Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister for Aug. 26

Bill de Blasio

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Will LICH Crusade Push de Blasio Over the Top?

If the recent Quinnipiac University poll is anywhere near accurate, this might be the right moment to predict that if he gets in the expected runoff with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio will be the next mayor of New York.

Granted, the Quinnipiac poll was released a week ago, but it showed de Blasio trending upward at 30 percent with Quinn static at 24 percent, only two points above the rating of Comptroller Bill Thompson.

Why has de Blasio surged? A main reason has to be his steady visibility as a fighter in the battle to save Long Island College Hospital. When de Blasio was only the public advocate, he held a position whose main significance is that he is next in line to be mayor should the current mayor be incapacitated.

Saving LICH is vital to all segments of the Brooklyn community, but especially important to black voters. With the raging, racially-tinged battle against “Obamacare” gaining traction throughout the country, they  quite correctly see the public health system slowly but surely drifting away from certain neighborhoods desperately in need of preventive and other medical treatment.

How can SUNY executives claim that threatened  Brooklyn Interfaith is in trouble because it’s surrounded by low wage-earners with no insurance and, at the same time,  blatantly ignore the fact that LICH is located in one of the most affluent group of neighborhoods in the city?
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Defying Court Orders, SUNY Harms Those in Need

In truth, the suspicious actions by SUNY representatives and their open disregard of orders issued by Kings Justices Johnny Lee Baynes and Carolyn Demarest had attracted scant notice in the city’s other four boroughs  until candidate/Public Advocate de Blasio actively joined -- and now seems to almost lead -- the cause.

A political analyst we know quite well suggested that de Blasio will be favored in a run-off with Quinn. Why? “Mainly because he (de Blasio) will win over Quinn in Brooklyn by a substantial margin.”  Adding icing to the cake, this same sage believes that de Blasio will be the recipient of the anti-Bloomberg vote because Quinn has been too close to Bloomberg.

If  former Comptroller Thompson is out of the race (coming by in third in the September primary), de Blasio  will certainly win the substantial black vote in November. Thompson is a credible, competent leader who has the qualities to serve as mayor. But, as our source told us, “There’s no fire in the belly of candidate Thompson! He doesn’t seem to care.”
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Debra Scotto Sees de Blasio As Small Business Friend

De Blasio has won favor with established Democratic-community leaders such as Debra Scotto of Carroll Gardens, who feels his election is vital for us to “move into the next incarnation of our city. He embodies where we are at this particular time.”

An independent thinker like her legendary dad, Salvatore “Buddy” Scotto, Ms. Scotto, an attorney, can look objectively at the good the outgoing mayor has done along with the not-so-good. She “appreciated the Bloomberg era in creating a path for environmental sustainability in a growing city with high-tech jobs.”

Now, she says, “we need to bring the best of what has been done to a broad group of New Yorkers. Bill de Blasio will use CUNY as a vehicle for part of this broadening out. There must  be room in our city for service workers which means higher wages and affordable housing...Bill has lived with us (here) in Brooklyn, he has our pulse and speaks coherently to all of these things,” added an enthusiastic Scotto.
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BBA’s CLE Lecture Series Focuses on Bankruptcy Law

Many lawyers out there are too young to recall the halcyon days of yore when General Motors virtually ruled the world. GM was the symbol of the kind of capitalism that worked to highlight the best of our nation and was revered across the globe.

Our unrelenting faith in the mightiness of GM was echoed in radio, TV and newspaper commercials that said, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the U.S.A.!” This was the same era, by the way, when “You could trust your car to the man who wears the star (Texaco)” or be seduced by the dulcet tones of a “doctor” crooning “I’d walk a mile for a mild, mild camel, They’re so mild they suit me to a T.”

Indeed, the GM bankruptcy did help remove the stigma attached to the once-controversial legal maneuver. (Even losing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued belatedly that bankruptcy would be better than a federal bailout for much of the again-troubled automotive industry.)

Today, however, there probably isn’t a single practicing barrister who hasn’t been asked to handle a bankruptcy for a friend or relative, or at least advise them whether to select Chapter 7 or Chapter11 as their path to economic survival.

All of this accounts for the likely success of the upcoming “2013 Bankruptcy CLE Series “ being held under the aegis of the Brooklyn Bar Association’s  CLE Committee handled by BBA CLE Director Meredith Symonds.

Presenting the first installment of this timely agenda on Sept. 12 are David Doyaga, a past BBA president, and attorney Greg Messer. Starting promptly  at 6 p.m. at BBA headquarters, 123 Remsen St., interested attorneys will learn of the  “Bankruptcy Basics.” While this delivery is calculated to be of particular benefit to those who have handled five or fewer bankruptcies, some practical day-to-day procedure will be reviewed.

Scheduled areas include how to properly complete and amend schedules and other required filings, how to convert to other chapters, the basics of how to complete the means test form, how to get the meeting of creditors closed in one visit and basic client interviewing.

Subsequent bankruptcy sessions will take place Sept. 19 (for intermediate-level practitioners) and Sept. 26 (for advanced practitioners). Further information is available by contacting CLE Director Symonds (, who points out that one can save $20 through Early Registration. Don’t delay!

Doing more than his share at the BBA on these and other projects is the ever-reliable Executive Director Avery Okin. The BBA’s president is the redoubtable Andy Fallek.

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NOW Exec Hits Out at D.A. Candidate Thompson

The New York Times, not known to favor long-serving office holders in Brooklyn, produced a fascinating story this week focused on attorney Kenneth Thompson, who is trying to unseat incumbent D.A. Joe Hynes in the upcoming Democratic primary.

The half-page Times article (A-17, Aug. 21) said little about Hynes but went into significant detail on the challenger’s background.

Thompson gained notoriety when he very publicly, at press conferences, outlined what he saw to be the facts in the controversial, alleged rape of a hotel maid by Dominique Strauss-Khan

Strauss-Khan – or D.S.K., as he was described in headlines – was, as head of the International Monetary Fund, one of the most powerful men in the world and was favored to win an upcoming election ascending to the presidency of France.

The charges were all dropped, as writer Vivian Yee reported. But she used that case to draw attention to Thompson’s handling of the case. For instance, Thompson’s public expose of intimate details of the alleged assault drew the ire of Jane Manning, a vice president of the National Organization for Women and former sex crimes prosecutor.

Ms. Yee wrote that, according to NOW executive Manning,  Thompson’s behavior harmed the victim’s case. “By antagonizing prosecutors,” Thompson said, “He was single-handedly making it impossible would ever be brought to justice.”

A subsequent tort claim by the maid against D.S.K. was settled for an undisclosed amount.


August 26, 2013 - 12:15pm



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