June 13, 2013
Fax: 212 514 7158
Office of the Inspector General
Office Court Administration
25 Beaver Street
New York, New York 10004
Re: Caroline B. Kennedy (Registration No. 2373751)
Dear Inspector General:
This letter, an addendum to my letter of June 10th, is a factual statement of issues that, in my opinion, require investigation by your office:
Caroline Kennedy, admitted to the bar in 1990, failed to file two recent registration statements with the OCA and accordingly twice invoked the law’s provision that her default constituted “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and shall be referred [by the Office of Court Administration] to the appropriate appellate division of the supreme court for disciplinary action” which could include suspension from the practice of law. (Judiciary Law, §468-a)
Caroline Kennedy when in default failed to affirm that she had not stolen client’s money or other property, and failed to obtain the more than forty continuing legal education credits required of all New York Lawyers.
Contrary to the mandate of Judiciary Law, §468-a, the OCA, without any authorization in law and in violation of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge who oversees the OCA, twice did not refer Ms Kennedy to the Appellate Division for disciplinary action. Instead, OCA recorded her failures to file registration statements by listing her as “Delinquent”, a procedure wholly without any basis in Judiciary Law §468-a, the Rules of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, or the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge, a procedure that requires the attention of the Legislature for it surely never intended it. It intended that every attorney in default would be sent to the Appellate Division. It intended by §468-a a simple process for the obtaining of revenue by OCA administrators who would make administrative and not judicial decisions. It did not intend the keeping in OCA’s files of thousands of attorneys in default, in many cases, for individual multiple registration cycles.
Respectfully, your office should inquire into why, during her long period of “delinquency”, Ms Kennedy’s default was not sent to the Appellate Division in accordance with Judiciary Law §468-a.
OCA’s record describing Ms Kennedy as “Delinquent” was published by it on May 2d, 2013 when my comment concerning Ms Kennedy was published by The New York Times in connection with Michael Shear’s column about the vetting of proposed appointees of the President:
“Harry Reynolds Scarsdale, New York
It would be prudent for the President to inquire into why Ms Kennedy is listed as “Delinquent” in the public records of the New York State Office of Court Administration because she has failed to file one or more registration statements which include her affirmation, in substance, that she has maintained her financial records as an attorney in accordance with the rules of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
In short, as in the case of every attorney who registers, an answer must be given to the question whether Ms Kennedy has unlawfully taken or used moneys entrusted to her as an attorney.
Her failure to file requires the Office of Court Administration to refer her to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for disciplinary action which could include her suspension from the practice of law for conduct hindering the administration of justice.
Further, the prospect of Ms Kennedy’s appointment at a time of critical tension with North Korea must have politicians in both parties wondering about the President’s judgment. What would he do if Ms Kennedy, after her appointment, were suspended from the practice of law for conduct hindering the administration of law? Would he laugh and tell the Japanese jokes while they look closely at him for any sign of imbalance?”
On or about May 1st or May 2d, 2013, the Office of Court Administration, contrary to Judiciary Law §468-a, changed the registration status of Caroline Kennedy from “Delinquent” to “Currently registered” when in law she had been in default for years and, in violation of §468-a, her default had not caused her matter to be transferred to the Appellate Division as provided by §468-a. OCA made that change without any factual or legal justification in a public record. Indeed, OCA thoughtfully provided that her status of “Currently registered” was retroactive to the beginning of the period of several years in which OCA had declared her publicly to be “Delinquent”. Surely, whoever was attending to the matter of Ms Kennedy was intent on rendering that full service expected by the State of New York.
Respectfully, your office should inquire into whether there was a lawful basis for the change in Ms Kennedy’s status the timing of which was on its face caused by OCA’s purpose to satisfy Ms Kennedy’s desire to be appointed Ambassador to Japan. Had the prospect of that ambassadorship not arisen, Ms Kennedy’s file at the OCA would not have been moved from the place in which it had been kept for years.
To add speed to the character of what was afoot, Ms Kennedy in payment of her retroactive fees tendered a credit card having an expiration date in 2011. The fees I am informed by OCA were paid. Looking to the future, however, Ms Kennedy, in my opinion, falsely certified that she was exempt from the obtaining of CLE credits.
Respectfully, your office should inquire into the scandalous condition caused by OCA’s policy of not referring to the Appellate Division lawyers who default in their obligation to file registration statements, some of whom may not have reported for as many as six or eight years, which brings us to the matter of Congressman Charles Rangel.
Congressman Charles Rangel failed to comply with the registration statute between its enactment in 1982 and 2007, an Olympic leap of a quarter-century that would excite any pedestrian’s admiration for its length. He suddenly became registered in or about 2007 after what must have been a unique discussion with the OCA. The OCA disposed of his default without sending it to the Appellate Division as required by Judiciary Law, §468-a. If ever there was a case ripe for review by the Appellate Division it was that of Rangel. He may have had a good defense, but it was one determinable only by the Appellate Division under §468-a and not by an administrator at the OCA which, however one turns it in the light, does not have any judicial powers.
What does one in New York do when there is the appearance of wrong doing in the OCA itself? One hopefully lays the facts before the Inspector General of the Office of Court Administration.