Sunday, December 14, 2008

THE FLACKS REPORT 10th Dec., '08

More Aspirants for Public Advocate---Thompson Will Run for Mayor---Market-rate Tenants Not Protected by N.Y. State's Martin Act---Shirley Fingerhood Deceased---Sorry Saga of the Surrogates
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More Aspirants for Public Advocate

Even with the extension of term limits, the game of musical political chairs continues. As of this writing there are seven--count 'em--seven aspirants for the N.Y.C. post of Public Advocate. In addition to Norman Siegel (who is "The Natural" for the job), we have Mark Green (who, remember, wanted to give Mayor Rudy an additional 3 months in office), Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell, IV, and City Council Members John Liu, Eric Gioia, Bill de Blasio, and Jessica Lappin (what ever can she be thinking after just a couple of years in office?). Isn't being an "urban-ist" legislator as Ruth Messinger was an honorable profession anymore?

Thompson Will Run for Mayor

City Comptroller Bill Thompson will give up his post to seek the Mayoralty. A previous Flacks Report stated that he would run for re-election. Thompson told this reporter that he was always running for Mayor, but after the recent term limits extension amendment to the City Charter passed, rumors had it that he would seek re-election.

Market-Rate Tenants Not Protected by State's Martin Act

The use of the State's General Business Law provision called the "Martin Act" was a somewhat novel way to preserve tenancies in a "controlled" market as it usually has been employed to protect unsophisticated investors. Part of the N.Y. State General Business Law regulates the sale of co-ops [G.B.L. sect. 352-eeee Conversions to cooperative or condominium ownership in the city of New York].

Housing Court Judge David B. Cohen's decision was a bold attempt which failed, being unanimously reversed by an appeals court on what some might consider a technical ground. [There are two decisions by the Appellate Term, 1st Dept.; the key one is MH Residential 1, LLC, et al. vs. Barrett, 2008 NYSlipOp 28471. Decided 28 Nov. '08. A.T., 1st Dept.]

The Appellate Term said that qualifying as a "tenant in occupancy" for purposes of benefiting from a condominium conversion requires contractual rights and leases and a landlord/tenant relationship. Occupancy alone is insufficient. The appellate court found that the trial judge's interpretation of the tenancy and occupancy sections of the Martin Act (for market-rate tenants, not rent stabilized tenants) was incorrect.

Shirley Fingerhood Deceased

Former New York City Civil Court Judge Shirley Fingerhood died Tuesday, 9th Dec., '08. Funeral services 2:30 P.M. this Sunday at "The Riverside," Amsterdam Ave. & W. 76th Str., Manh. Fingerhood, a Yale Law School graduate, served in the Civil Court and State Supreme Court from 1979 to 1993. F.Y.I., the N.Y.Times paid obituary follows:

FINGERHOOD--Shirley, pioneering lawyer and esteemed Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York , at her home in Manhattan on December 9, 2008 from lymphoma. Loving mother to Jason Solotaroff and mother-in-law to Katherine Webber. Adoring grandmother to Henry, Peter and Sally Solotaroff Webber. Devoted aunt to Maggie Pfeffer and Steven and Michael Fingerhood and dear sister-in-law to Nina Fingerhood and Doris La Porte. She survived her sister Marjorie Pfeffer and her brother Stan Fingerhood. Services Sunday, December 14th at 2:30pm at "The Riverside " 76th St. and Amsterdam Avenue . In lieu of flowers, contributions to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Inc. or the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy Inc. would be appreciated.

Sorry Saga of the Surrogates

The sorry saga of the Surrogate courts in New York City continues with the latest revelations about the newly-elected New York County Surrogate, Nora Anderson. The matter has been extensively reported in the New York press (Times, News, Post, Voice, and Law Journal) as well as on radio and television, so that it is not necessary to re-hash it here.

The Court of Appeals could suspend her when she takes office on January 1st, 2009, pending the resolution of the criminal charges regarding her campaign finances. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct may also investigate. If suspended, the Office of Court Administration could assign a temporary judge to the post.

If Anderson is acquitted--and many knowledgeable insiders feel that the indictment is flimsy--there is the question of ethics in fiduciary matters. [The New York Daily News has already found her guilty (of ethical violations--not criminal violations).]

"The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday--but never jam today."


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