Seddio's money trail
The evidence mounts that former Assemblyman Frank Seddio committed wholesale violations of judicial ethics rules when he began throwing money around as the Brooklyn Democratic Party was deciding whether to tap him for a surrogate's judgeship.
Campaign filings indicate he doled out far more money to the machine in his quest for elevation to the bench than previously reported.
The party bosses shoehorned Seddio into a judgeship created in a back-room deal in June by the Legislature and Gov. Pataki. According to judicial ethics rules, Seddio was barred from political activity, including campaign donations, once he was a candidate for the bench. Exactly when that happened is unclear, but on Aug. 10 Crain's New York Business magazine reported "word is spreading" that Seddio "would happily become the nominee." Shortly thereafter, he was generously using his money to win the support of fellow Dems.
Records show Seddio gave $250 to Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez on Aug. 17; $250 to Councilman James Gennaro on Aug. 19; $5,000 and $7,500 to the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club on Aug. 22 and Sept. 1; $5,000 to the judicial campaign of Larry Knipel on Sept. 1; $2,000 to the judicial campaign of Richard Velasquez on Sept. 2 and $2,000 to Councilman Lew Fidler, also a district leader, on Sept. 6.
Fidler and the other district leaders designated Seddio the party's candidate on Sept. 15. Thereafter, as disclosed here last week, Seddio gave a total of $10,000 more to the Jefferson Club, the Assembly campaign of longtime aide Alan Maisel and state Sen. Carl Kruger.
All told, from what's been discoverable, Seddio doled out $32,000 in well-placed donations, not that far off from the perhaps mythical $50,000 that judgeships are commonly believed to cost in Brooklyn. More than ever, this is a case for District Attorney Charles Hynes and the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. 2/12/06 Daily News Editorial