February 13th, 2006
The Daily News focuses on the dealings of Frank Seddio, a new surrogate judge thanks to Democratic Party bosses. After the state created a new Surrogate Court seat in Brooklyn, Seddio won the endorsement of Democratic Party leaders for the post. And the paper’s editorial said, it may not be due to Seddio’s legal prowess: “Campaign filings indicate he doled out far more money to the machine in his quest for elevation to the bench than previously reported.” The paper found he gave out at least $32,000, including $22,500 to the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club, $5,000 to the judicial campaign of Larry Knipel, $2,000 to the judicial campaign of Richard Velasquez and $2,000 to Councilmember Lew Fidler, also a district leader.
Seddio did, however, join with his fellow surrogate, Margarita Lopez Torres, who won election as a reformer, to fire Louis Rosenthal, counsel to the court’s public administrator. The state Court of Appeals last June removed Surrogate Michael Feinberg from the bench for improperly awarding Rosenthal nearly millions of dollars in fees, but Rosenthal had managed to hang on to his job until earlier this month.
In case this all sounds fairly arcane, It Takes a Blogger reminds us why it matters: “The Surrogate Court is the cash cow of the local political machines. Political bosses and their cronies have amassed fortunes from the fees for court work assigned by that court.”