Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Two NJ Defense Attorneys Are Accused of Snooping on a Private Facebook Account

Lawyers Accused of Facebook Spying Can Face Ethics Complaint, State High Court Rules

New Jersey’s highest court ruled Tuesday that two defense lawyers accused of spying on a plaintiff’s Facebook page can be prosecuted for attorney misconduct.
The case dealt with what what the court described as a “novel ethical issue.” Two defense attorneys in New Jersey are accused of snooping on the private Facebook account of a plaintiff suing their client. The Facebook account was at first publicly viewable. But after the plaintiff tightened the settings and put his profile page behind a privacy wall, the lawyers didn’t stop monitoring it. A paralegal at their firm was able to get access by sending a Facebook friend request to the plaintiffs without revealing her employer.
The plaintiff, Dennis Hernandez, was suing the Borough of Oakland in Bergen County over injuries he claimed he sustained when a police car allegedly struck him in 2007. The two attorneys, John J. Robertelli and Gabriel Adamo, represented Oakland. Mr. Hernandez, according to the opinion, figured out the connection when the defense lawyers “sought to add the paralegal as a trial witness and disclosed printouts” from his Facebook page, according to the court’s opinion.
The New Jersey Supreme Court wasn’t deciding if the two lawyers violated ethics or should face sanction. The court was ruling on whether the head of the state’s attorney disciplinary body could prosecute the lawyers for alleged Facebook spying after a regional disciplinary body chose to drop the case. The local body didn’t think the lawyers’ actions, even if proven, constituted unethical conduct. The director of the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics, an arm of the state judiciary, disagreed and filed a complaint against the defense attorneys.
The state’s high court Tuesday unanimously ruled that the misconduct case could go forward. (You can read the opinion here.)
The complaint filed by the Office of Attorney Ethics director accuses the two lawyers of communicating with a represented party without proper consent and engaging in conduct “involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” among other ethics charges.
The two lawyers charged in the complaint claimed that they had “acted in good faith” and “had not committed any unethical conduct.” In their explanation of what happened, they said they were “unfamiliar with the different privacy settings on Facebook.”
Michael S. Stein, an attorney representing the two lawyers, said that while the ruling didn’t go their way, the opinion underscored a lack of “playbook or precedent for how these attorneys should have dealt with the circumstances they were confronted with in 2008.”
The next big step in the slow-moving litigation is a hearing on the merits of ethics complaint, Mr. Stein said.
In the opinion, New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner noted the unusual nature of the attorney ethics probe in question: “No reported case law in our State addresses the sort of conduct alleged,” he wrote.
Bar association guidelines have discouraged lawyers from monitoring personal profile pages of jurors, witnesses and opposing parties if access to the content requires special permission.

2016 Voter Fraud in NYC Shows How Corrupt Politicians Get Their Way, or the Public Takes The Highway

Voter fraud is the ugly side of America's control by politicians which has resulted in the anger that America has against the powerful, rich, do-it-my-way minority.

Now that we have removed Silver and Skelos, we have to remove their partners in crime. Let's start with the Board of Elections.


Betsy Combier

Ben Gershman said the Board of Elections told him he shared initials with another man
in the Bronx.

KEW GARDENS — A voter who registered six months ago after moving to the city says he was tossed off the voter list because his name is similar to a man who lives in The Bronx, he said.
Ben Gershman, 27, registered at the Department of Motor Vehicles after moving to Ridgewood from Chicago six months ago, he said.
But when he checked last month, his name was nowhere on the voter list — because it matched someone else in another borough, the Board of Elections told him.
"They told me I shared the same initials as a voter in the Bronx, it confused both registrations and I had become de-registered," he told DNAinfo New York. 
Gershman spent hours Tuesday morning at the Board of Election office location on Queens Boulevard, driving there after realizing he wouldn't be able to vote, he said.
He finally voted after receiving a court order that allowed him to return to his Ridgewood poll site to cast a ballot.
"It's insane what I have to do, and I am registered," he said. "There's no accountability in the election process."
A spokeswoman with the Board of Elections did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Gershman's voting issues or any other problems at the polls today.
04.19.16 7:10 PM ET

Failure, Fraud and More In New York’s Punk Rock Voting Disaster
Voters across New York are telling horror stories about their inability to cast a ballot because of everything from broken voting machines to clerical errors over shared middle names.

Alba Guerrero was dumbfounded. She’d arrived at her polling place in Ozone Park, Queens only to be told that she had been registered as a Republican since 2004.

That was news to her. She remembers registering to vote for the first time as a Democrat so she could vote for Barack Obama in the general election in 2008. When she recently moved from Manhattan to Ozone Park, in Queens, she re-registered at the DMV, she says, and even checked online on March 9th to be sure she was registered at her new address.

But when she showed up to vote for Bernie Sanders at PS63 on Tuesday, she says she was told she couldn’t. New York is a closed primary, where only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic Primary—and voters had to be registered by last October. She was told—very politely, she wants to make clear—by poll workers to take it up with a judge. She was given a court order in nearby Forest Hills.

Guerrero drove to the Queens County Board of Elections and pled her case, but Judge Ira Margulis initially turned her away.
“The judge tells me, ‘No, that’s it—2004.’ He shows me, I’m registered as a Republican. He says there’s nothing we can do,” she said.

But on her way out she saw a Board of Elections worker holding something with her name on it. It was her 2004 voter registration, replete, she remembers, with her name, her social security number, her birthday—and someone else’s signature.
“I said, ‘Excuse me, that’s not my signature,’” she said. “It’s not my handwriting. It showed completely different signatures.”

Sure enough, the signatures are strikingly different. Next to a box checked “Republican,” her 2004 signature is written in clear, deliberate, legible cursive and includes her middle name. Her more recent signature is a loopy, illegible scrawl. She insists she’s never changed it in her life, and says she can produce old tax forms to prove it.

So Guerrero went back to to Judge Margulis and showed him the discrepancy.

“He allowed me to change for that day,“ she said.

Guerrero’s voting nightmare had a happy ending. She says the people working the polling stations were incredibly helpful, and she was able to drive back and forth with her car and a lot of sticktoitiveness. But voting in New York’s primaries on Tuesday posed many unsolvable problems for would-be voters—from polling places that opened late to broken voting machines.
"We are deeply disturbed by what we’re hearing from polling places across the state. From long lines and dramatic understaffing to longtime voters being forced to cast affidavit ballots and thousands of registered New Yorkers being dropped from the rolls, what’s happening today is a disgrace," Bernie Sanders campaign spokesperson Karthik Ganapathy told The Daily Beast.

"We need to be making it easier for people to vote, not inventing arbitrary obstacles—and today’s shameful demonstration must underline the urgent importance of fixing voting laws across the country."

The many messes drew rare national attention to the sad sate of voting in New York City, where broken machines, erroneous counts and worse are commonplace experiences.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who tweeted at 11:50 a.m., “There’s nothing more punk rock than voting. #GetOutAndVote”, had to change his tune by the end of the day. WNYC reported this morning that 126,000 Brooklyn Democrats had been removed from the voting rolls since last fall.

“It has been reported to us from voters and voting rights monitors that the voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists,” he said in a statement released after 5 p.m. on Election Day. “I am calling on the Board of Election to reverse that purge and update the lists again using Central, not Brooklyn borough, Board of Election staff.”
Bernie Sanders supporters took to social media sites like Twitter and Reddit to decry what they believed to be rampant irregularities at polling places. On the largest subreddit dedicated to his campaign, users compiled a “Voting irregularities and issues megathread” that boasts over 1,700 posts and hotline numbers for voters who believe they have been disenfranchised.

A spokesperson for New York Attorney Eric Schneiderman told the New York Daily News that his office received “by far the largest volume of complaints we have received for an election since Attorney General Schneiderman took office in 2011.”
Some polling sites did not open on time, citing too few election workers. Others had faulty voting machines, or were delivered half the number of promised voting machines.
Then there are the extraordinary examples, like Guererro’s and Ben Gershman’s.

Gershman met Guerrero and took a cell phone video of her competing signatures at the Queens County BOE. He had arrived there to fight for his right to vote, also for Bernie Sanders.

He had checked his status two weeks before the registration deadline online to see if he was, in fact, registered to vote in the primary in Queens. He had registered at the DMV when he moved to Queens six months ago, but there was a hangup: There was a man in the Bronx with the same name and a shared middle initial, and he wasn’t registered to vote as a Democrat.

So Gershman repeatedly emailed the Board of Elections in the last few days to sort it out (he forwarded those emails to The Daily Beast to verify his story), and received assurances that he would be able to vote from various BOE workers.

Still, Gershman arrived at his polling place at 7:45 a.m. today to find that he could not vote and that he, too, would have to drive to Forest Hills to appeal for his right to vote.

By the end of it, Gershman didn’t get to work until 12 p.m., but—three car rides later—he did get to vote for his candidate.
“I spent three hours this morning trying to vote,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words. I don’t understand that in the 21st century you have to stand in front of a judge to get to vote. It was laughable.”

Gershman was peeved by what happened to him, but he wonders what would’ve happened if he didn’t have a car, or the ability to miss a morning of work to fight for his ballot. And he’s also confounded by what happened to Guerrero’s voter registration form, which he shared on YouTube and calls “pretty clear fraud.”

Guerrero calls the whole incident “creepy.” She has “no idea” who might want to forge her signature on a voter registration form.

“It’s just disheartening. We’re supposed to be the number one country in the world, but things like this you’d imagine would happen in a second or third-world country,” she said. “What happened to me, basically, was fraud.”

Repeated calls to the New York City Board of Elections went unanswered at press time.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council, the NYPD, and the 2012 Responsible Banking Act - Not

If the powers that be in New York City can shine a light on Mayor Bill and the NYC City Council, I think that the disaster we have voted into office will be clear.

See Bill's bio. His real name is Warren Wilhelm, Jr. He became Bill de Blasio in 2002.

Mayor's Pal Yitzchok Leshinsky and Housing Bridge Are Under Investigation

Betsy Combier
Editor, Courtbeat

A top aide to Mayor de Blasio had warned against putting the businessmen now at the center of the NYPD corruption scandal onto Hizzoner’s 2014 inaugural committee, The Post has learned.
But Avi Fink was blown off by de Blasio’s chief fund-raiser — whose campaign-finance work is under investigation — and also by the committee’s chairwoman.
Fink, a mayoral adviser on Jewish issues who is on leave working for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, told Ross Offinger and Gabrielle Fialkoff that he had concerns about Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, sources said Thursday.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio
“People in the Orthodox community told Avi they had questions about where his money comes from and said he’s not a community activist, he’s only out for himself,” one source said.The red flags included doubts about how Reichberg, a prominent member of the Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park, Brooklyn, had attained his wealth, sources said.
Another source said Rechnitz was well-known in the Bukharan Jewish community in Queens for clashing with Israeli billionaire and diamond merchant Lev Leviev over a business deal.
Jeremy Reichberg (left) and Jona Rechnitz
“He had a falling out with [Leviev] that may have tarnished his reputation,” the source said.
Offinger and Fialkoff, a jewelry heiress who now holds a $203,000-a-year City Hall job, let them join the committee anyway.
Perks of a committee appointment included seating at the Jan. 1 inauguration ceremony and a spot on a receiving line to congratulate the mayor, as well as an invitation to a Gracie Mansion breakfast the next Sunday.
Avi Fink
Rechnitz and his wife each donated the maximum $4,950 to de Blasio’s campaign, which the mayor has said he would return.
After de Blasio’s election, Reichberg hosted a fund-raiser at his Borough Park home that raked in $35,000 for the Campaign for One New York, the mayor’s now-defunct nonprofit.
Fink, Offinger and Fialkoff — who runs the de Blasio-created Office of Strategic Partnerships — did not return calls for comment.
A de Blasio campaign spokesman didn’t deny Fink’s warnings but issued a statement describing the inaugural committee as “a large, ceremonial group” whose “members were recommended and vetted by campaign staff and chosen by staff in partnership with the volunteer chairperson.”
Additional reporting by Yoav Gonen

The Judge Who Saved New York

Mayor de Blasio is barred from regulating banks. Crisis averted.

A meteor headed straight for the world’s financial center has been knocked off course. Federal Judge Katherine Polk Failla of the Southern District of New York has prevented catastrophe in Gotham by knocking out the city’s 2012 Responsible Banking Act. The benefits will be felt far beyond New York.
The idea behind the law was to pressure banks to provide more loans to politically favored borrowers. The plan by the New York City Council was to take an obscure, routine function of approving banks to hold the city’s deposits and use it as leverage to assert a vast authority over lending that even many Washington regulators would envy.
Step one was creation of the Community Investment Advisory Board, charged with collecting data from banks on their efforts to offer services “most needed by low and moderate income individuals and communities.” The board was also deputized to examine what the banks were doing in “affordable housing,” foreclosure prevention, “community development” and other projects that might “positively impact” the city through activities such as “philanthropic work and charitable giving.”
Yes, the progressives who run New York City think it’s their business to pass judgment on private charitable donations. After the board had examined the banks and opined on how socially responsible they were, city bureaucrats were then empowered to use these judgments to determine which firms would be official deposit banks in New York City. The city would put out annual reports essentially grading each bank.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg thought this was illegal. Under longstanding precedent, banking regulation is conducted by the feds and states. Federal law states that “no national bank shall be subject to any visitorial powers except as authorized by federal law,” but the council overrode a Bloomberg veto.
The new board created by the law recently started demanding information from banks, including proprietary data that could reflect the health of the bank and involve trade secrets. A number of other big cities, including Philadelphia and Los Angeles, have also sought to enforce “responsible banking.”
Judge Failla found that the Responsible Banking Act is “preempted by federal and state law,” contains “unconstitutional provisions” at its heart and is “void in its entirety.” Under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, federal law trumps subordinate laws, so a city cannot simply choose to override national banking policy on a whim.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s lawyers argued that compliance was voluntary and the city is free to choose which banking services to purchase. But Judge Failla noted that the law had nothing to do with getting a better deal on the city’s checking accounts and everything to do with broad social goals. Cities are free to use their proprietary power to select the best services at the lowest cost, but not to use this as a pretext for unrelated regulation of activity already governed by state and federal law. As for the idea that banks didn’t have to participate, the judge noted that the law “secures compliance through public shaming of banks.”
Good for Judge Failla, Sullivan & Cromwell counsel Robert Giuffra who argued the case, and the citizens of New York City who have been saved from another progressive onslaught.