

In friends and allies he has offered the feeble excuse that he "couldn't stop" the Genovese crew, and that he lost control of his campaign.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

 

Kruger Responds

State Senator Carl Kruger took exception to our recent revisiting of the end of the 2001 mayor's race and in particular to the point -- which we did not make -- that he played a role in the Sharpton-Ferrer flyer.
What we reported, and stand by, is that he played a key role in Green's South Brooklyn operation. His complaint, it seems to us, is with the Bloomberg campaign, as quoted in New York Magazine.

Anyway, here's what he wrote, minus an obligatory Mark Twain quote.

"Today a Politicker 'blog' repeated the lie that I was involved in the 'racist' Green campaign flyer. These are the facts. I attended a lunch of Mark Green supporters and campaign staff where the idea of such a flyer surfaced. I told them in the strongest terms that it was wrong. After leaving the lunch I contacted Fernando Ferrer. I then notified the Green campaign that I could not support Green and would endorse Ferrer for Mayor. The day after the lunch I campaigned with Fernando Ferrer with Assemblyman Peter Abbate at the AMICO senior center in Brooklyn. I sincerely hope that this finally ends the travels of this baseless lie."

Perhaps somebody else who knows his or her way around Nick's Lobster House can straighten the whole thing out for us.

UPDATE: Hmm. We've just been sent a November 2, 2001 Daily News story in which one Brooklyn politician defends the decision to use that flyer:

"My perception was, prejudice is in the eyes of the beholder. If someone is supporting someone's campaign, there's no reason on Earth why someone else can't point that out," Senator Kruger said.

3,23,05 Politicker

 

Krugerflyergate

The Anti-Ferrer ’Toon That Won’t Die Resurfaces in ’05 Race
The politically explosive flyer that helped decide the 2001 mayoral race—the one with the Post cartoon of Fernando Ferrer kissing a flatulent Al Sharpton’s buttocks—is back. Renegade Mark Green supporters distributed the flyer during the ’01 primary, upsetting Ferrer, whose backers withheld support from nominee Green, helping Michael Bloomberg win.

Now some Dems are whispering that the flyer’s designer, Micah Lasher, a consultant whose company is a subsidiary of Bloomberg ad firm Squier Knapp, is doing the mayor’s campaign mail. In fact, Bloomberg’s advisers were so worried about flyer blowback that, after some debate, they had Lasher sign a notarized paper saying he’d recused himself from working with them. Still, the flyer’s power lives on: Asked about Lasher, Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser blasted Ferrer for campaigning with State Senator Carl Kruger, also allegedly behind the flyer: “Mr. Ferrer was outraged by the flyers, but now he embraces one of its masterminds.” Ferrer’s spokesman said he welcomes new supporters.
—Greg Sargent NY Magazine

 

Kruger and the Flyer

Those Flyers
What amazes us most about this New York Magazine item, which revisits those notorious "racist" flyers from the 2001 campaign, is how Freddy has evidently forgiven what once appeared to be a rather personal wound; while Mike Bloomberg, the sole beneficiary of the Democrats' racial meltdown, is now keeping the grievance alive.

To explain: Freddy, as the New York piece points out, essentially launched this year's campaign by embracing Carl Kruger, a South Brooklyn pol who played a central role in Mark Green's much-criticized appeal to white Brooklyn voters.

Mike, meanwhile, seems to have pursued rather extreme means of distancing himself from the affair. The kid who did the mechanical work of designing the flyer, Micah Lasher, is now a political consultant. (When we say "kid," we mean that, as we recall, he was 19, and an undergrad at NYU, in 2001.) His partner is doing work for Bloomberg. And Team Bloomberg is petrified of the flyer's taint:
"Bloomberg's advisors were so worried about flyer blowback that, after some debate, they had Lasher sign a notarized paper saying he'd recused himself from working with them."

Notarized?! This strikes us as quite a precedent. What better way to validate the charge that the flyer was racist, toxic, a page from Der Sturmer? And what better way to signal that you'll be an easy target for similar accusations in October?
March 22, 05 Politicker

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