Friday, July 17, 2015

Attorney Peter F. Anderson is Disbarred

Matter of Anderson
2015 NY Slip Op 05597
Decided on June 30, 2015
Appellate Division, First Department
Per Curiam
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Decided on June 30, 2015 SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION First Judicial Department 
John W. Sweeny, Jr., Justice Presiding, 
Karla Moskowitz 
Leland G. DeGrasse 
Darcel D. Clark 
Barbara R. Kapnick,Justices.


[*1]In the Matter of Peter F. Anderson (admitted as Peter Floyd Anderson, Jr.), a suspended attorney: Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Peter F. Anderson, Respondent.

Disciplinary proceedings instituted by the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Peter F. Anderson, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the First Judicial Department on July 26, 1982.

Jorge Dopico, Chief Counsel, Departmental
Disciplinary Committee, New York
(Kevin M. Doyle, of counsel), for petitioner.
No appearance for respondent.

Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the First Judicial Department on July 26, 1982, under the name Peter Floyd Anderson Jr. At all times relevant to this proceeding, respondent has maintained an office for the practice of law within the First Judicial Department.
The Departmental Disciplinary Committee seeks an order, pursuant to Rules of the Appellate Division, First Department (22 NYCRR) § 603.4(g), disbarring respondent from the practice of law, because he was suspended under 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(ii) and (iii), and did not appear or apply to the Committee or this Court for a hearing or reinstatement within six months from the date of the order of suspension. Respondent was suspended based upon substantial admissions under oath of misconduct and other uncontested evidence of professional misconduct that he misappropriated and/or converted third-party funds, improperly made ATM cash withdrawals from his account, and commingled personal funds with client funds while $200,000 in tax liens had been entered against him.
The Committee served its suspension motion upon respondent and the notice of motion included the following warning:

"PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.4(g), an attorney who is suspended and who has not appeared or applied in writing to the Committee or the Court for a hearing or reinstatement for six months from the date of the order of suspension, may be disbarred without further notice."

Notwithstanding being served with the interim suspension motion, respondent did not appear on the motion.
By order entered on October 7, 2014, this Court granted the Committee's motion and suspended respondent from the practice of law, effective immediately, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.4(e)(1)(ii), and (iii), and until further order of the Court (123 AD3d 86 [1st Dept 2014]). On October 14, 2014, the Committee served respondent with notice of entry enclosing a copy of the Court's order of suspension sending it by first class mail and certified mail, and it was received by respondent on October 27, 2014, as evidenced by the signed return receipt.
Although respondent was served with the motion to disbar by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, no response has been received.
Accordingly, inasmuch as more than six months have elapsed since this Court's October 7, 2014 suspension order, and respondent has failed to appear or contact the Committee or this Court for a hearing or reinstatement, the Committee's motion for an order disbarring respondent, pursuant to 22 NYCRR 603.4(g), should be granted and respondent's name stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law in the State of New York, effective immediately (see Matter of Ayu, 123 AD3d 44 [1st Dept 2014]; Matter of Cohen, 102 AD3d 55 [1st Dept 2012]; Matter of Bambury, 91 AD3d 141 [1st Dept 2011]).
All concur.
Order filed [June 30, 2015].
Sweeny, J.P., Moskowitz, DeGrasse, Clark, and Kapnick, JJ.
Respondent disbarred and his name stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law in the State of New York, effective the date hereof. Opinion Per Curiam. All concur.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Former New York State Senate Leader Malcolm Smith is Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Bribery

Malcolm Smith, finally.
Malcolm Smith

Former State Senate Leader Malcom Smith and Former Queens GOP Leader Vincent Tabone Sentenced in White Plains Federal Court on Bribery and Fraud Charges Connected to 2013 New York City Mayor’s Race 

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJuly 01, 2015
  • Southern District of New York(212) 637-2600
Malcolm Smith

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that former New York State Senate leader MALCOM SMITH was sentenced today to seven years in prison for bribing New York City Republican Party leaders, including Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairman VINCENT TABONE, as part of a scheme to allow SMITH, a Democrat, to run as a Republican candidate for New York City Mayor in 2013 and for his role in obtaining New York State funding for a real estate project in Spring Valley, New York, in exchange for cash bribes paid on his behalf to the New York City Republican Party officials. TABONE was sentenced to 42 months in prison for receiving bribes and witness tampering. Both were convicted after a three-and-a-half week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Karas, who imposed today’s sentences.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Bribes and kickbacks should never play a role in the selection of candidates for public office. By attempting to buy and sell a spot on New York City’s Mayoral ballot, Malcolm Smith and Vincent Tabone corrupted one of the most fundamental tenets of the democratic process, that candidates cannot bribe their way onto a ballot. Today’s sentences make clear that the cost of violating the public trust in this way will be measured in years in a federal prison.”

According to the Complaint and the Indictment filed in federal court and the evidence presented at trial:

The Bribery and Extortion Schemes

SMITH was first elected to the New York State Senate in November 2000, and represented a district within Queens, New York. He was chairman of the Independent Democratic Conference of the State Senate and, among other positions, has served as the State Senate’s minority leader, majority leader, and acting lieutenant governor. From about November 2012, through April 2, 2013, SMITH agreed with former New York City councilman Daniel Halloran, who was convicted in a separate trial, and an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate developer (the “UC”), and a cooperating witness (“CW”) to bribe New York City Republican Party county leaders, including TABONE, in exchange for their authorization for SMITH to appear as a Republican candidate for New York City Mayor in 2013, even though SMITH is a registered Democrat.

SMITH participated in two overlapping criminal schemes that involved the payment of bribes to obtain official action. First, SMITH, a registered Democrat, authorized the payment of $110,000 in cash bribes to be paid to leaders of the New York City Republican Party, including TABONE, so that they would allow SMITH to run for mayor on the Republican Party’s ballot line. Second, SMITH agreed to use his influence to help steer at least $500,000 in New York State transportation funding to a real estate project the UC and CW had proposed to develop in Spring Valley, New York, in exchange for the UC and CW paying bribes on SMITH’s behalf to the New York City Republican Party Chairs.

In furtherance of the scheme, SMITH authorized the UC and the CW to meet TABONE, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Queens County Republican Party, Joseph Savino, the Chairman of the Bronx County Republican Party, and other party leaders. During a meeting with the UC, TABONE accepted a $25,000 cash bribe in a dimly lit SUV parked in front of a Manhattan restaurant and agreed to accept another $25,000 after his committee authorized SMITH to compete in the Republican primary. Savino similarly accepted a $15,000 cash bribe and agreed to accept another $15,000 after he voted to authorize SMITH to compete for the Republican ballot line. In return for his efforts in negotiating the bribes, Daniel Halloran accepted $15,500 as a down payment on a “broker’s” fee of at least $75,000 and expected to be appointed First Deputy Mayor if Smith was elected mayor.

Witness Tampering

Shortly before the start of a previously scheduled trial, the Government sought permission from the Court to take the deposition of Philip Ragusa, the former Chairman of the Queens County Republican Party. Ragusa, who was gravely ill at the time, was expected to testify favorably to the Government. Over TABONE’s objections, the Court ordered the deposition to take place. TABONE unexpectedly appeared at Ragusa’s home an hour before the scheduled start of the deposition and attempted to pressure Ragusa not to testify against him.

* * *

SMITH, 58, of Queens, was also sentenced to two years of supervised release. TABONE, 48, of Queens, was sentenced to one year supervised release and ordered to forfeit $25,000. SMITH was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on September 21, 2015. TABONE was ordered to surrender October 1, 2015.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division and Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Douglas B. Bloom, Justin Anderson and Perry Carbone are in charge of the prosecution.

The Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline To Hold Hearings on NY State's Attorney Disciplinary System

Public Hearings


Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman created the Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline to conduct a comprehensive review of the state’s attorney disciplinary system to determine what is working well and what can work better, and offer recommendations to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of New York’s attorney discipline process. In connection with its responsibility, the Commission will hold three public hearings to receive the views of interested individuals, organizations and entities.
The hearings will take place as follows:
  • July 28, 2015 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., New York State Court of Appeals, 20 Eagle Street, Albany, N.Y. 12207
  • Aug. 4, 2015 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Erie County Ceremonial Courtroom,  92 Franklin Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14202
  • Aug. 11, 2015 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., New York County Lawyers' Association, 14 Vesey Street, New York, 10007
Among the issues under consideration by the Commission are whether New York’s departmental-based system leads to regional disparities in the implementation of discipline; if conversion to a statewide system is desirable;  the point at which disciplinary charges or findings should be publicly revealed; and how to achieve dispositions more quickly in an effort to provide much-needed closure to both clients and attorneys.
The Commission will consider both oral testimony and written submissions. All testimony is by invitation only. If you are interested in being invited to testify at the hearing, please send an e-mail to no later than 14 days in advance of the scheduled hearing at which you propose to testify. Proposed testimony should not exceed 10 minutes in length.
If requesting an invitation, please (1) identify yourself and your affiliation; (2) attach a prepared statement or a detailed outline of the proposed testimony, and specify which, if any, of the topics described above will be addressed, and; (3) indicate at which of the hearings you would like to deliver the testimony. In advance of the hearing, invitations to testify will be issued and will include an approximate time for each presenter's testimony. For those not invited to present oral testimony, the proposed testimony will be deemed a written submission for consideration by the Commission.
Persons unable to attend a hearing or interested in only making a written submission may submit their remarks by e-mail to at least seven days in advance of the hearing, or by mailing the submission to the Commission at:
Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline
c/o The Honorable A. Gail Prudenti, Chief Administrative Judge 
25 Beaver Street
Eleventh Floor
New York, N.Y. 10004-2310
Please note that any materials, submissions or statements provided to the Commission are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law and subject to publication by the Office of Court Administration.
For further information and updates, please visit the Commission’s webpage