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.

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